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NOVEMBER 2016 ENTERTAINMENT

DINING

R.I.P., Irvine Meadows. There’s hope for live music next year at an interim amphitheater.

Adya’s fresh take on Indian street food is a fine addition to University Center.

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Feature

First phase of the 175acre Great Park Sports Park is coming soon FEATURE

by Irvine City News staff

I T

Candidate forums are an efficient way to see, hear and size up those running for city office, and at least two were held in recent weeks. This paper’s editorial board and staff were pleased to see that

n 2014 Kenny Loggins performed on a runway of the old Marine Corps Air Station El Toro for some 3,500 people gathered to witness the beginning of a new future for the Orange County Great Park. Heavy equipment was lined up for the demolition of the massive runways that would soon be underway. The miles of concrete, visitors were promised, would soon be replaced with an impressive Sports Park, with athletic fields of dreams

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ASSEMBLYMAN DON WAGNER, A CANDIDATE FOR IRVINE MAYOR, ADDRESSES AUDIENCE QUESTIONS AT IRVINE CANDIDATES FORUM HELD RECENTLY AT UC IRVINE. PHOTO: GARY JOSEPH

Wagner, Shea and Kuo in 2016 ELECTION

by Irvine City News staff

he candidates for Irvine mayor and two city council seats have been campaigning in the community, via U.S. mail, through social media and by posting signs on the streets. Many have been walking around and knocking on doors, speaking to citizens and trying to convince voters that their vision is right for the city.


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Publisher’s Note

A

s election season draws to a close, I want to emphasize how important the mayoral and city council races are for the future of our fair city. It took Irvine a decade to recover from the debacle at the Orange County Great Park. Now, the team that brought you that mess wants to be put in charge of the city once again. Anyone that’s been paying attention in recent years knows that the Agran team is all about obstruction. Their vision for the Great Park was repudiated by scandal, with $230 million wasted. Now, like children who want to take their ball and go home, they oppose all progress at the park. The fact is that promises are now being kept on the former Marine Corps Air Station El Toro. There’s a beautiful new high school and K-8 school in and

around the Great Park Neighborhoods, not to mention that community’s parks, trails, homes, and affordable housing for seniors, with more to come. Other major Great Park initiatives are discussed in this issue: the first phase of the fantastic Sports Park is nearing completion, and there’s an exciting proposal to build an interim music amphitheater on part of the former base near the train station, a first step toward replacing Irvine Meadows. But if the old Agran team is put in charge, led by Mary Ann Gaido, all that progress will come to a screeching halt, and the city will be in for at least two years of gridlock and obstruction. That’s why I’ll be voting for Don Wagner, Christina Shea and Anthony Kuo. I hope you will, too. n

Jacob Levy

EDITOR AND PUBLISHER

IrvineCityNews Editor and Publisher

Jacob Levy • editor@irvinecitynews.com

5319 University Drive Suite #440 Irvine, CA 92612

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ELECTION FROM PAGE 1

the OC Register joined Irvine City News in endorsing Don Wagner for Irvine mayor (“His local and legislative experience would serve him — and Irvine residents — well as mayor,” the endorsement said), and Christina Shea and Anthony Kuo for Irvine City Council. The Register’s endorsement of Shea was accurate, and even eloquent: “Irvine is one of the finest places to live in the world. It’s safe; it has tremendous schools; it has picturesque greenery and park space; and a vibrant business community that in many ways is the epicenter of economic activity in Orange County. As such, the council needs strong leaders that understand both what makes the city so special and what it needs to get even better. “When looking at the type of leadership necessary for the city, there is no candidate more deserving of an endorsement than Councilwoman Christina Shea. “Shea understands the residents and the community and she

TOP: CHAIR OF THE IRVINE PLANNING COMMISSION, ANTHONY KUO IS RUNNING FOR ONE OF TWO SEATS ON THE IRVINE CITY COUNCIL. ABOVE: COUNCILWOMAN CHRISTINA SHEA IS SEEKING RE-ELECTION. PHOTO: GARY JOSEPH

has been a consistent, prudent voice on a council often times divided by unnecessary politics. In fact, Councilwoman Shea has demonstrated her unquestionable leadership as an advocate for the city and its residents. “On some of the most sensitive issues the city faced over the last several years Shea has been a deciding factor in successes for the city — most notably holding the city accountable and keeping its promise to ensure the Great Park would begin to be built, and built

well. Not only that, she has been a strong advocate for driving economic activity for the city.” OC Register also agrees with Irvine City News in endorsing Kuo: “To fill the second seat on the Irvine City Council we recommend Planning Commissioner Anthony Kuo. There are numerous smart and vibrant candidates running this year, but Kuo embodies many of the admirable characteristics of Councilwoman Shea. And it says a lot about CONTINUED ON PAGE 3 >>


