Irvine City Council Newsletter 
May 2017

Councilmember Melissa Fox Attends Grand Opening of New Orange County Music and Dance School in Irvine

Melissa Fox supports grand opening of new Orange County Music and Dance School, praises generosity and vision of Founder Charlie Zhang.

Irvine, CA -- Irvine City Councilmember Melissa Fox took part in the festivities celebrating the Grand Opening of Orange County Music and Dance School (OC Music and Dance) in Irvine on April 22nd. The school shares a building with the new Irvine offices of the Pacific Symphony.  

The mission of the new OC Music and Dance School, founded by philanthropist Charles "Charlie" Zhang, is to nurture, inspire, and empower committed and talented youth across Orange County. The school is designed to help youth follow their passions and enable them to  achieve their dreams. Students have the space and resources to learn and practice music, dance, voice, and musical theater. The facility even has classes that focus on health and well-being. The school is fully equipped with 8 music rooms, 3 dance studios, 2 recording studios, 2 classrooms, and a 120-seat amphitheater. 

"I believe that it is important for our community that our children now have a such a special place where they can practice and excel in the arts.  I am thrilled that Irvine is now home to a top-of-the-line facility aimed at helping our youth achieve their dreams," stated Irvine City Councilmember Melissa Fox.  "We are tremendously grateful for the generous financial support and inspirational vision that Charlie Zhang was provided for the school and for Irvine."

OC Music and Dance is located at 17620 Fitch Avenue, Irvine, CA. For more information, visit the school's website  here.

Councilmember Melissa Fox Meets with State Senator Josh Newman, Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva, and Governor Brown's Office to Secure State Support for Veterans Cemetery
Sacramento meetings are Fox's most recent efforts in her longtime support for Orange County Veterans Cemetery. 

Sacramento, CA -- On April 19 and 20, Councilmember Melissa Fox met with Senator Josh Newman, Assemblywoman Sharon-Quirk-Silva and Governor Brown's Office to secure state support for an Orange County Veterans Cemetery located in Irvine.

Senator Josh Newman is chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. He is also a U.S. Army veteran, having served as an artillery officer in South Korea and elsewhere.  Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva authored the legislation (AB1453) that set in motion the State and Federal approval of plans that will lead to the construction of the veteran cemetery.

"We discussed the availability of state funding for the veterans cemetery, and I am certain that Senator Newman and Assemblywoman Quirk-Silva are committed to doing whatever they can to see that the veterans cemetery becomes a reality."

Councilmember Melissa Fox has stated that she agrees with Senator Newman that "Any successful site for a future veterans cemetery should be consistent with the enabling legislation authored by Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva and passed in 2013; acceptable to the Orange County Veteran's Memorial Park coalition; and in the best interests of Irvine, both fiscally and as part of the broader planning for the responsible development of the land around the El Toro site" and that "the alternative site solution may fulfill all three of those parameters, and as such would seem to merit a full exploration by the City Council." 

Governor Brown has said that he intends to visit both the original site and the alternate site. "We'll take both sites very seriously," Assemblymember Quick-Silva said. "The governor's interested in seeing both sites."

On April 4, the Irvine City Council adopted Councilmember Fox's motion to both consider putting up $38 million of the City's own money toward building the cemetery on the current proposed site in the Great Park and also to open discussions with developer FivePoint Communities on a land swap that would build the cemetery on a site next to the 5 Freeway that was also once part of MCAS El Toro.

Councilmember Fox has been on the forefront of Irvine residents calling for an Orange County veterans cemetery located in Irvine. Even before she was elected to the Irvine City Council, Fox worked closely with the members of the Orange County Memorial Park coalition to create a veterans cemetery on land that was once the El Toro Marine Corps Air Station. 

