Irvine City Council Newsletter 
October 2019

Thank you, Irvine Police Department!

Irvine, CA -- Each year the FBI ranks the public safety levels of U.S. cities according to population and considers a number of factors including murder, rape, assault, burglary, arson and auto theft.

This is the 14th 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, "Irvine continues to be a safe community due to the collaboration between the men and women of the Irvine Police Department who work tirelessly every day to identify and respond to criminal activity and quality of life issues, our City leaders who always make public safety a top priority, and our residents who actively participate in crime prevention and community improvement strategies."

Councilmember Melissa Fox said, "We are America's safest city because the men and women of the Irvine Police Department perform their duties every day at the very highest levels of professionalism and integrity.  Our community knows that our police officers are dedicated to ensuring the safety of our residents and treat everyone with fairness and respect.  Thank you, Irvine Police Department." 

To view the FBI report, click HERE

Irvine's Favorite Cultural Event Now Extended for Two Days!

My favorite Irvine cultural event of the year is almost here!  Experience sights and sounds from around the world on Saturday, October 12 through Sunday, October 13, 2019, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., at the Orange County Great Park, at the Irvine Global Village Festival!

I am thrilled that, for the very first time, the Irvine Global Village Festival will run for  two days at the Great Park!

In Irvine, we are proud of saying that our city is not only among the most diverse cities in the nation, it is also the most fully integrated. There are no ethnic, linguistic, religious, or cultural enclaves in Irvine: every neighborhood reflects Irvine's harmonious ethnic, linguistic, religious, and cultural diversity.
How diverse is Irvine?  A non-English language is spoken in a remarkable 58% of Irvine homes, with more than 70 different languages spoken in residences throughout Irvine.  Nearly 40 % of Irvine's public-school students have a primary language other than English. 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.

This year marks the 18th anniversary of the Irvine Global Village Festival - Irvine's largest and most attended community event.

Founded in 1998 by a group of Irvine residents to help promote understanding and build harmony within Irvine's many diverse cultures, the Global Village Festival is now Irvine's signature event, featuring more than 100 performances on five stages; international cuisine and food from more than 50 restaurants; an international marketplace filled with unique crafts and textiles; interactive, educational and entertaining cultural displays, demonstrations, and performances; and an international village just for kids.

More than 40 local restaurants and gourmet food trucks serve up samples of regional and international specialties from boba smoothies, miso soup, falafel, Mexican fusion tacos and German pretzels to Japanese dumplings, Hawaiian shaved ice and the all-American bacon-wrapped hot dog. Please be prepared with cash for food and beverage purchases.

At the heart of the Festival is the Community Partners Pavilion, where nonprofit, local community groups and government agencies have an opportunity to showcase their programs and services to the community.

This year, we've incorporated the best of Irvine's historic fall festivals to offer a wide variety of food and music options, interactive activities, and exhibitions throughout an entire weekend. Families will delight in an expanded Kids Village with crafts, a "Seek-a-Treat" fall scavenger hunt, and a petting zoo. Attendees of all ages will enjoy samples of the best international cuisine as well as favorite festival foods for purchase; an Artisans Marketplace and the event's first-ever art exhibition and demonstrations; and musical performances representing cultures from around the world - all while attending Orange County's premier festival.

I'm looking forward to celebrating the many facets of Irvine's diversity at the Global Village Festival - and I look forward to seeing you there!

Here are some important Festival details:

What: Irvine Global Village Festival

When: Saturday, October 12 and Sunday, October 13, 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., at the Orange County Great Park.

Where: Orange County Great Park, 8000 Great Park Boulevard, Irvine, CA 92618

Cost: Admission is $5:00! Please be prepared with cash for food and beverage purchases. A $20 Family Pass offers one-day admission for up to six people. Tickets are on sale now at

Parking: Parking is free, but premier parking closer to the festival site will be available for $10 on-site (cash only). Disabled person parking is available. Please have the appropriate placard visible and parking directors will route vehicles to disabled parking.

Shuttle to the Festival: UCI Students and Staff: Anteater Express Shuttle service to and from the festival will be available for UCI students and staff.

Bike to the Festival:  The easiest way to get to the Festival is by bike. The City of Irvine has an extensive system of bike trails to get you to and from the event, and once inside, riders can safely and securely store their bikes at the Festival's free Bike Valet area, hosted by the Bicycle Club of Irvine and the Orange County Bicycle Coalition. Use Irvine's Bike Map to plan your trip.

Pets: Dogs are welcome at the Irvine Global Village Festival! However, owners must be responsible for their pets; dogs must be on leash, interact well in a large crowd and remain in the charge of a person competent to restrain them.

See you there!

We celebrated the groundbreaking for Salerno, the Irvine Community Land Trust's newest affordable housing community.

