Irvine City Council Newsletter 
December 2017 --   Year in Review 
Councilmember Melissa Fox Joins Residents to Celebrate Winter Wonderland at Irvine Civic Center

Councilmember Fox joined thousands of Irvine residents in a joyous tree lighting and holiday celebration

Irvine, CA -- On Sunday, December 3, 2017, the Irvine Civic Center was transformed into a beautiful "Winter Wonderland" as Councilmember Melissa Fox joined Mayor Don Wagner and City Councilmembers Christina Shea and Lynn Schott, Police Chief Mike Hamel, and Irvine Commissioners Anthony Kuo and Lauren Johnson-Norris, and thousands of Irvine residents to celebrate the start of the holiday season. 

Irvine's Winter Wonderland gathering featured a 25-foot-tall tree adorned with ornaments and holiday lights, a Joyful Jingles holiday program, children's activities, train rides, gourmet food trucks and "snow" falling at Irvine City Hall. Of course, the special guest of honor was the one and only Santa Claus himself.

"It's wonderful to see our community come together to celebrate the holiday season," Councilmember Fox said. "The smiles of delight on the faces of the children were a joy to see."

Councilmember Melissa Fox Accepts "Organic Leadership Award for City of Irvine

Councilmember Fox joins Councilmember Shea to accept "Organic Leadership Award" from the Pepperdine Center for Sustainability 

Irvine, CA -- Councilmember Melissa Fox was proud to join Councilmember Christina Shea to accept the "Organic Leadership Award" award on behalf of the City of Irvine from the Pepperdine Center for Sustainability for Irvine's exclusive use of organic non-toxic materials in its gardens, parks.

Kim Konte, leader of Irvine's grassroots organization "Non-Toxic Irvine" stated "For the past 22 months from weeds to rodents the City of Irvine has maintained ALL pest pressure organically. We are so grateful that they chose to make our children's health their priority by banning toxic pesticides. Irvine's fields are not only beautiful, most importantly they are safe."

Councilmember Melissa Fox Moves Discussion Forward on Building a Contemporary Library at the Great Park

Councilmember Fox places a presentation on innovative contemporary libraries and cultural centers on the Great Park Board agenda - igniting conversation on building a facility in the Cultural Terrace

Irvine, CA -- Councilmember Melissa Fox asked consultants to present proposals for a contemporary  library at the developing Cultural Terrace of the Orange County Great Park.  

The Great Park library could be a high-profile project to re-imagine the traditional library, the consultants said, at a time when most people can access the Internet anytime, anywhere at their fingertips through smart phones.

"I don't want to call it a library," said Ed Garnett, vice president of business development at Library Systems Services, which operates 83 libraries across the country. "It's a cultural center. It could be a jewel of the Great Park."

Irvine would be a great place to try new library ideas, including private-public partnerships, because of the planned community's high population and emphasis on education, Coffman said. 

"I think there are some really attractive options out there, and we are looking for folks like yourself who are innovative to partner with and build a library really for the future," Garnett told the City Council.

Councilmember Melissa Fox said she invited Maryland-based Library Systems Services representatives to learn about possibilities for the Great Park library.  "We learned that libraries are some of the most ecxiting public spaces around the world and we have tremendous potential in Irvine," Fox said after the presentation. "I'm more excited than ever about it now."

Councilmember Melissa Fox Joins Community Leaders in Celebrating Success and Building Improvement Project of Irvine Chinese School

Councilmember Fox Presents Award to South Coast Chinese Cultural Association

Irvine, CA -- Councilmember Melissa Fox was honored and delighted to attend South Coast Chinese Cultural Association 2017 Trustees & Donors Mixer on December 4, 2017, and to present them with a certificate expressing the gratitude of of the City of Irvine. 

"SCCCA does a tremendous job serving Irvine," Councilmember Fox said.  "I look forward to the successful completion of the Irvine Chinese School's Building Expansion Project, which will facilitate even more opportunities to serve our City by promoting Chinese culture, language, and community."

2017 Year in Review

Here are some of the stories from Councilmember Melissa Fox's first year of service on the Irvine City Council

Below are some highlights from my newsletters chronicling my first year of service on the Irvine City Council.

