Welcome to Tustin California It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood – Or – Is It?

Editorial –

In the New Economy – No One will Actually have a Legitimate Business or a Job –  Everybody will Just be Magically Rich – Scamming and Defrauding Each Other – with – Tech – Startup – Real Estate – Development – Fake and Fraudulent Charities – Non Profits – NGOs – Please Donate – Churches – Group Homes – Do-Gooding –  Cyber Begging – and Other Financial – Hocus Pocus.

Defying All Known Economic Fundamentals and Standards – Chasing After the Same Dwindling Supply of Real Money.

Driving Range Rovers – Bentleys and BMWs – Bribing Politicians and Officials – Flying Private Helicopters  – Wearing Rolex Watches – Living in Ten Thousand Dollar a Month Apartments – Condos and Houses.

Dining Lavishly – Going to Disneyland and Ducks Games – Living the Legacy Good Life – “All on Lines of Credit” and Somehow Magically Paying Taxes Too.

While City Hall – Congress – Educators – Reverends – Public Employees and Developers – Feed Each Other Grapes and Drink Up – Licking – Sucking and Masturbating Each Other – Always Using “Your” Money and Land .

Sexting KidsDriving Drunk or Stoned and Crashing Into TreesMolesting Police Explorers – in a Continuous – Corporate – Educator – Religious – Developer and Municipal  – Corruption and Credit Orgy – Group Fuck – and Circle Jerk.

Bank Robbers  – Don’t Call the Police – on Other Bank Robbers.

It’s a Dummied Down – No Child Left Behind – Everything’s OK – Anything Goes  – Walk Away – Bankruptcy – Eat Your Way to 600 Pounds – Dump Toxic Waste – Have it Your Way – it’s not Your Fault –  No Savings Account – Out of Gas – Got Knocked Up and Daddy’s Long Gone – Jesus Loves You – Go Fund Me Page – I’m Overextended and Can’t Make My Payments So I’ll Crap on the Neighbors and Rent Out Everything I Own – Illegal Garage Apartment – Airbnb – Sign and Drive – Project X Party – Society.

The New Economy is that – There is No Economy. –

They’re Smokin’ Vapin’ Drinkin’ Huffin’ and Sleepin’ – Library – Civic Center – and Tustin Area Businesses Overrun by Homeless Encampments.  Alcoholics – Vapeheads – Meatheads – Potheads – Tweakers – Huffers – Third Strikers – Losers – Just Like Some of Your Friends!

Former LAPD Officer Jonathan Hall was filmed teaching scuba, biking and lifting heavy equipment while on injury leave – The city paid him $97,000, tax-free, for his time off

Workers claim injuries all over their bodies for big payouts — but continue their active lives

After nearly two decades on the force, former LAPD Officer Jonathan Hall ended his career the way many veteran officers do these days, claiming job-related injuries across most of his body.

With the help of a boutique Van Nuys law firm that specializes in workers’ compensation cases for cops and firefighters, Hall filed claims saying he’d injured his knees, hips, heart (high blood pressure), back, right shoulder — even his right middle finger.

The ailments had existed for months, in some cases years, and had not previously prevented him from working, Hall said in a recent interview. But he was burned out, the target of an internal affairs investigation and desperate to avoid going back to the station.

“I just couldn’t put the uniform back on,” Hall said.

Hall’s timing raised suspicion, and he was soon videotaped leading scuba dives and lifting heavy equipment despite the alleged injuries.

But he’s far from alone in asserting that so many parts of his body had been injured on the job.

In fact, claims involving at least five injured body parts have become by far the most common in California, according to a Times data analysis of millions of workers’ compensation cases spanning nearly three decades.

In the past, injuries to a single body part — a knee, a shoulder, the lower back — were the most prevalent, the data show.

That changed abruptly in the mid-2000s when then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger pushed through legislation that drastically lowered the amount that can be paid out in benefits for each injured body part.

