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DECEMBER 2016 COMMUNITY

ART AND CULTURE

Driving around the Orange County Great Park just got a whole lot easier with the debut of two new roads

The Irvine Museum’s collection of iconic California Impressionism art is donated to UCI

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WHAT REALLY MATTERS irvinecitynews.com

Business

City

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DINING

The Stand brings all-American diner cuisine like hamburgers and hotdogs to Irvine

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IrvineCityNews Opinion

Education

Life

Sports

Community

Feature

Fox & Friends: A recap of the 2016 Irvine city election

Agenda 2017

FEATURE

by Irvine City News staff

10 TOP PRIORITIES FOR IRVINE’S NEW LEADERS ELECTION

by Irvine City News staff

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he long Irvine city election season is over, the ubiquitous campaign signs are down (mostly) and the new mayor and city council are preparing to govern. There’s much to be done in Irvine, but what should be the priority? Submitted for consideration to our readers and to the new council, here is Irvine City News’ proposal for the Top 10 most important priorities for the new council’s first 100 days.

IRVINE COUNCIL MEMBER-ELECT MELISSA FOX

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fter the results of the Irvine city elections, the new leaders partnering with citizens, staff and stakeholders to move forward in the city are Melissa Fox and Christina Shea, joining Lynn Schott and Jeffrey Lalloway on the city council, with Don Wagner joining them as mayor. Wagner is assuming the seat of outgoing mayor Steven Choi, who won the 68th State

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CONTINUED ON PAGE 4 >> SHUTTERSTOCK


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AGENDA FROM PAGE 1

Publisher’s Note

LOOKING FORWARD

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ith the 2016 election now past, I’ve been musing on what the future may hold for our city, state and country. When I look forward, I find it instructive to first look to the past. In this case to the city’s first election. In one of heaviest turnouts in Orange County incorporation election history, on December 21, 1971 the residents of Irvine overwhelmingly approved becoming OC’s 26th incorporated city. And we think this year’s slate of candidates was large: The city’s first city council was elected from a field of 32 candidates. A few days later, a reporter for the Daily Pilot described the experience of that election. “It isn’t every day a reporter gets a chance to observe the birth of a new city,” wrote George Leidal. “Somehow the past few weeks have led me to feel like I’ve just been assigned to cover, via time capsule, the sailing of the Mayflower. People I’ve met in Irvine,

thus far, exude an infectious spirit of hope for their new city. “The seas the new city government and the city’s 18,000 residents will sail in the next few months are smoothed by the thought that this city, unlike any other in history, may become something other than a pretty, suburbia-perfect new town. It may indeed set the standard for a new city. “The difference between Irvine and any other new town is that while others are truly company towns, dominated by the master-planning of the developers, Irvine is the lone experiment in residential land use now controlled by a citizen selected city government.” As we celebrate Irvine’s 45th anniversary, let’s take time to think of and thank the city’s founders, and those who followed, for all the amazing gifts we’ve been given as citizens of Irvine. And let’s honor their example by doing our best to improve the city for all. 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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Commit to traffic improvement

The outgoing city council took traffic issues seriously enough to move forward with enacting recommendations of the Citywide Comprehensive Traffic Study by spending $116 million on improving traffic flow over the coming months and years. The projects include improving 23 intersections, including adding additional lanes; widening sections of University Dr. and Jamboree Rd.; building the much-needed pedestrian overpass at Jamboree and Michelson; and synchronizing signals at major intersections and freeway overpasses, which requires coordination with CalTrans. These are all very practical infrastructure improvements that should improve traffic incrementally in the city. But we’d like to see a bit more vision woven into the process. The first step the new council should take is to hire a “traffic czar” as Mayor-elect Don Wagner described it during his campaign, or a City Traffic Engineer, as the traffic study recommends. We urge the council to seek out someone exceptional for this position with the skills to not only handle the daily nuts and bolts of managing infrastructure improvement, but who also can imagine and implement a traffic and transit master plan for the city. Working with OCTA, Metrolink, UCI, the major developers and city staff, Irvine should develop a plan that looks to the future, incorporating the newest and emerging technology and transit thought leadership. Let’s have road, rail and transit plans that are worthy of the visionary master planning of Irvine’s past.

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Approve a plan for Cultural Terrace, and pave the way for building to begin on the next vital section of the Orange County Great Park

As reported in this and other issues of Irvine City News, several key elements that will make Irvine truly proud of the Orange County Great Park are well underway, or at least planned, funded and approved. These include the Sports Park; the Anaheim Duck ice complex, the Great Park Neighborhoods residential areas and schools; and the roadways and infrastructure. But one of the most important parts of the park remains somewhat in limbo. There was a certain amount of pre-election prevarication about plans for the Cultural Terrace at the Orange County Great Park. No one wanted to take a definitive stand, it seemed, on what should be there, and what should not. Some suggested even more studies and additional community input. As an April 2016 story in the Orange County Register noted, “Last year, the council affirmed its priorities for the future Cultural Terrace: a library, a lake, an amphitheater, museums and an outdoor festival space.” Since, the council has also confirmed its goal to have a Wild Rivers replacement at the Orange County Great Park. Irvine City News urges the city council to move forward decisively and get the Cultural Terrace planned, approved, funded and underway. While there are leases for facilities on the Cultural Terrace part of the park that will expire in 2018, that’s no reason not to move forward on the 260-acre parcel. The time for studies that delay the progress Irvine residents deserve is over.