What a year it was!  

In November 2016, I was privileged to be elected to a four-year term on the Irvine City Council. 

I was then elected Vice-Chair of the Orange County Great Park Board of Directors, appointed to represent Irvine and serve on the Board of Directors of the Orange County Fire Authority, to serve as Vice Chair of the Irvine Land Trust, and to serve as Chair of the newly reinvigorated Irvine Green Ribbon Environmental Committee.

I was able to vote for tremendous improvements in the Great Park, including a new live music amphitheatre and a new 30-acre Wild Rivers Water Park, and to celebrate the Grand Opening of the Irvine Sports Park -- including a beautiful new Championship Soccer Stadiumsix soccer fields, 25 tennis courts, and five sand volleyball courts -- and also celebrate the groundbreaking for  a new  Community Ice Facility that will be the largest ice skating facility in California and one of the largest in the nation. 

I was proud to vote for the land exchange that at last enabled Irvine to establish the only Veterans Cemetery in Orange County on the grounds of the former El Toro Marine Air Base.

I was able to make progress on three issues that are extremely important to me and my vision for Irvine -- transportation, affordable housing, and childcare.

I was awarded the Orange County Taxpayer's Watch Dog Award for fiscal responsibility, and was named Orange County's "Best Politician" by the O.C. Weekly!

There is certainly still much more to be done, but looking back on this year, I'm amazed at how much we've accomplished together to make Irvine an even better place to live, work, and raise a family.

I hope you'll enjoy this look back at 2017, and join me in 2018 to continue to celebrate and improve our wonderful City of Irvine!

Councilmember Melissa Fox Elected Vice Chair of the Orange County Great Park Board of Directors

Councilmember Fox gains new position at the first Great Park Board meeting of 2017

Irvine, CA -- Irvine City Councilmember  Melissa Fox was elected as Vice Chair of the Orange County Great Park Board of Directors on January 24th. Irvine Mayor Don Wagner was elected Chair. 

Councilmember Fox looks forward to working with her fellow board members and the community as the Great Park continues to be developed and built out to serve the residents of Irvine and Orange County.

Melissa Fox's City Council Agency and Committee Appointments 2017

Councilmember Fox appointed to Board of Directors of Orange County Fire Authority and other local and regional boards and agencies

Irvine, CA -- Irvine City Councilmember Melissa Fox is  pleased to report that she has been appointed by Irvine Mayor Don Wagner and my City Council colleagues to serve as Irvine's representative on the Board of Directors of the   Orange County Fire Authority  and other regional and local agencies and committees.

"I am particularly pleased with my energy, watershed, wildlife, environmental, childcare and infrastructure appointments, since I have a longstanding interest in moving forward in these areas of policy," Fox said. "I am also particularly pleased to join the Library Advisory Board, since my mother was a librarian and taught me the importance of community access to literature and information."

For a complete list of Councilmember Fox's appointments to local and regional boards and agencies, click  here.

Councilmember Melissa Fox Joins with NHL Anaheim Ducks in Groundbreaking for New $100 Million Ice Skating Facility at the Great Park

"Now the next Wayne Gretsky, Teemu Selänne, Scott Niedermayer or Ryan Getzlaf could come from Irvine. Wouldn't that be wonderful!"

Irvine, CA -- Irvine City Councilmember and Great Park Vice Chair Melissa Fox joined with the National Hockey League Anaheim Ducks as well as City and County officials in the official groundbreaking for the new $100 million Great Park Ice & Sports Complex.

The Great Park Ice & Sports Complex will be the largest in California and one of the largest in the U.S.  Built entirely without taxpayer funding, the 280,000-square-foot Complex will feature three NHL-standard ice rinks and one Olympic-sized ice rink, as well as a 2,500-seat arena, and will offer a variety of ice sports including youth and adult hockey programs, tournaments, figure skating, curling, broomball, sled hockey, public open skating and will be used as a practice facility for the Anaheim Ducks. 

Located near the Great Park's Palm Court and adjacent to the Festival Site parking area, the facility will be reserved most of the time for public use.  It is scheduled to open in July 2018.

