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Author: Franklin J. Lunding

Irvine Through the Decades: Milestones from the 2000s

As the 1990s came to a close, the City found itself in a very difficult — but ultimately successful — battle to preserve our City’s quality of life when the Orange County Board of Supervisors decided they wanted to build a huge, noisy international airport in what is now north Irvine. The proposed flight paths of the 747s would have gone directly over Irvine 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Anyone who lived in Irvine during that time knows how instrumental Irvine Mayor Larry Agran was in defeating that airport.

The next two Irvine Mayors — Beth Krom & Sukhee Kang were also dynamic leaders. Mayor Krom expanded affordable housing, controlled growth, and tripled our City’s “Rainy Day Reserves.” Mayor Kang is responsible for our City’s iShuttle service and ensuring that every child in Irvine had health insurance.

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Irvine Through the Decades: Dark Times for Our City During the 1990s

In 1990, the religious-right took aim at Irvine Mayor Larry Agran, who had authored and won approval for a comprehensive Human Rights Ordinance which was years ahead of other cities and the first of its kind in Orange County.

An aggressive initiative campaign to overturn the Ordinance’s provisions protecting gays and lesbians from discrimination was led by Christina Shea, which resulted in Agran (and Mary Ann Gaido) being defeated in the 1990 Irvine City Council election.

Two years later, Shea secured her own spot on the Council, joining three other newcomers. Just as the national recession set in, the inexperienced new Council made the fateful decision to invest $200 million of Irvine taxpayer money in Orange County’s investment pool. In 1994, the County made front-page news for all the wrong reasons — it became the largest county in America to ever file for bankruptcy. The City of Irvine had invested a whopping $200 million in the fund, far more than any other Orange County city.

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Happy New Year! Here’s to a Healthier & More Productive 2022

The new year provides each of us with an opportunity to reflect on the past while looking toward a more hopeful future.

As we head into 2022, let’s remember that during our City’s first five decades, we accomplished big things!

Let’s continue to do big things in Irvine … together!

We have a chance this year to come together as a community in support of Councilman Larry Agran’s plan to build a beautiful Veterans Memorial Park on the Great Park ARDA site — a vast park filled with trees, trails, memorial gardens, and an aviation museum to honor the City’s rich military history and our veterans.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we began construction of this beautiful Veterans Memorial Park in the first half of 2022?

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Irvine Through the Decades: Our City Makes Global News in the 1980s

The 1980s was when our City leaders began to brand Irvine as one of America’s great “international crossroads” cities, welcoming immigrants from throughout the world. Policies were put into place during the late 1980s to make sure that Irvine would become one of the most diverse and thoroughly integrated cities in the United States.

As Mayor of Irvine in 1988, Larry Agran — a Harvard Law School-trained civil rights attorney — wrote and won approval of Irvine’s comprehensive Human Rights Ordinance. The ordinance was years ahead of other cities and the first of its kind in Orange County.

In the late 1980s, City leaders successfully rallied Irvine voters to pass a ballot initiative that set aside 10,000 acres of beautiful wilderness for families to enjoy forever … and Irvine made international news when it became the first city on the planet to ban CFCs and other ozone-depleting chemicals.

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Five-Part Series: Irvine Through the Decades — The Beginning of Our Planned Community in the 1970s

On December 28th, Irvine will commemorate its 50th anniversary! To mark the occasion, I sat down with two of our City’s longtime leaders — Mary Ann Gaido, former Councilmember and current Planning Commissioner and Larry Agran, former Mayor and current Councilmember to discuss highlights from the past five decades.

Both Gaido and Agran were integral in crafting and implementing policies that have made Irvine one of the greenest cities in the nation.

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