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Approve the plans for an interim amphitheater

One of the quickest ways the city leadership can demonstrate that its leaving the petty political divisions of the past behind is to quickly move and approve the plans for a proposed interim amphitheater as

a temporary replacement for the loss of Irvine Meadows. FivePoint has already applied for a conditional use permit with the city to allow Live Nation to design and build a 12,000-seat outdoor music amphitheater on approximately 45 acres the company owns next to the Orange County Great Park. Under this plan, Live Nation will design, construct and operate the outdoor facility and adjacent parking for fans, as well as concession and hospitality offerings, with the goal of opening in time for the 2017 summer season. The proposed site is within walking distance of the train station, is as far from residential communities as one can get in Irvine, and has the support of thousands of people who signed petitions in support of continuing live music in Irvine. Certainly, we expect city staff to exercise due diligence on the proposal. But how the city council considers the proposal and expedites its approval will be a telling sign of how the new council will lead the city forward.

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Create a campaign to restore pride in Irvine

There is a great deal of creative talent in Irvine. We’d love to see a competition for a campaign extolling the positive aspects of living in the city. After an election campaign that focused on what’s wrong with Irvine, let’s see an emphasis on what makes the city amazing. Certainly, the council needs to address traffic and the other issues raised during the campaign and in this story. But let’s do so in an atmosphere focused on pride in the place we live.

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Continue to support the city’s public schools

There’s a direct and clear causal connection between the quality of life in Irvine and the excellence of its public school system. We CONTINUED ON PAGE 3 >>


DECEMBER 2016

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THE NEW MARINE WAY INTERSECTION IN THE ORANGE COUNTY GREAT PARK

AGENDA FROM PAGE 2

urge the new city council to take every opportunity to continue to support Irvine Unified School District and the Irvine Public Schools Foundation. This fiscal year alone the city is contributing more than $9 million to Irvine’s public schools, with some $20 million over support over the past decade. We are confident the incoming council will continue to support Irvine’s schools.

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Create a mandate that the city council display “aspirational leadership”

It’s the nature of a city council to get bogged down in minutia. Attention to detail is important in municipal government, of course. But too often we’ve seen political agendas of obstruction, blame and competitiveness get in the way of progress in the

city. Which is why Irvine City News suggests the council think beyond the day-to-day issues of governance, and aspire to greatness by adopting the strategies of aspirational leadership. The council should speak to people’s hopes and values, so more citizens will want to get involved— and stay engaged longer. It takes an aspirational vision to build support for change. An article in the Stanford Social Innovation

points out that, “The first step toward achieving transformational change is for our leaders to set an ambitious, but achievable goal. Few are inspired to give their precious time, energy, and resources to maintain the status quo.” Aspirational leaders value and model integrity, focus on relationships and earn, build and maintain trust. We hope the mayor and city council adopt those principals in the way they work with each

other, and in how they inspire us all to reach new levels of greatness in our community.

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Stop the county’s plans to develop high-density apartments and commercial buildings on the 100-acre Great Park parcel

As part of annexation agreements CONTINUED ON PAGE 4 >>


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AGENDA FROM PAGE 3

between the city of Irvine, the county of Orange and other entities, the county has control of 100 acres of land on the side of the Orange County Great Park that runs along the railway line. Potential uses for the acreage listed in that original agreements are reported to include an animal shelter, vehicle storage or a law enforcement training facility. The county’s recent proposal to build nearly 1.9 million square feet of office space, 2,103 housing units, 220,000 feet of commercial space and a 242-room hotel on that land is outrageous, and would add 47,000 daily car trips a day to our crowded streets. Every council member came out strongly against the proposal, as did O.C. Supervisor Todd Spitzer. In news reports, a county official said he believes Irvine’s strong reaction to the proposed project was political, not practical, calling it “public theater.” We suggest the new council immediately disabuse the county of the possibility that objections are not real by aggressively pursing all legal and political options to block the over development of the site.

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Establish and strengthen ties with higher education institutions (UCI, IVC, Concordia) to better benefit from their successes

The opportunities for higher education and research at the universities and colleges in the city are key elements of the success of the community. While the city’s relations with those institutions have been positive, we believe this city council can do better. We’d like to see the city take a leading role in facilitating and improving already existing innovation incubators, technology transfer programs and thought leadership opportunities in cooperation with the schools,

while also reaching out to the students and faculties to make certain they feel valued members of the Irvine community.

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Finally give our veterans an answer on the veterans cemetery so we can all begin the work of building their final resting place

In April, the Irvine City Council chose to ignore a proposal to discuss a potential alternate site for the Southern California Veterans Cemetery promised on the former MCAS El Toro base. The proposal to relocate the cemetery was brought to the city council for consideration by the Orange County Veterans Memorial Park Foundation, a group that has been championing a state-run cemetery for veterans in Orange County. “I’m not mad at them, just a bit perplexed,” the foundation’s chairman Bill Cook said in the days following the City Council session. “The real surprise to all of us is that they didn’t even consider it. They didn’t vote. They didn’t second. They didn’t even consider a very generous offer that’s going to save someone millions of dollars.” At the time, the cost of a cemetery on the original site wasn’t known. But in June the estimate to prepare the site was set at $77 million for site preparation, demolition of 70 structures, environmental study and remediation, and construction. Then a July 26 memo from the city manager informed the city council that $10 million is the maximum grant expected from the federal government for the project. The original relocation proposal was made possible through a land swap offered by FivePoint, developer of the Great Park Neighborhoods. The 125 acres of land offered on the south side of the park was primarily used for agriculture

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and would not have require extensive demolition or upgrading before construction of the cemetery could begin. We urge the new city council to revisit the issue. As we wrote last August: “The debate over the proposed cemetery swap was contentious, with some in the city claiming the new site offer was an attempt to kill the cemetery in its entirety. What seems clear now is that a $67 million shortfall is much more likely to delay or kill the much-needed cemetery honoring veterans than would a city’s elected officials taking time to consider alternatives. That is if the land swap is even still an option. If this city council doesn’t have the gumption to admit it was wrong and give FivePoint CEO Emile Haddad a call to see if the offer is still in the offing, then hopefully the next one will.”

