Irvine City Council Newsletter 
August 2017

New Sports Park Set to Open at the Orange County Great Park on August 5th

Join Councilmember Melissa Fox at the Grand Opening of the Orange County Great Park Sports Park

Irvine, CA - The public is invited to a free Grand Opening and fun-filled day from 2-9 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 5, as the first phase of the Orange County Great Park's Sports Park is unveiled. No RSVP is needed. Click  here for the map for directions into the Great Park. 

All fields will be activated at 2 p.m., then join the Mayor and City Council for an official ribbon-cutting at 3:30 p.m. inside the Soccer Stadium at the Great Park, followed by the first soccer match in the stadium. 

There will be exhibitions, and opportunities, on the six soccer fields, 25 tennis courts, and five sand volleyball courts that will be open on that day. Bring the family to enjoy the new Children's Play Area. Food trucks will available for guests to purchase food from 2-8 p.m.  

A  special, free family concert featuring The Blues Brothers with Dan Aykroyd and Jim Belushi will begin inside the Soccer Stadium at 7:15 p.m.

Wear comfortable shoes to experience the first 53 acres of what will become the 194-acre Sports Park! 

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.

 Irvine City Council Approves Agreement with Wild Rivers for New 30-Acre Water Park at Great Park!

In April, City Council adopted Melissa Fox's motion to approve a new Wild Rivers Water Park at the Great Park. 

Irvine, CA - In April, 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.

Rendering of what new Great Park Wild Rivers will look like.
The old Wild Rivers Water Park closed in 2011 after 25 years in Irvine.
"I'm delighted to have made the motion on the City Council to bring Wild Rivers back to Irvine," Councilmember Fox said.

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

Now the Great Park Board and the Irvine City Council have approved an agreement with the owners of Wild Rivers to to begin site planning and drafting the lease for the new 30-acre water park at the Orange County Great Park.

Wild Rivers CEO Mike Riedel first approached city officials about moving to the Great Park the year Wild Rivers closed. Last year, rather than granting Wild Rivers a no-bid contract, the council first decided to seek more proposals.  In April, the City Council approved a motion by Councilmember Melissa Fox to go forward with the Wild Rivers proposal.

"Wild Rivers has been an icon in the city of Irvine," Councilmember Melissa Fox explained. "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."

Wild Rivers will build a new 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.

Here is great video report from ABC News:  Beloved SoCal Water Park Set to Make a Splash with its Reopening in 2019 .

 Councilmember Melissa Fox Meets with World-Famous Irvine-Based Artist Robert Wyland

"We are so fortunate that this  wonderful artist and conservationist is located in our city!"

I recently had the opportunity to visit the Irvine studio of world-famous artist Robert Wyland.    

Councilmember Melissa Fox and Wyland.
Renowned marine life artist Wyland changed the way people think about our environment when he started painting life-size whales on the sides of buildings in the 1980s. Wyland always thought big. And he never stopped.

Today, the Wyland name has become synonymous with the new generation of awareness about environmental conservation.

Through his unique marine life paintings, sculptures, and photography, Wyland has inspired a generation about the importance of marine life conservation. His life - like his art - can find him anywhere around the world, at any time, from the Antarctic ice shelf on a photo expedition to document climate change to a grassroots journey down the Mississippi River on a mission of conservation.

The multi-faceted artist, scuba diver, educator, and explorer has hosted several television programs, including, "Wyland's Ocean World" series on the Discovery Channel's Animal Planet Network, "Wyland: A Brush With Giants" and "Wyland's Art Studio," a series for national public television. His mission of engaging people through nature-themed art and a more environmentally friendly lifestyle has led to strategic alliances with such notable organizations as the United States Olympic Team, United Nation Environment Program, and Walt Disney Studios.

In partnership with the United States Forest Service and National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Wyland is actively engaged in teaching millions of students around the world to become caring, informed stewards of our ocean, rivers, lakes, estuaries, and wetlands.  

The studio is also the headquarters of the Wyland Foundation a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting, protecting, and preserving the world's ocean, waterways, and marine life. The Wyland Foundation encourages environmental awareness through education programs, public arts projects, and community events.  

One of the ways that the Wyland Foundation accomplishes this goal is through the  Wyland Clean Water Mobile Learning Center, which has traveled coast-to-coast bringing education about water quality, water resource availability, and conservation to over 1 million kids and their families, including many schools whose field trips, science and art budgets have been drastically cut.

The Wyland Foundation also sponsors the Annual National Mayor's Challenge for Water Conservationa friendly competition between cities across the US to see who can be the most "water-wise." 

We are so fortunate that this wonderful artist and conservationist is located in our city.  

I am looking forward to more collaborations between the City of Irvine and the Wyland Foundation.

Come visit the Wyland Mobile Learning Center at the Great Park Sports Park opening on August 5!

Irvine City Councilmember Melissa Fox Joins Board of Equalization Member Fiona Ma at Future Chinese Leaders of America 

Melissa Fox introduces California Treasurer candidate to youth group.

In August 2016, I had the great pleasure of working with  Oliver Ma , a 2015 graduate of Irvine's University High School and now a history and political science student UC Berkeley, to create a new Irvine non-partisan student group called  Future Chinese Leaders of America  (FCLA).

Future Chinese Leaders of America "seeks to train young Chinese Americans in politics and inform the Chinese American community of the political issues it faces. During meetings, local leaders/elected officials will speak about a topic of their choice. Then, the students will have a discussion/debate where they are encouraged to think critically and to formulate their own arguments about American politics and society."

Recently, I had the opportunity to introduce FCLA to my friend Fiona Ma, member of the California Board of Equalization and candidate for California State Treasurer. She previously served on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors (2002-2006) and in the California State Assembly (2006-2012).

