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City Election Analysis: Irvine Mayoral Race

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In 2020, Farrah Khan won Irvine’s Mayoral race with just 47% of support from Irvine voters. Now, she’s running for re-election in November, hoping that her four opponents will split the vote, allowing her to win again.

Khan’s disappointing performance as Mayor began shortly after she took office, when it became clear that she had lied to the voters (and to me) in 2020. That’s when she said she was committed to implementing the Irvine voter-approved citizens’ initiative to build the state-funded Veterans Memorial Park at the Great Park. Yet, once she was sworn-in as Mayor, Khan reversed herself and turned against the project.

It’s not the only issue where Khan has been on the wrong side. Khan worked with her appointed Vice Mayor Anthony Kuo and Councilman Mike Carroll to establish the Orange County Power Authority (OCPA) using millions of Irvine taxpayer dollars. Beginning October 1st, all Irvine residents will be transferred from their current provider of electricity — Southern California Edison — and automatically enrolled in the new OCPA electricity plan, at a significantly higher monthly rate, unless they actively opt-out.

As Mayor, Khan has blocked efforts to immediately shut down the City’s largest industrial polluter — an asphalt plant that emits massive volumes of toxic chemicals, including carcinogens, into the air every day.

During the 2020 election, Khan falsely told Irvine voters that she had created and implemented a Climate Action Plan. That was a flat-out lie! In fact, it’s been nearly two years since she made that false claim and Irvine still doesn’t have a Climate Action Plan.
 

 

So, who are Khan’s challengers, and where do they stand on the issues?

Irvine Mayoral candidates (left to right) Khan, Lin, Chomyn, Daigle, Moon

Branda Lin (campaign website: brandalinformayor.com) seems to be the candidate organizing the strongest Mayoral challenge to Khan.

Branda Lin was born and raised here in Irvine. She recently stepped down as editor of Irvine Watchdog, an online publication dedicated to rooting out corruption and restoring accountability in Irvine local government. Although Lin volunteered for Khan’s 2020 campaign, she has written extensively — and spoken out publicly — about Khan’s failed leadership regarding the Veterans Memorial Park, OCPA, the asphalt plant, and the Mayor’s broken climate action promises. Lin’s priorities include respecting the voters’ will by commencing construction of the Veterans Memorial Park; tackling the corruption at OCPA; developing and implementing a real climate action plan; and establishing fiscal transparency with respect to the Great Park Special Tax.
 
Tom Chomyn (campaign website: tom4mayor.org) is a technology account executive who joined with scores of other volunteers to lead the largest grassroots initiative effort in Irvine history, gathering nearly 20,000 Irvine resident signatures to qualify the citizens’ initiative for the Veterans Memorial Park at the Great Park. Chomyn is also a critic of OCPA, and the Mayor’s handling of the asphalt plant.
 
Katherine Daigle (campaign website: katherinedaigle.com), an author, has run for Mayor several times, each time garnering about 10% of the vote. Daigle’s campaign website lists her priorities as establishing district elections; banning Critical Race Theory in Irvine schools; and investigating OCPA.

Simon Moon, a first-time candidate (no campaign website), is pastor of the All Nations Ministry Church and an Army Reserve Chaplain. According to Moon’s campaign statement, his focus is on fighting crime; helping veterans who are homeless; and defending Prop 13.

If Khan’s four opponents remain in the race and split the vote, Khan could win re-election with even less support than she received in 2020. I certainly hope that doesn’t happen. Irvine residents deserve a leader we can trust. Over the past two years, Khan has proven that she is not that leader.

Franklin J. Lunding

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