Irvine City Council Newsletter 
November 2018
Join Me to Celebrate Diwali at the Great Park!

Diwali symbolizes the spiritual victory of light over darkness, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance.   This year marks the fifth annual Diwali Fest in Irvine, and the very first to be held at the Great Park!

Diwali is one of my very favorite holidays celebrated in Irvine.

One of the most popular festivals of Hinduism, Diwali symbolizes the spiritual victory of light over darkness, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance.  It is celebrated with spectacular light displays, colorful garlands, and the exchange gifts and sweets. It is a time for rejoicing and renewal, and ridding oneself of hate, anger, and jealousy.

This year marks the fifth annual Diwali Fest in Irvine, and the very first to be held at the Great Park!

Diwali Fest is November 3, 2018, from 3:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the Orange County Great Park, 6950 Marine Way, Irvine, CA 92618.

Diwali Fest 2018 will feature Indian music and dance performances, food booths, vendors, and a traditional lamp-lighting ceremony.

We need light and love now more than ever.

This is a free event open to all.

For more information, contact the Ektaa Center at (949) 809 9605 or visit

See you there!

Join Me and the Irvine Police Association in Voting for Lauren Johnson-Norris for Irvine City Council!

Lauren Johnson-Norris is the only candidate for Irvine City Council endorsed by both the Irvine Police and Orange County Firefighters. 

Please join me in voting for Lauren Johnson-Norris for Irvine City Council!  

I'm voting for Lauren because she will fight for more child care, less traffic, and for bringing great improvements like Wild Rivers, museums, and botanical gardens to the Great Park. 

Lauren is a respected lawyer, the mother of twin five-year-old girls, and has served our community with dedication for nearly two years as a Community Services Commissioner, fighting for better parks making sure that our children and families experience the highest quality recreation .

Lauren is also strongly committed to keeping Irvine America's Safest City -- that's why Lauren is the only candidate endorsed by both the Irvine Police Association and Orange County Firefighters!

Find your polling place and see a sample ballot here.

You can learn more about Lauren here.

Honor Nation's Troops at Veterans Day Ceremony on Sunday, November 11

Community is invited to ceremony at Colonel Bill Barber Marine Corps Park.

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 is hosting a special Veterans Day Ceremony on Sunday, November 11, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the formal garden area at Colonel Bill Barber Marine Corps Park. 

The ceremony will pay tribute to our nation's troops - past and present - and honor local veterans, veterans groups, and military organizations. The public is invited to attend this free event. In the event of inclement weather, the Veterans Day Ceremony will move to the Irvine Civic Center, located adjacent to the park. 

Colonel Bill Barber Marine Corps Park is located at 4 Civic Center in Irvine. For more information, call 949-724-6606. 

Meet Your Irvine Police Officers at Coffee with a Cop!

Join Irvine Police Department personnel on Thursday, November 8, 2018, for a cup of coffee at Starbucks in the Los Olivos Marketplace. 

Our Irvine Police Department not only keeps us the Safest City in America, it also helps to keep us one of the most welcoming to diversity.

As our Police Chief Mike Hamel has said, "One of the best things about Irvine is that we are dynamic and diverse. We are made up of people from cultures and countries all over the world, but this also means that various community groups may have specific and unique needs. We are here to do all we can to help address your needs.  It doesn't matter where you come from, your lifestyle, what language you speak or what religion you practice, we are your police department and we are here for you."

"Coffee with a Cop!" is a chance to meet our Irvine police officers and get your public safety questions answered in a relaxed environment.

WHAT:  Coffee with a Cop!

WHERE: Starbucks in the Los Olivos Marketplace, 8539 Irvine Center Drive, Irvine, California 92618.

WHEN: Thursday, November 8, 2018, 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.  Join us at any time during this two-hour event.

WHO: This is a kid and family-friendly event. All ages are welcome!

COST: Free.

See the "Coffee with a Cop?"  Facebook event page here.

Irvine Stands Unified Against Hate 

Anti-Jewish vandalism and hate crimes in Irvine are swiftly responded to by the Irvine Police Department and strongly condemned by Irvine political and faith leaders. 

Irvine Ciy Councilmember Melissa Fox with Shir Ha Ma'alot Rabbi Richard Steinberg at a prayer vigil for the eleven Jews murdered at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.

On October 31, 2018, just a few days after the massacre of eleven Jews at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh,  Irvine Police officers were called to Beth Jacob Synagogue where offensive, anti-Semitic graffiti was spray painted on an exterior wall.  

In response, Irvine Police Chief Mike Hamel himself went to the scene and Irvine Police detectives are aggressively investigating this crime and are asking the public to report any suspicious activity surrounding this or any other of our religious or cultural institutions to our Police Dispatch Center at 949-724-7200.  

Police presence and patrols have been increased at all Jewish institutions in Irvine.

In addition, I learned that  restrooms at Irvine Valley College had recently been defaced with anti-Semitic graffiti (swastikas) and that fliers for a Muslim group were defaced.  I immediately relayed this information to Irvine Police Chief Mike Hamel. I am grateful to Chief Hamel and the men and women of the Irvine Police Department for their swift and serious response to these incidents.

