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Irvine’s Opportunity to Remove Bigotry This Election

At the last presidential debate, Donald J. Trump declared he was “the least racist person in the room.”  Quite a claim given the things he’s said about immigrants at the Southern Border, cities run by Democrats, the Black Lives Matter movement, and “shithole countries.”

He’s certainly no Abraham Lincoln.

But that claim took me to a comment left by Irvine Mayor Christina Shea on this blog not long ago; how she was appalled at being called a “racist” by those posting on her social media feeds.  I countered that I don’t think it was racist but did call her out for being a bigot.  The note below from Mayoral candidate Farrah Khan, a city council member and — if elected — the city’s first Muslim mayor reminds me that Shea’s record does have plenty of examples of racism and bigotry.

Here’s Khan’s message:

Irvine is a uniquely diverse city, and we celebrate our diversity through many celebrations throughout the city and our signature event, the Irvine Global Village Festival. However, as Councilmembers, our job spans more than just photo ops at events. It’s our job to make sure that every member of our community feels safe and that they know they have a representative looking out for their best interest.

In the race for Mayor, we have an opportunity to restore that vision of inclusion and giving everyone a seat at the table. In the 30+ years, Irvine has lived under the rule of our appointed mayor’s racism where anti-immigrant sentiment has risen to unprecedented levels. I have said it before and will repeat it – LEADERSHIP MATTERS! The words, actions, and silence of our elected officials carry a great deal of weight in our community, and we must take this responsibility seriously.

In 2018, our Council wanted to put our most vulnerable immigrant community at risk by opposing SB 54, which provides basic levels of support for our diverse immigrant communities. I wasn’t elected at the time, but I made sure that I showed up and spoke up against this move. While I spoke up on behalf of our immigrant communities, Mayor Pro Tem Christina Shea rejected her elected duties to vote on behalf of her constituents and left the Council meeting, never casting a vote on this critical issue. She not only left the dais, but she also left our community on their own, without any representation.

In 2019, as the representative of our diverse city at the United States Conference of Mayors, our appointed Mayor put her racist views before her duty to serve the people of Irvine. She voted seven different times against our immigrant families. These votes included a vote AGAINST “Upholding Existing US Humanitarian Policies and Supporting Refugees”, a vote AGAINST workforce visas that would bring the brightest minds worldwide to the United States. She also cast the ONLY NO VOTE of any Mayor in the United States against working with Black artists.

Earlier this year, when the Coronavirus was being called the Chinese Virus by President Donald Trump, and we saw an uptick in hate incidents towards our Chinese and Asian American communities, appointed Mayor Shea did nothing – I take that back – she continued to donate her personal funds to President Donald Trump four separate times. In the meantime, I took action and immediately drafted a Resolution taking a stand against hate towards our Chinese and Asian American community members.

When in the aftermath of the peaceful BLM protests in Irvine, we heard the community speak loud and clear about issues they wanted to resolve. I pulled together the community for Round Table discussions with our Irvine Police Chief and Assistant Chief. Meanwhile, our Appointed Mayor was quoted in the LA Times telling people that if they didn’t like the way “her” city was run, they could find another city to live in.

And most recently, when I brought forward a formal City Resolution on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, our Appointed Mayor deceived our community by telling them it was a Resolution regarding Prop 16.  I was forced to postpone discussing this crucial Resolution to a later date because she again chose to divide and conquer.

This is a pattern of racism, and it needs to end. We cannot afford to have someone leading our city that does not believe in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. We cannot have someone leading our city that does not understand that protesting is our right. We cannot have someone leading our city who is out of touch when it comes to current issues, misrepresents the truth, tears communities apart, and worst of all, someone who walks away from her oath of office when residents need her the most.

***

Shea’s record regarding city policies about the LGBTQ community is well documented.  But I also recall her complaining that a city council meeting had to be moved because of Yom Kippur, when, at the time, the city had three city council members who were Jewish.  Guess a council meeting on Christmas eve would be OK, right?

Time for a change. Retire Christina Shea and give us a Mayor who’s inclusive, not divisive.

