Dear ICNV Readers:
As the Referendum campaign to “Save the Veterans Cemetery in the Great Park” gets under way, it’s important to take a moment to talk about leadership. Here in Irvine, I believe that civic leadership means the courage to stand up to developers and other special interests — and do what’s right for the entire Irvine community.
Sad to say, Irvine Mayor Donald Wagner and Councilmembers Christina Shea and Melissa Fox have failed the leadership test. Time and again, they have turned their backs on the Irvine community, and have instead shown themselves to be ever-faithful to an agenda that serves the interests of their political benefactor, developer FivePoint Communities.
Case in point, of course, is the Great Park giveaway — the Wagner-Shea-Fox actions to replace the previously-approved 125-acre Veterans Cemetery in the Great Park, by transferring ownership of the land to developer FivePoint Communities to build massive office and commercial projects. This development will generate more than 10,000 added car and truck trips every day, causing even more horrendous traffic throughout Irvine neighborhoods.
Two dissenting members of the Irvine City Council — Councilmembers Jeff Lalloway and Lynn Schott — have shown real leadership, speaking out against “the giveaway of our Great Park” to FivePoint, and for the Irvine community.
Retired teacher and Army veteran Ed Pope has launched an official Referendum campaign to get 12,000 signatures by November 8th — enough signatures from Irvine voters to overturn the Council decision by putting the Veterans Cemetery issue on the ballot, so the people of Irvine can decide.
My last point on leadership is this. For the Veterans Cemetery Referendum to succeed, the People of Irvine must lead the way — by signing the Referendum Petition, by helping to get Irvine friends and neighbors to sign the Petition, and by joining with others to be part of this historic campaign. For more information, go to: www.SaveTheVeteransCemetery.org
The Veterans Cemetery: More Letters and Comments
- I recently purchased a home in the Great Park Neighborhoods and will be honored to share this space with those who died fighting for this great country. Those who voted for the “land-swap” are despicable.
— William C. Hyser
- It is a shame that the City Council is not honoring our veterans and is rewarding greed instead of respecting our heroes. I have been a resident of Irvine for the past 27 years. I want the Veterans Cemetery in the Great Park. No land-swap. Period.
— Shehla Yamani
- We don’t need any more traffic and noise, but our veterans do need a final resting place; what’s better than the Great Park!
— Arnold Mendoza
- Enough of developers with their building of commercial and housing projects! Our veterans deserve the land in the Great Park, not those who are obliterating every single square foot of dirt within our communities — turning them into concrete jungles.
— Ilka Stearman
- What an abomination for the City of Irvine to have a Mayor and two Councilwomen who are obviously in collusion with land developer FivePoint — voting to replace the Veterans Cemetery in the Great Park.
— Ana Gutierrez
- I am 69 years old and a proud Vietnam Army veteran. I have lived in the same house in Irvine for 42 years. Overbuilding and overcrowded streets are a shameful result of our City Council selling out to developers at the expense of the people. Irvine was once a highly regarded City, a City that was hailed as the epitome of a planned community. Sad, indeed!
— Stephen Clark
- I am a veteran with 20 years of service with the U.S. Marine Corps. I have lived in this community, off and on, since 1960 and retired from active service in 1980. I hope all the residents of Irvine will unite to keep our Veterans Memorial Park and Cemetery at its originally planned location within the Great Park. It would be horrible to allow FivePoint to develop more commercial buildings, instead.
— Robert Torres
- I think it’s disgusting that the City Council is so blatantly going against what the Irvine community wants. They are basically giving away our precious land to FivePoint.
— Jeff Woo
- Keep the Veterans Cemetery where it was originally planned. No land swap for development and the increased traffic gridlock, noise and air pollution that comes with it.
— Gary Nguyen
- The land-swap deal with FivePoint is “fishy” and needs to be put up to a vote of all the people of Irvine to decide.
— Duy Tran
- Please let the Great Park be a great park by allowing veterans to be laid to rest there, in recognition of the great service they did for our country. Irvine families should be proud to say they live in Irvine, where there is a new Veterans Cemetery in the Great Park.
— Debbie Allbee
- Traffic has become unbearable. We have been residents of Northwood for over 30 years, and the increasing rate of congestion is exponential. What happened to our beautiful planned community? Don Wagner, we voted for you for Mayor because we had faith that as a long-time resident, you would look out for us. My son has been deployed several times in harm’s way, and he is deeply disappointed in our current leadership’s decision on this matter.
— Norma Aizpuru-Peck
- I have lived in Irvine since 2006, and I served in Iraq in 2007-2008, in close ground combat. I want a Veterans Cemetery that honors those we lost over there. I am not happy about my fellow brothers and sisters in arms being pushed aside by corporate interests. The actions of the City Council reek of corruption.
— Captain Mike Anderson
- I’m extremely disappointed in Melissa Fox for her support of this sellout to FivePoint — as is my 94-year-old father who is a World War II veteran who was stationed at the El Toro Marine Corps airbase (and who Melissa has known over the years). Shame on you, Melissa.
— Patricia Santry
- Recall the Mayor, Shea and Fox!!
— Eugene Young