FEBRUARY 2018 ART AND CULTURE
California history gets graphic at Great Park Gallery page 9
Irvine Olympians are part of a medalwinning tradition of athletic excellence
WHAT REALLY MATTERS irvinecitynews.com
New Marriott Irvine Spectrum offers a stylish setting for creative cuisine page 6
Housing a hot topic at annual Greater Irvine Chamber event FEATURE
by Irvine City News staff
El Toro base. A “yes” vote will send a strong message confirming that Irvine respects and honors those veterans, and will stay true to promises made to them. A “yes” vote will confirm a cemetery in the city at the Strawberry Fields. There is no other site, as all the studies, site
and use, housing and homelessness were key subjects addressed Jan. 24 at the Greater Irvine Chamber of Commerce annual Business Outlook. More than 600 business and community leaders attended the breakfast event at the Hotel Irvine. Bryan Starr, President and CEO of the Greater Irvine Chamber, opened the event, noting that an impressive onethird of Fortune 500 companies have a presence in Irvine. “We are master planned,” Starr said, “to be an economic powerhouse.”
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ORANGE COUNTY SUPERVISOR TODD SPITZER SPEAKS AT THE VETERANS CEMETERY SITE DEDICATION CEREMONY LAST FALL
[YES!] FINALLY, IRVINE VOTERS CAN SAY “YES” TO THE VETERANS CEMETERY AND “NO” TO FAKE NEWS, FAILED LEADERSHIP AND SHAMEFUL CAMPAIGNS OF DISINFORMATION
by Irvine City News Editorial Board
n June 5, Irvine voters will have the opportunity to say “yes” to the United
States veterans who served this country and sacrificed for all of our freedom. A “yes” vote on the Southern California Veterans Cemetery referendum on the primary ballot will give the men and women of our armed services what they’ve long desired and fought for: a final resting place on land that once was the former MCAS
FEBRUARY 2018 2
“[YES!]” FROM PAGE 1
henever I stop at the grocery store in Irvine these days, it seems a signature gatherer is out front asking shoppers entering and leaving to sign a petition. Last week I was asked at Whole Foods if I wanted to “save the puppies.” Who can turn that down? Well, I did. And I love puppies! Another day, it was earnest folks from Greenpeace, out to save the world, one ballot measure at a time. That is, if you assume the kids armed with clipboards actually care about the cause and aren’t just trying to make a living, at $11 per signature they procure. Call me cynical, but over the years I’ve seen too many initiatives, referenda and ballot measures designed to deceive busy voters or result in unintended consequences, or both. Take the current come-on that signing a no-growth petition will solve Irvine’s traffic issues. It won’t, but it could kill the golden
goose of Irvine’s economic vitality. A few months back, signaturefor-hire firms flooded the city claiming to be interested in “saving the veterans cemetery.” Of course anyone paying attention knew that their heavy-handed and disingenuous campaign will actually kill the long-sought resting place for deserving veterans. (See page one of this issue for more on the future of the cemetery, and plan on voting “yes” on June 5.) And as for Irvine “No Growthers” asking you to sign away the city’s future in a prosperity-killing quick fix that won’t work? Just say no. Stopping growth in Irvine serves the narrow and out-oftouch interests of a small band of short sighted residents at the expense of Irvine’s continued evolution as Orange County’s true center of commerce and innovation. This city is routinely recognized around the world as one of the best places to live in America because of its master planned approach to growth. Smile and say “no thank you” to anyone who wants you to toss away decades of smart growth by signing their stop growth initiative. n
IrvineCityNews Editor and Publisher
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5319 University Drive Suite #440 Irvine, CA 92612
email@example.com • 949.296.8338 Irvine City News is a monthly publication serving the city of Irvine, CA. Irvine City News distributes 100,000 copies monthly via direct delivery and at 45 news racks in select locations throughout Irvine.
