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Irvine : Proposal Would Make Mayor Elective Office

For the third time since May, a proposal to amend the City Charter to permit residents to choose the mayor by general election will come under City Council scrutiny.

Under the present system, Irvine’s five council members choose one of their number to serve as mayor for a one-year term. The amendment on Tuesday’s agenda would have the mayor elected by a citywide majority vote.

Twice before, the measure has come up for council consideration. It was continued because of a council member’s absence on May 14, and again on May 28, when long-running public hearings forced the meeting into overtime.

Councilman Larry Agran, who proposed the change, said direct election would make the mayor, now largely a ceremonial post in Irvine, more responsive to the people, and would be more democratic.

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“The people in the community would have some say as to who their principal spokesperson is going to be,” Agran said.

An elected mayor would serve two years in that capacity and another two years as a council member. Under Agran’s plan, anyone could run for mayor except incumbent council members, who would be in the middle of their terms.

Should the council approve the resolution Tuesday, it would still have to direct the city attorney to draft an actual charter amendment and submit it for council approval. It could then be placed on a special ballot for public vote, perhaps by November.


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