I’ve been following Irvine politics for about 10 years now.Â When my daughter’s soccer coach emailed me Chuck DeVore’s blogpost about my earlier Choi post here (and thanks for the hits Chuck, we appreciate it), I wanted to make a strongerÂ statement that needs saying.
The non-partisan City Council race in Irvine is frankly less about partisan politics than it is about two totally different perspectives about what it means to serve the people of this great city.
There’s aÂ competition between those who divide usÂ and those who try to unite us.Â There are those who work to benefit the community and those who want to enhance themselves personally. The TeamIrvine ticket Christina Shea and Steven Choi believe they are important. There is no open government unless somehow they have a final say in a decision.Â I watched with amusementÂ as they attempted to hijack a matching grant to the Irvine Public SchoolsÂ Foundation to make up for their lack of recordÂ on education.Â The IPSF had to apologize for sending out an email promoting a fundraiser for Sukhee Kang; in my view, no apology wasÂ necessary.Â TheÂ IPSF was simply helping a candidate with a real track record of helping schools. Shea took offense.Â The reality is, we voters should take offense that she has done so little to support our excellent schools over the years.
Sukhee Kang, Beth Krom and Larry Agran, elected officials, and Todd Gallinger, a community activist on the Keep Irvine Great Ticket,Â believe the community is important.
The divisive comments by Choi, Shea and Patrick Rodgers in regards to CAIR at last Friday’s Irvine Chamber Breakfast remind me of the history that Shea and Choi have for dividing the community, as they tried to do with the Chinese and Taiwanese community back in 2006 (protesters were pretty much bused in). Kang, Krom and Agran have worked to build an inclusive community in which all citizens are encouraged to be civically involved.Choi hasÂ indicted City Council candidate Todd Gallinger on the basis ofÂ Todd’s muslim faith. Irvine is a community of many faiths, including Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Mormon and every conceivable branch of Christianity. Irvine hosts to a Jewish Community Center and an Islamic Center. In a City where education is valued, children — my children — learn tolerance and respect every day because of the diverse mix of faiths and cultures in their classes.
With his post, Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, a man whose partisan views are so extreme that a number ofÂ Republicans roll their eyes behind his back, has weighed in in defense of Steven Choiâ€™s inflammatory remarks about Todd Gallinger and his indictment of CAIR. It gave Chuck a chance, as he so often does, to regurgitate his resume.Â But what’s telling in the post and its defense of Choi and Shea, is that its a signed confession of just how out ofÂ touch these people are with the City they live in.
Steven Choi, in my opinion, isÂ unfit to hold public office. He has disgraced the whole community with his remarks.Â I am embarrassed for him.Â Â AÂ real manÂ would either apologize or resign.Â But he isn’t that kind of man.Â I’m reminded that, as an IUSD trustee, heÂ won a $10,000 in an Irvine Public Schools Foundation raffle, but instead of turning over the entire amount, he gave back $1,000 to the organization.Â
I’m told Choi used his school board position to solicit teachers to work in his business, while paying themÂ peanuts as he cashed in. Is it realy true that he arranged forÂ Irvine police to stake out his campaign signs?Â Did he have a member of his homeowners association reported toÂ the District Attorney for prosecution just because this associatioin memberÂ thought campaignÂ signs all over his neighborhood were a blight?Â Steven Choi has shown his true character.Â And he’s already looking ahead to run for assembly in 2010.Â I hope this incident costsÂ him the election this November.
Frankly, Choi’sÂ real problem with Todd Gallinger is not that Todd is aÂ muslim, but that he is a bright, articulate and engaging individual who possesses all the attributes Councilman Choi lacks. But instead of challenging Todd on the issues (a fight Choi would definitely lose), he attacks him personally, challenging his integrity and charging him with â€œguilt by associationâ€ and playing into the fears of citizens with baseless assertions.
And for Chuck DeVore, who questioned my outrage if the comments were directed towards Christians. The answer is yes, it would.Â The comments would offend me if, instead of Muslim, Choi used the words Catholic, Christian, Jewish, Morman, Korean, Italian, Polish, Chinese, Buddist, or Amish.Â Though I’d probably agree with him if he used the word “Republican.” Shame on you, Dr. Choi. And shame on Shea and Rodgers for their hateful comments too.Â Â IÂ will work hard to ensure your defeat in November. Anyone would be better than you.