NOVEMBER 2016

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Irvine City News Endorsements U.S. President No endorsement U.S. Senate Rep. Loretta Sanchez U.S. Congress, 45th District Rep. Mimi Walters California Assembly, 68th District Mayor Steven Choi Irvine Mayor Assemblyman Don Wagner Irvine City Council City Councilmember Christina Shea Planning Commission Chair Anthony Kuo IUSD Board of Education Board Members Paul Bokota & Lauren Brooks IPSF Chair Betty Carroll Irvine Ranch Water District Board Board Member Mary Aileen Matheis Board Member John B. Withers

ELECTION FROM PAGE 2

him that Shea is supporting his candidacy. “Having served on the Irvine Planning Commission, Kuo also keenly understands the issues of growth and community development, and how to responsibly manage those while at the same time steward the city’s resources.

“Irvine deserves thoughtful leaders who understand the community. Vote for Christina Shea and Anthony Kuo for Irvine City Council.” The Register’s editorial board also noted with approval mayoral candidate Gang Chen for sharing Wagner’s views on “ensuring that Irvine is

business-friendly, keeping taxes low, improving city infrastructure, fulfilling the promises of completing the Great Park.” After being initially annoyed by his ubiquitous campaign signs that went up far too early, we are also impressed by Chen, who (as everyone at the UCI forum learned, several times) is a licensed architect, and hopes to put his experience in planning and design to work for the city. We have a suggestion: Chen should strongly be considered as a replacement for Anthony Kuo on the city’s planning commission, once the articulate and affable Kuo is elected to city council. We were less impressed with Mary Ann Gaido and Katherine Daigle’s presentations at the candidate forum. Daigle seemed out of her league, candidly, and not effectively focused on the issues and questions at hand. The paralegal referenced issues that had occurred in Woodbridge, and at her place of employment, as somehow being applicable to the questions asked by moderator Brian Calle, the opinion editor for OC Register and Southern California News Group. Perennial candidate Gaido parroted the Agranista party line ably enough. Perhaps not surprisingly, she was the only candidate who supports a full moratorium on all growth and development, while everyone else on the dais agreed that would be a horrible

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IRWD Board Endorsement

One of Irvine’s big success stories is our water supply. Between 1990 and now, a time of significant growth in the city, the percentage of water the Irvine Ranch Water District imports from the Colorado River and Northern California fell from 66% to only 16%, and recycled water use nearly doubled. The IRWD is an independent special district that provides high-quality drinking water, wastewater collection and treatment, recycled water programs, and environmentally sound urban runoff treatment. IRWD is governed by a five-member publicly elected board. On Nov. 8, two seats on the board will be filled. Given its impressive success story, ICN endorses the two incumbent board members. John Withers has been on the IRWD Board of Directors for 19 years, while Mary Aileen Matheis has served since 1988. When it comes to something as important as our water, we see no reason to switch horses in midstream, so to speak. We’ll support the continued success of IRWD by voting to return Withers and Matheis to the IRWD Board of Directors. idea for Irvine’s economic future. Nothing occurred during the city council candidate forums to make us doubt our strong endorsements for Christina Shea to maintain her seat on the council, and Anthony Kuo to join her there. Both presented their positions effectively and with an air of collegiality and confidence that was impressive. Anila Ali, Shiva Farivar and Farrah Khan each impressed with their thoughtfulness and professional demeanor. We’re happy to have them as engaged members of the Irvine community. We might pick Dale Cheema as the candidate we’d most want to have a glass of wine with and discuss world travels and global affairs. He came across

Nov. 8 Election Information New Citizen (sworn in after 10.24.16) Voter Registration Period.................... October 25 – November 8, 2016 Early Voting at City Hall (including weekends)............................................... October 30 – November 7, 2016 Election Day (polls open 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.).............................................. November 8, 2016 Last Day to Mail Vote-By-Mail Ballot............................................................... November 8, 2016 Last Day to Receive Vote-By-Mail Ballot.......................................................... November 14, 2016

as urbane and interesting, but since he failed to respond to press requests for answers to questions (ours or OC Register’s), we can’t take him seriously as a candidate. Genni Ahn arrived to the forum in its last minutes, and then didn’t say much of impact or import during her time speaking. Two others who did speak effectively and argued their points with intelligence and humor at the UCI forum were Courtney Santos and Ian Daelucian. Both are in their early 30s, and while not seasoned enough to serve on the city council at this time, we urge them to get and stay involved in city and regional issues. We’d like to see more of their energy in local government. Who have we forgotten? Oh yes, Melissa Fox. While we admire and have endorsed Irvine Unified School District (IUSD) Board President Paul A. Bokota for another term, we don’t understand his endorsement of Fox. Perhaps if one sticks around and runs enough times, one makes friends and builds relationships. For us, Fox, seemed the blandest of the bunch at the candidate’s forum, with nothing particularly memorable to add to the community conversation. n