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Develop a plan, both practical and visionary, for growth in Irvine Business Complex

Growth in the IBC was the focus of several of the campaigns, including the successful ones, in the 2016 mayoral and city council races. The future of this vital Irvine community isn’t as easy as limiting new development there. With what’s already been built, is under construction, or has been approved, a new community is emerging. How should this new neighborhood be brought up to Irvine standards for the many residents living there already, or who will soon be there? That’s a key question for the mayor, city council and staff. We’ll address it in our next issue. n

FOX FROM PAGE 1

Assembly seat that Wagner is leaving due to term limits, and Fox is replacing council member Beth Krom, who is retiring from the council. Takeaways from the election include the power of name recognition. Everyone that won has been on Irvine ballots before. Shea has long served Irvine on the city council and as mayor. She was first elected to the council in 1992 and served until she was elected mayor of Irvine in 1996. She was mayor until 2000. She returned to the city council from 2002 to 2010 then again in 2012 and now 2016. “I look forward to the next four years to ensure that we maintain a wonderful community,” Shea said on the Wednesday after the election. Wagner was elected in 1998 to the South Orange County

Community College District board, and was a successful candidate for California State Assembly in 2010, 2012 and 2014. Fox was on the ballot as a candidate for California State Assembly District 70 and in the 2014 city council election before her successful run this year. Though Irvine City News endorsed Don Wagner, Christina Shea and Anthony Kuo and not Melissa Fox, her record of service to the city and the trust shown in her by the voters and those who endorsed her candidacy gives us confidence that she will serve the city well. As the newest member of the council, Irvine residents look forward to getting to know her, her views and her votes much better over the next four years. Toward that goal, here are highlights from her service to CONTINUED ON PAGE 5 >>

CITY OF IRVINE Mayor Completed Precincts: 101 of 101

DONALD P. WAGNER MARY ANN GAIDO GANG CHEN KATHERINE DAIGLE DAVID CHEY

VOTE COUNT

PERCENTAGE

28,055 24,583 10,656 7,361 2,767

38.2% 33.5% 14.5% 10.0% 3.8%

CITY OF IRVINE Member, City Council Number To Vote For: 2 Completed Precincts: 101 of 101

CHRISTINA L. SHEA MELISSA FOX ANTHONY KUO FARRAH N. KHAN ANILA ALI SHIVA FARIVAR DALE CHEEMA COURTNEY SANTOS MATTHEW EHORN HYUNJOUNG “GENII” AHN IAN DAELUCIAN SOURCE: BALLOTPEDIA

VOTE COUNT

PERCENTAGE

26,375 22,503 19,978 14,992 9,136 9,021 8,218 6,100 4,502 4,201 3,966

20.4% 17.4% 15.5% 11.6% 7.1% 7.0% 6.4% 4.7% 3.5% 3.3% 3.1%


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FOX FROM PAGE 4

the community, as noted in her biography and on the website Ballotpedia: Fox is a member of the Bars of the State of California and the United States Tax Court. She holds a B.A. in English language and literature from Brandeis University and a J.D. law degree from Tulane University. Fox runs her own law firm, the Fox Firm. She has served as president of the National Women’s Political Caucus of California and on the Irvine Community Services Commission and the board of directors of the Beckman High School Football Boosters and Wrestling Boosters. Fox has volunteered as a Sea Scouts leader and been a member of the Exchange Club of Irvine, the Irvine Chamber of Commerce, the Orange County Park Ranger Reserve, the Women Lawyers Association, and Women in Leadership. Fox and her husband, Michael, have a son, Max Irvine Unified School Board president Paul Bokota, who won his bid to return to the board in the 2016 election, endorsed Fox in her successful bid to join the city council. Irvine City News enthusiastically supported Bokota’s candidacy, so his endorsement of Fox sent a positive message. “As IUSD Board President, and an IUSD parent, I know that the School Board needs allies on the Irvine City Council who care about ensuring Irvine’s tradition of educational excellence,” Bokota said. “Melissa Fox shares my passion for education excellence in Irvine and is committed to helping us continue the success of our Irvine schools.” The Orange County League of Conservation Voters, the Orange County Sierra Club, the Orange County Professional Firefighters and current Irvine and council members Lynn Schott and Beth Krom endorsed Fox. In an upcoming issue, we’ll have a Q&A conversation with Melissa Fox about her plans for the coming city council. n

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DINING

THE STAND

One of our pet peeves about the always-evolving Irvine dining scene is when pessimists and scolds take to the blogs, comment boards and social media platforms to complain when a chain restaurant closes and is replaced by something more contemporary. Yes, we understand it’s hard when an old favorite goes. But we think folks doth protest too much when they go out of their way to bemoan the loss of restaurants devoted to what they describe as “American” cuisine. What is American food, anyway? Perhaps it’s the pizza and hamburgers that are connected to the cuisine of Italian and German immigrants of another era—Irvine has had dozens of new restaurants offering those

COURTESY THE STAND

exotic dishes debut in recent years. Or could it be pho, nem nuong and banh mi prepared by second- and third-generation American chefs of Vietnamese heritage, whose families first came here in the 1970s and ’80s. Or is it the wide variety of Chinese cuisine that’s been served at California restaurants since the Gold Rush era? That’s before California was a state, and before

anyone named Irvine bought his first acre of Rancho land hereabouts. Today, seven Irvine restaurants made Register food critic Brad Johnson’s list of the best Chinese restaurants in Orange County, so we’re certainly continuing the pre-American culinary tradition. To go on would be to belabor the point that we are a nation of immigrants, and the broth in the melting pot that is America is well

