Irvine City Council Newsletter 
November 2017
OC Weekly Names Councilmember Melissa Fox 
"Best Politician in Orange County"

Councilmember 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."

Join Councilmember Melissa Fox for a Nature Hike at Quail Hill Loop

Spend the morning exploring Irvine Open Space with Melissa Fox.

Irvine City Councilmember Melissa Fox, along with the Irvine Ranch Conservancy, will be hosting a community hike at Quail Hill Loop in Irvine. 

All members of the community are welcome to join Councilmember Fox and Irvine Ranch Conservancy for a light hike around Quail Hill Loop on Friday, November 17th. 

The hike will start at 9:00 a.m. at the Quail Hill Trailhead (34 Shady Canyon Drive, Irvine, CA 93603). 

Amidst busy surroundings, Quail Hill provides a place for recreation and restoration. The Quail Hill Loop Trail is just less than two miles long and is part of the City of Irvine Open Space Preserve. The trail is open dawn to dusk for hiking, biking, and equestrian use. 

Enjoy your hike or ride on the Irvine Open Space Preserve and please visit for more information on the land and the docent-led programs that are available to help you experience this amazing natural treasure.  

For more information on the upcoming community hike with Councilmember Melissa Fox, please contact Allison Binder at or 949-724-6226.

Councilmember Melissa Fox Hosts Successful 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 Joins in Irvine's Veterans Day Celebration

Irvine honors all who've served in our nation's military at the City of Irvine's Veterans Day Ceremony.

Irvine, CA - Veterans Day is a time to honor America's veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and commitment to serve and sacrifice for the common good.  In honor of our veterans and in support of their families, the City of Irvine hosted a special Veterans Day Ceremony on Saturday, November 11th from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the formal garden area at the Colonel Bill Barber Marine Corps Memorial Park. 

The ceremony payed tribute to our nation's troops - past and present - and honored local veterans and veterans groups.  Honor Guards from the Irvine Police Department and Irvine's own adopted 2/11 Marines from Camp Pendleton led the opening and closing ceremonies.

"Irvine truly appreciates the commitment and sacrifice of our military veterans,"  Councilmember Melissa Fox said.  "It is always an honor to celebrate the service of our men and women of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard, and to thank them for what they've given to keep our nation free."

Councilmember Melissa Fox Celebrates Veterans Day at Heroes Hall at the Orange County Fair Grounds

Councilmember Fox receives a special shout-out for her steadfast support for veterans and the veterans cemetery located on the strawberry fields in Irvine.

Irvine, CA - Irvine City Councilmember Melissa Fox joined with other local elected officials in celebrating Veterans Day at "Salute to Veterans," a free community event at Heroes Hall in the OC Fair & Event on Saturday, November 11. The celebration was presented in collaboration with California labor unions, the Orange County Market Place, and local veterans organizations.

The Veterans Day celebration featured hotdogs, military vehicles, booths with information on services for veterans including free health screenings and job access and resources, and American music from the Pacific Symphony Brass Quartet.

A ceremony was also held unveiling new monuments honoring Orange County military heroes who gave the ultimate sacrifice in combat, as well a monument honoring the 84 Airmen and Marines killed in the June 25, 1965, crash of a Vietnam-bound Air Force C-135A Stratolifter from El Toro Marine Base in Irvine.

The event also included a labor union supported food drive to help veterans in need. Last year 5.6 tons of food was collected.

During the introductions, Irvine Councilmember Melissa Fox received an unexpected special thank you from Heroes Hall President Nick Berardino, a Vietnam War Marine Corps veteran and former head of the Orange County Employees Association, for her steadfast support for veterans and for her continued fight to create a veterans cemetery on the grounds of the former El Toro Marine Base in Irvine.

"Thank you, Melissa, for your leadership, your hard work and determination. We will continue to fight alongside you until Orange County veterans have the cemetery they deserve," Berardino said.

Heroes Hall is a new museum and education center honoring Orange County's veterans. For more information about Heroes Hall, visit their website here.

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

Fox believes 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 MuseumWild 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." 

OC Weekly Praises Irvine City Councilmember Melissa Fox for Her Support for Veterans Cemetery

"We expect no less from OC's best politician."

Irvine, CA - The OC Weekly published another story about Councilmember Melissa Fox's continuing fight for a veterans cemetery in Irvine.

Here is the story:


"Nine days after being named  Best Politician in OC Weekly's massive Best of 2017 issue, Irvine City Councilwoman Melissa Fox was hit by a dude. Coincidence? Yes and no. Raul Ricardo Rodriguez-Peltz of Westminster, Colorado, probably has never heard of your favorite infernal rag. However, the 28-year-old's Oct. 29 booking into Irvine City Jail on misdemeanor assault does stem from the same stand Fox took that earned mad respect from OC Weekly's Best of 2017 Board of Governors.

Here's how we began what was published Oct. 20 about the county's reigning best politico:

'Having run a warped, money-hungry Irvine political machine that trampled the concept of public transparency and wasted hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars, Larry Agran wanted to maintain control over the city's Democrats even after his forced retirement in the 2014 election. But this year, a fellow party member, first-term City Councilwoman Melissa Fox, let the 72-year-old former mayor know she isn't one of his stooges, bucking him on his preferred location for a future veterans' cemetery at the Orange County Great Park site.'

Fox was part of a City Council majority that approved placing the state-run memorial park in what are now strawberry fields but used to be part of the former Marine Corps Air Station El Toro. In exchange, the current land owner gets property within the nearby Great Park that is currently contaminated [note: the property that the develop gets from the City, like the property that the City gets from the developer, is not within the borders of the Great Park; both properties are adjacent to the Great Park, and -  most importantly - both properties were part of the former El Toro Marine Base, which was closed in 1999].