tours, approvals, city and state votes, and appropriations have concluded that the 125-acres adjacent to the 405 Freeway is the site that makes sense for the cemetery to be located. Despite months of opposition by a small minority in Irvine, supported by fake news and disinformation under the guise of “saving the veterans cemetery” that led to the June 5 referendum, the final decision is now up to voters. The June 5 vote is NOT a referendum by which voters can choose between two cemetery locations. It is NOT a referendum on traffic and development. It is not a referendum on what may or may not be built on the land the city swapped for the pristine Strawberry Fields site. And it most decidedly is not a referendum on the Irvine
“YES” ON JUNE 5 MEANS THE VETERANS WILL HAVE THEIR ORANGE COUNTY CEMETERY. “NO” MEANS THEY WON’T, AND NEVER WILL. Master Plan, as there is not now, nor has there ever been any language, in the city’s plan
Those in favor of voting “yes” on the Veterans Cemetery at Strawberry Fields n The Republican Party of Orange County: “The Republican Party of Orange County strongly condemns the misleading tactics of Larry Agran, and encourages not only Irvine residents, but all of Orange County to unite together to soundly defeat any attempt to deny its veterans their cemetery at Strawberry Fields.” -letter to Irvine City Council n The Democratic Party of Orange County: “The Democratic Party of Orange County opposes the misleading tactics and communication with Irvine residents by referendum proponents to initiate a zoning change, the effect of which would likely eliminate the development of a veterans cemetery in Orange County.” -letter to Irvine City Council nT he clear majority of Orange County veterans: n The American Legion n Veterans of Foreign Wars nA merican GI Forum of the United States Education Foundation Orange County, California (AGIFOC) n League of United Latin American Citizens
either for or against a cemetery anywhere within the city. Voters will say “Yes” to fiscal responsibility, saving an estimated $50 million by confirming the existing site of the cemetery. Voters will say, “Yes” to transparent municipal and state government. Every city council session on the subject of a cemetery has been well attended, with open debate and broad citizen participation. The final vote has been clear and certain each time. A “no” vote is a vote for Irvine’s erstwhile “shadow government” led by those voted out of power. A “no” vote supports a campaign of machinations and misinformation designed to subvert the wishes of veterans, citizenry and a large majority of elected representatives. A “no” vote denies veterans the cemetery Irvine has promised them, and which they deserve. n
nF ederal, state and local government leaders, including: n Gov. Jerry Brown n U.S. Representative Lou Correa n U.S. Representative Dana Rohrabacher nA ssemblymember Sharon Quirk-Silva, the key leader in Sacramento seeking to honor veterans with a cemetery in Orange County n State Senator Janet Nguyen n State Senator Josh Newman n State Assemblyman Steven Choi n Orange County Supervisor Todd Spitzer n Orange County Supervisor Michelle Steel n Irvine Mayor Donald Wagner n Irvine City Councilmember Christina Shea n Irvine City Councilmember Melissa Fox
Individuals and organizations saying “no” to the Veterans Cemetery n Larry Agran n Jeffrey Lalloway n Lynn Schott n Irvine Community News and Views nT he likely small percentage of referendum signatories who understood they were not “saving the veterans cemetery” but supporting a campaign that would kill it. n
by Bill Cook
Marine Corps veteran Bill Cook is the chairman of the Orange County Veterans Memorial Park Foundation. He helped lead the successful effort by Orange County veterans to establish a 125-acre veterans cemetery in Irvine on the former MCAS El Toro base.
his June, the good citizens of Irvine will decide whether to fulfill a promise to honor the service and sacrifice of U.S. veterans with a cemetery on the former Marine Corps Air
Vote “Yes” for Veterans on June 5 Station El Toro. A “yes” vote on the cemetery referendum means there will be a cemetery. A “no” means the promise will be broken. If the nay-sayers prevail, there likely will never be a final resting place for veterans in Orange County, and certainly not in Irvine. Let me be blunt: The June 5 vote is NOT an “either/or” vote on the location of a veterans cemetery, but rather a “yes/no” vote on whether there will ever be such a cemetery at the former MCAS El Toro. There is only one cemetery site. It’s on former MCAS El Toro land near the 405 and 5 convergence that’s known as the
Strawberry Fields. It’s been approved by the city of Irvine, the state of California, including the governor, legislature and CalVet. Only two elected representatives, councilmembers Jeff Lalloway and Lynn Schott, are against it. They also voted against holding a special election on June 5. I believe that’s because they know that a majority of voters will support veterans and those who want a cemetery in the city. So for those who want a veterans cemetery in the city, VOTE YES. For those who don’t, vote no. After all, that’s your right as an American—one of the many rights veterans served, fought and died to protect. n
BILL COOK, MARINE CORPS VETERAN AND CHAIRMAN OF THE ORANGE COUNTY VETERANS MEMORIAL PARK FOUNDATION
IRVINE IS THE MOST FISCALLY-FIT CITY IN THE U.S., AGAIN! Irvine ranks as the No. 1 city in the nation when it comes to financial health. That’s according to the nonprofit watchdog organization Truth in Accounting, which released its annual Financial State of the Cities report on Jan. 24. The report is based on comprehensive analysis of the fiscal health of the 75 most-populous cities in the United States, based on comprehensive annual financial reports from fiscal year 2016. In ranking Irvine No. 1, the group commented that, “Unlike most cities, Irvine’s elected officials have only promised the amount of benefits they can afford to pay. Because of this, Irvine has enough money to pay all of its bills.” The study notes that Irvine has $609.7 million in assets and $195.6 million worth of bills, resulting in a $414.2 million surplus. That surplus is available to pay future bills, including $111.2 million in unfunded pension benefits and $5.3 million in unfunded retiree healthcare benefits. Each city taxpayer’s share of the surplus is $5,200, according to the study. “There are very few U.S. cities that are free of bonded debt, and Irvine is one of them,” the report notes. The report concludes that 64 of the 75 most-populous U.S. cities do not have enough money available to pay all of their bills, adding up to $335.4 billion in unfunded municipal debt.
