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Irvine Loses One of Our City’s Heroes

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This past week, the City of Irvine lost one of our most beloved leaders, Mary Ann Gaido, who passed away on September 6th after a valiant battle with cancer.

Since Irvine’s incorporation in 1971, Mary Ann had a hand in just about every good thing that has made our community the wonderful City it is today. Over a span of six decades, she served a total of 20 years as an Irvine Planning Commissioner. She was elected twice to the City Council. Most recently, she served as Councilmember Larry Agran’s Planning Commissioner and trusted advisor. (The two were close friends and colleagues for more than 40 years.)

Through her decades-long service to our City, Mary Ann’s leadership was key in transforming Irvine into America’s leading planned community. A fierce advocate for master-planning, Mary Ann was instrumental in shaping Irvine’s General Plan, creating our amazing Open Space Preserve, and establishing thousands of attractive affordable housing units. She never shied away from standing up to land developers for the better interests of Irvine residents.

While serving on the Planning Commission and Transportation Commission years ago, I was fortunate to see Mary Ann’s work ethic up close.

One of the qualities I admired most was her unwavering belief that the job of local government was to improve the lives of the City’s residents. She never focused on personal wins or turning municipal matters into partisan political battles. Instead, she understood the importance of working together with all sides to get things done. In a time when willful ignorance is often rewarded, Mary Ann was a leader you could count on to cast votes based on well-researched facts, her own rich knowledge of Irvine’s history, and plenty of input from the community.

On Thursday, we will have an in-depth look into Mary Ann’s remarkable life of service, and the impact she has had here in Irvine and across Orange County.

Franklin J. Lunding

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