Irvine City Council Newsletter 
October 2017
Sneak Peek at the New FivePoint Amphitheatre  

New 12,000 seat music venue will open with Young the Giant on October 5

I had the opportunity to visit the nearly completed FivePoint Amphitheatre about a week before its Grand Opening on October 5.


When I visited, dozens of workers were still putting finishing touches on the stage and the berm that will serve as a barrier protecting the homes near the Great Park from the sounds coming from the amphitheatre. 

It was already clear that the new FivePoint Amphitheatre will be a magnificent addition to our city.

The new live music venue will contain 12,000 seats (6,500 fold-down seats in the bleachers including the 280 seats within VIP boxes; 5,500 people can comfortably fit in the grassy front-of-stage area. 

The amphitheater will include both standing and seating areas, including features such as: 116,000 square feet of festival grounds, 38,000 square feet of bleacher seating, 29,000 square feet of turf seating, 3,000 square feet of box seating, and 23,500 square feet for a VIP area and hospitality zone.  

The venue is also beautiful. Comfortable red seats face the stage. Between the stage and the seats is an expanse of grass-covered open space.

In March, I was delighted to vote with my colleagues on the Irvine City Council to approve the construction of the new temporary amphitheatre located on FivePoint's property adjacent to the Orange County Great Park.

The annual revenue generated to the city is estimated to be at least $20,000 to $30,000, from onsite sales tax. Costs of service for Irvine Police Department personnel, both onsite and offsite, are covered by the operators of the amphitheater.

Now I am excited to see - and hear - the great performances that will take place in Irvine!

The FivePoint Amphitheatre opens on October 5, 2017, with performances by Young the Giant, Cold War Kids, and Sir Sly.

For more information about the Young the Giant concert and upcoming shows, call 800-745-3000 or go to or

I'm also looking forward to building a new and permanent amphitheater at the Great Park!

Can't wait for live music to return to Irvine!

Irvine Takes Historic Step Forward for Southern California Veterans Cemetery at Former El Toro Marine Base 

Land exchange with FivePoint means cemetery will be built faster with huge savings for taxpayers

Wearing yellow Veterans Cemetery groundbreaking caps, dozens of veterans and supporters of the land exchange with FivePoint Communities -- in which the City of Irvine will exchange 125 acres north of the Great Park, currently occupied by more than 70 contaminated buildings remaining from the Marine base, with FivePoint's property just north of the Bake Parkway interchange, currently used as strawberry fields -- attended the Irvine City Council meeting on Tuesday, September 26.

The need for an Orange County Veterans Cemetery is great. 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 there is no Orange County military cemetery for the estimated 133,000 Orange County veterans and their families.  

Those in Orange County who want to visit a veteran's grave in a cemetery must travel to Riverside, San Diego or Los Angeles counties. The national cemetery in Los Angeles is at capacity and the one in Riverside requires a lengthy wait.

Councilmember Melissa Fox with members of the Orange County Veterans Memorial Park Foundation and Sergeant Major Charles F. McDew of the 2nd Battalion, 11th Marines (2/11).

Among those who spoke in favor of the land exchange was Assemblymember Sharon Quirk-Silva, who authored the initial state legislation o establish a Southern California Veterans Cemetery in Orange County. 

The legislation, co-sponsored by then-Assemblymember Donald Wagner representing the City of Irvine, was approved by the state legislature as of August 25, and signed by Governor Brown on September 27, 2014.

Also providing their strong support for the land exchange was an impressive bipartisan array of Orange County elected officials, including Congresswoman Mimi Walters (Republican), Congressman Lou Correa (Democrat), State Senator Josh Newman (Democrat), and Assemblymember Steven Choi (Republican).

The land exchange came about as a means to overcome the enormous cost of building the cemetery at the originally designed site north of the Great Park.

Although the City of Irvine had offered land, no money was provided to demolish and decontaminate the existing buildings and built the cemetery.

This problem became more acute when  the City learned that the Federal Veterans Administration had  ranked the Southern California Veterans Cemetery at a mere 74 out of 101 proposed state veteran cemetery projects; that the project was eligible for only $10 million from the federal government; and that the  projected the cost of building phase 1 of veterans cemetery was a startling $77,372,000. 

