Choi Seeks to Change Great Park Board
Sunday, January 13th, 2013 @ 6:45AM
The issue of Great Park management and its governance is of vital importance to the future of Irvine and Orange County. The project, if delivered correctly, can be a jewel and a model for sustainable green space in this county. The most recent change in leadership gives very little hope for real change, since the faces are the same.
I have mixed emotions regarding the proposal laid out by the Mayor, “that only elected Irvine Council members remain Great Park Board Directors.” This would essentially do away with the four seats for independent members. Although the proposal would make sense from a financial standpoint by reducing the amount of stipends paid monthly to these board members, the move is questionable from a check and balance perspective. The Irvine City Council has had a seat at the table for the past decade while the project has sputtered along. How would making the leadership even more insular help the greater project? The independent board members haven’t exactly been independent in the past, but they do serve an important role in representing the larger OC community. The Great Park is more than a City of Irvine project—giving the city council complete control may be a mistake, based on its characterization this evening at the Council meeting. As noted by Mr. Lalloway, the council is responsible for every final decision for the Great park, so what happened ?
Negligence, and mismanagement of the Great Park, with cost overruns, the use of no-bid contracts and high fee PR Firms has contributed to the boondoggle. Some Board Members are posturing around doing a “forensic audit” of the project, using park reserves, an audit the scale of what is likely to run much higher than the $225,000 to $250,000. This comment is indicative of the lack of understanding and education, particularly what an audit like this really entails.
I support an audit, an independent accounting firm approved by all council members is what is in order. if it can be delivered at a minimal cost and if the results of the audit show a true mismanagement and general lack of understanding—then we should call on all COUNCIL members to resign from the Great Park project, and turn it over to those that understand the enormity and scale of the development and get it done for the people, not make it the political football that has been punted from side to side, never reaching the goal posts.