I’m tardy getting to this because every time I read the letter posted above, my blood boils. But the letter above, regarding the proposal for a Veteran’s Cemetery in Irvine more than a year after Measure B went down in flames, co-signed by Mayor Christina Shea and Emile Haddad, the CEO of Aliso Viejo-based developer FivePoint, is simply a signed confession that the developer runs the city.
Perhaps other Irvine-based businesses can sign lobbying letters with the Mayor. Taco Bell might want block any legislative efforts against sugary drinks or plastic straws. Perhaps some of the Irvine-based automobile manufacturers might want to ease up on emissions standards. If you’re willing to write the mayor a check or pay for an IE in support of her or against her opponent, she’ll do whatever you want.
When the motion to fly the Pride Flag in Irvine came up last month, I thought Shea finally has the opportunity to correct her hateful actions from 30 years ago that did harm to the LGBTQ community. Instead, she doubled down on it to remind a new generation of Irvine voters — more than half — who didn’t live here in 1989 — of her bigotry.
Going back to the letter, it didn’t work. The state legislature moved forward with $20 million in funding. And it appears Shea lied about her interactions with State Rep. Sharon Quirk-Silva.
From the Voice of OC story:
Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Fullerton), along with state Sen. Tom Umberg (D-Santa Ana) and Assemblyman Tom Daly (D-Anaheim) originally asked for $30 million in the state budget in May, but only $20 million was in the budget by Thursday, June 27, when Newsom signed it.
But there’s an ongoing dispute between some Irvine Councilmembers and Quirk-Silva over where the cemetery should go.
“My hope is that we take a little break over this Fourth of July and maybe when I get back into the district for the summer recess, we can get some face to face meetings and come to some type of resolution (with Irvine),” said Quirk-Silva in a June 28 phone interview.
Quirk-Silva, who spearheaded 2014 efforts to get a state-run veterans cemetery in Irvine, has been pushing a bill expressly designating the original site near the heart of the old El Toro Marine Corps Air Station as the future home of Orange County’s first veterans cemetery. The site still has hangars, barracks, jet engine testing buildings and portions of taxiways and runways on it.
The new state budget brings the total state funding for the veterans cemetery to $24.5 million, including the $4.5 million leftover from last year.
Progress on the veterans cemetery was stalled until a 2017 proposal from developer FivePoint Holdings that offered to trade roughly 125-acres of strawberry fields near the 5 and 405 freeway interchange with the 125-acre hangar site. FivePoint also pledged $10 million for the strawberry field site.
Irvine voters decided against the swap in June 2018.
There’s a key sentence. Irvine voters decided against the swap and it was an overwhelming vote.
Back to the VOC story:
Quirk-Silva she has a trust issue with the golf course proposal because the $28 million pledge came less than a week before the committee hearing.
“There was many many times the city, the developer and the veterans group could have called my office to discuss it … so there’s a trust issue here,” Quirk-Silva told Roth.
Quirk-Silva told Voice of OC Friday she’s open to negotiating a compromise with Irvine and FivePoint, but they haven’t tried to sit down with her.
“Everything has been very irregular with this in the last moth. So I can’t tell you 100 percent it gets out (appropriations committee),” Quirk-Silva said. “Now if it got out exactly the way it is and there were no amendments, then I believe it would go to a vote on the floor of the Senate. Then, after that, if there were still no amendments, then it would go to the governor.”
In a Wednesday text message, Shea said Irvine has tried for months to get Quirk-Silva to name both sites in her bill.
“Sharon Quirk-silva is just completely fabricating her facts. The City of Irvine has been asking her for months to include the Golf Course site in her legislation,” Shea texted. “Our City Manager, our staff and lobbyist met with her and CalVet, the Governors staff months ago asking her to amend her bill. We have spoken to her staff multiple times over the past 5 months and she would not budge and allow both sites to be designated in her proposal.”
But Quirk-Silva said her chief of staff combed through emails and communications Friday and found nothing from Irvine requesting a meeting with her.
It doesn’t surprise me that Mayor Shea was busted for lying; a simple Public records Request to her office and rep. Quirk-Silva’s office will reveal who’s telling the truth (hint: It’s Sharon).
Just imagine how far along the Veteran’s Cemetery would be if the landswap thing hadn’t been pushed so hard?
Back in 2016, this blog filed a complaint against Shea for mixing her government relations business with her job on the city council based on a piece in the Voice of OC. Last month, the FPPC finally fined Shea $1500. Shea was critical of our filing saying it was poorly written — I can only say my handwriting isn’t the easiest thing to read.
Meanwhile, I’d like to know which watchdog organization I need to contact to file a complaint over my city’s mayor and a developer with a huge financial interest in a piece of property teaming up to lobby for legislation on city letterhead?