I am honored to serve as Chair of the  Irvine Community Land Trust (ICLT), guiding its mission of providing secure, high-quality affordable housing for the benefit of income-eligible families. Like all Irvine Community Land Trust Board Members, I serve as a volunteer, without compensation.  

Since I joined the ICLT, we've built two below-market rate apartment communities,  Parc Derian and Doria, for families making no more than 80 percent of the area's median household income; some residents earn less than 30 percent of the median income, which in Orange County is $97,900 for a family of four.

Last week, we celebrated the groundbreaking for Salerno, our newest affordable housing community in Irvine. 

On schedule to be completed in the Fall of 2020, Salerno will offer affordable rents as low as $550 for a one-bedroom, $625 for a two-bedroom and $695 for a three-bedroom. Thirty-five of the homes will be reserved for those earning less than 30 percent of the area median income: 15 for veterans; 10 for individuals with developmental disabilities; and 10 for families at risk of homelessness.

As the Orange County Register observed, this affordable community will be "a new beginning for the veterans, developmentally disabled people and families at risk of homelessness who will become its tenants when it opens next year."

In addition, I'm excited to report on the  passage of new tax break legislation I've been fighting for in Sacramento, which will make it much easier to create affordable housing throughout California! 

The new legislation, which I worked on with Senators Jim Beall, Mike McGuire and Bob Wieckowski to pass in Sacramento, allows properties slated for affordable rental homes to get a tax exemption sooner, saving nonprofit builders between millions of dollars that can instead go toward building more affordable homes. The new law also extends this property tax break to land for owner-occupied affordable home projects.

As I told the Orange County Register, "It's really hard to build these [affordable housing] projects. You have to have a lot of funding, and property taxes can take a significant bite out of that. Even if it didn't prevent us from doing the [Salerno] project, it lowered the number of units we could do."

Now that's been changed.

Before the new legislation, property taxes were not adequately adjusted for below-market rate housing.  Landowners such as the ICLT that wanted to build affordable, below-market housing couldn't get a property tax exemption until a project was underway. In the case of Salerno in Irvine, where vacant land is assessed at approximately $4 million an acre, taxes on the land amounted to $275,000, which had to be paid before the project could be constructed. Under the new law, property tax rates will be lower at the outset for below-market rate, affordable housing, making it much more practical to build more housing for more people in need.

Our next affordable housing community is 68 owner-occupied townhomes on Native Spring alongside the 133 toll road.  The ILCLT  has been under contract to buy the land from the city for four and a half years, but has held off closing escrow until the new legislation is in place, saving an estimated $600,000 in property taxes. Now we are able to move forward immediately on this innovative and exciting project in affordable home ownership!

Learn more about the Irvine Community Land Trust at our website  HERE.

You can read our ICLT Newsletter  HERE.

In May 2019,  the Irvine Community Land Trust was awarded  the  Platinum Seal of Transparency  from GuideStar, the world's most respected source of information on nonprofit organizations. Read about it  HERE.

See video below, "Stories From Home: Meet the Costa Family" for more about the positive impact that the Irvine Community Land Trust is having on people's lives.

Costa Family - ICLT Stories From Home
Costa Family - ICLT Stories From Home

Irvine Police invite you to "Coffee with a Cop" on October 17, 2019, from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. at Starbucks at the Woodbury Town Center.  
All Irvine residents are invited to "Coffee with a Cop" on Thursday, Oct. 17, 2019, from 7:30 to 9 a.m. at Starbucks at the Woodbury Town Center. 

Stop by on your way to work just to say "Hi" or ask a question and enjoy a cup of coffee. 

No RSVP necessary!

Red Flag laws save lives. Learn when and how to Obtain a Gun Violence Restraining Order.  

After the May 2014 mass shooting in Isla Vista in which a mentally unstable young man killed six people and injured fourteen others before killing himself,  California became the first state to let family members ask a judge to remove firearms from a relative who appears to pose a threat.  

The "Gun Violence Restraining Order" law ( California Penal Code Section 18100 et sec ), modeled after domestic violence restraining orders, allows police or family members to obtain a judge's order to disarm a gun owner they fear will turn violent. The order requires the gun owner to surrender all firearms for 21 days, and can be extended to a full year after a hearing.

Red flags laws have now been passed in 17 states and several more states are considering such laws. Red flag laws have been supported by both Republicans and Democrats. 

Red flag laws are not just meant to prevent mass shootings. Nearly two-thirds of the gun deaths in the United States - over 22,000 per year - are suicides. Eighty-three percent of suicide attempts by gun succeed; in contrast, suicide attempts by other means are fatal only 5% of the time. A GRVO can save lives by temporarily preventing a loved one from accessing the most lethal form of suicide until the crisis passes, giving them a chance to get the help they need.

