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Author: Roger Bloom

City’s RFP Process was Ignored in 2021. Now, Questions Continue to Swirl Around the Multi-Million-Dollar Contract Awarded for Electric Charging Stations at the Great Park.

It’s been 14 months since the Great Park Board of Directors — comprised of Irvine’s Mayor and four Councilmembers — threw aside the City’s standard “Request for Proposal” (RFP) process and, instead, voted to award a multi-million-dollar contract for vehicle electric charging stations to a company that was not recommended by City staff.

During a 2021 meeting, Councilmember Mike Carroll made a motion to disregard the City’s formal bidding process results and, instead, award the contract to Casco Construction. Councilmember Tammy Kim supported Carroll, adding an amendment insisting that the contract include Noodoe as Casco’s subcontractor to manufacture the charging units.

Kim stated that Noodoe should be selected because the company was an Irvine-based business that would bring a boon of manufacturing jobs to the City. In fact, that same month Noodoe was relocating its administrative office to Houston while laying off its Irvine staff … and all manufacturing takes place at Noodoe’s factory in Taiwan.

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OCPA May Hold Special Board Meeting This Week

Irvine City Councilmember and Orange County Power Authority (OCPA) board member Kathleen Treseder has requested a special meeting of the OCPA Board for Friday (February 10th) to consider terminating its legal services contract with the Best Best & Krieger (BBK) law firm, whose partner Ryan Baron currently serves as general counsel for OCPA.

Treseder has publicly stated that the removal of Baron and OCPA CEO Brian Probolsky are necessary first steps in reforming the troubled power agency.

Critics have said that Baron functions more as Probolsky’s personal attorney than as the legal representative for the agency. And, according to Treseder, BBK’s billings are more than double OCPA’s budget for legal services.

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Irvine Rocked by News of Ongoing FBI Investigation Connected to Attempted Bribery of Irvine City Councilmembers

The case of former Orange County Democratic Party Executive Director and political consultant Melahat Rafiei continued to roil Irvine politics this past week, as the press and public strained to figure out which former City Councilmembers Rafiei allegedly tried to bribe in 2018 while the current City Council grappled with the issue of starting its own investigation into Rafiei.

Last May, it was revealed by the FBI that Rafiei — who managed the campaigns of Irvine Mayor Farrah Khan and Councilmember Tammy Kim in 2020 — was a “cooperating witness” in its investigation of corruption in Anaheim, secretly recording meetings she had with Anaheim officials. The FBI noted in an affidavit at the time that Rafiei agreed to cooperate after being arrested in 2019 for allegedly attempting to bribe two Irvine Councilmembers on behalf of a client who wanted to establish a cannabis business in the City.

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One Reporter’s Take on the 2024 Election in Irvine

You probably thought the 2024 election campaign would be in … well, 2024. Wrong!

Here we are, less than three months since the November 2022 election, and Irvine has already been served a big helping of 2024 political drama, from City Hall to the U.S. Senate.

Where to begin? Let’s start with the fairly predictable — though extremely early — maneuvering of ambitious politicians eyeing higher office and then move to the unpredictable wild card that is Melahat Rafiei.

Irvine’s just re-elected Congressional Representative, Katie Porter, is running for the U.S. Senate. Our State Senator, Dave Min, is running for Porter’s House seat; and two of our City Councilmembers (Larry Agran and Tammy Kim) are running for Mayor.

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New Orange County Power Authority (OCPA) Board of Directors Meets to Talk about Change

At her first meeting since joining the OCPA board, Irvine Councilmember Kathleen Treseder wasted no time in telling the board that “In order to reform the OCPA … we need to replace the CEO.”

In late December, Treseder was the swing vote against Councilmember Larry Agran’s proposal for Irvine to give notice of its intent to withdraw from OCPA, effective July 1st, with the caveat that the withdrawal would be rescinded if OCPA has taken concrete steps to address the many agency problems identified in the Orange County Grand Jury report. At the time, Treseder said she wanted to fix the troubled agency.

By not adopting Agran’s proposal in December, the City is now locked into OCPA until at least 2024.

As a new board member and Vice Chair of OCPA, Treseder is calling for the removal of the Power Authority’s CEO and the agency’s general counsel.

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