Most of this enormous cost involved the decontamination and demolition of 77 buildings (both residential and non-residential) remaining on the site, since many of these remaining buildings and facilities "contain hazardous building materials such as asbestos-containing building materials (ACM) and lead-based paint (LBP)."

It appeared that the Southern California Veterans Cemetery that so many of us had fought for so long was not going to get built.

No costly decontamination or demolition would be necessary to begin construction. 

Celebrating Veterans Day with my Dad.
In addition, FivePoint offered to pay for the cost of building phase 1 of the veterans cemetery, thus 
saving the public nearly $80 million as compared to attempting to build the cemetery on the original site.

Like the original site, the strawberry fields site once formed part of the Marine Corps Air Station El Toro.

A recent impartial outside appraisal of the two properties valued the strawberry fields site at $68,000,000, while valuing the original site at only $4,000,000.

After several hours of public comments, followed by debate by the Irvine City Council, the vote was 3-2 in favor of the land exchange.

Mayor Donald Wagner, Councilmember Christina Shea, and I voted in favor. Councilmembers Jeffrey Lalloway and Lynn Schott voted against.

The vote was met with cheers from most of the crowd, and especially from members of the Orange County Veterans Memorial Park Foundation, which has been advocating for a veterans cemetery in Orange County for many years.  

"This is an historic day," said Bill Cook, a Vietnam War veteran and a leader of the Orange County Veterans Memorial Park Foundation. " We see now that we are going to move forward.  It is going to be a very monumental site."

Irvine will immediately donate the land to California so the state can start building the cemetery, which will be the only permitted use.

Groundbreaking for the veterans cemetery is expected soon.

As the daughter of an Orange County Korean War combat veteran, and the cousin of a Marine who was killed in action, I strongly support this land exchange that will greatly facilitate making an Orange County veterans cemetery a reality.

I am tremendously proud to have participated in making sure that Orange County's veterans -- who have sacrificed so much for us -- will at last have a final resting place close to their families and loved ones.

Touring the Base Camp for the Canyon Fire

Irvine Park serves as command post and staging area for 2,000 firefighters from dozens of agencies

On September 28, I had the opportunity to tour the Canyon Fire base camp in Irvine Regional Park with Greg McKeown, Chief Division 2, Orange County Fire Authority.

I witnessed an amazing operation bringing together firefighters from from federal, state, many county and city agencies, all keeping this enormous fire in check.

The Irvine Park base camp was the command center and temporary home for nearly 2,000 firefighters and 200 fire engines and other equipment.

Firefighters came from dozens of agencies, including our own Orange County Fire Authority, as well as Cal Fire, the Governor's Office of Emergency Service, Cal Fire, the U.S. Forest Service, Los Angeles County, Riverside County, San Bernardino County, San Diego County, Ventura County, and the U. S. Navy.

The Canyon Fire started about 1 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 25, near the Orange-Riverside county line just off the eastbound 91 Freeway west of the Green River Road exit. 

By afternoon, the winds had pushed it toward Corona, where hundreds of houses were evacuated.  

At its peak, the fire burned 2,000 acres and was attacked by thousands of firefighters from the ground and the air.

Because of the remarkable work of these firefighters, only three structures were damaged, no lives were lost, and there were no injuries.

I am proud to represent Irvine on the Board of Directors of the Orange County Fire Authority and to be part of the firefighter family.

Irvine Celebrated Our Great Diversity at the 2017 Global Village Festival 

Thousand Travel the World in Irvine's Bill Barber Park

I had the pleasure of joining thousands of people from Irvine and across the region who gathered on Saturday, September 23, at Bill Barber Park to celebrate and participate in the great diversity that has made our City of Irvine one of the most vibrant and successful cities in the world.

Amazing performances, great food, fascinating crafts and smiling faces made the 16th Annual Irvine Global Village Festival a smashing success.

Thank you to the many volunteers who dedicated many hours of their their time to make our Festival so successful, and thank you to our terrific City staff who really extend extra effort to make sure that everything in this complex event runs without a hitch.

Below are some photos of the event.  

I'm already looking forward to next year!

