Irvine City Council Newsletter 
September 2017
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."

You can watch a video about our OCFA  Urban Search and Rescue Task Force here.

Community Action Alert: Jamboree Road Widening Project

I do not support the widening of the Jamboree, from 4 lanes in each direction to 5 lanes in each direction, between Beckmann and Kelvin.  Please come to the Irvine Transportation Commission meeting and express your opinion. 

The Jamboree Road Widening Project is scheduled for hearing before the Irvine Transportation Commission on September 5, 2017, at 5:30 pm. 

I do not support the widening of the Jamboree, from 4 lanes in each direction to 5 lanes in each direction, between Beckmann and Kelvin.

Jamboree Road would become the widest arterial highway in Orange County.

My reasons for opposing this aspect of the road widening project are
  • its negative impact on pedestrians;
  • the increase in traffic noise and air pollution;
  • the loss of hundreds of mature trees;
  • disruption of local businesses;
  • and the enormous cost to the City of the project relative to its minimal impact on relieving traffic congestion.
Please come to the Irvine Transportation Commission meeting and express your opinion.

Irvine Should Move Forward with a Memorandum of Understanding for Pretend City Children's Museum at the Great Park

Irvine should move forward with a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for Pretend City Children's Museum at the Cultural Terrace of the Orange County Great Park.

I am disappointed that at last Tuesday's City Council meeting, only Councilmember Christina Shea joined with me in agreeing to an MOU with our great Irvine-based Pretend City Children's Museum regarding a lease of property at the Cultural Terrace of the Great Park.  Mayor Don Wagner and Councilmember Lynn Schott voted against.  Councilmember Jeff Lalloway was absent.

Because of the City Council's decision, Pretend City Children's Museum is in danger of losing a seed money grant from the County for $5 million that depends on the MOU.

Pretend City Children's Museum, which opened in Irvine in 2009, is an interactive children's museum that builds better brains through whole body learning experiences, educational programs, and creative exhibits. Designed as a small city, with a grocery store, construction site, art studio, house, cafĂ©, bank, emergency services, health center and farm, Pretend City will be a familiar environment in which children infant through eight-years-old will have joyful opportunities to build problem solving and critical thinking skills, develop creativity and begin a life-long love of learning. It is dedicated to ensuring that each child is ready for school success by providing the ideal real-world learning experiences needed by children to develop their essential foundational learning skills.  This month, the Institute of Museum and Library Services announced that Pretend City is a finalist for the 2017 National Medal for Museum and Library Service.

Sandra Bolton, the Executive Director of Pretend City, has explained that the museum "seeks to move to the Great Park to expand its mission in serving the county's children in providing early childhood education, developmental screenings, hands on play environment for children of ALL abilities and school readiness."

The arguments against the MOU were that it would give Pretend City Children's Museum an advantage over other possible occupants of the Cultural Terrace, and that the Cultural Terrace project should not be approved piecemeal. However, we already know the value and quality of Pretend City, which has operated in the city for many years, and the MOU would not commit the city to any final decision regarding the Cultural Terrace.

Moreover, we should be not be pitting the fine organizations that are seeking space in the Cultural Terrace against each other. As Don Croucher - the leading advocate for a California Fire Museum at the Great Park - has pointed out, he and other supporters of the Fire Museum "are very much in favor of Pretend City getting their MOU so they do not lose the grant that is offered to them. We understand the need for them to move forward. It is NOT putting them ahead of any others at the Cultural Terrace, but rather a hand up to get the $5 million grant. We, in no way, want to hinder this important step for Pretend City. We will support them in every step of the way to make sure they get this MOU ASAP."

Irvine is a great city for families with young children, but we can and should make it even better.  We need more childcare and more pre-school programs for children under six-years-old, and I and my Commissioners are working to make this happen. We should also do everything we can to support the terrific work being done by the Pretend Museum for young children right here in Irvine.

As Councilmember Christina Shea has said, "If Pretend City loses their grant and we in turn lose a fantastic partner that supports our children and families, the community will lose and this isn't what Irvine is about." 

I hope that we can move forward with the MOU soon and that the grant is not lost.

I recommend that those who are interested in this issue contact other members of the Irvine City Council.

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. 

An Update from the Green Ribbon Environmental Committee

The Irvine Green Ribbon Environmental Committee met at City Hall for its second meeting of 2017

The second 2017 meeting of Irvine's Green Ribbon Environmental Committee , which I am honored to chair, took place on Tuesday, August 15th.The Committee's number one goal is to acquire one hundred percent of the Irvine community's participation, including residents and businesses to take part in the new-and-improved energy plan. As a city, Irvine strives to be a leader in energy efficiency while finding a cost effective way to do so. 

