While the election is still several weeks away, the race for the next chair of the Democratic Party of Orange County comes down to Union leader Ada Briceno against former Irvine councilmember Beth Krom (barring any late arriving candidates). Both women are good friends so I don’t think either will speak ill of the other as they campaign (I certainly hope not), and surrogates who do the trash talking about either one should be considered huge pendejos.
I’ve been pitched a couple of posts about how Krom’s connection with former council colleague Larry Agran may hurt her. Some have suggested she is an “Agran puppet.” This from Democrats. This is shameful and wrong.
I’ve known Krom, Agran and Sukhee Kang for the better part of 15 years. Together, they passed some of the most progressive laws of any city in Orange County long before the 2018 election. Thanks to the efforts of Krom and Agran, there’s no commercial airport in the heart of Orange County. While the three of them often voted together on progressive policy issues (A Living Wage law for example years ahead of Measure L in Anaheim), the notion that any one of them was a puppet to any other is wrong. Agran, Krom and Kang are all fiercely independent, strong willed sometimes stubborn civic leaders.
I saw a number of “AgranAudit” signs making their way across South Irvine during the election which reminds me of MAGA hats. This audit and this website are dated and inaccurate relics of elections gone by.
The initial findings of the “forensic audit” were withdrawn by the auditing firm but published for political reasons which cost Agran his seat on the city council. The auditor, HSNO, is fighting to save its license as a result of this debacle. Every vote to spend money on the project was done so by the Great Park Board. The amount of money opponents claim was wasted (ranging form $180 million to $250 million) happened when the new Republican council majority signed over the Master plan of the Great Park to FivePoint. The plans changed dramatically.
Critics like to point to the no-bid PR contract that was given to the same firm that defeated the airport in the first place, and their work to bring the Solar Decathlon to Irvine — twice — generated $3 of revenue for every $1 spent by the city — something known as good ROI. And that was in addition to the work done by the firm in the initial stages of the park. What we have today is a largely Pay-for-Play park thanks to FivePoint.
Agran continues to be the boogeyman Irvine Republicans and rich developers use in mail to defeat progressive candidates in every election. To hear certain Democrats try to negatively associate Agran to harm Krom’s candidacy is loathsome.
If there’s still some underlying anger by the party over the failed Measure B on the landswap for the Veteran’s cemetery, blame Irvine voters for that, not Agran and not Krom. Irvine voters went overwhelmingly for a No on B despite being outspent by considerable amounts by developers that Krom does not trust. Party officials only listened to one Central Committee member from Irvine when the vote to back Measure B was cast; the rest were against that referendum.
Krom’s accomplishments as a longtime elected official are many. Briceno’s accomplishments as a Union leader are impressive. For Democratic Party Central Committee members, time to make your lists of positive and negatives for each person.