Lawyers for injured workers responded by simply increasing the number of body parts per claim, said Paul Young, an attorney who was a partner at two high-profile Los Angeles-area law firms that represent cops and firefighters. He was a co-founder of Straussner Sherman, the firm that represented Hall.

“That just changed the whole system,” said Young, who has since left Straussner Sherman and now defends employers in workers’ compensation cases.

Another attorney who worked at an L.A. law firm catering to injured cops and firefighters in the mid-2000s, who asked not to be named in order to avoid professional reprisal, put it this way: “An arm used to be worth $30,000, and now it’s $10,000. So let’s throw in heart problems and a bad knee to get it back to up $30,000.”
(Julian H. Lange / Los Angeles Times)

The strategy is common among veteran cops and firefighters who get up to a year off at their full salary, tax free, for each job-related injury their doctor diagnoses. Their employers also pay the associated medical bills and often a hefty cash settlement based on the extent and severity of the injuries, a cut of which goes to the injured officer’s attorney.

Multiple lawyers and patients involved with the workers’ compensation system described a similar process: An officer nearing the end of his career goes to an attorney’s office complaining about a sore shoulder and is asked how his knees feel, if his back aches or if he is under a lot of stress. He is then referred to a doctor with whom the attorney has a long-standing relationship.

After a few decades on the job, it’s not hard for a client to fill out what industry insiders call a “skin and contents” case, Young said. “I’m 52, and if somebody asked me what hurts I could start from the top and work my way to the bottom.”

In a recent interview, Schwarzenegger said he introduced the 2004 overhaul in response to a historic increase in medical costs and workers’ compensation insurance premiums in California, which had tripled since 1999.

But it was also personal. Schwarzenegger said he had been shocked at the level of abuse he encountered at the gym in Venice where he trained to be a bodybuilder. He’d see guys working out twice a day and ask what job allowed them to devote so much time to training. “They would say ‘workers’ comp’ without beating around the bush or offering any justification,” Schwarzenegger said. “It infuriated me.”

So in his first year as governor, Schwarzenegger replaced California’s unusually generous schedule of payments for injured body parts with nationally accepted standards set by the American Medical Assn.

Under those guidelines, fewer injured workers qualified for cash settlements, and those who did got about 60% less per body part, said Frank Neuhauser, a UC Berkeley researcher who studies the California workers’ compensation system.

“That was a really dramatic shift,” Neuhauser said.

The response from injured workers, their attorneys and doctors is clear in data from the state Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board, which hears cases involving disputed claims. In 2004, the board reviewed 16,000 claims with five or more body parts. By 2016, the number had more than doubled, to 38,000.

Thousands of such claims have been filed by participants in Los Angeles’ controversial Deferred Retirement Option Plan — or DROP, as it’s known — which allows veteran cops and firefighters to collect their salaries and pensions simultaneously for the last five years of their careers.

A Times investigation in February found that nearly half of the people who have joined the program since its inception in 2002 subsequently went out on injury leave — at nearly twice their normal pay — typically for bad backs, sore knees and other injuries that afflict aging bodies regardless of profession.

Their average absence was 10 months, but hundreds stayed out for more than a year, The Times found.

The program has paid out more than $1.6 billion in early pension checks to city cops and firefighters; the average participant who exited in 2016 walked away with an extra $434,000, The Times found.

Former Los Angeles Fire Capt. John Kitchens was paid more than $1.5 million while in DROP — $645,000 of that in extra pension payments — despite missing more than a year and a half on injury and sick leave, city payroll records show.

About halfway through the program, Kitchens claimed injuries to 13 body parts — including his neck, back, shoulder, knees and ankles — through “cumulative trauma” over the course of his career, city records show. That meant he did not have to provide specific dates on which the injuries occurred or describe particular incidents that caused them.

Job-induced cumulative trauma was also responsible for his high blood pressure, acid reflux, skin cancer, kidney cancer and sleep apnea, Kitchens claimed.

In addition to Kitchens’ paid time off and the overtime that the Fire Department had to pay another captain to fill his empty shifts, Kitchens’ claim cost the city $225,000 in direct payments to him, his attorney and medical providers, city records show.

