2016 Interview of former Councilmember Jeff Lalloway on Great Park Museums, Amphitheatre, AQMD, Audit, Great Park Board, and More!

Watch the interview hERE

It’s #TBT!

Last week we shared former Mayor Beth Krom’s interview with Rick Reiff. To provide another perspective, here is former Councilmember Jeff Lalloway’s 2016 Inside OC interview who shared his thoughts on the Great Park including museums, the Great Park audit, along with Southern California Air Quality Management District (AQMD). Fivepoint, the developer for the Great Park, was a sponsor for this PBS program.

Here are some excerpts:

“Couple years ago we approved a major plan to develop 688 acres and that is going to be opening, start to open part of it, in the fall. Eventually when it’s completed, 24 soccer fields, 25 tennis courts, 12 baseball and softball fields for kids, we’re going to have some mountain bike trails, some wooded areas for hiking — there’s going to be a whole lot of different things in there. The most exciting thing, frankly, for me because I’m a hockey fan, is the fact that the Ducks are going to build 4 ice rinks at the Great Park, one of which will be their practice facility.”

“FivePoint Communities is going to be developing homes around the Great Park, that was always the plan. And with that there’s commercial and there’s going to be retail which will be opening very soon, so it’s going to be basically another community in the city of Irvine. We have these hubs and spokes basically that the Irvine Company has built for years, beautiful communities, and we’re going to have another one at the Great Park. 


Reiff: There had been a lot of talk one time about museums and things like that. Is that ever going to happen?

Lalloway: Yes. We’re planning that right now, that’s the next phase which is the last 500 acres of the Park. We’re planning what it should be and what it will be. Part of it will be a museum. Part of it will be an amphitheater. As you may know the Verizon Amphitheatre will be closing I believe next year. We want to transition it over to the Great Park with a brand new, state of the art facility so there’s a lot of things on the table. We have to get past, frankly, what the county is doing. The County of Orange is holding up many of our plans for developing further. We have difficulty developing the amphitheater for example because the county wants to develop on the 100 acres that they own at the Great Park. The development that I compare – the city of Manhattan on 100 acres. 22000 units, million square feet of commercial. It would be packed. And it prevents us from moving forward with planning the amphitheater, specifically, at the Great Park.

“I will suggest to you that the park should be that, a park, and not a place where residential is built. That was always the idea when El Toro was closed, that it would be a park, that’s what people voted on, and not to be a residential community right on top of, by the county.”

(5:09) Discussion of the Great Park audit

“All of us on the City Council, we heard from our constituents, “where did the money go?” “How do you spend $250 million and have what we have out there? Where did it go?” And we definitively told the public through the audit where that money went. It was poorly spent, it was mismanaged. Was any of it stolen? No. It’s all there. But it was through bad decisions made.”

[Correction] Reiff made the following misstatement:

“There were people from outside of Irvine who sat on the Board. The aforementioned Larry Agran decided that it should be brought within the city so only the Council control it.” 

However, Larry Agran and Beth Krom were the two Councilmembers who did not want to remove the four at-large Great Park Board members. Here is the 2013 vote:

(11:47) Discussion of the South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD)

Listening to this 2016 interview and then fast-forwarding to present day, what are your thoughts?