It’s Official: Melissa Fox Qualifies to Run for Irvine City Council!

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It’s official — I’ve filed to run for Irvine City Council!  Here is the official press release:

Irvine Community Services Commissioner Melissa Fox announced today that she has officially filed for an open seat on the Irvine City Council and qualified for the ballot in the November 8th General Election.

“As a business owner, attorney and Irvine Community Services Commissioner,” Fox stated. “I understand the relationship between strong, pro-resident leadership and our quality of life. Our city needs a new vision for unsnarling our roads and creating melissa.smilebetter economic opportunities.”

Fox starts her campaign with great momentum, having already received the support of the Orange County Professional Firefighters, the LA/OC Building and Construction Trades Council, numerous Irvine businesses and community members and Councilmember Beth Krom.

“Over the next 83 days,” Fox continued, “I plan to talk directly to Irvine voters about my plan for for restoring good planning. Irvine residents can count on me to work everyday to make Irvine an even better place to live and raise our families.”

Melissa Fox is an Irvine Community Services Commissioner, attorney, and small business owner in Irvine. To learn more about her campaign visit www.votemelissafox.com

To keep in touch with campaign updates, please “like” Melisss Fox for Irvine City Council’s Facebook page.

Irvine’s New Adventure Playground Rated #1!

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As an Irvine Community Services Commissioner who spent many months working with Irvine residents and city staff on this project, I am proud to see that the OC Register‘s article Orange County’s 10 Best Playgrounds has rated Irvine’s newly re-designed and re-opened Irvine Adventure Playground at 1 Beach Tree Lane in University Park as the #1 children’s playground in Orange County.

Irvine-Adventure-Playground-OC-Mom-BlogThe new Irvine Adventure Playground is the result of many years of dedicated activism by Irvine residents, numerous community hearings, hard work by city staff, and the collaboration and cooperation of all members of the Irvine Community Services Commission. We succeeded in creating an innovative and truly wonderful place for children to play while working within strict budget and liability constraints.  As writer Michele Whiteaker has said, the new Irvine Adventure Playground is a great example of community activism, progressive planning and design, and governmental support all working together for the good of Irvine’s children and families.

Here is what Register writer Dawn Antis said about the Irvine Adventure Playground:

“One of only a few of its kind in the United States, Adventure Playground is one of the most unusual parks Orange County has to offer. Built in the 1970s and closed in 2008 for an extensive remodel, the unstructured play environment remains a favorite for locals since it reopened last December.

Shoes aren’t required, and children can play at their own risk in the shin-deep mud hole or build forts with giant Legos in the two most populated areas of the innovative play space. A sensory garden, gigantic tree house, sandboxes, an art zone, concrete slides, Tonka trucks galore, grassy hills, hammocks and a water pumping station can all be found here. The natural space is enclosed but spans almost 2 acres, so keeping a close eye on little ones is imperative. There are clean restrooms, shaded picnic tables and multiple hoses for rinsing off on the way out.

It’s easy to spend a couple of hours here, so pack a lunch along with a hat because shade is minimal. This playground has something for kids of all ages and is stroller- and wagon-friendly. For the ultimate experience, come on a weekday to avoid the crowds. The staff members are friendly, and parking and entrance are free.”

Congratulations to everyone — parents, community advocates, city staff, and my fellow Community Services Commissioners — who worked so hard together to make this new playground a reality!

If you have young children, please take them to visit our new Irvine Adventure Playground! It is, as Michelle Whiteaker has said, “a symbol of what childhood play could and should be.”

Irvine’s Biggest Challenge

An article in the L.A. Times highlights Irvine’s recent housing boom, especially the rise of enormous apartment complexes — “so large that you can see them from space.”

