Irvine Should Move Forward with a Memorandum of Understanding for Pretend City Children’s Museum at the Great Park

Irvine Should Move Forward with a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for Pretend City Children’s Museum at the Cultural Terrace of the Great Park.

I am disappointed that at last Tuesday’s City Council meeting, only Councilmember Christina Shea joined with me in agreeing to an MOU with our great Irvine-based Pretend City Children’s Museum regarding a lease of property at the Cultural Terrace of the Great Park.  Mayor Don Wagner and Councilmember Lynn Schott voted against.  Councilmember Jeff Lalloway was absent.

Because of the City Council’s decision, Pretend City Children’s Museum is in danger of losing a seed money grant from the County for $5 million that depends on the MOU.

Pretend City Children’s Museum, which opened in Irvine in 2009, is an interactive children’s museum that builds better brains through whole body learning experiences, educational programs, and creative exhibits.  Designed as a small city, with a grocery store, construction site, art studio, house, café, bank, emergency services, health center and farm, Pretend City will be a familiar environment in which children infant through eight-years-old will have joyful opportunities to build problem solving and critical thinking skills, develop creativity and begin a life-long love of learning. It is dedicated to ensuring that each child is ready for school success by providing the ideal real-world learning experiences needed by children to develop their essential foundational learning skills.  This month, the Institute of Museum and Library Services announced that Pretend City is a finalist for the 2017 National Medal for Museum and Library Service.

Susan Bolton, the Executive Director of the Pretend Museum, has explained that the museum “seeks to move to the Great Park to expand its mission in serving the county’s children in providing early childhood education, developmental screenings, hands on play environment for children of ALL abilities and school readiness.”

The arguments against the MOU were that it would give Pretend City Children’s Museum an advantage over other possible occupants of the Cultural Terrace, and that the Cultural Terrace project should not be approved piecemeal. However, we already know the value and quality of Pretend City, which has operated in the city for many years, and the MOU would not commit the city to any final decision regarding the Cultural Terrace.

Moreover, we should be not be pitting the fine organizations that are seeking space in the Cultural Terrace against each other.  As Don Croucher – the leading advocate for a California Fire Museum at the Great Park – has pointed out, he and other supporters of the Fire Museum “are very much in favor of Pretend City getting their MOU so they do not lose the grant that is offered to them. We understand the need for them to move forward. It is NOT putting them ahead of any others at the Cultural Terrace, but rather a hand up to get the $5 million grant. We, in no way, want to hinder this important step for Pretend City.  We will support them in every step of the way to make sure they get this MOU ASAP.”

Irvine is a great city for families with young children, but we can and should make it even better.  We need more childcare and more pre-school programs for children under six-years-old, and I and my Commissioners are working to make this happen. We should also do everything we can to support the terrific work being done by the Pretend Museum for young children right here in Irvine.

As Councilmember Christina Shea has said, “If Pretend City loses their grant and we in turn lose a fantastic partner that supports our children and families, the community will lose and this isn’t what Irvine is about.”

I hope that we can move forward with the MOU soon and that the grant is not lost.

I recommend that those who are interested in this issue contact other members of the Irvine City Council.

Join Me Saturday at the Grand Opening of the Orange County Great Park Sports Park!

Join me for a free Grand Opening and fun-filled day from 2-9 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 5, as the first phase of the Orange County Great Park’s Sports Park is unveiled.
No RSVP is needed. Click  here for the map for directions into the Great Park.
All fields will be activated at 2 p.m., then join the Mayor and City Council for an official ribbon-cutting at 3:30 p.m. inside the Soccer Stadium at the Great Park, followed by the first soccer match in the new stadium.
There will be exhibitions, and opportunities, on the six soccer fields, 25 tennis courts, and five sand volleyball courts that will be open on that day.
Bring the family to enjoy the new Children’s Play Area. Food trucks will available for guests to purchase food from 2-8 p.m.
A  special free family concert featuring The Blues Brothers with Dan Aykroyd and Jim Belushi will begin inside the Soccer Stadium at 7:15 p.m.
Wear comfortable shoes to experience the first 53 acres of what will become the 194-acre Sports Park!
Here’s the schedule of events for the Sports Park Grand Opening on Aug. 5:

2:00-5:30 pm: Exhibitions, clinics, competition at tennis courts, soccer fields, & volleyball courts.

2:00-8:00 pm: Food/dessert trucks available on-site.

3:30 pm: Opening ceremonies – FivePoint/City of Irvine – at the Soccer Stadium.

