Irvine City Council Newsletter 
February 2019
Great Park Ice Arena Opens in Irvine! 

Join us for our Grand Opening Ceremony on March 7, 2019.

I'm pleased to announce that the new 270,000-square-foot   Great Park Ice Area - the largest ice skating facility in California and one of the largest in the United States - is now open for public skating.

Located near the Great Park's Palm Court and adjacent to the Festival Site parking area, the Community Ice Arena is now open daily from about 5 a.m. to midnight, with most of the time reserved for public use.

The Great Park Ice Arena in Irvine features three National Hockey League-standard ice rinks and one Olympic size rink, and includes seating for more than 2,500 spectators. The Great Park Ice Arena will also have a restaurant and a Ducks team store.

Skaters enjoying the Great Park Ice Arena on Opening Day.

Ice sports and recreation activities available to the public at the Arena will include youth and adult hockey programs, regional and national tournaments, figure skating, and open public skating. Also, the  Anaheim Ducks  are expected to practice occasionally at the 13.5-acre site.

The Arena is owned by the Irvine Ice Foundation, a nonprofit organization, which will be made up of locally, based civic leaders, and operates on a 50-year lease with the City of Irvine.

All proceeds will go to further the growth of ice sports and activities locally.

Additionally, the new facility will create 15 full-time and 150 part-time positions while serving more than 10,000 local youth each year.

An exciting official Grand Opening is scheduled for March 7, 2019!

See you there!

Irvine is not only the safety city in America, it is among the safest cities in the world.

Irvine is not only the safety city in America, it is among the safest cities in the world, according to a recent article in   CEOWorld magazine .

The safety index ranked 338 cities. The crime index is an estimation of the overall level of crime in a given city.

Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates was ranked as the safest city in the world, with Doha in Qatar in 2nd place.  The remaining top 10 safest cities in the world were Osaka, Singapore, Basel, Quebec, Tokyo, Bern, Munich, and Irvine, CA.

According to the article, the next safest city in the United States is Madison, Wisconsin, at number 35 overall.

As a resident of Irvine and a member of the Irvine City Council, I am extremely grateful to the outstanding work of the brave men and women of the Irvine Police Department.

We are America's safest city because the men and women of the Irvine Police Department continue to perform their duties at the very highest levels of professionalism and integrity.  

Our community knows that our police officers treat everyone with fairness and respect, and are dedicated to ensuring the safety of our residents and defending the Constitution of our country.

I am also extremely proud of my neighbors and fellow Irvine residents, who care deeply about the safety of our City and look after each other.  

In Irvine, we're proud that community engagement is an essential element of our approach to law enforcement.

As Irvine Chief of Police Mike Hamel has said, "The safety of our City is truly a collaborative effort. The dedicated men and women of the Irvine Police Department work tirelessly every day to keep our community safe. Our residents and members of the business community partner with IPD to prevent and help solve crime. Our City leaders have always made public safety a top priority, ensuring IPD has the resources necessary to provide only the highest level of service to the public. It is this comprehensive effort that has allowed Irvine to preserve the safety and quality of life our residents have long enjoyed."

Irvine residents, Transportation Commissioners, Irvine Police Chief Mike Hamel, and Traffic Unit police officers discussed ways to make the streets of America's Safest City even safer.

On Saturday, January 26, 2019, Irvine City Councilmember Melissa Fox held a Town Hall meeting on traffic safety. 

Irvine residents, Transportation Commissioners, Irvine Police Chief Mike Hamel, and Traffic Unit police officers discussed ways to make the streets of America's Safest City even safer.

Thank you to Irvine Police Chief Mike Hamel, officers of the Irvine Police Department Traffic, Irvine Transportation Commissioners Ken Montgomery, Carrie O'Malley and Steven Greenberg, and IUSD Board Members Lauren Schenkman Brooks and Ira Glasky for attending. 

It's an honor to represent a city where so many residents care about each other.

Click the link for a video of the Town Hall meeting.

New Community Center features a Native American Wing dedicated to the culture of the indigenous Native American (Acjachemen) tribes

Councilmember Melissa Fox with members of the Acjachemen tribe at Grand Opening of the Native American Wing at Portola Springs Community Center.

