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Tonight’s Irvine City Council Meeting: Council Majority Likely to Ignore Will of Voters on Veteran’s Cemetery

Tonight’s Irvine City Council meeting in Irvine will be interesting to say the least.  Council member Jeff Lalloway will introduce an item to re-introduce the ARDA site for the Veteran’s Cemetery in Irvine.  Mayor Wagner won’t go for it; Christina Shea is against it.  And from all indications, Council member Mellisa Fox is a no vote as well.

And these votes run counter to the 63% vote the no on Measure B votes registered which were a clear message where Irvine voters are headed.  Clues to Fox’s vote are found in her husband’s posts on Facebook groups for “Honoring OC Veterans” and “Irvine Demcorats.”

Here’s what was posted on those pages:

TODAY, July 10, at 5 PM, the Irvine City Council will hold a hearing at City Hall to decide whether or not to move forward with the ARDA site for a Veterans Cemetery, a non-plan that would cost the city millions of dollars with no solid plan for success. This proposal is nothing but a sham.

It’s imperative that as many of us as possible attend this meeting and make our voices heard. Please attend the Irvine City Council’s hearing at 5 PM at City Hall, and tell them to vote NO on the ARDA site!

And this as “Irvine Democrats.”

Irvine Democrats That is what Lalloway and Agran and Schott want. They want to get the city to spend millions to clean up the site and then it will be sold or leased to a developer (for example, the Irvine Company, which has long had its eyes on the site). They also want to sabotage the building out of the Great Park (with museums, gardens, a lake, etc). Lalloway and Agran and Schott will just keep pretending that they are building a cemetery until there is someone else to blame.

There’s considerable speculation that should Shea and Fox vote against Lalloway’s measure, which would encourage a Veteran’s cemetery at the Great Park, as both promised they would support and did once before, that both women might be served with recall papers.

In fact, Fox issued an announcement today saying she’s turned over an email threat from Harvey Liss, an ally of the No on Measure B movement, to the OC District Attorney’s office.

This was posted at the Honor OC Vets Facebook page:

Breaking: Irvine Community News & Views Editor (and close ally of Larry Agran and Ed Pope) Harvey Liss may have broken local law by attempting to extort Melissa Fox, Irvine City Councilmember to vote for the proposed ARDA veterans cemetery site.

This is not acceptable — and just one more example of how crucial this vote will be. Please attend the Irvine City Council meeting at 5 PM in City Hall today, and urge them to vote NO on the ARDA site!

Here’s the announcement:


The last paragraph warrants a re-read — by Fox and her husband.  The No on Measure B votes won by 11,500; it wasn’t close.  Irvine voters were not confused.  An online survey posted on Fox’s blog is, in a word — bullshit — because anyone could have voted, not just Irvine residents.  No one was confused about where they wanted the Veteran’s cemetery to be.  If Fox truly believes she represents what the city wants, she’ll support Lalloway’s motion.  It’s clear as hell.  And a no vote from Shea and Fox on this issue warrants a response from Irvine voters.  If recall notices are served to both council members tonight, I won’t be a bit surprised.

And if recall notices are issued, the OC GOP certainly would want Fox recalled as the DPOC would want Shea recalled; so both parties should stay out of recall efforts period and let the council members/candidates make their case to the voters directly.  A special election for a recall might happen in January.  Fox is telling friends the Irvine Company is responsible for this; she’s mistaken.  There’s a legion of former colleagues and former friends that will vote her out of office.

Shea remains one of the county’s most conservative and homophobic electeds; seeing her go would bring joy to those on the left.  If Fox is recalled, the lesson is not to insult the intelligence of Irvine voters by setting up what amounts to a false narrative.  The Fox’s have blocked a considerable number of former friends and allies on social media feeds simply for disagreeing with her votes. A recall shows that she doesn’t know you need to practice addition after being elected, not subtraction.  Without the support of Irvine Democrats who have long backed former council members Larry Agran, Beth Krom and Sukhee Kang, Fox may not be long for the council seat she holds.