4:00-5:30 pm: O.C. all-star soccer shoot out at the Soccer Stadium.

7:00-9:00 pm: Free community concert featuring The Blues Brothers with Dan Aykroyd & Jim Belushi at the Soccer Stadium.

See you there!

Support the 5th Marines Vietnam War Memorial

“A nation reveals itself not only by the men it produces but also by the men it honors, the men it remembers.” — President John F. Kennedy

It was my great honor to contribute to the 5th Marines Vietnam Memorial.

Vietnam War veteran Bill Sandlin, USMC, ret., presents 5th Marines Challenge Coin to Irvine Councilmember Melissa Fox.

The 5th Marines Vietnam Memorial is dedicated to planning, building, installing, and dedicating a monument at Camp Pendleton that will remember and honor the combat veterans of the 1st Battalion of the 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division (1/5/1), who served during the Vietnam War, and, in particular, the 2,706 U.S.Marines and Sailors of the 5th Marines who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Because of the generous donations of so many people, the manufacturing of the 6 black paneled granite has begun, and we are on track for the Dedication Ceremony on Memorial Day 2018. But we still have funds to raise to make the Memorial a reality.

The 5th Marine Regiment has a rich and distinguished history. Its reputation as the Marine Corps’ most decorated infantry regiment has been seared in the crucible of many wars and crises since its establishment in 1917, from the Battle of  Belleau Wood in World War I, the Battle of Guadalcanal in World War II,  the Battle of Inchon in Korea, the Battle of Fallujah in Iraq, and the Battle of Helmand Province in Afghanistan.  Today, the 5th Marines are involved in the battle against ISIS.

I have a personal connection to the 5th Marines. Several of my relatives served in the 5th Marines, including my cousin, PFC Irwin Handler, who was killed in action in Korea during the Battle of Chosin Reservoir.

Every American owes a debt to the 5th Marines, for their courage and service to this nation.

This Memorial is about the sacrifice made by the 5th Marines who courageously fought in Vietnam because our nation asked. It honors their courage, commitment to duty, and commitment to country, and it says that we will never forget them.

You can watch a video of the proposed Memorial here,

You can make a contribution here.

If you have the means, please join me in contributing to this very worthy cause of honoring the 2,706 U.S.Marines and Sailors of the 5th Marines who made the ultimate sacrifice during the Vietnam War.

Save a Life — Be a Water Watcher!

Summer is a time for fun in the water, especially here in Southern California.

But far too often this summer, as a member of the Board of Directors of the Orange County Fire Authority, I have received a notice that there has been another drowning or near drowning at our local swimming pools.

Irvine Community Services Commissioner Lauren Johnson with Water Watcher Tag.

The news was particularly devastating this past Sunday: A 5-year-old girl was drowned in an Irvine swimming pool. She was found at 4:23 p.m. in a community pool at 120 Spring Valley.  Fire Captain Larry Kurtz said there were “lots of other kids in the pool when she was discovered” and that a nurse pulled her from the water and performed CPR.  It was too late.

Please, please, please be vigilant and assign a Water Watcher at all times near water, so these tragedies can be prevented!

Drownings occur without a sound, quickly and silently. Drowning continues to be the leading cause of accidental death among children age five and under. The majority of drowning and near drowning incidents occur in residential swimming pools and in open water sites. Drowning usually occurs quickly and silently.  Drownings and near-drownings can happen in a matter of seconds.

The good news is that drowning is 100% preventable!

To combat this needless tragedy, never swim alone and volunteer to be a Water Watcher.

A Water Watcher is a responsible adult who agrees to watch the children in the water without distractions, and to wear a Water Watcher tag.

The Water Watcher wears a tag stating:

Wearing this tag, I accept responsibility to supervise the children in and around the water, keeping them in sight at all times.  To prevent children from drowning, I’ll avoid distractions such as talking on the phone, reading, or poolside chats.  Before I leave the area, I will give this tag to the next adult water watcher who can swim.”

After a certain amount of time (such as 15-minutes), the Water Watcher card is passed to another adult, who is then responsible for the active supervision.

Water Watcher tags are available at your nearest Orange County Fire Authority Fire Station.

You can also call OCFA at 714-573-6200.

If you’re in Irvine, I will bring Water Watcher tags to you. Send me an email at mefox@cityofirvine.org.

Drowning is preventable.  Let’s prevent it from happening in our communities.

Let’s make Irvine the nation’s Safest City for Swimming!

 

 

Irvine City Council Approves Agreement with Wild Rivers for New 30-Acre Water Park at Great Park!

