Press "Enter" to skip to content

Khan votes with Republicans to Appoint Mike Carroll to Irvine City Council; Draws Ire from Forgetful Democrats

Irvine Council member Farrah Khan lent her vote at Tuesday’s meeting to appoint Irvine Planning Commissioner Mike Carroll to fill a vacancy on the Irvine City Council and a number of folks are losing their minds.

Carroll, the husband of IUSD trustee Betty Carroll, was always the favorite among the Republican majority (sorry Carrie O’Malley).  Ms. Carroll is technically DTS but runs with the Irvine right wingers. That said, her work on the school board has been decidedly non-partisan

So I’m watching heads explode on social media with various folks blasting Khan for her vote.  I half expect the party to pass a resolution condemning her vote at the next meeting which will be … awkward given that Khan’s accusation of bullying from a party vice chair remains unresolved and unmentioned at meetings, and this vice chair is also a co-chair of the resolutions committee.  Khan has been threated — by this same party leader — with recall just six weeks after taking office for appointing a Republican commissioner while her Democratic council colleague has had a Republican commissioner for two years without the same threat.  So the long knives have been out for Khan for some time.

Democrats had a chance last November to not only avoid this outcome by electing Ed Pope, a former teacher and military vet who led the fight against Measure B’s Vet’s cemetery land swap.  Pope was the only Democrat running.  He did not pursue the DPOC endorsement because he was told he wouldn’t get it because he was an “Agranista,” a derogatory term for a political figure some/many in the party feel is no longer relevant (until Measure B won a resounding and decisive victory).  Pope got more votes than any other candidate running for city council but was dramatically outspent by Republican Don Wagner (who didn’t want to be mayor but needed the title as a platform to run for Supervisor) and massive amounts of developer dollars in the form of IEs.

Democrats had a chance to keep Wagner in the Mayor’s chair by electing Loretta Sanchez to the third district county supervisor’s seat.  Sanchez beat Wagner in Irvine and did well in Tustin.  But Democrats failed her in Orange, Yorba Linda, Villa Park and Anaheim Hills.  When barely one of every four voters bothers to turn out and Republicans always vote in special elections, things would have stayed the same in Irvine and we’d have a second Democrat on the Supervisor’s dais.

The reality in Irvine is it’s less about D’s and R’s as it is pro-developer and anti-developer.  Former Mayor Beth Krom chimed in on the criticism against Khan to say a special election isn’t a given for a Democrat due to the amount of money developers would have poured into a race to elect another pro-developer council member.

Over on the weekend open thread blog, Greg Diamond suggests Lauren Johnson-Norris would have won a special election had it been called and that she enjoyed strong support from the DPOC.  LJN got the party’s endorsement when the rules on endorsements were suspended to endorse both she and Farrah Khan by acclamation.  I’m not entirely sure either would have had the needed 60% to qualify for the endorsement.  And where was Greg when Pope was on the ballot?

Perhaps he should stick to writing television reviews.

Again, we had a chance for a blue majority in November.  Some in the party leadership were disappointed Pope didn’t apply for the endorsement just so they could refuse to give it to him.

In watching all this criticism of Khan go down, I’m reminded about a short speech Diana Lee Carey made to the DPOC in 2017 asking how many in the room have been elected to city councils or school boards.  Not many hands went up.  She referenced how when you’re elected, you have to work with the other side to get things done, especially when on the minority.  And she’s right.  If people are going to draw and quarter Khan, where are the torches for Melissa Fox on the cemetery issue (it would have been under construction by now at ARDA), or ones for Jose Moreno in Anaheim with his support for Tom Tait’s agenda, or Letita Clark working with the GOP Majority in Tustin on issues?  The outrage is selective based on who the council member is which is why Jordan Brandman is regularly criticized and Moreno is not.

So Carroll’s on the council.  Shea is mayor and is as weak as he’s ever been.  Emile Haddad didn’t have to whip out his checkbook and City Manager John Russo can likely start going home again at 3PM; we are 18 months from a new election which will have a large voter turnout.  If Irvine Democrats want that council majority, let someone come forward and run for Mayor.  Let someone come forward and challenge Carroll.  Fox is running for assembly so he seat is up for grabs.

I did sign the petition calling for a special election.  I did max my political contributions to Farrah Khan in 2018 and will do so again in 2022.  Do I expect every elected leader to vote as I’d like?  No.  That’s not realistic.



  1. Dan Chmielewski Dan Chmielewski Post author | May 15, 2019

    Farrah issued this statement on social media:

    After voting, supporting and pushing for former Mayor Sukhee Kang, former candidate for council and chair of the Community Services Commission Shiva Farivar, Commissioner Lauren Johnson and Scott Hansen, I made the decision to vote in support of Mike Carroll’s appointment because it was the right thing to do for Irvine. I opposed the idea of a special election for this short term because the costs outweighed the benefits. I spent much of last month fighting to keep funding for Irvine public schools in the budget. It is irresponsible to spend nearly a million dollars on a special election when we are facing budget deficits.

