On June 5th, our citizen-led “NO on B” referendum campaign culminated in a resounding 63 percent voter mandate. Irvine voters rejected the City Council’s corrupt landswap-and-development scheme and, instead, made it clear that they wanted the Mayor and City Council to immediately begin building the Veterans Cemetery in the Great Park …as originally promised, planned and approved.
Shamefully, at the July 10th City Council meeting — with hundreds of citizens watching — Mayor Donald Wagner and Councilmembers Christina Shea and Melissa Fox ignored the voters’ mandate and refused to start construction on the original Great Park Veterans Cemetery site.
Since that meeting, I’ve received hundreds of messages from Irvine residents who are outraged that Wagner, Shea and Fox continue to ignore the will of the people.
As a retired high school teacher, I’ll tell you what I used to tell my social studies students: Elected officials who arrogantly ignore their constituents don’t belong in public office!
Let’s face it…we need to clean house at City Hall. Here’s how we can do it — in two steps:
- Fox and Shea, who are in the middle of their 4-year terms, should be recalled and removed from office. As a practical matter, it will take months to gather thousands of signatures and schedule a special recall election for early next year. I believe we can and should do this, and that we should start organizing right now.
- Wagner will be up for re-election this November 6th (the Mayor’s term is only two years). That means we have the chance to replace Wagner with an Irvine Mayor who is on our side. And if we hold the two Council seats now occupied by Jeff Lalloway and Lynn Schott, we will have a dependable NO on B majority that will immediately begin construction of the Great Park Veterans Cemetery.
I want to be upfront about what it will take to succeed with our two-step strategy. We will need hundreds of volunteers who are willing to support our team of proven NO on B candidates in November, and who will also help gather the thousands of petition signatures to qualify a Shea-Fox recall.
Realistically, we also need to raise at least $75,000 right now to cover the initial legal fees, expected court challenges, and to pay for voter education materials, including mail, and the preparation and distribution of recall petitions.
It’s not easy for me to ask others for help. But, I must be honest: It will take a determined community effort to change this City Council and move our Great Park Veterans Cemetery forward. I’m counting on your help!
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Edward S. Pope
Veteran, U.S. Army
Chair, Build the Great Park Veterans Cemetery
Retired teacher and 46-year Irvine resident
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