It’s been more than six weeks since the Irvine City Council heard three hours of public comments from frustrated residents in north Irvine who believe that emissions from the asphalt plant located about a mile from their homes has led to a public health crisis.
However, Mayor Farrah Khan and her Council majority — Vice Mayor Tammy Kim and Councilmembers Anthony Kuo and Mike Carroll — allowed another Council meeting to go by this week without implementing any safeguards to protect the affected residents.
During the “Council Announcements” portion of the October 26th Irvine City Council meeting, Councilmember Larry Agran — who has been advocating on behalf of the residents all year — reported that no substantive action has taken place. Agran expressed his frustration that the Council has not moved forward on his previous requests, which include installing checkpoints to ensure asphalt trucks are covered and following prescribed traffic routes, along with the establishment of a 24/7 “hotline,” staffed by City of Irvine Code Enforcement officials and police officers. Agran ended his comments by insisting that a report on staff progress be on the agenda by the next Council meeting.
In another development, the Council took up a Resolution put on the agenda by Councilmembers Kim and Carroll — a Resolution to abandon the City’s long-promised State Veterans Memorial Park & Cemetery on the community-supported, voter-approved “ARDA” site at the Great Park. The Kim-Carroll Resolution calls for the City to support developer FivePoint’s latest “alternative” site, relocating the proposed Veterans Cemetery 20 miles outside of Irvine, alongside the noisy 91 freeway at Gypsum Canyon, just a few miles from the Riverside County line.
The Council chamber included dozens of non-Irvine residents, organized by the VALOR PAC (Political Action Committee), funded by developer FivePoint, who spoke in favor of the Gypsum Canyon site. They were joined by a few Great Park Neighborhood residents who stated they do not want a Veterans Cemetery in Irvine. About 25-30 Irvine residents in support of the ARDA site attended the meeting, with about a dozen expressing their support through in-person testimony. Several more Irvine residents called in to the meeting to voice their support for the Great Park ARDA site.
After hours of often-contentious testimony and debate, the Council voted 4-1 to adopt the Kim-Carroll Resolution.
Councilmember Larry Agran was the only member of the Council to vote against the Kim-Carroll Resolution. After it was clear the Mayor and her Council majority would not support the Veterans Cemetery on the ARDA site, Agran asked his Council colleagues to at least support the establishment of a Veterans Memorial Park on the 125-acre ARDA site to “honor the history of service and sacrifice by the hundreds of thousands of veterans who served.” The Mayor refused to permit Agran to introduce his Resolution.
Irvine Community News & Views will continue to report on this matter.
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