Irvine City Council Newsletter 
October 2018
Great Park Baseball Stadium Opens! 

Thrilled to throw out the first ball at opening ceremony for the new Great Park Baseball Stadium.

On Sunday, September 16, 2018, we officially opened our new 1200-seat Great Park Championship Baseball Stadium, and our new additional baseball and softball fields at the Orange County Great Park Sports Complex.

As Vice Chair of the Great Park and a member of the Irvine City Council, it was a thrill to throw out the first ball!

Four, two-inning baseball games were be played by eight local high school teams. Portola and University played the first game, followed by Beckman versus Irvine, Tustin versus Northwood, and Woodbridge versus Foothill.

The OC Register reported that the high school players and coaches who took part in the opening ceremonies of the Orange County Great Park baseball stadium "gave the 1,200-seat facility rave reviews."

The Register continued:

"The field is great," Beckman's Connor McGuire said. "The facilities are awesome. "It's going to be fantastic to play here," said Irvine's Mark Rogers.
Former Los Angeles Dodger Shawn Green, who was among the celebrities throwing out first pitches at the ceremonies, was also impressed. "It's amazing," said Green, a Major League all-star and former Tustin High star. "I heard it was something special."

The new Great Park Championship Baseball Stadium includes four batting cages, a meeting room and press box. On the field level, there are dressing rooms on both sides where the dugouts are, coaches offices, umpire rooms and training facilities. There is also an outfield berm area, which can hold 1,000 more fans sitting on the grass.

Irvine City Councilmember Melissa Fox with Dodger All-Star Shawn Green.

The Orange County Great Park is the largest public park project now underway. Several hundred acres of parkland are under development, and beginning summer 2018 and through year's end, several more facilities and fields will be turned over to the City for community public use. 

These are the 1-mile long Great Park bike and pedestrian trails; seven baseball fields that include our new 1,000-seat baseball stadium; five softball fields that include a 500-seat stadium; six artificial turf soccer/lacrosse fields; four basketball courts; a Children's Playground; and an 18-acre Flex Field in which up to four playing fields can be added for tournament use. In total, the above equals 130 acres.

Already open for one year within the 194-acre Sports Complex are a Soccer Stadium with seating for 5,000, six other soccer/lacrosse fields, 25 tennis courts, five sand volleyball courts, and a Children's Play Area.
These all complement the long-opened features of the 1,300-acre Great Park, which include five soccer/lacrosse fields, two art galleries, the Great Park Balloon, and the Children's Carousel.

In addition, the Anaheim Ducks Great Park Ice Complex - the largest in the state with four sheets of ice and one of the largest in the country at 270,000 square feet - will open by the end of 2018 at the Great Park. Ice time will include public skating, youth hockey games and tournaments, and figure skating. 

I have also joined with Irvine City Councilmember Cristina Shea in  calling for the construction of a veteran's cemetery within the Great Park. This proposal is now going through an  expedited evaluation process by our City staff.

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.

However, since I have joined the Irvine City Council - and been appointed Vice Chair of the Orange County Great Park by my colleagues -  we have succeeded in making a tremendous, positive turn-around in the Great Park's development.  Exciting progress has been made!

As the  Orange County Register recently wrote, "If you haven't visited the Orange County Great Park - where you see that big orange balloon from Interstate 5 - in the past few years, you may be surprised by the amount of construction going on and how quickly things are getting built there."

We're Number One!

OC Register Names Irvine Best City in Orange County.

The readers of the  Orange County Register  have rated Irvine the "Best City" in Orange County for 2018.

Here is what the OC Register had to say:

"By now, Irvine is used to accolades.

The Fiscal Times recently ranked it No. 1 out of 116 municipalities in its annual City Fiscal Strength Index. Within the past year it also made the top 10s of other "best-of"lists, including the Best Place to Raise a Family, the Best Park System in the U.S., Best City for Working Parents and Best City to be a Homeowner.