“Most of this debt comes from unfunded retiree benefit promises, such as pension and retiree healthcare debt,” according to the report. “This year, pension debt accounts for $210.7 billion, and other postemployment benefits—mainly retiree healthcare liabilities— totaled $119.5 billion.” This isn’t the first time that Irvine has been given a top ranking in fiscal health and civic financial responsibility. Last year, The Fiscal Times gave Irvine a perfect score of 100 in ranking the fiscal strength of 116 U.S. cities with more than 200,000 in population. The city’s stellar score was based in large part on the $700 million of cash and investments on its balance sheet. For a story on the ranking that ran last year, Irvine City News asked the report’s author Marc Joffe how economic growth, including new jobs, homes and office buildings, impacts fiscal health: “From a fiscal standpoint, growth is generally good,” Joffe responded. “New developments that generate revenue in excess of municipal service costs (which they generally do) should be welcomed.” “A ranking like this reflects strong leadership and visionary planning,” Jim Doti told ICN. The renowned Chapman University economist, who holds the Donald Bren Distinguished Chair of Business and Economics at the university, said that, “For Irvine to attain a No. 1 raking in a national survey of the fiscal health of cities is a cause for celebration.” With the new report confirming the outstanding fiscal health of the city, that celebration should continue, as should the growth-driven economic vitality of Irvine. n
FEBRUARY 2018 4
“HOUSING” FROM PAGE 1
UC Irvine Professor of Economics Jan Brueckner then took the stage first to discuss one of the greatest concerns for employers in Irvine; the need for more affordable workforce housing. Statewide, a serve shortage of housing for all types of workers is posing a major threat to attracting and retaining skilled labor. Irvine is one of California’s premier job centers. Yet, housing costs continue to escalate.
“I PERSONALLY BELIEVE YOU SHOULD VOTE NO (ON THE ZERO GROWTH BALLOT MEASURE) AND CONSIDER THE GREATER GOOD.” —UCI Professor of Economics Jan Brueckner
Compounding the issue, Brueckner said, is a new effort in Irvine to gather enough signatures to qualify an initiative on the November ballot that would require voters to approve any significant development—commercial or residential—in the city. The net effect of this “zero growth” proposal would be to dramatically decrease the affordability of housing in Irvine by driving current prices even higher as the limited housing CONTINUED ON PAGE 5 >>
(TOP) MORE THAN 600 BUSINESS LEADERS ATTEND THE GREATER IRVINE CHAMBER 2018 BUSINESS OUTLOOK AT THE HOTEL IRVINE ON JAN. 24. (BOTTOM) LISA THOMAS OF TAYLOR DIGITAL SERVES AS THE CHAMBER’S VICE CHAIR OF MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS.
ZILLOW GROUP CEO SPENCER RASCOFF, WHO STARTED ZILLOW.COM A DECADE AGO, SHARED THE STORY OF THE COMPANY’S EVOLUTION AS WELL AS ITS COMMITMENT TO CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY. THE COMPANY HAS INVESTED $5 MILLION OVER THE LAST FIVE YEARS TO HELP FIGHT HOUSING INSECURITY. “HOUSING” FROM PAGE 1
supply shrinks even further. Such regulations, Brueckner said, included building permit caps, maximum density rules, minimum dwelling size, etc. The study also collected information on housing prices in each city. “Five, six or seven regulations will have a substantial effect on housing prices in the city.” He said, adding, “If you have extra regulations, housing starts fall.” Proponents of the zero growth proposal claim traffic has become unacceptable in Irvine over the last decade. While Brueckner, an Irvine resident himself, is sympathetic to concerns about congestion, he said stopping growth is
not the answer. “I understand the complaint. But I’d rather have a bit more traffic and the ability to buy a house.” Passage of such a zero growth measure, Brueckner warned, will harm area employers and chill the high performing regional economy. “Employers are also hurt,” he said. “Irvine is more expensive...it’s hard to attract a workforce...employers have to pay more for that longer commute.” In short, Brueckner encouraged the sold out pro-business breakfast crowd to vote no on the zero growth proposal if it qualifies for the ballot. “I personally believe you should vote no and consider the
greater good,” he said. The Greater Irvine Chamber of Commerce and its nearly 1,000 members has already gone on record opposing the proposal and efforts to qualify the measure for the city ballot. Starr, the CEO of the chamber, the largest city chamber in Orange County, has called the zero growth proposal “bad for business” and pledged to do everything possible to rally support to defeat the effort. The widening gap between housing supply and demand has created an entire class of “housing insecure” workers in the region, including Irvine. These are workers who are spending more than half of their paycheck on rents
and are living pay check-to-check, according to Zillow Group CEO Spencer Rascoff, who was the final presenter at the chamber’s annual business breakfast. “There are just not enough homes in the U.S.,” Rascoff said. “As a result of this, we’re seeing a lot of renters.” In Los Angeles and Orange County, Rascoff noted, 43 percent of renters are one-half a paycheck away from not being able to cover the next month’s rent. What’s more, he said, two-thirds of them have no savings at all. “The ranks of the housing insecure, those who are the edge of having no home and therefore an employment risk, is growing rapidly,” said Rascoff, who is
leading a Zillow Group initiative to address this issue. The company has invested $5 million over the last five years to help fight housing insecurity through a number of measures including the creation of more affordable workforce housing. The problem is further exacerbated by no-growth ballot measures, he said. “The proposal will inevitably raise rents,” and that will lead to more homelessness. In fact, he said there is a direct correlation between higher rents and more people living on the streents. “In the L.A. and O.C. markets, rents went up 4 percent (and as a result) we manufactured another 2,000 homeless people.” n
