Irvine Mayor Christina Shea at Temple Bat Yahm in Newport Beach.(Tim Berger / Daily Pilot)
University High School

Opinion: Irvine mayor Christina Shea has got to go

Following the election of Donald P. Wagner to the Orange County Board of Supervisors in 2019, Christina Shea assumed the role of Irvine Mayor on April 3, 2019. Shea has been involved in Irvine politics for almost three decades, being first elected to the Irvine City Council in 1992 in a landslide victory, according to the City of Irvine.

However, Shea has time and time again shown that she prioritizes her own beliefs over the people whom she has a responsibility to represent: the residents of Irvine.

Shea holds anti-climate change, anti-immigrant and anti-refugee sentiments, which are all demonstrated by her votes on several resolutions at the annual United States Conference of Mayors in June 2019.

Shea was one of only three no votes out of 226 mayors on a resolution that urged all jurisdictions to fund green banks to meet climate change and resiliency goals.

She was also one of only five no votes out of 226 mayors that aimed to support the dignity of detained immigrants.

Furthermore, Shea was the sole no vote out of 226 mayors that urged Congress to enact legislation granting temporary protected status to Venezuelan nationals.

Recently, in her June Mayor’s Corner Community Update, Shea has publicly denounced aspects of the Black Lives Matter protests that arose due to the blatant murder of George Floyd on May 25 by former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin, claiming that she does not support the profanity on some of the signs that are displayed

While this may seem trivial, the message that Shea is sending is that she cares more about the profane language that people have the right to display rather than taking substantive steps to ensure that the voices and grievances of the people of Irvine are heard. Furthermore, on Facebook, Shea has deleted many comments and blocked many supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement.

During a vote by the Irvine City Council on June 23 regarding whether or not to fly the LGBTQ pride flag at City Hall every June, Shea, not surprisingly might I add, was the only dissenting vote.

In a city where 38.6% of registered voters are Democrat and 25.3% are Republican, according to the Secretary of State Report of Registration, it is clear that Shea and her traditionalist views on many serious issues are not in line with the growingly progressive sentiment among Irvine residents.

The Irvine mayoral election is set to take place on Nov. 3, with the candidate filing deadline closely approaching on Aug. 7. To date, according to the City of Irvine website, four candidates are vying for the seat of Irvine Mayor: Christina Shea, Gang Chen, Katherine Daigle and Farrah Khan.

Gang Chen, an architect, previously ran for Irvine Mayor in 2016 and an at-large seat of the Irvine City Council in 2018 but lost both times.

Katherine Daigle, a small business owner, previously ran for Irvine Mayor in 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2018 and California Assembly as a Republican but lost in all of these elections.

Finally, Farrah Khan, a current at-large member of the Irvine City Council and a businesswoman known to be affiliated with the Democratic Party is also running. Khan, a strong advocate against police brutality and system racism as well as LGBTQ+ rights, if elected, will be the first woman of color serving as Irvine Mayor.

Khan, officially endorsed by the Democratic Party of Orange County, is exactly the type of leader we need in Irvine. She is in touch with her community, often volunteering at local food banks and taking the time to understand the needs of her constituents.

One thing is clear: we can do better than Christina Shea.