The newly formed nonprofit Irvine Ice Foundation will own the Great Park Ice Complex. 

"This ice skating facility will be terrific for our kids," Councilmember Fox said. "I loved to ice skate when I was kid, but there weren't very many places I could find an ice skating rink when I was growing up in Orange County.  Now, we'll have state-of-the-art facilities for our youth."

"The next Wayne Gretsky, Teemu Selänne, Scott Niedermayer or Ryan Getzlaf could come from Irvine. Wouldn't that be wonderful!," Fox added.

Councilmember Melissa Fox
Praises Student Engagement with Irvine City Council on Issue of Affordable Housing

"It is great to see students attend City Council meetings and address us on issues that are important to them as well as the larger community. I share their concerns about housing insecurity and the lack of affordable housing in Irvine - not just for students, but also for young families and others." 

Irvine, CA --  Councilmember Melissa Fox praised the nearly two dozen students from UC Irvine and Irvine Valley College who spoke recently to the City Council on the issue of affordable housing. 

"It is great to see so many students attend City Council meetings and address us on issues that are important to them as well as the larger community.  I share their concerns about housing insecurity and the lack of affordable housing in Irvine - not just for students, but also for young families and others," Councilmember Fox said. 

"I strongly agree with the student speakers that Irvine needs to do much more toward helping create more affordable housing," Fox added. "I am committed to working with my colleagues on the Irvine City Council and the Irvine Community Land Trust, as well as with UC Irvine and others on this important issue."

Councilmember Melissa Fox Helps Save Live Music in Irvine

Council votes in favor of new amphitheater in Irvine!

Irvine, CA -- Irvine City Councilmember Melissa Fox was proud to vote alongside her fellow Councilmembers to approve a new temporary amphitheater in Irvine. The 12,000 seat venue, which is expected to open this summer, will help fill the void that the closure of Irvine Meadows left behind. 

"Many people have so many fond memories of concerts at the old Irvine Meadows amphitheater - I think that it is important to continue Irvine's tradition of celebrating live music," Councilmember Fox said.

The new amphitheater will be located on land owned by FivePoint near the Orange County Great Park. Concert promoter LiveNation,  which ran Irvine Meadows, will operate the venue until 2020. 

The city could receive at least $20,000 to $30,000 from on-site sales tax if the temporary amphitheater performs similarly to Irvine Meadows. The amphitheater will employ up to about 400 people.   FivePoint and Live Nation will bear the cost of police services for the concert venue.

Councilmember Fox further stated that she had received commitments from both FivePoint and Live Nation to present local musicians, including the Pacific Symphony Ochestra, at the new venue.  

"I   look forward to working with my colleagues on the City Council very soon to build a permanent amphitheater at the Great Park," she added.

Irvine City Council Passes Melissa Fox's Motion for Proclamation Remembering Holocaust and to "Remain Vigilant Against Hatred, Persecution, and Tyranny" 

April 23-30 officially proclaimed as "Days of Remembrance"

Irvine, CA -- At the Irvine City Council meeting on March 14, 2017, the Council unanimously voted in favor of Councilmember Melissa Fox's motion for an official proclamation recognizing April 23-30, 2017, as "Days of Remembrance" in memory of the victims of the Holocaust, and in honor of the survivors, rescuers and liberators, and urging all to "remain vigilant against hatred, persecution, and tyranny."

"I want to thank the Mayor and my City Council colleagues for their unanimous support for this proclamation," Councilmember Fox stated. "The memory of the Holocaust should serve as a reminder throughout the ages of the need to treat all people with respect and dignity, and to ensure that hatred, bigotry, and tyranny have no place in America or any civilized community."

You can read the proclamation  here.

Councilmember Melissa Fox Votes 'No' on Proposal for 1,960 New Apartments Along Sand Canyon

Councilmember Fox concerned about impact on Irvine's traffic and schools

Irvine, CA -- At the Irvine City Council meeting on March 14, Councilmember Melissa Fox voted against a proposal by the Irvine Company to start the process to build  1,960 apartment units along Sand Canyon Avenue near Interstate 5.  

