Irvine City Council Newsletter 
September 2018
Join Me at Irvine's Global Village Festival at the Great Park!

As Vice Chair of the Orange County Great Park, I am thrilled that, for the very first time, the Irvine Global Village Festival will be held at the Great Park!


My favorite Irvine cultural event of the year is almost here!

Experience sights and sounds from around the world on Saturday, September 22, 2018, at the  Irvine Global Village Festival!

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.


T his year marks the 17th anniversary of the Irvine Global Village Festival - Irvine's largest and most attended community event.

As Vice Chair of the Orange County Great Park, I am thrilled that, for the very first time, the Irvine Global Village Festival will be held at the Great Park!

Founded in 1998 by a group of Irvine residents to help promote understanding and build harmony within Irvine's many diverse cultures, the day-long 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.

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, September 22, 2018, from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

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

Cost:  Admission is FREE! Please be prepared with cash for food and beverage purchases.

Parking: Free parking is available on-site at the Orange County Great Park. Please enter at the intersection of Sand Canyon Avenue and Great Park Boulevard and follow event signage. Carpooling is encouraged. If you are being dropped off, taking a taxi or ride share service, have your driver follow the directions above and follow signage to the drop-off location: "Great Park Tennis Complex Parking Lot." Disabled person parking is available. Please have the appropriate placard visible when following the directions above. Parking directors will route vehicles to disabled parking.

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!



I'm proud to have voted to prevent any development on the Rancho San Joaquin Golf Course by keeping it as a permanent, open space, recreational amenity to serve all Irvine residents - now and in the future.  


On August 28, 2016, I joined my colleagues on the I rvine City Council to affirm the Master Plan, maintain the zoning that protects the Rancho San Joaquin Golf course open space, and preserve the character of the Rancho San Joaquin neighborhood. 

Here is why:

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 protect open space, preserve neighborhoods, and follow 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.

For all of these reasons, I voted to prevent any development on the Rancho San Joaquin Golf Course by keeping it as a permanent, open space, recreational amenity to serve all Irvine residents - now and in the future.

You can see a video of my comments at the August 28 Irvine City Council meeting HERE.

Join Me at the Full Moon Hike in Bommer Canyon

If you have ever wondered what happens in Irvine's wilderness open spaces when the sun goes down - join Councilmember Melissa Fox for a full moon hike on Monday, September 24th.


If you've ever wondered what happens in Irvine's wilderness open spaces when the sun goes down, then join me on a full moon hike!

We will be meeting at the  Bommer Canyon Cattle Ranch on Monday, September 24th at 7:00 pm.  Please be on time.  The hike will be led by staff from the Irvine Ranch Conservancy and should last approximately 2 or 2.5 hours

Experience the beauty and serenity of a moonlit night in Irvine's Bommer Canyon.  I hope you'll join me!

You can also see information about the hike on the  HERE.

About Bommer Canyon:

Rich in both Irvine Ranch lore and nature's wonders, Bommer Canyon beckons walkers, hikers and all other outdoor enthusiasts to stroll past ancient oak and sycamore groves and rough rock outcrops.

In 1837, José Antonio Andrés Sepúlveda established Rancho San Joaquin, including the entire area now known as Bommer Canyon.

In 1864, Flint, Bixby & Co. purchased a large portion of Rancho San Joaquin including Bommer Canyon and its surroundings.

James Irvine, who had been a silent partner in Flint-Bixby, became the sole owner of Irvine Ranch, including Bommer Canyon, in 1867.

Between the late 1800s to the 1970s, the Bommer Canyon Cattle Camp served as the center of the Irvine Company's cattle operations.

When the Irvine Company's cattle operations finished, the Irvine Company sold the Bommer Canyon area to the City of Irvine between 1981 and 1982.

In 1996, roughly 50,000 acres of preserved land on Irvine Ranch, including Bommer Canyon, were designated as a National Natural Landmark - the first such landmark for California since 1987.

Collectively the preserved lands are known as the  Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks. Irvine Ranch Conservancy began managing Bommer Canyon for the City of Irvine in 2005, restoring the natural habitat and initiating  community programs.

In 2011, the City of Irvine officially opened the Bommer Canyon trailhead at the corner of Bommer Canyon and Shady Canyon roads.

Today, many trails in Bommer Canyon are open daily for self-guided hikes or bike-riding from approximately dawn to dusk. However, some trails and areas within the canyon can only be accessed through guided programs and require pre-registration with the city or the Irvine Ranch Conservancy.

For more information on the Irvine Ranch Conservancy and a complete list of programming visit  Let's Go Outside


My Response to the Grand Jury Report on Housing Orange County's Homeless: Irvine Offers Leadership in Providing Real Solutions for the Homelessness 

  Irvine has been a model in providing permanent affordable housing.