spiced with wide variety of what once were considered exotic ethnic foods. All that being said, those who love a wide variety of cuisine have reason to celebrate the opening of The Stand, which its owners and marketers describe as “offering American classics redefined.” The restaurant debuted recently at Oak Creek Shopping Center, where Baja Fresh used to be. The fast casual chain with several locations in L.A. offers a contemporary take on a diner-like menu. There’s a wide variety of choices, including sandwiches (spicy beef short rib and cilantro lime chicken are standouts), 11 burgers, eight hot dogs and sausages, 20 draft beers, salads, and more. And each item is also customizable, with 20 toppings that can be added to burgers and hot dogs. Favorite burger choices so far include El Capitan, which is topped with braised short rib, pickled peppers, guacamole and chimichurri, and the Westside Veggie. The latter has the best veggie patty in town, featuring a moist yet crisp brown rice base loaded with vegetables one can actually taste. We prefer it without the garlic mushrooms it comes loaded with, though. Happily, The Stand has a good and cheap kids menu (five items @ $4.75 each), two big TVs for sports lovers, an open kitchen and a nice patio. Plus, the shopping center’s adjacent common area has been remodeled, with nicer seating than before. Irvine families will love this place, though for the xenophobic among us, beware: the menu does offer foreignsounding choices that include bratwurst, guacamole, chimichurri, ciabatta, siracha, aioli, parmesan and porchetta, not to mention something really scary called “kale.” n


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Open letter from IUSD Superintendent Terry Walker EDUCATION

Irvine Unified School District Superintendent Terry Walker sent this important letter to IUSD families. In case anyone missed it, we’re reprinting it here. In IUSD, we enjoy a rich diversity of cultures, languages, religions and viewpoints. We know that this diversity enables our students to understand and embrace our differences – it is our strength. We also know that our students need to hear and to see examples of respectful dialogue and discussion. They need to trust that they can express their ideas without fear of censure or retribution. IUSD staff are committed to the values of equity and inclusion, which means supporting the right of all students to express their feelings and opinions, respectfully. This past election year offered many teachable moments. Our educators have facilitated thoughtful discussions in classes throughout our schools. However, the tone and tenor of the current political discourse has raised concerns for some of our students and their families. These concerns have been communicated to the District Office and to our schools. The sentiments expressed stem from what our children have observed from an election that was, at times, uncivil and contradicted the respectful exchange of ideas we expect from our

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children at school and at home. While we must refrain from endorsing any political point of view, we do have a responsibility to ensure our campuses are safe and that our students are respectful of each other. To this end, all IUSD schools implement what is known as Positive Behavior Interventions Support (PBIS). Among the many benefits of PBIS, it establishes values, expectations and guidelines for positive student behavior, irrespective of the behaviors students may observe through the media and in our society today. PBIS is a constant on IUSD campuses and our staff have continued to remind students about the importance of being good citizens who represent respectful and appropriate interactions with their fellow students and those in our community. We will not tolerate bullying or discrimination for any reason in our schools. Please take a moment to discuss the importance of respectful dialogue with your children and we will continue to do the same at school. If your child needs support or help expressing any concerns or fears he or she may have, please contact your school principal or school psychologist. You may also contact the Irvine Family Resource Center for additional resources. The safety and wellbeing of our students is our top priority. Thank you for your continued engagement, partnership and support, which enables IUSD to best serve our students. n Sincerely,

Terry L. Walker Superintendent of Schools, Irvine Unified School District

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ENTERTAINMENT

IRVINE DANCERS IN AMERICAN PACIFIC BALLET’S “THE NUTCRACKER.” BACK ROW, LEFT TO RIGHT: RANDAL HANS, CHRISTINA WODARZ, JULIETTE NG, MARIA WODARZ, ALICIA HANS. MIDDLE ROW: CAMILLE NG, PAULINA WODARZ, JOHN JIRJIS, MOLLY SMITH, SYLVIA RUSZAT. FRONT ROW: JOCELYN WANG, LAUREN KATZ, JULIA JIRJIS.

NUTCRACKER NOTES

For many, attending a performance of the Nutcracker ballet is as much a part of the holidays as choosing a Christmas tree or giving gifts. In Irvine, we have many performances to choose from, including Maple Youth Ballet’s presentation at Northwood Performing Arts Center in Irvine. The Irvine-based youth ballet organization puts on an amazing show, with the added benefit of kid-friendly activities and a Nutcracker boutique before and after select shows. Irvine Barclay Theatre hosts Festival Ballet Theatre’s production of “The Nutcracker” beginning Dec. 10 and running through Christmas Eve. The full-length traditional production is choreographed and directed by Festival Ballet Theatre’s artistic director, Salwa Rizkalla, and features professional guest performances by dancers from San Francisco Ballet, New York City Ballet, and former American Ballet Theater principals. Speaking of ABT, the

world-renowned ballet company will be appearing at Segerstrom Center for the Arts this month with what is perhaps the region’s most prestigious Nutcracker performance. Featuring Orange County favorite Misty Copeland among the principals appearing on different nights, the ballet also features students from ABT William J. Gillespie School. Though the production is in Fullerton, you’re certain to see Irvine residents dance in American Pacific Ballet’s production of “The Nutcracker” on Dec. 3 and 4, including those in the image above. The company and its ballet school draw mainly from Irvine, Tustin, Orange, and Santa Ana, and the production is a fulllength classic version of “The Nutcracker,” with choreography by the late Mignon Furman, and ballet-trained children dancing the children’s parts. n n mapleconservatory.com n festivalballet.org n scfta.org n americanpacificballet.org


DECEMBER 2016

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UP N G I S ODAY T WOODBRIDGE HIGH SCHOOL, A 2016 NATIONAL GRAMMY SIGNATURE SCHOOL