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“I LOVED GROWING UP IN IRVINE BECAUSE THERE WERE CONSTANT OPPORTUNITIES TO LEARN AND PLAY. WE’RE NOT ONLY KEEPING THIS TRADITION ALIVE WITH THE FIVEPOINTDEVELOPED GREAT PARK SPORTS COMPLEX, WE’RE ALSO BUILDING AN ECONOMIC ENGINE FOR OUR FUTURE.” —City of Irvine Planning Commission Chair Anthony Kuo

TOP: AERIAL PHOTO OF SPORTS PARK UNDER CONSTRUCTION; ABOVE: NEW SOCCER STADIUM-ARTIST RENDERING, CONCEPTUAL, SUBJECT TO CHANGE

SPORTS PARK FROM PAGE 1

for a variety of sports and recreational activities. On that day, Loggins sang in front of a visual projection, with renderings of what the Sports Park might look like once complete. “Where are the dreams that we once had?” Loggins sang. “This is the time to bring them back.” Recently, press and visitors were invited back for a visit to the Sports Park construction site to get a look at its

first phase, and to see how the dreams of a truly Great Park are becoming a reality. The progress being made is clear, and the prospects for the park are encouraging, even exciting. The entire 175-acre Sports Park at the Great Park is being built by FivePoint, which will spend some $250 million to develop the 688 acres of the Great Park, including the Sports Park. “We made a commitment to the city of Irvine to enhance

the lives of residents here and throughout Orange County by developing unrivaled sports, recreational and other amenities,” says Emile Haddad, chairman and CEO of FivePoint. “I’m proud to share that we are on schedule in delivering the first phase of this major, multisport complex. We elected to invest almost $60 million more than the Irvine City Council required when they chose us as their Great Park partner in November 2013 because

we want to enrich this community for generations to come with the highest-quality facilities.” Phase one of the Great Park Sports Park features 25 hard-surface tennis courts, seven naturalturf soccer fields and five sand volleyball courts. Both the tennis and volleyball centers include championship courts with fixed seating for more than 100 spectators each. The centerpiece of phase one is the Championship Soccer Stadium with permanent seating for 2,500 spectators and grass-berm seating for another 2,500 spectators. The soccer stadium will include press, hospitality and concession spaces as well. All but the soccer stadium in this initial phase will be completed by the end of 2016. All of the new Sports Park venues will include lighting for evening use, FivePoint officials point out. The lighting poles of the first phase are clearly visible for those visiting the existing amenities at the Great Park, including the visitor’s center, carousel, Orange Balloon and athletic fields already in place. “As the city’s partner and selected Great Park developer, FivePoint is making good on its

promise to offer residents of all ages a place to call home, where all generations can learn, play and thrive,” says city of Irvine Councilmember Christina Shea. “We welcome the opportunity to host youth and collegiate championships at the Great Park Sports Complex and see Irvine’s youth discover adventure and test their limits through sports and recreational activities.” Still to come will be a baseball complex with seven fields, including a championship field with permanent seating for more than 1,000 spectators. There will also be a softball complex with five fields and a championship venue with seating for 500 spectators. Both baseball and softball complexes will have four batting cages each. Six synthetic-turf soccer fields, four basketball courts and a pair of “flex” fields totaling nearly 12 acres for lacrosse, cricket, rugby or soccer will complete the Sports Park. These facilities are currently estimated to be complete in 2018. For those finding it hard to picture how large the Sports Park will be when complete, consider this: Colonel Bill Barber Marine Corps Memorial Park is Irvine’s largest community park, at some 48 acres. That’s smaller than the first phase of the Sports Park. The existing North and South Lawn athletic fields at the Great Park total 37 acres. All of the community parks in Irvine total some 353 acres, according to the city’s website. At 175 acres when completed, all the phases of the new Sports Park will be more than 50 percent as large as all these 20 large parks combined. This includes Colonel Bill Barber, Heritage (36 acres), Harvard (26 acres), Turtle Rock (25 acres) and Mike Ward (22 acres), as well as the smaller community parks. For those who have enjoyed these parks for years and even generations, the idea that soon we’ll have half again as much space in which to play is impressive. CONTINUED ON PAGE 5 >>