The Times article points out the spectacular recent growth of housing in Irvine and the consequent explosion of Irvine’s population. Some facts: Irvine accounts for more than half of all the new houses, condos, and apartments built in Orange County in the last six years. More than 4,500 apartments were built in Orange County in 2015, a nearly 60% increase from 2014, most of them in Irvine. “Irvine now has nearly 260,000 people, but long-range estimates top 300,000. This type of staggering pace is not new. From 2000 to 2012, Irvine’s population grew at 56%, far outpacing nearby communities . . . In its 2013-2021 housing element, the city of Irvine expects about 13,000 new residential units, with more than 5,000 in high-density zones that have more than 30 dwelling units per acre.”

1558533_856661157775873_5256657880293126135_nUnquestionably, Southern California, and specifically Irvine, needs more housing, especially affordable housing. As Irvine’s economy grows, our housing must also grow. Younger families and Millennials too often priced out and feel left out of Irvine’s economic and housing boom.

How Irvine manages its housing and population growth will determine whether Irvine remains a great city to live, work and raise a family.  

In fact, Irvine’s biggest challenge is ensuring that our infrastructure and public services – roads, schools, shopping, police, recreation, and utilities – keeps up with the city’s explosive housing and population growth.

Growth is good, when there is proper planning and adequate infrastructure. But in Irvine we have seen too much runaway development without regard to planning, infrastructure, or quality of life.  The result has been snarled traffic and overcrowded schools, lack of local shopping and crowds everywhere.  Every Irvine resident knows that Irvine’s increasing traffic congestion is taking a toll on our quality of life, economic competitiveness, driving safety and air quality.

This recent abandonment of thoughtful long-term planning is very un-Irvine.  Smart growth has been our tradition in Irvine for decades. Our general plan provides for local villages with their own close-by schools and retail centers. We appear to have forgotten one of the main reasons that Irvine is so special — the principle that growth must be properly planned and balanced so as to preserve and improve our quality of life.  We need to return to that highly successful model as we build out the remaining city areas. We need to return to well planned, balanced development in order to preserve our quality of life, prevent unnecessary taxation, keep the local cost of living in check and maintain healthy positive economic growth.

When I am elected to the Irvine City Council, I will fight for development decisions based on proper planning and concern for the quality of life of Irvine’s residents.

Please visit my website — votemelissafox.com — to learn more about my campaign for Irvine City Council and how you can help Irvine return to balanced, smart growth — so that our quality of life is sustained and enhanced as Irvine grows.

UC Irvine Boot Camp for Employers: Veteran Talent Recruitment and Retention

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UC Irvine, along with other community partners, is collaborating on the upcoming 2016 Joint Veteran Talent Reintegration Conferences to help the courageous and talented men and women who have served in all branches of the armed forces transition successfully into civilian industry jobs.

Whether your company is interested in tapping into the specialized leadership, teamwork, discipline and/or strategic thinking skills and dedication veterans are known for,  you want to learn more about employer rewards for hiring veterans, or you simply want to do your part to show veterans how much you appreciate their service and sacrifices for our Country, this event is for you.

july18announcement_textwebsm (1)July 18, 2016, will be the first of three strategic programs focused on helping Veterans find employment.

The first event — Veteran Talent Recruitment and Retention Bootcamp for HR Professionals — is not just for HR professionals, but also business and organization managers to improve their veteran recruitment and retention programs, de-mystify stigmas, understand veteran health issues including establishing a realistic perspective on PTSD, learn relevant laws, employer rewards, and overcoming challenges to retention. You will hear best practices directly from companies successfully utilizing Veteran talent and discover helpful community resources available to veterans and employers.

