Larry Agran sent this update on the proposed Veteran’s Cemetery at the ARDA site. I will note if we didn’t go through the entire Landswap/Strawberry Fields/Measure B fight, construction on the original site would have begun more than a year ago. Council member Melissa Fox, who’s leading the charge for a special election for the 5th city council seat because — democracy — fought tooth and nail against direct democracy on Measure B and has now come around to moving forward on ARDA.
As Agran points out, we need one more vote on the city council to move this forward. If not, the same people who brought you Measure B will bring another citizen’s referendum on moving the ARDA site forward.
Kudos to the work of State Reps. Sharon Quirk-Silva and Tom Daly for moving AB368 forward. It’s time to get this done.
Construction of a beautiful Veterans Memorial Park and Cemetery should have begun two years ago — on the City-owned, 125-acre “ARDA” site in the Great Park. The first phase was scheduled to become operational this year.
Instead, we have had two years of delays and obstruction by the City Council.
The good news is that a bipartisan group of State lawmakers has introduced legislation — Assembly Bill 368 — pledging that the State will build, operate and maintain a Veterans Cemetery — at no cost to the City of Irvine — if the City agrees to locate the Veterans Cemetery on the original ARDA site in the Great Park. Two City Councilmembers, Melissa Fox and Farrah Khan, are saying “yes” to the ARDA site. But a third Councilmember’s vote is needed.
So far, Councilmember (now Mayor) Christina Shea seems to want to continue searching for another site, and Councilmember Anthony Kuo has been silent on the matter. (The fifth City Council seat remains vacant.) This matter was scheduled to be heard at a Council meeting in May. But in a troubling development, the item has been removed from the May agenda.
In the event the City Council doesn’t support AB 368, Irvine’s all-volunteer “Build the Great Park Veterans Cemetery” committee is preparing to launch an initiative campaign for a public vote. The initiative would require the City to transfer the 125-acre City-owned ARDA site to the State in order to begin construction of the Veterans Cemetery in the Great Park.
Ed Pope, Co-Chair of the citizens’ committee, has begun raising the $75,000 needed to launch a successful citywide initiative — preparing all the legal documents, printing thousands of initiative petitions, and organizing hundreds of volunteers to gather the 20,000 Irvine resident signatures needed to qualify the initiative for the ballot.
My wife Phyllis and I have already made a contribution. We ask you to join us.
Whether you wish to donate or not at this time, please take just 3 minutes to view our Veterans Cemetery video. Let’s turn our vision of the Great Park Veterans Cemetery into an on-the-ground reality!
Editor’s note: There is a link to donate on the video page.