Irvine Unified schools make beautiful music EDUCATION

by Irvine City News staff

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inning a GRAMMY award is a really big deal. Conductor Georg Solti has won the most ever, with 31. Quincy Jones and Alison Krauss are tied for second at 27. Irvine already has a National GRAMMY winner: the Woodbridge High School music program. Now there’s a chance to add another. Sierra Vista Middle School music teacher Henry Miller is a semifinalist for

the national GRAMMY Music Educator Award presented by the Recording Academy and the GRAMMY Foundation. Mr. Miller is one of 25 semifinalists chosen from 3,300 nominations. Being named a semifinalist is a tribute to his dedication to teaching, and to the excellence of the music program at Sierra Vista and throughout Irvine Unified School District. The Music Educator Award recognizes current educators (K through college, both public and private schools) who have made a significant and lasting contribution to the field of music education and who demonstrate a commitment to the broader cause of maintaining music education in the schools. The folks at the GRAMMY Awards explain it well: “For every performer who makes it to the GRAMMY stage, there was a teacher who played a critical role in getting them there. And really, that’s true for all of us who are making music today. Maybe they introduced you to your first instrument. Or they showed you how to get over your stage fright. Or maybe they just

inspired you to have the confidence to go for it when you were ready to give up. It’s time to say thank you to all of those teachers who put in all of those hours to make sure that all of us love and play music today! And who better to do that than the people who bring you the GRAMMY Awards?” This year’s 25 semifinalists come from 25 cities across 16 states. Five of them are from California, and two from Orange County (Keith Hancock of Tesoro High School in Rancho Santa Margarita is the second, along with Mr. Miller). The 2017 winner will be announced in December, and will be invited to Los Angeles during GRAMMY week to accept the award, attend the GRAMMY Awards ceremony and receive a $10,000 honorarium. The nine other finalists will each receive a $1,000 honorarium, and the schools of all 10 finalists will receive matching grants. This isn’t the first time Mr. Miller and the Sierra Vista music program have been in the news recently. Kevin Miura

VIEWCLEANERS.COM is a talented, dedicated and hard-working violin prodigy who attends Sierra Vista Middle School. Kevin, who also studies at the Colburn School in Los Angeles, competes in international music competitions, including placing second at the Menuhin Competition in London, a prestigious international competition for youth violinists. His playing so impressed at the event that the teenager from Irvine was awarded a special prize: a twoyear loan of a Stradivarius violin. “He’s probably the best musician I’ve ever taught; he’ll probably be the best musician I will ever teach,” Mr. Miller told the OC Register. Hopefully, he’ll join the ranks of Irvine Unified School District’s GRAMMY winning Woodbridge High School, which was named the 2016 National Grammy Signature School for its outstanding music program. It’s one of the most prestigious accolades in

music education. In 2016, the GRAMMY Foundation presented Signature School awards to just 13 schools across the nation. The top three schools were designated Gold recipients. The best of the Gold recipients, Woodbridge High School, was named the National GRAMMY Signature School. The top honor was the first for an Irvine school, though IUSD’s comprehensive high schools have received 12 Gold and Signature Grammy awards. And the year before, in 2015, Irvine, Northwood, University and Woodbridge high schools were among 119 schools nationwide selected as semifinalists the GRAMMY Foundation, making IUSD the only district in the nation with four schools with this designation. Perhaps we should add “Best Music Education in the Nation” to Irvine’s many other superlatives that help make it the best place to live anywhere. n


DECEMBER 2016

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Opinion

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by Jacob Levy EDITOR AND PUBLISHER

inally, the long Irvine election is over. It seems like years ago that the first Gang Chen for Mayor sign appeared, when really it was only several months before it was legal to put such signs up. Perhaps one of the main takeaways from the 2016 election is that election signs annoy Irvine voters. Anything Chen gained in early name recognition from all the premature signage, he likely lost later as the signs from all the candidates proliferated.

Progress at the Park DRIVING TO THE GREAT PARK JUST GOT A WHOLE LOT EASIER COMMUNITY

by Irvine City News staff

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or the past few months anticipation has been building in Irvine for the debut of new and important amenities at the Orange County Great Park, such as the 53-acre segment of the Sports Park opening in 2017, the first phase of what will be a 175-acre center of sports and recreation in the city. Other fantastic facilities are in the planning stages, such as

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Exceptional Irvine The final straw for the Gang show may have been the dueling anti-Wagner and anti-Gaido signs, which many felt he was behind. We’d love to see an analysis of votes received vs. number of signs put up and dollars spent on them. It seems as if it might be an inverse relationship. Or is it our imagination that the winners (Wagner, Shea and Fox) had fewer signs per candidate than the average of each one not elected? Perhaps it was just that there were so many candidates. Certainly it would be unconstitutional and indeed un-American to suggest a cap on the number of candidates that can run in an

election, but there does seem to be a point of diminishing return. In the city council race, Christina Shea won and received the most votes with 26,375 votes, and Melissa Fox will join the incumbent Shea on the city council after receiving 22,503 votes. Third place went to Anthony Kuo with 19,978 votes, followed by Farrah Khan with 14,992. It seems important to note that the final seven candidates received a combined total of almost 45,000 votes, almost as many as the two winners received. So while there are two clear winners in the city council election, it can’t be said that they have an overwhelming mandate from the

voters, as many more voted for those who were not elected than those who were. Still, we hope all Irvine residents get behind this city council. We urge the council to not fall into an entrenched voting split, whether based on party, pervious positions, or any other differentiator. Irvine deserves a professional, passionate and persuasive city council. There are many issues facing the city, but the way forward is firmly footed on a foundation of civic excellence. We’d love to be impressed and inspired by this city council, just as much as we are by our city. We believe it’s within this council’s power to create a plan to finish the Orange County Great Park by moving forward on the last remaining piece of the puzzle: the Cultural Terrace. This council can move beyond the rhetoric revolving around a place to honor the nation’s veterans in a cemetery on the hallowed grounds of the former Marine Corps Air Station El

the very real possibility of an interim amphitheater on former MCAS El Toro land by summer, as a temporary replacement for Irvine Meadows. With such eye-catching additions to the park in the offing, it’s easy to overlook incremental infrastructure additions at the Great Park. But while new and improved roads, intersections and bike lanes may not have the obvious appeal of soccer stadiums and live music amphitheaters, visitors to the Great Park should be pleased to know that the quality of access to the park has just improved exponentially. For some years the only pubic entrance to the Orange County Great Park was via Marine Way, a somewhat awkwardly placed street located off of Sand Canyon and the 5 Freeway. Regulars