The 32-acre Portola Springs Community Park opened in a grand ceremony on  Saturday, January 26, 2019.

The new park features a nature-themed playground, native garden, two lighted softball fields, two lighted soccer fields, one warm-up field, one sand volleyball court, six lighted  pickleball courts, three lighted tennis courts, and a concession building.

It also features an expansive community center (more than 14,000 square feet), including a multipurpose room, large patio area, two classrooms, and a Native American Wing. 

I am especially excited about the Center's Native American Wing, which was a combined effort of City staff, representatives of our local Native American tribes, the  California Cultural Resources Preservation Alliance and the Irvine Company.

Irvine is the first city in Orange County to honor its original people with a dedicated public space.

Painting by Anne Handberry in Native American Wing depicting a Acjachemen village scene.

The Portola Spring Community Center is open to the public from 9:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m. on Saturday, and 12:00 noon - 6:00 p.m. on Sunday.

Classes at the center will be available beginning in February, and programming will include after-school and camp activities as well as recreational activities and sports programs.

Portola Springs Community Park and Center are located at  900 Tomato Springs, Irvine, CA 92618.

Irvine Adds Flashing Yellow Arrows and Other Improvements to Increase Traffic Flow!

Watch video the video on "Irvine's Flashing Yellow."  

As a member of the Irvine City Council, I am happy to report that Irvine has taken a number of significant actions to reduce traffic congestion and improve traffic flow in the City.

Significantly, Irvine is implementing a new type of traffic signal in 2019 that increases the efficiency of left turns and improves traffic flow.

Watch the video:

Irvine's Flashing Yellow
"Irvine's Flashing Yellow"

The Protected-Permissive Left Turn or Flashing Yellow Arrow signal is a new type of display that accommodates left turns at select signalized intersections.

  When approaching an intersection with a flashing yellow arrow, motorists are permitted to turn left while yielding to oncoming traffic, bicyclists and pedestrians.

Flashing yellow arrow signals are opening in January 2019 at these locations: 

  • Tesla at Irvine Center Drive.
  • Oldfield at Rockfield Boulevard.
  • Odyssey at Irvine Center Drive.
  • Towngate at Sand Canyon Avenue.
  • Florence at Culver Drive. 

The City of Irvine has also taken the following additional actions to improve traffic flow:

  • A third travel lane along University Drive in each direction, between Campus Drive and MacArthur Avenue.
  • Two new northbound right-turns lanes and a new northbound through lane on Culver Drive at the Culver/University Drive intersection.
  • A third eastbound through lane on University Drive and a second northbound right-turn lane on Ridgeline Drive at the University/Ridgeline intersection.
  • A fifth northbound through lane on Jamboree Road at the Jamboree/Barranca Parkway intersection.
  • A Jamboree Road pedestrian bridge at Michelson Drive.
  • A new, third westbound left-turn lane on Alton Parkway at the Alton/Jeffrey Road intersection.
  • Widening of eastbound Walnut Avenue to accommodate two left-turn lanes, at the Walnut/Jeffrey Road intersection.
  • A new, fourth northbound and southbound through lane on Jeffrey Road at the Jeffrey/Irvine Center Drive intersection.
  • A northbound third through lane from Ridgeline Drive to the southbound I-405 on-ramp at University Drive.

Other projects include signal synchronization, sidewalk improvements, signal vehicle and bicycle detection systems, and new cameras and a system that monitors traffic throughout the City.

In addition, staff is exploring an adaptive traffic signal system to monitor traffic conditions and automatically adjust signal timing.

Please note:  I am very concerned about both traffic flow and traffic safety.  Both are legitimate and important resident concerns.  Our Irvine Police and City staff will be monitoring the results of the flashing yellow arrows closely and I will insist on changes in the event that it makes our streets less safe.

Irvine City Council Agrees to  Exclusive Negotiating Agreement to bring Pretend City Children's Museum to the Great Park  

The Great Park's Cultural Terrace begins to take shape.  

I am very happy to report that the Irvine City C ouncil has agreed to enter into an exclusive negotiating agreement (ENA) with  Pretend City Children's Museum r egarding the relocation of the museum to the Great Park's Cultural Terrace.