The personal finance website WalletHub ranked Irvine No. 8 - the highest of any Southern California locale - on its 2018 list of the Happiest Cities in America, which was based on factors such as emotional and physical well-being, income and employment and community and environment. Last year, Sunset magazine selected Irvine as the SoCal runner-up - behind Ventura - on its list of the 19 Best Value Towns in the West.

"This O.C. town was engineered for livability back in the 1960s," the magazine wrote. "What it lacks in an actual downtown, it makes up for with 350 miles of bike lanes and trails, an infinitesimal crime rate, a robust economy, a multicultural population, and the Orange County Great Park."

None of this is news to Best of Orange County voters. Irvine has been voted Best City Live In for 8 of the past 10 years and always places in the top three. Beyond its highly regarded schools and abundant parks, Irvine is frequently cited as a model of master planning - even as the city's population has grown to 268,000, its design as a cluster of villages helps it retain a small-town vibe."

Congratulations to us!

See the Register's full "Best of" issue  here.

Irvine Again is Safest City in America: Thank you Irvine Police!

This is the 13th year in a row Irvine has held the top spot as America's Safest City among cities with a population of 250,000 or more.

This is the 13th year in a row Irvine has held the top spot as America's Safest City among cities with a population of 250,000 or more.

Irvine Chief of Police Mike Hamel 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."

We are America's safest city because the men and women of the Irvine Police Department 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.

Thank you, Irvine Police Department!

Irvine City Council Votes to Prevent Development at Rancho San Joaquin Golf Course

Councilmember Melissa Fox stresses commitment to preserving Irvine's neighborhoods and open space.

Irvine, CA -- The Irvine City Council has voted unanimously to affirm the Master Plan and maintain the zoning that protects the Rancho San Joaquin Golf Course. 

At the Irvine City Council meeting on August 28, the Council unanimously voted to tell City staff to provide language for binding resolution protecting the Rancho San Joaquin Golf course open space.

Councilmember Melissa Fox stated at that meeting: "It is a core principal of Irvine that we protect our open space, and we're here today to do that. And I wanted to thank my colleagues for bringing forth this issue - and particularly the right time with the General Plan update - that there could be no question now that the devotion of our City is to the protection of open space."

At the Irvine City Council meeting on Wednesday, September 12, the City Council then voted unanimously to adopt a legally binding resolution protecting Rancho San Joaquin Golf Course from redevelopment:

"The City Council finds and determines that the current General Plan and Zoning Code designations for the Golf Course property accurately and appropriately reflect the values of the community and City Council's vision and intent for the development of that property. As such, the City Council has no intent to amend the General Plan and/or Zoning Code to allow for a change in allowable uses on or development of the Golf Course property."

City Councilmember Melissa Fox stated in her blog : 

"One of the best, and most distinctive, things about Irvine is our commitment to preserving open space.

The City of Irvine has more than 16,000 acres of permanently preserved parkland and open space - remarkable for a city of our size.

Since its incorporation in 1971, Irvine has been committed to balancing the built and the natural environment. As our incredible master-planned community has grown, we have remained attentive to the need to preserve and enhance our natural open spaces, creating a network of parks, trails, and wildlands that residents and visitors enjoy today and will continue to enjoy for generations to come.

Neighborhoods are also a crucial aspect of life in Irvine.

When I ran for City Council, I promised that I would protect the beauty and character of our neighborhoods in all of Irvine.

I also promised to fight runaway development; in fact, as an Irvine City Councilmember, I have not voted for a single new entitlement nor have I approved any new construction.

Moving forward, I intend to see that Irvine reaffirms its commitment to protecting open space, preserving neighborhoods, and following the wisdom of the General Plan.

I like what my appointee to the Irvine Planning Commission, Dustin Nirschl, has said: 'Villages are not just measurements, it's a feeling.'

Neighborhoods matter.

Open space matters.

And neighbors working together to preserve their neighborhood and their open space matters most of all." 

Watch the Great Park Balloon 'Jack' Installation!

You are invited to watch as Irvine's iconic giant orange balloon is transformed into a Great Jack-o'-lantern for Halloween.