Finding solutions to the homelessness crisis has been a priority for me, both as a member of the Irvine City Council and as Chair of the   Irvine Community Land Trust.

At our recent Irvine City Council meeting on August 26, 2018, the City Council was presented with our city staff's response to the Orange County Grand Jury Report "Where There's Will, There's a Way - Housing Orange County's Chronically Homeless."

Following the staff presentation, I made the following remarks, which I'd like to share with you here:

"Thank you very much for a terrific response.

I did feel that there needs to be some additional information in the response, however, and Mayor Wagner touched on much of it, in particular the $29.2 million that we're putting aside, as well as land, and the additional permanent supportive housing, potentially as many as 80 units, which we are set to break ground on in the very near future with the  Irvine Community Land Trust.

In addition, there's another project stacked right behind the first project for the Land Trust, which will be unique in that it will provide an ownership for affordable housing, and all of this backed by services, so we will be creating permanent, supportive housing.

Chair Melissa Fox prepares to lead a meeting of the Irvine Community Land Trust.

Irvine has been a model in this area, and what I think the Grand Jury, and even our own response misses, is that the Land Trust concept is something that Irvine has pioneered.

No other city has a Land Trust like we have, and other cities are working to copy ours. Our executive director is a national leader, and we have a great deal of experience in the Land Trust area, so I think what we have best to contribute to the ACC-OC ( Association of California Cities - Orange County) and a potential  Joint Powers Agreement is leadership.

In Irvine, we don't need an additional Land Trust.  We already have one, and we paved the way, and we already have a vehicle to receive the funds that are ready to come forward from the State. The reason that the Joint Powers Agreement for a Land Trust for the County needed to be created is that the County didn't have one.  In Irvine, we already did.

And so I would notify, and let the Grand Jury know, that we could be of assistance and leadership in this area.  Our executive director for the Irvine Community Land Trust, Mark Asturias, is an executive director of the national  Land Trust Alliance, and so he's leading the way.

I also want to comment on the allegation of NIMBYism in Irvine, which I thought was very pejorative and unfair.

Irvine has never said we don't want to help homeless people in our community. Rather, we've said we'll be the first to form this Land Trust and move forward with it. 

Irvine City Councilmember Melissa Fox speaks with homeless people living at the riverbed encampment, with Huntington Beach Councilmember Billy O'Connell, Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silver, and Santa Ana Councilmember Michele Martinez.

So just last year, Community Services Commissioner Lauren Johnson-Norris and I traveled with ACC-OC to San Antonio to look at what was really an exceptional program ( Haven for Hope) helping the homeless community in San Antonio that has been held up as a model.  We went with many other stakeholders. One thing we learned on that trip was that neighbors are important. And it was very important for the success of this homeless shelter in San Antonio to be located in a community that their services also served, to prevent the community members from becoming homeless.  So the shelter has to be located in an area where the neighborhood is receptive, and sees it as a benefit because they're providing social services to the neighborhood, they're providing schooling, they're providing medical clinics, they're providing dental services, and so on.

Location is very important, and what we heard our residents in Irvine saying is that there was a problem with placing homeless people in tents adjacent to the Great Park as proposed by the Board of Supervisors.  

And, in addition, what Irvine residents and the Irvine City Council said is that human beings should not be housed in tents with no water, no electricity, and no transportation.

So, I think to denigrate Irvine and the residents who came together as not compassionate and full of NIMBY sentiment is absolutely incorrect, and we need to put forward that our residents came together, not only to say that they were opposed to the County's tent city plan for a homeless shelter, but they literally hired their own attorneys to put together solution packages, and they came to the same conclusions that the experts did, that you must have permanent supportive services that go along with the housing.

They weren't just saying we don't want it here, they said we want to help fix this program, and I think we can reach out to that same group to work with us on this issue.

I have also  traveled to Sacramento and worked with many of our legislators to increase the number of units that we can move forward with under the Land Trust by creating legislation ( Senate Bill 1056) that would give us favorable tax treatment.

And so I think we have a lot to teach the cities that haven't done this kind of work.  We blazed that path, and I'd like this report to make that clear, especially the work that the Irvine Community Land Trust has done, that prior city councils have invested in this, and that the Mayor himself has expended countless hours in looking forward to a solution, and I think that at the very least, the Mayor's comments should be incorporated as a preface to our response."

You can read the Orange County Grand Jury Report "Where There's Will, There's a Way - Housing Orange County's Chronically Homeless," and the original proposed response of the City of Irvine HERE


Let's Commit to Increasing Irvine's Child Care Choices

The negative effects of unavailable or inadequate preschool or childcare extend beyond individual children and families to the community as a whole. 


It is time to recommit to improving the lives of Irvine residents by increasing the availability of child care.

Too often, parents in Irvine are forced to choose between going to work and caring for their children.

