Lynn Schott was 24 minutes late to the special city council meeting on what she called “the biggest land transaction in the city’s history.” She sat down just as the other council members had finished their opening statements, complaining she’d had to re-arrange her schedule, saying “I’m still wondering why we need to be here.”
It was a refrain she kept repeating. “What’s the hurry?” Why are we here?” What’s the rush?”
The veterans, who aren’t getting any younger and overwhelmingly favor the strawberry fields site, have been in a rush for a long time.
Even though the land-swap has been discussed and considered and argued over for many, many months, Schott complained she was being asked to make a “last minute decision…without the proper information.”
“This is nothing but a real estate business deal,” she huffed.
“And it has very little to do with providing a cemetery for the veterans,” Schott continued illogically, oblivious she was at a council meeting where the only agenda item was entirely about providing a cemetery for the veterans.
Mayor Don Wagner noted that all councilmembers had plenty of time to get up to speed on the matter and reminded her that the council was not voting on a real estate transaction but merely designating the strawberry fields as the OC Veterans Cemetery site, just as they had previously done for the ARDA site.
It bothered Schott that somehow, some way, the developer FivePoint might benefit from this land exchange, noting that the ARDA site is “very valuable for building houses.” Obviously, she’s not familiar with the idea of a win-win situation.
In Schott’s calculations, the possibility that FivePoint might derive some benefit totally overshadows the obvious advantages of the strawberry fields over the ARDA site for a veterans cemetery. As Councilmember Melissa Fox explained in her opening remarks, developing the ARDA site will require 30-plus months of remediation and 40-plus months of ground prep before they can even begin construction of the cemetery.
But the thought that a developer might benefit from an agreement that saves taxpayers $80 million and delivers the OC Veterans Cemetery much faster so deeply disturbs Schott that she saddled up with Larry Agran and his followers. Larry Agran has a well-established record of disregard for taxpayer money. But Schott fancies herself a Tea Party fiscal hawk.
“I do want to help facilitate the building of cemetery,” Schott asserted, and a short while later she voted against an action that would facilitate the Veterans Cemetery much more quickly and $80 million cheaper.
At least she made Larry Agran happy. The same Larry Agran who squandered $250 million on Great Park planning and all Irvine got was a balloon that FivePoint paid for.