The Irvine City Council is set to discuss its future participation and representation within the Orange County Power Authority on Tuesday, May 23. The discussion, placed on the agenda at the request of Council Member Larry Agran, comes just days after officials in Huntington Beach opted to exit the agency.

Outlined in a memo addressed to Irvine City Manager Oliver Chi, Agran’s agenda request gives little detail into the motive for discussion. The memo reads: “Discussion and Direction Regarding Representation and Membership in the Orange County Power Authority.”

It is currently unclear if leaders in Irvine will vote to withdraw from the agency on Tuesday, but Irvine Council Member Dr. Kathleen Treseder said she is expecting the Council to vote on the issue once again. 

Treseder added that she was surprised to see the item on the agenda, but also expressed concern that the discussion is not just about Irvine exiting the authority, but more about dissolving the agency as a whole. 

“I don’t know what will happen, I’m hoping we don’t vote to withdraw from the OCPA, but we’ll see. I think this is part of a larger scheme to dissolve OCPA, and I’m concerned that there may be something bigger going on here.” 

Specifically, Treseder explained that the discussion seems like an attempt to block Irvine’s participation and representation on OCPA’s Board of Directors. Treseder, who serves on the OCPA Board of Directors with Irvine Vice Mayor Tammy Kim, said members of the OCPA Board have already floated the idea of dissolving the agency, and have agendized a discussion on the topic in an upcoming meeting. 

“The representatives on the OCPA board from Huntington Beach have agendized an item for the next OCPA Board meeting to vote on dissolving OCPA,” she said. “For that to happen they need two-thirds vote of the board, so they’re never going to get that with the current composition of the board, so they would need to alter the board and remove some board members — and replace them with board members who would be willing to dissolve OCPA.”  

In the event of a vote to withdraw, Treseder said she will vote to remain in the Authority, but admitted that she feels targeted.  

“What is concerning to me is that the item on the agenda says not only participation but also representation — so that means the board members. I’m concerned that there’s a movement to replace me or Vice Mayor Kim — or both of us — in order to get board members who are more friendly to dissolving the agency, and no other reason.” Treseder said via phone call on Monday. 

Treseder confirmed that she will be sharing her opinion on this issue publicly on Tuesday evening. Treseder added that voting to withdraw from OCPA would set a negative precedent in Irvine. Admitting that the topic has been a rollercoaster ride of emotions, Treseder said she plans on voting to stay enrolled in OCPA.  

“I think it would be unfortunate [to withdraw], I would hope my colleagues would consider when we are appointing representatives to external boards from the city, that we want representatives that will be representing the city’s interest, but also be working in the interest of the board that we are appointing them to. I don’t think this would be the case if we were appointing people just to dissolve the agency – we would not be appointing people that would not be working to help the agency,” she said. “I think that sets a bad precedent.”

Agran did not respond to Irvine Weekly’s request for comment. 

This is a developing story.

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