Press "Enter" to skip to content

Choi & Schott Want to Move Veteran’s Cemetery Out of Great Park


Mayor Steven Choi and Council member Lynn Schott are hosting a “town hall” meeting on Monday June 6 at Cypress Community Park in Irvine with a goal of relocating the Veteran’s Cemetery and Memorial out of the Great Park.  Apparently, another location has been found and it’s undisclosed.

Stephen Choi, Mayor City of Irvine 2014 -
Stephen Choi, Mayor City of Irvine 2014 –

The premise behind moving the cemetery starts with “a majority of Irvine residents oppose a Veteran’s Cemetery at the Great Park.”  Does anyone recall a vote, a phone survey or anything that proves this claim?

Former Assembly Rep. Sharon Quirk-Silva, who championed the Veteran’s Cemetery though the State Legislature, offered these comments:

“So disappointing, we ask our men and women to fight and defend our country, yet in our great county of Orange, we have some who do not want a final resting place for our #Veterans Many communities have a cemetery near a school. Fullerton does. Integrity means something- #AB1453 the legislation that supports building a veterans cemetery has been passed and signed. My hope is that the city of Irvine keeps their word to build a veterans cemetery at the Great Park. Please call Irvine Council Members to voice your support.”

There’s an organization that’s been quietly lobbying City Government since February.  The Orange County Residents Alliance is promoting the Town Hall meeting:

Town Hall Meeting With Mayor Choi and Council Woman Lynn Schott

To communicate about the proposed Veterans Cemetery in OC Great Park

Monday, June 8th, 2015, 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Cypress Community Park

255 Visions, Irvine, CA 92620



We ask you to join the discussion of relocating the Veteran’s Cemetery to another location. Don’t miss the great opportunity to express your concerns to city leaders.

  • Majority of Irvine Resident oppose a Cemetery in OC Great Park
  • There is an alternative site identified in Orange County for a Veteran Cemetery
  • Any Cemetery in the Great Park will certainly affect residents’ life in certain ways.
    1. Your living environment suffered
    2. Your kids attending a school near the cemetery
    3. Your home will be less attractive on the market Hosted by Orange County Residents Alliance (OCRA) & City of Irvine To contact us, e-mail: For latest update,


We are writing you to express our opposition of the State Veterans Cemetery in Orange County Great Park. We strongly urge you to reconsider the selection referenced inAB1453.  Other more suitable locations in OC shall be considered. 

With all due respect to OC Veterans, we do support an OC veteran cemetery to be built at a suitable site. Veterans fight for this country and our freedom and they certainly deserve a cemetery in OC. We hope the OC veterans’ cemetery can demonstrate a good example of the respect of human rights and cultural tolerance on which this country is built and prospers, and for which veterans have been fighting. 

However, we are questioning the compatibility, feasibility, and its underlying politic motivations to choose this cemetery site. It is insensitive for municipals to overlook the likely negative impacts of the site on its nearby residents. These likely impacts will be profound and lasting to Irvine economic future, Irvine residents’ psychological comfort, and Irvine community’s multicultural health. The cultural impact cannot be underestimated. It can spread into many other areas such as local economic and community development.  

When this Bill was passed in July, 2014, public notification was certainly lacking if there was any. As a result, most residents in the area did not know anything about it. We are really questioning whether the process was truthfully and honestly conducted with considerations to reach out to the affected residents.   

We are willing to help the veterans to find a better location to create a win-win situation.

The flyer promoting the event talks about declining home values and much of the site is in Chinese.  We covered that plans for a Cemetery at the Great Park existing for months prior to the work of former Council member Larry Agran and Quirk-Silva. And we’ve pretty much established there isn’t an alternative site in OC that will work.