You are invited to watch the  Great Park Balloon 'Jack' Installation as Irvine's iconic giant orange balloon is transformed into a Great Jack-o'-lantern for Halloween!

Balloon pilots are lifted by a large crane to attach black vinyl tarp pieces to the Balloon's sides, creating a jack-o-lantern face affectionately known as "Jack."

The transformation is scheduled for  9:00 -11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, October 2.  The transformation could be delayed to the evening if winds are too strong. Check back on the  Great Park Facebook Page for any updates.

There is no cost to watch the Balloon's transformation, and guests are welcome to enjoy other Great Park amenities open that day, including the Farm + Food Lab and lawn areas.

Also, join us for Irvine's  Spooktacular Fun Days, Oct 13 - Oct 14, the Orange County Great Park's annual fall tradition featuring a treat town, pumpkin patch, petting zoo, entertainment, crafts, inflatables, face painting, community booths, carnival games, food concessions and much more.  

Join Me at the Irvine Police Department Open House!

Meet Irvine's Finest! The Irvine Police Department Open House is set this year for October 20 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Irvine Civic Center.  

One of the coolest events of the year is the  Irvine Police Department Open House, set this year for October 20 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Irvine Civic Center.

Irvine has again been recognized by the FBI as  America's safest city, in large part because the brave men and women of the Irvine Police Department perform their duties at the very highest levels of professionalism and integrity.

They also horses and dogs and lots of extremely cool gadgets!

You can meet these brave men and women - and visit with the horses and dogs and see some of these cool gadgets - at the Irvine Police Department Open House.

You'll get an opportunity to take a behind-the-scenes look at the Police Department facilities when IPD opens its doors to visitors for station tours. The tour winds its way through the station, offering a glimpse at areas including Crime Scene Investigations and the holding facility.

You'll also have the chance to meet the Mounted Unit and K9 Unit member Kenny and Barrett, and check out police vehicles including the SWAT truck, motorcycles, and Mobile Command unit.

Bounce houses and face painting are among the many activities for children at this free event.

Food trucks will offer items for purchase.

Visitors are encouraged to ride their bikes to the Civic Center and enjoy a free bike valet, or participate in the bike rodeo.

Parking is available at Creekside High School, Colonel Bill Barber Marine Corps Memorial Park, and the Free Chapel. A courtesy shuttle will carry passengers to the Civic Center from those sites.

For more information, visit or call 949-724-7193.

See you there!

Join me at the Orange County Fire Authority's Open House Events! 

OCFA will host Open House events at its Headquarters in Irvine on Saturday, October 6, and at participating fire stations on Saturday, October 13.

Come meet your local Firefighters! 

OCFA's station Open Houses will give visitors an opportunity to meet and greet their neighborhood firefighters, tour their local fire stations, and learn about ways they can stay fire safe.

It will also be a great opportunity to thank your firefighters for their everyday heroism and tell them that you appreciate their bravery and professionalism in containing recent fires, such as the Holy Jim Fire!

Community Services Commissioner Lauren Johnson-Norris and Councilmember Melissa Fox at OCFA Open House

This year, the Orange County Fire Authority will host two Open House events:

  • Saturday, October 6, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., at OCFA Headquarters, and 
  • Saturday, October 13, from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m, at participating OCFA stations.

OCFA Headquarters is located at  s located at 1 Fire Authority Road, Irvine, CA 92602 (off Jamboree Road). 

The event schedule for the OCFA HQ Open House on Saturday, October 6, includes: 

  • 11:00 a.m. -- Kidde Demonstration, Burn Demonstration. 
  • 11:45 a.m. -- Urban Search and Rescue, Dog Demonstration. 
  • 12:30 p.m. -- Vehicle Extraction Demonstration.
  • 1:15 p.m.  -- Urban Search and Rescue, Dog Demonstration.
  • 2:00 p.m. -- Burn Demonstration.

