Irvine City Council Newsletter 
January 2018
Happy New Year from Councilmember Melissa Fox

Councilmember Melissa Fox and her entire team wish you happiness, health and prosperity in 2018

Serving the residents of Irvine this year as a member of the Irvine City Council has been a great joy and privilege.

Michael, Max, our entire team, and I wish you a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year!


Here are some of the highlights and accomplishments I'm proud of this past year:

Irvine 2017 By the Numbers:

  • No. 1 Major American City in Fiscal Strength.
  • No. 1 FBI's Safest American City. Lowest rate of violent crime among cities with a population of 250,000 or more (12th consecutive year that City of Irvine has earned the Safest City accolade).
  • No. 2 Safest Big City, based on categories that go beyond violent crime rates, including motor vehicle safety.
  • No. 3 Most Prosperous City.
  • No. 3 Happiest Residents.
  • No. 6 Least Stressed American City
  • No. 8 Best Public Parks.
  • No. 8 Best City to Raise a Family, based on crime rate, vehicle safety, air quality, and educational attainment.
  • No. 9 Healthiest Lifestyles.
  • No. 15 Best Places to Buy a Forever Home.
  • Listed as one of 20 Western Dream Towns.

Great Park Progress:

  • Opened new 12,000-seat live music FivePoint Amphitheatre in in the Great Park. The inaugural concert in October 2017 was headlined by Irvine's own "Young the Giant."
  • Groundbreaking for new ice skating facility in the Great Park (largest public ice skating facility in the West).
  • Opened new 5,000-seat Championship Soccer Stadium and numerous other sports fields and facilities in the first phase of 194-acre Great Park Sports Park, the largest of its kind in Orange County - larger than Disneyland and Disney California Adventure combined.
  • Great Park Sports Complex presented with the Orange County Business Council's Turning Red Tape into Red Carpet Award for Public-Private Partnership. 
  • Great Park Championship Stadium becomes home of Orange County Soccer Club, Orange County's only professional soccer team and official affiliate partner of the Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC) of Major League Soccer (MLS). Orange County SC is a part of the United Soccer League (USL), the fastest growing Division II professional soccer league in the world comprised of 34 teams across the United States.
  • Reached agreement with Wild Rivers for a new 30-acre water park in the Great Park.

   Traffic Progress:

  • City Council did not approve a single new entitlement for housing or offices in 2017.
  • Reinstated Irvine Transportation/Traffic Commission (with my appointee, Ken Montgomery, as Chair).
  • Created and filled new City of Irvine staff position of Director of Transportation.
  • Curtailed traffic in and out of Concordia University. 
  • Approved $19 million plan to reduce traffic congestion throughout Irvine.
  • Approved plan to widen University between MacArthur and Campus, adding a lane in each direction and upgrading traffic signals.
  • Working with CalTrans to upgrade and improve timing on 40 traffic signals near freeway ramps.
  • Working on pedestrian/bicycle bridge over Jamboree at Michelson.
  • Defeated proposed 1,960-unit "Travel Land" apartment complex at the 5 and Sand Canyon, based on negative impact on traffic congestion.

Environmental Progress:

  • Reinstated the Irvine Green Ribbon Environmental Commission (with me as Chair and my appointee, Krishna Hammond, as Vice-Chair).
  • Organic Landscape Leadership Award from Pepperdine Center for Sustainability for Irvine's exclusive use of organic non-toxic materials in its gardens, parks, and grounds-keeping.
  • 2017 Sustainable Government of the Year for recycling and waste reduction from Sustain OC.
  • 2017 Eco-Award from U.S. Green Building Council.
  • Continued working with Non-Toxic Irvine to ensure that all City of Irvine pest pressure is maintained organically, and that our public gardens and fields are not only beautiful, they are safe.
  • Worked with Irvine-based Wyland Foundation to provide education in water and ocean conservation.

  Civic, Educational, and Cultural Progress:

  • Expanded Northwood Gratitude and Honor Memorial.
  • Submitted bid for Amazon HQ2.
  • Opening of the new Charlie and Ling Zhang Musical Arts and Education Center, including Orange County Music and Dance, a non-profit school in Irvine, and headquarters for Arts OC and the Pacific Symphony.
  • All of Irvine's high schools rated in the top 10% of the nation's high schools.
  • Cadence Park School (K-8) opens in Great Park Neighborhoods.
  • Dedicated 125 acres of land from the former El Toro Marine Base for Orange County's first veterans' cemetery and held dedication ceremony attended by hundreds of veterans.
  • UC Irvine breaks record with 116,192 undergraduate applications.
  • 16th Annual Global Village Festival.
  • 8th Annual Korean Festival.
  • 4th Annual Diwali Festival.
  • 4th Annual Persian New Year Nowruz Festival.
  • 3rd Annual Winter Wonderland Festival.
  • 12th Annual Orange County Fire Open House.
  • 3rd Annual Irvine Police Open House.
  • 1st Annual "Days of Remembrance" Proclamation, remembering the Holocaust and calling on all of us to be "vigilant against hatred, persecution, and tyranny."
  • Deployed firefighters to Houston, saving thousands from flooding.
  • Deployed firefighters throughout California to fight worst fire season in California history.
  • Instituted first-ever Irvine Police Mounted Unit.
  • 12th Annual Super Pet Adoption at Irvine Animal Care Center.
  • 12th Annual Home for the Holidays Pet Adoption at Irvine Animal Center.
  • 4th Annual Spooktacular Fun Days at Great Park.