The DPOC, of which I am a Central Committee member, takes a number of steps to protect Fox from her actions.  The joke is “if Melissa has a runny nose, the party issues a resolution calling for a tissue to wipe her nose for her.”  The fact is central committee members from Irvine are routinely ignored by the rest of the party when it comes to resolutions affecting Irvine.  The Measure B vote margin is a huge wakeup call for the party leadership which seems to be in denial about Fox’s influence in the city.  Facts are facts, and I hope the party wakes up to it. The party should do nothing to protect Fox from recall.

The city council needs to listen to the voters.  If they don’t, the voters voice will be heard in a different way.


  1. Ernie Ball Ernie Ball July 11, 2018

    No surprise that Melissa Fox is acting in her own self-interest. The question is WHEN do we get the recall started?

    • Pro Cemetery Pro Cemetery July 12, 2018

      Exactly what self-interest? We don’t have the money to do what you want to do so where will it come from? We have to be fiscally responsible. Why recall council members who are trying to ensure that our City will have money to pay it’s bills – and at the same time keep our legal obligations. We aren’t two-year-olds… we should understand that we can’t have everything we want RIGHT NOW just because we want it. Let’s work together to see the cemetery happen and ensure that the money is there to sustain our City for generations to come.

    • Lenore Lenore July 17, 2018

      Okay, can someone tell me if this article is true?
      It appears that in 1999 there was some scuttle about putting an airport on the El Toro base. Propositions flew and in the end the city of Irvine loaned $134 million dollars to the Irvine Company to build homes there and the Great Park to prevent the building of an airport.

      Somehow this apparently did not include all of the federal base because Lennar Homes originally bought the land at El Toro base for $649.5 million dollars thereafter from the DOD.

      So which portion needs the clean up? Is it the property that Lennar Corp purchased from the DOD or is it the portion that the City of Irvine paid the Irvine Corp. to take over?

      • Lenore worshiper Lenore worshiper July 17, 2018

        Lol, “It appears there was some scuttle over an airport.” What planet did this woman just drop off of?

        • Dan Chmielewski Dan Chmielewski Post author | July 17, 2018

          do me a favor; find a name, stay with the name…..let’s not comment under a different handle every time.

  2. Scott Hansen Scott Hansen July 11, 2018

    Councilmember Fox said at the Council meeting last night she supports a Veterans Cemetery within the Great Park that can be built more quickly and less expensively than at the ARDA site.

    The State did an estimate for building a cemetery at the ARDA site…it needs a lot of cleanup, is expensive (about $80 million) and could take a long time. So Ms. Fox suggested putting the cemetery in the area now designated for a golf course, for example. I feel that makes more sense than charging ahead at the expensive ARDA site without state/federal funding secured, as Councilman Lalloway proposes. I feel Ms. Fox and Ms. Shea are working hard and I see no reason to recall them.

    As to Proposition B, the voters decided the cemetery will not be on the Strawberry Fields site. The voters did not decide where the cemetery should be. That question was not in Prop. B. The issue is back in the Council’s lap. All 5 council members agreed last night that there should be a Veterans Cemetery in Irvine. The only question left is where.

    • Duke Duke July 12, 2018

      No matter what, irvine owns the ARDA site and must pay to have it cleaned up. The money is there and should be used to clean it up.

      I bet that there’s a deal going on behind the scene with Shea and Fox trying to sell the ARDA site to FivePoint. That’s all the developer wants is to keep that land and develop on it. The idiots on the council are owned by FivePoint and could care less about the citizens. Recall!

    • Pro Cemetery Pro Cemetery July 12, 2018

      Exactly! Because it sounds better to make this a conspiracy theory and rip people who are trying to be fiscally conservative to shreds in the process. In some ways I am very thankful that we have a Council with dissenting opinions as this ensure that we have people who are looking at all sides of the issue and trying to make decisions that represent everyone in this City.

  3. Gail Lewis Gail Lewis July 11, 2018

    As Lalloway said, Wagner’s proposal is just a tactic to stall. If the Cemetery was started two years ago at the ARDA site, it would be just about finished by now. 5Pt doesn’t want the Cemetery at the ARDA site and that is the only reason the Wagner, Shea and Fox voted against Lalloway’s agenda item.
    Wagner’s proposal did NOT say the Cemetery would be in the Great Park. I believe the proposal says Great Park OR OTHER LOCATION. (meaning where ever 5Pt wants it to be)
    I also find it sad that Shea who constantly talked about money, has funds for her golf course and water park but not for a Vet Cemetery.
    I would love to see a recall.