Many in the audience cheered the council's 3-2 vote for the land swap, prompting Vietnam War veteran and Orange County Veterans Memorial Park Foundation leader Bill Cook to remark, "This is an historic day."

But Agran is not one to lose a fight without going down in another fight. He and the infernal rag in his back pocket-not us, silly; the Irvine Community News and Views-continued to lobby for "The Great Pork" to host the vet cemetery, and a local "Save the Veterans Cemetery" campaign was soon launched. Backers had until our day of publication (Nov. 9) to submit around 12,000 valid signatures from registered voters in the city to get a  referendum on the November 2018 ballot affirming or denying the council's decision.

And so it was, nine days after we named Fox the best politician in the county,  she was at Alton Square shopping center advising constituents against signing the petitions being spread by paid signature gatherers from out-of-town, including-you guessed it-Westminster, Colorado. (Rodriguez-Peltz told police he is a political consultant and paid petitioner.)

Fox says residents complained to her about signature gathers being aggressive, so she  snapped photos of them (that you can see on She told police that led to a confrontation in which Rodriguez-Peltz grabbed a sign she had stating, "Do not sign the misleading veterans cemetery petition. Get the facts"; swung it at her; hit her leg with it; then tore it up and threw it in the trash.

When Fox called the cops, he scrammed but later surrendered. Shaken by the scary encounter, Fox vows to keep warning residents about Save the Veterans Cemetery. We expect no less from OC's best politician."

Irvine Named OC Sustainable Government of the Year

Award to City applauds the Zero Waste initiative at the Irvine Global Village Festival.
Irvine, CA -- The City of Irvine has received the 2017 Sustainable Government of the Year Award for an initiative that promotes waste reduction and recycling at the Irvine Global Village Festival, the City's signature event that draws about 20,000 people each year.

Irvine was honored for its Zero Waste Initiative on Thursday, Oct. 19, by Sustain OC, an organization that focuses on advancing sustainability and the cleantech industry in Orange County. The award was presented at its annual conference and expo.

The Irvine Global Village Festival strives to reduce, reuse and recycle as many resources as possible. Zero Waste Stations, made up of recycling and composting carts, have been placed throughout the large-scale Festival site. The Stations included information to educate the public about the importance of placing food waste in "composting" carts, and common recyclables, like plastic and glass bottles, in recycling carts. In addition, Orange County Conservation Corps members staffed each of the eight stations to inform guests about recycling options.

The Zero Waste Initiative is an important educational effort, but also assists the City in meeting State mandates to provide recycling and organics diversion programs. Additionally, the Initiative has led to a decrease in the amount of food waste from the event ending up in landfills. 

The Zero Waste Stations are just one way the Irvine Global Village Festival is moving toward becoming a zero waste event. Through the exploration of new technologies, environmentally responsible initiatives and encouraging new ways of thinking, the City is moving closer to this goal each year.

Councilmember Melissa Fox, who chairs the Irvine Green Ribbon Environmental Committee, said she was delighted that Irvine received the honor. "I am very pleased that Irvine has been recognized for our leadership in environmental issues, and I look forward to moving Irvine even further ahead in environmental innovation and stewardship," she said. "I'm passionate about protecting, improving, and conserving our environment and committed to improving our environmental and sustainability policies relating to energy, recycling, waste management, mobility, open space and water.  The future of our planet and our beautiful City of Irvine depends on us."

Helping your Behaviorally Challenging Child - Parent Workshop

The City of Irvine will host an upcoming workshop for parents of behaviorally challenging children.

Gain insight into your children's difficult-to-manage behaviors during this workshop presented by Debra Ann Afarian, a certified Think: Kids practitioner. 

Parents of elementary-age kids can learn how to: understand causes of their child's challenging behavior; improve parent/kid communication; guide their children to avoid meltdowns; avoid parental frustration and anger gain lagging skills, and improve adult/child communication. This presentation is based on the Collaborative Problem-Solving Approach. All those in attendance will receive a free copy of The Explosive Child   by Dr. Ross W. Greene, Ph.D. 

Audience: Families with elementary age children
Location: Quail Hill Community Center, 39 Shady Canyon Drive, Irvine
Date: Thursday, November 16th 6:30-8:30p.m.
Fee: $15 Irvine residents, $20 for non-residents
Register: Register online here (course # 190655) or call 949-724-6610

For more information, view the flier here.

Donate Toys to Support Military Families During the Holiday Season

Toy Drive, ongoing through December 11th, benefits families of Irvine's adopted 2/11 Marine Battalion.

Irvine, CA -  Join Councilmember Melissa Fox, the City of Irvine, and the Irvine 2/11 Marine Adoption Committee in brightening the season for military families. 

The Holiday Toy Drive benefits families of Irvine's adopted 2/11 Marine Battalion. Help bring joy to these families during the holidays by donating a new, unwrapped gift suitable for infants or children ages 12 and younger.
Donations can be dropped off through Dec. 11 during the following hours at the locations below:

·          Irvine Civic Center, 1 Civic Center Plaza: 7:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday, and 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday.

·          Irvine Police Department, 1 Civic Center Plaza: 7:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday, and 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday.

·          Orange County Great Park Visitors Center, 6950 Marine Way, Irvine: 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Thursday and Friday, and 9 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
For more information, call 949-724-6606. 

Upcoming Events

What's up in Irvine!


  • 11/17 Quail Hill Loop at 9:00 a.m. -- Community Hike with Councilmember Melissa Fox 
  • 11/23 Thanksgiving Day
Coming in December

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)