And some personal accomplishments:

  • "Best Politician" by the Orange County Weekly.
  •  "Taxpayer Watchdog Award" by Orange County Auditor-Controller.
  • "100 Most Influential" by Orange County Register.
  •  "Hero of Children Award"  by Child Abuse Prevention Network.
  • "Active Transportation Change Maker Award" by Alliance for a Healthy OC.

Councilmember Melissa Fox Named in 100 Most Influential in Orange County

Orange County Register recognizes Councilmember Fox for having made a difference in 2017

Irvine, CA -- Irvine City Councilmember Melissa Fox was named among the "100 Top Influencers" in Orange County by the OC Register.

"I'm honored to be among those recognized for having 'made a difference in 2017' by the OC Register, " Councilmember Fox said. 

"I congratulate the others who were also named, especially my friend Bill Cook, a  U.S. Marine Corps. Vietnam War veteran who has led the Orange County Veterans Memorial Park Foundation and joined with me and others to create the Orange County's only veterans cemetery in Irvine on the grounds of the former El Toro Marine base."

"I also especially want to congratulate my friend Charlie Zhang, founder of Pick Up Stix and benefactor of the Pacific Symphony Orchestra, who started OC Music and Dance, a wonderful nonprofit performing arts school in Irvine that offers first-class music and dance training for children."

Councilmember Melissa Fox Congratulates 
Irvine Residents Named as Top Influencers

Orange County Register recognizes 10 Irvine residents as most influential in 2017

Irvine, CA -- In addition to Irvine City Councilmember Melissa Fox, nine other Irvine residents were recognized as among the "100 Top Influencers" in Orange County by the OC Register. 

Councilmember Fox congratulates them all for their contributions to Irvine and Orange County.

These "most influential" Irvine residents include Charles Antis , whose company,  Antis Roofing, was a 2017 honoree by National Philanthropy Day Orange County for work providing roofs and roof repair for many charities, including Habitat for Humanity and Ronald McDonald House, and has been a major benefactor of the Pediatric Cancer Research Center.
Charles Antis is the husband of Dawn Antis , founder of Mom and Tot OC and Melissa Fox's appointee to the Irvine Child Care Committee.

Councilmember Fox also extended congratulations to the following Irvine residents:

JT DanielsMater Dei High School quarterback, who set the Orange County record for career passing yardage, won a state title. and was the Gatorade national player of the year as just a junior; 

Aaron Herzberg, an attorney who Herzberg is helping seniors and veterans who are medical cannabis patients; 

Lex Ishimoto, a young professional dancer who cruised to victory on the television competition series "So You Think You Can Dance"; 

Sarah Koo, a professional cellist and music teacher who drove a half-dozen of her UC Irvine students to Las Vegas to soothe souls after 604 people were killed or wounded in a storm of bullets; 

Stuart McClurechief executive of the cybersecurity firm Cylance, who created one of the fastest growing companies in North America; 

Virdiana Chabolla Mendoza, a UCI Law student who was brought to the U.S. from Mexico by her parents when she was 2, and is one of six immigrants suing the administration over the end DACA; 

Deidre Pujols, founder and CEO of Open Gate International, a non-profit NGO whose mission is "to represent the Oppressed, the Powerless, the Endangered and the Neglected (OPEN) by offering them Global Alternative Training and Employment (GATE)" and  which  launched "Strike Out Slavery," aimed at raising awareness of human trafficking by hosting a night at Angel Stadium; and 

Lynsi Snyderpresident of Irvine-based In-N-Out Burger, whose In-N-Out Burger Foundation assists children who have been victims of child abuseand supports organizations that provide residential treatment, emergency shelter, foster care, and early intervention for children in need. 

Councilmember Melissa Fox Congratulates Star Leal, Irvine Resident and UCI Law Student, for Leading UCI Law's Annual Toy Drive

UC Irvine law student and mom helps raise more than $4,000 worth of donations and more than 100 toys this holiday season for children in need

Irvine, CA -- Irvine City Councilmember Member Melissa Fox congratulates Irvine resident and UC Irvine law student  Star Leal on successfully leading the  UCI Law School annual toy drive for the second straight year.  Leal directed the toy drive that  raised  more than $4,000 worth of donations and more than 100 toys this holiday season for children in need.