Anti-Semitism and other forms of hatred have no place in our community.  We are proud of the fact that Irvine is one of the most multicultural and harmonious cities in the world.  There are no ethnic, linguistic, religious, or cultural enclaves in Irvine; every neighborhood reflects Irvine's harmonious ethnic, linguistic, religious, and cultural diversity.  A quarter of our residents were born outside the United States.  A non-English language is spoken in more than half of Irvine homes, with more than 70 different languages spoken in residences throughout Irvine.  Irvine is also home to more than 80 different churches, mosques, synagogues and other places of worship, serving Irvine's wonderful cultural and religious diversity.  Irvine celebrates this diversity and difference in numerous cultural, ethnic, and religious festivals throughout the year, including our world-famous showcase of Irvine's cultural richness, the Irvine Global Village Festival.

Councilmember Melissa Fox speaking at a prayer vigil at Irvine's Shir Ma Ha'alot Synagogue after the massacre at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.

As a member of the Irvine City Council, I echo Irvine Police Chief Mike Hamel's statement that we denounce, in the strongest terms, this type of hateful act.

I also echo Irvine Mayor Donald Wagner's statement that these acts of hatred "are both enraging and unacceptable. They will not go unchallenged by the good people of Irvine. An attack on anyone in Irvine of any faith is an attack on us all. These two local acts of hate, and even more so the senseless, wanton murder of 11 innocent people in Pittsburgh, remind us that historical prejudices remain alive in evil people. It is for the good to work tirelessly against them, their hatred, and their evil.  Anti-Semitism cannot be acceptable in this country; it will not be ignored in Irvine."

Irvine will always stand strong against intolerance and stand up for our neighbors. We will never take lightly hate crimes or threats fueled by hate. 

We will find, arrest, and punish those who committed this despicable crime.

Irvine is committed to preserving the peace in our wonderfully diverse community and keeping every resident of Irvine safe and secure.

You can see a video of the hate crime incident  here

If you have any information, contact the Irvine Police Department at contact Irvine Police Department Detective Dave Tran at 949-724-7098.

A $5,000 reward has been offered for information 

The City of Irvine, as well as community and faith leaders, held a press conference strongly condemning the anti-Jewish vandalism of Beth Jacob Synagogue and all form of hatred and bigotry. 

You can see a video of the press conference here:

Below are some photographs of the community leaders at the press conference, including Mayor Donald P. Wagner, Mayor Pro Tem Christina Shea, Irvine Police Chief Mike hamel,  Rabbi Richard Steinberg of Shir Ha Ma'alot, Community Services Commissioner Lauren Johnson-Norris, Irvine resident and Orange County Jewish Life writerIlene Schneider, Rabbi Stephen Einstein of B'nai Tzedek, Rabbi Heidi Cohen of Temple Beth Shalom, and the Islamic Center of Irvine's Sheikh Atef Mahgoub and Issa Edah-Tally.

Irvine City Council Votes to Increase Government Transparency and Resident Participation

New City of Irvine Sunshine Ordinance expands review time of all regular agenda items to 12 days. 

On October 23, 2018, the Irvine City Council gave initial approved of a new Sunshine Ordinance that will expand review time of all regular agenda items to 12 days.

California's open meeting law, the Brown Act, requires an agenda be posted 72 hours in advance of a regular meeting.

The Irvine Sunshine Ordinance expands public notice to four times longer than California law requires.

I am a strong supporter of measures, such as the Irvine Sunshine Ordinance, that increase government transparency and openness, and prevent government action without full and informed participation and input from the community.

In describing the proposed Irvine Sunshine Ordinance, City Manager John Russo explained that "The 12-day window allows every community member the time they need to review agenda items thoroughly."

"People and business owners who pay their taxes to run a good government ought to have the opportunity to share information, ask questions, and make their opinions known before City Hall acts on their behalf," said Russo.

The new ordinance requires a second reading, which will be at the City Council meeting on November 13, 2018.

As your representative on the Irvine City Council, I strongly support 

Irvine Ready to Expand iShuttle by 50% to Cut Commuter Traffic Congestion!

The City of Irvine plans a major expansion of the iShuttle in effort to increase transportation choices in the City. 

One of my primary policy objectives -- a major expansion of iShuttle routes and a significant increase in Irvine commuter transportation choices -- will soon be realized. 

For the past year, Irvine City Staff has been working with the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) to create new iShuttle routes and obtain new vehicles. 

I'm excited to announce that two new iShuttle routes have now been established and six new iShuttle vehicles have been procured!

Route testing is being conducted, schedules are being developed, and signage has been ordered. 

OCTA will market the new routes and oversee the drivers. 

Route E will operate out of the Irvine Train Station, providing service to the east and west, including the Irvine Spectrum. 

Route F will operate out of the Tustin Train Station and provide service in the west, including the Irvine Business Complex. 

Ninety percent of the funding for the new routes and vehicles will be covered by Orange County Measure M2, Project V. City Transportation Management funding and City partners will also provide funds. 

