Irvine City News endorsement:
Christina Shea and Anthony Kuo for Irvine City Council
The terms of city council members Beth Krom and Christina Shea expire in December of this year, so those two seats out of five on the city council are to be filled in the election. Krom is not seeking to return to the council.
After reviewing each candidate’s responses to the questions submitted by this paper, analyzing their experience and service to Irvine, their temperament and other factors, ICN endorses Christina Shea and Anthony Kuo for City Council.
The incumbent Christina Shea is running for re-election. Irvine City News endorses her enthusiastically in the Nov. 8 election.
- Shea is a seasoned public servant, and hasn’t treated serving in Irvine city government as a stepping stone to a higher office.
- Shea has served the city well since (and indeed before) being elected to the Irvine City Council in a landslide victory in 1992. After her first four-year term, she was elected as Irvine mayor in 1996, and re-elected in 1998. In 2002, Shea returned to the city council.
- Citizens know her for her visibility in the community and her responsiveness. Shea is available to answer questions directly by phone and email, and responds to issues via social media, including Facebook and NextDoor neighborhood online message boards.
- Her list of supporters and endorsements is long, and include the Irvine Police Association, Orange County Business Council and Orange County Taxpayers Association. She has also been named one of Orange County’s “Leaders of the Year” by the California Women’s Leadership Association and featured as one of the “Most Influential Women in Orange County” by OC METRO Magazine.
- She has been an effective and empathetic city leader. Her opposition voice was heard loudly and clearly when her views were in the minority during the Agran years. She was one of the leaders who overcame the Agran oligarchy in the city, and she’s served Irvine well since.
ICN urges a strong affirmation of Shea’s service by sending her back to the city council on Nov. 8.
The second seat on the city council will be filled with someone new to the position. But that does not mean voters will be sending a neophyte to lead the city. Anthony Kuo is currently serving as chairman of the planning commission for the city, after also serving on the planning commission.
- He served as Christina Shea’s chief of staff from 2002-2006, so he is well connected in the city and understands how government works in Irvine.
- Kuo has an energy and optimism that will be welcome on the council. When we asked him why he’s running for city council, his first reaction was “I love Irvine!” At a time when too many people are complaining and focusing on the city’s problems, it’s refreshing that Kuo leads by discussing our successes: “Irvine is on top in terms of keeping our families safe, ensuring our schools are providing our youth a stellar education, and protecting and supporting a healthy local economy. Staying at the top takes hard work, detailed planning, and dedicated leadership. Having served Irvine in our schools, homeowners’ associations, nonprofits, city hall, and among regional leaders, I have the history, experience, and know-how to protect our city’s quality of life.”
- With Steven Choi running for higher office, Kuo also is the strongest choice to keep diversity on the city council so that its members reflect the community it serves.
- Kuo is known for his community involvement, both through his church and as an individual. He volunteers for Working Wardrobes and several other charities, and he serves on the board, helping lead local nonprofits, as well.
- He has experience in the city, and has concrete answers to problems facing Irvine. Take traffic, for example. Kuo told Irvine City News that he “will push to reinstate the city’s Transportation & Infrastructure Commission that was disbanded more than 10 years ago. The management of our streets and roadways needs public oversight today, more than ever. We need to empower the Transportation Commission to review how transportation dollars are spent, to ensure those taxpayer dollars are spent in the most efficient and effective way, and to explore the transportation improvements that will benefit our city the most.”
- But it’s the mixture of enthusiasm for the city, and experience serving it that has us sold on Kuo. Here’s an example: We asked him how he sees the city in 20 years. Here was his answer: “Imagine the possibilities! Irvine will continue to be the economic engine of the region as home to leading employers and job creators. We’ll be celebrating anniversaries of sports fields, our outdoor amphitheater and water park at the Great Park. Homeowners will enjoy the strongest property values in the region because of our commitment to parks and roads, and because of our unprecedented record as America’s Safest City. Most importantly, families will continue to love calling Irvine home.”
The rest of the field
The rest of the long list of those running for council include a mix of intriguing newcomers, avowed Agranistas, and a few that seem mainly in the business of running for, and failing to win, political office—any political office.
Melissa Fox ran for council in 2014 and came in third of five candidates in the two-seat race. In 2010, she lost badly to Assemblyman Don Wagner. She will be a key player in the effort to return Larry Agran to power.
A few of the remaining candidates gave thoughtful answers in the Sept. issue of ICN, when we ran extensive questions and answers with city council candidates. Perhaps they will compete in future city elections. Recall that in 2014 Irvine passed a term limits measure, imposing a 12-year lifetime limit for elected officials, including two four-year terms on the city council and two two-year terms as mayor.
The city needs a deep bench of committed candidates, with proven backgrounds of service to the community. But those new to politics need to add some service to their resumés before seeking office.
What’s abundantly clear is that no one among the city council candidates has the experience, enthusiasm and community support of Christina Shea and Anthony Kuo.
Irvine City News enthusiastically urges votes for Shea and Kuo come Nov. 8.