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As a battle heats up in Irvine over the fate of the Orange County Great Park, City Councilman Larry Agran is taking aim at suggestions that the county could take control of the park, reminding the public that if it had been up to county leaders there would likely be an airport there today.

“Let’s remember, this is the same county that, when it had influence over that property, wanted to jam an airport down our throats,” Agran says in an exclusive interview with PBS SoCaL scheduled to air Thursday.

Agran’s remarks follow a warning to Irvine leaders issued by Orange County Supervisor Todd Spitzer during his swearing-in ceremony earlier this month that if they don’t make more progress on their vision for the Great Park, he will spearhead a ballot initiative aimed at transferring control of the park form Irvine to the county.

Spitzer reiterated his point at an Irvine City Council meeting this month, accusing park leaders of misspending money. Irvine City Council members and others have scoffed at Spitzer’s threat.

“I was very disheartened to see our very own supervisor, Todd Spitzer, come to the last City Council meeting [and] frankly make a fool of himself” by standing behind “his goofy idea,” Agran said in the interview.

Spitzer, he added, “needs to do his job and not engage in these kinds of self-serving fantasies about the county somehow delivering a Great Park. They had their chance, and they’re not to be given another chance.”

Meanwhile, Spitzer has said that he was the very official who cut the deal to give control of the land to Irvine and that Agran hasn’t made enough progress on what he sold the voters back in 2002.

The interview will air as part of a comprehensive story by reporter David Nazar covering several top issues, including the new majority on the Irvine City Council and the hundreds of millions spent so far on the Great Park.

The segment will appear on both of PBS SoCaL’s local news productions:

Real Orange – Thursday, Jan. 24, at 5 p.m.

SoCaL Insider – Friday, Jan. 25, at 7 p.m. (with extended interview excerpts)

You can reach Nick Gerda at, and follow him on Twitter: @nicholasgerda.

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