Irvine Should Ban E-Cigarettes in Our City Parks

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Today’s New York Times has more bad news about teenagers and electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes).

The Times reports a “sharp rise in the use of e-cigarettes among teenagers.”  E-cigarette use among middle- and high school students “tripled from 2013 to 2014 . . bringing the share of high school students who use them to 13 percent — more than smoke traditional cigarettes. The sharp rise, together with a substantial increase in the use of hookah pipes, led to 400,000 additional young people using a tobacco product in 2014, the first increase in years . . .”

Last year, the Times cited a similar report of the Center for Disease Control of a sharp rise in e-cigarette use among previously nicotine-free youth.

And who are the major marketers and lobbyists for e-cigarettes?  The very same big tobacco companies that still sell cigarettes and that told us for years that there was no harm in cigarette smoking.

Last March, the Irvine City Council rejected a resolution to prohibit electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) in city parks and recreational facilities.  Mayor Steven Choi and Council Members Jeffrey Lalloway and Christina Shea voted against the ban.

Evidence is mounting that e-cigarettes are detrimental to one’s health. Their use is opposed by the American Lung Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics. UC Irvine and the entire University of California system bans their use in all indoor and outdoor areas of a UC campus.

The American Lung Association says they are “very concerned about the potential health consequences of electronic cigarettes, as well as the unproven claims that they can be used to help smokers quit. There is presently no government oversight of these products and absent Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulation, there is no way for the public health, medical community or consumers to know what chemicals are contained in e-cigarettes or what the short and long term health implications might be. . . Also unknown is what the potential harm may be to people exposed to secondhand emissions from e-cigarettes. Two initial studies have found formaldehyde, benzene and tobacco-specific nitrosamines (a carcinogen) coming from those secondhand emissions. Other studies have shown that chemicals exhaled by users also contain formaldehyde, acetaldehyde and other potential irritants. While there is a great deal more to learn about these products, it is clear that there is much to be concerned about, especially in the absence of FDA oversight.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics warns that recent scientific data “confirms pediatricians’ concerns about e-cigarettes and their liquid nicotine refills: they are poisoning children at an alarming rate. . . These new statistics should compel our nation’s leaders to act now to protect children from these dangerous products.”

The conservative editorial page of the San Diego Union Tribune has called for the regulation of e-cigarettes just like tobacco, “prohibiting their use in restaurants, bars and other public places where smoking is barred,” calling such regulations  “common sense for all of California.”

Council Member Lalloway celebrated the Council’s decision in favor of e-cigarettes by saying he had confidence in “individuals and their ability to make their own [health] choices.”

For me, what’s at issue is our freedom  to enjoy Irvine’s parks and recreational facilities without breathing air polluted with second-hand e-cigarette chemicals.

I have no problem with adults smoking e-cigarettes in their own homes or on their own property or on the property of people who say it’s okay with them.

But I don’t want members of my family or yours — especially children — to be forced to inhale second-hand e-cigarette chemicals when they come to enjoy Irvine’s beautiful public parks and recreational facilities.

That’s where we should draw the line.

Help Irvine Win the Wyland Foundation’s National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation

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Help Irvine win the Fourth Annual National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation, sponsored by the Wyland Foundation.

My Water Pledge is a friendly competition between cities across the US to see who can be the most “water-wise.”  Mayors nationwide challenge their residents to conserve water, energy and other natural resources on behalf of their city through a series of informative, easy-to-use pledges online.  Cities with the highest percentage of residents who take the challenge in their population category win.  Participants in the winning cities are eligible to win hundreds of prizes.

“Whether it’s drought conditions in the West or the high costs of energy related to water use in the East, saving water has become one of the most talked about issues facing the nation today,” said the artist Wyland, president and founder of the Wyland Foundation. “This contest gives city leaders a way to supplement their awareness efforts in a friendly, spirited way.”

my water pledge.02Your own city’s mayor does not have to participate for your city to win.

Unfortunately, Irvine Mayor Steven Choi has decided not to be a participating mayor – but you and I can still make a difference!

Last year, the challenge awarded more than $50,000 in prizes to nearly 1,000 residents in U.S. cities.

Last year, residents from over 3,600 cities in all 50 U.S. states pledged to reduce their annual consumption of freshwater by 1.4 billion gallons, reduce waste sent to landfills by 36 million pounds, prevent more than 179,000 pounds of hazardous waste from entering our watersheds, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 5.3 billion pounds. Participants have included mayors from Seattle, Dallas, Houston, Denver, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, Honolulu, San Diego, San Francisco, Long Beach and Miami.

Currently, Irvine is not in the top 10 cities in our population size in water-saving pledges.  We can fix that – and save water.

And maybe win some prizes, too.

Take the Water Conservation Challenge pledge here.

Come to the Kitten and Puppy Shower at the Irvine Animal Care Center on Saturday, April 25

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Come to the Kitten and Puppy Shower at the Irvine Animal Care Center on Saturday, April 25 from from 1:00-4:00 PM.

Help us “shower” our new puppies and kittens with needed supplies and learn about the Irvine Animal Care Center’s operations, facilities, and professional and volunteer staff.

animal showerThe Open House will include the accepting of donations, toy sales, and general information about the Irvine Animal Care Center facility.

The Irvine Animal Care Center is a progressive and innovative municipal animal shelter that continually strives to strengthen the human-animal bond and improve the welfare of animals by promoting their humane care and treatment.

The Center’s 3.73 acre, park-like facility cares for thousands of homeless, neglected and abused animals every year. All animals in their care receive veterinary care, high-quality food, soft bedding and daily socialization.

Your support helps the Center fulfill its mission of placing all adoptable animals into permanent, loving, responsible pet homes and reuniting owner-identified animals with their owners; providing a safe, clean, caring and enriching environment that meets the high standards of our community and provides the community a resource of trained and knowledgeable staff and volunteers; and promoting human responsibility for companion animals.

Click here to download the event flyer.

Click here to see the Wish List.

Click here to learn more about the Center’s adoption program and to see the dogs, cats, rabbits and other animals that are currently looking for new forever homes.

We are so fortunate to have the Irvine Animal Center in our community!  Please consider contributing and/or volunteering.  Making donations to the Irvine Animal Care Center is easy and available online.

Irvine Animal Care Center’s Hours of Operation:

Weekdays: Noon to 7:00 PM

Weekends: 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Closed Tuesdays and Holidays.

Adoptions stop one hour prior to closing.

Irvine Unified Presents Free Public Concert Series!

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The Irvine Unified School District, in partnership with the Irvine Public Schools Foundation, presents the Music Series, which features four free performances by two Irvine high schools.

University High School’s string quartet and Irvine High School’s jazz band will perform on the following dates:

April 9, 6-7 p.m. – Quail Hill Shopping Center (University High School String Quartet).

April 16, 6-7 p.m. – University Center (Irvine High School Jazz Band 1).

April 23, 6-7 p.m. – Orchard Hills Village Center (University High School String Quartet).

April 30, 6-7 p.m. – Woodbridge Village (Irvine High School Jazz Band 1).

Bring your family and friends to enjoy a fun-filled evening of music!

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

Planning Commission Decision Dooms Irvine University Center 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 may 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 another drive-through 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, 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.

I certainly 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.

Fast-food and too 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.