Opinion: Tammy Kim Kills Opportunity to Expand City Council Despite Campaign Promise
Irvine City Councilmember Tammy Kim once campaigned on expanding the size of City Council. Kim’s campaign platform highlighted efforts to support Veterans in Irvine, stop All American Asphalt pollution, and passionate pleas to expand the size of Council. She has failed at delivering on all three issues.
[For more background, read, Opinion: District Elections and Council Expansion Back on the Agenda. Will The Council Let the Voters Decide?]
In the two years since Kim joined the Irvine City Council, she not only failed to agendize expanding the size of the City Council, but she actively thwarted efforts by Councilmember Larry Agran to agendize changes to Irvine’s election system on two occasions by using draconian agenda setting policies to quell discussions.
Tuesday night, despite her 2020 campaign promise, Kim abruptly reversed course when she did not support Councilmember Larry Agran’s motion to place a charter amendment measure to expand the City Council size from five to seven members on the November 2022 ballot (to become effective in the 2024 elections).
This was a separate and distinct motion from Agran’s push for district elections which failed to garner enough votes, with only Mayor Farrah Khan in support. Khan voted with Agran knowing the three other Councilmembers were not in support of district elections, appeasing the Democratic Party of Orange County.
At the meeting, City Attorney Jeffrey Melching stated the deadline to place a charter amendment measure on the November 2022 ballot is this Friday through a special meeting. That means the council had to act immediately to meet this deadline.
View the entire discussion on Agenda Item 6.3:
Confusingly, Kim offered an amendment to Agran’s motion to expand the Council’s size by asking for a subcommittee to “study the issue”, effectively creating a delay so that the deadline to place the measure on the 2022 ballot expires. Kim stated that the expansion of the City Council “is way too important an issue to be rushed.”
Hours after the meeting, on social media, Kim defended her actions:
“I made it clear that I support expansion. I made a motion, and it was not accepted. Both our motions called for implementation in 2024, but mine would have allowed us to have more thought put into it and allow more residents to be educated on the topic rather than shoving something on the ballot and then having it fail.”
Kim received pushback from fellow residents, who explained that it would be impossible to form a committee and have them study the issue and create a report before Friday — a report only Kim asserts is necessary.
The intentions are apparent. And not just from Tammy Kim. Only two Councilmembers, Agran and Mayor Khan support a ballot measure giving Irvine voters the choice between status quo at-large elections or district voting. And now it appears only Agran supports giving voters the choice to expand the city council to increase badly needed representation in a rapidly growing city.
One can only speculate why the majority of the Council is so averse to district elections or expanding the size of the Council. Whatever the reason, the effect is leaving Irvine voters without a voice in a process meant to serve them.
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rgurienJuly 31, 2022 at 8:44 am
I am so disappointed to learn this. Increased representation is *always* a good thing, regardless of whether the seats are at-large or regional. Though I don’t have time to do the research, it seems to me that now that we are in the midst of an election, the councilmembers who are up for re-election are pandering to their party, while the councilmembers whose seats are safe side with their Corporatist benefactors. Increasing the number of council seats might not obstruct the impact of those benefactors, but at least it would increase the propbability that a few non-Corporate candidates might get through.
Dee FoxJuly 31, 2022 at 1:21 pm
What has Tammy Kim actually followed through on? Certainly not representing minorities in the community. She makes these grandiose statements from the dais, speaks loud and acts passionate, then looks around for reaction from the audience. I have to say, she is embarrassing. Her recent episode regarding the EV Charging contract was one that should be grounds for her and Mike Carroll to be terminated. They came before the council with a vendor, that wasn’t even a consideration by city staff, lied to push it through on the pretense that the company manufactures their EV chargers in IRVINE, only to discover later, they manufacture them in TAIWAN. So they pushed through a contracting company, that then contracts with a vendor, that then ships the product to us from Taiwan. Rather than go with a direct company that manufactures here in the United States. This is a huge 10 year contract with the city. It is going to open up even more business for the company that is selected. This was obviously well planned in advance just by looking at the December 14, 2021 Great Park council meeting. Anthony Kuo made the remark of how to much time has been spent on this already so he just agreed to it. Farrah Khan and Larry Agran said no. In addition, Larry Agran requested the City Manager to look into this deal that was made as to who contacted them on the council, and what was promised. It seems the contracting company is going back on their word about shared revenue with the city and this is why it has been brought back to the council. This puts the whole process of requesting bids in jeopardy if the city just goes rogue because council members are looking to profit. I hope we get to the bottom of this and hold those accountable for their lies and deceit, not to mention, the companies that provided their bids fair and honestly.