    The partisan makeup of our council made it difficult for a candidate from either major political party to secure the votes needed for the appointment. Mike is a registered independent, and my support for his appointment represented the only hope of avoiding a costly special election. I believe that Mike’s values are in line with those of our city’s residents. I met with every candidate for appointment who would meet with me. We discussed what is important in Irvine and our values. I believe that Mike’s appointment will help the city get things done that would otherwise have been deadlocked.

    I look forward to working with Councilmember Carroll, along with the rest of our colleagues on the City Council, on affordable housing, the climate action plan and a better transit programs.

    More on Mike Carroll. He’s a registered independent. His wife Betty is an IUSD trustee and she’s a naturalized citizen of Mexican heritage; his kids are half Latino. So the make up of the City Council is 2Rs, 2Ds and 1-I.

    Additionally, Farrah reached out to meet with everyone who applied. My understanding is Lauren Johnson Norris would not meet with her. Despite this, Farrah voted for her on multiple rounds.

    If Mr. Carroll governs has his wife does on IUSD, he’ll be the swing vote. Expect him to support issues on both sides of the aisle.

  2. Alan Alan May 16, 2019

    The only thing I will say on this matter is this. We now have a mayor that no one voted for to be mayor and a council member that no one voted for to be a council member. That is 2 out of five if your doing the math. What’s wrong with this picture?

  3. Alan Alan May 16, 2019

    The only thing I will say on this matter is this. We now have a mayor that no one voted for to be mayor and a council member that no one voted for to be a council member. That is 2 out of five if you’re doing the math. What’s wrong with this picture?

    • Dan Chmielewski Dan Chmielewski Post author | May 16, 2019

      Yep and it will all change in Nov 2020; Fox will be gone from the council as she’s running for assembly. So two seats will be up on the council and the mayor’s seat is up every 2 years.

  4. Alan Alan May 16, 2019

    We now have a mayor and a council member who both received a total of zero votes for the position they hold.

  5. OC DEM OC DEM May 17, 2019

    With Vern in a sober living facility (ironically, the same kind that his fellow militant activists Victor, Oscar, Jose and the Robbims) protest, fresh out of Lengthy second stint in court ordered rehab, It’s been up to Greg to stir the pot.

    Ever anxious to regain his inclusion with the LeTournue/Briceno cabal, he is playing hatchet man on Farrah Kahn, for the handlers. The trouble is: Greg Diamond does’nt know jack shit about Irvine, it’s people or politics. He thinks because showed up at city hall with a stale loaf of bread at occupy and commandeered the mic at Occupy he does.

    But the point is, Greg yet again is attacking good Democrats for personal gain. In my veiw, Greg was at first annoying, then disruptive and finally dangerous. What happens with this foolish soul, is squarely on his bosses, who is happy to look the other way when they threaten, abuse and mistreat women. No matter what their color.

    And while were at it, why doesn’t’t “pro-vet” Diamond ask his team about STOLEN VALOR? Maybe because if he did he wouldn’t’t be allowed on their Social Media!

    What a joke.

    • Dan Chmielewski Dan Chmielewski Post author | May 19, 2019

      Greg doesn’t know Irvine. The Measure B vote was last June primary election not November. And my understanding is SQS is close on funding for ARDA. My post explained the meeting and Greg just missed it. Strader was supposed to meet about dispensaries and got there early

  6. Howard Roll Howard Roll May 22, 2019

    As an Irvine resident and casual political observer, Mr. Chmielewski’s cogent article had one key summary sentence:

    “The reality in Irvine is it’s less about D’s and R’s as it is pro-developer and anti-developer.”

    We all know which side Shea and Kuo take. Fox is leaving. Will Carroll join his fellow GOP councilmembers to toe the Irvine Company/Five Point line? If he does then Khan’s alliance to residents won’t matter nearly as much, and it’s once again back to the long game of changing City Council’s balance.

  7. OC DEM OC DEM May 22, 2019

    The insane discussion on the DGI FB page regarding the Mike Fox/Jeff LeTourneu letter, reminded me that Jose Moreno was NPP or DNS for YEARS before re-registering as a Democrat to run for council.

    I remember the glee, pomp and circumstance surrounding that. I think Greg Diamond slobbered on the keyboard over that one
    And Jose’s alignment with right wingers like Tom Tait, Cynthia Ward and, my favorite: Howard “shock therapy cures homosexuality” Ahmanson, shows just how self serving and hypocritical one can be. Lest Jeff forget, that Julie Tait and Tom’s Fathers veiws on homosexuality are right of Sallie Dornan.

    None of that matters to the wanna be Junta of Jeff and Ada.

    I’ll say this to my fellow Dems: Be careful what you wish for.

  8. Oc democrat Oc democrat May 22, 2019

    I can’t fathom given all the many worthy candidates we will have for different offices in 2022 any Democrat will spend a penny or lift a finger to help Farrah Khan ever again after how she betrayed the many who volunteered for her, donated to her campaign, and voted for her.

    • Dan Chmielewski Dan Chmielewski Post author | May 23, 2019

      I fully supported her in 2018 and maxed out my contribution to her; I will do so again in a heartbeat

Comments are closed.