IRVINE – The election season is hard to miss in this city, where you see rows upon rows of campaign signs everywhere you drive.
While Irvine enjoys its reputation as one of the safest cities and best places to live, the master planned community is facing its share of growth pains as one of the fastest growing cities in California. Residents are increasingly frustrated with traffic congestion and overcrowded schools.
Whoever gets on the City Council after the Nov. 8 election will be tasked with tackling these issues, as well as deciding what to build on the city’s yet-to-be-developed, 248-acre Cultural Terrace area of the Orange County Great Park.
Eleven candidates, including incumbent Christina Shea, are on the ballot to fill two open seats on the five-member dais. Below are responses to a questionnaire the Register sent out to each of the City Council candidates (Dale Cheema didn’t respond).
1. What are the skills, qualities or accomplishments that make you the best person for this job?
I grew up in Irvine, benefiting from remarkable public schools, fantastic pathways and parks, and safe neighborhoods: the very reasons many people moved here. My family owned Chinatown Restaurant, a small business near UC Irvine, for over 20 years. Those roots, combined with four years as a council aide and six years as a commissioner, uniquely prepare me to continue leading Irvine. I’m passionate about Irvine, committed to our community and experienced to lead.
2. What two promises are you willing to make? On what are you unwilling to compromise? Be specific and concrete.
Traffic is a growing challenge in the city. I will push to re-instate Irvine’s Traffic Commission, which was dissolved over a decade ago. We need leadership from everyday folks who drive on our streets to help us prioritize transportation improvements, and to help identify cost-effective, commonsense solutions to gridlock on our streets. We need to wisely use the millions of dollars in developer fees we’ve collected to actually benefit Irvine’s roads and quality of life.
3. What are your thoughts on the ongoing and proposed residential developments in the city?
If we could visit the grocery store without circling the parking lot twice for parking, get from one end of town to the other in a reasonable amount of time, or drop our kids off at school without pulling our hair out, life would be so much less stressful. We need to ensure and demand that the effects of residential and commercial development are completely mitigated before allowing new projects to move forward.
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