Irvine Mayor Beth Krom and Mayor Pro Tempore Sukhee Kang discussed the interplay between UC Irvine and the Irvine community on Jan. 19 in the Administration Building. The Associated Students of UCI sponsored the event, which aimed to increase student civic participation.
Krom stressed that the aspiration to be a part of the solution to improve civic matters initially spurred her toward a career in politics.
‘Politicians are not hatched in a breeding farm somewhere,’ Krom said. ‘They are people who slowly got involved in the community.’
UCI students make up a large part of the voting process each election year and therefore have tremendous control in issues concerning the Irvine community. Several students have worked actively with UCI workers last year to alleviate labor issues. These issues concern council members who view UCI as a critical component in the Irvine community.
Krom strives to increase citizen participation in civic matters and public awareness both locally and regionally. She works to bring together educational, business and civic entities in order to promote a well-rounded city and improve the Irvine community.
‘Virtually everything being taught at UCI has a life application,’ Krom said. ‘It’s very important for people to be engaged.’
Krom stressed the importance of finding more ways to bridge the interaction between the UCI campus and the community.
Kang began his civic participation years ago with service to the Korean American community. In November 2004, Kang was elected to the Irvine City Council, indicating a crucial political breakthrough in Irvine’s growing multicultural community. He was unanimously elected for the office of Mayor Pro Tempore in January 2005.
Kang’s commitment to an inclusive government now includes an Irvine Annual Survey conducted online and by direct mail. This survey is accessible to every Irvine household and is conducted in order to determine the best policies and programs for the city.
Kang is currently concerned with growth issues, such as new traffic, that will directly affect UCI in the future.
‘We need to find out how we can grow our city and keep traffic away from the inner circle,’ Kang said.
According to Kang, a good partnership between Irvine council members and UCI is essential for alleviating student housing issues and providing supportive, affordable options for students.
‘UCI is a core element of the quality of life in the Irvine community,’ Kang said.
ASUCI President Carlos Feliciano encouraged fellow students to engage in civic matters and think about solutions.
‘Politics is more than just going to the polls. It’s every day, a chance to be engaged, to be a part of the solution that benefits the university and the city,’ Feliciano said.
Feliciano hopes to have students concerned with issues that will directly affect UCI.
The goal of council members is to maintain a safe and vibrant environment with high standards.