The citizens of Irvine are taking action!
They are not only speaking up, they are organizing themselves and using the tools of democracy to try to set things straight and ensure the safety and well-being of our community. A number of articles in this month’s paper are indicative of this people power.
As Publisher of this newspaper — but also as a lawyer and businessman, married to a retired Irvine teacher — I am appalled that the Irvine Unified School District and Irvine School Board members continue to “stonewall” the public. They refuse to undertake comprehensive soil-testing of the entire 40-acre Portola High School site, even though there have been previous discoveries of significant toxic contamination at the site’s perimeter, including dangerous and, in some cases, carcinogenic (cancer-causing) materials.
Proper, comprehensive testing of the entire school site would cost less than $100,000 — as against the $300 million cost of the high school. Moreover, there is open-ended moral and legal liability for the failure to ensure the health and safety of faculty, staff and thousands of future students. To not test is a very risky business.
Nearly 1200 Irvine residents — mostly parents and grandparents of school children — have petitioned the School Board, but so far to no avail.
On another matter, citizens are so angry at our City Council, they are starting an initiative to reinstate Irvine’s once heralded “Living Wage” of $10.82 per hour that was repealed by Mayor Steven Choi and Councilmembers Christina Shea, Jeff Lalloway and Lynn Schott. Take a look at Luis Alemán’s “Call to Action” — organizing a citywide initiative — in our Community Voices section. Irvine Community News and Views will be following this initiative drive closely.