The proposed project would require the City to amend the General Plan,   which defines the city's long-term plan for development, and change zoning. These changes would result in 1,343 more housing units than what's currently allowed in the General Plan while decreasing non-residential uses by 1.52 million square feet.

Fox was joined by Councilmember Christina Shea in opposition, but the Irvine Company's proposal that City staff begin evaluating the project was approved 3-2, with Mayor Don Wagner and Councilmembers Jeff Lalloway and Lynn Schott voting in favor. 

Councilwoman Fox said the project came at a bad time. The city is in the midst of updating the General Plan and reinstating a Transportation Commission to fight traffic congestion, while there are already dozens of other development projects in the pipeline.

"We are ahead of ourselves," Fox said. "Before we move forward with this project, we need to have in place a more robust system to understand how we are going to deal with these great to challenges of our City." 

Irvine City Council Adopts Melissa Fox's Motion to Approve New Wild Rivers Water Park in Irvine 

New Wild Rivers Water Park will be located on 30 acres in the Great Park

Irvine, CA -- On April 25, the Irvine City Council, acting as the Great Park Board of Directors, adopted the motion of Great Park Vice Chair and Irvine Councilmember Melissa Fox to approve construction of a new Wild Rivers Water Park on 30 acres at the Great Park in Irvine.

The old Wild Rivers Water Park closed in 2011 after 25 years in Irvine.  

"We have missed having a water park in Irvine," Coucilmember Fox said. 

"Wild Rivers has been an icon in the city of Irvine," Fox added.

"I was a kid sliding down the water slides at the old Wild Rivers, and I was a young mom taking my son there on hot summer days. We know that Wild Rivers provides fun and safe water parks, and they've always had a great relationship with the residents and the City of Irvine. We look forward to having them back in Irvine very soon."

The city plans to lease Great Park land to Wild Rivers, which would build and run the water park. Wild Rivers is proposing a 30-acre water park with waterslides, an uphill water coaster, water play structures for children, a wave pool, a lazy river and Wild Rivers' popular Congo River Rapids. 

Councilmember Melissa Fox Elected Vice Chair of the Irvine Community Land Trust

Fox will to use her position to increase  the availability of high-quality affordable housing in Irvine

Irvine, CA -- On April 17, Irvine City Councilmember Melissa Fox was elected Vice Chair of the Irvine Community Land Trust.  The  Irvine Community Land Trust  (ICLT)  is an independent nonprofit organization created to oversee affordable housing and preserve it for future generations.

Under the ICLT Homeownership model, the ICLT owns the underlying land and sells the houses to individual homeowners at affordable prices. ICLT also leases land to affordable rental housing developers and restricts the rents they charge through a ground lease. Currently the ICLT is leasing many units for affordable rental housing and is working with its current partners to develop many rental units.

The vision of the Irvine Community Land Trust is that by the year 2025, the ICLT will have created approximately 5,000 units of permanently affordable housing in the City of Irvine, contributing more than 50 percent of the City's 2025 goal of 9,700 affordable units. In addition, the ICLT will conduct a monitoring program and provide stewardship for these units, insuring high-quality construction, design, sustainability, maintenance and permanent affordability.  

"I am honored by my colleagues confidence in me," Fox said, following her election as Vice Chair by the ICLT Board of Directors. "From this position, I intend to work hard to increase the availability of high-quality affordable housing in Irvine."

Councilmember Melissa Fox Appoints Traffic Mitigation Expert to Irvine's New Transportation Commission

Councilmember Fox's appointee Ken Montgomery elected Chair of the new Irvine Transportation Commission

Irvine, CA -- City Councilmember Melissa Fox is pleased to announce that she has selected Kenneth Montgomery as her appointee to Irvine's new Transportation Commission.

Kenneth Montgomery is a retired Civil Engineer with more than 40 years of experience in managing public works and traffic and transportation issues as Director of Public Works for 3 Southern California Cities: Norwalk, Redondo Beach, and Laguna Niguel.  Ken retired from the City of Laguna Niguel in 2009 after 18 years as that City's first Director of Public Works/City Engineer. He has been closely following transportation issues in Irvine for decades.