15 Comments

  1. Christina Shea Christina Shea October 24, 2020

    It is amazing to me Farrah Kahn chooses yesterday as her day like many other days in this election , to post this misinformation about me. The FPPC officially began an.investigation yesterday into Farrah Kahn taking foreign money from the Republic of Azerbaijan. Representing our City as an official without authorization in a hostile US Country, is a serious activity.
    To run from this serious issue,,she turns then to this unbelievable rant about me as being a racist. I did not file for this investigation.

    I have served this community for almost 30 years and never until this year under Farrah Kahn’s leadership, ever been labeled a racist, because I am not.
    But this has become the hallmark of her campaign,….not her plans for the City.

    Her Council item two weeks ago was moving forward, then she and Melissa Fox pulled the item just as the meeting got started… I did not pull it and the item wasn’t heard or discussed at all. . I was looking forward to hearing what she was proposing in her memo .Multiple residents sent in ecomments opposing her proposal.
    I didn’t reach out to residents to stop the hearing as she is falsely implying.

    I asked the City Attorney, what was the suggested outcome of her plan which was confusing I will admit, and even he couldn’t explain the outcome if adopted. Councilwoman Fox was correct to ask to have the item pulled for better clarification at a later date..

    Not only is Farrah Kahn being investigated for her illegal foreign money acceptance, she has been asked by a resident to officially investigate her facebook use as a public official
    That request is now before the City Attorney.

    She additionally demanded our police to bend the knee, in June at a protest she arranged at City Hall, violating City Municipal Codes, which she is stating to the community. she never did, which isn’t true. She did.

    She voted to take 5 million dollars of our City Reserves and give 5 million dollars for free rent to students and renters…and when would that subsidy stop?
    I suggest …not for a long time …and we would be facing major fiscal debt with her unwise vote. She states it was Care dollars she approved but no, watch the video,..it was our reserves as we didn’t have an extra $5 million in Cares money allocated to us. for rent subsidies
    There are multiple examples of her lack of good common sense as an overseer of this community.
    But to turn her present FPPC investigation into a racist rant on me is irresponsible and deflecting from dealing with her responsibility as an elected to tell the truth.

    Let’s debate her votes on additional housing recently, which I opposed,
    let’s talk about how we are going to reinvigorate our business economy this coming year.

    Turning campaigns into smear campaigns happens when substance can’t be defended.
    I have served Irvine for 30 years with no history of creating unrest or disharmony via racist tactics.
    I am endorsed by the Irvine Police and the OC Fire Fighters and multiple residents that know me, trust me and don’t believe Farrah Kahn’s need to win by turning me into some radical, right wing racist, which I am not .

    • Esci Walker Esci Walker October 24, 2020

      It’s always whataboutism with you. Straight out of the Trump playbook.

    • Jonathan Beer Jonathan Beer October 24, 2020

      “No history of creating unrest” says the woman who quite literally shoved herself into and divided the community with Measure N. Take some responsibility for once.

      Also, maybe you shouldn’t be the one talking about misuse of Facebook as a public official. Or is it a different Christina Shea that has a lawsuit against her for actions on the same platform?

    • Dan Chmielewski Dan Chmielewski Post author | October 24, 2020

      Khan traveled to Azerbaijan as part of a multi-cultural event sponsored by the UN. She did not represent the city and went as a private citizen with travel grants also used by two rabbis and a journalist from Brietbart. Unlike you, she reported them on her form 700. Azerbaijan is a US military ally to the tune of $120 million a year. Khan was never on stage with anyone. She sat in the audience. If you’re banking on the security expertise of Mr. Newgent, he demonstrates his ignorance of world affairs regularly. You have no history of disharmony? Google your name and Measure N. No gay pride parades in the city because you’re a mom?

      • Dan Chmielewski Dan Chmielewski Post author | October 24, 2020

        Here’s what Farrah wrote on her Facebook that addresses your comments, Ms. Shea:

        A City Council candidate and active supporter of my opponent is attacking my character, challenging my loyalty to this country and has filed an FPPC (Fair Political Practices Commission) complaint to create the appearance that I have done something corrupt. It’s slimy politics and nothing more.

        He knows it’s easy to mislead people with unfounded allegations. These days, you don’t even need a postage stamp to file an FPPC complaint. There are no consequences when the complaint is unfounded, but in the meantime you create the appearance of wrongdoing, knowing “a lie can travel half way round the world before the truth gets its pants on.”