Melissa Fox speaking to the Irvine City Council in support of a veterans cemetery in 2014.
As early as March 2014, Fox stated that "Orange County has a long and proud military tradition. Currently, more than two million veterans live in California - more than in any other state. This military tradition continues into the present, as nearly 7,000 veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars live in Orange County. Yet Orange County veterans do not have their own official military cemetery and those in Orange County who want to visit a veteran's grave in a national cemetery must travel to Riverside, San Diego or Los Angeles counties. As an Irvine resident and as the daughter of an Orange County Korean War combat veteran, I believe that it is time that Orange County offered its veterans, who have sacrificed so much for us, a final resting place close to their families and loved ones."

"We are very close to succeeding in creating veterans cemetery here in Irvine on the grounds of the old El Toro Marine base," Fox said. " "We cannot allow the veterans cemetery to be derailed by political vendettas and the personal grudges of politicians who care more about where it is located than whether it is actually built."

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

New Wild Rivers Water Park would 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 its 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 Addresses More Than 1,200 Members of Junior State of America 

Fox tells students at Irvine convention that using their critical thinking is more important than ever.

Irvine, CA -- On Saturday, April 22, Councilmember  Melissa Fox spoke to  more than 1,200 members of the Junior State of America at their convention at the Irvine Mariott.

Junior State of America is a non-partisan youth organization whose purpose  is to help high school students acquire leadership skills and the knowledge necessary to be effective debaters and civic participants. Since its inception in 1934, ore than 500,000 student members have participated in the JSA.

Fox gave a brief summary of her personal journey to public service, beginning with her participation in fighting for women's reproductive freedom while in college and her participation in a student-run legal clinic while in law school.

"The last presidential election," Fox stated, "showed that there is a strong belief that too many people, especially young people, have been left out of the political process. Your generation now has the responsibility to increase its engagement in politics and make the world a better place."

In response to a question about the influence of new media on the political process, Fox stated that "it's great that there are now so many ways that people can connect and share information. But it also means that people have to use their critical thinking in sorting out what's true and what's false. Education and critical thinking are more important than ever."

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

Fox intends 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."

Memorial Day: The Lesson of the Four Chaplains

"Selfless service to humanity without regard to race, creed, ethnicity, or religious beliefs."

When my husband was a child, his father, a World War II U.S. Navy veteran, told him the story of the Four Chaplains of the USAT Dorchester as an example of American heroism and American values.

It is a story worth sharing again for this Memorial Day:

On the night of February 3, 1943, United States Army Transport ship Dorchester was en route from Newfoundland to England via Greenland, when it was hit by torpedoes from a German submarine.

The Dorchester listed sharply to starboard, then began to sink almost immediately into the icy water. The torpedoes knocked out the Dorchester's electrical system, leaving the ship dark. The ship was overcrowded and there were insufficient lifeboats or lifejackets for the 904 men on board.

As the Dorchester sank, the ship's four chaplains aided the wounded, sought to calm the men and organize an orderly evacuation of the ship, helped get the men into lifeboats and then gave up their own lifejackets when the supply ran out. They helped as many men as they could into lifeboats, then linked arms in prayer as the ocean water overcame the deck and the ship sank.

A survivor later explained:

"As I swam away from the ship, I looked back. The flares had lighted everything. The bow came up high and she slid under. The last thing I saw, the four chaplains were up there praying for the safety of the men. They had done everything they could. I did not see them again. They themselves did not have a chance without their life jackets."

As the ship went down, survivors in nearby lifeboats could see the four chaplains - their arms linked and braced against the slanting deck. Their voices could also be heard offering prayers.

Survivors said could hear different languages mixed in the prayers of the chaplains, including Jewish prayers in Hebrew and Catholic prayers in Latin.

Twenty-seven minutes after the torpedoes hit, the Dorchester was gone.

The four chaplains were:

Lt. George L. Fox, age 42, Methodist.

Lt. Alexander D. Goode, age 32, Jewish.

Lt. Clark V. Poling, age 32, Reformed Church in America.

Lt. John P. Washington, age 34, Roman Catholic.

For the Four Chaplains sacrifice, on December 19, 1944 they were posthumously awarded the Purple Heart and the Distinguished Service Cross. Later, due to the under-fire requirement to receive the Medal of Honor, Congress decided to authorize a special medal that carried the same weight. It was called the Chaplain's Medal for Heroism. These four men are the only chaplains ever to receive this award.