"I am delighted that Ken Montgomery will be contributing his expertise and insights to fixing Irvine's traffic problems and building a transportation system that will serve Irvine into the 21st Century." Fox said.

"When I ran for election to the Irvine City Council, I promised to reduce Irvine's traffic congestion both in the long and short term, while providing more transportation choices for Irvine's residents and commuters, and to reduce travel time, reduce noise, improve safety, improve resident access to employment and entertainment centers, improve parking and reduce emissions." Fox explained. "Ken Montgomery is also deeply committed to these goals - and he has the expertise, experience, and vision necessary to achieve them."

As Laguna Niguel's Director of Public Works/City Engineer, Ken managed transportation and traffic issues for this new and developing city, including hiring the traffic engineering staff and managing their Transportation Commission.  He has also worked with Caltrans for years on redesigning freeway interchanges to minimize impacts on city streets.  Ken is an expert on traffic control devices such as stops signs, new traffic signals, street striping changes and school zone traffic management, and has designed and implemented dozens of major and minor street improvement projects to improve traffic safety, capacity and traffic flow.

Ken is a strong advocate for increased transportation choices as a means of traffic reduction.  He was instrumental in building train stations in each of the cities he has served.  He was personally responsible for the Metrolink station that serves Laguna Niguel/Mission Viejo, and has worked closely with the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) on the bus lines and bus stops and shelters that serve Laguna Niguel.

He is also an avid bicyclist, who knows and champions the Irvine bike trail system.  Like Councilmember Fox, he is an advocate for making bicycle commuting safer and more practical.

Ken holds a degree in civil engineering from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He and his wife Judy have resided in Irvine for 37 years and have lived in the same Woodbridge home since 1980.

Ken is an active member of Irvine Rotary Club and serves on its board.  He is also an Irvine CERT member, has served on the Arborlake Home Owners Association Board of Directors, and was a volunteer for the two Solar Decathlons held in Irvine's Great Park.

"I'm excited to seriously tackle Irvine's traffic and transportation issues," Montgomery said. "I look forward to working with Councilmember Melissa Fox, my fellow traffic commissioners, city staff, and all our community stakeholders in getting Irvine moving again."

Meetings for the Transportation Commission will be held on the first and third Tuesday of each month in the City Council Chambers starting at 5:30 pm. Like all commission meetings, it is open to the public.

Councilmember Melissa Fox Gets Irvine's Green Ribbon Environmental Committee Running Again

Councilmember Fox and her appointee Krishna Hammond elected as Chair and Vice Chair at first Green Ribbon Committee meeting of 2017

Irvine, CA -- At the first meeting of the year, on May 16th, City Councilmember Melissa Fox was elected Chair of  Irvine's Green Ribbon Environmental Committee

Councilmember Fox's appointee Krishna Hammond was elected to serve as Vice Chair of the Committee.  Her Planning Commissioner, Dustin Nirschl, is also a member of the Committee.

Irvine's Green Ribbon Environmental Committee seeks  to increase public participation in energy conservation and sustainable practices, helping the City serve the community through advancing environmental policy initiatives and programs. 

The Committee is supported by the Public Works Department. Comprised of 10 members, the committee is an advisory body to the City Council and provides advice on sustainability policies related to energy, recycling and waste management, mobility, open space and water issues. 

Irvine's Green Ribbon Environmental Committee has been dormant because there were not sufficient members to constitute a quorum.  "One of my goals in joining the Irvine City Council was to get this important committee going again.  Working with Irvine's mayor, Donald Wagner, we were able to bring the committee back to functioning strength." Fox explained.

Krishna Hammond, the Committee Vice Chair, is a professional chemist and is passionate about protecting, improving, and conserving our environment. He is a graduate with a degree in chemistry from the University of California, Santa Barbara. "  I am fortunate that he has agreed to serve on the committee and offer his expertise to the City of Irvine." Fox said.

Melissa Fox receives award for saving $80 million for state and local taxpayers

Irvine, CA -- On June 8, 2017, Irvine City Councilmember Melissa Fox received the Orange County Taxpayers Watchdog Award from Orange County Auditor-Controller Eric H. Wollwery.