NOVEMBER 2016

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SPORTS PARK FROM PAGE 4

And all of the 38 smaller neighborhood parks and vistas in Irvine (less than 10 acres each) put together total 175 acres, the same amount of land dedicated to the new Sports Park. “I loved growing up in Irvine because there were constant opportunities to learn and play,” says city of Irvine Planning Commission Chair Anthony Kuo. “We’re not only keeping this tradition alive with the FivePointdeveloped Great Park Sports Complex, we’re also building an economic engine for our future. It’s reasonable to estimate that the complex will be a major boost to our local economy when fully operational. This is another way we’re creating a sustainable community for generations to come.” When all is said and done, more than 4 million square feet of concrete runways where American heroes landed and took off for decades will have been removed and demolished. Most of that material is being repurposed and used to create the topography, pathways and hardscapes in areas such as Upper Bee Canyon and the Bosque, a 43-acre area with trees, shrubs and trails that is also well along in its development. As is the improvement of Marine Way, which will provide improved ingress and egress to the Great Park when the street reopens, which is planned to occur by the end of the year. After years of lack of progress at the Great Park, a new phase is well underway. Some might call it the “get ’er done” era. FivePoint’s Emile Haddad has adopted a slogan of his own for the progress being made at the park: “Delivered as promised.” “It’s a reminder for everyone that works for the company,” Haddad says. “Whether it is a promise made by us, or when we take on the responsibility of delivering a promise made by someone else, we will not rest until that promise is delivered.” n

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DINING

ADDICTED TO ADYA We know we’re not supposed to park at University Center across from UCI before attending a show at Barclay Theatre, summer Shakespeare at the New Swan Theater, or an event at one of the Student Center meeting rooms. The landlord has warning signs all around the center, with 45-minute and 2-hour parking spots to drive the limited parking point home. Plus, one whole side of the lot is reserved for the office tower. It’s almost enough to make a local feel unwelcome. But we’re not going to park twice, and we love grabbing a before- or

after-show bite at the center, which has evolved tremendously as a dining destination in recent years. Some might remember when Chinatown was a go-to choice for Asian cuisine there, and Steelhead Brewery was a big deal (bonus points if you remember the name of the nightclub that once raged at what was then called The Marketplace). With the recent opening of Adya, a fast-casual spot offering a contemporary take on authentic Indian street food, the temptation to dine and then dash across the Ray Watson Pedestrian Bridge is even greater. The original Adya is one of our favorite spots at the Anaheim Packing House, a super cool food hall housed in a converted citrus

packing facility built circa 1919. The architecture and aesthetics at the second Adya can’t really compete with the first, but the culinary experience can. Chef Shachi Mehra, who coowns the restaurant with Sandeep Basrur, was the opening chef at Tamarind of London, an upscale Indian restaurant in Newport Coast that never quite lived up to the hype of its Michelin-star origin that was so strongly touted during its PR campaigns. But Mehra, who left Tamarind within a year or so of its opening, always had her fans, and her reputation has soared with Adya. The new location is a hit with UCI students and professors, Irvine’s significant Indian population, as well as the financial whizzes at PIMCO, who are known to order lunches to be delivered to their shiny Newport Center skyscraper several times a week. The chaat, curry and puri at Irvine’s Adya are all made with fresh and sustainable meat and produce, which is apparent upon a first taste. The chicken dishes, especially those cooked in the Tandoori ovens, are moist and flavorful. For those looking to grab something on the go, we suggest the delicious kaathi rolls, classic street food from Kolkata, which are basically Indian wraps.

Though they’re not nearly as neat eating as the Kaathi rolls, our go-to choice at Adya are still the pavs, which the menu smartly describes as Bombaystyle sloppy joes. Like pretty much all of the choices on the menu, there are veg and non-veg options. But we prefer to be “baaaad,” and always order the lamb keema pav, which features a spicy, Masala-like ground meat mix on a delicious brioche bun. The drinks at the Irvine location are limited to a delicious mango lassi, traditional Masala Chai and a variety of artisan sodas, but sadly there is no beer or wine, as at the Anaheim location. Now about that parking problem: we think Irvine Co. should build a parking structure for the office tower, with the first floors restricted to tenants, with the top floors open to center visitors. Charge whatever the market will bear (but more than the UCI structures to discourage students from taking all the spaces), with the first two hours free with validation from a store at the center, and three hours for those who do dinner and a movie… or a show across the street! Hey, the center wouldn’t exist without UCI, so how about kindly adjusting the antagonistic attitude? n Adyaoc.com


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IrvineCityNews

Interim amphitheater plan to keep live music alive in Irvine ENTERTAINMENT

by Irvine City News staff

F

ans of attending concerts at Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre have been mourning the loss of the venerable venue all summer. Now that the music venue that’s been part of summertime in SoCal for 35 years has seen its last show, plans are underway to replace it. FivePoint and Live Nation have announced a proposal to build an interim outdoor concert venue on 45 acres of land at the end of the runways of the old MCAS El Toro base. The new, interim

amphitheater would seat 12,000, compared to the 16,000 who attended shows at Irvine Meadows, and be within walking distance of the train station at El Toro. It would stand for some three years, while, hopefully, plans to build a permanent outdoor concert venue are finalized. The master plan for the Orange County Great Park has long called for an amphitheater in the Cultural Terrace, the part of the park that is controlled by the city and the furthest from realization. Insiders say that the Cultural Terrace cannot move forward until a lease for recycling facilities located on that part of the old base expires in 2018.