During the meeting, the Committee received feedback from Irvine residents during public comments. Active and alternative transportation, sustainability and Community Choice Energy were a few of the issues raised by the public. The Committee understands that these are all issues that deserve special attention by the Green Ribbon Committee in the next few years.

The board submitted plans for three subcommittees to be approved by the City Council: 1. Energy Development and Community Choice Energy. 2. Active Transport and Connectivity. 3. Green Infrastructure and Shade. 

If the Irvine City Council approves the three proposed subcommittees, the committee will spend the next few years focusing on these issues. The Green Ribbon Committee is also working on integrating youth involvement, community education and grants/pilot programs into their subcommittee work and general work plan.

The next meeting of the Green Ribbon Environmental Committee is scheduled for November. The public is welcome to attend and I'd love to see you there!

Thank you Summer 2017 Interns!

A big thank you to all of the interns that participated in the City Council Internship Program this summer.


This summer I had the pleasure of working with extremely talented high school and college students. During the Summer Internship Program our interns were able to work alongside my appointed Commissioners and Committee members to work on critical research. The interns had the opportunity to research three areas of interest pertinent to the City of Irvine: childcare, sustainability, and transportation. 

All of the interns learned a great deal about our local government and pressing issues in the City of Irvine. I am very proud of the work that they were able to accomplish over the summer and I look forward to working with other Irvine students in the future. 

If you are interested in an internship with Irvine Councilmember Melissa Fox please send a current resume to

OC Drowning Prevention Task Force Demonstration

NEVER swim alone. ALWAYS watch children near water.

We love our swimming pools in Irvine. But far too often, as a member of the Board of Directors of the Orange County Fire Authority and a member of the Orange County Drowning Prevention Task Force, I have received a notice that there has been another drowning or near drowning at our local swimming pools.

Drowning continues to be the leading cause of accidental death among children age five and under. More children under five die from drowning than from traffic collisions. 

But young children are not the only ones who drown: adults age 50 and older account for 50% of drownings every year. 

So far, here have been more than 60 drowning incidents in Orange County in 2017, and nearly half of these drownings were fatal. 

The majority of drownings occur in residential swimming pools. 

Drowning usually occurs quickly and silently.  Drownings and near-drownings can happen in a matter of seconds.

The good news is that drowning is 100% preventable!

To combat this needless tragedy, NEVER swim alone and ALWAYS watch the water when children are present.

Our Orange County Drowning Prevention Task Force, in cooperation with the Orange County Fire Authority and the Jasper Ray Foundation for Drowning Prevention and Child Safety, recently held a drowning prevention demonstration at Irvine's William Woollett Jr. Aquatics Center.  

You can listen to the speeches from OC Supervisor Todd Spitzer, Jasper Ray Foundation founder J ulie Lopiccolo, and Irvine Mayor Don Wagner  here.

You can watch the demonstration, led by OCFA Captain Steven Concialdi,  here.

Drowning is preventable, and it is our responsibility as parents, caregivers, and pool owners to keep children safe. 

Let's make Irvine the nation's the water safest city!

Stay Cool Irvine!

Let's be cool - and make sure we all survive the heat!

Temperatures will reach triple digits this month in some parts of Orange County, increasing the risk of heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke for those who are sensitive to heat.

Stay hydrated, limit outdoor activities, and NEVER leave kids or pets in a parked car!

ALL City of Irvine facilities are designated cooling centers.  Click  here for a list of facilities and open hours!

Here are some recommended precautions to prevent heat-related illnesses:
  • Drink plenty of water; don't wait until you are thirsty.
  • Wear light, loose-fitting clothing.
  • Stay out of the sun if possible, and when in the sun wear a hat, preferably with a wide brim. Use sunscreen.
  • Avoid strenuous activities if you are outside or in buildings that aren't air-conditioned. If you are working outdoors, take frequent rest and refreshment breaks in a shaded area.
  • Never leave children, older people or pets unattended in closed vehicles.
  • Ensure outdoor pets have access to shade and water.
  • Check on those who are at high risk to make sure they are staying cool - including seniors who live alone, people with heart or lung disease, and young children.
  • Stay cool indoors - if your home is not air-conditioned, visit public facilities such as shopping malls and libraries to stay cool.
Prolonged exposure to excessive temperatures may cause serious medical conditions and can even be fatal. Symptoms of heat exhaustion may include heavy sweating, muscle cramps, weakness, headache, nausea or vomiting, and dizziness. Warning signs of heat stroke may include an extremely high body temperature; unconsciousness; confusion; hot and dry skin (no sweating); a rapid, strong pulse; and a throbbing headache. If symptoms of heat stroke occur, immediately call for medical assistance. Assist those with signs of heat stroke to a shady area and begin cooling their body with water.

Let's be cool - and make sure we all survive the heat!

Upcoming Events

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)