Irvine city council hall is the room where it happens
Irvine will hold its general municipal elections on Nov. 8 for the seat of mayor and two of the four the seats on the city council. While the federal general election will also be taking place on Nov. 8, this is a race much closer to the Irvine community than the one for the White House. The candidates that are running for the two open Irvine city council position are: Hyunjoung Ahn, Anila Ali, Ian Daelucian, Matthew Ehorn, Shiva Farivar, Melissa Fox, Farrah Khan, Anthony Kuo, Courtney Santos and Christina Shea, and the candidates running to be the mayor of Irvine for 2016-2018 are: David Chey, Gang Chen, Katherine Daigle, Mary Ann Gaido and Donald Wagner. City council candidate Santos provided a response via email regarding the importance of city council.
“The City Council has power over a wide variety of your daily activities,” Santos said. “They make decisions with far-reaching consequences, such as which types of housing can be built and how many units, what types of businesses are legal and what hours they are allowed to be open, how traffic moves through the city, how police will interact with citizens, and whether to preserve land for future generations.”
The Irvine City Council is comprised of the mayor and four elected city council members. The mayor serves a two-year term and city council members serve four year terms and are limited to two consecutive terms. Basic functions of the council include setting the city’s agenda, determining public work projects and setting the city’s budget and passing legislation. Many city council and mayoral efforts can also affect our education system.
“IUSD has the lowest funding per student in the State of California for two main reasons,” Chen said. “IUSD is put in the wrong category of Agriculture for state funding allocation, and many students are English learners who are afraid to check the box of English learner in their registration form. As a result, IUSD gets less funding. Maybe it is time to play hardball and sue the State of California and force it to put IUSD in the correct category for funding purposes, make sure the students and their parents know about this and have the English Learners check that box to tell the truth to get proper funding for IUSD.”
Candidates are encouraging the younger residents in Irvine to get involved in the election process and some have gone even as far as organizing campaign events to engage younger members of Irvine, including city mayoral candidate, Gaido, who is organizing a campaign event in University Park this Saturday from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Furthermore, city council meetings are open to all members of the public, regardless of age.
“The Millennial should be involved because since politicians are taking your money that you work hard for, it is very important that your voice is heard,” Daigle said. “Politicians are just that: politicians, and most are unscrupulous—generally there are no honest politicians. If you do not watch what the money is paying for you and others will pay the price when you buy your first home, reach out for that first real job or start a family. These are all very important to you as you grow up and begin to live as an adult and pay taxes for things that you never would have agreed to do had you been informed and voted for things you want to see in your government.”
Various issues have been prioritized by the different candidates; however, some common interests shared by the candidates that The Howler interviewed via email, include focusing on improving park infrastructure, traffic safety and traffic construction, housing development, protecting education centers as well as promoting clean, sustainable energy.
“The issues that should be prioritized for Irvine are balanced budgets, no excess spending, keeping our city clean, repaired and maintained as beautifully as we do, slow development and fix our traffic issues at peak times of the day. Finally, ensuring public safety remains a top priority as well as our schools and families needs,” Shea said.
According to some candidates, a major part of improving Irvine as a city is founded on the collaboration of the community with the local government.
“I plan to set an example of cooperation and civility,” Gaido said. “Younger individuals should be involved in Civic Life to better understand the benefit of democracy and to assure a bright future.”
While the voting centers in Irvine will be opened on Nov. 8, residents can take earlier action by requesting a mailed ballot and then submitting it at the Irvine Civic Center from this Sunday to Nov. 7. Voters can also choose to vote early in-person for the general municipal election during those dates.