FEBRUARY 2018 6
HEIRLOOM OFFERS HEIGHTENED HOTEL DINING AT THE SPECTRUM Perhaps the most anticipated opening in Irvine this year—and last—is the Hive & Honey rooftop lounge atop the stylish new Marriott Irvine Spectrum hotel, which opened in December. The al fresco spot will provide the best views in Irvine (we peeked) that don’t involve hiking or going up in a big Orange balloon. The space will include fire pits, lounging areas and bar seating, with a small plates menu and signature cocktails. The only problem is that it isn’t open yet. According to an un-scientific sampling of servers and bartenders, potential patrons have been popping into the new 271room hotel hoping to take the elevator up to the penthouse, and have left once learning the rooftop isn’t an option. Their loss, because the lobby restaurant is available, and its one of our favorite new finds in Irvine. The full-service dining spot is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Its full name is Heirloom Farmhouse Kitchen, which we find hard to remember. Especially since it seems like a branding exercise designed to capture a trio of trendy dining words in one moniker. It could have just as easily been called Sustainable Farm-to-Table Locavore Lounge, or something. The name notwithstanding, Heirloom is a memorable new addition to the Irvine dining scene. The interior is beautiful, with bright natural light and an open and airy indoor/outdoor design that flows well from the lobby to the swimming pool. The overall
design aesthetic of the hotel is described as “elevated farmhouse,” and is intended to pay homage to the heritage of the Irvine Ranch. This mission is accomplished in a sophisticated, yet comfortable setting, with high ceilings, handsome wood accents and an inviting indoor/outdoor bar. It’s all amplified by a touch of whimsy in the art of Paul Bond of Laguna Beach, including a pastoral view of a Saddleback Valley orchard and field complete with a slightly surrealistic giant bee, and large oranges falling from the sky. When so much hotel art is designed not to offend, or even be noticed, the choice of Bond displays an innovative and creative touch from Marriott that’s on display throughout the hotel. The restaurant’s menu has a similarly confident and creative touch, thanks to Chef Paolo Buffa, a native of Italy. It features produce and meat from California farms with names familiar to foodies, such as Manassero, Brandt and Weiser. It’s instantly one of the best
THE ATTRACTIVE INTERIOR OF HEIRLOOM FARMHOUSE KITCHEN AT THE NEW MARRIOTT IRVINE SPECTRUM HOTEL
places to have breakfast in the Spectrum area, joining the casual S’wich Bistro and the daily bakery and weekend brunch at Habana. The choices at lunch and dinner include six large plates, each offering Euro-California takes on favorites such as braised pork shank, rack of lamb and salmon. At lunch,
EMBER TOASTED BEETS WITH THYME RICOTTA AND PUFFED QUINOA
the Heirloom Burger and the Bahn Mi sandwich are standouts, with the latter a carnivore’s delight, featuring Black Forest ham and roasted pork belly. The chef doesn’t skimp on the greens and veggies, either. Small plates include an amazing Macn-Cheese made with cauliflower and bacon, all drenched in a delicious and decadent fiscallini cheddar fondue. Roasted Myrna potatoes are prepared with charred leeks and broccolini, accented with a smoked Romesco sauce. Living kale salad, charred nopales, honeycomb cabbage and red kuri squash soup are a few of the varied vegetable choices. The bar offers a nice selection of craft cocktails, including one called “Master-Planned Perfection.” The draft beer list is local, including choices from OC-based Evans, Towne Park and Left Coast brewers, and the limited wine list offers a decent
selection. Perhaps most impressive about the new restaurant is the ubiquitous presence of the chef. After dining at Heirloom numerous times, morning, noon and night, Buffa has never failed to make an appearance, chatting with diners and greeting regulars with a signature Italian charm. One quibble about the experience is (you guessed it) the parking. It’s valet only, and the restaurant validation only saves diners $10 on the $20-fortwo-hours charge. That doesn’t compare well to local competitors like Hotel Irvine, where valet is complimentary when visiting EATS Kitchen & Bar and/or Red Bar and Lounge, or even the luxurious Resort at Pelican Hill, where valet is also free. n n 7905 Irvine Center Dr. 949.759.0200
ICE MAN SPORTS
by Irvine City News staff
rvine-based figure skater Nathan Chen looks to be a star of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea opening Feb. 9. Chen landed five quadruple jumps and won the United States Figure Skating Championships in January, receiving three perfect marks of 10 for performance and musical interpretation. Experts credit Chen with revolutionizing figure skating with his athleticism and jumping ability. He was the first skater to hit seven quadruple jumps in a single competition, and is the only man in the world to receive credit for landing five different types of quadruple jumps in international competition. Chen entered the 2018 U.S. Championships as the only undefeated male skater in the 2017-18 season, winning two Grand Prix Series titles and the Grand Prix Final. Chen trains in Lakewood, CA at the RINKS, one of eight SoCal skating facilities operated by the Anaheim Ducks. His coach is Rafael Arutyunyan, who has a coaching residency at the RINKS leading into the Olympic Winter Games. Along with Chen, his student Adam Rippon made the U.S. Olympic Team, and students Ashley Wagner and Mariah Bell were named as alternates. Irvine’s winter sports profile will likely grow in coming Olympic games, especially with the 270,000-square-foot Great Park Ice Complex opening later this year at the Great Park.
