For Immediate Release: May 4, 2015
CONTACT: Bryan Shroyer, (714) 296-9835
Assemblywoman Kim Issues Statement Opposing Bill That Would Increase City Vulnerability to Litigation Over Council Election Process
SACRAMENTO – Today I voted against AB 277 in the State Assembly. The legislation seeks to increase the number of cities that can be sued over their city council elections; lawsuits like Paik v. City of Fullerton. I support the transition to district elections as a way to increase representation of minority communities, but lawsuits like this can have the unwanted effect of undermining race relations.
This lawsuit filed by the ACLU is not reflective of the attitudes of the city’s Korean community at large. I am a proud resident of the city of Fullerton, all four of my children attended public schools in Fullerton, and as a first-time Korean American candidate running against an incumbent, I received over 56% of the vote in Fullerton.
This lawsuit alleges a pattern of racism against Korean Americans in Fullerton, and I simply have not seen that to be true. I’m proud of how the residents of Fullerton have embraced our wonderful and fast-growing community. Residents of the city have repeatedly celebrated the Korean-US Free Trade Agreement. They have welcomed and recruited countless Korean businesses into the city. They have also forged a sister city agreement with Yong-In, South Korea. I, for one, have felt warmly welcomed by the residents of the city I am glad to call my home.
My campaign was cited in this lawsuit, claiming that an offensive mail piece sent out by my opponent Sharon Quirk-Silva was representative of an anti-Korean sentiment throughout the entire city. While the piece was clearly discriminatory, it is in no way representative of the way I have been received by the city at large.
It was merely indicative of a campaign message my opponent decided to run with. As a large, fast-growing demographic in the city, I believe Korean-Americans deserve a voice on Fullerton’s city council. And in my discussions with city leaders, I believe that they will transition to a district voting system to make sure that this happens.
This lawsuit, however, is counterproductive to that end and categorically misrepresents the relationship between the Korean American community and the rest of the city of Fullerton.
From this personal experience, I do not believe the State Legislature should be voting for a measure to increase the number of cities subject to disruptive and potentially abusive, shake-down lawsuits that do not reflect the ideals and values of the community at large.
As the Assemblywoman representing the 65th District, including the cities of Anaheim, Buena Park, Cypress, Fullerton, La Palma and Stanton, Young Kim is the highest-ranking Korean American currently serving in the California Legislature.