Just as I expected, Fiona Ma wowed the crowd with her inspiring message. Board Member Ma tasked the group to research and give their opinions on digital currency and its future in our economy, and shared her personal experience an her journey to becoming a CPA, politician, and public servant. 

Thank you, Fiona!

My Summer Internship with Councilmember Melissa Fox 

One of the best experiences I've ever had!

Guest Post by Deven Patel

Hello! My name is Deven Patel and I am an intern for Councilmember Fox on the Irvine City Council. 

I am going into my senior year and currently attend Arnold O. Beckman High School. Word of this opportunity was brought to me by my AP United States History teacher, who thought this program would be the perfect suit. He was exactly right. While applying, Councilmember Fox stood out to me among the rest of the City Council because of her goals for Irvine and her overall persona. 

I've always had a progressive viewpoint on many of the topics discussed among the City Council, and Councilmember Fox shares many of these viewpoints. She is also passionate for the environment and preserving Irvine's natural beauty, which I am very fond of as well.

My time interning with Councilmember Fox has been nothing short of exciting, fulfilling, and one of the best experiences I've ever had. 

Since starting, I've worked on a number of projects: making a presentation on Irvine's Open Space areas, researching ADA Compatibility with the new water park (which we're all super excited for), and investigating the implementation of a Community Choice Aggregation energy plan in Irvine. 

These projects have given me a new perspective on the Irvine Community and enhanced my appreciation for everything that I have grown up with. More importantly, I now better understand the workings of local government and the efforts that the Irvine City Government puts in to make our city world class.

Working with Councilmember Fox has been an amazing experience. I am super grateful for this opportunity and excited to continue work for her this summer! 

Drowning is 100% preventable!  To combat this needless tragedy, never swim alone and volunteer to be a Water Watcher.

Summer is a time for fun in the water, especially here in Southern California.
But far too often this summer, as a member of the Board of Directors of the Orange County Fire Authority, I have received a notice that there has been another drowning or near drowning at our local swimming pools.

The news was particularly devastating recently: A 5-year-old girl was drowned in an Irvine swimming pool. She was found at 4:23 p.m. in a community pool at 120 Spring Valley. It was too late.   Please, please, please be vigilant and assign a Water Watcher at all times near water, so these tragedies can be prevented!

Irvine Community Services Commissioner Lauren Johnson with Water Watcher tag.
Drowning continues to be the leading cause of accidental death among children age five and under. The majority of drowning and near drowning incidents occur in residential swimming pools.

The good news is that drowning is 100% preventable!

To combat this needless tragedy, never swim alone and volunteer to be a Water Watcher.

A Water Watcher is a responsible adult who agrees to watch the children in the water without distractions, and to wear a Water Watcher tag.

The Water Watcher wears a tag stating:

"Wearing this tag, I accept responsibility to supervise the children in and around the water, keeping them in sight at all times.  To prevent children from drowning, I'll avoid distractions such as talking on the phone, reading, or poolside chats.  Before I leave the area, I will give this tag to the next adult water watcher who can swim."

After a certain amount of time (such as 15-minutes), the Water Watcher card is passed to another adult, who is then responsible for the active supervision.

Water Watcher tags are available at  your nearest Orange County Fire Authority Fire Station.   You can call OCFA at 714-573-6200.

If you're in Irvine, I will bring Water Watcher tags to you. Send me an email at

Drowning is preventable.  Let's prevent it from happening in our communities.
Let's make Irvine the nation's Safest City for Swimming!  

 Support the 5th Marines Vietnam War Memorial

Every American owes a debt to the 5th Marines, for their courage and service to this nation.

It was my great honor to contribute to the 5th Marines Vietnam Memorial.

The 5th Marines Vietnam Memorial is dedicated to planning, building, installing, and dedicating a monument at Camp Pendleton that will remember and honor the combat veterans of the 1st Battalion of the 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division (1/5/1), who served during the Vietnam War, and, in particular,  the 2,706 U.S.Marines and Sailors of the 5th Marines who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Because of the generous donations of so many people, the manufacturing of the 6 black paneled granite has begun, and we are on track for the Dedication Ceremony on Memorial Day 2018.  But we still have funds to raise to make the Memorial a reality.

The 5th Marine Regiment has a rich and distinguished history. Its reputation as the Marine Corps' most decorated infantry regiment has been seared in the crucible of many wars and crises since its establishment in 1917, from the Battle of Belleau Wood in World War I, the Battle of Guadalcanal in World War II,  the Battle of Inchon in Korea, the Battle of Fallujah in Iraq, and the Battle of Helmand Province in Afghanistan.  Today, the 5th Marines are involved in the battle against ISIS.

I have a personal connection to the 5th Marines. Several of my relatives served in the 5th Marines, including my cousin,  PFC Irwin Handler, who was killed in action in Korea during the Battle of Chosin Reservoir.

Every American owes a debt to the 5th Marines, for their courage and service to this nation.

This Memorial is about the sacrifice made by the 5th Marines who courageously fought in Vietnam because our nation asked. It honors their courage, commitment to duty, and commitment to country, and it says that we will never forget them.

If you have the means, please  join me in contributing to this very worthy cause  of honoring the 2,706 U.S.Marines and Sailors of the 5th Marines who made the ultimate sacrifice during the Vietnam War.

Upcoming Events

What's up in Irvine!



Melissa Fox
Irvine City Council
Staff and Commissioners

Allison Binder, Council Executive Assistant

Daniel Robertson, Council Events Coordinador

Lauren Johnson Norris, Community Services Commissioner

Dustin Nirschl,  Planning Commissioner

Roger Sievers,  Finance Commissioner

Kenneth Montgomery, Traffic 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