NATHAN CHEN OF IRVINE WILL COMPETE IN THE 2018 WINTER OLYMPICS IN PYEONGCHANG, SOUTH KOREA. JAY ADEFF/U.S. FIGURE SKATING
The state-of-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 to 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.
Would the Ducks/RINKS organization encourage top coaches like Arutyunyan to move training operations to Irvine? Time will tell, but don’t be surprised if the future sees many more Olympians, summer and winter, from our city. n
Irvine has produced some 30 Olympians over the years, and UCI claims 53 Olympians and Paralympians The 2016 Summer Olympics team included UCI Men’s Volleyball All-American and national champion David Smith, who helped the U.S. Indoor Men’s Volleyball team take the bronze medal; tennis player Eva Lee; former UCI All-American Charles Jock; and Kevin Tillie, also a volleyball national champion at UCI, who competed for France. Natasha Watley (left) is one of the top Irvine athletes of all time. Born in Irvine in 1981, Watley was a star softball player at Woodbridge High School and a four-time All American at UCLA. She won a gold medal at the 2004 Athens Olympics as part of the U.S. team, and a silver medal in Beijing in 2008. After the 2012 Olympics, the Irvine City Council honored silver medal-winning swimmer Jason Lezak, the Irvine High School graduate and city resident who also won four gold medals at the 2000, 2004 and 2008 Olympics. Lezak is one of the illustrious Olympians from the Irvine Novaquatics team that has included Amanda Beard and Aaron Piersol. n COURTESY USA SOFTBALL
FEBRUARY 2018 8
Anteaters Excel UCI’S GROWTH IN DRAWING A DIVERSE STUDENT BODY IS A KEY DRIVER OF SUCCESS IN THE CITY OF IRVINE EDUCATION
by Irvine City News staff
mpressive enrollment growth is reported at UCI, as the city’s iconic educational institution continues to gain students and academic stature. Applications from incoming freshmen and transfer students for the fall 2018 class totaled 116,192, which is a record for the 51-yearold school. That’s an increase of 12,000 applicants over the 2017 entering class of 104,000. Over the past five years, UCI has seen a 41 percent increase in applications, the largest increase in the UC system. “The verdict is in: high school and transfer students understand that UCI’s distinctive combination of quality, accessibility and affordability makes it a preferred destination among America’s leading universities,” said UCI Chancellor Howard Gillman. “Earlier this year, The New York Times selected UCI as the college ‘doing the most for the American dream,’ and these 116,000-plus applicants exemplify our continued commitment to inclusive excellence.” Among UC campuses, UCI ranks third—behind only UCLA and UC San Diego—for total first-year applications (94,866). Of those, 71,130 come from instate students, which places UCI second in that category. The first-year applicants to UCI include the largest number of underrepresented minority California residents in the UC system (29,978), including the most Chicano/Latino applicants (25,930) and the second-highest count of African American applicants
UCI GRADUATES ZOT AT A UC IRVINE COMMENCEMENT. COURTESY UCI
(3,770) at any UC school. And here’s an inspiring fact: almost half of the in-state, first-year applicants (48.5 percent) to UCI are first-generation students. “These spectacular results represent exactly what we have set out to achieve: sending the message to California residents of all cultural or economic backgrounds that an exceptional education is not only available but affordable at UCI,” said Thomas Parham, vice chancellor for student affairs. “Our campus is the best place to nurture and support their dreams and aspirations.” Part of the increase is credited to UCI’s participation in the Achieve UC initiative, which reaches out to schools and communities that have significant numbers of UC-eligible students, but send relatively few to UCI. Parham visited students at Cabrillo High School in Long Beach this year, for example, “to share the message that their academic goals can be achieved at UCI,”
according to reports from UCI. UCI was recently named one of the top-performing schools for Latino students by The Education Trust, and the school was recognized as a
Hispanic-serving institution for the first time this year. That’s a federal designation awarded to universities with more than 25 percent Latino undergraduates. UCI is also designated as
an Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-serving institution, “demonstrating the school’s dedication to providing a superior education to every qualified student.” n
ART AND CULTURE
