Has Irvine Councilman Larry Agran lost his mojo? You have to wonder about that as it has been nothing but bad news for the OC Democratic Party’s Irvine powerbroker since his coalition lost control of the Irvine City Council in 2012.
Agran’s latest gaffe is mind-blowing. Here is how the Los Angeles Times explained his gigantic faux pas:
Of all the places in the world, why did Larry Agran have to choose Vietnam?
That’s what local Vietnamese Americans wondered after learning the longtime Irvine councilman hoped to forge a relationship between the master-planned community and Nha Trang, a south coastal city in Vietnam known for its beaches and scuba diving.
To many who fled the country after it fell to communist forces, Agran’s proposal seemed designed to cause hurt and hundreds indicated they planned to confront Agran on Tuesday when he was expected to roll out his “friendship city” proposal.
But in the face of the growing uproar, Agran withdrew his plan, saying he was bowing to the concerns of “a good many people.”
The OC Register piled on Agran too:
Any official recognition of Vietnam’s ruling Communist party is considered offensive to Vietnamese Americans, said Van Tran, a Newport Beach attorney and once the state’s highest-ranking Vietnamese elected official when he served in the Assembly. He still plans to attend Tuesday’s meeting and expects hundreds to join him.
“This issue is just very emotional,” he said.
April is considered to be a month of grieving because South Vietnam fell to the Communist party in April 1975, he said.
“We call it Black April,” he said. “For something like this to occur right in the heart of Orange County, it’s really adding insult to injury.”
Making a mistake like this in an election year could prove costly for Agran, who is trying to retake the Irvine City Council in November. He has recruited local attorney Melissa Fox, a fellow Democrat, to join his Council slate. Now you can bet that the OC Vietnamese American community will be funneling thousands of dollars in campaign contributions to Agran’s Republican enemies, who I expect will continue to hold the Irvine Council majority.
Agran also wants to befriend the cities of Karachi, Pakistan, and Baoji, China. Are you kidding me? Didn’t Pakistan sell nuclear secrets to Iran? And while China is one of our major trade partners they, like Vietnam, are not exactly champions of human rights. Maybe Agran admires how they control their respective populations? He must rue the fact that he has clearly lost control of the City of Irvine – and that is good news for all concerned.