Republican voice advocates Great Park transparency

IRVINE — The City Council's new kid on the block, Jeffrey Lalloway, said he plans to advocate for government transparency and cost cutting.

"I want to see good, accountable, transparent government, and if the majority believes in the same things I do, then I'm happy to support them," Lalloway said. "If they fail to deliver on those goals, then I will oppose them in every way I can."

At the top of that list is a more open process regarding the Great Park, he said.

Lalloway in October had criticized an audit of a $10-million contact between the Great Park Corp. and the Great Park Design Studio as having instances of double billings, blank time sheets and shredded documents.

The doesn't mean he opposes the ambitious project, which has been slowed by what critics call a mismanagement of funds, legal problems and other delays.

"I want to see the park built," Lalloway said. "I am not a person who wants to see an airport. Despite the allegations of my opponent (Councilman Larry Agran), I want to see the park built so that the families of Irvine, the citizens, can have a place to call our own that actually is a great park."

With Councilwoman Christina Shea termed out, many voters were worried that Shea's often vocal opposition in matters relating to the need for Great Park transparency would be lost.

However, describing himself as an Irish kid from New Jersey, Lalloway said he can be expected to be seen sticking to his principles.

Like the official he replaces, Shea, Lalloway is a Republican. But with the reelection to the other open seats on the council going to Agran, a Democrat, the council divide of three Democrats to two Republicans will remain.

"My real goal is to win back the majority on City Council, and to do that, we need to bring together all of the disparate Republican groups in Irvine," Lalloway, 48, said.

Irvine council seats are non-partisan, but members sometimes lock horns along party lines.

Lalloway, a family law attorney, pulled in 22.5% of the vote. Agran did slightly better with 23.5%.

The election results may have been surprising to some after a few rough turns in the final weeks of the campaign.

On Oct. 25, Shea fired Lalloway as vice chairman of Irvine's Finance Committee, alleging poor attendance at meetings. She also criticized political mailers that identified Lalloway as the only candidate endorsed by the Republican Party.

Lalloway disputed Shea's claims, saying he attended all the meetings and mailers were sent out to homes before candidate Lynn Schott announced her GOP endorsement.

Opponents also criticized Lalloway for what they termed $62,000 in outstanding student loan debt.

Lalloway, who has a bachelor's from Rutgers and a law degree from Villanova, is current on the loans and has been for several years, he said.

Despite the attacks, Lalloway said that he didn't hold any grudges and acknowledged Shea, an Irvine council veteran, for her valuable contributions.

A political newcomer, Lalloway said the decision to run for office came largely out of concern for his daughters, ages 3 and 7, and a desire to keep Irvine's schools great and the parks safe.

"On election day, November 2008, I saw that my federal government, my state government and my local government were controlled by a group of folks that did not share the same governing philosophies that I did," Lalloway said of President Obama's election. "…I woke up, and I had little girls and a different stake in the community. I want to give my daughters a better world than my parent gave to me."

Though the council does not govern the school district, schools will continue to be one of his top priorities, Lalloway said.

"The Irvine schools are among the top in nation academically," he said. "Their athletic programs are excellent, and the kids will get a great education, and I want to maintain that position as an excellent school."

Lalloway will be officially sworn in at the Dec. 14 City Council meeting.

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