In what political observers termed a June 5th “voter revolt,” Irvine voters said “NO on B!” — rebuffing developer FivePoint Communities and their land-swap scheme to replace the planned Veterans Cemetery in the Great Park with massive development. A remarkable 63% voted NO on Measure B.
Measure B was a complicated Zone Change Ordinance that, if approved by the voters, would have pushed the 125-acre, long-planned Veterans Memorial Park and Cemetery out of the Great Park, relocating it to FivePoint property alongside the noisy I-5 & I-405 El Toro “Y.” In turn, FivePoint would take ownership of the original 125-acre Veterans Cemetery site bordering Irvine Boulevard in the Great Park, so it could build nearly 1 million square feet of office, commercial, and industrial development, as well as permitted five-story apartment complexes.
Despite spending upwards of $1 million, FivePoint and their Council allies — Mayor Donald Wagner and Councilmembers Christina Shea and Melissa Fox — couldn’t sell Measure B to Irvine voters. More than 90 percent of the City’s precincts — from one end of the City to the other —recorded big NO on B majorities, sometimes more than 70%.
On Election Night, and again one week later — at the June 12th City Council meeting — Ed Pope, Chair of the NO on B campaign, spoke to the Irvine community, thanking the hundreds of campaign volunteers and thousands of Irvine voters who “saw through FivePoint’s million-dollar campaign of lies and deliberate confusion.”
Pope, who is a 46-year Irvine resident, an Army veteran and a retired high school teacher, emphasized that it’s now time for the City Council to act in accordance with the mandate of the voters…to begin building the Veterans Cemetery at the original site in the Great Park, which was already planned and approved (2014 – 2016) by the City, State (CalVet) and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Pope concluded, “The people have spoken. Members of the City Council: Are you listening?”
The same theme — “listen to the people” and “listen to the voters” — was echoed in remarks by a dozen Irvine residents, many of them veterans. Former nurse and long-time Irvine resident, Joyce Kassouf, said that abiding by the mandate of the people was a matter of “integrity.”
At the June 12th meeting, Councilmember Jeff Lalloway announced that, based on the resounding June 5th NO on B vote, he would be putting the Veterans Cemetery issue on the agenda for an upcoming Council meeting, urging the Council to take action to “immediately begin construction of the Veterans Cemetery in the Great Park.”
A subsequent Memo from Lalloway (click here to read it) confirmed that the Veterans Cemetery issue — and Lalloway’s five-part motion — will be on the agenda at the July 10th City Council meeting.
Pope lauded Lalloway, and urged Irvine residents to read his Memo and the motion he intends to introduce.
In the run-up to the meeting of July 10th, Pope said citizens should email or phone the Mayor and City Councilmembers, and express support “in their own words” for Lalloway’s motion to “build the Veterans Cemetery in the Great Park now, without any further delay.”