Despite his health issues, Kitchens was able to travel to the Galapagos Islands in January 2013 to dive with hammerhead sharks, according to his Facebook page.

In the comments beneath a photo of him in scuba gear on a boat at Gordon Rocks — a bucket-list destination for many divers — his only complaint was that the photos he took of the massive sharks underwater turned out blurry.

“I understand, from an outside viewpoint, what this looks like,” Kitchens said in a recent interview. “But, honestly, I am in constant pain.”

After a bout with kidney cancer in 2010, Kitchens said a union representative told him he needed an attorney to help him file a workers’ compensation claim. Under state law, cancer is presumed to be job-related for police and firefighters.

Before filing the successful claim in April 2012, Kitchens said, his attorney told him to list all of his physical ailments, even the minor ones. “He told me this is the system,” Kitchens said.

“I don’t think it was in the sense of padding the claim, but in the sense of being thorough,” Kitchens said. “Although you’d have to ask the attorneys and the doctors what their motives were.”

Kitchens’ attorney, Roger Cognata, did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
 
LAFD Fire Inspector Glenn Martinez filed at least 11 workers’ compensation claims over his career. The last claimed injuries to 14 separate body parts. Swetha Kannan / Los Angeles Times

Glenn Martinez, a former building inspector for the Los Angeles Fire Department, had already filed at least nine workers’ compensation claims over his 30-year career when he joined DROP in 2014. Two years later, his supervisors accused him of falsifying documents and collecting overtime pay for after-hours safety inspections they said he never actually performed.

The sites of the alleged phony inspections included multiple buildings at USC, two buildings at Occidental College and a tiny Lincoln Heights elementary school that had, it turned out, been shut down two years earlier.

In October 2016, as the department investigated the allegations, Martinez and his attorney filed a tenth workers’ compensation claim — for stress.

After that, Martinez rarely showed up for his $230,000-a-year job, taking most of the time off sick, city payroll data show.

Then, in August 2017, while the investigation remained open, Martinez and his attorney claimed he had suffered cumulative trauma to his heart, neck, elbows, wrists, lower back, shoulders, knees, ankles, feet, lungs and skin, city records show.

The cumulative trauma was also responsible for his sleep disturbance, acid reflux and sexual dysfunction, according to the claim.

Martinez retired from the Fire Department in March after he had been scheduled for an internal disciplinary hearing to face the phony inspection allegations.

When two Times reporters recently knocked on the door of Martinez’s Whittier home — which had a BMW and a Mercedes-Benz parked in the circular driveway, each with an LAFD decal in the rear window — a fit, tanned man in his late 50s who bore a striking resemblance to photographs of the former fire inspector answered, but he claimed he was not Glenn Martinez.

Asked about the allegedly falsified safety inspections, he said, “That’s already been out there”, referring to a 2016 KCBS report in which Martinez was confronted on camera and asked about the inspections. He didn’t answer then, either.

Asked about the workers’ compensation claim with 14 injured body parts, he said, “That’s inaccurate,” then shut the door. Martinez did not respond to several follow-up voice messages requesting more information.

Martinez’s attorney, Aaron Straussner of Straussner Sherman, declined to comment.

Hall, the former officer who was also represented by Straussner Sherman, said in a recent interview that he filed his injury claims as a “last-ditch effort” to get out of going into work at the Los Angeles Police Department in 2012.

Two years earlier, he and his wife had purchased a small scuba shop at the foot of the Belmont Pier in Long Beach, a short distance from their house.

After running afoul of a supervisor at the LAPD — who launched an internal affairs investigation accusing Hall of trying to dissuade other vendors so his new business could win a contract to sell dive equipment to the department — Hall said he couldn’t face returning to work.

So he requested an unpaid leave of absence to upgrade his scuba instructor’s certification. When the department denied that request, Hall filed the workers’ compensation claims.

Hall collected more than $97,000 in tax-free salary while he was on leave to recover from his long list of injuries, payroll records show.

