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.