The OCFA stations in Irvine participating in the Open House on Saturday, October 13, are: 

  • Station 4, 2 California Ave., Irvine CA 92612
  • Station 26, 4691 Walnut Ave., Irvine CA 92604
  • Station 27, 12400 Portola Springs, Irvine CA 92618
  • Station 36, 301 East Yale Loop, Irvine CA 92604

See you there!

Global Village at the Great Park was a Great Success!

Take our survey and help us make it even better next year!

As a member of the Irvine City Council, I'm very proud of Irvine's reputation for being one of the most harmonious and multicultural cities in the world. 

As Vice Chair of the Great Park, I very proud of the 2018 Irvine Global Village festival, held for the very time at the Great Park.

I loved the performances, the food, the laughing children, the smiles on people's faces, and checking out the many items for sale from merchants representing the world's cultures.

As always, the very best part of the Global Village Festival for me is meeting with people, especially in the booths representing Irvine's wide-ranging civic and cultural groups and organizations. 

Did you attend this year's Global Village Festival?  If so, w e want your feedback! 

Please take a quick, two-minute survey to help us continue to improve the festival. Visit this link to participate:


Irvine Chinese School Opens New Outdoor Project!

Celebration Marks Completion of South Coast Chinese Cultural Center Outdoor Improvement Project.

It was my great honor in September to help celebrate the completion of the  South Coast Chinese Cultural Association/Irvine Chinese School Outdoor Improvement Project!

The improvement project adds trees, seats, and shade, and creates a shaded 400 seat outdoor amphitheater and performance space.

The new outdoor space is beautiful and will host many wonderful events for many years to come.

Irvine City Councilmember Melissa Fox celebrating the completion of the outdoor renovation project at the South Coast Chinese Cultural Center with SCCCA Chairman Mike Chen, Mr. and Mrs.  H. E. Ambassador Abraham Wen-Shang Chu of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office, and Community Services Commissioner Lauren Johnson-Norris.

The South Coast Chinese Cultural Association (SCCCA) was founded in Irvine in 1977 as a non-profit organization to preserve Chinese heritage, to enrich life with cultural diversity, and to integrate Chinese Americans into the larger American society.  The South Coast Chinese Cultural Center was opening in 2005. The heart of the SCCCA is the Irvine Chinese School (ICS) which now has over one thousand students from K through 12th grade, as well as many adult students who are interested in learning Chinese language, culture, and customs. 

Thank you to all who contributed to make this improvement project a reality.

We are so fortunate in Irvine to have such an amazing educational and cultural institution in our City! 

Go to the POD at the Great Park on October 18 and Get a Free Tote Bag and a Pumpkin!

Point of Dispensing (POD) exercise events help cities plan for real emergencies. 

Attend the multi-city Point of Dispensing (POD) exercise at the Great Park and help OC cities plan for emergencies and practice the rapid distribution of medicine in the event of a public health outbreak.

In a real emergency, PODs save lives by getting needed medication and supplies to our community quickly and efficiently. 

The Great Park POD exercise  on Thurs. October 18 from 4 to 6 p.m. will offer both a walk-up option and a drive-thru option.  During the event, participants will be directed through the exercise by local police and fire authorities and will be asked to complete a brief intake form, proceed to a nurse or nursing student who will distribute exercise materials, then be directed through the exit station. 

Participants will receive a commemorative tote bag, local emergency planning materials, information about the AlertOC emergency notification system, and a free holiday pumpkin!

Watch an informative POD video here .

No reservation or RSVP is required.

For more information on the POD, visit .

To receive vital communications in the event of an actual emergency, residents are encouraged to sign up for notifications at .

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 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 and 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.

This is a free event open to all.

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

See you there!

Upcoming Events

What's up in Irvine!

  • 10/21 - 10/27 Pretend City Children's Museum at 10:00 a.m. -- Costume Week

Melissa Fox
Irvine City Council
Staff and Commissioners

Allison Binder, Lead Council Executive Assistant

Daniel Robertson, Council Executive Assistant

Eliana Liss, 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)