First launched in May, our ICNV online “Citizens Petition to Build the Veterans Cemetery in the Great Park” continues to gain hundreds of Irvine petition-signers — even after the City Council voted at a rushed, June 6th “special meeting” to abandon the fully-approved, fully-funded and “shovel-ready” 125-acre Veterans Cemetery site in the Great Park.
Instead, at the behest of developer FivePoint Communities, the Council voted 3-to-2 for a “land-swap” proposal that would put the Veterans Cemetery by the I-5 and I-405 freeways and give away to FivePoint the 125-acre site in our 1,300-acre Great Park, so the developer could undertake massive, for-profit development, estimated to net FivePoint $500 million over the next several years. (Mayor Donald Wagner and Councilmembers Christina Shea and Melissa Fox voted for the FivePoint giveaway; Councilmembers Jeff Lalloway and Lynne Schott voted against it.)
Following the Council’s June 6th hurry-up vote, the Petition for the Veterans Cemetery in the Great Park has continued to attract a new surge of signers, adding to the hundreds already on hand. Nearly half of all petition-signers offer comments as well.
Here (below) is the full Appeal to Irvine citizens to sign the Veterans Cemetery Petition, followed by a representative sample of comments and opinions — revealing what your Irvine friends and neighbors are thinking.
Sign Our Petition to Build the Veterans Cemetery in the Great Park NOW, As Planned.
Please Join Us! VISIT: irvinecommunitynewsandviews.org/VeteransCemeteryPetition to sign our Great Park Veterans Cemetery petition and voice your support.
To the Irvine Community:
We ask the People of Irvine to join us – to sign our petition calling upon the Irvine City Council to honor our veterans and their families by keeping the sacred promise we made to build the Veterans Memorial Park and Cemetery in the Great Park, as planned.
Build the Veterans Cemetery in the Great Park, Now!
We call upon the City Council to follow through on its original plan and promise — adopted by resolution of the Council in July, 2014; enacted by the State Legislature (AB 1453) in September, 2014; and approved by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in 2016 — to build the Southern California Veterans Memorial Park and Cemetery on a dedicated parcel of 125 acres of land in the Great Park.
The City’s generous offer of land to the State of California allows the 125-acre Veterans Memorial Park and Cemetery to be built in our 1,300-acre Great Park for an estimated $77 million (the cost of just one railroad underpass in Irvine). Under State law, our beautiful Veterans Memorial Park and Cemetery would be maintained in perpetuity by the State of California and the U.S. Veterans Administration. This means there would be no maintenance costs to the City of lrvine, ever.
Reject the “Land-Swap”
We further call upon the Mayor and City Council to reject the so-called “land-swap” proposal being promoted by the FivePoint Communities development company. The land-swap would result in the City’s dismembering and shrinking the Great Park by transferring ownership of the 125-acre Great Park Veterans Cemetery site to FivePoint, and granting FivePoint the right to develop the parkland for commercial and industrial uses, and possibly for 2,000 additional housing units. Meanwhile, the Veterans Cemetery would be banished to a site miles away from the Great Park, near the junction of the I-5 and I-405 Freeways, where FivePoint has made vague promises about building a Veterans Cemetery, with no timeline even offered.
The estimated windfall profit to FivePoint from this land-swap scheme is $500,000,000 or more, reflecting unconscionable developer greed and disrespect — all at the expense of veterans, veterans’ families, and all Irvine residents.
This is wrong. It’s just plain wrong.
Do The Right Thing
Let’s do the right thing. Let’s honor American veterans and their families by respecting our local and State law and following through on our promise. Let’s build the Veterans Cemetery in the Great Park now, as planned, so that by Veterans Day, 2019, the first of many deserving American veterans and their families can be laid to rest, just as we promised, in the Veterans Memorial Park and Cemetery in the Great Park.
Please Join Us! VISIT: https://irvinecommunitynewsandviews.org/VeteransCemeteryPetition to sign our Great Park Veterans Cemetery petition and voice your support.
Sponsored by: Irvine Community News & Views and the Irvine Great Park Veterans Cemetery Committee, a special project of Planning 2020, Inc., a non-profit corporation.
Comments, Notes and Letters
- Changing the location of the Veterans Cemetery is outrageous, especially at this late date. The original location should be reinstated. I do not support this change of location. Nor do I support building more homes at the Great Park location.
