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Choi to Run for Mayor in Irvine

Termed out Irvine City Council member Dr. Steven Choi is a candidate for mayor in the 2012 election and it brings up all sorts of fun to look forward to in the coming election cycle.

Choi, who embarrassed himself and the city by wearing a Photoshopped image of then Speaker Nancy Pelosi as Stalin in 2009, was the subject of voter fraud charges from former Assembly candidate Jerry Amante, then Mayor of Tustin.  Choi and his entire family were registered to vote from a rented condo/apartment in Woodbridge while the city councilman was still clearly residing in a posh Woodbury home.

It is my position and the position of many here that a candidate “carpetbagging” in order to run for office in a district where they already represent a number of the same voters in another capacity is no big deal, but Choi’s folding chair and card table furniture was very different that the whole house move made by Harry Sidhu and Lorri Galloway when both ran for the 4th district supervisor’s race.

From Choi’s website:

As a first generation immigrant from South Korea, I have been able to achieve the American Dream. I have gained knowledge through my education and experience from raising my family, running a small business, and serving our community here in Irvine. I understand the significance of providing opportunities, memories, and dreams for all Irvine citizens, and I want to take all actions necessary to continue building a forward-looking city.

Indeed, I’ve been serving our Irvine community as an elected official since 1998; I had the fortunate experience to serve as an elected member of the School Board of the Irvine Unified School District. After serving six years as a school board member, my fellow Irvine citizens elected me to the City Council in 2004. In 2008, I was proud to be re-elected to serve a second term as a City Councilman until 2012. With two full terms (the full course training!), I have sufficiently acquired the necessary knowledge and skills to successfully and effectively lead the City as Mayor.

I want to maintain our city’s reputation as the finest and most desirable place to live, work, learn and play. My top priorities as Mayor will be ensuring public safety, strengthening our schools, expanding freedom for Irvine citizens, developing a friendlier business environment, enhancing community aesthetics, and efficiency building the Great Park, without increasing the tax burden. I, too, am an Irvine resident who understands the tough economic realities and future challenges we face. I will take the necessary steps to make changes and adopt principles essential to benefiting our society to my fullest ability.

And Choi released a list of endorsements too:

Orange County Young Republicans

Elected Officials
John Campbell, Congressman for the 48th District
Dana Rohrabacher, Congressman for the 46th District
Tom Harman, Senator for the 35th District
Mimi Walters, Senator for the 33rd District
Bob Huff, Senator for the 29th District
Dick Ackerman, former Senator for the 33rd District
Jim Silva, Assemblyman for the 67th District
Allan Mansoor, Assemblyman for the 68th District
Jeff Miller, Assemblyman for the 71st District
Diane Harkey, Assemblywoman for the 73rd District
Van Tran, former Assemblyman for the 68th District
Chuck DeVore, former Assemblyman for the 70th District
Todd Spitzer, former Assemblyman for the 71st District, Orange County Supervisor, and Assistant District Attorney
Bill Campbell, Orange County Supervisor
Patricia Bates, Orange County Supervisor
Shawn Nelson, Orange County Supervisor
Tom Wilson, former Orange County Supervisor
Bill Habermehl, Orange County Superintendent of Schools
Jeffrey Lalloway, Irvine City Councilmember
Christina Shea, former Irvine Mayor and City Councilmember
Greg Smith, former Irvine City Councilmember
Gary Capata, Mayor of Laguna Niguel
L. Anthony Beall, Mayor of Rancho Santa Margarita
Margie L. Rice, Mayor of Westminster
Steve Nagel, Mayor of Fountain Valley
Fred Smith, Mayor of Buena Park
Allan K. Yung, Mayor of San Marino
Robert Ming, Mayor Pro Tem of Laguna Niguel
Jeremy Yamaguchi, Mayor Pro Tempore of Placentia
G. Henry Charoen, Mayor Pro Tem of La Palma
Art Brown, former Mayor of Buena Park
Joe Anderson, former Mayor of San Clemente
Art Yoon, former Mayor of Hermosa Beach
Trish Kelley, Mission Viejo City Councilmember
Jesse Petrilla, Rancho Santa Margarita City Councilmember
Kathryn McCullough, Lake Forest City Councilmember
Deborah Pauly, Villa Park City Councilmember
Denis Bilodeau, Orange City Councilmember
Matthew Harper, Huntington Beach City Councilmember
Harry Sidhu, Anaheim City Councilmember
Frank Fry, Westminster City Councilmember
Carol Warren, Stanton City Councilmember
Miller Oh, Buena Park City Councilmember
Beth Swift, Buena Park City Councilmember
Thomas Martin, Maywood City Councilmember
John Paul Ledesma, former Mission Viejo City Councilmember
John Q. Duong, Irvine Finance Commissioner
Sue Kuwabara, Irvine Unified School District Trustee
Nathan Zug, Magnolia School District Trustee
James M. Ferryman, OC Sanitation District Boardmember and Vice President of the Costa Mesa Sanitation District
Allen Barlett, OC Republican Central Committee Member
Lynn Schott, OC Republican Central Committee Member and Irvine Community Services Commissioner
Tim Whitacre, OC Republican Party Central Committee Member
Cuong Sinh Cao, OC Republican Party Central Committee Member