OC Sheriff_s deputies in Mission Viejo successfully petitioned the court for a Gun Violence Restraining Order and temporarily removed over 22 firearms and 3_000 rounds of ammunition from the home. All the firearms were legally obtained by the suspect who was arrested for domestic violence.

But for red flag laws to be effective, it is important that members of the public and local police officers are aware of the law and encouraged to obtain Gun Violence Restraining Orders when appropriate. Unfortunately, awareness of our red flag law is not nearly as widespread as it should be.

Please read and become familiar with the procedure for obtaining a GVRO below: 

For more information, call the Irvine Police Department at 949- 724-7000.

October is Filipino American History Month!

The earliest documented Filipino presence in the continental United States was on October 18, 1587, when the first "Luzones Indios" arrived at Morro Bay, California. 

October is Filipino American History Month!

Did you know that:

* The earliest documented Filipino presence in the continental United States was on October 18, 1587, when the first "Luzones Indios" set foot in Morro Bay, CA, on board the manila-built galleon ship Nuestra Senora de Esperanza?

* The first permanent Filipino settlement in the continental United States was in 1763 in St. Malo, Louisiana? 

* The Filipino American community is the second largest Asian American group in the United States, with a population of more than 3 million people?

* More than a million people of Filipino heritage live in California, by far the largest number in the United States (1 in 3 Filipino Americans live in California)?

* Filipino American servicemen and servicewomen have a longstanding history in the Armed Forces from the Civil War to the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, including 25,000 Filipinos who fought under the United States flag during WWII?

Pictured above is Filipino-American Civil War soldier Felix Cornelius Balderry, Company A, 11th Michigan Volunteers. Baldberry enlisted in the Union Army in 1863 at the age of 21 in Kalamazzo_ Michigan. He fought in the battles of Chickamauga Kenesaw Mountai and the Siege of Atlanta and returned to Michigan after the war. 

* Andrew Jackson wrote about the "Manila Men" who fought with him in defense of New Orleans under the command of Jean Lafitte in the Battle of New Orleans in 1815?

* Nine Filipino American have received the Congressional Medal of Honor, the highest award for valor in action that can be bestowed upon an individual serving in the United States Armed Forces?

* Filipino Americans have contributed greatly to the arts, music, dance, literature, business, journalism, education, science, healthcare. technology, government, politics, fashion, and other fields in the United States?

The Filipino American Community has a proud and distinguished history of makin g our state and nation stronger and better.  I'm delighted to celebrate Filipino American History Month with my Filipino friends and neighbors!

Scare Away Hunger with Irvine's Fall Food Drive!

Donations accepted October 13-November 18 at the Orange County Great Park Visitors Center. Win a prize for the most pounds of food donated!  

Help Scare Away Hunger this fall by donating a bag of nonperishable food to our local food banks at the Orange County Great Park. 

The food drive kicks off during Irvine Global Village Festival on Saturday and Sunday, October 12 and 13, and continues through November 18 at the Orange County Great Park Visitors Center during the following hours:
  • Thursdays and Fridays, 10 a.m.-10 p.m.
  • Saturdays and Sundays, 9 a.m.-10 p.m.
Food donations made on Saturday, October 12, benefit Second Harvest Food Bank. Donations on Sunday, October 13, benefit OC Food Bank. Cash or credit card donations are also accepted. Food or cash donations made during Irvine Global Village Festival receive entries in a daily raffle conducted by each of the food banks. Saturday prizes are provided by Second Harvest Food Bank, and Sunday prizes are provided by Orange County Food Bank. Get one raffle entry for every five cans donated, or for every $5 donated. Prize winners will be drawn each day. Prizes include gift cards, four Disneyland park hopper tickets valued at more than $700, and Avengers LEGO sets valued at more than $1,000. 

Donations made during Irvine Global Village Festival will be accepted at two different locations:
  • Delivery your donations to the food bank book at Irvine Global Village Festival in the heart of the Orange County Great Park by the Great Park Balloon.
  • Donations will also be accepted both days in Orange County Great Park's Parking Lot P5.
For questions, call 949-724-6247.

Volunteers Needed for Meals on Wheels!

Meals on Wheels assists home-bound senior residents in maintaining their independence by providing nutritious, healthy, great-tasting meals delivered to their homes.

Irvine Meals on Wheels' mission is to assist eligible home-bound senior residents in maintaining their independence by providing nutritious, healthy, great-tasting meals delivered to their homes. 

Volunteers provide a vital service to older adults who are unable to prepare meals for themselves. 

For more information, contact sends e-mail) or 949-724-6096.

Melissa Fox
Irvine City Council
Staff and Commissioners

Allison Binder, Lead Council Executive Assistant

Daniel Robertson, Council Executive Assistant

Lauren Johnson Norris, Chair, Community Services Commission

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, Chair,  Investment Advisory Committee