Wagner for Mayor
The choice is clear for Irvine voters: move the city forward by electing Don Wagner mayor, or put career politician Larry Agran back in charge
He lives in Irvine, and as a representative serving its citizens, he’s aware of the successes that mark Irvine as one of SoCal’s leading cities, and the challenges that success brings. But he’s not going to re-fight the decades-old battles that have mired the city down in recent years.
Growth and Traffic
Wagner will tackle the issues Irvine faces relating to growth arising from the economic vitality of the city: “Irvine needs a mayor and city council dedicated to restoring their commitment to the Master Plan and then to protecting going forward the vision that the Plan expresses.”
But he’s not making false promises: “A halt to development called for by other candidates is a simplistic, knee-jerk reaction that misunderstands the problem,” Wagner wrote in an email response to Irvine City News. “A development ‘time out’ reeks of a cynical campaign ploy.
“Instead, by restoring and protecting the Master Plan, as I will do, the city council I lead will stand for responsible growth, consistent with the Master Plan, that allows children who grew up in Irvine to return here to raise their own families, allows people to live closer to their jobs here in town, allows our tax base to grow to everyone’s benefit, and keeps Irvine young and vibrant.”
As for the issue of traffic in the city, Wagner has a plan: “Irvine needs a new Transportation Commission, made up of citizens and experts, responsible for easing our current traffic congestion and planning for future traffic conditions.
“In addition, I propose the creation of a traffic ‘czar’ – an experienced traffic engineer with genuine oversight power – responsible for reporting weekly to the Mayor and monthly to the council about traffic conditions in Irvine and efforts being undertaken to ease congestion.” He also suggests that, “some of the needed technology is already in place to help ease congestion, but it is under-utilized.”
Wagner has more experience than any other candidate in the key area of education. We can live with traffic, as long as our leaders are working toward solutions. But protecting and maintaining the excellence of Irvine’s public education is non-negotiable, and Wagner has the best background to do that.
“The other candidates …can only talk about education,” he writes. “But I know our education system at all levels, have worked extensively on behalf of public education, and have the trust of education leaders. As mayor, I will be a full partner with all of those leaders.
“Education has been one of the primary focuses of my public career,” Wagner says. “I served on the Assembly’s K-12 committee, and am assembly chairman of the UC Caucus interacting with the UC administration to further the growth and vibrancy of the UC system.
“Before that, I served for 12 years on the Board of Trustees governing Irvine Valley College, among other institutions. I crafted sound education policy while balancing every budget and never once seeking additional tax or bond financing.
“The city council I lead will do everything it can to empower our schools. We will never play politics with education and will do absolutely nothing to interfere with the local schools and colleges. Rather, a city council under my leadership will fully support local education institutions in their efforts to continue providing quality education in Irvine at all levels.”
Along with the excellence of Irvine’s schools, Wagner is dedicated to maintaining the city’s status as one of America’s safest cities.
“A city council that I am privileged to lead will commit to the IPD the resources needed to continue doing its job. I am a firm believer that government at all levels is too big and tries to do too much. But delivering public safety is a legitimate core function of government.
“I will encourage close cooperation between IPD, the OC Sheriff’s Department, and the local college and university police departments. I already have good relationships with those organizations through my past public service, relationships none of the other candidates can match, and will use them to enhance the safety of Irvine’s citizens.”
Reducing taxes and fees
After seeing millions squandered by Larry Agran, it’s refreshing to have a veteran of big budgets and tax cuts on the ballot.
“Irvine has a healthy surplus and should look for ways to return money to the public. As mayor, I pledge to: reduce taxes and fees.”
“I have been vocal in Sacramento about reducing taxes and the costs of government. I served as assembly co-chair of the Taxpayer Caucus to advocate for lower taxes and smarter spending.
“As mayor, I will lead the council in efforts to reduce the costs and burdens of government, and to assure that our citizens get their money’s worth from City Hall.”
Wagner also pledges to “…deliver on the Great Park promise. Some of our recent city councils have been guilty of corruption and mismanagement when it comes to the Great Park. They took their eyes off of the Master Plan and their duty to guide the city consistent with that plan in order to direct Great Park pork to their friends. They wholly failed to deliver on the promise of the Great Park. Fortunately, the voters put a stop to this in recent elections.
“Now, the next mayor and city council need to work cooperatively with the community to deliver on the decade-old promise of actually building the Great Park.”
Wagner’s candidacy represents a clear choice for Irvine voters to move past the old agendas and failed policies of the past. Let’s protect what works in Irvine, fix what doesn’t, and move the city forward toward a safe, prosperous and well-planned future.
We’re convinced Don Wagner is the choice to do just that.