Just days before the first cases of the coronavirus pandemic began to hit California, hundreds of Irvine volunteers completed their remarkable six-month effort to gather many thousands of Irvine voter signatures on petitions in support of the “Build the Great Park Veterans Cemetery” initiative.
On March 17th, about two dozen volunteers appeared at City Hall to officially transmit — to the Irvine City Clerk, and then to the Orange County Registrar of Voters — 12 boxes of initiative petitions bearing a record-breaking 19,790 Irvine resident signatures.
Based on the sheer number of signatures gathered, it appears almost certain that after a final official count, the initiative will qualify for a vote of the people at the November 3, 2020 Irvine City election.
By its terms, the initiative designates and zones the 125-acre ARDA site in the Great Park as the exclusive Irvine voter-approved site for a state-built, state-operated Veterans Memorial Park & Cemetery.
Instead of respecting this monumental citizen initiative effort, Irvine Mayor Christina Shea went out of her way to attack the initiative petitioners, suggesting these volunteers — made up of Irvine veterans, school teachers, nurses, and local business owners — somehow misled or even defrauded thousands of Irvine residents into signing.
In a March 23rd Register article, Shea called on the Orange County Registrar of Voters to have “every signature reviewed” because people signing the petitions “did not understand” what they were signing.
Shea then went one step further, threatening to have a majority of the City Council put their own measure on the ballot for an alternative “golf course” site for the Veterans Cemetery. This is apparently the same site that Shea, last summer, told homeowners that she was promoting as a “diversion” tactic. She admitted it was being put forward as part of a scheme to stop the State from beginning construction of the Veterans Cemetery at the City-owned ARDA site, so billion-dollar developer FivePoint could take control of the ARDA site under a 99-year land lease that would permit massive office, commercial and industrial development. (Click here to see Shea, caught on video.)
So, here she goes again. At a time when the Mayor should be focused on the City’s response to the coronavirus crisis, Irvine’s (unelected) Mayor is instead using her position to insult and assail her own constituents for exercising their right to circulate and sign a popular initiative. And, to make matters worse, Shea is apparently once again plotting and scheming with FivePoint, her campaign bankroller and political puppet-master — this time to put some kind of competing measure on the November ballot.
It is yet one more disgusting attempt to undermine and thwart the will of the people. Shame on you, Mayor Shea!
The Irvine Community News & Views is a longtime sponsor and supporter of the “Build the Great Park Veterans Cemetery” committee, and the initiative campaign to build the Veterans Cemetery on the 125-acre ARDA site in the Great Park.