The new routes will bring the total number of iShuttle routes to six, a 50% increase. 

The iShuttle expansion will make it more convenient for employees and visitors to move around Irvine's two large business districts without a car and is expected to have a significant positive impact on Irvine's commuter traffic congestion. 

Service is expected to begin in late fall 2018 or early 2019. 

Going forward, I'd like to see more iShuttle service added. For example, a route that would transport people from UCI to the Spectrum would be good for both Irvine traffic and for UCI students and Spectrum businesses. 

Irvine Harvest Cup Tournament is a Great Success at the Great Park Soccer Stadium! 

Irvine students participate in inter-school soccer tournament. 

The  Irvine Harvest Cup is an annual inter-school soccer tournament that gives kids the opportunity to represent their school, learn to play, have fun and complete against other Irvine schools as part of the  Irvine Tournament of Champions.

The proceeds from the Tournament of Champions benefit the  Irvine Public Schools Foundation.

This year on Sunday, October 21, the 38th annual Harvest Cup was held on our new  Great Park Sports Complex  soccer fields and in the beautiful new  Great Park Championship Soccer Stadium .

Almost 1,500 Irvine boys and girls from 35 Irvine schools competed.

Harvest Cup winners were:

Girls (3rd/4th): Vista Verde Elementary School
Boys (3rd/4th): Canyon View Elementary School
Co-Ed (3rd/4th): Deerfield Elementary School
Girls (5th/6th): Woodbury Elementary School
Co-Ed (5th/6th): Oak Creek Elementary School
Girls (7th/8th): Venado Middle School
Boys (7th/8th) Vista Verde Middle School

Watching hundreds of young Irvine athletes smiling and enjoying the competition reminds me of why I love serving on the Irvine City Council and as Vice Chair of the Great Park - so our children have the very best places to learn and play.

For far too many years, the Great Park was  a symbol of gross mismanagement and government gone very wrong, with  allegations of corruption and massive waste, and with  little to nothing to show for the expenditure of hundreds of millions of public dollars except a balloon, a carousel, and great expanses of dirt, dust, and debris.

Now the Great Park is home to thousands of smiles!

Irvine Needs You: Irvine Sports Committee Seeks Applicants for Two Volunteer Positions! 

The City of Irvine is accepting applications to fill two volunteer member-at-large vacancies on the Irvine Sports Committee.

The Irvine Sports Committee, which meets quarterly at Irvine City Hall, serves in an advisory capacity to the Community Services Commission, conveying the needs of the community pertaining to youth sports programs and ensuring equitable allocation of athletic facilities and maximum participation for all.

The Committee is composed of representatives from Irvine's youth sports organizations. While most committee members represent a specific program and sport, members-at-large are selected through a public recruitment process to provide general perspective and guidance.

Applicants must reside in the City of Irvine and be willing to commit to a two-year term of active service. Committee meetings are held quarterly on Tuesdays at 7 p.m. at the Irvine Civic Center.

The City of Irvine offers adult sports leagues (softball, soccer and basketball); tennis lessons, leagues and tournaments for all ages; provides athletic fields (including more than 40 soccer fields, more than 40 baseball diamonds, and more than 85 tennis courts) for more than 25 Irvine-based non-profit youth sports organizations; and facilitates several world-class events and elite sports tournaments.

Applications are available at the Irvine Civic Center, 1 Civic Center Plaza, on the second floor in the Community Services Department, and online at

Completed applications must be submitted by 5:00 p.m. Friday, November 9, 2018, to:

City Clerk's Office
City of Irvine
P.O. Box 19575
Irvine, CA 92623-9575

For more information, contact Community Services Manager Dena Diggins at 949-724-6155 or

Learn How to Keep Your Family and Your Community Ready for Wildfires!

Do you know how to protect against wildfire? Are you prepared for an emergency?

On Monday, November 5, 2018, you can learn how to keep yourself, your family, and your community safe at a  free informational meeting on wildfire preparedness  from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA)  Fire Station 27 , located at 12400 Portola Springs, Irvine CA 92618.

The outreach focuses on the  "Ready, Set, Go"  strategy championed by OCFA and will include a Question and Answer Session.

The wildfire outreach campaign emphasizes these key messages:

Ready: Protect your home ahead of time by taking steps to mitigate wildfire risk.

Set: Prepare for an emergency by assembling a bag of important items that you would need in the event of emergency. This includes clothes, medication and other personal items. Develop a family emergency plan that details escape routes and reunification plans.

Go: Leave early in the event of an emergency. Avoid traffic congestion and other complications by evacuating at the earliest opportunity. In the event of evacuation, all City of Irvine emergency shelters will have options available for pets.

Irvine neighborhoods most at risk of wildfire include Turtle Rock, Shady Canyon, Quail Hill, Orchard Hills and Portola Springs.

Irvine residents are further encouraged to sign up to receive emergency notifications at:

Visit or for more information on wildfires. 

You can visit the Facebook event page here.

Upcoming Events

What's up in Irvine!

  • 11/22 Thanksgiving Day

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 (Vice Chair)

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)