In a time when simplistic soundbites and tweets pass for news stories, I am proud of the fact that Irvine Community & Views invests the necessary time and resources required to provide our readers with in-depth coverage of important and complex issues facing our City.
For the past three years, Irvine Community News & Views has reported extensively on the backroom deals between Mayor Christina Shea and billion-dollar developer FivePoint to cancel the Veterans Memorial Park & Cemetery on the 125-acre ARDA site at the Great Park. (We’ve also reported on the fact that FivePoint has bankrolled Shea’s campaigns with hundreds of thousands of dollars in dark money.)
We spent a year uncovering and reporting on the first Shea-FivePoint scheme — which became Measure B. That scheme would have replaced the planned and approved Veterans Cemetery on the ARDA site with massive FivePoint development that would bring an estimated 10,000 added daily cars and trucks to the ARDA site and to Irvine streets and neighborhoods. Measure B was overwhelmingly rejected by Irvine voters, 63% to 37%, in an historic ballot referendum last year.
Irvine Community News & Views also uncovered the latest Shea-FivePoint scheme, which was caught on video at a meeting of homeowners. The Mayor told the group of her plans to orchestrate a Council vote to cancel the State’s plan to move forward with the Veterans Cemetery on the ARDA site, while putting forward a completely different site that Shea stated was a “diversion tactic.” Shea further revealed that she wants to give a “99-year lease” of the ARDA site to a commercial developer, presumably FivePoint.
The fact Shea described her suggested site change as a “diversion tactic” indicates to me that she doesn’t want to just change the site. Shea clearly doesn’t want a Veterans Cemetery at all. She just wants to make the Great Park a large commercial/business park, all to the benefit of commercial developers with more homes, more businesses, more concrete, less park.
The volunteer Build the Great Park Veterans Cemetery committee — largely responsible for defeating Measure B last year — has launched an initiative campaign that would allow Irvine voters to, once and for all, decide the fate of the 125-acre ARDA site at the Great Park.
If the initiative qualifies for the ballot and is passed by Irvine voters, it will designate and re-zone the ARDA site for one use and one use only — a State-built and State-operated Veterans Memorial Park & Cemetery, surrounded by many hundreds of trees, as well as walking paths and a military aircraft museum.
Irvine Community News & Views has officially endorsed the “Build the Great Park Veterans Cemetery” initiative campaign and will continue to make financial contributions in support of the campaign. We’re all in! Are you? In a couple of weeks, there will be an official campaign kickoff when supporters can sign the initiative petition. In the meantime, if you would like to join Irvine Community News & Views in supporting this important campaign, you can make a donation now by clicking here.