Nearly 2,500 Irvine families do not have adequate child care, with the most acute shortage for children under 2 years-old and children 6 to 12 years-old.

I have been working with City staff, my Community Services Commissioner  Lauren Johnson-Norris, developers, childcare providers, and the business community to increase child care through an overall city child care development plan.

Irvine Community Services Commissioner  Lauren Johnson-Norris has eloquently addressed this issue:

"Parents are being advised to apply for child care and get on waiting lists while they are expecting a child and still report waiting several months to a year to secure a spot for their child. Infant care has been identified as the most challenging child care to secure, especially considering the important low provider-to-child ratio mandated by state law.

I rvine Community Services Commissioner Lauren Johnson-Norris

Some Irvine parents report putting their families on lists and simply never hearing of an opening.

The consequence of the Irvine childcare gap is that families are forced to make unanticipated career and financial decisions. Parents report having to make the sometimes difficult decision to have one parent stay home, even where the families was previously a dual-income family.

Statistically, it is increasingly difficult to return to the workforce the longer a worker is away.


In addition, the result is not only lost income while the child is infancy, but potentially for years to come. For a single parent, the situation is even worse - and may be untenable if family care or care outside the city is unavailable.

A critical part of any thriving community is safe, professional, reliable, and affordable preschool and child care. Preschool has been shown to positively affect children's social skills and prepare them for the rigors of K-12. Children who miss the opportunity for preschool because of inadequate child care in a community start kindergarten at a disadvantage.

Ultimately, the negative effects of unavailable or inadequate preschool or childcare extend beyond individual children and families to the community as a whole.

It is time to address the shortage of child care for families in Irvine. Increased child care through designated private sites as part of an overall city development plan, access to childcare in houses of worship, and the option of city early childhood education must be part of this plan.

Families in Irvine are looking to the City Council for solutions."

What kind of waiting periods are you facing right now for child care and preschool in Irvine?

What kinds of improvements do you want to see in the availability of child care and preschool in Irvine?

Send your information to Irvine City Councilmember Melissa Fox at  mefox@cityofirvine.org or to Community Services Commissioner Lauren Johnson-Norris at  laurenjohnson78@gmail.com

Say Hello to Irvine's Newest Fire Prevention Method - Goats!

If you see goats on the hills or mountains around Irvine, make sure you say hello.


It's been a long time since cattle and other livestock roamed the Irvine Ranch.
Now, some of them are back -- Goats!

The  Irvine Ranch Conservancy is employing goats across its steep ridges and rocky hills to suppress non-native grasses and reduce the vegetation that provides fuel for wildfires.

In addition, the nearby Cleveland National Forest - which recently suffered the Holy Fire - is now also employing 1,200 goats to eat away hundreds of pounds of dried vegetation, helping to keep Irvine and other local communities safe.

Goats are green: they remove non-native and invasive species without using chemicals or causing damage to native plants or the ecosystem.


They predominately browse on woody species, leaving ground vegetation alone. In our area, woody species are usually non-native and invasive, while ground vegetation is made up of many desirable native plant species, such as California's native purple needlegrass.

Goats even eat hemlock, which is poisonous to humans and many other animals, but not to goats.

Their agility enables goats to safely reach vegetation in steep areas.
It's a win-win situation, because the goats love eating the non-native vegetation on the ranch, while grazing costs are 25% lower than other vegetation management methods.

You can learn more about goats for fire fuel reduction, non-native and invasive plant management at  Sage Environmental Group.

So if you see goats on the hills or mountains around Irvine, make sure you say hello.

They're helping to keep us safe. 

Councilmember Melissa Fox Receives Award on Behalf of the Irvine Community Land Trust for Opening of New Permanent Affordable Housing in Irvine



Irvine, CA - Irvine City Councilmember Melissa Fox today received an award on behalf of the  Irvine Community Land Trust for the opening of new permanent affordable housing in Irvine.

The new housing project is  Parc Derian, an 80-unit,100% permanent affordable housing community.  Eight units (10%) are reserved for veterans, four units are reserved for "at risk" families through Families Forward, and four units are reserved for disabled individuals.

Councilmember Fox is the Chair of the Irvine Community Land Trust.  She has made creating more affordable housing a priority.  In addition to her work on the Irvine City Council and the Irvine Community Land Trust, Councilmember Fox has made numerous trips to Sacramento to testify before legislative committees and to work with the state legislators, including State Senators John Moorlach, Jim Beall, Scott Wiener, and Janet Nguyen, and Assemblymember Sharon Quirk-Silva on solutions to the California housing crisis.

In addition to the Irvine Community Land Trust, other partners in the Parc Derian project included the City of Irvine, the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the California Tax Credit Allocation Committee, the National Equity Fund, the Bank of America, C & C Development, Lennar Corporation, Innovative Housing Opportunities (IHO), Orange County and United Cerebal Palsy, Familes Forward, and Lighthouse Community Centers.
Parc Derian is located within the Irvine Business Complex (IBC).