Here’s another sampling from the anti-Cemetery website:

Call to Action

Petition to amend CA bill AB1453 to relocate the State Veterans Cemetery from the OC Great Park

It you want to join us, here is what you can do to help (Follow steps A, B, and C, the map showing the current proposed location of the cemetery is at the bottom of this page. We think the proposed location is WRONG):

  1. Please call, fax and e-mail the following government offices. In the order of effectiveness: phone call, fax and e-mail

Here is what you can say when you call: “Please issue an executive order to amend bill AB1453 to relocate the State Veterans Cemetery from the OC Great Park because it is at a wrong location, too close to homes, a high school, and the urban center, and at a highly populated area.” They may ask you for your name, address and phone number, just give it to them. They just want to verify you are a real person, and not a telemarketer.
Note: When calling people other than the California Governor, change the first sentence to “Please amend bill AB1453 to relocate…” This is because only the governor has the power to issue an executive order. Of course, you can make other modifications and use your own language.
Dear Governor Brown,
I am a resident in the City of Irvine, California. I am writing to you to petition for the relocation of the State Veterans Cemetery from the OC Great Park. Please issue an executive order or an amendment to billAB1453for this relocation.

With all due respects to veterans, we do support any and all necessary and suitable veteran cemetery sites. However, we question the compatibility, feasibility, and its underlying politic motivations on such oddly located cemetery site that is in the center of a highly populated city, neighboring to residential area, and adjacent to a future high school.

Irvine is a highly populated and diverse city with about 40% of the population as Asians, and this cemetery site is located very close to the urban center. Most of the residents lived next to the cemetery are Asians. In Asian culture, the location of the cemetery is very important. It is a taboo to place cemetery next to homes or close to urban area. Even the emperor’s tomb is built far away from urban areas.

Veterans fight for us, die for us, we absolutely respect them, but I am pretty sure they fight so that we can have freedom to voice our opinions, so that we can live happily on this land of free, and the home of the brave. I am sure once they really understand Asian cultures and know it is a taboo to put cemetery to homes or close to urban areas, they will work with us to find a better location for everyone.

There was little or no notices regarding this proposed cemetery in Asian languages from all levels of government agencies. As a result, most of the Asians residents (including me) did not know about this cemetery until October, 2014. We feel shocked about the proposed cemetery and blindsided. We feel our culture and views have not been respected and our voices have not been heard.

Dear Governor Brown,

I urge you to do the right thing, and:

  • Immediately stop any funding for the design and construction of this cemetery until a comprehensive communications with Asian communities, and an acceptable agreement by all parties has been reached
  • Set up a search committee to search for a suitable alternative site for the State Veterans Cemetery in the Orange County. We love to help you in this search too since we do want our veterans to have a good cemetery site.
  • Issue an executive order or an amendment to bill AB1453 for this relocation.

Veterans Cemetery from the OC Great Park is at a wrong location, and is right Next to Residential Area and a Future High School!!! Please help us to relocate the cemetery to a suitable location!



What’s clear is if Choi and Schott go for this and work towards revoking the location of the Veteran’s Cemetery, steps ought to be taken to recall both from office.

It will be interesting to see how many of OC’s elected Republicans step up to the plate and support a relocation.



  1. junior junior June 2, 2015

    “.. if Choi and Schott go for this and work towards revoking the location of the Veteran’s Cemetery, steps ought to be taken to recall both from office.”

    Dan – Suppose that the alternate site is actually in a more desirable location?
    You don’t even want to give it a listen?

  2. Mary Kreutz Mary Kreutz June 2, 2015

    The Great Park is the location of the former El Toro Marine Corp Air Station. Countless men and women returned from wars and decided to make Orange County their permanent home. My father, a Marine stationed there after his service during WWII, made Orange the permanent place to raise his family. He served and was stationed at Guadalcanal. Other places may be nice, but none are located in the place that changed so many lives forever. Veterans should be allowed, especially Marines that were stationed at El Toro to be interred in that place of honor. They deserve that. It is dishonorable to argue that land values or made up excuses should deny our veterans this final and deserved final resting place. I live close to Forest Lawn and it doesn’t effect our home values or hurt school children. Stop the untruths and be honorable! At least, tell the real truth.

  3. David Vasquez David Vasquez June 2, 2015

    I was disturbed by SQS’s “grabbing on” to this issue. I supported her position and VEHEMENTLY support a Veterans Cemetery, feel like she USED this as a political tool. So in that frame, I can’t diss the feelings of the Chinese backed group that thinks differently.
    Bottom Line is Sharron as more interested in Sharron tan a cemetery, the neighbors, the veterans.

