Irvine Mayoral candidates Larry Agran and Katherine Daigle offered a spirited debate based on political philosophy and issues Wednesday night at Irvine City Hall hosted by Republican pollster Adam Probolsky who also writes a column for the Irvine World News. Republican Steven Choi was not there and issued a news release suggesting moderator Probolsky would not be objective which Probolsky debunked with his performance last night. I counted about 120 people in attendance, with a few pro-Choi plants in the crowd, and both candidates addressing questions directly from the moderator and the audience.
Choi’s absence is already being considered a mistake by Republicans on Facebook and Twitter. One Choi plant who got the microphone to ask questions instead made a rambling incoherent speech in which Probolsky twice appealed for a question.
There was significant discussion about Choi’s “support” for Measure BB. Mailers about Choi’s record insist Choi didn’t support the measure that benefits Irvine schools while Choi insists he supports the measure and moved to have the entire city council pass it. I noted last night before asking a question of Daigle, that the last time a citywide education initiative was on the ballot, a parcel tax in 2000, was supported by a majority of City residents but failed at the ballot box. Our view is that for the council to pass this Measure without Voter input would be arrogant and irresponsible. Irvine’s PTA Council didn’t move to support SoS until September.
There were several Measure BB Save Our School organizers last night and an interesting detail came up.
If Steven Choi supports Measure BB, why didn’t he sign the petition along with 18,000 other registered Irvine voters?
Choi’s name is not on any of the petitions turned in to qualify the Measure for the ballot.
Choi and Lalloway repeatedly challenged the SoS Initiative in public debates in council meetings. When Agran announced that SoS had 18,000 signatures — far more than the 11,000 needed to qualify for the ballot — I remember the shock and awe on the faces of Choi and Lalloway. Since they couldn’t stop it, they had to jump on the train before it left the station without them. It’s pretty hard to run for office in Irvine as the anti-education candidate.
Thomas Martinez has a piece in the Register asserting that a campaign mailer stating that Steven Choi opposed Measure BB is not true. I spoke with Beth Krom this morning and she insists that both Choi and Lalloway trashed Measure BB from the Dais long before the July meeting they sought to vote on it directly, insisting the school district didn’t even support the added funding. The district supported the additional funds but wanted to be able to apply funds at its discretion where Measure BB places restrictions on what the District can spend money on.
Choi’s vote in July was only to place SoS on the Ballot and did not indicate support. If he actually supported the measure itself, he would have signed the petition. So now Choi is essentially running for Mayor by strongly supporting a ballot measure authored by his opponent who did all the work needed to put it on the ballot while Choi did nothing but take umbrage that his record of voting against the city budget in 2009 and 2010 was exposed.
The Register also came out against Measure BB which is a mystery because it doesn’t raise taxes. But the Register’s editorial board has long been a critic of public education calling them “government schools.” The Register has also backed Choi, Shea and Schott — but we will note the Register hasn’t backed a single Democrat in any of the races it is covering. Are you surprised that this trio of second string Republicans got the nod by the Register’s editorial board who sets the bar so low that the only requirement for an endorsement is for those with an “R” for Party affiliation?
To learn more about Measure BB — the Support Our Schools Initiative, go to: http://sosirvine.com/
The Register also named Irvine the best city in OC to live in. I completely agree. So why would they not endorse the two of the candidates and Mayor Sukhee Kang who helped make the city so great to live in to begin with? Or the people who helped make the city the safest city in America eight years in a row? Or one of the best cities to ride out the recession?
No matter how much Steve Choi seeks to reframe his opposition to Save Our Schools as support for Irvine schools, there is the matter of a lack of a signed confession by him on those petitions. My signature is there. The question Irvine voters need to ask is “why isn’t his?”