Thank You and Happy Thanksgiving

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As we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving, I want to express my gratitude to this great nation and to those whose sacrifices have ensured our freedoms, including the right to vote and choose our representatives.  I also want to express my gratitude to those who joined me in my campaign for Irvine City Council.  I am blessed to have you as my friends and to have worked with you for a better future for our City.  I know that you will join me in congratulating the victors and in wishing the very best for our Mayor and City Council in their new terms of office.

This was an extremely close and hard-fought election and many harsh things were said by both sides.  For my part, I promise to put aside the caustic rhetoric of the past and to work together with all persons of good will for a better Irvine.

In particular, I will work to help our Mayor and City Council achieve their own campaign promises: to defend our master plan and preserve the character of our communities, including preservation of the Woodbridge Village Center; to take effective steps to alleviate traffic congestion and school over-crowding;  to ensure that future growth is supported by careful planning and adequate infrastructure; to build a Veterans Cemetery and Memorial in the Great Park; to make sure that the promise of the Great Park is fulfilled for all of the residents of Irvine and Orange County; to preserve Irvine’s public safety record by providing our Police Department with the best personnel, training, and equipment; to support the continued success of the Irvine Barclay Theatre; and to embrace and celebrate our growing cultural diversity.

Thank You, and Happy Thanksgiving.

Melissa

An Open Letter from Melissa Fox about Irvine’s Future

 

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Dear Friends,

This Tuesday, November 4th, Irvine voters will decide who controls our City – Irvine residents or big developers.

On the residents’ side is the Slow Growth Team of Mary Ann Gaido for Irvine Mayor and Larry Agran and Melissa Fox for Irvine City Council.

Irvine Commissioner Melissa Fox

Irvine Commissioner Melissa Fox

We have pledged to declare an immediate time-out on residential development and enact a strong Growth Control Ordinance to protect Irvine’s quality of life well into the future.

We will stop the rapid over-development that is jamming our traffic, over-crowding our schools, and threatening to destroy our quality of life.

We will also protect our traditional neighborhoods and villages – like Woodbridge – from destruction and ensure that no new condos, office buildings or housing tracts will be permitted without proper planning and consideration of their impact on our traffic, our schools, and the character of our communities.

On the developers’ side are the fast-growth candidates – Steven Choi, Jeffrey Lalloway, and Lynn Schott – who have rubber-stamped everything the developers want, including more than 10,000 news houses and apartments, without regard to the impact on our traffic, our schools, or our quality of life.

These same big developers – profiting enormously from Irvine’s rapid over-development – have poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into a vicious smear campaign against me and the members of the Slow Growth Team – using lies and distortions to attack our integrity.

In fact, our opponents have raised very little money for their own campaigns. They’ve held almost no campaign events. They rarely show up for community events. Instead, they’ve outsourced their campaign – relying on mail and TV ads funded by the big developers whose plans they’ve rubber-stamped for the last two years.

The contrast with my campaign could not be greater. Unlike my opponents, I have funded my campaign by contributions from dozens of community organizations and scores of community members like you.

Thank you for your support – Now it’s time to take back control of our City from the big developers and return it where it belongs – to the residents of Irvine!

This is anticipated to be a low turnout election – which means that every vote is crucial.

Please tell your friends and neighbors and make sure they vote, too.

Let’s take Irvine back from the big developers.

Thank you,

Melissa Fox
Candidate for Irvine City Council

“A Misuse of Taxpayer Dollars” – Lalloway Gives $1.3 Billion of Taxpayer Money for Toll Lanes on the 405

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The Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) recently committed $1.3 billion of taxpayers’ money to a plan that will result in toll lanes on the 405 freeway.

Leading the OCTA to this toll road decision was Jeffrey Lalloway, OCTA Vice-Chairman and Irvine City Councilmember. 

stop pay tollOur own Orange County Supervisor, Todd Spitzer, said that the OCTA had “given up its leverage” and surrendered to the toll road special interests.

Orange County Supervisor John Moorlach called the OCTA decision “a misuse of taxpayer dollars.”

I agree.

Toll roads are not what Orange County voters intended when we passed the Measure M sales tax to pay for transportation improvements to alleviate traffic congestion.

The vast majority of residents along the 405 freeway vehemently oppose toll lanes – often referred to as “Lexus lanes” that are affordable only for the well-to-do.  They don’t think residents should pay upwards of $20 a day to drive the 405.

Toll roads are bad policy. Toll roads foster corruption and political patronage. They discourage needed improvements on the rest of our highway system. They’ve been financial disasters and boondoggles across the county.

And when toll roads are built with public money – $1.3 billion in public money taken from the sales tax of Measure M – they amount to double taxation.

California is rightly famous for its freeways, not tollways.