  4. Charlene Charlene June 2, 2015

    I don’t live in Irvine and I saw and heard PLENTY OF NOTIFICATION..The Great Park location is on the FORMER SITE OF A MILITARY INSTALLATION…if the “residents” of the area don’t like, they are free to pack up and move to a more desirable location. The bill went through proper channels, notification meetings were held at City Council Meetings in Irvine…just because people don’t PAY ATTENTION TO ANNOUNCEMENTS does not mean that you can say ‘they weren’t done” at a later date. The Asian community had plenty of notice….just because they didn’t want to pay attention, doesn’t mean anyone else has to pay attention to them now.

  5. Ltpar Ltpar June 2, 2015

    Just because an elected official hears public input and attempts to gather more information, does not mean they support or oppose the position one way or the other. Granted Larry Agran was not much of a public opinion type of guy and he made decisions autocratically. However, Agran is thankfully H2O under the bridge and there is a new Sheriff in town now. It does not hurt to have hearings and give the public a chance to be heard. I commend the Council actions in listening to people who elected them and in the end believe they will do the right thing.

    Personally speaking, I believe the reasons given for not placing the Veterans Cemetery at the Great Park are bogus at best and selfish and uncaring of our veterans at worst. I strongly support holding hearings, let people vent their positions and then stick to the decision already made by the Council. Leave the location of the Veterans Cemetery where it is and tell opponents to buy a house someplace else if they do not like it’s proximity to the cemetery.

    • Dan Chmielewski Dan Chmielewski Post author | June 3, 2015

      There I something called “public comments” before council meetings Pat. Choi’ agreed to meet with angry residents who weren’t paying attention when the Memorial was in the news for months. Do you think Choi, Shea, Lalloway or Schott might defend repealing the Living Wage before the Irvine Democratic Club? Nope.

  6. Equal Time Equal Time June 3, 2015

    Rumor is that Lennar, the developer selected for the former base, is behind the effort to prevent a veterans cemetery being placed on the base because a target market for the homes to be built is foreign buyers from Asia, and a cemetery would conflict with achieving the proper Feng Shui to attract those wealthy Asian buyers. Follow the money.

  7. Jason S Jason S June 14, 2015

    Open letter to Mayor Choi and anyone who supports the effort to move the proposed Veteran’s Cemetary out of its current planned location in the Orange County Great Park:

    The men who gave their lives for this great country paved the way for the freedom that allows you to live in such a great and free country. Not only that, but you live in one of the best cities in this great country. Certainly their sacrifices are worth a little inconvenience to your precious “quality of life” and “commerce”.

    When you hide behind the empty threats of lowered property values and diminished commerce (none of which are established or supportable by the creators of the petition supporting moving the site.) the message you send to our soldiers and the families of those soldiers who died for you is “we love you, but we love you more over THERE.”

    The amount of disrespect that was woven into this petition and those who support it is beyond words.

    I’ve also heard that the majority of those that signed this petition are Chinese Immigrants who were able to come here by the very blanket of the freedom provided by those same deceased soldiers, and now spit on their sacrifice and lives just because it makes them a little uncomfortable. But I’ll bet that little discomfort pales in comparison to the lake of comfort and lack of opportunity those same immigrants suffered under when they lived in China. Yet they have the temerity to come to this country, then tell the families of deceased soldiers that their final resting place can’t be at the Orange County Great Park simply because it’s a little too close to their homes?!?

    I’ll put this one final way. If you support this petition, I suggest you support it by leaving the country. Forever. And don’t let the door hit you on your way out. If you’re 2nd Generation or later Americans and you’re supporting moving the site to “somewhere else in Orange County.” I suggest you go visit a Veteran’s hospital first and discuss your misguided opinion with some actual veterans. Their take and disappointment should shame you back on to the right path.

    As for me and my family, we’ll do all in our power to ensure this veteran’s cemetery goes in the great park where it belongs, and hopefully reminds the unpatriotic creators of this vicious petition the true meaning of courage and sacrifice.

Comments are closed.