Participating experts include Thomas Parham, Vice Chancellor Office of the Vice Chancellor Student Affairs; Michael Hollifield MD, Associate Clinical Professor, Director, Program for Traumatic Stress, Long Beach VA Healthcare System; Eli Pascal, UCI Assistant Director, CARE Campus Assault Resources in Education; John Tyler, US Army Sergeant (Ret), Employment Coordinator, Long Beach VA Healthcare System; Grace Tonner, Professor, Lawyering Skills, University of California, Irvine School of Law; Mario Barnes, US Navy Commander (Ret), Professor, Co-Director UCI Center on Law, Equity and Race; Antoinette Balta Esq., California State Military Reserve, Captain, JAG, Installation Support Command, President, Veterans Legal Institute; Veteran Law Clinic Lecturer, UCI School of Law; Jan Serrantino, PhD, Director, UCI Disability Services Center; Adam Karr, Partner, O’Melveny & Myers; Aaron Anderson, US Army Special Forces Green Beret (Ret), Associate, Trade Compliance, PIMCO; Stephanie Soltis, US Air Force Reserve Pilot, Vice President, Account Management, PIMCO; Jeff Matsen, US Army Officer, Vice President, Enterprise Risk Management, Edwards Life Sciences; Tim White, US Marine Corps Captain (Ret), Executive Vice President, Account Manager, PIMCO; Chip Hawkins, US Navy Senior Chief Petty Officer (Ret), Senior Military Recruiting Strategist, Veteran Outreach Specialist, Aetna; and Mark Whalls, US Navy Master Chief Petty Officer (Ret), Head of Military and Veteran Recruiting, HR Talent Acquisition Professional Recruiting, Aetna.

Follow this link for more detailed information.

UCI Veteran Services provides veterans, reservists, active-duty members and dependents assistance in obtaining the educational benefits to which they are entitled. The office is responsible for submitting entitlement requests for new and continuing students to the V.A., answering any questions veteran students or dependents may have concerning their educational benefits and providing resources and programs to assist veterans in navigating their transition to civilian and student life.

Red, White and Adopt!

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Help our Irvine Animal Care Center’s adoptable animals celebrate their independence!

All adoptions will be 25 percent off from July 1 to 31.

1902803_10152387835639225_1025462460_nIn addition, the Animals for Armed Forces Foundation will be at the Center on Saturday, July 9th, and in honor of this event, all adoption fees will be waived for active duty, reserve and veterans of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and National Guard and their immediate family members during the entire month of July.

To qualify for the discount, the potential adopter just needs to bring their photo ID and ONE of the following:

  • Military ID
  • Veterans ID
  • Dependent ID
  • DD-214, or
  • NGB Form 22

(Note: Fee waiver does not apply to license or puppy wellness fees).

For the event flyer, click here.

The Animals for Armed Forces Foundation provides free pet adoption events that help our shelter animals find loving homes with the heroes of our Armed Forces.  Its mission is to save shelter animals by finding them safe and loving homes and to thank the heroes of the US Armed Forces and their families with free pet adoptions.  A total of 1,984 pets have found new homes at their events, with 721 of those being adopted by military families!

Learn more about how you can help Animals for Armed Forces Foundation here.

The event on July 9th is a family friendly event that helps our current and retired members of the United States Armed Forces as well as our furry friends at the animal shelter.

Join us for a good time and visit some of our unique shelter animals!

 

 

Let’s Make Irvine America’s Safe Swimming Capitol!

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“Orange County has a problem,” according to Captain Steve Concialdi, a spokesman with the Orange County Fire Authority. “We’re one of the leading counties in the nation for drowning incidents.”

Drowning is the leading cause of accidental injury and death in children under the age of five and the second leading cause of death in children under the age of 14.

More than 80 percent of these drownings occur in residential backyard pools or spas. Drowning can happen quickly, without warning, without a splash and without a cry for help. Already this year, the county has seen 15 fatal drownings. In 2015, 50 people fatally drowned in Orange County.

These deaths are preventable!

Swimming is fun and healthy, and we’re blessed here in Irvine with terrific weather for swimming much of the year.  Now let’s do everything we can to protect our children and enjoy our swimming pools safely.

Taking a few simple steps will save young lives.

Here are the ABCs of pool safety:

poolsafety-03Active supervision: make sure to actively watch children in water. Adults should also make sure that someone is watching them or swimming with them. Don’t swim alone!

Barriers: make sure pools have a tall-enough fence to keep children from wandering in.

Classes: learn to swim, and learn first aid and CPR.