At the opening ceremony, Councilmember Fox made the following remarks:

"Good afternoon and welcome. I'm delighted that you have come to enjoy the grand opening of our latest affordable housing project.

Many of you may wonder what is the Irvine Community Land Trust and why are we involved in this project.  The Irvine Community Land Trust was established by the City in 2006.  We were the City's homegrown nonprofit created to hold land in perpetuity for affordable housing.

Three years ago, in partnership with the City and C&C Development, we started development of our second affordable housing project - Parc Derian.  Today you see the finished product.  But what you may not realize is that this property will always be affordable.  This is because the Irvine Community Land Trust, as a nonprofit, holds land for the community in perpetuity. This was and is the vision the City had when it created the Irvine Community Land Trust.

Today, the Irvine Community Land Trust remains committed to implementing the City's vision of creating permanent affordable housing. It bears repeating that the City's vision of housing for Irvine is that we have 'a full spectrum of housing types to meet the needs of all income groups at all stages of life that will be permanently affordable.'

You have heard how Parc Derian serves families, special needs residents, and veterans.  You will hear from some of these residents shortly.  Remember, because of the Irvine Community Land Trust's commitment to permanent affordable housing, these residents will never fear that they might be displaced from their homes because of market rate rent increases. These homes provide a high quality of life for today's and tomorrow's residents. 
And we have made these homes wonderfully affordable to residents with rents as low as $570 per month. Parc Derian gives individuals and families a sense of community; it is not a coincidence that 'community' is part of our name.

As we celebrate the successful completion of this project and the partnership we have with the City,  we also look forward to our next housing permanent affordable developments.  A new 80-unit rental project along Sand Canyon is in the design phase and should break ground this time next year.  And looking beyond that project, we are anticipating more land and funding from the City to the Land Trust to create more permanently affordable housing.

As the City's nonprofit we will develop future properties and assure the community that they will never be lost or converted to market rate housing.

We call this commitment 'stewardship' - and you have our solemn promise that we will always strive to meet the vision of creating and managing a full spectrum of housing opportunities for families, as the Irvine Community Land Trust continues to work with the City to create more permanent affordable housing for our residents."
 
Join Councilmember Melissa Fox as "Race for the Rescues" Comes to Irvine!

The City of Irvine along with Councilmember Melissa Fox are proud to host "Race for the Rescues" on September 8, 2018, at the Great Park! 


I am a proud sponsor of this year's  Race for the Rescues!

Race for the Rescues is a "professionally timed" sporting event; not your typical dog walk in the park!  You can choose to run the 5k with your dog companion or participate in the 1k Dog Walk. 

The race will be held at the Orange County Great Park on Saturday, September 8, 2018, with registration starting at 6:30 a.m. and the races starting at 8:00 a.m.

Because animals do not have a voice. Four million cats and dogs-about one every eight seconds-are put down in U.S. shelters each year. Most of these animals die unwanted and alone.  

Race For The Rescues believes that by uniting animal lovers and animal welfare organizations to work together we can change those heartbreaking statistics and make our world a better place. 

The mission of the event is to raise awareness and funds for local animal non-profits. A number of non-profits that rescue a variety of animals, from dogs to horses, will be participating in this event to help keep their doors open. 

There will be pet adoptions, face painting, a pet psychic, giveaways, unique vendors, food trucks, and more. Prizes will be awarded to those who raise money for rescues along with finishers' medals, t-shirts, for registered racers, and special prizes for race winners and top fundraisers. The highlight of the day is the "Rockin' Adoption Show." During the show, rescue dogs will be dressed and walked down a fashion runway in hopes of finding their "furever" home. 

We hope that you will join me and be a part of this fun and life-saving event for animal rescues!


The donations raised through Race For The Rescues will be used to help save the lives of once forgotten dogs, cats and horses and help them become cherished family members. In addition, providing important programs to the community such as veterinary care for the pets of low-income families, free spay and neuture clinics and a shelter intervention program. 

Please join us to run, walk, shop or adopt! Or be there in spirit by registering for our Couch Potato race or making a donation.

To learn more about the hosting organization you can GET ON The Rescue Train by visiting  www.TheRescueTrain.org

You can register for the race here  and use the special Promo Code  
IRVINE for a special discount. 

If you would like information on sponsorship and vendor booths please contact Lorraine@therescuetrain.org for more information. 


Upcoming Events

What's up in Irvine!

 

 

  • 9/3 Labor Day













  • 9/16 Orange County Great Park Baseball Stadium at 6:30 p.m. -- Play Ball























Melissa Fox
Irvine City Council
Staff and Commissioners

Allison Binder, Lead Council Executive Assistant
abinder@ci.irvine.ca.us

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)