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Larry Agran, Transparent Practice Locks, and Irvine Politics

September 10, 2015 Eugene Song

Now I know what you must think, what does Larry Agran the former mayor of Irvine have to do with transparent locks, and locksmiths in general. Actually, I don't really know what you think, but I thought it was a fairly acceptable way to introduce the topic. The connection however is more thoroughly thought out then my introduction. I believe that it is time for less partisan politics, more transparency in politics, and real time financial accountability.

Transparent Practice Locks

One of the interesting things about the locksmith world is the cat and mouse battle between developing the uncrackable lock, and finding a way to crack the uncrackable lock. It's actually quite interesting because it appeals to two aspects of our psychology, one to protect our property, and the other to have access to the concealed. It appeals to people so much there are people who practice lock picking as a hobby!

The transparent lock was made so that hobbyists could practice lock picking. The plastic casing that encloses the lock is translucent, so that you can see all the pins and tumblers that make up the locking mechanism. Being able to see if the pins are aligning properly to the sheer line make the process of picking locks much easier, and is a great practice step to mastering the technique.

What does this have to do with Larry Agran and Politics in Irvine?

Don't worry I'm getting there. First let me explain the story of Larry Agran and the Great Park Boondoggle. Agran was the mayor of Irvine and he spearheaded a project to build a gigantic park in Irvine that was supposed to be larger than Central Park in New York. The scale of the park was so large that the estimated budget was in excess of $1 billion. Unfortunately for everyone, $200 million was spent and the park was never finished. What happened to the money? Why wasn't the park built?

There have been accusations that a lot of the money was going toward consultants that had close political ties to Agran, and that had probably helped Agran finance his political campaigns. Agran has denied subsequent audits of the money spent and refused to answer any questions regarding his receiving campaign money from the consultants that were hired for the park money. Oh boy...

The Connection

So here is my point, politics and especially government spending should be more like the transparent practice lock. If the public were allowed to access the government budget in real time, the way that one can take a look at their own bank account (why shouldn't we be able to see where our tax dollars go) than these egregious fiascos would either be spotted right away or even prevented altogether.

The ambiguity of the financial situation inflames partisan politics as well. Irvine, CA is a pretty even state as far as registered democrats and republicans go.

District Registration by Party

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When a controversy occurs, the opposite party will use it to attack the other party, and the party will deny and protect the offender because they want to defend their position. If the government finances, especially local government where national security is not a pressing issues, were available to the public, then the blame could be placed on the individual who was responsible, rather than having an emotional tribal debate.

The Conclusion

Just like the transparent practice lock, it is much easier to operate any system much easier if you can see the inner workings. At the end of the day both political parties are actually working toward the same goal, a better place for everyone to live. By having truly transparent politics, we can hold accountable our government officials to do the best job, reduce tribal finger pointing, and unlock the key to more efficient government.

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