In this feature, we post a series of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) that were asked of volunteers during the gathering of signatures for the Veterans Cemetery Referendum Petition. These Referendum FAQs are important, because we soon expect another campaign when the Referendum appears on the Irvine election ballot in 2018.
Q: When the Veterans Cemetery Referendum appears on the ballot, and I want to oppose FivePoint’s development and keep the Veterans Cemetery in the original Great Park location, how do I vote?
A: Vote NO! This will be your opportunity to say NO to the City Council ordinance that rezoned the original Great Park Veterans Cemetery property to allow FivePoint to build 812,000 square feet of office and commercial development.
Q: FivePoint and others who support moving the Veterans Cemetery say that building the Cemetery at FivePoint’s I-5/I-405 freeway location would be better, faster and cheaper than keeping the Veterans Cemetery in the Great Park. Is that true?
A: No, the opposite is true! FivePoint’s I-5/I-405 freeway location is not better. Look at the map. The freeway site is two miles outside the Great Park, at the El Toro “Y.” It is a site that suffers from noise, air pollution and undetermined extent of toxic contamination. Veterans have called the site unsuitable, undignified, and even disrespectful.
It’s not faster. The State’s CalVet officials say their evaluation of the FivePoint freeway site cannot be completed before June 2018. It then takes another four months for the pre-application process to the federal government. It’s unlikely that any work could begin at the freeway location until October, 2018, at the earliest. Meanwhile, the Great Park Veterans Cemetery site was ready for construction back in June 2017. It’s still ready!
It’s not cheaper. There have been no estimates of costs for the FivePoint freeway site since that site has never been evaluated for a cemetery. Despite previous promises of $10 million and more, FivePoint is now providing no funding towards building the Veterans Cemetery.
Meanwhile there has been a detailed cost estimate of $78 million for the cleanup of the land and construction of the Veterans Cemetery in the Great Park. More than half of these funds would come from the State and Federal government. Any City funds would come from the State’s $292 million Great Park redevelopment settlement fund. The Veterans Cemetery will be operated and maintained in perpetuity by the State and Federal governments. There will be no cost, whatsoever, to the City.