The Orange County Taxpayers Watchdog Award was for "demonstrating dedication to the protection of taxpayer funds and for the advocacy of government transparency and fiscal responsibility."

Irvine City Councilmember Fox received the Award, along with Irvine Mayor Donald P, Wagner and Councilmember Christina Shea, for their successful efforts to designate agricultural land near the 5 and 405 freeways that was once part of the former Marine Air Station El Toro as a new Orange County Veterans Cemetery and Memorial in a land exchange with FivePoint Communities.

The land exchange with FivePoint Communities will ensure that the Veterans Cemetery is built faster and with approximately $80 million in savings for state and local taxpayers.

"I am honored to receive this award," Councilmember Fox said.  "I ran on a platform of using my skills as a business attorney to safeguard every public dollar.  I also ran on the promise to build the Veterans Cemetery in Irvine at the old El Toro Marine base, and to build it as quickly as possible. I'm extremely happy that this land exchange has allowed me to fulfill both of these campaign promises."

New designation will serve goal of getting Veterans Cemetery established as expeditiously as possible

The Irvine City Council voted on June 6, 2017, to designate the Strawberry Fields Site as the new location of the Orange County Veterans Cemetery.

The vote was 3-2 with Mayor Donald Wagner, Councilmember Christina Shea and myself voting in favor. Councilmembers Jeffrey Lalloway and Lynn Schott voting against.

I believe that designating the Strawberry Fields Site will get the Veterans Cemetery built faster and with significant less cost. In fact, it will save Irvine taxpayers upwards of $40 million - money that we can use to create more and better amenities at the Great Park, including museums, a library, and a world-class botanical garden.

I want to thank those elected officials who have stood with me throughout this process.

I want to thank   Assemblymember Sharon Quirk-Silva for originating this process in the state legislature and seeing that it received the support of Governor Jerry Brown.  She made it clear that she would be pleased with the Strawberry Fields Site and that she "wholeheartedly back[ed] the decision of the Irvine City Council."

I want to thank   Congressman Lou Correa, who sent a letter to the Irvine City Council expressing his "support for the Orange County Veterans Cemetery to be built on the "Strawberry Field" site at the old MCAS El Toro  . . . This is the site preferred by the Orange County Veterans Memorial Foundation and the consensus of most Veterans, family, and friends."

I also want to thank State Senator Josh Newman,  Chair of the California Senate Veterans Committee and proud U.S. Army veteran, for writing to the City Council stating that in his view "the recently presented alternative site [i.e., the Strawberry Fields Site] represents the best prospect for a feasible location and plan [for the Veterans Cemetery]."

For those wanting to know more about my reasons for this decision, please see my blog post  The Strawberry Fields Site is the Best Location for the Veterans Cemetery. Now Let's Get it Done!

I am proud to have been on the forefront of Irvine residents calling for an Orange County veterans cemetery located in Irvine.  Long before I was elected to the Irvine City Council, I worked closely with the members of the Orange County Veterans Memorial Park coalition to create a veterans cemetery on land that was once the El Toro Marine Corps Air Station. 

We've come a long way, but the process isn't over yet. 

I will continue to work hard to make sure that our veterans have a final resting place close to their families and loved ones. 

Councilmember Melissa Fox Welcomes Irvine Police Department's New Mounted Unit

"Frosty" and "Captain" are the newest members of the force

Irvine, CA -- Councilmember Melissa Fox welcomed "Frosty" and "Captain" -- the newest members of the Irvine Police force -- at  Irvine's National Night Out, an annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make our neighborhoods safer, more caring places to live. 

Sergeant Mike Meyers (riding "Frosty") and Sergeant Dennis Maisano (riding "Captain") lead the Irvine Police Department's first-ever mounted unit, which will   patrol open space that's difficult for vehicles to get around, as well as the developing Orange County Great Park and city-sponsored events. The height of the horse gives officers a vantage point to monitor the crowd or wilderness areas. 

The two veteran officers ride their own horses, and keep them on their own properties 

"The mounted unit will be great for the community," Councilmember Fox said.  "Our Irvine Police Department has a long tradition of community-based policing, and the new mounted unit will be a great attraction for kids and for keeping the police department close to our residents."

