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The Match-Up for Irvine Mayor

by

Vice Mayor Larry Agran and Councilmember Tammy Kim

With the primary election over — and Measure D to expand the City Council and create Council districts passing with 60% of the vote — attention now turns to the November general election.
 
In addition to the new Council district races, which have yet to come into focus in the wake of the primary election, voters will weigh in on the one remaining citywide election in November, for Mayor. That race has been quietly underway for some time with two main candidates so far: Vice Mayor Larry Agran and Councilmember Tammy Kim.
 
Other candidates could enter the race — the filing deadline isn’t until August, more than four months from now. But Agran and Kim are likely to remain the leading contenders.
 
Agran was the top vote-getter in the 2022 Council election and has a broad and loyal following in the City after decades as a Councilmember and former Mayor with an impressive list of accomplishments to his credit — a list that has grown longer in his current term.
 
Kim was the top vote-getter in the 2020 Council election, and while her accomplishments on the Council are few, she has amassed a sizeable campaign war chest in more than a year of under-the-radar fundraising.
 
The two present a clear choice to the voters on many important City issues:

  • Agran was a champion of district elections in the City and authored the just-passed Measure D; Kim opposes district elections and voted against the Council putting Measure D on the ballot.
  • Kim ran in 2020 saying she would shut down the All American Asphalt plant in North Irvine, but once in office she referred to the health and quality-of-life concerns raised by North Irvine residents as “hysteria.” For two years, Kim helped block Agran from bringing the matter before the City Council. Agran, however, finally prevailed in getting it to the Council and was able to negotiate a comprehensive deal to close the plant, restore the site to its natural state, and have it become part of a vast open space preserve of more than 500 acres.
  • Agran supports the voter-approved plan for a Veterans Memorial Park & Cemetery in the Great Park. Kim has opposed it.
  • Agran has been critical of the Orange County Power Authority (OCPA) since rejoining the Council in 2020, but was repeatedly blocked from bringing it up to the Council by Kim and other members of the Council. Kim is now a paid member of the OCPA board, supporting the agency even while it continues to mislead the public with false claims of greener, cheaper energy and amassing a surplus of some $100 million from overcharging ratepayers in Irvine and the other member cities.
  • Kim refuses to listen to the concerns of the Irvine community about the strife in the Middle East, which is directly affecting many families in the City and causing a rise in anti-semitic and anti-Islamic incidents in town. She has walked out on public comments and moved to shut down Council meetings early to avoid hearing from residents. Agran has steadfastly defended the public’s right to be heard at City Hall and has proposed measures to address antisemitism and anti-Islamic hate, which Kim voted against.
  • Agran has successfully fought against the creation of a massive amphitheater in the Great Park. Kim favored it, then briefly didn’t, then did again, then finally voted for a downsized plan proposed by Agran.
  • Agran has challenged the uncontrolled development of mega-warehouses near residential areas. Kim voted against controls.

There will be plenty of campaigning ahead, but this will be the race to watch in Irvine.
 
Coming soon: A first look at the Council races, district by district

Roger Bloom

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