Great Park Public Relations Consultants Get 5 P.M. Deadline to End Odd Contract Secrecy

OC Weekly photo
Councilman for life, Larry Agran: Irvine's most secretive, professional politician since the 1970s
The auditor working to uncover explanations for wild, dubious spending of Orange County Great Park funds by a prior Irvine City Council majority of Larry Agran, Beth Krom and Sukhee Kang has given that trio's favored political consultants a 5 p.m. deadline to disclose key expense records.

In an Aug. 15 letter to lawyers representing Forde & Mollrich of Newport Beach, Anthony R. Taylor--Irvine's independent audit counsel--outlined repeated, unsuccessful demands that the firm surrender documents supporting the more than $7.23 million Agran, Krom and Kang diverted from public park construction funds from July 2005 to January 2013.

Though Taylor reminded Stu Mollrich during a July deposition that Forde & Mollrich's no-bid, no-benchmark contract required the firm to cooperate with all audits of how government funds were spent in a sweetheart, Agran-inspired, $100,000-plus-per-month deal, the consultant's lawyer--David Elson of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips--interrupted related questions 22 times in moves designed to stonewall public knowledge.

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Assemblyman Travis Allen's Beach Fire Rings Bill is Extinguished ... This Year

OC Weekly
Travis Allen is burning mad.
Legislation by a local assemblyman to "save" beach bonfires along the coast is dead ... at least for this year.

Assembly Bill 1102 by Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach) was aimed at thwarting efforts by the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) to move or eliminate hundreds of fire rings, a notion that had been put in motion by the Newport Beach City Council following complaints by beach-side residents.

Last week, the Senate Committee on Appropriations chose to hold AB 1102, which essentially means it's dead this year.

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Federal Judge Sets Hearing Date for Orly Taitz's Border-Crosser "Emergency Request:" Update

See Update No. 2 on Page 2 about a federal judge in Texas setting a hearing date for Orly Taitz's "emergency request" aimed at border crossers. Update No. 1 is on the Department of Justice's response to Taitz.

Photo by Christopher Victorio/OC Weekly
Orly "I Get Allergic Smelling Hay" Taitz among her peeps.

ORIGINAL POST, AUG. 11, 9:05 A.M.: Texas likes to brag about wooing businesses away from California, so you're welcome, Rick Perry, for the Lone Star State's latest plucking from the Golden State: an Orly Taitz lawsuit.

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Dan and Diane Harkey, Financial and Political Power Couple, Keep OC Courts Humming

California 37th Senate District
Assemblywoman Diane Harkey appears lost in thought as state Sen. Mimi Walters speaks at the Laguna Niguel City Hall grand opening in October 2011.

If Orange County courts are hurting for operating funds as much as they claim to be, don't blame Dan and Diane Harkey, whose cases alone should help keep the lights on.

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Orange County Fairgrounds Preservationists Seek Jerry Brown Veto of Privatization Bill

Photo by Trevor Gaston/OC Weekly
The photo of the Orange County Fair is not vintage, the Polaroid camera that shot it this year is.

Remember all the holler when Arnold Schwarzenegger tried to sell the state-owned Orange County Fairgrounds to a private company? The Governator has since left Sacramento for what will surely be an Oscar-winning role in The Expendables XVII. But as the Orange County Fairgrounds Preservation Society reminds, the possibility of privatization remains.

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John Moorlach Believes OCTA Streetcar Project Will Leave Taxpayers with the Benz

Orange County Board of Supervisors
John Moorlach (right) and a big titan arum (a.k.a. "corpse flower" for the odor it emits) at Orange Coast College in June. The county supervisor thinks an OCTA streetcar project really stinks also.
"We're going to spend millions of dollars on 1,700 people? Why don't we just buy them all Mercedes-Benzes?"

-Orange County Supervisor John Moorlach, in his dual role as an Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) board member, ridiculing daily ridership projections of 1,700 people for a $238 million streetcar project for downtown Santa Ana that would link with a new Garden Grove transportation center.

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Bao Nguyen: I'm Running To Be Garden Grove's Mayor

Bao Q. Nguyen: Lets make Garden Grove better for residents
Bao Nguyen--one of Orange County's rising, young political stars--announced today that he is running for mayor of Garden Grove, his hometown city.

The intellectually-weighty, calm but irrepressible son of Vietnam War refugees, Nguyen--currently a trustee of the Garden Grove Unified School District's Board of Education--says he can help make serious improvements in city affairs for residents.

"I want to return focus back to our neighborhoods and businesses," the UC Irvine graduate said in a statement. "Our neighborhoods need attention as much as our tourism industry. We should be a city where our children will choose to stay, raise families and grow businesses."

On the school board, Nguyen's achievements have included improving learning standards for students in language skills as well as fighting homophobic plots to ban gay and lesbian Vietnamese American citizens from participating in the annual Tet parade in Little Saigon.

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Anaheim Man Sues John Kerry and Chuck Hagel For Aiding Israeli Bombing Of Gaza

Categories: Court, Politics

A Palestinian native who lives in Orange County is suing U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel to "cease all military aid to all Israelis and the Israeli government" and to deny Israeli military officers U.S. entry by declaring "them persona non grata."

Akram Abusharar, a licensed attorney in Michigan though he lives and works in Anaheim, paid a $400 fee and filed his lawsuit on Aug. 5 inside the Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse in Santa Ana.

According to Abusharar, Israeli military forces maliciously bombed his family's home in the Gaza Strip within the week while using "weapons provided" to the Israeli armed forces by Kerry and Hagel.

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Allan Mansoor, State Assemblyman, Tees Off on Caltrans' Slimy 405 Freeway Toll Lanes Plot

Categories: Politics

Photo by flickr user Judy Baxter
Who's ready to (tea) party?

I find myself in disagreement with Tea Party members and state Assemblyman Allan Mansoor (R-Costa Mesa) when it comes to many things. But the idea of Caltrans ignoring the wishes of nine Orange County cities along the 405 freeway corridor that are against the installation of toll lanes--funded with Measure M money voted in by Orange Countians for a list of transportation projects that included expansion of that very FREEway--makes me want to dress up like Paul Revere, lock arms with the politico I've dubbed Mansore and sue the beejesus outta the state for this rampant example of taxation without representation.

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Orange County Judge Faces Historic Decision in Prosecutorial Misconduct Case

Josue Rivas/OC Weekly
Scott Sanders argues win-at-all-cost prosecutors cheated his client, Scott Dekraai (far left)
A month ago, a three-justice panel at the California Court of Appeal based in Santa Ana observed that jail deputies at the Orange County Sheriff's Department (OCSD) "engaged in abhorrent conduct and were derelict in their duties."

The panel--composed of justices Kathleen O'Leary, William Rylaarsdam and Richard Fybel--noted the "extreme nature of [the deputies'] conduct" didn't just "violate the public trust and the spirit of what we expect from those entrusted to enforce the law," but was also unmatched in state legal annals.

That documented OCSD jail deputy corruption included destroying evidence; committing perjury; doctoring logs; unnecessarily firing weapons at inmates sitting on toilets; ignoring medical emergencies; bolstering the power of incarcerated organized-crime bosses; encouraging inmate-on-inmate violence; and spending work hours running private businesses, sleeping, surfing the Internet, watching TV or texting love interests.

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