During that paid time off, undercover LAPD officers filmed him teaching scuba lessons at his shop, Deep Blue Scuba & Swim Center.

In a subsequent deposition, Hall admitted to diving while on leave but claimed he had not taken paying students into the ocean or dived off a boat. The undercover video clearly showed him doing both of those things. Hall was fired and convicted of a misdemeanor for lying during the deposition.

As for his injuries, Hall said that the high blood pressure was serious and that his shoulder “hurt terribly during those dives,” although his body language in the videos suggests no obvious distress.

The other injuries, though confirmed by his doctors, were less debilitating, Hall said.

Hall, too, said it was a union representative who told him he needed to hire an attorney to help him file the workers’ compensation claims.

The network of attorneys and their hand-picked physicians who ushered him through the process was run like an assembly line and patronized by city workers of all stripes, Hall said: firemen, police officers, trash haulers.

His attorney, Julie Sherman of Straussner Sherman, referred him to several doctors with the assurance that they would “support your claim,” Hall said.

Sherman declined to comment.

There’s nothing unusual about what he did, Hall said, and he knows many other officers who have engaged in more strenuous physical activity while out with injuries.

He’s willing to speak out about the workers’ compensation abuse because he has nothing left to lose, Hall said. Other cops and firefighters who have been through the system won’t talk, he said, because doing so would “screw over a lot of their friends. It’s corrupt, and a lot of people do it.”

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-adv-skin-and-contents-20180715-story.html

Garcia-Roberts is a former Times staff writer.

SoCal Edison Rolls Out New Electricity Rates Based On “Time Of Use” – Can You Say Heat Wave? Call SCE and Tell ‘Em to Pick-up Your Smart Meter and Recycle It – Opt Out Today!

Editorial –

At the Mayor’s House We Opted Out of the Smart Meter Years Ago – Never Got One – We Paid $75.00 One Time and $10.00 a Month for 3 Years – We Make SCE Read Our Dumb Meter Every 2 Months – SCE Never Knows “When” We Use Electricity – Just How Much We Use  – We’re All Paid Up – So Bring on the Higher Surge Pricing During Heat Waves – It’s So Cool at Our House that You Might Need a Sweater.

Plus – Some “Chump” in a Cubicle at SCE – or a Hacker from Russia or India – “Can’t” Turn Off Our Electricity – because we have a “Dumb” Meter.

Someone Once Said – “Let the Environmentalists and Tree Huggers Freeze to Death in the Dark. This Time it’s All About Money!

Billboards across the Southland are now advertising electricity supply company Southern California Edison’s new rate plans, which include three “time-of-use” rate options that charge consumers different rates based on what time of the day they use the most electricity.

The switch to time-of-use rates comes after the California Public Utilities Commission directed the state’s major utilities companies to default their customers to time-of-use plans by 2020.

The goal behind implementing the time-of-use plans is to lessen the strain on the electrical grid during its peak hours, when use of renewable energy is at its highest. This should help the grid adjust later in the day, when it switches to more conventional sources such as natural gas.

Kari Gardner, Senior Manager of Consumer Affairs at Edison, explained that “there are a variety of different residential TUO plans that are available for our customers, so what that means is for time of use rate plans it offers different pricing during different times of day, the week, and the season. So your bill will be determined by both when you use electricity and how much you use.”

The times of the day where electricity will cost the most – known as “on-peak hours” – will be either noon to six p.m. or two to 8 p.m., depending on the plan that customers choose. That doesn’t include weekends, which are considered “off-peak” hours.

According to Gardner, “For customers who can adjust their schedules, if you will, to where perhaps during the peak periods they’re not using as much electricity, they would maybe want to consider a plan like that.”

If you’re an Edison customer, switching over to time-of-use plans is voluntary for now – but Gardner says some customers can already benefit from them.

“They could change nothing and already benefit on one of these plans or they could also make minor adjustments that might also move them to where they may benefit monetarily and from a consumption perspective under these plans.