The City of Irvine’s Learn-To-Swim Program offers lessons for all swimming abilities. Classes are available for infants through adults.

Click here to view details about Learn-to-Swim levels.

  • Lessons are offered in two or four week sessions.
  • Please check schedules for dates.
  • Winter & Spring session classes are offered Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/Thursday for 25 or 40 minutes.
  • Summer session classes are offered Monday-Thursday for 25 minutes or Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/Thursday for 40 minutes.
  • Duckling classes are two weeks on Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/Thursday for 25 minutes.
  • Adult and Teen classes are offered Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/Thursday and are 40 minutes.
  • Saturday session classes are 25 minutes for children; 40 minutes for Adults.
  • Private instruction is 25 minutes.

To make our swimming pools as safe as possible, please practice Irvine’s suggested pool safety guidelines, learn CPR, and teach your children how to swim.

Here are Irvine’s Swimming Pool Safety guidelines:

SECURE THE POOL AREA

Professionally install a pool fence that is five feet high around all four sides of the pool. The fence should not have openings. Tables, chairs, tree branches or other protrusions should be moved away from the fence to prevent a young child from getting over, under or through the fence.

Gates should be self-closing and self-latching, opening outward, away from the pool. The gate latch should be placed at the top of the gate and be inaccessible from the outside by small children.

All doors and windows leading to the pool should always be secured and locked at all times.

Additional “layers of protection” include safety covers, alarms on doors and motion-detection devices.

Safety equipment, such as a ring buoy and shepherd’s crook, should always be available.

ALWAYS HAVE ADULT SUPERVISION

Swim lessons, flotation devices and safety equipment should never be substitutes for proper adult supervision at all times. Twenty-five percent of all drowning victims have had swimming lessons.

NEVER leave children alone in or near the pool, even for a moment.

Assign an adult Water Watcher to supervise the pool/spa area, especially during social gatherings.

Babysitters and guardians should always be instructed about potential hazards in and around the pool.

If a child is missing, check the pool first.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

Set water safety rules for the whole family before entering the water, including:

  • Always enter the water feet first and look before you leap.
  • Swim with a buddy in a supervised area. Never swim alone.
  • Avoid entrapment: suction from pool and spa drains can trap a swimmer under water.
  • Do not use a pool or spa if there are broken or missing drain covers.
  • Do not let children sit or play on pool drains.
  • Keep toys away from the pool, when not in use, to prevent young children from falling in after a toy.
  • Keep a telephone outside the pool area. Post the 9-1-1 emergency number on the telephone.

Now let’s make Irvine America’s Safe Swimming Capitol!

 

Irvine Must Return to Our Traditions of Smart Growth and Planning

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Since 2010, Irvine’s population has grown by 21.2 percent – or by 45,021 people.  The Irvine City Council has approved 10,000 new housing units at the Great Park. Of the 21,197 building permits issued by Irvine from 2010 through 2015, 13,079 – more than half – were for apartments or condos.

Growth is good, when there is proper planning and adequate infrastructure.  But in Irvine we have seen our City Council allow runaway development without regard to planning, infrastructure, or quality of life. The result has been snarled traffic and overcrowded schools.

The fault is with a City Council that has abandoned Irvine’s longstanding commitment to smart growth and planning.

When I am elected to the Irvine City Council, I will fight for development decisions based on proper planning and concern for the quality of life of Irvine’s families

I am pro-smart growth, which has been our tradition in Irvine for decades.  Southern California, and specifically Irvine, needs more housing, especially sustainable housing.  As Irvine’s economy grows, our housing must also grow.

What I am against is runaway development without adequate planning, without adequate infrastructure and without adequate schools and local shopping, leading to traffic gridlock, school overcrowding, and the loss of our quality of life – all of which we are now experiencing in Irvine.

Our priorities must be a return to Irvine’s commitment to smart growth and planning, reducing traffic congestion, keeping education and innovation our city’s highest priorities, ensuring that our kids are safe, and celebrating the diversity that makes Irvine such a special place.