During the 2020 City Council election campaign, now-Mayor Farrah Khan and now-Councilmember Tammy Kim assured homeowners impacted by the plant’s emissions that they were strong advocates of the residents. They promised Irvine voters that, if elected, they would use the power of the City to protect families and safeguard their health.
However, since becoming Mayor, Khan has told those same homeowners that there is nothing she can do to help because the plant’s operations fall under the control of the South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD), not the City of Irvine. And Kim appears to have gone completely radio silent on the issue. (Silent, too, are Councilmembers Anthony Kuo and Mike Carroll.)
During the March 9th Council meeting, Kevin Lien, MD — one the homeowners who has been leading the effort to have the City step in and help —spoke during the Public Comments portion of the meeting. Lien played a clip from a 2020 candidate forum where Kim told Irvine voters that addressing the health impacts of the asphalt plant was a top priority for her and that she would work to close the plant down.
Irvine Community News & Views reached out to Dr. Lien after the Council meeting. Lien stated, “Prior to the election, Mayor Khan and Councilmember Kim professed to be the residents’ advocates and specifically stated they would strongly support working towards a remedy for residents. Instead, with Mayor Khan’s failed leadership, the City has initiated an ignoble and reprehensible campaign to discredit, dismiss, and discount the hundreds of resident complaints, the concerns about potential health hazards, and the recommendations of volunteer UCI advisors.”
Lien continued, “The City is guilty of a calculated crusade of misinformation and of unscrupulous censorship to inhibit a fair and balanced update on the asphalt situation. They continue to deny Irvine residents the right to a fair, open, and transparent discussion regarding the asphalt plant by refusing to put the subject on the agenda of an open City Council meeting or a special study session with an independent scientific oversight panel.”
Lien concluded by saying, “In fact, Mayor Khan has rebuffed Councilmember Larry Agran’s memorandum calling for a special study session. And despite being cognizant of potential health hazards and of the ongoing public outcry, the City of Irvine continues to approve the development of communities and parks to within approximately 0.5 miles of the asphalt plant without exercising due diligence.”
Irvine Community News & Views will continue to report on this critical issue.