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.  It is is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization serving all children.

Designed as a small city, with a grocery store, construction site, art studio, house, café, bank, emergency services, health center and farm, Pretend City is 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.

Pretend City 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.

Irvine is a wonderful city for families, but will be even better with more educational opportunities for young children.  Pretend City Children's Museum will be a fantastic addition to the Great Park Cultural Terrace.

Pretend City Children's Museum is currently located at 29 Hubble, Irvine CA 92618.

You can learn more about Pretend City Children's Museum here

Irvine Conducts "Orange Crush" Emergency Operations Center Exercise

Earthquake scenario provides preparation and practice for dealing with an actual emergency.

It was all hands on deck on January 30, as the Irvine Office of Emergency Management and the Irvine Police Department held a three-hour emergency exercise based on a scenario of a magnitude 7.8 earthquake on the San Andreas Fault with violent shaking throughout southern California.  

In the scenario, the earthquake has caused several structure fires in the City of Irvine, hazardous waste has been released in the City, traffic is gridlocked, numerous residents have been injured, thousands of residents have been displaced, and emergency shelters have been opened.

The Irvine Police Department and the City Department of Public Works participated in the exercise, as well as the Orange County Fire Authority.

Exercises like "Orange Crush" test our ability to handle real emergencies and provide valuable information for assessing and improving our emergency response.

I was in the Irvine Emergency Control Center and I was impressed with the efficiency, expertise, and team-work that was displayed. 

Thank you to everyone involved!

Irvine Ranked No. 1 City in Fiscal Strength!  

It is important to me that our City is truly serving its residents with fiscal responsibility and transparency.

I am proud to report that  the City of Irvine has been ranked as the No. 1 City in the United States in Fiscal Strength by Truth in Accounting  (TIA), a nonprofit organization that "cuts through politicization and accounting tricks, presenting transparent and nonpartisan figures of government finances."

According to TIA, "it is imperative to provide an honest accounting of each city's financial condition. Therefore, we developed a sophisticated model to analyze all the assets and liabilities of the nation's 75 most populous cities, including unreported liabilities."

Based on their thorough ans nonpartisan analysis, Truth in Accounting ranked Irvine as the most fiscally healthy large city in the United States.

The Truth in Accounting report comes at a crucial time as the City of Irvine begins to apply several increases in fiscal responsibility and government transparency that I strongly urged and supported -  a two-year budget in the context of a comprehensive five-year financial plan and an Irvine Sunshine Ordinance that expands review time of all regular agenda items to 12 days.

Recently, in addition to the No. 1 ranking from Truth in Accounting, the City of Irvine has been awarded national and state awards this year for its budget team: The Distinguished Budget Presentation Award by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada represents the highest form of recognition in government budgeting for a municipal entity, and the Excellence Award for Fiscal Year 2018-19 Operating Budget was presented to Irvine by the California Society of Municipal Finance Officers.

In addition, I received the Orange County Taxpayers Watchdog Award from Orange County Auditor-Controller Eric H. Woollery in 2017, along with Mayor Don Wagner and Councilmember Christina Shea.

I am extremely proud of these awards. But much more important to me is the fact that our City is truly serving its residents with fiscal responsibility and transparency.

I ran for City Council on a platform of using my skills as a business attorney to safeguard every public dollar, and I have kept that promise by making sure that Irvine is financially transparent and doesn't spend more than it can afford.

I have made it my mission to make our City's budget truly transparent and free from any obfuscations or accounting tricks.

These awards reflect the commitment that I've made to the taxpayers and residents of Irvine, and to the principles of government transparency and fiscal responsibility.

Government transparency and fiscal responsibility should be neither a conservative nor a liberal idea, but appeal to both, as we strive to address increasing social needs with limited resources.

Tilly's Life Center Comes to Irvine!l  

Programs empower teens to relieve their stress and promote healthy, happy, and productive lifestyles.

Welcome  Tilly's Life Center to Irvine! 

