An open letter to Khan and Agran cites a failure to keep City Council meetings safe and orderly.
An open letter penned by concerned residents and business owners of Orange County and the City of Irvine has been issued to Irvine Mayor Farrah Khan and Vice Mayor Larry Agran, calling for the two Councilmembers to resign amid recent controversy.
The controversy in question surrounds their failure to keep City Council meetings orderly, as well as discussion of a resolution seeking a ceasefire in the Gaza-Israel conflict. Though such a resolution has not officially been put forth, it would be illegal under Irvine Municipal Code Section 1-2-317. The code reads as follows:
“The City Council will not consider or act upon matters of a nonmunicipal nature, such as political endorsements, measures submitted to voters, and bond issues or tax overrides of other agencies. While individual members of the Council may take public positions concerning nonmunicipal affairs, they shall not do so during or as part of any City meeting or official function.”
Khan and Agran introducing divisive geopolitical matters into the City Council’s agenda has resulted in a "disruptive and hate-filled environment" characterized by "taunting, heckling, and fear mongering," according to the open letter.
Throughout the December 12, 2023 meeting, where Khan and Agran first indicated their interest in a ceasefire resolution, the vast majority of public comments received were concerned only with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and not municipal matters.
Furthermore, recent meetings have seen an increased presence of Irvine Police Department officers, raising eyebrows among residents who are concerned about safety and the allocation of police resources. Note that the public recording of the December 12 meeting opens with attendees shouting loudly at one another as police officers stand by ready to intercept before an abrupt editing cut to the Call to Order.
“Instead of addressing the important priorities of the people of Irvine, you continue diverting vital city resources to entertain busloads of people who take up critical council time to spew hateful messages and sow more chaos and divisiveness,” the letter reads.
It is worth noting that other California cities such as San Francisco and Santa Ana have attempted to pass their own ceasefire resolutions. In most cases, the resolutions have failed to garner enough support to pass, let alone impact the conflict in Gaza. But such attempts have sparked a national conversation about the appropriateness of discussing international affairs that fall well outside a city’s jurisdiction at City Council meetings.
While there is no doubt that Mayor Khan and Vice Mayor Agran will disregard the letter, it does show the public’s growing dissatisfaction with the growing tendency for public officials to use global events as a means to engage in political theater.