Community Leaders and Activists
Raghu Mathur, former Chancellor of South OC Community College District
Dr. James R. Cox, President of Argosy University-Southern California
Frances Akhavi, Irvine Republican Council Executive Director
Jack Wu, Vice Chairman of the American Dream Outreach Committee
Dwight Nakata, Past President 2010 of the Asian Business Association-OC
Thomas Coad, Community Leader
Sandra Beek, Corona Del Mar CRA Member
Sharyn M. Jones, Corona Del Mar CRA Member
Judy Miskanic, Corona Del Mar CRA Member
Alexandra Nichols, Corona Del Mar CRA Member
Bob Peringer, Corona Del Mar CRA Member
Anna Reagan, Corona Del Mar CRA Member
Beverly A. Riddell, Corana Del Mar CRA Member
Aniko Sherry, Corona Del Mar CRA Member
DH Thomson, Corona Del Mar CRA Member
Nancy C. Thomson, Corona Del Mar CRA Member
Cecilia Aguinaga, OC Vector Control District Trustee
Craig Boardman, Community Leader
Melanie Greenberg, Community Leader
Steve Greenberg, Community Leader
Jack Mao, Community Leader
Joel Perham, Community Leader
Clara Chen, Community Activist

At the moment, Choi has two advantages.  He’s the only declared candidate and Irvine Mayor Suhkee Kang is running for Congress.  Choi on the same ballot as Kang in November draws support from Irvine’s extensive Korean-American community and it’s well known that Choi’s best fundraising tool is the list of contributors on Kang’s filings.  Kang, a superstar in Korean-American politics, has big coattails that Choi gets votes with.  But for contributors to Kang, a Choi follow up phone call asking for money as well is not an uncommon practice in Irvine. 

And Choi is pretty wealthly — he spend a considerable sum of his own money in a losing effort for Assembly (tens of thousands of dollars).  It will be interesting to see how much he’s willing to spend to stay on the city council where it can certainly be argued he’s been the least effective city council member over tha last eight years.

In a debate situation, those kids at Northwood High’s award-winning debate program would eat Dr. No alive.  He platform could be the same as any of Irvine’s progressive democratic candidates.  And his ability to express himself coherently is painful for the listener — its not his command of English but instead his inability to finish a sentence or complete a thought.

Let’s consider Choi’s judgment for a moment.  He was one of the highest ranking OC electeds to attend a Michelle Bachmann for president event in Costa Mesa.  He has Deborah Pauly down as an endorsement in the face of the city’s strong Persian American community and there are a number of Muslims in Irvine as well.

It’s going to be fun watching Choi run this year.


  1. Howard be my name Howard be my name December 27, 2011

    And he has such great bipartisan endorsements! Oh, wait, he only has Kathryn McCullough.

    Shame on McCullough.

  2. Ltpar Ltpar January 1, 2012

    Dan, here you are once again, the great Spinmaster for the Agranistas, where imaginations run wild as you try an make a bunch of incompetent politicians look good. As I seem to recall Steven Choi was involved in Irvine politics while Suhkee Kang was working as a salesman for Circuit City. Steven has always had the Korean vote and support in his corner, which has helped him to win re-election to both School Board and City Council. Kang was just the rabbit in the hat Larry produced to round out his Agranista Team. Kang has played his role as a “Yes Man,” well and earned his keep. Although, far from the “superstar” you credit him with being, if Kang ran for local office in 2012, he would win. After he looses his congressional bid, perhaps he can once again get a real job?

    Let’s see now, who will the Agranista’s run against Choi for Mayor. Will it be King Larry or his trusty clone Beth Krom? Guess you know that better than the rest of us, but I am betting on Beth. She is well liked in the community and unless the voters snap out of their coma which is unlikely, Beth will be a formidable foe for Steven. Then, Larry will have to recruit a replacement for Kang’s position to hold his majority. As a master planner, I am sure Larry has someone picked, but an unknown running in a major election year could present problems. Then again, it all depends on who is one the Republican slate of candidates with Choi. To really take control of the Council, the slate would have to win all three positions, since I understand Jeff Lalloway has now kissed the King’s ring and cut a deal to be a silent partner for a few quid pro quo crumbs. Don’t see the Republican slate winning three of the seats, but they could land two of them. That would make Lalloway the swing vote and present some interesting times in Paradise. Happy New Year Dan and keep that spinning going, Larry is going to need it this time around.

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