If you are an Irvine resident and don’t know the name Mary Ann Gaido, you should! She’s done so much in the way of land preservation and establishing affordable housing.
The former Irvine City Councilwoman and current Planning Commissioner was recently honored during the re-opening ceremony at Bommer Canyon’s Cattle Camp.
Due to Mary Ann’s efforts as a Councilwoman in 1977, the City Manager was directed by the Council to purchase the Cattle Camp land for public use. It took years of negotiations to convince the Irvine Company to sell the property. However, Mary Ann’s persistence paid off when, in 1981, the City finalized the purchase — preserving the historic land for the public to enjoy in perpetuity.
Thanks to her work, the Cattle Camp at Bommer Canyon has remained a continued source of enjoyment for families throughout the region.
Mary Ann has a long and active history with the City of Irvine. First appointed to the Planning Commission shortly after Irvine’s incorporation, she was instrumental in the approval of Irvine’s General Plan. In addition to working on both the City’s Planning Commission and Transportation Commission, Mary Ann served two terms as a member of the Irvine City Council.
With a shared commitment to environmental stewardship, Mary Ann worked alongside her good friend and colleague, then-Mayor Larry Agran in 1988 to establish our City’s beautiful Open Space Preserve — which includes more than 10,000 acres of wilderness that will be available for families to enjoy forever. The two also joined forces to help defeat the County’s proposal to completely alter Irvine’s award-winning planned community by building a huge international airport in the northern portion of our City.
In 2020, when Agran returned to the City Council, he appointed Mary Ann as his representative on the Planning Commission. Her deep knowledge of our City’s history has proven invaluable in making decisions that allow our City to grow while maintaining our commitment to Irvine’s General Plan.
In addition to her work on environmental issues, Mary Ann is a founding member of the Boards of Irvine Housing Opportunities, Jamboree Housing, the Kennedy Commission of Orange County, the Orange County Community Housing Corporation, and the Orange County Affordable Housing Clearinghouse.
This year, she received the Ralph Kennedy Award at the 2023 Affordable Housing Breakfast for her decades of work here in Irvine and throughout Orange County to increase affordable housing and advocate for those most in need.
A long-time resident of Turtle Rock, Mary Ann remains an active member of the Orange Coast League of Women Voters and continues social justice work with the Interfaith Community in Orange County.
Everyone here at Irvine Community News & Views congratulates Mary Ann on her latest well-deserved honors. Our City is lucky to have her continuing to work on our behalf.
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