        Here’s what you need to know:

        I attended the 5th Annual World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue held in Azerbaijan in May 2019. The theme ‘Building dialogue into action against discrimination, inequality and violent conflict’ reflects priorities I have fought for as the Executive Director of the Newport-Mesa-Irvine Interfaith Council, and for which I was recognized by CLUE (Clergy and Laity for Economic Justice) with their Architects of Justice Award.

        It was an extraordinary opportunity to be part of a conference highlighting the importance of intercultural and interfaith dialogue and creating a more just world — interests I am proud to support. This was not official city business and no taxpayer dollars were spent. I attended as a private citizen, not in an official capacity, and I advised the City Manager I would be traveling out of the country for the Forum. To help with expenses, I applied for and received a grant for travel costs which I publicly reported.

        That’s it. No corruption. Just me participating in a conference advocating values of respectful engagement among people of different backgrounds. As for challenging my loyalty to this country, that’s just a racist dog-whistle. I’m a proud American and a proud resident of Irvine whose raised my children to act with integrity and respect everyone, regardless of gender, race, religion, color, national origin or even political affiliation.

        In eleven days the election will be over. It’s a shame I have to take time out from walking precincts and engaging voters to set the record straight. I hope voters judge me for my record, my commitment to building bridges and the respectful way I lead and serve — something I’m very proud of.

        • Christina Shea Christina Shea October 24, 2020

          Yes she stated in her above narrative she traveled to Azerbaijan, as she says, as a private citizen. She was, however, and is, an elected official who was required to file a 700 form which shows the government of the Republic of Azerbaijan paid for her trip.
          She accepted a minimum of $1680
          If she was simply a private citizen traveling with her church group or religious leaders, accepting foreign money can still be a problem

          But she is and was an elected official when she went with this delegation and the law doesn’t give her the luxury of being a private citizen who can take foreign money

          Now come on Dan even you know at a minimum taking over $500 is illegal as an elected official, which she accepted and which she declared on her 700 form.

          Private citizens don’t fill out 700 forms

          Once you become an elected official you are under different standards by law.

          She filed for a grant with who and how much was she awarded?

          She was there quite awhile as the conference was a one day conference.
          That must be explained as well.

          Good effort trying to spin the truth Farrah by creating this suggested narrative that the average citizen would believe, however, you know the law or should and you violated FPPC standards at minimum and now you are being investigated officially, and justifiably so.

          A walk down memory lane Dan, she additionally cut a deal with Councilmember Carroll, a Republican, to change his voter registration so she could vote to appoint him to Council, do you remember the coffee shop event Dan?

          That is another incident I am shocked you didn’t investigate. You are quite selective as a detective in who you pursue in court or elsewhere.

          And Measure N was 35 years ago, we repealed it and time to move on from that campaign narrative.

          • Shady Shea Shady Shea October 25, 2020

            You Republicans have ZERO credibility, especially you trump-supporting diet nazis. No one believes you, and the silent majority is rising against you. Now kindly stop spreading bullshit, and enjoy your retirement even though you don’t deserve to.

            – Former Republican Voter, voting Democrat for the first time.

          • Dan Chmielewski Dan Chmielewski Post author | October 26, 2020

            You voted for Carroll. She reported this at an Irvine City Council meeting. City attorney had no problem then or now. Meanwhile you support the liar Mark Newgent who bills himself as a security expect but his security advice is routinely a train wreck nationally. Ask Mark about Irvine police reports he has filed that we’re deemed bullshit by IPD.

    • Neeraj Raafi Neeraj Raafi October 25, 2020

      Irvine mayoral candidate Farrah Khan is under investigation for allegedly accepting a gift from a foreign government, the State of California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) has confirmed.

      The investigation comes less than two weeks before the Nov. 3 election, and is the latest in a series of controversies and scandals that have erupted in the city council and mayoral elections in Irvine, California.