Toro, the last American soil so many saw. We think this council can balance economic vitality and sustained, smart growth with a renewed focus on the quality of life in the community. We believe that traffic, while a fact of life in any vital cosmopolitan community, can be mitigated. We’d like to see some innovative solutions suggested to allow fewer auto trips per capita, whether it’s 21st century transit, enhanced pedestrian and cycling solutions, driverless car and bus services, or whatever the best minds in the world see coming next. We’ll be decidedly disappointed if this council split 3-2 on the vital issues facing the city. We hope for collegiality, respectful debate, thought leadership and consensus where possible. We hope and expect to see our esteemed leaders reach and exceed the highest standards. Irvine deserves that, and much more. Let’s aim high, Irvine. It’s about time we worked together for the future of all of our families. n

knew it well, but it was easy to observe the confusion of first-timers trying to access the entrance. Suffice it to say the first impression of the park wasn’t that great. When the Marine Way entrance closed for construction last July, the situation went from acceptable to down right annoying. The main entrance into the Great Park was switched to Trabuco Road, which the Irvine City Council voted unanimously to rename as Great Park Boulevard for the stretch between Sand Canyon and the Great Park. That first stretch of the new access was fine: a four-lane, median-divided Great Park Blvd. is worthy of Irvine. But then one turned right onto a narrow, dark and bumpy road with two oddly-placed stop signs, CONTINUED ON PAGE 9 >> THE NEW STRETCH OF MARINE WAY IN THE ORANGE COUNTY GREAT PARK.


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PROGRESS FROM PAGE 8

including one where our friends in the Irvine Police Department always sat, insuring no one rolled through the second stop sign. Then one was required to wind through a curving course of cones and barriers marking a route through the Squadron Parking Lot, where one could park or drive farther to the Sports Lawn lots. At night, the route was dark and winding and decidedly not worthy of an Irvine destination. But now, all that has changed. Marine Way is reopened, with the addition of a four-lane nicely landscaped extension that goes straight where the two-lane Marine Way used to curve along the perimeter of the park. Life will be much easier for those going to work or volunteer at the Second Harvest Food Bank facility. While Marine Way was closed, access was from the other side of the park. Now, the widened stretch of Marine Way is a much quicker connection, though the four lanes return to two just a bit before Second Harvest. One point to make is that the Marine Way improvements don’t yet extend to Sand Canyon. They begin around where the guard shack used to be. The less-publicized extension of Ridge Valley is as, or more, important than Marine Way. Now, Ridge Valley runs from Irvine Blvd. along the west edge of the Great Park through the Great Park Neighborhoods of Beacon Park and the newly opened Parasol Park, intersecting with Great Park Blvd. and extending past where the Ducks ice complex will soon be under construction, and finally connecting to a new intersection with Marine Way. Confused? Don’t be. Just go drive it. Now, those coming from the north or south have choices in how to access the amenities at Orange County Great Park. With the re-opening of a

much-improved Marine Way and the extension of Ridge Valley, the access to the park is so much improved that these streets should be celebrated. More road improvements are imminent, with extensions providing easy access to the Sports Park parking lots. Still to come is the improvement and realignment of the first stretch of Marine Way between Sand Canyon and the new intersection with Ridge Valley. The city and Heritage Fields have an agreement in place to acquire right of way from Orange County Transportation Authority, which has its Bus Base facilities along that stretch. The memorandum of understanding between the city and the Great Park developer includes a $10 million contribution from Heritage Fields in 2018 toward acquiring the right of way. The new stretch of Marine Way past where the guard shack used to be is a lovely bit of road, with landscaping and wide bike lanes. One can imagine the road being on the route of 5K runs through the park, and eventually drawing weekend cyclists off of Irvine Blvd., especially once Marine Way’s improvements extend toward the far side of the park. And perhaps beyond: a connection to Jeronimo Road looks practical, providing a potential new access point to the Orange County Great Park. We’ll also pass along a request to extend the dead end of Technology Dr. over the railway and into the Great Park, link up to Marine Way and Ridge Valley. While we wouldn’t want to see the Great Park show up on Waze as a way around traffic jams, the new infrastructure improvements do foreshadow the day when the Orange County Great Park’s many amenities will be accessible to all, as it takes its place as Irvine’s most important public place. n

9

RECREATION

AN ARTIST RENDERING OF THE PLANNED GREAT PARK ICE COMPLEX

SKATING AWAY

If we were to list the sports and recreational activities in which Irvine leads the region, soccer, cycling, swimming and diving, football, water polo, softball and baseball would certainly make the list. But winter sports probably wouldn’t. When one thinks of sports that are prevalent in the city, hockey and ice skating don’t leap immediately to mind. That will likely change starting around January 2018, the announced date that a 270,000-square-foot Great Park Ice Complex opens at the Great Park Orange County. The stateof-the-sport Anaheim Ducks ice complex and practice facility will include four sheets of ice, one of which will seat 2,500 spectators. Three sheets will be NHL-size, while the fourth will be Olympic-size. It will be one of the largest ice facilities of its kind in the country. The ice complex will likely become a destination for SoCal high school hockey leagues to host tournaments, and will also be home public recreational skating, competitive and