Irvine Should Provide Storage for the Irreplaceable Collection of the California Fire Museum 

Tell the City Council to Help Protect Our California Firefighter Heritage

I was recently unable to convince a majority of my colleagues on the Great Park Board of Directors (i.e., the Irvine City Council) to provide a safe and secure place for the temporary storage of the irreplaceable collection of fire engines, trucks, and other priceless artifacts of the non-profit California Fire Museum

I had proposed that an unoccupied and uninhabitable hanger be leased to the California Fire Museum for $1.00 a year.  

Only Boardmember/Councilmember Christina Shea joined me in approving the Fire Museum's request for help in preserving their collection from damage from vandalism and the elements, instead deciding that a potential income of $16,000 from the rental of an unoccupied hanger at the Great Park by a for-profit car company was more important than preserving the heritage of our California firefighters. 


Here is the comment posted on Facebook by Don Forsyth, President of the California Fire Museum and former Battalion Chief at the Orange County Fire Authority:

"Another disappointing day at the Orange County Great Park Board Meeting! We had our hopes dashed once again! 

After attendance and speaking at almost every single Board Meeting for the last 13 years, and after voicing at these meeting at least 10+ times over the last 5 years, our request to be able to use a building that has sat vacant for over 10+ years for temporary storage, we finally had this request placed on the agenda for today's Board Meeting, by one of the Directors, Melissa Fox! Everyone was excited as this is the very first step in the last 13 years showing us via action, that the OC Great Park Board really wishes to help us build our California Fire Museum and Safety Learning Center (CFM-SLC) within their Great Park.

However, after further discussion, again, the OC Great Park Board voted 3-2 against directing City Staff to negotiate a lease with CFM-SLC for use of Hanger 295 to be able to finally get a location where we can store our 40+ vintage fire apparatus indoors, instead of where they are now stored, outdoors, and constantly being vandalized and deteriorating in the outdoor harsh weather! 

We are at a loss for words, and wonder if these are any indications that we should move on, and begin looking elsewhere to build our world class Public Safety Learning Center and Fire Museum where all of our hard work will be appreciated. 

Other than CFM-SLC proceeding to accomplish over 12 requirements placed on us by the GP Board, that not one single other organization has been required to accomplish, and having our Master Plan and all other Plans CFM-SLC has submitted, just placed in the Received and Filed category over the last 13 years, we are now, not one inch closer than 13 years ago, and there has not been one positive action taken in our favor by the many GP Boards with whom we have dealt with these last 13+ years."

I, too, am greatly disappointed by the Great Park Board's decision.  I urge everyone interested in preserving our California firefighter heritage to contact Irvine's Mayor and the members of the City Council to tell them to provide the California Fire Museum with use of the hanger for storage of their irreplaceable collection. 

Help Irvine's 2/11 Marines 

There are several opportunities this month for us to show our support for our 2/11 Marines

Irvine is proud of its military heritage, especially its close connection to the United States Marine Corps.  From 1943 to 1999, Irvine was the home of Marine Air Station El Toro (now the Great Park and the Great Park Neighborhoods), which was once the largest Marine air station on the West Coast.  Thousands of Marines served here, and thousands more flew from here to battles in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam.

Many never returned.

On September 15, 2007, the 2nd Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division (2/11) from Camp Pendleton, was officially "adopted" by the City of Irvine.  The City of Irvine and the 2/11 Marines made a pledge to encourage mutually beneficial interactions between the community and the battalion.

The 1st Marine Division is the oldest, largest and most decorated division in the United States Marine Corps. The 2nd Battalion, 11th Marines (2/11) is a 155mm howitzer battalion based at Camp Pendleton, California. Its primary mission is to provide artillery support to the 5th Marine Regiment in time of conflict. At any time, the command has roughly 750 Marines and Sailors assigned to it.

The Irvine 2/11 Marine Adoption Committee is now celebrating 10 years of serving the courageous 2/11 Marines and their families. This month, there are two great opportunities for us to show our support for our 2/11 Marines.

One is a Marine Corps Birthday Ball Gown Drive and the other is a fundraiser to sponsor a Marine or Marines for their 242nd Marine Corps Birthday Ball. 

The annual United States Marine Corps Birthday Ball is coming up. Our organization is collecting new and gently used floor length gowns for the Marine wives to use for the formal event. We are also accepting jewelry and evening bags.  Donations can be dropped off at the Irvine City Hall 2nd floor Community Services counter, 1 Civic Center Plaza, Irvine. Monday-Friday 8am-5pm until October 6.