- The Veterans Cemetery belongs in the Great Park, not stuck between freeways. FivePoint has bought Irvine City Councilmembers and Mayor Wagner so they can continue to decimate the Great Park for their own benefit. The citizens of Irvine need to put a stop to this by whatever means they can, be that through legal action or through a recall of City Councilmembers and the Mayo
- The Council is in the pocket of FivePoint. As a Marine Corps veteran and Irvine resident, I think Wagner, Shea and Fox need to be investigated.
- The Great Park site on the former El Toro air base is the ideal place for the Veterans Cemetery. The strawberry field overlooking two freeways is not.
—Betty L. Long
- I am ashamed of the City Council for abandoning our veterans. I used to be proud to say I live in Irvine. Not anymore!
- I am surprised and very upset about Melissa Fox. She betrayed everyone who worked in her campaign, most of the residents of Irvine, and especially the veterans of Orange County. Apparently, she is now under the FivePoint umbrella of protection.
- I have supported the Great Park location for the Veterans Cemetery from the start. It was right for veterans and for the City of Irvine. All was ready to break ground. My thanks to everyone who worked so hard to make the Great Park site happen. I now ask that everyone support reversing the recent 3-to-2 Council vote for the FivePoint land-swap.
- I’m a veteran who served in the United States Army. I am appalled at the June 6th decision by the City Council. With no costs or other specifics, the Council approved a land-swap for the Veterans Cemetery — contrary to the approved Great Park plan. I find the Council’s action inappropriate and disrespectful to our veterans.
- Here we go again. Our Irvine City Council is thinking more about money than people…the people they are supposed to listen to and represent. It is more fitting to have a Veterans Memorial Park and Cemetery in the Great Park, where the base was, where soldiers may have served — and would continue their legacy.
- Shame on Wagner and Shea, and now Fox. It is obvious POLITICS got in the way of support for veterans and their families.
—S. Robert Radus, USAF (1967-1971)
- This is all about money! FivePoint obviously wants the land-swap because it wants to develop homes and businesses on the Great Park Veterans Cemetery site. The State and City of Irvine had already approved the Veterans Cemetery in the Great Park. Shame on you, Melissa Fox! I supported you because I thought you weren’t like the corporate-minded conservatives we’ve had to deal with on the City Council.
- Anyone who voted in favor of FivePoint doesn’t give a damn about veterans. Now our Veterans Cemetery has been pushed back in time even longer!
- I am a Republican. I think any resting place for those men and women who have faithfully served our country that is not in the Great Park is a joke. These men and women deserve the resting place in the Great Park — their blood, sweat and tears have paid for it. I don’t care if they walked a post, cooked a meal, nursed a soldier, filed a report, or made coffee —the Great Park was once their home. The veterans make this a truly “Great” park. Give them the right to rest in peace there, not by a freeway. All gave some, some gave ALL, and we need to give a little back to them!
- FivePoint and the City Councilmembers supporting the land-swap should be ashamed of themselves. The Veterans Cemetery already has City, State and Federal approval and should remain at the Great Park site.
—Mary Jo Donofrio
- City Councilmembers: Honor your original promise, deny greed, and do what is right for the citizens of Irvine and surrounding cities.
- Don’t trust developer FivePoint! Put people before profits and erect the Veterans Cemetery where it was originally to be built, in the Great Park.
- Please do what is best for the people of Irvine, and not what will benefit the developer. Money should not be the final deciding factor. The developers should not be allowed to build more high-density housing — bringing people and traffic congestion and pollution. Do the right thing!
- Please stop the land swap and honor veterans with a cemetery in the Great Park.
- Stand up for our veterans, not FivePoint!
- Stop favoring the developers over residents.
- Keep the promise of building the Veterans Memorial Park and Cemetery at the Great Park. FivePoint is ruining the Master Plan!
- We voted for Melissa Fox so that she would support the construction of the Veterans Cemetery at the Great Park location. It makes no sense to build it at the FivePoint location, which would only serve to put more money in their pockets and worsen Irvine’s horrible traffic.
—Maria de la Maza
- The plan for a Veterans Cemetery was to honor our beloved veterans. It was NOT to enhance FivePoint’s bottom line. The land-swap is WRONG. Honor the original plan to build the Veterans Cemetery at the Great Park site. Mayor Wagner and Councilmembers Fox and Shea, you dishonor yourselves as well as our veterans by pushing the FivePoint agenda. Put the Veterans Cemetery in the Great Park!
Letters to the editor are welcome. Please include your name and ZIP code. Letters for publication must be addressed to Editor, 4199 Campus Drive, Suite 550, Irvine, CA 92612 or email Editor@IrvineCommunityNews.org. Letters may be edited for publication. Unpublished letters will not be acknowledged or returned.
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