irvinecitynews.com

ARTIST RENDERING, CONCEPTUAL, SUBJECT TO CHANGE

Public pressure to come up with an alternative outdoor venue for concerts has been building throughout the summer, as music fans attending Irvine Meadows shows came to the final realization that there would be no last-minute reprieve for the

much-loved locale. Several of the musical acts that took the stage in recent months were outspoken about the loss of Irvine Meadows, and the need for a new venue. In August, a “Save Live Music Irvine” movement began, with fans joining an online campaign,

complete with petitions and email lists of registered Irvine voters and others who want action on a new amphitheater—some 30,000 of them so far. Fans also wrote their memories of attending concerts at Irvine Meadows on large boards put up during concerts near the entrance to the venue. A large sampling of those comments from fans, some playful, others poignant, was displayed at the press conference announcing the plans for a proposed interim facility near the Great Park. As part of the plan, Live Nation will design, construct and operate the outdoor facility and adjacent parking, as well as concession and hospitality offerings. The goal is to open in time for the 2017 summer season. FivePoint, working with Live Nation and the city of Irvine, hopes to secure the necessary permits for the proposed venue. “Live outdoor music is so important culturally and economically for Irvine and the region,” says Irvine City Councilmember Christina Shea. “Having a facility of this size and quality in the heart of this city is a big win for us and all of Orange County. I want to thank FivePoint and Live Nation for partnering on this project. I can’t wait to see the interim amphitheater finished and continue the important discussions about putting a permanent amphitheater in the Great Park. n

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his inspirational remarks, FivePoint Chairman and CEO Emile Haddad announced the company would continue to sponsor the event for another three years, and added an additional $100,000 endowment donation to IPSF. The Spirit of Excellence honorees included the band Thrice. All four of its members are Irvine public school alumni. After hearing the lead singer’s thoughtful speech and the song they played, they may have a new set of fans, perhaps slightly out of the band’s usual age demographic. Irvine’s own Will Ferrell was awarded the Spirit of Excellence in the Arts award. While the University High School grad was absent, he was present in spirit as 17-year-old Ryan Lee

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channelled Ferrell’s Ron Burgundy character, doing an excellent job accepting on his behalf. Speaking of accepting, Lee is also the recipient of the $10,000 IPSF Scholarship for the Arts in Honor of Will Ferrell. The Spirit of Excellence Legacy Award was given to the Irvine Company, and deservedly so, for its dedication to education and support of IPSF. In September, the company announced it was pledging an additional $20 million to Irvine public schools over the next 10 years. That’s a renewal of the company’s initial $20 million, 10-year grant that has funded art, music and science teachers for every fourththrough sixth-grade class in the district. n

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IPSF PRESIDENT AND CEO NEDA EATON SPEAKS AT THE GALA. PHOTO COURTESY LIA STUDE, WERKIT PHOTO

IPSF gala nets $780K for school kids EDUCATION

by Irvine City News staff

T

he 20th anniversary of Irvine Public Schools Foundation had a successful kickoff on a

recent Saturday night. The chic soirée drew Irvine public education supporters to the “who knew it was this cool?” Kia Motors headquarters in Irvine. The 7th annual Spirit of Excellence fundraising gala was a black tie event, and guests were dressed in their best. But unlike some charitable events, this one had a sense of fun. Rock stars (Thrice) and a nationally known comedic writer and actor (SNL alum Nasim Pedrad) brought entertainment value to it. Plus, public school students also got into the act, with Woodbridge High School’s Grammy Awardwinning choir singing as well as humorous video skits from

elementary-age kids. We’ll admit that we were holding our breath when the one parodying the Trump vs. Clinton campaign debates began. But it was clever, and age appropriate. IPSF President and CEO Neda Eaton set the tone, helped introduce honorees and kept everyone engaged in the reason for the evening: keeping Irvine schools great. She reminded the crowd that IPSF, since 1996, has donated more than $63 million to support Irvine schools, and has helped some 15,000 students directly, with scholarships to enrichment programs and more. FivePoint was presenting sponsor of the event. As part of

