Republican Mayoral candidate Steven Choi’s onion-thin skin has been pierced again by effective mailers that spell out his record — that Choi voted against Irvine City Budgets in 2009 and 2010 and in doing so voted against public safety, city funding for public schools, parks & recreation issues and other infrastructure improvements simply because Choi, like most Republicans, votes “No” on most everything. Our sources tell us Choi has taken to whining to Southern California’s Korean-American media, angry over a letter sent by current Mayor Sukhee Kang that encourages Irvine residents to back Larry Agran for Mayor.
Kang’s reputation for ethics and honesty is undisputed. Even the conservative Irvine Chamber of Commerce named him “business leader of the year” in 2010 and he’s a political rock star in South Korea. Kang is challenging John Campbell for a seat in Congress this fall, but from the whine heard from the Choi camp, you’d think Choi was running against Kang for Mayor. Kang’s letter has significant meaning especially to Irvine’s Korean-American community. In going to the Korean media to accuse Kang of lying about his record, Choi showed how thin his skin is. Kang’s reputation is one of honesty. And in making the accusation about Kang, Choi showed he’s asking the media to buy the notion Kang lied. Choi wants the press to ignore how he voted and, and instead, to focus on what Choi says rather than what’s he’s done. Choi needs to be held accountable for his statements about Kang. I’d call him a liar. And simply put, Choi did vote against the budgets which is what Kang wrote about in his letetr of support. What would you call it?
That’s about to change. Kang has considerable more respect in the Korean American community than Choi does which is probably why Choi is so upset about the letter and the mailers. But Choi has to run on his record and his record isn’t that great. And Irvine is thriving despite Choi’s “no” votes, despite Christina Shea’s “no” votes and despite Jeff Lalloway’s “no” votes. Choi has to run on a record that says the last 12 years haven’t been positive for Irvine when all the evidence is to the contrary.
Choi might be the candidate for Mayor, but is council member Jeff Lalloway really pulling Choi’s puppet strings? Here are Choi Memos that suggest Choi isn’t calling the shots. The first one, with the initials “SC” isn’t Choi. The second, has Choi’s real handwriting. The signer of the first memo? Councilman Jeff Lalloway. Why is Lalloway signing a document for Choi? Can’t Choi be counted on to do the job of a council member or does he rely on Lalloway to tell him what to do? And should Choi somehow get elected despite voting no on things that make Irvine a great city, is Lalloway going to tell him when to bang the gavel?
Even worse, Lalloway’s politics place him in the same camp with Costa Mesa’s Jim Righeimer. Will a Republican majority suddenly declare Irvine in a state of a fiscal crisis that requires outsourcing of our terrific city staff, replacement of our police force with a county resource, or worse?
During the past 12 years, Irvine has grown dramatically and thrived. Our city’s coffers and reserves took a hit during the financial crisis but we weathered the storm without cuts to programs, services, or forwarding-thinking programs in transportation, healthcare and education investment. Our reserves are back at full strength and tax revenues are up while keeping taxes in line.
In many ways, the city council elections are much like the race for president and congress — do we move the city forward or do we move backwards?