    • Pro Cemetery Pro Cemetery July 12, 2018

      Lalloway has sour grapes because he didn’t get what he wanted. EVERY member of the council said they are in favor of a cemetery – but we have to do this the right way. And, that means we do it knowing we have the money in the bank to make it happen. We’re all in agreement that we should have a cemetery – what we don’t agree on is where it will be located and how we will come up with the money. Let’s work together. Let’s listen to each other and find a way to make it happen as a City united behind our veterans rather than a City at odds with each other because we don’t get what we want the exact second we want it?

      • Dan Chmielewski Dan Chmielewski Post author | July 12, 2018

        the money is there. General fund isn’t touched. Ask Beth Krom if you need proof

  4. Dan Chmielewski Dan Chmielewski July 11, 2018

    Had the swap not happened, cleanup and construction would have started last August with $38 million from the city, $30 million from the state, and $10 million from the federal government.

  5. Robert Robert July 12, 2018

    Fox should definitely be recalled. She tricked all of us during the campaign into believing she would be slow growth and yet we find that the developers own her.

    • Scott Hansen Scott Hansen July 12, 2018

      As Mayor Wagner pointed out at the Council meeting this week, this Council hasn’t approved any new projects, except student housing at UCI. They’ve committed a few million $ to traffic remediation. I don’t understand the conclusion some reach that the developers “own” Councilmembers Fox & Shea and Mayor Wagner. How so? What’s the evidence?

      • Dan Chmielewski Dan Chmielewski Post author | July 12, 2018

        2 projects near the airport and one more at Concordia. You’re not paying attention

        • Scott Hansen Scott Hansen July 12, 2018

          Good points. Concordia is another university-related project. Council voted 4-0 to approve it – Mayor Wagner abstained b/c his law firm does work for Concordia. I’m not aware of facts indicating a developer bought off the entire Council on the project.

          The new office building/hotel across from John Wayne Airport that the Council approved 3-1…I agree that’s a substantial project.

          I didn’t hear the Mayor mention either of those projects the Council approved. I think he should have. Still, it’s not clear to me this is evidence that developers “own” members of the Council.

          • Dan Chmielewski Dan Chmielewski Post author | July 13, 2018

            Go and search for the post I did on Patrick Strader’s voicemail to Lynn Schott. Listen to the voice mail. When IRG inititiative came Down and city manager informed the council, Shea emails the developers in the city within minutes. If you’re in denial on this, you aren’t paying attention

  6. Pro Cemetery Pro Cemetery July 12, 2018

    Saying the same thing over and over again doesn’t make it true. The reality is that the State hasn’t concretely offered $30 million dollars, and the City doesn’t have $38 million to put toward the Veteran’s Cemetery. The. Money. Is. Not. There.

    Every single member of the City Council said they want a veteran’s cemetery in Irvine, but there are issues with regard to how we’ll pay for it. And, for the record, the ARDA site is not in the Great Park (it’s adjacent to the Great Park). And, accordingly, the City Council wants us to go back to the Master Plan which, for years, guided the development in our City and prevented the rapid overgrowth and traffic issues we face today (and these problems are not the responsibility of the current City Council).

    Measure B was voting for or against a land swap – it did not determine that the cemetery would be located at the ARDA site (read Measure B – it’s not there!)

    For all the cries of conspiracy theories it would be great if you could step back for one minute and…

    –think about where the money will come from
    –think about the fact that the current City council has not approved ONE SINGLE development by the developers the conspiracy theorists are claiming they’re in bed with. How can that be??? If they’re so in bed with Five Points, why haven’t they approved every single request made by them to increase development?
    –think about what will happen if the City neglects it’s legally agreed upon commitments to develop the Great Park (we’d be sued and not have a leg to stand on).
    –think about a recall. If you recall the three on the council and replace them with people who’ll vote to spend all of the redevelopment funds on the cemetery – and then the City is sued because we fail to develop the great park as agreed and pushed into bankruptcy.

