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Author: Roger Bloom

The Bus is Rolling in Quail Hill & Los Olivos

A new pilot program rolled out, literally, on August 24th, the first day of school. That’s when a school bus — partially funded by the City of Irvine — began ferrying students between University High School and the Quail Hill and Los Olivos neighborhoods.

The new service, which families sign up and pay a fee for, appeared to be an immediate hit. IUSD spokesperson, Annie Brown, reported that the 50-seat bus is fully subscribed, with a 30-name waiting list.

The bus service had long been sought by Quail Hill families, with the school district offering to start bus service if the parents could raise $75,000 to underwrite its cost. The parents asked the Irvine City Council to fund $50,000 of that, with affected families chipping in to raise the rest.

At the request of Mayor Farrah Khan and Councilmember Larry Agran, the Council took up the matter at its August 8th meeting, and voted 5-0 in support of the funding. As a result, the bus for Uni High students in Quail Hill and Los Olivos was ready to roll as the new school year began.

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Council Approves Landmark Deal for City to Acquire Asphalt Plant & Restore the Site to Its Original State

On Tuesday (April 11th), the Irvine City Council gave final approval of a massive land deal for the City to acquire and remove the All American Asphalt (AAA) plant in north Irvine. The 12-acre asphalt plant and hundreds of acres surrounding it will become part of a 700-acre open space preserve that has been dubbed the “Gateway Preserve.”

The asphalt plant has been the subject of swirling controversy for years as its noxious odors and chemical emissions affected nearby residents, who organized and demanded City action. Under the agreement, the City will acquire the plant for $285 million and close it down later this year.

The key to the deal is the Irvine Company’s dedication to the City of 475 acres of land surrounding the plant. The dedication includes 80 acres that the City will entitle for residential use consistent with the City’s Master Plan. The proceeds from the sale of the 80 acres to residential developers — estimated to generate around $300 million — will cover the cost of acquiring and dismantling the asphalt plant, as well as the establishment of the Gateway Preserve. Accordingly, the deal will not cost Irvine taxpayers anything.

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Real Heroes at Irvine-Based Second Harvest Food Bank

One out of every 12 people in Orange County may not have the means to eat today. That’s a challenge that Irvine-based Second Harvest Food Bank has been helping people meet since 1983.

In that time, Second Harvest has grown into a large and sophisticated operation — coordinating hundreds of volunteers; setting up donation programs with supermarkets and food distributors; operating its own vehicle fleet with a distribution center in Irvine; and since 2021, running a 45-acre farm in the City.

“Levels of food insecurity in Orange County are now higher than before the pandemic,” said Second Harvest CEO Claudia Bonilla Keller. “Almost 400,000 people currently rely on Second Harvest and our network of partners for nutritional assistance each month. In 2019, we served closer to 250,000 local residents.”

Those are daunting numbers. But so are these: In 2022, Second Harvest truck drivers traveled 97,000 miles to distribute 32.4 million pounds of food, including 2.7 million pounds of broccoli, squash, melons, cabbage and green beans harvested at its own Harvest Solutions Farm.

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Irvine City Council Votes to Help Fund School Bus Transportation for Quail Hill & Los Olivos Students

Transportation of Irvine Unified School District (IUSD) students may have blossomed into a citywide issue, as the Irvine City Council agreed to help fund district bus service for Quail Hill and Los Olivos students of University High School.

The action came at the urging of parents in the Quail Hill area, which is remote from the high school, and requires driving a circuitous route in morning or afternoon traffic — roughly 25 to 30 minutes each way.

Several parents testified that the need to drive their kids to and from school was holding them back from getting full-time employment.

Others pointed out that bus service would help the environment by eliminating scores of car trips each day.

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Extra $$$ Paid to OCPA by Irvine Households Since October 2022

Extra $$$ Paid to OCPA for Electricity by the City (Irvine Taxpayers) Since April 2022



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