Wagner’s In for Irvine Mayor

Lucy Dunn and Don Wagner

Lucy Dunn and Don Wagner

As predicted, Don Wagner is in the race for mayor of Irvine and his announcement sounds a heck of a lot more positive than indications of earlier reluctance provided. Wagner (R-FivePoint) will join Christina Shea (R-Five Point) “Give Five Point Want It Wants” ticket.  And both will get mucho dinero from the Emile Haddad cabal that’s buying the city council.

Here’s Wagner’s announcement:

Assemblyman Donald P. Wagner today announced his campaign for Mayor of Irvine. Wagner is in his third and final term representing the 68th district that includes the city of Irvine. Wagner and his wife, Orange County Superior Court Judge-elect Megan Wagner, have lived in Irvine since 1991.

“Irvine is one of the most dynamic cities in the state.  We have a diverse population with fantastic schools, a world class university, and a bright future.  My wife Megan and I have raised our family in this wonderful city and I look forward to helping lead it into the future,” said Wagner.

Prior to his election to the Assembly in 2010, Wagner was elected to the South Orange County Community College District in 1998 and served three terms, including a record six years as Board President. While in Sacramento, Wagner served on the Assembly Education Committee dealing with the K-12 system and is Assembly Chairman of the UC Caucus which he founded to support the University of California system in the Legislature.

Also considered an expert on the state budget and taxation after having served on all three legislative fiscal committees, Wagner’s experience and relationships throughout Orange County and in Sacramento will benefit Irvine’s residents, families, and businesses. 

In his announcement Wagner laid out his plans when elected: “I intend to deliver on the promise made to Irvine residents in 2004 to complete the Great Park and its related community facilities. I intend to create a real partnership between City Hall and our schools and colleges to improve their abilities to provide a quality education to our children. And I intend to engage the whole community to guide the future growth of this city in a reasonable and balanced way, enhancing everyone’s quality of life.”

Wagner continued, “I have long enjoyed serving this community and embrace the opportunity to continue serving. Having been active in both state and local government, I believe I have a thorough appreciation of how government works, and how to be effective on behalf of the people of Irvine. I truly look forward to an exciting campaign and to sharing my vision of this great city with its residents.” 

In the next few days Wagner will announce a formal campaign kick-off event and comprehensive list of endorsements. Among those already in support are Irvine Congresswoman Mimi Walters, Irvine’s other Assemblymember, Matthew Harper, and Councilwoman Christina Shea.  

Irvine Republican candidate Gang Chen must be feeling awfully betrayed by Council member Christina Shea.  Chen still represents a solid block of voters that could account for 8-12% of Irvine voters who are Chinese-American.  It’s not going to matter what Wagner promises to do because these voters won’t desert Chen.

Dick Ackerman’s “Irvine Cares” blog claims one of the things Wagner will do is bring funding to Irvine’s schools.  In a word — No.  Wagner’s record on school funding for IUSD in Sacramento is awful.  Both he and State Rep. Matt Harper as well as State Senator John Moorlach were asked to help repair some of the city’s older schools.  They told parents and school leaders to stick it and if they wanted funding, they were on their own.  This is why Measure E was on the ballot — arguably the most expensive way to fund needed repairs but it was the only real option Irvine voters had to maintain quality schools.

Oh, let’s not forget Mr. Wagner likes to remind everyone he’s a Christian.  Too bad his voting record in Sacramento is anything but Christian.

The marjority of Irvine voters are Democrats. Mary Ann Gaido is the only Democrat on the ticket and Republicans may stay home in record numbers because Donald Trump is the top dragon of the ticket.  Hillary Clinton tops the Democratic side.  Irvine Republicans are fractured.  Wagner recorded a robo call for Harry Sidhu and Choi will encourage Korean voters in town to perhaps back Chen.  Its going to be a very interesting November.