      City council candidate Mark Newgent alleges in his complaint filed with FPPC that Khan accepted an offer from the Republic of Azerbaijan to pay for her trip to Baku, Azerbaijan, in late April 2019 to attend the 5th World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue. 
      “I became alarmed for several reasons,” Newgent wrote in his complaint. “City council member Kahn’s conduct appears to be a clear violation of the Political Reform Act’s Gift provisions. More importantly—as a retired army captain and decorated Anti-Terrorism Officer—I can tell you from experience that taking money from hostile foreign governments—such as Azerbaijan—is often an indicator of subversive activity.” 
      “Aside from the Gift violations, as an American, veteran and City of Irvine resident, I find it quite disturbing that Council Member Khan would accept an invitation to such an event knowing that she would be sharing the stage with Iranian government officials—and that the event would be covered by the Iran Press Agency,” Newgent stated.
      The event was organized by the Republic of Azerbaijan in cooperation with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and other international organizations.
      Experience the best way to read The Epoch Times online. Try our free app for a limited time.
      The FPPC letter dated Oct. 22 is signed by Galena West, FPPC’s enforcement chief, and states the FPPC is investigating the claim, but has not made a determination about the validity of the allegations.
      MOST READ

      Newgent said Khan reported that on April 29, 2019, she accepted gifts totaling $1,693 from the Republic of Azerbaijan on her Form 700 Statement of Economic Interests filed on March 11, 2020. Under federal law, elected officials are prohibited from accepting gifts directly or indirectly from foreign governments, and gifts from any single source of more than $500 in a single calendar year. 
      Irvine Mayor Christina Shea told The Epoch Times that Khan had not informed the council she had planned to attend the event in an official capacity or ceremonial role as an elected official representing Irvine City Council.

      Council member Melissa Fox was also invited by the Azerbaijan government to attend the event, but declined the offer, Shea said. “I know that they had invited Melissa Fox, and she was very uncomfortable, because they have been warned about taking foreign money.”
      Fox could not immediately be reached for comment.

      When Khan returned, she discussed the trip at a May, 2019, council meeting, but Shea was under the impression Khan had gone on a personal trip related to involvement in an interfaith group in Orange County. “I did not have any understanding that this foreign government was paying her.”
      “This is very odd, because she was invited as an elected official from Irvine. She had only been holding office for three months, and she went to this foreign country. What she spoke about, I have no idea,” Shea said. “She was not authorized to go … and she did not get any city approval. The bottom line is, what she took was inappropriate.”
      CAIR Connections

      Anila Ali, a self-described moderate Muslim, who ran unsuccessfully against Khan for city council in 2016, told The Epoch Times that Khan is backed by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and CAIR PAC, its political action committee. Ali claims that Khan and other CAIR supporters have harassed her over her support of Israel and women’s rights. 

      Ali also ran as a Democrat in California’s 74th State Assembly district in 2014. She is a schoolteacher in Los Angeles, who once taught in Irvine. 
      When contacted by The Epoch Times, Khan declined to comment on Ali’s allegations.
      Several years ago, former President Barack Obama asked Ali to speak at the White House and implement his Countering Violent Extremism Task Force policy. Ali said Khan “and her CAIR activist friends” tried to prevent her from speaking at Democratic events. 

      Although Khan has been endorsed by the Democratic Party and was the first Muslim elected to Irvine City Council, Ali doesn’t support her. 
      “I don’t think she is a true Democrat, just like she told me I’m not a true Muslim,” said Ali. “If she’s really working for Azerbaijan, I want to know, because I have Armenian friends.” 

      The Trump administration has “waded cautiously into international efforts to halt fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan,” the Associated Press reported on Oct. 23. The two former Soviet republics are engaged in their worst conflict in more than 25 years over the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh.

      • Dan Chmielewski Dan Chmielewski Post author | October 25, 2020

        Massive story in The NY Times this morning equating the Epoch Times as conservative trash.

  2. Christina Shea Christina Shea October 25, 2020

    So Dan you removed my follow up comment explaining why Farrah Kahn’s publuc excuse for taking foreign money isn’t a legal or rationale explanation ?

    • Dan Chmielewski Dan Chmielewski Post author | October 25, 2020

      I don’t remove anyone’s posts. Sometimes they go to SPAM folder which I delete without reviewing

  3. Christina Shea Christina Shea October 25, 2020

    It has reposted thank you

  4. HMilk HMilk October 25, 2020

    Shea is a bigot who hates LGBTQ+ members of our community. She actually started her career from anti-gay bigotry. Irvine is a diverse community and someone like Shea should not be the elected Mayor of such a diverse city.

    We will retire her this election and she can slink back to her little condo.

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