CALIFORNIA HISTORY IN GRAPHIC DETAIL AT GREAT PARK GALLERY With news that there will be an exhibit at the Great Park Gallery focused on California history and graphic design, two iconic SoCal museum shows from several years ago came immediately to mind. The Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s “California Design 1930-1965: Living in a Modern Way” and Orange County Museum of Art’s “Birth of the Cool.” LACMA’s show was part of the first Getty Pacific Standard Time series of shows, and ran from Oct. 2011 to June 2012. The exhibit was said to be the first major study of California midcentury modern design, including furniture, fashion, architecture and graphic design. The show’s catalogue belongs in any design aficionado’s book collection. The exhibit included a look at the history of California suburban design. Architects Schindler, Neutra, Pereira and A. Quincy Jones and builder Eichler believed in the creation of contemporary home design that the middle class audience of the day could afford. The original Irvine master plan, as seen in homes, parks and public spaces in the city’s first villages, is an important example of such accessible and influential suburban design, as are newer neighborhoods around the Great Park and other developments. Despite LACMA’s claim to have been the first museum to look seriously at midcentury design, OCMA did something similar several years earlier with “Birth of the Cool,” which looked at California visual arts, graphic
and decorative arts, architecture, music, and film produced in the 1950s and early 1960s during its run from Oct. 2007 to Jan. 2008. Both shows explored the tremendous influence of California graphic design in album art, advertising, book covers and more, so when the show “Eureka: A California Design Story with The Hoods and Friends” was announced as exploring graphic design movements from the Gold Rush to the present, we were intrigued. The verbiage about the show said that it “honors graphic design movements from the Gold Rush to the present, while chronicling both historic and obscure moments from California’s history.” So is the exhibit about the history
of graphic design in the state, or works of original graphic design about the history of California? Both, as it turns out—and what an intriguing, aesthetically inspiring, and educational exhibit it is. Curators Amy and Jennifer Hood, co-founders of Hoodzpah Design, asked some 40 graphic designers to each create a single poster-like piece about some fact, event or person from the state’s past, and to have the work reflect
the style of the era it depicts. The works are then tacked up in order of the eras they depict, with credits and notes added in such a way that result is as much a creative “idea wall” as a museum exhibition. Several of the historic topics chosen are well-known, including the Donner Party, San Francisco’s Chinatown and our own Marine Corps Air Station El Toro. Others are more obscure, including a poster depicting Moses Rodgers, who was born a slave in Missouri and became one of the most respected mining engineers during the California Gold Rush. Another favorite is a poster about the Victory Book Campaign during WWII. “You can fight the fascists…with good books!” it says, and includes information about California librarian Althea Warren, who led the nationwide campaign that collected books for servicemen and servicewomen. According to the poster,
“Californians like you donated some 500,000 books to the men and women in our Armed Services.” The exhibit is free at the gallery, which is open ThursdaySunday. But the unique show only runs through Sunday, Feb. 11. Hopefully the curators will publish a catalogue of the show. One Californian who no doubt would have enjoyed the show is the late Huell Howser. The next exhibit at the Great Park Gallery will be “Golden Parks: Huell Howser,” and will explore several of the California parks the TV legend documented on his public television series. The upcoming exhibition runs March 4–May 13, 2018, will be presented in partnership with Chapman University Leatherby Libraries, home of the Huell Howser Archives. n n cityofirvine.org/orangecounty-great-park/palm-courtarts-complex
POSTERS AND OTHER WORKS OF GRAPHIC ART AT GREAT PARK GALLERY REFLECT ERAS AND EVENTS IN CALIFORNIA HISTORY
FEBRUARY 2018 10
The State of the City CITY
by Irvine City News staff
rvine Mayor Donald Wagner will make his second State of the City speech on Feb. 27. His first was made last year at the start of what proved to be a significant year in the city’s history. Wagner’s speech was inspiring, setting a course for his and the new city council’s year. What follows are excerpts from Wagner’s inaugural State of the City address, plus our thoughts, as well as a grade, on how well his first year in office went.
Subject: Fiscal fitness Grade: A+
“We have among the strongest home sales in the country. Those sales are an integral part of a robust economy and help keep Irvine young and evolving. Your city continues to be in a robust financial position. Our three main sources of funding – sales tax, property tax, and hotel tax – are doing well. We outperformed budget estimates in 2016, and have a contingency reserve of more than 21.5 percent to protect against those years in which the economy is weak. According to the Orange County Business Journal’s 2017 Book of Lists, in the technology industries of telecommunications, software, consumer electronics, and chipmakers, 22 of the county’s 40 top companies call Irvine home.” Notes: As noted on page 3, Irvine maintains it’s top ranking as the most fiscally fit city in the United States.