recreational figure skating, curling, broomball and community events. There will also be a parttime training center, concessions, locker rooms and shops selling skating gear. The Irvine Ice Foundation, a nonprofit organization overseeing the rink’s construction and management, will own the new Great Park Ice Complex. Ducks’ owners Henry and Susan Samueli will make a minimum investment of $35 million to the facility and the foundation. The Anaheim Ducks RINKS Development Program, which includes both ice and inline facilities, began in February 2009 with one ice rink and one inline rink. Over the past six years the program has expanded to include seven local facilities, including one offering inline skating in Irvine. The new ice complex at the Orange County Great Park will complement the 175-acre multisports parks, the first phase of which is set to debut next year, creating the premier recreational and competitive sports destination in Southern California. If you can’t wait until the new ice complex is open, there are

ice skating opportunities right now at OC Chill, the ice rink by the Giant Wheel at Irvine Spectrum. Open through Jan. 16, the rink can be an inspiring place to observe the diverse Irvine community, gliding effortlessly (and sometimes clumsily) across the ice. Private ice skating lessons are available at the Spectrum rink. And check out Inside

OC CHILL ICE RINK AT THE SPECTRUM

Irvine for skating and hockey classes through the Irvine Community Services Department. Those classes take place at Anaheim Ice, a pretty amazing ice facility designed by Frank Gehry, in downtown Anaheim. n n SkateSpectrum.com n cityofirvine.org/communityservices-department/classes-activities n irvineinline.com


DECEMBER 2016 10

IrvineCityNews

irvinecitynews.com

A CLEAR DAY BY WILLIAM WENDT

SUNSET BOULEVARD BY MISCHKA ASKENAZY

THE FARMHOUSE BY ARMIN HANSEN

Irvine impressions ART AND CULTURE

by Irvine City News staff

T

he Irvine Museum has long provided a calming cultural respite from the commercial hustle and bustle of the Irvine Business Complex (IBC). We know many who pop into the free museum on a lunch break to view masterpieces of California Impressionism, both from the museum’s permanent collection as well as works loaned for exhibitions. It was recently announced that the museum’s collection, valued at $17 million, is being donated to UCI, with a museum planned to display the curated collection of

MOONLIGHT MARSH SCENE BY GRANVILLE REDMOND

works that includes paintings by Guy Rose, William Wendt, Franz A. Bischoff, Frank Cuprien, Granville Redmond, and Edgar Payne. It’s the largest gift of art in UCI’s 50year history, and comprises the collection of California Impressionist paintings amassed by philanthropist Joan Irvine Smith—great granddaughter of James Irvine and the leader of the group that saved The Irvine Co. from Mobil Oil ownership back in 1977. “We are privileged to accept this gift, which not only reaffirms a long and supportive relationship between UCI and the Irvine family, but also lays a foundation for advancing UCI as a destination for people who want to understand the world and human experience through California art,” said Chancellor Howard Gillman. Irvine Smith and her mother spearheaded the campaign that led to the 1960 sale of 1,000 acres of Irvine Co. land—what had been part of the Irvine Ranch—for $1, to

ALPENGLOW, HIGH SIERRA BY FRANZ BISCHOFF

establish the university. The works will continue to be exhibited at the museum in the IBC until UCI builds a new museum on campus to permanently house the collection. And let’s hope for an architecturally significant building worthy of the art, with at least a look at what

Irvine and UCI architect William Pereira designed 50 years ago for the campus museum that was in his original master plan for UCI, but was never built. n Irvine Museum, 18881 Von Karman Ave., Suite 100 n Irvinemuseum.org


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11

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RALPH CICERONE. COURTESY UCI

Google Gives Up

Since we believe in connectivity here at Irvine City News, we were chagrined to learn that Google is scaling back its plans to wire Irvine with fiber optic cables. We were looking forward to downloading documents off of our Google Drive just a bit faster, not to mention streaming movies and games more quickly at the creative space where we work in the city. It seems that Google, whose local offices are in the Irvine Business Complex at Jamboree and MacArthur, learned the lesson it taught so many competitors back in the day: don’t invest in old technology. Running wire to every apartment and house is expensive. Hopefully, Irvine will remain on the company’s list for a high-band wireless solution to quicker connections. Google’s arrangement with Irvine Co. seems to still be ongoing, with fiber optic cable wiring to certain of the company’s apartment, commercial and retail properties in the city.

Irvine Influencers

Congratulations to our colleagues at Orange County Business Journal for the release of its OC 500 list of influential business and community leaders. It’s an ambitious project extremely well-done, though we have a suggestion for next year’s edition: call it the Irvine 500. Flip through the book, and there are not many out of the 500 named who don’t have a direct relationship with the city. They own or lead businesses based in Irvine, or serve on the boards of

institutions that are part of the fabric of our city. Many actually helped create the economic powerhouse that is Irvine today. Some live here, like Paul Musco and Jim Rome (though we hear his Shady Canyon house is on the market). Others have strong UCI connections, and lead or support key not-for-profits in the city. We admit there are some names that we couldn’t tie to Irvine, as hard as we tried. Kobe Bryant, Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido, Laguna Beach philanthropist Anne Getty Earhart, Chapman’s Jim Doti, and Pierre-Andre Senizergues, CEO of Lake Forest-based skate apparel company Sole Technology, to name a few. But that doesn’t mean a connection isn’t there that we just missed. Play the game yourself: open the 148-page publication any place and try to find a page without an Irvine-connected person profiled on it. Email us if you do: newsdesk@irvinecitynews.com.

