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Category: Irvine

Landmark Deal to Be Signed by the City to Acquire the All American Plant & Restore the Land to Its Original State

The Irvine City Council is poised to approve — in April — a massive land deal to acquire and remove the All American Asphalt plant in north Irvine. The 12-acre asphalt plant and hundreds of acres surrounding it will become part of a 700-acre open space preserve that has been dubbed the “Gateway Preserve.”

“I am proud that my office heard the voices of the community early on and fought alongside north Irvine residents to help get this deal done,” said Councilmember Larry Agran, who is a longtime public interest attorney specializing in environmental law.

The key to the deal is the Irvine Company’s dedication to the City of nearly 500 acres of land surrounding the plant. The dedication includes 80 acres that the City will sell to residential developers to cover the cost of acquiring and dismantling the asphalt plant — and paying for the planning and establishment of the Gateway Preserve. Accordingly, the deal will not cost Irvine taxpayers anything.

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Council Green-Lights Phase 1 of Great Park Framework Plan

At its March 14th meeting, the City Council gave its approval to begin detailed design and construction of a bundle of Great Park projects, with a goal of completing them within five years.

Meeting as the Great Park Board, the Council green-lighted these projects for Phase 1 of the Great Park Framework Plan:

1. Veterans Memorial Park & Gardens

2. Botanical Gardens

3. Perimeter Park around the Veterans Memorial Park & Gardens

4. Promenade

5. Amphitheater

6. Cultural Terrace (including Pretend City, the Flying Leathernecks Museum, Orange County Music & Dance, Hangar 369 Community Center, Bridge to Sports Park, and Food & Beverage Facilities at Sports Park)

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City Council Again Questions Contract for Electric Charging Stations in the Great Park

In December 2021, Casco Construction was awarded a contract to install, maintain and operate vehicle charging stations at the Great Park, despite the fact that two other firms had been recommended by City staff following a formal bid process.

Councilmembers Mike Carroll and Tammy Kim urged the Council to award the contract to Casco because the company promised that the City would receive $2 million annually in revenue — much more than promised by any other bidder. And, Kim said that Casco’s proposed equipment supplier, Noodoe, would boost Irvine manufacturing jobs. (Then-Councilmember Anthony Kuo provided the third vote.)

More than a year after the contract with Casco was pushed through, City Manager Oliver Chi says the $2 million revenue promised by Casco has now been revised down to just 10% of that amount — if there is any revenue at all. And Irvine has actually lost jobs. The same month that Councilmember Kim was promising a boon in local jobs, Taiwan-based Noodoe was closing up shop in Irvine and moving its U.S. operations to Houston, laying off Irvine employees. It turns out that the chargers were never going to be manufactured here in Irvine, or even the U.S., but in Taiwan.

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State Audit Reveals Mismanagement, Deception, and Financial Instability at Orange County Power Authority (OCPA)

For the fourth time in less than a year, an investigation of the Orange County Power Authority (OCPA) has revealed severe management and transparency problems — and possible financial peril — triggering calls by State officials for the agency to quickly change its practices or face State action.

The audit report by the State Auditor’s Office concluded that:

OCPA’s deceptive marketing and public relations and lack of transparency caused a loss of public confidence in the agency.

OCPA’s contracting was not competitive and violated its own policies as well as State rules.

OCPA does not have sufficient qualified staff to properly oversee its operations, especially its multi-million-dollar contracting for electricity.

OCPA has not fulfilled its promises of cheaper green energy or investment in community energy-efficiency programs.

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The City of Irvine to Acquire the All American Asphalt Plant and Incorporate the Site Into a 700-Acre “Gateway Preserve”

The City of Irvine is finalizing an historic land deal to acquire and shut down the All American Asphalt plant in north Irvine — incorporating the site into a 700-acre Gateway Preserve that will provide access to the 20,000-acre north Irvine Open Space Preserve.

The asphalt plant has been the source of swirling controversy for years as its noxious odors and toxic emissions have affected thousands of residents throughout north Irvine.

During the February 28th City Council meeting, City Manager Oliver Chi — followed by Councilmembers Larry Agran and Mike Carroll — announced that the asphalt plant will be shut down later this year. Chi stated that the land transaction agreements are expected to go to the City Council at the end of March for final approval, followed by a five-month escrow period. (Agran and Carroll, both lawyers, helped guide the complex negotiations.)

Councilmember Agran said, “I am pleased that my Council colleagues finally heard the voices of the community and stepped up to protect Irvine citizens.”

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On a 3-to-2 Vote, the City Council Moves Forward to Build a 14,000-Seat Outdoor Amphitheater in the Great Park

Maybe they’ll call it the Tammy Kim Amphitheater.

After the second marathon session in a week on the topic, a divided and bleary-eyed City Council voted 3-2 at midnight on February 21st to endorse a 14,000-seat amphitheater for the Great Park and continue negotiations with Live Nation Entertainment to operate the venue.

Councilmembers Larry Agran and Kathleen Treseder voted NO.

Councilmember Kim began the meeting by saying that her job is “protecting citizens” from undue noise and traffic and that the residents of Irvine clearly want a smaller amphitheater. “It’s what I believe is right for the residents,” she said.

Just one hour later, Kim reversed course — completely ignoring her original statement about wanting to support Irvine residents’ calls for a smaller venue — and voted for the larger plan.

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Irvine Continues to Put the City’s Taxpayers & Electricity Ratepayers at Financial Risk

Three years ago, the Orange County Power Authority (OCPA) was established with the promise that Irvine electricity ratepayers would receive greener energy at lower rates, and that the agency would provide the public with full transparency.

Since that time, the OCPA Board — none of whom have any experience in the electricity field — hired one of their political cronies to run the agency as its CEO, even though he too has no experience in the electricity field.

Last year, the Orange County Grand Jury found that OCPA is rife with cronyism, incompetence, and a lack of transparency.

Through its own audit, the County of Orange found the same problems, resulting in its decision to pull out of OCPA. Why won’t Irvine protect the City’s taxpayers and ratepayers?

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