Subject: Traffic Grade: B+
“First, the City Council [will] reinstate the former City of Irvine Transportation Commission. This commission will be made up of local experts and traffic professionals charged with the task of bringing to Irvine the very best practices for traffic management. “Second, the city is actively engaged in the recruitment for a Transportation Manager. Irvine is the largest city in America without a traffic engineer committed to traffic
“It is an exciting time to be in Irvine. We are not without challenges. But we also are not without the resources and the will to tackle those challenges. But the greatest of those resources for Irvine, in fact, for any community, is not our money or our buildings or our open space. It is not any of those businesses I mentioned, nor, of course, is it this city’s government. It is our human capital, our people, and their willingness to dream and to work towards their dreams and goals.” —Mayor Donald Wagner, State of the City 2017
management. This City Council will fix that. We continue with the implementation of more than $116 million in traffic capital projects to manage congestion and improve traffic flow. We are also working diligently to accelerate capital projects that can have a near-term effect in easing traffic. We are fortunate that conservative and prudent fiscal management has left us with the ability to finance these projects.” Notes: Mayor Wagner and the city council hired Transportation Manager Mark Linsenmayer, re-established the Transportation Commission, and moved forward with numerous traffic and congestion initiatives. Because the improvement projects and their impact takes months
and years to evaluate, the overall grade is to be determined.
Subject: The Great Park Grade: A-
“The city’s promise to build out the Great Park has recently moved forward at an accelerated pace. “You are going to see results. The enormous effort … and those fantastic results … are coming in 2017. This year, we will have soccer games on new fields and inside a new stadium; volleyball tournaments on new sand playing areas; and 25 tennis courts. “I will join Anaheim Ducks owner Henry Samueli and other Council members as we break ground on the state of California’s
largest public ice facility. It will be at the Great Park. It will be a 270,000-squarefoot facility, and include four sheets of playing ice along with a 2,500-seat arena.” Notes: The progress at the Great Park has been significant. The mayor and city council are graded down slightly because there is not yet a comprehensive plan for the Cultural Terrace. Mayor Wagner gets extra credit, however, for insisting that the plan for the remaining portions of the park not be piecemeal, but up to the standards of the city’s masterplanning heritage. Mayor Wagner gets high praise for coalescing a unanimous City Council in approving the new FivePoint Amphitheatre, a 12,000-seat interim outdoor venue that opened last October next to the Great Park. Now, Mayor Wagner and the council must take the next step and identify a site and approve a permanent amphitheatre for the Cultural Terrace, an amenity that in multiple surveys has been a top priority for residents.
At the time of the 2017 State of the City speech, the effort to establish a veterans cemetery at MCAS El Toro had stalled. Because of the efforts of the mayor, Councilmembers Christina Shea and Melissa Fox, the city approved the cemetery at a superior site, confirming the support of veterans, as well as local, state and federal officials. n
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IrvineCityNews Building economic value
In a continued sign of Orange County and Irvine’s economic clout, two of the largest homebuilders in the United States merged recently: OC-based Lennar, the No. 2 builder in the U.S., acquired Irvine-based CalAtlantic, the nation’s No. 4 builder, in a $9.3 billion deal. The merger will result in the largest homebuilding company in the U.S., and also ranks first in Southern California and 13 other markets. The combined company has a significant presence in Irvine with homebuilding projects including Central Park West, Travata, and Altair. “We continue to see strength in the housing market,” said Stuart Miller, Lennar CEO. “There continues to be a general sense of optimism in the market as jobs are being created across the country and wages are generally moving higher.” The merger must meet regulatory and shareholder muster, and will be finalized this May. No final word on where the company’s combined headquarters will be, though Irvine’s FivePoint Gateway complex, home to Broadcom, makes a great deal of sense as an eventual location.
Amazon HQ2 could still include Irvine
Irvine’s proposal to be Amazon’s landlord for the company’s second North American headquarters fell short, apparently. Irvine wasn’t listed on the shortlist of 20 finalist cities for HQ2, which will bring 50,000 Amazon employees and a $5 billion economic investment to the winner. The cities and regions named as finalists are Atlanta; Austin; Boston; Chicago; Columbus, Ohio; Dallas; Denver; Indianapolis; Los Angeles; Miami; Montgomery County, Maryland; Nashville; Newark; Northern Virginia; Philadelphia; Pittsburg; Raleigh; Toronto and Washington, D.C. But as Orange County locals know all to well, many outside of SoCal consider OC to be part of the Los Angeles region. Amazon officials confirmed that worldview, saying that the L.A. finalist position was for the “Los Angeles metropolitan area,” as first reported by OC Register. Mayor Don Wagner acted quickly on the news, issuing a statement: “The entire Southern California region would benefit by the selection of Los Angeles and we offer our cooperation to Mayor Garcetti and his team as the bids move forward,” Wagner said. “Under this City Council, Irvine will remain forwardlooking, vibrant, and a critical driver of
economic prosperity for the entire Southern California region.” Observers note that by combining the strongest elements of OC proposals from Irvine and Santa Ana with those in Los Angeles, a transitcentric proposal could focus on Metrolink rail access in the cities, including subway and light rail across L.A. and the coming Santa Ana Streetcar, as well as easy access to historic downtowns that are a draw to “knowledge workers” looking for nightlife, restaurants and walkable cultural amenities. The lack of significant transit options connecting the Irvine train station to the Spectrum and beyond (other than the iShuttle and vanpool options) was noted by insiders as a weakness in the Irvine proposal, as was the decision not to include housing and office space options beyond those offered by the major city landowner.
