Irvine Politics: Final Two Weeks Countdown
By Farrah N. Khan
Irvine, CA

As we're gearing for the final week of the election countdown, some drastic steps have been taken by several Irvine leaders to reach out to their communities in hope of providing pertinent information about the upcoming election. Muslim community leaders have written a letter urging all Muslim voters to vote current Mayor Steven Choi and Councilman Jeff Lalloway out of office.  In addition, a complaint to the Anti-Defamation League resulted in their response to Mayor Choi demanding that he respect the community he serves.  

Excerpt from the Letter to Muslims in Irvine:

Today, we are writing to inform and encourage you to support and vote for Mary Ann Gaido for Mayor, Larry Agran and Melissa Fox for City Council in the upcoming November 4 th City election. These three candidates are not only in support of restoring good planning in Irvine but also restoring respect in City Hall for the Muslim community.

Our preferred team is Gaido-Agran-Fox. Our community is very familiar with Councilman Larry Agran who has attended many events at the mosque and is a strong supporter of our community. He is the one who initiated the Friendship Cities program in hopes of building stronger ties with the international community.


Mary Ann Gaido is a former City Councilwoman and a long-time Irvine Planning Commissioner who, when elected Mayor, is willing to place a moratorium on all new development until Irvine’s Master Plan is reviewed and current growth is evaluated. Melissa Fox is a Community Services Commissioner and works hard to plan and maintain Irvine’s award-winning parks and recreational programs. Earlier this year, Melissa helped facilitate a workshop for Muslim women in Orange County to coach them on how to seek leadership positions through civic engagement and grassroots organizing. Both women are in the forefront of establishing stronger relations with the Muslim community.

The Gaido-Agran-Fox Team is challenging the team led by Mayor Steven Choi, Councilman Jeff Lalloway and Planning Commissioner Lynn Schott. Choi and Lalloway have disrespected the planning process, recently approving 10,000 homes and apartments at the Great Park, and causing traffic and school overcrowding throughout Irvine. Plus, Steven Choi and Jeff Lalloway have also disrespected the Irvine Muslim community in several ways:

  • Mayor Choi and Councilman Lalloway have opposed establishing Friendship City ties to Pakistan. In recent City Council meetings, Choi and Lalloway stated they didn’t want to have relations with “terrorists”.
  • Mayor Choi and Councilman Lalloway were recently approached by a Muslim Montessori school who were being forced out of rented space at the El Camino School by the Irvine Unified School District. They did nothing to help the school and dismissed any request for intervention.
  • When Choi was City Councilman, he smeared Todd Gallinger’s campaign by airing television ads in which he warned voters not to vote for Todd because he had ties to “terrorists”.

We believe Irvine must be a leading “international crossroads city” in the 21 st Century, just as Councilman Larry Agran described it years ago. We believe that we once again need leaders who have a multi-cultural vision for Irvine – and who respect all cultures and all people. We also believe we once again need leaders who remain faithful to Irvine’s Master Plan and who have the courage to control growth and development.

This letter was signed by Todd Gallinger (CAIR-CA-PAC and Former Irvine City Council Candidate), Iyad Afalqa (Vice Chair of the Arab American Democrats of California), MohyEldeen F. Abdelgany (Community Leader, VP Engineering, Wireless Solutions and resident of Irvine), Sabry A. Aziz (Community Leader, Businessman and Resident of Irvine) and myself, Farrah N. Khan (CS Commissioner, City of Irvine, Businesswoman and Resident of Irvine).

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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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