Raised in Southern California, Larry Agran was educated in Los Angeles public schools before attending UCLA and UC Berkeley. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa, earning his Bachelor’s Degree in Economics and U.S. History. It was at UC Berkeley in 1964 — in Civil Rights demonstrations and as participants in the Free Speech Movement — that Larry met Phyllis Friedman. The two married in 1966.
After completing his military service, Larry attended Harvard Law School, where he specialized in public interest law, graduating with honors in 1969, while Phyllis earned two Masters Degrees — the first in Biology at Boston University, and then a Masters Degree in Public Health at Harvard University.
After graduation, Larry and Phyllis returned to California to begin their careers in public service — Phyllis in advancing important public health projects in the Sacramento area, and Larry as Chief Legal Counsel for the California State Senate Health & Welfare Committee.
Larry’s public interest pursuits continued in the 1970s with a series of health law projects, culminating in publication of The Cancer Connection (Houghton-Mifflin), an acclaimed book documenting the occupational and environmental causes of cancer, and urging specific policy proposals to prevent cancers originating in the workplace and in the general environment.
Larry & Phyllis met in 1964, married in 1966, and welcomed the birth of their son, Kenneth, in 1970.
The three-member Agran family moved to Irvine in 1973 when Phyllis, joined by other women, managed to break the gender barrier that had intentionally limited the admission of women to the UCI School of Medicine. Phyllis went on to have a distinguished academic career, becoming a full Professor of Pediatric Medicine and now a UCI Professor Emeritus, while also continuing to serve the community as a practicing pediatric gastroenterologist. Phyllis has been a repeat-winner of the Orange County Medical Association’s “Physicians of Excellence” award. She was recently honored by the American Academy of Pediatrics (Orange County Chapter) as the 2020 Physician of the Year.
Larry and Phyllis continue to live in the same modest University Park home they purchased in 1976.
Their son, Ken, and daughter-in-law, Kerrie reside in West Irvine with their two children (Larry and Phyllis’s grandchildren) Morgan and Benjamin.
In 1978, Larry was elected to the Irvine City Council — on his first run for public office. He went on to serve for more than 20 years, including 10 years as Mayor of Irvine.
Larry’s achievements have literally changed the face and landscape of Irvine, forever! Larry gained support for pioneering policies to strengthen the Master Plan for the City of Irvine by instituting growth control policies, adding affordable housing policies, and winning public approval of a sweeping Open Space Preservation plan — setting aside more than 10,000 acres of wilderness in a natural open space preserve, surrounding the City, that will remain forever free of development.
In 1988, as Irvine’s first directly elected Mayor, Larry won City Council approval of Orange County’s first Human Rights Ordinance — barring discrimination in housing, employment, and public accommodations on the basis of race, sex, national origin, disability or sexual orientation. In 1989, Larry managed to win City Council approval of the nation’s first comprehensive municipal ordinance — later copied by other cities, states, and national governments — to eliminate chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and other ozone-depleting chemicals that were destroying the Earth’s protective ozone layer. In 1990, the City of Irvine received a United Nations award for its contributions to global environmental protection. Irvine also won national attention for the City’s pioneering programs in child care and recycling.
After an 8-year hiatus, Larry returned to the City Council in 1998, and two years later was elected Mayor once again, serving from 2000-2004. Larry led the effort to pass the City’s Living Wage Ordinance, and to finally defeat the Orange County Supervisors’ proposed international airport at the former El Toro Marine Corps Air Station and replace it, instead, with a 1,300-acre Great Park that would be built in phases over a period of 40 years.
In 2014, Larry won City Council approval of a 125-acre, State-built and State-operated Veterans Memorial Park & Cemetery in the Great Park. He has worked for the past six years to have the City Council make the Veterans Cemetery a reality, despite objections from developers who remain determined to gain control of City-owned land at the Great Park for their own massive development projects and profit. In retaliation, developers funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars in “dark money” support to defeat Larry in his re-election bid, and replace him with pro-developer Councilmembers.
In 2020, Larry was re-elected to the City Council, reaffirming his commitment to get the Veterans Memorial Park & Cemetery built and operational without further delay — vowing to stand up for the people and against the developers and other special interests that have taken control of our City Council and City government. His campaign did not solicit or accept donations from any corporate developer.
Larry is working to restore good planning and good government to Irvine — a government, as Abraham Lincoln said more than 150 years ago, “of the People, by the People, for the People.”