    Is that what you really want? Or, do you want a cemetery? If you want a cemetery continue to advocate for that. What do you care if it’s at the ARDA site, or if it’s at another location in the Great Park (we have a lot of acreage in the Great Park that can be used).

    We all want a cemetery, right? If that’s what we want than let’s find a common ground and work to see it happen without bankrupting the City.

    Contrary to what some would have you believe, this doesn’t have to be an either/or option – we can work together and stop being so adversarial. Let’s get this done and work as friends and neighbors and let’s be respectful of others – because what I saw at the meeting on the 10th was a shame and such terrible behavior that I hope you’ll take a deep breath, realize that we can and want to work together, and we can make this happen without ripping our friends and neighbors to shreds or falsely accusing “the other” of inappropriate behavior.

    • Dan Chmielewski Dan Chmielewski Post author | July 12, 2018

      the $30 million from the state WAS there; the city council majority said “never mind.” I refer to SQS’s May 2017 press release that tied $30 million specifically to ARDA. Also, Irvine’s general fund is solid; our bank account is the envy of the state if not the nation. But pray tell, even CalVet said the freeway site needed $38 million in remediation; FivePoint never contractually offered $10 million. Where was the money coming to build this site?

      • Pro Cemetery Pro Cemetery July 12, 2018

        So, basically you’re saying that using money to build a cemetery and using $80 million dollars to clean up contaminated soil then using money to build a cemetery are the same thing? In your scenario $2 + $2 = $100 million +

        For those who do the math, that doesn’t add up…

        Does that bother you? Why can’t we have a cemetery without spending an additional $80 million on clean up? Oh, because you want what you want and the costs be damned. I’m glad someone is looking at the bottom line and is willing to say that the numbers don’t add up.

        I love our military, I’m 100% pro cemetery but we can’t spend that much money just because you want to draw a line in the sand and saddle the next generation with debt.

        • Dan Chmielewski Dan Chmielewski Post author | July 12, 2018

          There are things government should spend money on. A cemetery for Vets is one of them. General fund money is untouched. How about not building a golf course?

          • Pro Cemetery Pro Cemetery July 13, 2018

            Contractural obligation with developers to develop the Great Park (you know, the one Larry Agran spent $240 million on that we have an orange balloon to show for all that money). Where was fiscal responsibility then? Perhaps if he’d shown some restraint, there’d be a lot more to go around now. And, yes, we should spend money on it but that doesn’t mean we spend money unchecked. It’s called being fiscally responsible.

            I did just see a memo that Shea and Fox are proposing a drastically reduced golf course and using that land, instead, for the cemetery. This land is actually IN the Great Park (as compared with the ARDA site which is adjacent to the Great Park). So, with fiscal responsibility in mind, with the fact that it’s IN the Great Park, and that it’s ready for immediate construction are y’all in favor of that?

            • Dan Chmielewski Dan Chmielewski Post author | July 16, 2018

              I haven’t seen the proposal yet, but it’s clear what the voters want and that’s a cemetery at ARDA; any proposal from the council majority is done to protect FivePoints interest over that of the voters.

            • Dan Chmielewski Dan Chmielewski Post author | July 16, 2018

              Let’s unpack some of this. I wish Agran’s detractors would settle on a number. It’s $200 million, $220 million, $240 million or $250 million “wasted” and the number seems to grow the long he’s been out of office. I’m going to argue that the money the Great Park Board (not just Agran) spent (voting on key expenditures) wasn’t wasted until Redevelopment funds dried up and the new GOP council turned control of the Park over to the Developer who had a much different vision (one that collected admission fees). Funds from the Great Park budget do not touch the General Fund; funds for the cemetery will be spent prudently. Those who rushed the land swap as a means of building the cemetery fast now want to delay it by years for studies and recommendations. Construction would have begun last August and clean up costs were fully funded had the council not decided to give away prime land to their political benefactor. Irvine is sitting on a ton of cash. The city won’t go bankrupt funding the cemetery on its own. The voters have spoken — council majority didn’t hear them.

  7. It's Hilarious It's Hilarious July 16, 2018

    Dan: “There are things government should spend money on. A cemetery for Vets is one of them. General fund money is untouched. How about not building a golf course?”

