At their August 10th meeting, the Irvine City Council voted 4-1 to rename the 15-year-old Orange County Great Park. (Councilmember Larry Agran was the only NO vote.)

Already known to most people simply as the “Great Park,” Mayor Farrah Khan and Councilmembers Tammy Kim, Anthony Kuo and Mike Carroll voted to strip away the words “Orange County” and rename the park the “Irvine Great Park” or the “Great Park in Irvine.” The name change could cost taxpayers upwards of a million dollars — to change all of the official documents, signage, and marketing materials.

As shown in the photo along the right side of this article, current signage at the Great Park already prominently displays the City of Irvine logo.

This name change vote comes less than three months after Khan, Kim, and Carroll voted to double their personal office budgets and remove nearly all safeguards on how they spend that money. The budget increase was adopted during the May 25th City Council meeting. At that meeting, Kim indicated the budget increase would be paid through the Great Park’s corporate sponsorship program.

The sponsorship program was created last year, but no sponsorship deals have been approved yet. That means taxpayers may be on the hook for the Council’s nearly half-a-million dollar personal budget increase … in addition to costs associated with the Great Park name change.

Councilmember Agran — who voted against the Council’s personal budget increase, and has been opposed to corporate sponsorships and the name change — insisted that “before the City commits to what would likely end up being a multi-million-dollar taxpayer-funded Great Park name change, a thorough staff report should be prepared for City Council and community review.”

Agran added, “We should hear from the community before we move forward. Making this kind of change in the Great Park branding just to please potential corporate sponsors isn’t my idea of good planning or good policy. Squandering millions of taxpayer money on a name change seems fiscally irresponsible, especially since the Great Park will always be known to most people as simply that … the Great Park.”

Irvine Community News & Views recently asked our readers to let us know what YOU think about the name change.

After receiving hundreds of responses to our latest Irvine Community Poll, more than 94% of those who responded were opposed to the name change. (Editor’s Note: You read that right — the community’s opposition to the name change appears to be nearly unanimous!)

Below is a small sampling of the many dozens of comments residents included when taking the poll:

Spending money on this doesn’t make sense and I think the funds could be better spent. The Great Park will still be what I and my family call it regardless of its new /old name. Mayor Khan, please don’t waste money. There are many roads in Irvine that can use this money for repair, parks that can be better maintained, city lights that should be solar-powered using new technology. After all, “what’s in a name?”
– Anu Nanjappa

What’s the point of the name change if it’s going to cost the city so much money and people are just going to keep referring to it as the OC Great Park? Wasn’t that the reason for the orange balloon in the first place?! This is not a priority. Build the veterans cemetery. Find a solution for the asphalt factory pollution.
– Jen Huan

Outrageous amount of money to spend when people have always called it the “Great Park” and will continue to call it “Great Park.”
– May Fong

Perhaps the cost of implementing the name change on all the documents, signage, legal requirements, etc. should come out of the ‘office expense’ accounts of those Irvine City Councilmembers who voted for the name change. Follow the money: Why do these Councilmembers want to change the name?
– Pamela Davis

Waste of money. I have been an Irvine resident for 38 years and have never witnessed such a worthless idea.
– Jackson Lee

I agree with Councilmember Agran that it’s an utter waste of resources! The city should put the money to other better use for the people!
– Sen Lin-Liu

There are so many other things that can be done with this large sum of money. How can we spend it on something so trivial like the name of this park?? This would not bring pride to the citizens of Irvine, but shame because we are so privileged here that we can waste money like that.
– Tiffany Fung

I agree with other Irvine residents… adding “Irvine” to the second park in Irvine is redundant AND a waste of taxpayer dollars! Don’t our new Councilmembers know how to create a budget? Dollars should go to feeding the poor, helping vaccinate our OC neighbors, and improving infrastructure.
– Trish Weinstock

We already have an ‘Irvine Park.’ It’s the large park at the end of Jamboree that was founded 100 years ago by the Irvine family. Two parks with the same name? One in Irvine, the other one slightly to the east, in Orange? Meet you in Irvine Park? Which park do you mean? How confusing! To have two parks both named ‘Irvine Park’ is rather stupid.
– Gabriele Rau

Three reasons to keep the name: (1) REDUNDANT. The Great Park is actually located in Irvine so adding the word “Irvine” to the name only makes it redundant. (2) REACH. The current name expands the reach beyond Irvine borders inviting patronage from neighboring cities. (3) COST. Changing the name is expensive, a cost that returns no value to the city.
– Scott Smith

I believe that there should be an open Council meeting where all information on the feasibility of this idea can be presented. As of now, it seems unnecessary & a waste of taxpayer money!
– Christine Alderson

Why spend millions of dollars to change the name of the Great Park? I believe most Irvine residents know the Great Park is in Irvine. The Mayor and Council should be focused on improving the ARDA site!
– Dennis Gray

I agree with the name change. Let’s show some Irvine pride! The City of Irvine needs to put its grown-up pants on and change the name.
– Fred Laury

This makes no sense! Everyone we know calls and knows it as the Great Park. This appears to be another total waste of Irvine taxpayer dollars by four members of the City Council who are now know in some circles as “Irvine’s Political Gang of Four.”
– Lyle & Margaret Brakob

The Council majority shamelessly disregarded overwhelming community opposition in its haste to curry favor with corporate interests.
– Doug Elliott

What a slap in the face to the thousands who supported the Great Park vs. an international airport! Voters across Orange County came together to save the MCAS El Toro site for ALL residents to use and enjoy. These self-serving, back-patting Councilmembers who don’t know the park’s history and bow to the developers’ whims should be ashamed of themselves. Get busy on something important! You were tasked with developing the California Veterans Cemetery.
– Patricia Kennedy

Sadly, I feel like our Mayor does not care what the residents of Irvine think. I voted for her. I believed in her and what she said when she ran. But, after being elected, she changed her whole story and had no intention of keeping her promise for our veterans cemetery, so why should she be concerned over the cost of changing the name of the Great Park or the impact it will have on us as taxpayers? So disappointed in you, Mayor!
– Barb Behrens

I have never been more disappointed or felt more betrayed by a vote for individuals in whom I believed. I worked hard to get Mayor Khan elected, and I voted for Councilmember Kim. Their actions are autocratic, self-serving, and anti-democratic. Their treatment of fellow Councilmember Larry Agran is shameful and embarrassing. The lies they told about their support for the Veterans Cemetery at the Great Park are bad enough. Now, this wasteful renaming of the Great Park just adds insult to injury. All I can say is, “Shame!”
– Sharon Toji

Unnecessary use of taxpayer money. We should put the money back into the community rather than changing the name of something that does not affect us.
– Aaisha Fatima

I would like to see the input of the Irvine community on all business regarding the Irvine community. Passing resolutions without the approval of the public will only lead to further misallocation of resources in the future.
– Guy Treves

What Do YOU Think?

 

There is still time to share your opinion on this issue! Take the Irvine Community Poll to let us know if you agree or disagree with the four Councilmembers’ decision to change the name of the Great Park.

ICNV Staff