On this Memorial Day, I will be thinking about the four chaplains, arms linked and praying together on the deck of the USAT Dorchester in 1943.

And I will be thinking, with gratitude, of all of the men and women of our Armed Forces who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the rights and freedoms that we hold to be essential, including the right to be free from discrimination based on one's race, faith, gender or sexual orientation.

According to the Four Chaplains Memorial Foundation, the lesson of the sacrifice made by the four chaplains is "unity without uniformity" and "selfless service to humanity without regard to race, creed, ethnicity, or religious beliefs."

The Reverend Daniel Poling, father of Chaplain Clark V. Poling, said that the lesson of the Four Chaplains is that "as men can die heroically as brothers so should they live together in mutual faith and goodwill."

My father-in-law said it more simply: "We are all Americans."

Councilmember Melissa Fox Presents Holocaust Remembrance Proclamation at Yom HaShoah Ceremony at Irvine's Jewish Community Center

"We should always remember the terrible events of the Holocaust and remain vigilant against hatred, persecution, and tyranny."

Irvine, CA -- Irvine City Councilmember Melissa Fox joined with Irvine Mayor Donald Wagner and Community Services Commissioner Lauren Johnson Norris at the Merage Jewish Community Center in Irvine to present a proclamation declaring the week of April 23-30 to be  "Days of Remembrance" of the Holocaust.

Councilmember Fox was the author of the proclamation, which was on behalf of the Mayor and the entire Irvine City Council.

On April 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 full text of the proclamation here .

 City of Irvine's 2017 Summer Internship Program

Spend your summer interning for Councilmember Melissa Fox!

The City of Irvine's Summer Internship Program will bring volunteer students together to work with City Councilmembers. Intern duties will include carrying out research and analysis projects on a wide range of topics. 

This program gives candidates the opportunity to observe the efforts of a city government to resolve some of its most pressing issues. Interns will be exposed to important issues, improvement initiatives and new approaches and directions. Interns may attend administrative and community committees, City Council and management policy meetings. 

More information regarding the program will be announced in May 2017 on the City of Irvine's Career Opportunities webpage  here.

Join Me at the 2017 Irvine Korean Cultural Festival!

Celebrating Korean Arts and Culture 

The Korean American Center presents the Irvine Korean Cultural Festival  on Saturday, May 13th from 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. at the Irvine Civic Center. 

2017 marks the 8th anniversary of the Irvine Korean Cultural Festival, an event designed to celebrate and share Korean cultural heritage and artistic traditions with the broader Irvine community and Orange County. 

This community event is a culture-filled extravaganza replete with fine Korean cuisine, games, art, music, and entertainment.

It's a completely free event for the entire family! 

Free On-site and Off-Site Parking with Shuttle.

Irvine is proud to celebrate our thriving Korean American community!

As the proud daughter of a Korean War veteran, and as a proud resident of Irvine, I feel a deep appreciation for the vital contributions that Korean Americans have made to our city, our state, and our country.

I am proud to live in a city that celebrates and treasures our tremendous diversity, including our vital Korean American community, and I join my Korean American friends and neighbors in celebrating Korean American contributions to our shared American heritage and way of life.

Hope to see you there!

Upcoming Events

What's up in Irvine!
  • 5/20 Orange County Fire Authority Headquarters at 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. -- Open House (fire demonstrations, fire safety and drowning prevention information, fire engine rides, and much more. This is a great opportunity to meet your firefighters, and see their fire engines and trucks on display. Free).

Melissa Fox
Irvine City Council
Staff and Commissioners

Allison Binder, Council Executive Assistant

Lauren Johnson Norris, Community Services Commissioner

Dustin Nirschl,  Planning Commissioner

Roger Sievers,  Finance Commissioner

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

Juneu Kim,  Senior Council

Krishna Hammond,  Green Ribbon Environmental Committee

Fred Judd, Investment Advisory Committee