We recently asked readers to let us know where YOU think the long-promised Veterans Memorial Park & Cemetery should be built — here in Irvine on the ARDA site at the Great Park, or alongside the 91 freeway at the Gypsum Canyon site out towards Riverside County.

The response was overwhelming! A full 90% (yes, you read that right — 90%!) of the hundreds of residents who have taken the poll indicate they support building the State Veterans Memorial Park & Cemetery on the planned, voter-approved ARDA site at the Great Park.

Below is just a small sampling of the many, many comments we have received in support of the ARDA site:

The people of Irvine have voted in majority to honor our veterans by allocating the sacred ground of the former El Toro base for a veterans cemetery. I question why there is any need to debate this any further. Our city leaders have an obligation to enforce the will of the voters, not the developers. Our Great Park can accommodate the final resting place of our great veterans while also providing the families of Irvine recreational amenities.
– MJ Beckman

What is it with these Councilmembers? We voted for them because they supported the cemetery in the Great Park. Now, they are breaking their promise (except Larry Agran). As soon as they attain power, they go against the will of the voters, and now they try to silence them by making us wait until the end of the Council meetings? What’s up with that? Khan, et al, need to be removed from office. Khan, you especially are a disappointment! We voted for you and we convinced others to vote for you. You came to our door and asked for our vote, which we gave you. We are extremely hurt and disappointed in you!
– Michael Lewis

Our opinion and apparently our votes do not matter to this Council. I feel blindsided by the mayor who lied to get elected. What a city!!
– Louise Reed

53 years ago, when I returned from Vietnam, I was taken to the Oakland Airport to catch a flight home to Orange County. When I arrived at the Oakland Airport, I was greeted by demonstrators who spit on me. Now, 53 years later, I feel as though I am being spit on again. This time by Mayor Khan and Councilmembers Carroll, Kuo & Kim. They clearly have no respect for our veterans and have given the City of Irvine a moniker that says “Irvine Hates Veterans,” even though Irvine voters have repeatedly supported building the Veterans Cemetery on the ARDA site in Irvine.
– Jon M. Brownell

Mayor Khan and her FivePoint Council majority have no integrity when they abandon the Veterans Cemetery at the ARDA site, which was once the El Toro Marine base. Mayor Khan and Councilwoman Kim lied to get elected. Let’s vote them out! This Council majority represents only developer FivePoint, NOT Irvine residents on so many important issues. This Council majority is a perfect reason why we need district elections in Irvine!
– Gil Nelsen

We need to get four new members on the Irvine City Council who will honor and vote for the wishes of our citizens.
– Ed McNew

The ARDA site has been planned and approved by the people of Irvine. The mayor and her Council majority, who are in the pockets of the developers, do not have the right to steal that from us and our veterans!
– Mohammad Araeipour

I think we all know the City Council majority will only bow to the will of their constituents (twice now) if we pony up the equivalent money to match the big developers’ money for their votes. Voting no longer matters.  
– Scott Montgomery

How can the Council ignore all the past votes to keep the ARDA site at the Great Park, as originally planned? It was a Marine base before it was a park, and veterans deserve to be buried there. The developer greed is obvious and disgusting.
– Karen R. Speros

How many times do we have to vote and share our opinions via polls? The so-called mayor is not listening to the voters. I think she should be recalled.
– Sally Murray

It is outrageous and depressing that the Mayor and several other Councilmembers have directly undermined the clear will of the majority of Irvine citizens to locate the cemetery at the ARDA site in the Great Park. It seems obvious they serve the agenda of a powerful developer, not the community.
– James Danziger

I have lived in Irvine since 1972 when you saw cowboys on horses on the corner of Jeffrey and the 405. Back when we had a population of about 24,000 residents, there were orange groves across the city … and a Marine base. It is so sad to live in Irvine today, knowing that the former Marine base is now going to be turned into just another development instead of a cemetery that honors our city’s history and our veteran heroes.
– Elaine Wempen

I am a veteran and a 22-year resident of Irvine. It is very dishonorable that members of the Council are not adhering to their campaign promises. I certainly hope that their promises vs. actual voting records are made clear during the next election cycle.
– Scott Lips

What’s wrong with the Irvine City Council, especially the Mayor? What are they afraid of … or is it what they stand to lose if FivePoint doesn’t get their way? They seem to think it’s ok to stick us out in the middle of nowhere. That is wrong and they know it! I am a United States Marine Corps combat vet and I am disgusted with the games they play. Certain members of the Council should be impeached.
– Alan Edwards

Honor those who served with the Park … and recall those who oppose it after telling us they supported it.
– Robert Hoel

Why is the mayor not upholding the people’s wishes? She has been elected to serve — not lord over us. She is using her position for personal gain, just as many politicians do. This cemetery site is important to our veterans who have given much more than the mayor. A promise has been made and should be kept. This is an easy decision for an honest and honorable person. Tell the developers: “Not this time!”
– Michael Looney

The issue of this Veterans Cemetery has gone on long enough! It was promised and it is desperately needed. It has been approved by voters twice. It is time to honor our veterans on grounds that were designated as military land for many years. FivePoint and all the local developers: Put your greed aside and honor the men and women who fought to make it possible for you to make your millions in the first place!
– Christine Mitchell

After petitions, votes, active participation at council meetings…. this is STILL being batted around. Shameful, disappointing, and either self-serving or deceitful on the part of our past & current Mayor. (I thought Khan represented change…. Oops!)
– Christine