Tilly's Life Center is a youth-focused, 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable foundation aimed at empowering all teens with a "youth-focused nonprofit empowerment program for teens helping to change attitudes and mindsets in order to overcome adversity and ultimately find happiness and success."

Teens are facing problems that are universal, affecting them at every socioeconomic level and in every community. Even in supportive environments, teenagers face confusion and uncertainty in life.

As young people come under increased pressure to excel in a highly competitive world, Tilly's Life Center is  providing teens the support they need to thrive.

Through the Center's " I Am Me" program, teens are taught life skills that motivate them to pursue their dreams and to focus on improving their lives, be it through more positive thinking, stress management, motivation, and purpose.

I am delighted to welcome Tilly's Life Center to our City. Through increased engagement with our teens, we can aim to relieve their stress and promote healthy, happy, and productive lifestyles!

Tilly's Life Center is located at 17 Pasteur, Irvine, California 92618.

Contact Tilly's Life Center:  (949) 246-3067

Irvine's Kids Need You! Volunteers Needed for Irvine Children, Youth and Families Advisory Committee!  

The Committee provides ongoing review and evaluation of programs and services that support the development of Irvine children and youth.

The City of Irvine is accepting applications to fill two community member-at-large vacancies on the  Irvine Children, Youth and Families Advisory Committee  (ICYFAC).

Comprised of 15 members, the ICYFAC is an advisory body to the Community Services Commission.

The Committee provides ongoing review and evaluation of programs and services that support the development of Irvine children and youth.

Goals included in the ICYFAC work plan for 2018-19 include:

  • Minimizing stress, anxiety, and depression by strengthening resiliency of young people
  • Connecting children and youth to their schools and community
  • Valuing youth as a vibrant section of the Irvine community
  • Collaborating with youth and community serving agencies

Applicants must live or work in Irvine and be willing to commit to a voluntary two-year term of active participation.

Committee meetings are held quarterly on Wednesdays from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Irvine Civic Center.

The application period begins Monday, February 4, 2019. Applications are available at Irvine Civic Center, 1 Civic Center Plaza, 2nd Floor, Community Services Department or  online.

Completed applications must be submitted by 5:00 p.m. on Monday, March 4, 2019, to: City Clerk, City of Irvine, 1 Civic Center Plaza, Irvine, CA, 92623

February is Black History Month  

Upcoming Events

What's up in Irvine! 

Tues. 2/5 Lunar New Year "Year of the Pig"

Tues. 2/5 @ 11:00 a.m. -- 3:00 p.m. Pretend City Children's Museum, Lunar New Year Celebration (新年快樂!)

Sat. 2/9 @ 10:00 a.m. Pretend City Children's Museum, Asian Cultural Festival

Sat. 2/9 @ 4:00 p.m. -- 6:00 p.m. Irvine Fine Arts Center, Gary Brewer: The Shape of Time - A Ten Year Survey - Reception

Sat. 2/9 @ 8:00 p.m. Irvine Barclay Theatre, Steep Canyon Rangers

Steep Canyon Rangers - Long Shot (Official Music Video)
Steep Canyon Rangers - Long Shot (Official Music Video)

Sun. 2/10 @ 10:00 a.m. -- 3:00 p.m. Orange County Great Park, Family Game Day

Sun. 2/10 @ 3:00 p.m. Pretend City Children's Museum, Asian Cultural Festival

Thur. 2/14 Valentine's Day!

Mon. 2/18 Presidents' Day!

Thurs. 2/21, Fri. 2/11, Sat. 2/23  @ 8:00 p.m. Irvine Barclay Theatre, UCI Dance Visions 2019

Sat. 2/23 @    10:00 a.m. -- 3:00 p.m. Pretend City Children's Festival, Youth Leadership Council hosts STEAM Festival
Sat. 2/23 @ 2:00 p.m. Irvine Barclay Theatre,  UCI Dance Visions 2019

Weds. 2/27 @ 8:00 p.m. Irvine Barclay Theatre, Martha Graham Dance Company

Martha Graham Dance Company
Martha Graham Dance Company

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 

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

Juneu Kim,  Senior Council

Richard Cody Prince,  Green Ribbon Environmental Committee 

Fred Judd, Investment Advisory Committee (Chair)