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Publisher’s Perspective: Councilmember Kim’s Lack of Civility Towards Her Council Colleagues and Irvine Residents

by

Councilmember Tammy Kim during the August 8th City Council meeting

When I established Irvine Community News & Views nearly a decade ago, I purposely included “& Views” in the our name because I knew that I would want to weigh-in from time to time on important matters that impact Irvine residents.

While I typically wait until an election year before offering my personal opinion on the candidates running for elected offices here in Irvine, I feel compelled to speak out now regarding the 2024 Mayoral race. Current Councilmembers Larry Agran and Tammy Kim have already announced their candidacies to become the City’s next Mayor. (The current Mayor, Farrah Khan, will be termed-out next year; Khan has announced her 2024 candidacy for a seat on the Orange County Board of Supervisors.)

Years ago, I was Chair of the Irvine Transportation Commission. I also served as a member of the City’s Planning Commission. During those years, and the years that have followed, I have watched countless Irvine City Council meetings where differing points of view — sometimes on very contentious matters — were expressed.

Let me be clear: One of the most important jobs of the Mayor is to make sure that the Council chamber is a safe space for varying points of view to be heard. We need a Mayor who encourages constructive dialogue. A Mayor who is able to accept feedback and criticism. A Mayor who is not afraid to hear diverse perspectives. A Mayor who is committed to creating a culture of accountability that ensures decision-making is truly transparent and responsive to the City’s residents. That’s how consensus is reached … through civil discourse.

Unfortunately, Councilmember Tammy Kim does not value civil discourse. Since being elected in November 2020, Kim has displayed a disturbing pattern of bullying and attacking anyone who disagrees with her point of view — whether it’s her Council colleagues or even her own constituents.

For example, the “Public Comments” portion of Council meetings is specifically designed to allow the public to offer their opinions on any matter they wish — without input from those on the dais. Although she often appears to be busy on her cell phone instead of listening to residents as they speak, on more than one occasion, Councilmember Kim has interjected when she didn’t like what was being said. In fact, she recently snapped back at an Irvine resident who had questioned her stance on an issue, accusing him of “mansplaining.” Kim also publicly dismissed citizens’ concerns as “hysteria” when those beleaguered residents pleaded with the Council for help regarding the toxic pollution emanating from the All American Asphalt Plant in north Irvine.

And, in meeting after meeting, Councilmember Kim hurls personal attacks against anyone on the dais who disagrees with her. For example, during the August 8th City Council meeting, Kim set her sights on Councilmember Agran — repeatedly accusing him of “lying” after he brought up legitimate (and documented) concerns regarding the City’s continued involvement in the Orange County Power Authority (OCPA). To her credit, Mayor Khan cut Councilmember Kim off, making it clear that Khan would not allow Kim’s bullying tactics to continue.

As I stated at the beginning of this article, I typically wait until an election year to offer my opinions regarding candidates. However, after watching Councilmember Kim’s bullying and lack of civility over the past two-and-a-half years, it is clear to me that she is not qualified to be Mayor.

This fall, I intend to say more about the 2024 Mayoral race, comparing not only the candidates’ leadership styles, but also their records on the important issues facing our City.

Franklin J. Lunding

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