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Opinion

by Jacob Levy

E

EDITOR AND PUBLISHER

lections always seem to carry a good deal of angst with them. Each one is deemed the most important election of the generation. The 2016 election is no different. We strongly support the slate of candidates we’ve endorsed for the upcoming Irvine city elections. We urge you to vote for Don Wagner for mayor, and Christina Shea and Anthony Kuo for city council. We feel the direction of the city could change

irvinecitynews.com

Let’s get out and vote! fundamentally for the worse if the city leadership reverts to the control of Larry Agran and his slate. A vote for Wagner, Shea and Kuo is a vote for the future, and not the past. We’re not worried about the major institutions in the city. Irvine Unified School District, UCI, Irvine Police Department, Irvine Ranch Water District and the city staff, among other important entities, will survive, and thrive. Each is a world-class organization. Together, they help make Irvine what it is. Irvine Co. and FivePoint are the developers who have the strongest impact on the city. We know the quality of their projects,

past, present and future. They’ve helped make the city great, and with thoughtful input from the city staff, council and Irvine citizenry, we have no doubt they will continue to do so. Our citizens are intelligent and engaged, our businesses, schools, and places of worship are thriving. Irvine is a tremendous success. But that just makes the Nov. 8 city elections that much more crucial. The city needs strong leadership, not a visit from the ghost of scandals past. But what about the presidency? The detail oriented among you likely noticed that we did not make a presidential endorsement. That’s primarily because

we’re a local paper. But we also felt it important to explain our “No endorsement” position publicly. Various social media sites have assumed that Irvine City News is a Republican newspaper, and that as such we must be Trump supporters. We suppose the Republican presumption is because we’re anti-Agran in the Irvine city elections. And, while those elections are meant to be non-partisan, most know that Agran is self-identified as a Democrat. First clue is that he ran for the presidential nomination of that party. But, while we may tend toward the conservative side of the political spectrum, we are more of a platform- and position-centric publication, and less dependent on personality or party. We’re comfortable based on the polls that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will win the state of California in the election (we saw a poll that gave her a 99.9 percent chance here), and with

it the presidency. And, while we may not be the biggest fans of Mrs. Clinton, we are certain that the Republic will survive her presidency. In fact, most likely it will thrive. That’s just what this great country does. Whether because of her or in spite of her, time will tell. We’re not so sure the same can be said of her opponent. Even those we know who are voting for him agree that Trump does not reflect the diversity, optimism, intelligence, or giving heart of this city, or this nation. We believe strongly in our city, county and country. We are bullish about our future. To ensure it, we urge everyone to vote in this election. Take into consideration all that you’ve read and heard, here and elsewhere. Then vote your conscience and your pocketbook. Vote for your children and for your community. But vote. And we’ll see you back here in December to discuss what’s ahead for this great place where we’re all so lucky to live. n

Local gem TAKE A BREAK FROM THE BIG CITY AT THIS IRVINE SANCTUARY COMMUNITY

by Irvine City News staff

N

eed a respite from the bustling, cosmopolitan, global success story that Irvine has become? The amazing San Joaquin Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary, only minutes away, is often overlooked amid the wealth of parks and open space opportunities CONTINUED ON PAGE 9 >>

ONE OF THE HISTORIC BUILDINGS AT THE IRWD SAN JOAQUIN WILDLIFE SANCTUARY


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RECREATION

FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS

GEM FROM PAGE 8

residents enjoy. There are some 300 acres of coastal wetlands tucked in between the 405, Jamboree and Newport’s Back Bay. There are 12 miles of trails, some 200 species of birds and a collection of quaint and historic buildings on the grounds. But the wetlands aren’t here just for our enjoyment: they’re a crucial part of the Irvine Ranch Water District’s (IRWD) water conservation and treatment system. The runoff from San Diego Creek, which drains much of the city, arrives in the ponds and marshes where it sits and seeps amid the plants as nature intended, until some 70 percent of the nitrogen is removed, making it much cleaner and safer when it enters the Back Bay. Even if you’re not much of a bird-watcher or hiker, the charm of the historic restored ranch houses and buildings on the site make it worth a visit. One of the first historical refurbishment projects was an old ranch windmill, which now sits at the entrance to the Michelson Water Recycling Plant. IRWD

also restored and relocated three historic farm homes that were built on the Irvine Ranch in the early 1900s. IRWD provides the Audubon House facility to the local Sea and Sage chapter of the National Audubon Society, an organization dedicated to teaching about birds, wildlife and conservation. The building is like a mini-museum of taxidermy, exhibits, and a great little bookstore and shop. Another charmingly restored building is called the Duck Club. While the Audubon House served as the old bunkhouse for the two hunting clubs that operated at the San Joaquin Marsh from the 1940s until 1988, the Duck Club was used as a gathering place for the hunters, according to the IRWD website. Today, the entire area is a true community resource, with guided nature hikes and birding expeditions at the marsh and sanctuary, while nonprofits and IRWD customers can reserve certain of the buildings for events and gatherings. n irwd.com/san-joaquin-marsh/ san-joaquin-marsh