Compassion and sin cities
Irvine was ranked the 19th most-caring city in the nation by WalletHub, which compared the 100 largest cities across 36 key indicators of a compassionate spirit. The financial services company used data that includes share of sheltered homeless persons in the city, number of volunteering hours per capita and share of income donated to charity. Irvine had the third-lowest rate of children in poverty in the rankings, but its overall score was brought down by poor numbers in the overall category of “caring in the workplace” (Irvine ranked 91st), percentage of those who carpool to work (96th) and caring for students well-being. Irvine ranked a surprising 94th in the latter, mainly because of student-teacher ratio data obtained from National Center for Education Statistics. Overall, Madison, Virginia Beach and Lincoln, Nebraska scored highest on the rankings, while San Bernardino, Detroit and Laredo, Texas were the worst. Irvine ranked 164th overall in another recent WalletHub study, but that low ranking is a good thing: it was for the “most sinful cities in the U.S.” Las Vegas scored at the top of that list, with St, Louis, New Orleans, Detroit and other Nevada cities in the top 10. The “vice index” included data on violent crimes per capita, excessive drinking and adult entertainment establishments per capita. Irvine was third-least sinful on the “excesses and vice” rankings, and, as always, did well in the crime and safety rankings. n
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WHAT REALLY MATTERS
FEBRUARY 2018 12
Top Through 2.3 “Drawn from a Score” at UCI
Starting with early visual scores by John Cage, artists taught by him, as well as contemporary works, the exhibit at Beall Center for Art + Technology includes traditional written scores, drawings, sculptures, performances, video projections and computer-generated forms of art. arts.uci.edu/event/drawn-score
Through 2.8 “Moods of California” at Irvine Museum
California painters exploring the unique ecological regions and picturesque landscapes of the state is the focus of this museum exhibit. irvinemuseumcollection.uci.edu/ event/moods-of-california
LAND AT IRVINE FINE ARTS CENTER
Things To Do in February Through 2.11 Graphic Design at Great Park Gallery
Eureka: A California Design Story with The Hoods and Friends explores graphic design movements from the Gold Rush to the present. cityofirvine.org/orange-countygreat-park/palm-court-artscomplex
Through 3.10 “Land” at Irvine Fine Arts Center
The art exhibit focuses on works that seek to highlight and critique our connection to land, and traces the change in that relationship from the past to and into the future. cityofirvine.org/irvine-fine-artscenter
2.3-2.11 “Mrs. Packard” at UCI
In 1861, Elizabeth Packard was forcibly removed from her home and committed to an insane asylum by her husband because they disagreed about religion and politics. Playwright Emily Mann tells her story in the School of Arts presentation of “Mrs. Packard” at UCI’s Claire Trevor Theatre. arts.uci.edu/event/mrs-packard
2.8-2.9 Cirque Éloize
It’s family fun when theater and circus combine in an Old Westthemed production of “Saloon” at the Barclay Theater. thebarclay.org
2.17 Kaleidoscope 2018: A Family Arts Experience
2.22-6.21 Harmony of Light at the Irvine Museum Collection
2.22-2.24 Dance Visions at the Barclay
2.24 Laura Metcalf at IVC Performing Arts Center
Visit the Irvine Fine Arts Center for its annual one-day, familyfriendly event 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. featuring hands-on creative stations designed to inspire and celebrate the arts. cityofirvine.org/irvine-fine-artscenter
The Department of Dance at UCI’s Claire Trevor School of the Arts presents its prime annual dance production with original choreography by Molly Lynch, Donald McKayle and other members of the faculty with music from the UCI Symphony Orchestra. thebarclay.org
Harmony of Light comprises a selection of paintings by California Impressionists that show Spring in California from nearly a century ago. Note: the museum is closed this month from Feb. 9–Feb. 16. irvinemuseumcollection.uci.edu
Cellist Laura Metcalf and pianist Matei Varga present an eclectic program, including selections from their debut album “First Day,” which reached No. 7 on the Billboard Classical charts and was hailed as “brilliant” by Gramophone. ivcarts.org
THE OLD AND THE NEW, 1925, BY WILLIAM WENDT, IN “MOODS OF CALIFORNIA” AT IRVINE MUSEUM
The community newspaper for the city of Irvine