Leal, a third-year law student who works at the Alliance for Children's Rights, heads up the UCI Law School's Children's Advocacy Group, and is also a mom of three young children with another on the way,  said that  "being personally involved in children's advocacy in a lot of different areas, I've realized there's a need for support for a lot of kids."  

"For too long, mothers of young children have been discouraged from fully participating in and making contributions to business, education, and government," Councilmember Melissa Fox said. "Star Leal exemplifies the power of moms to make significant positive contributions to our community while raising their own children." 

Councilmember Melissa Fox Joins with Santa Claus, Police, Firefighters and Teachers to Bring Christmas Cheer to 7-Year-Old 

Melissa Fox joins with caring Irvine community members to bring Christmas cheer to Beacon Park School first-grader who just lost his father

Irvine, CA -- Irvine City Councilmember Member Melissa Fox joined with  Santa Claus,  Irvine Police Department  officers,  Orange County Fire Authority  firefighters, IUSD teachers,  Portola High School  football players, and lots of caring Irvine community members to bring Christmas cheer to 7-year-old Irvine resident Marcus Moore,  who just lost his father. 

According to the OC Register, "What was supposed to be the happiest time of the year for Marcus Moore and his family took a tragic turn this holiday season.  Marcus' 37-year-old father, Andre, stopped breathing while having a wisdom tooth removed and died Nov. 24, the day after Thanksgiving."

Rick Gramer, a school resource officer at Beacon Park School, said he reached out to his colleagues at the Irvine Police Department to organize the event after learning from school staff about Marcus' loss. To brighten up their holidays, the Irvine community on Thursday, Dec. 21, came together and hosted a surprise Christmas party for the boy.

"The first-grader at Beacon Park School was greeted after school by police officers, firefighters and Portola High football players.  Marcus then got a ride on a fire truck around the school with sirens blaring before he was welcomed by Santa Claus and about 60 more people - first responders, school staff, mascots and city employees - at the Beacon Park parking lot. There, the 7-year-old received donated gifts that included an autographed Anaheim Ducks jersey, a free stay at Great Wolf Lodge Garden Grove and a new bicycle."

"'This is just a hard time for his family," Officer Rick Gramer said. 'We're just trying to make it easy for him.' 'It still hasn't really hit,' his mother, Kristin Moore, said.  Marcus starts to miss his father especially at night, his mother said. But he's stayed strong for his family. He looks after his 6-month-old brother, Miles, who was born prematurely."

"I am proud to live in a city where people help in each in difficult times," Councilmember Fox said. I was s o happy to join with Santa Claus,  Irvine Police Department  officers,  Orange County Fire Authority  firefighters, IUSD teachers,  Portola High School  football players, and lots of caring Irvine community members to bring Christmas cheer to a 7-year-old who just lost his father. I  love Irvine."

Click here to  visit a crowdfunding page set up to help Marcus and his family.

Councilmember Melissa Fox Takes American Legion National Commander on Visit to the Strawberry Fields Site of New Veterans Cemetery in Irvine 

Melissa Fox joins members of Orange County Veterans Memorial Park Foundation in visit to site of the new Orange County Veterans Cemetery with Denise Rohan, the first female National Commander of the American Legion

Irvine, CA -- Irvine City Councilmember Member Melissa Fox joined with City Councilmember Christina Shea and members of the Orange County Veterans Memorial Park Foundation to take the National Commander of the American Legion on a  visit to the Strawberry Fields site of the new Orange County Veterans Cemetery on the grounds of the former El Toro Marine base in Irvine.

The National Commander, Denise Rohan, is the first female National Commander of the American Legion.

Chartered by the U.S. Congress after the First World War on September 16, 1919, the American Legion is a patriotic veterans organization devoted to mutual helpfulness.  It is the nation's largest wartime veterans service organization, committed to mentoring youth and sponsorship of wholesome programs in our communities, advocating patriotism and honor, promoting strong national security, and continued devotion to servicemembers and veterans.

The American Legion strongly supports the decision of the Irvine City Council to designate the Strawberry Fields site as the home of the Orange County Veterans Cemetery.

Upcoming Events

What's up in Irvine!

P acific Symphony -- Beethoven Violin Concerto

Diavolo Dance Theatre

Penguin Awareness Day

National Opposite 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

Roger Sievers,  Finance Commissioner

Kenneth Montgomery, Transportation Commissioner (Chair)

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

Juneu Kim,  Senior Council

Krishna Hammond,  Green Ribbon Environmental Committee (Vice Chair)

Fred Judd, Investment Advisory Committee (Chair)