And just as a side note, shouldn’t the OCPA be the organization to supply the city with EV charging stations? Isn’t that what taxpayers expect for having funded this organization? Why is the City of Irvine taking on this huge cost?
Sharon TojiJuly 31, 2022 at 2:49 pm
Although I voted for Tammy Kim, as one of three Democrats who could, at last, perhaps rescue Irvine from the dark clutches of Tea Party financing and the Great Park neighborhood developer cabal, there were episodes from the past that warned me she might not be “true blue.” It is unfortunate that Farah Khan decided to team up with her. The desire for political power can be overwhelming. It certainly has damaged our city! It is sad that Tammy Kim is using her status as a minority to draw in votes and support, although her interests certainly do not lie with any “community” other than the one that gives her status, in my opinion. Farah is perhaps trying to redeem herself with the Democratic Party, but she certainly won’t get the support, at this late date, from any of us who have worked for so many years to make Irvine a really great city. Our vision included a community that was not divided by ethnicity but was without such enclaves, and was open to all, with a vision of clean air and water, affordable housing opportunities, and open space in all neighborhoods. I think we “old folks” of Irvine, the original members of “Irvine Tomorrow” had a vision for a wonderful planned and multicultural city. Maybe we were dreamers, but we were at least sincere! I’m not sure if there is a way out of the morass any longer but if there is, it can only be reached by voting. Read, listen, vote, and do not reward Tammy Kim and her followers by including them in our next City Council. I have gotten calls asking me to run for local office. Sorry — way too old! But surely we can find a good candidate for Mayor who will be intelligent and immune to the siren song of power and dark money.
Sharon TojiJuly 31, 2022 at 2:53 pm
Sorry to have misspelled Farrah Khan’s name.
edmondsmeyersonJuly 31, 2022 at 4:50 pm
Kim even voted against a resolution that would limit the amount of toxins that AAA would be allowed to emit. Anything that Agran brings forward she votes against no matter how much good it would do. She lacks integrity and appears she is just a puppet for Carroll. I watch how they interact during Council meetings. They are like Jr. high school students passing notes during class.
Dee FoxJuly 31, 2022 at 6:44 pm
ANTHONY KUO is up for re-election. So, let’s remember that he is ALSO responsible for the city spending needless tax dollars on a $15 million + lawsuit. Not to mention taking away our voice by not giving us a choice. These council members* are essentially voting for us. In the upcoming and any future elections, we need to make sure that they can never vote for us again!
*tammy KIM – mike CARROLL (the thief) – anthony KUO
Jeremy FicarolaAugust 1, 2022 at 8:17 am
Incredibly good comments everyone. All great points. I would like to add that Mayor Khan is still at her tricks even during last cc meeting. While she voted to support Agran (knowing it didn’t matter because she the votes weren’t there to pass the item) she did not even second Agran’s second motion which was ONLY to put city council expansion on the ballot explaining that it did not make sense to vote to expand without also including district elections. But, why? Why did she thinks it goes hand in hand? We could have still expanded cc and kept the current at-large system. Ideally we would have district or ranked choice and expansion but… expanding the cc by itself would have been an improvement. This leads me to believe Farrah is still part of this Cadre of corruption, coordinating performances on the dais ahead of time, and still obstructing Agran or any activity that could potentially curb developer influence. In 2022 we NEED a new Mayor and Kuo must be replaced by a better candidate.
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