Opinion: Carroll Touts Irvine’s Green Credentials After Years of Opposing Environmental Efforts

Irvine City Councilmember Mike Carroll appears to be taking credit for Irvine’s sound environmental policies despite a history of actively working against them.  Carroll submitted a memo to agendize a vote for the City to pursue Clean California designation to be voted on at this Tuesday’s February 27 City Council meeting.

Clean California is a CalTrans local grant program aimed at reducing the amount of waste and debris in public spaces and enhancing, rehabilitating, restoring, or installing measures to beautify and improve public spaces, improve environmental impacts, and mitigate the urban heat island effect.

According to Carroll’s memo, the Clean California Community designation program was launched “to recognize cities for staying clean and beautiful, and we have the opportunity to be in the initial group of cities to be designated. Given our current efforts locally, Irvine is in complete alignment with the goals of this program. Through the Clean California initiative, cities can earn the Clean California Community designation by pledging to advance programs that further local beautification and litter removal efforts, many activities we currently engage in…If we are able to achieve 10 of the 15 identified criteria within the next year, we earn the State designation of being an official Clean California Community.”

Cities that achieve this status will receive a portion of grant money for these green projects. With its history of environmental achievements, Irvine figures to be a strong candidate city for the Clean California designation.

Read: Celebrating Irvine’s Environmental Achievements

Councilmember Mike Carroll’s Anti-Climate Voting Record

It is shamelessly hypocritical for Councilmember Carroll to tout Irvine’s environmental accomplishments after opposing nearly all such efforts in Irvine. Proposing entry into Clean California designation is a revisionist attempt by Carroll to greenwash his resume. Here are some examples of Carroll attempting to stop environmental progress in Irvine:

  • Carroll was the lone vote against creating the Climate Action Plan for Irvine and only Councilmember to provide no comment at the meeting.
  • Carroll was completely against the plastics and non-compostable ban, even in the watered-down iteration of the proposed ordinance that was supported by the rest of the Council.
  • While acting as Chair of the Orange County Power Authority (OCPA), the clean energy organization incurred over $7 million in penalties. After stepping down from the OCPA, he advocated for and was among a minority dissenting vote to remove Irvine from the program. OCPA is now currently thriving after his departure. 
  • Carroll was the lone vote against an environmentally progressive phased ban on gas powered lawn equipment.
  • Carroll was absent from the otherwise unanimous City Council meeting vote on building electrification to stop the expansion of fossil fuels in new buildings. Since the vote, he has spoken out against building electrification. 
  • Carroll undermined resident’s concerns about pollution coming from All American Asphalt plant, and refused to act against the plant for years.  
  • Carroll was the only Councilmember critical of Irvine’s upcoming open streets bicycle event which promotes environmental objectives and dissuades car dependency. Watch meeting video starting at 4:22:50. 

Let us hope Irvine achieves the Clean California designation while remembering those who helped us get there — and those who did not.


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