Irvine, CA — In April, the Irvine City Council, acting as the Great Park Board of Directors, adopted the motion of Great Park Vice Chair and Irvine Councilmember Melissa Fox to approve construction of a new Wild Rivers Water Park on 30 acres at the Great Park in Irvine.
The old Wild Rivers Water Park closed in 2011 after 25 years in Irvine.

“I’m delighted to have made the motion on the City Council to bring Wild Rivers back to Irvine,” Councilmember Fox said.

“We have missed having a water park in Irvine,” Fox added.

Now the Great Park Board and the Irvine City Council have approved an agreement with the owners of Wild Rivers to to begin site planning and drafting the lease for the new 30-acre water park at the Orange County Great Park.

Wild Rivers CEO Mike Riedel first approached city officials about moving to the Great Park the year Wild Rivers closed. Last year, rather than granting Wild Rivers a no-bid contract, the council first decided to seek more proposals.  In April, the City Council approved a motion by Councilmember Melissa Fox to go forward with the Wild Rivers proposal.

“Wild Rivers has been an icon in the city of Irvine,” Councilmember Melissa Fox explained. “I was a kid sliding down the water slides at the old Wild Rivers, and I was a young mom taking my son there on hot summer days. We know that Wild Rivers provides fun and safe water parks, and they’ve always had a great relationship with the residents and the City of Irvine. We look forward to having them back in Irvine very soon.”

Wild Rivers will build a new water park with waterslides, an uphill water coaster, water play structures for children, a wave pool, a lazy river and Wild Rivers’ popular Congo River Rapids.

Councilmember Fox has also been working with Wild Rivers management to create an “all access” area, so that children and adults with disabilities can also enjoy a day at the water park.

Here is great video report from ABC News: Beloved SoCal Water Park Set to Make a Splash with its Reopening in 2019.

Here is a preliminary rendering of what the new Wild Rivers water park will look like:

We Hold These Truths . . .

“We hold these Truths to be self-evident

that all Men are created equal

that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights

that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness

That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men

deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed.

The Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776.

It is truly an honor and a privilege to serve the people of Irvine as one of their representatives on the Irvine City Council.

It is to the people of Irvine that I owe my best efforts, my best judgment, my faithfulness, and my sole allegiance.

I am keenly aware that our enjoyment of the unalienable rights spoken of in our Declaration of Independence were hard won by the blood, sweat, and tears of those who have served and sacrificed for this nation.  It is them that I owe my freedom, my citizenship in this great nation, and my ability to serve the people of Irvine.

On this July 4th, I celebrate our City, our State, and our Nation, and those who have served and sacrificed to keep us free.

Happy Independence Day!

Join Me and the Irvine Police Association for Fireworks and Music on July 4th!

Join me and the Irvine Police Association for fireworks, music, and more on Tues, July 4th!

It’s our 33rd year for the 2017 July 4th Concert on the Green and Fireworks Festival at the Irvine High School football stadium, and this year’s celebration is going to be the best ever!

This year we will be featuring:

  • Live music by the Derek Bordeaux Group.
  • A Pyro Musical sky concert & Fireworks extravaganza by Pyro Spectaculars.
  • Professional Field Entertainers with Field Games and Activities.
  • Bounce Houses.
  • Raffles with Prizes.
  • Gourmet Food Trucks.

What: 33rd Annual Irvine Police Association July 4th Fireworks and Concert

Where: Irvine High School Stadium, 4321 Walnut Ave. Irvine CA, 92604

Date: Tues., July 4, 2017

Time: Gates open at 3:00 p.m.  Fireworks start at 9:00 p.m.

Tickets: Admission at the door is $15 for ages 14 and older, $10 for children and seniors. Advanced purchase of family passes (good for two adults and up to four children) is $50.  You may purchase tickets from May 1st, 2017 until July 3rd, 2017 at City Hall, 2nd Floor, Community Services. Family tickets are pre-sale only, and will be available until July 3rd.  You may also purchase adult, children or senior tickets from the Irvine High School stadium box office on the 4th of July.

Special Notes: The Irvine H.S. football field is available for picnics (blankets and chairs recommended).  Bleacher seating will be available on a first come first served basis. EZ-Ups will be permitted, but no stakes or any objects may penetrate the turf!  No pet, barbecues, bikes or personal fireworks. No Smoking (except for in designated smoking areas).

Thank you to the Irvine Police Association for putting on this event, and for your continued dedication and professionalism in service to the residents of Irvine.

For more information, click here or call 949-724-0488.

I hope to see you there!