Epoch Times: Irvine Vice Mayor Anthony Kuo Runs for Re-election
Excerpts from Rudy Blalock at the Epoch Times
After tackling issues like property crime, affordable housing, fire safety, and taxpayer advocacy while vice mayor, Kuo is now seeking re-election in the upcoming Nov 8 election.
As vice chair of the Orange County Fire Authority, Kuo said he has been a tireless advocate for fire safety in the city.
“One of the things that I really want to continue working on is the symbiotic relationship between the city of Irvine and the Orange County Fire Authority,” he said.
He said he recently helped initiate two town hall meetings on fire safety with experts and firefighters, in which about 100 residents attended.
According to Kuo, Irvine is one of the largest funders, via property taxes, of the fire authority, and as such, he said, he’d like to see more from the agency.
“We really pay into our services much more than what we’re receiving from it,” Kuo said.
During his time on the council, Kuo said, he has spent a great deal of time with city police, from ride-a-longs, accompanying them at DUI checkpoints, and during open houses and town hall meetings.
Kuo said councilors need more understanding of what challenges police face when overseeing department funding and their needs.
“There has to be some oversight, but it’s difficult to provide that if you’re not fully understanding what it is they’re going through,” he said.
Taxpayer advocacy is another accomplishment he boasts. According to Kuo, the city had a surplus of about $29 million in revenue last year from sales tax, and he has plans, if re-elected, to return some of it to taxpayers.
Kuo said he recently convinced councilors to return $5 million to city taxpayers from a utility tax—which was adopted in 1987 and mostly funds streetlights—but a delivery method for the refunds has not been decided upon yet.
“We have moved forward on a four-to-one vote to send some of those taxpayers’ money they’ve made back,” he said. so “I’m definitely excited about that.”
Developing more affordable housing in the city is also important—something Kuo said he has been working on.
He said as a child, his father managed a restaurant and his mother worked for a furniture company. He said with those jobs in today’s economy it would be hard to find an affordable house in Irvine.
“If in order to work in Irvine you have to live in Corona or Murrieta. That just doesn’t make sense,” he said.
To that end, Kuo is the chair of the Irvine Community Land Trust, a non-profit that works on affordable housing projects for the city. Recently, the organization received recognition for creating housing options for veterans and special needs residents.
Before his 2018 election to the council, he served on the city’s planning commission for 8 years, and prior to that Kuo worked in communications for different industries such as hospitality, trade groups, and investment banks. His experience, he said, has made him a better-elected official.
“I’ve learned how to take fairly complex issues and communicate [them] to the masses in a way that everyone can understand,” he said.
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