Several more horses (and riders) are expected to join the mounted unit in the near future. 

Councilmember Melissa Fox Applauds Bravery of Orange County Firefighters in Rescue Efforts in Houston

OCFA firefighters save thousands in the midst of Hurricane Harvey

Irvine, CA -- Irvine City Councilmember Melissa Fox, who is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Orange County Fire Authority, applauded the bravery and the successful rescue efforts of the members of the Orange County Fire Authority who quickly came to the aid of the City of Houston during Hurricane Harvey.

California  Task  Force-5  (CATF-5) arrived  in  San  Antonio, Texas  at  0400  CST on Saturday, August 26, comprised of firefighters from the Orange County Fire Authority's elite Urban Search and Rescue Task Force, as well as firefighters from Anaheim, the City of Orange, and other California Fire Departments.

CA-TF5 was mobilized on Sunday, August 27, to Houston and immediately  began  assisting with water  rescue  operations. They have now successfully completed more than a thousand rescues.

"I am tremendously proud of our brave firefighters," Councilmember Fox said. "They are doing in Houston what they do for us everyday here in Orange County - putting their lives on the line in the service of others."

"The readiness for successful deployment of our Orange County Firefighters to help the people of Houston is a testament to their dedication to duty, commitment to service, and constant training," Fox added. "I am proud of them, and proud to be a member of the Orange County Fire Authority family."

Grand Opening of the Orange County Great Park Sports Park

"This is just the beginning," Councilmember Melissa Fox said, as she joined in the festivities at the Grand Opening on the Orange County Great Park Sports Park

Irvine, CA -- On Saturday, Aug. 5, the city of Irvine and developer FivePoint hosted a grand opening of the first phase of the 194-acre Great Park Sports Park -- the biggest of its kind in Orange County -- larger than Disneyland and Disney California Adventure combined.

Festivities included an opening ceremony featuring Irvine and Orange County officials, and soccer greats Landon Donovan and Amy Rodriguez, followed by a soccer match by Orange County high school all-star teams at the new 2,506-seat Championship Soccer Stadium. A free concert by the Blues Brothers with Dan Aykroyd and Jim Belushi concluded the evening.

The city will run and maintain the new park using city staff as well as contracts with vendors.

The sports park is just the first of many features coming to the Great Park in the next few years.  Other amenities include walking trails, agricultural fields, playgrounds, open space and a wildlife corridor, as well as a new amphitheater, a 270,000-square-foot community ice complex and practice facility, an 18-hole golf course, and a new 30-acre version of Wild River Water Park with an uphill water coaster, water slides and lazy river.
Still in the works is a botanical garden, museums, a lake and a library.

"I am delighted to see so many happy faces," Councilmember Melissa Fox said. "The sports park is just the beginning of what will truly be a Great Park for all of Orange County."

Residents and organizations interested in using sports facilities at the Orange County Great Park can obtain applications and information on fees at or 949-724-6584. 

OC Weekly Names Councilmember Melissa Fox 
"Best Politician in Orange County"

Councilmember Melissa Fox is honored in OC Weekly's Best of 2017 Issue

  I am happy to report that I have been named "Best Politician" by the   OC Weekly .

The announcement was made in the  OC Weekly's "Best of 2017" issue.

You can also read the article below:

Dedication Ceremony Held for Southern California Veterans Memorial Park 

Southern California Veterans Cemetery dedicated on strawberry fields that were once part of the El Toro Marine Base

Irvine, CA -- Nearly 300 people, many of whom were veterans wearing yellow "Southern California Veterans Cemetery" caps, attended the dedication ceremony on Friday, Oct. 27, of 125 acres of strawberry fields that the City of Irvine will donate to the State for an Orange County veterans cemetery.
"This is an historic moment," said Bill Cook, a Vietnam War veteran who heads the Orange County Veterans Memorial Park Foundation and has advocated for the cemetery since 1999.
The ceremony took place in the strawberry fields that were the end of a runway of the El Toro Marine Base.