One of the most happening spots in Irvine on Friday nights in the fall is the Orange County Great Park. The parking lots are packed near the lighted fields of the South Lawn, where hundreds of kids from K-8th grade play flag football in the Matt Leinart League. The emphasis is on community fun in the NFL-affiliated league, where both boys and girls of all skill levels enjoy games of competitive, confidence building, non-contact football. Eight games take place at once, as each of the four fields is divided in two. So 16 teams may be playing at once,

creating a colorful and exciting scene as players don replica jerseys of real NFL teams. The gridiron action at the Great Park serves as a preview of how exciting it will be as the phases of the 175-acre Sports Park debut. Irvine is already an incredible center of youth and adult sports, and that status will only increase as the new Sports Park amenities open. Currently the city offers youth and club softball, soccer, baseball, basketball, football and lacrosse on its fields and community parks, as well as toplevel swimming and diving at the Aquatic Center, and swim teams at community pools. Irvine has Rangers, Colts, Dolphins, Tigers, Pythons, Nomads, and Slammers, among other teams in youth and adult sports leagues, including 25 Irvinebased, nonprofit youth sports organizations. The city’s parks and recreation

department already manages 41 soccer fields, 48 ball diamonds and 87 tennis courts in community and neighborhood parks. Irvine’s amazing park system, which includes 19 community parks, 39 neighborhood parks and the Orange County Great Park, was No. 8 in the U.S. earlier this year in the Trust for Public Land ranking. The ranking is based on access, amenities, size and investment in each city’s park system. New York City was No. 7, just one point ahead of Irvine. We’ll bet that ranking will only rise as the Sports Park acreage is added to the already impressive open space and park inventory. n parkscore.tpl.org/ rankings.php cityofirvine.org/ parks-facilities


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raffic on irvinecitynews.com has been heavy, as visitors weighed in on the election and other city news during October. Hundreds more are posting to our Facebook page, evidence that Irvine residents are making their voices heard. Regarding Irvine City News’ endorsements of Wagner, Shea and Kuo: Bobi Rush Happy to read of Anthony Kuo being so endorsed. He is the BEST for our city!

Lori Barner I voted for all 3 of them.

Harrison K. Long Donald P. Wagner is an excellent leader and will be a great mayor for the city of Irvine!

Regarding the announcement of plans to build an interim amphitheater in Irvine:

“REMEMBERING OUR FALLEN” EXHIBIT IN 2015. PHOTO COURTESY NORTHWOOD GRATITUDE AND HONOR MEMORIAL

Military A memories: Giving thanks for their sacrifice COMMUNITY

by Irvine City News staff

griculture and airplanes shaped the history of Irvine. Farmers and ranchers helped feed a nation. Servicemen and women served to save it. In a month when many of us give thanks for all we’ve received in this life, honoring those who gave all is not only appropriate, but the very least we can do. The Marine Corps family history is particularly strong one in Irvine. It all started in 1942, when the U.S. was building up its military after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Looking for West Coast air station sites, the government paid then-farmer James Irvine Sr. $100,000 for 4,000 acres of agricultural land. The plan: build the largest Marine Corps Air Station in the western U.S. By January of 1943, that was a reality, with the first operational units arriving at MCAS El Toro. Decommissioned in 1999 after 57 years of service, it’s now The Great Park Orange County. Nearby, what would become

Marine Corps Air Station Tustin, better known today as the Blimp Hangars, was established at the same time. The base played an important role in naval aviation for 50 years. One of the best places in Irvine to remember the military at Thanksgiving, and throughout the year is the Northwood Gratitude and Honor Memorial, which is “the nation’s only memorial dedicated exclusively to honoring by name all of America’s fallen from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.” The memorial started informally, when Irvine resident Asher Milgrom began building wooden crosses for each service member killed as the Iraq war began in 2003. The permanent memorial was dedicated in August 2013 honoring by name each American who died in Afghanistan and Iraq, according to official casualty lists. n For more information, visit northwoodmemorial.com

Kevin Lavalle I think it looks great and will be a cool thing for the community. Now, we’re an outdoor concert venue away from making this one of the finest cities in the world. Make it happen. Please! Give me Irvine Meadows Part 2!!!

Colette Hory Great. Let’s get it up and running for next year’s Jimmy Buffett and Michael Franti concerts :)

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On the money

We have a long list of superlatives the city of Irvine has earned. It seems we need to update it with new honors and awards, if not monthly, then at least quarterly. A recent and recurring bit of recognition comes from Money magazine, which recently ranked Irvine at No. 20 for its 2016 Best Places to Live in the United States list. Glass-half-empty types have pointed out that the ranking is not as good as the No. 14 the city scored in 2014, but we’re not really into negativity right now. We too often take for granted what an amazing place Irvine is, and instead focus on what could be improved. Let’s have a little less whining and bit more thankfulness, at least from Nov. 9 until Thanksgiving!