While time-of-use plans can benefit some customers, consumer advocates warn it could raise rates for others. A recent paper co-authored by representatives from groups such as Utility Dive and the Public Interest Research Group argued that time of-use-rates “can have adverse impacts on consumers, especially on those who may have less ability to shift their usage to capture the benefits of TOU pricing.”

These plans have also been criticized for potentially devaluing solar energy, which could make it harder for the state to meet its goal of having half of its electricity come from renewable sources by 2030. The San Francisco-based Environmental Defense Fund filed a protest saying the time-of-use plans “potentially creates an economic disincentive for utilizing renewable generation capacity.”

But Gardner says that SoCal Edison is fully supportive of solar. In 2016, the company delivered more solar energy to its customers than any other utility in the nation. She also pointed out that time of use plans can offer an economic advantage to consumers with solar installations.

“Some of the benefits that we do see our solar customers experiencing is they are typically generating during the peak periods.”

It’s a benefit because customers who generate excess solar can sell it back at retail value, which is higher during on-peak times.

Gardner says that Edison customers can visit SoCal Edison’s website to use their rate comparison tool to find out how time-of-use rates could affect them.

http://www.kvcrnews.org/post/socal-edison-rolls-out-new-electricity-rates-based-time-use

Call SCE and Tell ‘Em to Pick-up Your Smart Meter and Recycle It!
Who Can Opt Out
According to the California Public Utility Commission(CPUC), any residential SCE, PG&E or SDG&E customer may “Opt Out” of their flawed Smart Meter program. The “customer of record” (i.e., your name is on the bill) is the party allowed to Opt Out.
http://stopocsmartmeters.com/opt-out.html

California judge backs blocking utility’s TOU rates plan
https://pv-magazine-usa.com/2017/07/25/california-judge-backs-blocking-utilitys-tou-rates-plan/

Veterans Cemetery Location in Irvine Still Unclear – At least 12 different people yelled “recall!” and a man screamed, “you’re crooked!”

Editorial –

City Hall and the Irvine Company have a Problem – No More Brick and Mortar Retail Stores – So No Sales Tax Revenues – this Leaves Food and Hotels – the Irvine Company’s Rent is So High that the Food Guys have to Charge $55.00 for a Cheeseburger and No One’s Buyin’ – and the OC and Especially Irvine Aren’t Destinations for Anyone – So there’s No Demand for Hotels – Good Luck.

There Won’t be a Veterans Cemetery in Irvine because there’s No Chinese Money or Feng Shui in Dead American War Veterans – City Hall and FivePoint can’t Figure Out How to Monetize Them.

So Screw the Veterans We’ll Pimp Out that Land to Emile Haddad at FivePoint – for His Development Orgy – Get More Traffic – Pat Ourselves on the Back and Wait for the Envelope.

The location of Orange County’s first veterans cemetery remains unclear after the Irvine City Council directed staff to identify a site in or around the Great Park and put the project through the planning process.

Councilman Jeff Lalloway brought a motion Tuesday night to reinstate original cemetery site near the heart of the former El Toro Marine Corps Air Station, adjacent to the Great Park. But, before it could go to a vote, Mayor Don Wagner introduced a substitute motion that directs different commissions and city staff to start studying the original site and explore other city-owned land.

“Give me a site,” Wagner told Voice of OC after the meeting. “You tell me where it can be … is it a golf course (that’s slated to be built in the Great Park)? Is it the ARDA land (original site)? I don’t think it will be the ARDA land though.”

Wagner, along with Mayor Pro Tem Christina Shea and Councilwoman Melissa Fox voted for the substitute motion and said Lalloway’s funding source isn’t sustainable. The money Lalloway sought was from the Great Park development fund — separate from the general fund.

Councilwoman Lynn Schott and Lalloway dissented. Immediately following the vote, many people in the audience booed and jeered the council.

At least 12 different people yelled “recall!” and a man screamed, “you’re crooked!”

Lalloway called for using money from the Great Park development fund — at least $40 million of it — to demolish dilapidated buildings and other structures on the original site and prepare it for construction. The land still has taxiways, hangars, jet-testing buildings, an active Federal Aviation Administration antenna array and other miscellaneous buildings on it.

