In 2018, Irvine voters overwhelmingly defeated a developer-backed scheme to abandon plans for a Veterans Memorial Park & Cemetery on the former El Toro Marine Corps Air Station in the Great Park. A whopping 63% of Irvine voters said NO to the developers!
When the City Council refused to move forward with the Veterans Memorial Park, nearly 20,000 Irvine residents signed a citizens’ initiative to put the matter on the November 2020 ballot. That initiative asked Irvine voters to legally designate the 125-acre “ARDA” site at the Great Park for a single use: a Veterans Memorial Park.
After the initiative qualified for the ballot, then-Councilmembers Farrah Khan, Mike Carroll and Anthony Kuo voted to adopt it before the 2020 election, making it the law in Irvine — effectively mandating construction of the Veterans Memorial Park.
In her 2020 Mayoral race, Khan made the Veterans Memorial Park a campaign issue, promising Irvine voters that she fully supported the project. We now know that she lied.
I am embarrassed to say that I fell for Khan’s false campaign promise. In fact, this publication endorsed her 2020 race for Mayor based on her promise. I can assure our readers that we won’t make that mistake again!
As soon as Khan was elected Mayor, she and Kuo joined forces with Carroll and newly elected Councilmember Tammy Kim to abandon the Veterans Memorial Park project.
Now, they say they want to turn the site into a super-sized botanical garden that has nothing to do with honoring veterans. It would effectively erase any memory of military service here in Irvine.
Moreover, the proposed botanical garden hasn’t even been reviewed by the public or discussed by the City’s Planning Commission. And, no one seems to know who would be responsible for paying the hundreds of millions of dollars to build it … and the millions of dollars in annual maintenance fees. Irvine taxpayers?
Mayor Khan and Vice Mayor Kuo — who are are now running together for re-election — appear to feel confident enough about their chances of winning that they have begun issuing public statements making it clear they have no intention of implementing the will of the people to build the voter-approved Veterans Memorial Park at the Great Park.
Recently, Mayor Khan confirmed she has no interest in keeping her 2020 campaign promise, telling the Voice of OC that “the City needs to move past the Veterans Memorial Park issue.”
In November, Irvine voters will have the final say as to whether they are ready to “move past” Khan and Kuo.
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