Meranda Carter/OC Weekly Agran became an Irvine career politician 36 years ago
We once could have imagined The New York Times sending a future reporter to a completed Orange County Great Park in Irvine for an awe-inspiring article in the paper's "Great Homes & Destinations" section. Don't laugh. There's no shame in being fooled a decade ago. That's when Irvine political boss Larry Agran promised OC that the decommissioned El Toro Marine Air Corps Station wouldn't just be filled with new houses.
The failed, 1992 Democratic presidential candidate said the development plan included man-made canyons, waterfalls and wildlife corridors; an architecturally impressive sports stadium and amphitheater; breathtaking university buildings; botanical gardens and a conservatory; and Smithsonian-caliber museums. Agran even guaranteed the Great Park would be bigger and more impressive than Manhattan's Central Park and San Diego's Balboa Park. All Irvine voters had to do to reap that historic milestone was to keep him and his political machine in control of the city.
This month, a Times reporter with "Great Homes & Destinations" did focus on Orange County, though the story wasn't about the Great Park--at least directly. That's no surprise. During Agran's 12-year reign, not a single major proposed feature was built even though $200 million evaporated from the park construction kitty.
Where did all that taxpayer money go?More »