Wagner said Lalloway’s motion was on the right track, but needed to follow the city’s planning process.

“Lalloway’s motion was around half of what needed to be done — it needed to be fleshed out,” Wagner said.

During the meeting, Lalloway said Wagner’s motion, which Wagner passed paper copies of to the council and the city clerk, will “kill” the veterans cemetery in the city.

“And what this is, what I’m handed — this motion — this is what you do when you want to kill something,” Lalloway said.

The Council’s move comes two weeks after the Orange County Board of Supervisors directed staff to begin studying roughly 280 acres of county-owned land for a veterans cemetery in Anaheim Hills.

During the meeting, Shea said much of the Great Park money, which stems from a settlement with the state over the now-defunct Redevelopment Agency funds, is tied to other commitments.

“We have these agreements with our development partner that we have to be committed to building the Great Park (with the fund),” Shea said.

Fox said Lalloway’s motion would halt the cemetery.

“However, we have a lot of undeveloped land. We have the entirety of the (Great) Park. We have what I heard tonight is a golf course. We have the entire cultural terrace to plan,” Fox said. “We have over 600 unplanned acres. What we cannot do is move forward in a fashion that kills this cemetery.”

The city was going to swap the original 125-acre original site for developer FivePoint Holdings-owned agricultural 125-acre land next to the 5 and 405 interchange on Bake Parkway. Irvine voters rejected the land swap June 5 by a margin of over 25 points.

Lalloway called the vote a “landslide.”

“The ‘No’ on the land swap won 63 to 37 (percentage points). I’ve been around politics for quite some time … I’ve never seen anything like it,” Lalloway said.

A state Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet) 2016 site study estimated the price tag for the first phase the cemetery at $77.3 million — demolition and site preparation make up the bulk of the cost.

According to the CalVet study, the fully built-out cemetery would be home to over 210,000 graves, with most of them slated for cremated remains, or “cremains.” The $77.3 million first phase would provide 5,000 graves for cremains, 3,250 of which would be columbarium spots. CalVet estimated the cemetery would serve veterans’ burial needs for 100 years.

The Bake Parkway land, which is being used as strawberry fields, was cheaper to build on, according to a state Department of General Services (DGS) June 2018 preliminary report. It estimated the price tag for the first phase at $38.6 million.

Like the original site, the DGS study conducted at the strawberry fields was for 5,000 graves with the same ratio of in-ground and columbarium spots for cremains.

If the swap had passed, FivePoint pledged $10 million for the strawberry fields site.

Shortly after last month’s election, Nick Berardino, former general manager of the Orange County Employees Association, asked Supervisor Todd Spitzer to consider using land off the 91 freeway and the 241 toll road in Anaheim Hills for a veterans cemetery.

Berardino, a combat Marine in the Vietnam War, also chairs the Veterans Alliance of Orange County (VALOR). The alliance supported the land swap in Irvine and actively campaigned for “Yes on Measure B.”

The Board of Supervisors directed county staff to start studying the site June 26, after veterans from VALOR spoke in favor of the Anaheim Hills site during public comment. Staff is scheduled to report back to supervisors on or before Aug. 14.

During his opening remarks, Lalloway warned against the Anaheim Hills site.

“Remember, the county site is not happening … don’t fall for that red herring — the county is not going to save you,” Lalloway said, citing delays due to studies, politics, legislation and funding. “When has the county saved anybody?”

Roughly 50 people spoke at the City Council’s rowdy Tuesday meeting. The majority, which included some Irvine veterans, were in favor of Lalloway’s plan to go with original site.

A minority, including veterans, were in favor of Spitzer’s proposed site in Anaheim Hills or the strawberry fields.

When someone from the minority spoke, boos and jeers erupted from the audience.

Berardino said to let the county move forward on the Anaheim Hills site and leveled his ire at Lalloway.