Kudos for Lt. Kent

Speaking of being thankful and appreciative, let’s hear it for the blue crew who helps keep us safe, safer, safest. Irvine Police Dept. Lieutenant Michael Kent has been recognized as one of the “40 under 40” by the International Association of Chiefs of Police. The award acknowledges 40 law enforcement professionals younger than 40 years old who demonstrate leadership and exemplify commitment to their profession. Lt. Kent is a 15-year veteran of the IPD who got his first look at the department in the 1990s, when he served as an IPD Explorer.

Green means go!

Yes, we’ll admit it: we’ve grumbled when stuck at a left-hand turn signal for more than a single cycle of the stoplight sequence, and have wished for more signal synchronization while attempting to make it across the city during rush hour. Money magazine pegged Irvine’s commute time as 22 minutes, which in the scheme of things isn’t that bad (the No. 1 city on the Money list, Columbia, Maryland, has a 29-minute commute). But it could be better, and city staff and city council have been taking on the challenge, as we’re sure the next council will do, too. The recommendations of the Citywide Comprehensive Traffic Study that are being implemented include spending $116 million on improving traffic over coming months and years. The study recommends improving 23 intersections, including adding additional lanes; widening sections of University Dr. and Jamboree Rd. and working with Caltrans to improve signal timing at major intersections. Upcoming issues of Irvine City News will include more in-depth coverage of traffic issues, and potential solutions for the city’s roadway system, which despite its issues is “exceptional and well maintained,” according to the expert consultants hired by the city. n

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WHAT REALLY MATTERS


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Top Through 1.19 Masterpieces of California Art

The Irvine Museum will display celebrated works painted in California between 1890 and 1940 from the collection of The Irvine Museum, as well as paintings from several important private collections. Irvinemuseum.org

Through Nov. 6 East Meets West Dance Festival

UCI’s Department of Dance at hosts a dance festival featuring Beijing Dance Academy, Beijing Normal University and Shanghai Normal University, with classes and seminars, plus two dance performances on Nov. 5 in Claire Trevor Theatre. arts.uci.edu/event/east-meets-west

irvinecitynews.com

Things To Do in November Through 11.13 Rhythm at Great Park Gallery

An art and music mash-up of an exhibit at Orange County Great Park Gallery, Rhythm features the paintings and other works by Moby and other musicians. cityofirvine.org/orange-countygreat-park

11.4-11.5 Holiday Faire Art Showcase

Irvine Fine Arts Center hosts artisans offering their creative handmade gifts for purchase. The festive event includes holiday music and an interactive craft area. cityofirvine.org/irvine-fine-artscenter/holiday-faire

FLOWERS UNDER THE OAKS, BY GRANVILLE REDMOND, AT IRVINE MUSEUM

11.7-12.11 Holiday Toy Drive

Donate an unwrapped gift for kids ages infant-12 to help Irvine’s adopted Marine Battalion families have happier holidays. Drop gifts off at City Hall, Irvine Police Dept., and Great Park Visitors Center. cityofirvine.org/play/community-services-department/specialevents

11.11 Veterans Day

Honor the service and sacrifice of veterans at a special ceremony 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at Col. Bill Barber Marine Corps Memorial Park. cityofirvine.org/play/community-services-department/specialevents

“ODYSSEO”

11.12-11.20 UCI Drama: “Parade” at Irvine Barclay Theatre

Presented by UCI’s Claire Trevor School of the Arts, “Parade” is a musical by playwright Alfred Uhry (“Driving Miss Daisy”) about the dangers of prejudice and ignorance. thebarclay.org

11.16-1.8 “Odysseo” Equestrian Show

It’s the return engagement of the wildly successful equine extravaganza under the big white tent in Quail Hill. Known as the world’s largest touring production, “Odysseo” by Cavalia brings the equestrian arts, stage arts and high-tech theatrical effects together at never-beforeseen levels. cavalia.net

11.26 Homay: Live in Concert at Irvine Barclay

Parvaz Homay is an Iranian composer, lyricist, vocalist, and performer specializing in Persian classical-style music. Homay will perform accompanied by a symphony orchestra conducted by Enrico Gerola. thebarclay.org

11.28 An Irish Christmas

Featuring world-champion Irish dancers Scott Doherty (Riverdance) and Tyler Schwartz (Gaelforce Dance), an Irish Christmas features dancing, traditional singing and authentic Irish music. thebarclay.org

Irvine City News 11.2016  

The community newspaper of the city of Irvine

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