"This place will become monumental," Cook said. "It will be centerpiece right there when people come into Orange County and they'll see the flags and grave stones and they're going to know that service was done here."
When fully built out, the cemetery will offer more than 210,000 gravesites, enough to serve the needs of veterans for the next 100 years, according to state officials.
The ceremony kicked off with a flyover by four World War II era airplanes and concluded with the raising of the U.S. flag, a gun salute, and bagpipe music. Irvine Mayor Don Wagner officiated, and numerous federal, state, county and city officials attended the event and addressed the audience, including Congressman Lou Correa, Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva, State Senator Janet Nguyen, OC Supervisor Todd Spitzer, and Irvine City Councilmembers Christina Shea and Melissa Fox.
Groundbreaking could take place as early as October 2018, Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva said. 

"Each time we've hit a milestone, there's been a stumbling block or those who had wanted to stop it, and each time we have moved forward to make this happen," Councilmember Melissa Fox said. "I have absolute faith that we will continue until this much needed veterans cemetery is completed, until we have a first service here."
"It was a tremendous honor to be part of today's dedication ceremony," Fox added. "Thank you to the Orange County Veteran's Memorial Park Foundation and all who've served." 

Councilmember Melissa Fox Hosts Lively Town Hall Meeting

Members of the Irvine community joined Councilmember Fox to talk about the  traffic, transportation, the veterans cemetery, public safety, childcare and affordable housing

Irvine, CA -- Councilmember Melissa Fox held a public Town Hall Meeting  on Saturday, October 21,  at the Irvine Championship Stadium in the Great Park. Topics discussed included traffic, transportation, childcare, the Southern California Veterans Cemetery, affordable housing, and other issues of interest to Irvine residents. 

Melissa Fox was joined by several of her Irvine City Commissioners, as well as members of the Irvine Police Department, who were also there to answer questions. Several dozen Irvine residents spoke and asked questions.

"I really enjoyed the open, public dialogue with Irvine residents, and I intend to make these Town Hall Meetings a regular part of my work as an Irvine City Councilmember," said Fox. "Thank you to everyone who attended."

You can watch the complete October 21 Town Hall Meeting on the Melissa Fox, Irvine City Council YouTube page  here:

Councilmember Melissa Fox Continues to Advocate for Botanical Garden at the Great Park

Councilmember Fox says that Botanical Gardens are a "perfect fit" for the Cultural Terrace of the Great Park

Irvine, CA -- On October 25, 2017, dozens of Irvine residents came to the Irvine City Council meeting to call for a 59 acre botanical garden to be located on the Cultural Terrace of the Great Park.

Councilmember Melissa Fox strongly supported the efforts of the residents, but her motion to move forward with a commitment to a Great Park Botanical Gardens did not receive majority approval. Instead, the City Council voted not to make any decisions regarding the specific elements and features of the Cultural Terrace at this time.

"I am disappointed by the Council's decision not to move forward," Melissa Fox said. "The time has come for us to commit to specifics regarding the public and non-commercial aspects of the Great Park."

"I will not approve any more commercial projects until we move forward on projects like the botanical gardens and museums," she added.

Councilmember Fox also thanked "the many people who came to last night's Irvine City Council meeting to advocate for botanical gardens in the Orange County Great Park."

"Thank you also to the advocates for   Pretend City Children's Museum,   Wild Rivers, the   California Fire Museum, a state-of-the-art modern library, and a California Natural History Museum. These are my top priorities for the Great Park. I want them moving forward without any more unnecessary delays or unnecessary layers of bureaucracy. I fought for them tonight and will continue to fight for them until they are a reality." 

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What's up in Irvine!

Melissa Fox
Irvine City Council
Staff and Commissioners

Allison Binder, Lead Council Executive Assistant

Daniel Robertson, Council Executive Assistant

Lauren Johnson Norris, Community Services Commissioner

Dustin Nirschl,  Planning Commissioner

Roger Sievers,  Finance Commissioner

Kenneth Montgomery, Transportation Commissioner (Chair)

Zhihai Li, Children, Youth and Families Committee
Dawn Antis,  Childcare Committee

Juneu Kim,  Senior Council

Krishna Hammond,  Green Ribbon Environmental Committee (Vice Chair)

Fred Judd, Investment Advisory Committee (Chair)