Key Takeaways from Irvine City Council Candidate Forum

Eight of the twelve City Council Candidates attended the Irvine Council Forum on Sunday, September 30th to give their positions on issues that ranged from whether Irvine should remain as a sanctuary city to how they would handle a court order mandating that 50 homeless people will need to be settled in Irvine.

The candidates attending were the following:

        John Park

        Kev Abazajian

        Lee Sun

        Frank McGill

        David Chey

        Gang Chen

        Jaci Woods

        Farrah Khan

Please note that Lauren Johnson-Norris and Carrie O’Malley cancelled at the last minute while another candidate David Chey decided to attend.

Here are the key takeaways from the Irvine City Council Candidate Forum:

1.       High Attendance

The attendance at the forum was about 250 people. Thanks to the attendees for showing so much interest in this election.  

2.       The Distinctive Format

The format for this forum was different. Instead of having opening statements, more time was given for candidates to answer questions. Also, the questions alternated between 90 second questions where the candidates took turns answering (the order chosen at random) and Yes/No questions where the candidates used a green or red paddle to indicate their position.

3.       Yes/No Question: Who has taken money either directly or indirectly from developers?

Every candidate attending said no.

4.       Yes/No Question: Who supports the Veteran’s Cemetery being placed at the ARDA site?

Yes: John Park, Kev Abazajian, Frank McGill, David Chey, Jaci Woods and Farrah Khan.

No: Lee Sun and Gang Chen

5.       Candidates Explain their Distinctiveness

In a forum dominated by specific questions about positions on policy issues, a more general question was given near the end: What made the candidate distinctive from the others? The answers varied a lot.

For example, John Park emphasized his business experience negotiating multi-million dollar deals and his building of infrastructure and telecommunications when he earlier worked for corporations. Frank McGill emphasized his background and education in urban planning. Kev Abazajian discussed his education and career in science that has taught him the importance of using facts when making policy choices.

6.    High School and College Students Attended

Students from Irvine High School and University High School kindly volunteered at the event. Also, several college students attended – either as volunteers or as members of their school’s newspaper (e.g., New University – UCI’s newspaper). 

To see the entire forum, please click here.