Irvine Council’s Longtime Power Broker Loses

Longtime Irvine power-broker Larry Agran lost his bid for reelection Tuesday, finishing fourth with 19.6 percent of votes and leaving the City Council firmly in control of the Republican council majority.

Agran led the former Democratic council majority for over a decade, but lost clout after the Republicans took seats in the 2012 general election. Since then, the Democratic faction has been on the defensive.

The Republican council majority immediately initiated audit that has helped generate headlines pointing out that Agran’s legacy project, the 1,300-acre Great Park, has been plagued with mismanagement. 

Meanwhile, incumbent Mayor Steven Choi won reelection with 45.3 percent of the vote. Mary Ann Gaido, who ran on a slate with Agran, came in second 43.1 percent of the vote. Republican Katherine Daigle arrived third with 11.7 percent.

Lynn Schott and incumbent Councilman Jeffrey Lalloway, both Republicans, won the two open council seats, securing a 4-1 Republican majority for the Republicans. Schott won 23 percent of the vote, and Lalloway took 22.9 percent.

Melissa Fox, also on the Agran slate, took third place with 22.5 percent of the vote. Evan Chemers was last place with 12 percent.

This year’s election was among the most vitriolic in recent memory, with candidates on both sides accusing each other of using deceptive campaign tactics.

Agran, Fox and Gaido ran on a ticket to slow the “uncontrolled growth” of new developments and projects in the city. 

They proposed a moratorium on new development, including a growth control ordinance to limit the number of building permits issued each year. 

The Republicans say the Agran slate has promised a development lobbyist that they would support new projects in a high-density zone called the Irvine Business Complex, in spite of their “slow growth” promise to voters.