First launched in May, the online “Citizens Petition to Build the Veterans Cemetery in the Great Park” continues to gain hundreds of Irvine petition-signers — even after the City Council voted at a rushed, June 6th “special meeting” to abandon the fully-approved, “shovel-ready” 125-acre Veterans Cemetery site in the Great Park. The Council instead voted 3-to-2 (Councilmembers Jeff Lalloway and Lynne Schott voting NO) for a “land-swap” proposal that would give the 125 acres of the 1,300-acre Great Park to developer FivePoint Communities to undertake massive, for-profit development, estimated to net FivePoint $500 million over the next several years.
Following the Council’s June 6th hurry-up vote, the petition for the Veterans Cemetery in the Great Park has attracted a new surge of signers, adding to the hundreds already on hand. Nearly half of all petition-signers offer comments, as well. Take a look at this small but representative sample of comments — telling you what your Irvine friends and neighbors are thinking.
• The Veterans Memorial Park and Cemetery needs to be built, as originally planned, in the Great Park Our leaders must work for the benefit of the people of Irvine and not for the developers.
— Rogelio Camero
• Our City Councilmembers, especially Christina Shea and most especially Melissa Fox, should be ashamed at having succumbed to the power of big money at the sacrifice of our veterans. The Great Park is the perfect place for the Veterans Cemetery. I have a 93-year-old father living in Irvine for 40 years who is a World War II veteran of the Battle of the Bulge, a Purple Heart recipient, for whom this Memorial Park and Cemetery is personally important.
— Susan Galasso
• I am a veteran of the Vietnam conflict. I served with the 1st Marine Division. The Veterans Cemetery needs to stay where it was planned, in the Great Park. Please honor your vets and do what is right, not the land-swap. Don’t let the greedy builders win here. They are so unpatriotic.
— Ronald Davis
• This land-swap goes completely against the wishes of the families of veterans. My husband served during the Korean War. He lived in Irvine the last 39 years of his life. He wanted to have his ashes buried in the Great Park. Why has Councilmember Melissa Fox changed her mind? Shame on Melissa Fox and other members of the City Council who are selling out to FivePoint.
— Ernestina Benson
• Cemeteries should be located in quiet and scenic areas. That is why the original location for the Veterans Cemetery should be kept, not within view on the I-405 and the I-5.
— Frank McGill
• I am concerned about increased traffic on Irvine Boulevard if the swap were to be implemented, followed by development of houses and/or commercial structures.
— Paul Wright
• This is an obvious land-grab designed to continue to fill the pockets of FivePoint and their cronies. As a veteran, I feel strongly that the Veterans Cemetery belongs in the Great Park, not stuck beside the freeways.
— Richard and Paula Quinn
• The Veterans Cemetery in the Great Park is ready to go NOW. Instead, we have to wait a few more years or more for it to happen. In the meantime, FivePoint can start construction and reap their rewards in a year or so. At the same time, traffic will get worse and worse for Irvine residents.
— Daniel Yau
• Changing the location of the Veterans Cemetery after it was all ready to go in the Great Park is nonsense. More traffic and more people in our City is nonsense. Mayor Donald Wagner and Councilmembers Christina Shea and Melissa Fox are not looking at the BIG picture. They seem to only care about the dollars in their pockets today. Our veterans deserve so much more than a lame land-swap!
— Stacy Jacoby
• As a 1967 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and a disabled Vietnam-era veteran, I’m outraged by the political wheeling-dealing and “pay to play” by our local political hacks. FivePoint’s outsized election contributions and support for the turncoats provides the smoking gun needed to explain why this 11th-hour decision to undo years of work culminating in the Great Park location is coming out of the blue. The next step in this black comedy is to start a recall petition against these traitors of the public trust. The “final resting place” of veterans who gave their all should not be a pawn in the financial ambitions of crooked pols and land developers.
— Timothy Hoffmann
Keep the Veterans Cemetery in the Great Park, where it belongs.
— Lori Knebusch
It will take years to effectuate the land-swap and gain all necessary City, State and Federal approvals. This means there is plenty of time for City Councilmembers to reconsider their vote and restore the original shovel-ready plan to put the Veterans Cemetery in the Great Park. So, readers who wish to learn more and sign the Veterans Cemetery Petition, click here. And, please, feel free to pass the online petition along to Irvine friends and neighbors and encourage them to sign as well.