About two weeks ago, select Irvine voters got a telephone poll with questions about the direction the city was headed and questions about the city council candidates. The poll was done by some out of town outfit that mispronounced the name of the city and the names of various candidates, and is believed to have been paid for by a developer (we’re unsure who exactly). The last question in the poll was curious to say the least… “if a candidate for city council had been involved in a hit and run accident as a young person, would if affect for your vote for this person.”
I’ve been hearing rumors about who the question was directed at for months. Tipsters told me it was Irvine Planning Commissioner and City Council candidate Anthony Kuo. I did send a text message and left voice mails for Kuo several weeks ago. He never got back to me.
The poll question made me try a different route. Over the past two weeks, TheLiberalOC reached out to every candidate running for Irvine City Council and asked the question: “Were you involved in a hit and run accident as a young person?” Every candidate responded except Matthew Ehorn, who I believe is a student at UCI.
So Melissa Fox, Farrah Khan, Alina Ali, Shiva Farivar, Courtney Santos, Dale Cheema, Christina Shea, Ian Daelician, and Anthony Kuo all denied being involved in a hit and run. Genii Ahn was the victim of a hit and run and Dale Cheema’s daughter was involved in a hit and run, and I don’t think the poll question was directed at Matthew Ehorn who still hasn’t responded to multiple queries.
In a Facebook debate on Anthony Kuo’s candidate page last week regarding a promise to re-establish Irvine’s Traffic Commission, Ms. Shea and I got into it a bit. It was a discussion that morphed into one about honesty and I referenced the preliminary report on the Great Park “audit” from 2014 — a document so wrought with errors and lies — it was withdrawn as preliminary but not before it fatally damaged the candidacy of Larry Agran. I made the mistake of attributing that report to Aleshire and Wynder, and Shea, correctly, admonished my accuracy of the attribution but did not address the fundamental accuracy of the information in the preliminary report done by HSNO. So much for her honesty about the matter.
That conservation has since been scrubbed by Kuo (or whoever manages his site), but Shea lectured me on “honesty” saying she knows who my political friends are, which apparently include one city council member I’ve never met. Nice try Ms. Shea, but no lollypop for you.
“Honesty is the first thing we teach our children,” said Shea. And on that, I agree. But honesty is a quality Ms. Shea believes she possesses. She doesn’t and nor does her running mate on the council, Mr. Kuo.
Let’s go back to the response from Anthony Kuo to my email query. I received a reply from him on September 13 at 10:10 a.m:
Christina forwarded your email to me.
My answer is no. (bolded by editor)
My email to Shea was sent at 9:17 on September 12. It read:
A telephone poll was conducted in Irvine about candidates for city council. The last question pertained to one candidate. I think I know who it is but that person refuses to answer texts or emails. So I am asking every candidate for council the following question: were you involved in a hit and run accident in Irvine as a young person? Yes, No or Decline to answer. I am sending this to everyone.
I sent a similar note to Kuo on the 12th as well.
What Shea, Kuo and the other candidates didn’t know is I had this image in my possession (since confirmed on the OC Courts website via the case index tab; anyone can find it):
In November 1999, a “Anthony C. Kuo” was charged with speeding an misdemeanor hit and run. He pleaded guilty in April 2000 and the case has since been discharged. There are no news stories about the incident that I could find; the Irvine Police Department no longer has a record of the accident or incident, so I don’t have any details to share. But the Anthony C. Kuo in this document again pleaded guilty to both counts.
So there are two possibilities here. The “Anthony C. Kuo” charged with these infractions is possibly a different “Anthony C. Kuo” than the one who works with State Rep. Ling Ling Chang, serves on Irvine’s Planning Commission and is running on a slate with Don Wagner and Christina Shea (and presumably in a position to benefit from IEs paid for by FivePoint).
The other possibility is Kuo, the city council candidate, lied in his September 10 email to me.
I have forwarded him the image above twice — once on September 13, shortly after getting his email response, and again on September 22. As I prepare to post this story, I still have no response from him confirming this court document is in fact — him.
Now everyone has done something they regret as a young person from your teens through your 20s. And we’ve all had to face the music whether it comes from a significant other, a parent, a boss or a police officer. A sincere apology usually does the trick. If the Anthony C. Kuo in the court records is the same Anthony C. Kuo who is running for city council, that’s really not an issue about the person he is today. The incident happened nearly 17 years ago. So what, right?
The problem here — and its one Irvine voters need to ascertain for themselves — is not about a kid who got arrested for a hit and run — but an adult who is a candidate for city council who denied being involved in the incident in the first place. A candidate who lied. Debates are coming, public forums are coming, and voters (and other candidates) need to ask Kuo, “were you involved in hit and run and if so why did you lie about it?”
And is Kuo is lying about this, what else is he lying about?
Is he honest? In my opinion, the answer is no.