As a veteran and longtime resident of Irvine, having a Veterans Memorial Park & Cemetery would be an honor to the city and greater community. It also serves as an appropriate evolution of the use of space commemorating the servicemembers who contributed to our great nation by preserving the history of the former air station. It’s a tremendous insult to those who served and the families who hold servicemembers so dear to have such an important project sit idle and potentially be swept away. Especially after so much has been discussed, reviewed, and approved. Let’s complete this mission!
– Tomas Figueroa

We owe our veterans everything! Get it done at the ARDA site!!
– Joshua Smith

Discontinue the “Rule of Two, “ so that members of the City Council can discuss Irvine’s needs, not FivePoint’s interests. I suggest adding two more members to the Council. Dark money has corrupted and shifted the Council away from the will of the people. We, as citizens of this city, have the right to address the Council at the beginning of all meetings. Having to wait until the end of the evening to speak tells me where Ms. Khan and her complicit members of the Council place the importance of dialogue from citizens … last.
– Dennis Taylor

There should never be a need to hide a cemetery. It is a natural part of life. Hearing “Taps” in the distance would help raise awareness and respect for those who serve our country. We live across from Beacon Park School and welcome the cemetery! Our daughter and her family purchased their forever home near Cadence Park School for their children. They have no problem with the cemetery. We have an extensive history of military service, including our son who is currently a Navy Commander. We all support the ARDA site Veterans Cemetery, as planned and promised.
– Marty Colburn

The veterans and the majority of Irvine voters have been deceived and betrayed by Farah Khan and three of her cohorts on the Irvine City Council. The conduct of Khan, Kim, Kuo and Carroll is opposite of the promises they made before the elections to get our votes. In my opinion, their actions seem to be unethical. It makes me wonder about their motivation to blatantly and continuously side with the land developer FivePoint and go completely against the wishes of Irvine voters. Shame on all four of you for betraying us!
– Shawn Mela (Marine veteran)

Many of us have worked very hard on this project for so many years. Each time this issue is brought up, we play by the rules and have felt like we won the battle fairly, only to have the results attacked by those seeking financial gain. These delays must stop! We’re running out of time for my 86 year-old Navy veteran husband.
– Sue Selman

The behavior and delaying tactics of the current Irvine City Council majority have been disgraceful regarding a veterans cemetery at the approved ARDA site. It appears they wish to delay it for as long as possible so that more of the veterans pass away without the option for burial at the long-promised and voter-approved ARDA site.
– Ed Johnson

It is about time that the city council honors its original commitment and starts construction on the Veterans Memorial Park and Cemetery on the ARDA site, as the majority of Irvine residents have repeatedly petitioned and voted for.
– Charlotte Goldstein

It is shameful that we are still trying to decide where the Veterans Cemetery should be built. The people of Irvine decided long ago and there is no other alternate site to consider. The responsibility of the City government is to comply and execute the will of the people.
– Maria de la Maza

The City of Irvine has spent far too much time and money pretending to be interested in having the Veterans Memorial Park and Cemetery here. How many votes have there been by the citizens approving this action? As a longtime Irvine resident, I am EXTREMELY embarrassed at the lack of action by the City. While I think the retired USMCAS El Toro is the appropriate location, I no longer think we deserve the honor of having it in Irvine. This has been a disgrace to the City and a slap in the face to veterans.
– Debbie A.

I voted for the mayor because I thought she supported a veterans cemetery in Irvine. I was wrong.
– Lenore Rauch

We have voted repeatedly for the Veterans Cemetery to be located at the ARDA site. Please, please listen to the voters and make that a reality.
– Charlene Bradley

I cannot believe that the Veterans Cemetery issue has been going on for years! It is an embarrassment to all of the citizens of Irvine. On more than one occasion, the people have voted to have the cemetery on the ARDA site in the Great Park. In a democracy, majority rules. But the Irvine City Council reneged on its promise to support the people, and in the most undemocratic way continues to try to move the Veterans Cemetery out of Irvine. Shame on you!
– Robert Woods

Irvine should be honoring our veterans with a Veterans Cemetery at the Great Park. To date, the Irvine City Council seems to only be honoring developer FivePoint. Disgraceful!
-Robert Grimm

We have voted in favor of the ARDA site, twice. Is there a problem counting our votes?
– Lynne Ruedy

City Council Members: Don’t let this opportunity slip by to do more than just say you appreciate the service of veterans. You can actually DO something to show your appreciation by developing the Veterans Cemetery at the ARDA site, right now!
-Steve Goetz (U.S. Army 8th Missile Detachment veteran)

I’m an Irvine resident and served in the U.S. Army during Vietnam. We have served our country through many wars to keep people of the United States free and safe. We have endured things in life we never expected to encounter. We did these things out of love for our country and for every person who wanted to live a free life. It is incumbent on the Irvine City Council to finalize the ARDA site to honor our valiant veterans. The site has been approved and should have already have become operational back in 2019. It is not only for veterans — it is for our families and loved ones. If you do not do this, you are letting big business and money rule you as opposed to doing the right and honorable thing. 
– Stan Shectman

I cannot imagine that a place of peaceful beauty and honor to our veterans is a “negative” image for the Great Park, which has become mediocre, commercial, and to-date has offered only sports fields, a water park, concert venues, and a farmers market. It appears that generating profits is the main focus, disregarding the original plan for the park, which was to pattern itself after New York’s Central Park and to be enjoyed by all.
– Trish Whiston

Just 10% of the responses we have received support the Gypsum Canyon/91 freeway site, with only a handful of people leaving a comment. The majority of those comments are included below:

I would like a golf course or arboretum to be built at the Great Park.
– Dan Lee

The land in the Great Park should be used for creating jobs and generating tax revenue. In addition, the Great Park is a sports park so a golf course is a much better fit than a cemetery.
– Harvey

The Great Park should be used for family and kids.
– Sepideh Mirfakhraie

ICNV Staff