To sponsor a Marine for the 242nd Marine Corps Birthday, see the information on the flyer below.

Donations are tax-deductible as allowed by law. Please request a donation form if needed. This is an excellent project for high schools, colleges and businesses to participate. Please contact us if you need more information.
Email: contact@irvine211marines.o rg

The  Irvine 2/11 Marine Adoption Committee is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides charitable and educational activities and support for the benefit and welfare of the United States Marines and their families assigned to Camp Pendleton, California, with special emphasis on the Marines and families of the 2nd Battalion, 11th Marines ("2/11 Marines"). 

The Committee also seeks to educate and inform the community regarding the 2/11's activities and responsibilities. The Committee accomplishes its goal by soliciting private and public donations of cash, food, beverages, and new and used material goods to help underwrite the cost of sponsoring 2/11 Marines and their families. 

Contact the Irvine 2/11 Marine Adoption Committee at 949-724-6606 for more information.

Irvine's Fall Food Drive: Scare Away Hunger 

Donate to local food banks at the Great Park

Help Irvine scare away hunger!

Support hunger relief efforts by donating canned goods or nonperishable food items to benefit local food banks. 

Donations will be accepted from Thursday, October 19, 201, to  Sunday, November 19, 2017 , at the Visitors Center and Sports Complex at the Great Park from 10:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays and 9:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. 

For more information, call 949-724-6247.

Veterans Needed -- Share Your Story! 

VOICES is an opportunity for veterans to share the stories that have shaped their lives

Share your story - veterans needed! 

The voices of veterans come alive at Heroes Hall on the Orange County Fairground as former military men and women share their very personal and poignant stories of service.

VOICES is the culmination of a six-week veterans' storytelling workshop.
Veterans are invited to participate in FREE storytelling workshops led by Dave Barton from Rude Guerrilla Theater Company. 

Learn how to craft your stories and present selections at the public reading event on Oct. 20.
Workshops: 6:00 p.m. Wednesdays, Sept. 13-Oct. 18, 2017. To register, contact Dave Barton: (714) 598-7406 or
Public reading event: 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 20, 2017. 
Partner organizations: Arts Orange County, Heroes Hall at OC Fair & Event Center and Veterans First OC.

This project is generously supported by: California Arts Council and Orange County Community Foundation.

Councilmember Melissa Fox Gets First-Hand Look at Orange County Homeless Crisis 

Councilmember Fox says we must come together as a state and county to find and implement solutions to growing humanitarian and public health crisis

Irvine, CA -- Irvine City Councilmember Melissa Fox walked along the Santa Ana River Trail, getting a first-hand look at the sprawling homeless encampment along the riverbed.  "No one should live this way," Councilmember Fox said.

Councilmember Fox was accompanied by her Irvine Community Services Commissioner Lauren Johnson Norris, former Orange County Fire Captain Joe Kerr, and Orange County Poverty Alleviation Coalition leader Mohammed Aly.

"I was here last year with Assemblymember Sharon Quirk-Silva and Santa Ana Councilmember Michele Martinez. The problem has grown exponentially worse now."

"I don't have a quick and ready solution. I do believe that the solution needs to be regional and bipartisan. It needs to respect both the rights of our residents to enjoy their parks and communities and the dignity and needs of the homeless. So, it wil l not be easy," Fox said. 

"But there is a growing consensus across the county and across the aisle that all the government authorities of our region must come together, along with various non-profit organizations, to deal with this humanitarian and public health crisis."

"The bottom line for me is that the humanitarian and public health crisis -- which could lead to an epidemic that impacts all of us -- has become so acute that we must act together now in a bipartisan and humanitarian countywide effort."

"The elected officials from Orange County's cities need to work together, and not simply rely on the County to solve this problem.  I am working now with city officials from Santa Ana working towards putting together a task force. T his is a front-burner issue for me."

Fall Shred Event!

Take advantage of Irvine's free and eco-friendly way to dispose of and recycle your papers and documents

Upcoming Events

What's up in Irvine!

  • 10/22-10/28 Pretend City Children's Museum -- Costume Week
  • 10/31 Happy Halloween!

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)