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Publisher’s Perspective: Support the “Build the Great Park Veterans Cemetery” Initiative!


As publisher of Irvine Community News & Views (ICNV), I’m proud to remind people that ICNV has been a major supporter of the effort to establish a beautiful Southern California Veterans Memorial Park & Cemetery — to be located on the 125-acre “ARDA Site” in the Great Park, right here in Irvine.

Not only has ICNV reported and editorialized in support of this important community cause for the past five years, but last year when developer FivePoint and some members of the Irvine City Council sought to replace the planned Veterans Cemetery with massive office, industrial and apartment development, ICNV committed major resources to fight the FivePoint scheme. In fact, Irvine Community News & Views stepped forward as an official sponsor of the Citywide ballot referendum to defeat the unpopular FivePoint “landswap-and-development” measure — Measure B — 63% to 37%.

In that historic 2018 referendum fight — and since — Councilmember Christina Shea (now Irvine’s appointed Mayor) and Councilmember Anthony Kuo stood with developer FivePoint and against Irvine veterans and the voters of Irvine.

We, at ICNV, continue to stand with the entire Irvine community. That’s why we support State Assembly Bill 368 — a bipartisan bill that is moving through the State Legislature. AB 368 provides for the State to build, operate and maintain — at no cost to the City of Irvine — the Southern California Veterans Cemetery at the ARDA Site in the Great Park.

Instead of supporting AB 368 and helping get the bill signed into law this year, Mayor Shea and Councilmember Kuo still seem stubbornly opposed to the Veterans Cemetery. And it is unclear whether newly appointed City Councilmember Mike Carroll, who now fills a vacant seat on the five-member City Council, will buck Shea and Kuo.

The bad news in all this is that most Irvine voters no longer feel they can trust a majority of the Irvine City Council to do the right thing — and get the Veterans Cemetery built and operational without further delay.

But here is the good news! The people of Irvine still have the power of initiative. We have the right to circulate an initiative petition to vote on a ballot measure that would force the Mayor and City Council to do the right thing and say YES to AB 368 and YES to building the long-promised Veterans Cemetery.

And here is more good news: Irvine’s all-volunteer citizens’ committee — Build the Great Park Veterans Cemetery — is preparing to launch a summer-long initiative campaign to gather the 20,000 signatures needed to qualify the initiative for the Irvine ballot. I want you to know that Irvine Community News & Views is already contributing to this effort. But we need hundreds of individual donations now to ensure the success of the initiative petition drive that will secure the earliest possible construction of the Veterans Cemetery. Will you help?

I hope you will join us to help turn our vision of the Veterans Cemetery at the ARDA site in the Great Park into a reality — a peaceful, beautiful place to honor the contributions and sacrifice of those who served our country and helped secure our freedoms.

Whether you wish to donate or not at this time, please take just 3 minutes to view our Veterans Cemetery video.


Franklin J. Lunding


Irvine, CA
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