Wagner, Khan and Kuo Take Office
Mayor Wagner took the oath of office for a 2-year term, while Councilmembers Khan and Kuo will both serve a 4-year term of service. They join Councilmember Melissa Fox and Mayor Pro Tem Christina Shea in leading Irvine forward.
After an invocation by Bishop Kevin Vann of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange, the Pledge of Allegiance and National Anthem, and a moment of silence in memory of President George H.W. Bush, the ceremony proceeded with Mayor Wagner being sworn back into office.
Orange County Superior Court Judge Megan Wagner officiated in the swearing in. Judge Wagner is Mayor Wagner’s wife, so the event included a bit of spousal banter.
“I don’t say this often: repeat exactly after me,” Judge Wagner said as she administered the oath of office.
“But you don’t need to,” quipped the mayor.
Mayor Wagner addressed the crowd after he was sworn in, pausing to bring flowers to his parents and spouse. Describing what he saw as the message from the Irvine electorate after his victory in the mayoral race, Wagner said the message was “’more of the same.” Wagner said he knows “more of the same” is not a catchy political slogan, but with a much wider margin of victory in 2018 (14 points over Ed Pope) than in his first election in 2016 (4.68 points over Mary Ann Gaido), that’s how he will views the result.
“Irvine is a very good place. We are the safest city in the nation. We offer world-class education. We are financially sound. We have a nationally recognized park system. Orange County Register readers just voted us ‘Best Place to Live in Orange County.’ I could go on about the strengths of Irvine,” Wagner said, saying it’s no wonder the election result was to do “more of the same.”
Wagner continued that “more of the same” also means continuing to address issues of traffic, supporting smart growth, moving forward with partner FivePoint on continued improvements in the Orange County Great Park, and continued cooperation with the business community and institutions of higher education in the city.
Wagner also responded strongly regarding the incidents of hatred at Beth Jacob Synagogue and Irvine Valley College. “We were disheartened at first. But then the community rose up. Hate and intolerance do not have the last word. This community came together and said with one voice ‘No!’ to hatred. What you do to any of us, you do to all of us. And we’re not going to stand for it.”
“I couldn’t be prouder to have the opportunity to again serve as your mayor,” Wagner concluded, thanking the large crowd for attending.
It was then time for Irvine councilmembers-elect Farrah Khan and Anthony Kuo to be officially sworn in. The support that led to the duo prevailing in a crowded field of 12 city council candidates was evident by the enthusiastic response of the audience as each was introduced and sworn into office.
Friends, family and supporters cheered as Kuo took the microphone (sound was an issue throughout the gathering, unfortunately. Likely related to the remodel of the council chambers. Mayor Wagner told the crowd it would be fixed by the next session). Kuo introduced Orange County Auditor-Controller Eric Woolery to swear him into office. Kuo is the Executive Communications Manager for the Auditor-Controller.
Farrah Khan’s supporters were equally or more enthusiastic as Mayor Wagner introduced her, and she in turn introduced Justice Halim Dhanidina of the California Court of Appeal for the Second District to administer her oath of office. Justice Dhanidina is the first Muslim to be appointed judge in California.
After the swearing-in ceremony Mayor Wagner introduced the many officials in the audience, including those with whom the mayor and council share constituents serving in Sacramento, Santa Ana and Irvine, as well as surrounding cities.
Councilmember Khan’s comments were brief, thanking her family, supporters and friends in attendance, with an extra shout-out to “all the PTA moms who are here.”
“I’m looking forward to working with my colleagues here, and looking forward to making sure we that we are doing the best we can for the city and the community members.”
Councilmember Kuo started his comments with his now trademark phrase: “I love Irvine!”
“My family chose to make Irvine our home in 1978. I am so proud that I’m the first member of your Irvine city council to have grown up here.”
In its first order of business, the new city council voted Christina Shea as Mayor Pro Tem. Councilmember Fox and Mayor Pro Tem Shea congratulated and welcomed the two new councilmembers and Mayor Wagner.
After the ceremony and photos in the chamber, everyone adjourned to a reception in the Civic Center lobby.