    Commenter: “I did just see a memo that Shea and Fox are proposing a drastically reduced golf course and using that land, instead, for the cemetery. This land is actually IN the Great Park (as compared with the ARDA site which is adjacent to the Great Park). So, with fiscal responsibility in mind, with the fact that it’s IN the Great Park, and that it’s ready for immediate construction are y’all in favor of that?”

    Dan: “I haven’t seen the proposal yet, but it’s clear what the voters want and that’s a cemetery at ARDA”

    Hahahahahahaha. ARDA’s not in the Great Park.

    Look, if your top priority is really just to screw over Five Point and the Chinese families who bought from them, just invite San Onofre to send over their spent nuclear waste to be buried at ARDA. You don’t need to do a site cleanup for that!

    • Dan Chmielewski Dan Chmielewski Post author | July 16, 2018

      Well, the freeway site isn’t in the Great Park either. According to one map I saw, it’s not even part of the base. Just federal land near the base. I don’t think FivePoint ought to get land owned by the public for pennies on the dollar

      • Mr. WHATABOUT Mr. WHATABOUT July 17, 2018

        Duh, nobody ever said Strawberry Fields was on the Great Park. Do you never get tired of how your brain works?

        • Dan Chmielewski Dan Chmielewski Post author | July 17, 2018

          You must have missed the part about the Freeway site being part of El Toro; it never was. Veterans wanted a cemetery on “hallowed ground.” The freeway site was never part of El Toro.

          • Pro Cemetery Pro Cemetery July 17, 2018

            Well, the golf course site is on hallowed ground so I’m sure y’all will leap to support it. And even you should acknowledge that the measure B vote wasn’t about the ARDA site, it was a vote that disapproved a land swap. The requirement that the future Cemetery be located at the ARDA site is **not** in the text of the measure.

            • Dan Chmielewski Dan Chmielewski Post author | July 18, 2018

              You’re correct, and you’re also blind to the marketing of the No on B campaign which talked about placing the cemetery back at ARDA

              • 4th District Resident 4th District Resident July 18, 2018

                Then the ballot language should have said so. Otherwise people will get the impression that the Agran crew couldn’t really care less about a cemetery. And that’s a big club.

                • Dan Chmielewski Dan Chmielewski Post author | July 18, 2018

                  Well, they do care about the cemetery. Well documented

                • 4th District Resident 4th District Resident July 18, 2018

                  And yet the results say otherwise.


                • Dan Chmielewski Dan Chmielewski Post author | July 18, 2018

                  No on B won by 11,500 votes. People knew what they wanted

              • Pro Cemetery Pro Cemetery July 31, 2018

                Marketing is one thing. The **actual text** of what was voted on is another. I’m not blind – I have read the text of measure B. It was a land swap vote. The actual measure said NOTHING to guarantee the cemetery would be located at the ARDA site if the swap didn’t go through. You can’t change the truth based on marketing posters… so, to inquire yet again, do you support the golf course location which is IN the Great Park (not adjacent to it), and which requires no remediation? If not, why?

                • Dan Chmielewski Dan Chmielewski Post author | July 31, 2018

                  And yet all of the marketing was directed at placing the cemetery on the original site. That is where I want it

  8. Lenore worshiper Lenore worshiper August 1, 2018

    You guys have fun with all your little feuds. Anaheim Hills is ready to host the OC Veterans Cemetery.

    Nobody has patience with Irvine doing ANYTHING right anymore.

    • Dan Chmielewski Dan Chmielewski Post author | August 1, 2018

      The site located in a fire zone with landslides…..go with that

      • Anaheim Hills Yes! Anaheim Hills Yes! August 1, 2018

        Over the one with toxic waste?

        HELL YES!

        You never fail to trip over your weenie, Dan

        • Dan Chmielewski Dan Chmielewski Post author | August 2, 2018

          Hallowed ground; on the site of the base, remember how important that was for the Vets? The site will be cleaned anyway.

  9. Allen Allen August 2, 2018

    The longer this goes on the less likely we ever get a Veteran’s Cemetery. Its like all the councilmembers and Lalloway, Shea, Fox, Agran all just want to kill the Veterans Cemetery one way or another. Shameful.

Comments are closed.