“This is cheap politics. This is sewer politics,” Berardino said. “That’s what this is about … I don’t have beef with Jeff (Lalloway), he’s playing politics.”

Lalloway shook his head at Berardino’s comment.

“Yes you are,” Berardino said. He later yelled at the council, “stand up to that!”

Many people booed Berardino during and immediately after his comments.

“I think this is the right thing to do contrary to what Nick Berardino said about some slick political play … this is the right thing for our veterans,” Lalloway later said.

Former Mayor Larry Agran, who helped get the land swap question on the ballot, told the council to stop the delaying.

“No more political detours, no more development schemes, no more delays. Build the Great Park Veterans Cemetery now, starting tonight. Adopt Council Member Lalloway’s Motion,” Agran said.

At one point, Shea stepped out of the chamber while someone was speaking during public comment, prompting heckles and jeers from the audience when she returned.

The City Council decided to go with a dual track in April 2017: one option was the original site, which was brought forward by Lalloway and the other option was the land swap with developer FivePoint Holdings, brought by Shea.

“I worked with the veterans, we found a land swap. This was not FivePoints’ idea, it was our proposal,” Shea said during council deliberations, followed by hisses and laughter from the audience. “You can laugh and snicker if you want, but that’s what it was.”

During his visit May 2017 when he toured both sites, Gov. Jerry Brown said the location would be the Council’s choice and the state “would back them up.”

In a split vote June 2017, the five-member council opted to go for the land swap. Lalloway and Schott dissented. Fox was the swing vote who proposed moving forward on both options at the April 2017 meeting.

During public comment, many people accused Wagner, Shea and Fox of selling out to FivePoints for the land swap.

“The answer rife in this audience is of course we were bought off,” Wagner said during the meeting. “Maybe the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars and all the other groups that sent letters of support (for the land swap) were bought off as well. I find that idea offensive and laughable.”

Wagner said the current council hasn’t approved a FivePoint project, or any other housing development except for student housing near the UCI campus.

After the second reading of a zoning ordinance required for the land swap, Irvine resident and U.S. Army veteran Ed Pope, along with Agran, began a petition campaign in October to stop the land swap. Pope and Agran, who was in the Air Force Reserve, turned approximately 18,500 petition signatures to the city clerk in November, well past the roughly 12,000 required amount.

Leading up to the June 5 primary election, proponents of the strawberry fields and supporters of the original site waged battles against each other through social media postings and email blasts. Both sides accused each other of distributing misleading information and the ballot question divided the council — Shea and Fox actively campaigned for the “yes” vote through social media, while Schott and Lalloway criticized them for attempting to sway people’s votes.

Veterans have been fighting to get a cemetery for years in Orange County. Currently the closest veterans cemeteries that aren’t full are in San Diego and Riverside counties.

Although the land swap fight is over in Irvine, the battles surrounding the veterans cemetery haven’t stopped.

On Monday, Fox filed a complaint against resident Harvey Liss to the District Attorney’s office over perceived threats in an attempt to get her to vote for Lalloway’s plan.

In a July 2 email, Liss told Fox she should vote for Lalloway’s plan or could face a recall election.

Liss said he wanted her to vote “for the right thing” and said his mention of recall in the email shouldn’t be considered a threat.

“Liss’s threat is a misuse of the political system. It is to the people of Irvine that I owe my best efforts, my best judgment, my faithfulness, and my sole allegiance. I will not be bullied, threatened, or extorted into voting against what I believe to be the best interests of the City of Irvine,” Fox said in a July 9 news release.

He said the threat “is nonsense — they (the City Council) can do whatever they want.” Liss said he isn’t the only one talking about a recall. “A lot of people have asked for a recall.”

Spencer Custodio is a Voice of OC reporter who covers south Orange County and Fullerton. You can reach him at scustodio@voiceofoc.org. Follow on Twitter @SpencerCustodio

Brandon Pho is a Voice of OC intern. You can reach him at bpho@voiceofoc.org

https://voiceofoc.org/2018/07/veterans-cemetery-location-in-irvine-still-unclear/