Climate Champion

Speaking of Irvine influencers, we were saddened to see that former UCI chancellor Ralph Cicerone died this past November. He came to the university to establish its innovative interdisciplinary Earth System Science Department and later was the Dean of the School of Physical Sciences. UCI’s Nobel Prizewinning scientist F. Sherwood “Sherry” Rowland, whose studies in climate change led to the banning of man-made chemicals (CFCs) that were destroying the earth’s protective ozone layer, often cited Cicerone’s support as crucial to his studies. After serving as chancellor at UCI from 1998 to 2005, Cicerone went on to become president of the National Academy of Sciences. There, he tried to convince the American public and its politicians of what 97 percent of the world’s scientists know: “Climate changes are certainly real,” Cicerone said. “They seem to be increasing, and that humans are mostly likely the cause of all or most of these changes.” Though perhaps Cicerone wasn’t as successful in that effort as he and many might have hoped, his legacy at UCI includes a world-class scientific faculty dedicated to continuing his planet-saving efforts. n

AT THESE LOCATIONS DIAMOND PLAZA BCD TOFU HOUSE TOKYO TABLE BON EPI PATISSERIE CAFE JAMBA JUICE HONEY MEE PACIFIC MAIL EQUINOX IRVINE AIRPORT EXPRESS SANDWICH WAHOO’S FISH TACO AL PHILLIPS CLEANERS IRVINE CO. APT. COMMUNITIES RACQUET CLUB OF IRVINE HOAG HEALTH CENTER HOAG BREAST AND IMAGING HOAG MEDICAL GROUP HOAG MEDICAL GROUP JUICE IT UP CHRONIC TACOS DONUT STAR SUNNY FRESH CLEANERS JOHNNY’S PIZZA KAISER PERMANENTE KAISER PERMANENTE HOAG HEALTH CENTER HOAG HEALTH CENTER HOAG HEALTH CENTER WAHOO’S FISH TACOS AMTRAK STARWOK EXPRESS BEACON PARK ARBOR ANIMAL HOSPITAL THAI SPICE JUICE IT UP BIKRAM YOGA IRVINE IRVINE FINE ARTS CENTER HERITAGE PARK LIBRARY PIZZA 949 NORTHWOOD MKT IRVINE FAMILY HEALTH CENTER SUPER IRVINE MARKET CASPIAN PERSIAN CUISINE CELEBRITY CLEANERS

2700 ALTON PKWY. 2700 ALTON PKWY. 2710 ALTON PKWY. 2750 ALTON PKWY. 17585 HARVARD 17595 HARVARD 17585 HARVARD 1980 MAIN 3198 AIRWAY # H 2967 MICHELSON 2636 DUPONT # 30 110 INNOVATION DR. 5 ETHEL COPLEN WAY 4870 BARRANCA 4870 BARRANCA # 100 4900 BARRANCA PKWY. #103 4870 BARRANCA PKWY. 5365 #G ALTON PKWY. 5365 #D ALTON PKWY. 5366 #C ALTON PKWY. 5367 #E ALTON PKWY. 6721 QUAIL HILL PKWY. 6670 ALTON PKWY. 6650 ALTON PKWY. 16405 SAND CANYON AVE. 16305 SAND CANYON AVE. 16105 SAND CANYON AVE. 81 FORTUNE DR. 15215 BARRANCA 15215 BARRANCA #600 501 BENCHMARK 14775 JEFFREY 15455 JEFFERY 14031 JEFFERY RD. 680 ROOSEVELT 14321 YALE / WALNUT 14361 YALE 13925 YALE #135 13925 YALE #155 14150 CULVER DR. 14120 CULVER DR. 14100 CULVER DR. 3963 IRVINE BLVD

WHAT REALLY MATTERS


DECEMBER 2016 12

IrvineCityNews

Top Through 12.11 Holiday Toy Drive

Donate an unwrapped gift to help Irvine’s adopted 2/11 Marine Battalion families have happier holidays. Drop gifts off at Irvine Civic Center and Irvine Police Dept. lobbies, and OC Great Park Visitors Center. cityofirvine.org/play/community-services-department/specialevents

Through 12.18 Salvation Army Toy Drive

Bring a new, unwrapped gift to Irvine Spectrum guest services to support the Salvation Army. shopirvinespectrumcenter.com/ events/salvation-army-toydrive-2016

irvinecitynews.com

Things To Do in December Through 1.8 Odysseo

It’s the return engagement of the wildly successful equine extravaganza under the big white tent in Quail Hill. cavalia.net

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, and private collections. Irvinemuseum.org

12.1–12.4 “Our Class” at UCI Claire Trevor School of the Arts

When entire populations are

LEGENDARY JAZZ GUITARIST AND VOCALIST GEORGE BENSON

made into scapegoats, the worst can happen…and has. Take Poland in 1925, where this story of Jewish and Polish classmates begins. Experience the challenging play at UCI’s Experimental Media Performance Lab. illuminations.uci.edu/ events/2016_12_01_4_Our_ Class.html

12.3–2.19 Balance at Great Park Gallery

An exhibit featuring artists from across the U.S. whose work examines the balance between nature and humanity, including one who drove 3,000 miles to document the stories behind unique museums and roadside attractions. cityofirvine.org/orange-countygreat-park

12.4 Pet Adoption Fair

Home for the Holidays Pet Adoption Fair features 40 pet rescue groups and animal shelters bringing more than 500 dogs, cats and small animals for adoption, plus food trucks, vendors, a silent auction, prizes and more. cityofirvine.org/animal-carecenter/home-holidays

12.4 George Benson at Irvine Barclay Theatre

The legendary jazz guitarist and vocalist will perform some of the songs that earned him 10 Grammy Awards. thebarclay.org

‘TIS THE SEASON TO ADOPT A PET! SHUTTERSTOCK

12.4 Winter Wonderland

Visit the Irvine Civic Center for a community gathering featuring a holiday concert, a visit from Santa Claus, games, crafts and more. cityofirvine.org/play/community-services-department/specialevents

12.10–12.24 “The Nutcracker” at Irvine Barclay Theatre

Celebrate the holidays with Festival Ballet Theatre’s annual Irvine production of the Christmas classic ballet. thebarclay.org

Irvine City News 12.2016  

The community newspaper of the city of Irvine

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