As  Irvine Assemblyman Allan Mansoor said, “This issue really boils down to trust and truth. Without Measure M, Caltrans cannot build toll lanes on the 405 . . . [The] OCTA can stop the toll lanes from going forward.”

Jeffrey Lalloway had a chance to stand up for Irvine and Orange County residents and oppose toll lanes on the 405.  Instead, he stood with big developers and special interests who want to replace our freeways with tollways.

Now it’s time to replace Jeffrey Lalloway.

Lynn Schott’s Planning Commission Decision Dooms Irvine Farmers’ Market

We were excited to report last June that Irvine, which has long has two certified farmers’ markets, was getting two more.

Now it appears that soon there will be one less.

The farmers’ market at University Town Center, which has been serving the University area and all of Irvine for nearly 20 years, is scrambling to find a new location.

The reason?

In January 2014, the Irvine Planning Commission, by a close vote of 3-2, approved the development of a drive-through fourth fast-food restaurant at the University Town Center, including the removal of 58 parking spaces.

Voting in favor of the fast-food drive-through restaurant development and the removal of the parking spaces was Jeffrey Lalloway appointee Lynn Schott, who is now seeking her own seat on the City Council.

The loss of these parking spaces is what is now causing the University Town Center farmers’ market to struggle to find another location – which will be difficult, if not impossible, to find in the area.

I hope that the farmers’ market at University Town Center finds a new location in time for a 20th anniversary celebration and continues to serve Irvine for another 20 years, but a new location may not be found.

Fast-food and fast growth.

Bad planning has bad consequences.

Important Message from Seven-Year-Old Amin, My Favorite Campaign Volunteer!

Melissa Fox, Melissa Fox for Irvine City Council, Melissa Fox Irvine, melissafoxblog, melissafoxblog.com, votemelissafox, votemelissafox.com, Irvine Commissioner Melissa Fox

Here is a message to all Irvine voters from seven-year-old Amin, my favorite campaign volunteer.

As Amin says: “I am seven-years-old. I can not vote, but YOU CAN! Vote! Vote! Vote! Vote Vote!”

Listen to Amin: 

Click here to visit Melissa’s campaign website.

Listen to Melissa Fox’s Interview on KUCI’s ‘Ask a Leader’

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Here is the interview I did on October 14 with Claudia Shambaugh on the program Ask a Leader on KUCI-FM about my campaign for Irvine City Council and the future of the City of Irvine.

We discussed development and over-development, traffic congestion, infrastructure, protecting Irvine’s villages and local businesses, the Irvine Barclay Theatre, improving our bikeways and the iShuttle,  environmental issues, losing one of farmers’ markets, my Irvine Food Tours, the OCTA’s irresponsible toll road decision, and more.

I hope you’ll listen and let me know what you think!

 

Traffic Congestion Causes Irvine to Drop to 14th Place in America’s Best Places to Live

Irvine’s national standing as one of America’s best places to live has declined sharply in the last few years, from 4th place in 2008, to 6th place in 2012, and now a precipitous drop out of the Top Ten to 14th place in Money Magazine’s recent “Best Places to Live 2014.”

The problem: while Irvine still receives raves for its “more than 54 miles of bike paths and 20,000 acres of parks and preserves” as well as for our master plan, “median home prices top $650,000, and traffic can be a brute during rush hour.”

What this means is that Irvine’s terrible – and increasing – traffic congestion problem is no longer our own little secret.

The rest of the country has noticed, and is re-evaluating the desirability of living in Irvine accordingly.

In the short run, Irvine’s drop to 14th best place to live – slotted between Centennial, Colorado, and Newton, Massachusetts – will primarily impact our civic pride.

But in the middle and longer run, the decline in Irvine’s reputation because of traffic congestion – and the serious underlying problem of over-development without adequate planning – could have far more dire, and costly, consequences.

Our real estate market could be adversely affected, as well as our ability to attract companies and business that are looking for the best quality of life for their executives and employees.

Most important, Irvine’s fall to 14th place in Money Magazine’s “Best Places to Live” is the canary in the coal mine, warning us of worse to come, as the rest of the world notices our rapid over-development without proper planning or infrastructure and our increasingly over-crowded schools.

We should take heed now, while we still can, and return to the principles of planning and measured growth that not very long ago made Irvine Number One.

To do that, we’re going to have to replace the current City Council’s fast-growth majority – Mayor Steven Choi and Councilmember Jeffrey Lalloway, who have approved 10,000 new housing units in just the last two years and demonstrated that they will simply rubber stamp whatever the big developers want – with our pro-resident, slow-growth team of Mary Ann Gaido for Irvine Mayor, and Larry Agran and Melissa Fox for Irvine City Council, committed to putting residents’ quality of life ahead of big developers’ profits.

We want Irvine to be America’s “Best Place to Live” now and in the future, not just in the past.