Farrah Votes, As Predicted, to Cede Power to Irvine Republicans Without Election


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Farrah Khan (at left, in better days) appoints Michael Carroll to give Irvine GOP Council Majority, while Republicans laugh at their good luck

As widely predicted after she refused to rule out voting for a Republican to break a 2-2 partisan deadlock in order to vote an election and criticized people for saying that if she wouldn’t rule it out then that’s what she would inevitably end up doing, Democratic Councilwoman Farrah Khan voted for a Republican to fill Irvine’s empty Council seat, giving back the GOP the Council majority they would likely have lost had an election taken place.

The new Councilmember is former Community Services Commission Chair Michael Carroll. who is Managing Partner of CorpGen and the only attorney among their “team of attorneys” actually named on their website.  Formerly, he was “Senior Vice President, Chief Compliance Officer, and General Counsel of Medallion Financial Corp., a NASDAQ-traded commercial lender and FDIC-insured bank, and was Senior Counsel of Aames Investment Corporation, a NYSE-traded real estate investment trust.”  Some of my closest attorney friends are solo practitioners, as am I, but I’ve never seen them refer to a “team of attorneys” before.  It’s possible that the other attorneys simply aren’t listed on the website, even as “of counsel,” which certainly suggests pride in them.

While his appointment does bring back some diversity to the City Council, which hasn’t had a white male member since Don Wagner left for the Board of Supervisors, Farrah’s quickly giving into Republican intransigence (if you can even call it that, given that there’s not much need for one side to budge if they know that the other side will) rather than holding out the election that every bleeding Democrat wanted her to reach might surprise anyone who follows politics to any degree at all.  It’s not that hard to explain.

Farrah dislikes fellow Democratic Councilwoman Melissa Fox, apparently because Melissa endorsed another woman of color, Shiva Farivar, in the 2016 election (in which she was considered the Democratic frontrunner.  Here’s the funny thing, though: Melissa only endorsed Shiva after Agranistas Sukhee Kang (who by the way applied for this seat, so I guess he really has left Fullerton) and Beth Krom endorsed Shiva, as I recall at the behest of Krom’s former and Shiva’s then-campaign manager Melahat Rafiei (who, like Shiva, is Persian.)  Republican strategist Despicable Dave Gilliard also trained a bunch of ads against her, but not Fox, on the grounds that she was the weaker of the two and his client only had to beat one of them to win the other seat.

While Melahat and Gilliard are thus the reasons that Farrah lost in 2016, Farrah has chosen to blame Melissa instead.  (Melahat worked for her in her 2018 campaign and I’m told was her main adviser in this entire situation.  This contempt for Melissa also extends to her protege Lauren Johnson-Norris, who was the person most likely to win the special election, if it had been called.  Farrah didn’t want to be the one person sitting between two Republicans and two Team Fox Democrats.  She preferred to be the one of two estranged Democrats on a council with three Republicans.

This is, of course, pure craziness.  Farrah gave up the ability to be the deciding swing vote io pretty much everything coming before the Irvine Council — in other words, its most powerful member — in favor of being someone who will always be in the minority of a (not uncommon) party line vote.  This only makes sense if she wants to be able to be thwarted so as to avoid responsibility for any policies. And that is why the elephant in the graphic for this post is laughing.  How lucky can the Republicans get?

Farrah is not a popular person in the DPOC right now, which strongly supported Johnson-Norris.  But frankly, as a feminist Muslim, she has nowhere else to go.  We will spend however many years she has left in life listening to her explain why she had no choice but to cast a vote for a Republican because the city’s rules say that the Council shall appoint a replacement, with an election only occurring if they can’t.  That her position was laughable should be clear from the fact that neither of the Republicans cast even a single vote for a Democrat, which means that they clearly didn’t think that reaching an obvious stalemate on a 2-2 council was somehow a dereliction of duty.  I would say that it seemed impossible to get this through Farrah’s apparently bank-vault-wall thick head, except nobody seems to believe that she really believed that she was required to give in.  She gave in because she preferred to.

Fox is running for State Assembly against Steve Choi — which Farrah will presumably try to block, but her political power is not what it used to be a day ago — so the likelihood is that Republicans will be able to manage to replace her with one of their own, especially if Farrah continues to focus her efforts on undermining Johnson-Norris.  Then, Farrah will be the Democratic target for Republicans in 2022 — and will be running, I feel pretty confident saying, without a Democratic endorsement.  So we could be looking at a unanimously Republican City Council in a city that votes Democratic.

That’s not bad for one day’s work!  It’s too bad that Farrah couldn’t kick the ball into the opponent’s net instead of into her own.

For further coverage of this story — well, you may just have to tune in here — because Irvine’s political blogger Chumley hasn’t touched it recently, instead focusing on the California Democratic Party Chair candidate he endorsed who has become the biggest punch line among the CDP.  (You know who I mean.)


About Greg Diamond

Somewhat verbose attorney, semi-retired due to disability, residing in northwest Brea. Occasionally runs for office against bad people who would otherwise go unopposed. Got 45% of the vote against Bob Huff for State Senate in 2012; Josh Newman then won the seat in 2016. In 2014 became the first attorney to challenge OCDA Tony Rackauckas since 2002; Todd Spitzer then won that seat in 2018. Every time he's run against some rotten incumbent, the *next* person to challenge them wins! He's OK with that. Deposed as Northern Vice Chair of DPOC in April 2014 (in violation of Roberts Rules) when his anti-corruption and pro-consumer work in Anaheim infuriated the Building Trades and Teamsters in spring 2014, who then worked with the lawless and power-mad DPOC Chair to eliminate his internal oversight. Expelled from DPOC in October 2018 (in violation of Roberts Rules) for having endorsed Spitzer over Rackauckas -- which needed to be done. None of his pre-putsch writings ever spoke for the Democratic Party at the local, county, state, national, or galactic level, nor do they now. One of his daughters co-owns a business offering campaign treasurer services to Democratic candidates and the odd independent. He is very proud of her. He doesn't directly profit from her work and it doesn't affect his coverage. (He does not always favor her clients, though she might hesitate to take one that he truly hated.) He does advise some local campaigns informally and (so far) without compensation. (If that last bit changes, he will declare the interest.)