Great Park Board Adopts Melissa Fox’s Motion to Approve New Wild Rivers Water Park in Irvine

On April 25, 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.

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

“Wild Rivers has been an icon in the city of Irvine,” Fox added. “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.”
The city plans to lease its Great Park land to Wild Rivers, which would build and run the water park. Wild Rivers is proposing a 30-acre 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.

Irvine City Council Passes Melissa Fox’s Motion for Proclamation Remembering Holocaust and to “Remain Vigilant Against Hatred, Persecution, and Tyranny”

Irvine – CA  At the Irvine City Council meeting on April 14, 2017, the Council unanimously voted in favor of Councilmember Melissa Fox’s motion for an official proclamation recognizing April 23-30, 2017, as “Days of Remembrance” in memory of the victims of the Holocaust, and in honor of the survivors, rescuers and liberators, and urging all to “remain vigilant against hatred, persecution, and tyranny.”

“I want to thank the Mayor and my City Council colleagues for their unanimous support for this proclamation,” Councilmember Fox stated. “The memory of the Holocaust should serve as a reminder throughout the ages of the need to treat all people with respect and dignity, and to ensure that hatred, bigotry, and tyranny have no place in America or any civilized community.”

The proclamation reads as follows:


April 23-30, 2017

WHEREAS, the Congress of the United States established the United States Holocaust Memorial Council to create a living memorial to the victims of the Nazi Holocaust, to never lose memory of that terrible moment in time; and

WHEREAS, the Holocaust was the persecution of European Jewry by Nazi Germany and its collaborators between 1933 and 1945, and Jews were the primary victims – six million were murdered along with millions more targeted for racial ethnic or national reasons; and

WHEREAS, the history of the Holocaust offers an opportunity to reflect on the moral responsibilities of individuals, societies, and governments; and

WHEREAS, we should always remember the terrible events of the Holocaust and remain vigilant against hatred, persecution, and tyranny; and

WHEREAS, we should rededicate ourselves to the principles of individual freedom in a just society; and

WHEREAS, the Days of Remembrance have been set aside to remember the victims of the Holocaust as well as to reflect on the need for respect of all people; and

WHEREAS, pursuant to an Act of Congress the United States Holocaust Memorial Council designates the Days of Remembrance of the Victims of the Holocaust to be Sunday, April 23 through Sunday, April 30, 2017 including the international Day of Remembrance known as Yom Hashoah, April 24;

NOW THEREFORE, the City Council of the City of Irvine DOES HEREBY PROCLAIM APRIL 23-30, 2017, as “Days of Remembrance” in memory of the victims of the Holocaust, and in honor of the survivors, as well as the rescuers and liberators.


Mayor of the City of Irvine

March 14, 2017


City Council Member Melissa Fox Calls for Community Meeting to Reaffirm Irvine’s Commitment to Serve and Protect All Residents


Today, I issued the following Press Release:


Contact: Jason Mills (714) 576-4303


IRVINE, CA – Irvine City Councilmember Melissa Fox has called on the Irvine City Council to hold a community meeting to reaffirm to our richly diverse community that the City of lrvine and the Irvine Police Department will serve and protect all our residents with fairness, compassion and understanding.

2015-10-29-1446140597-2946989-cdfwm“Our City has a long and proud tradition of celebrating our great diversity and welcoming everyone to our community,” Councilmember Fox stated.

“We are grateful for the many cultures, faiths, and languages that shape the uniqueness of lrvine.  But I’ve recently been contacted by numerous residents expressing their fears that they are experiencing increasing levels of intolerance directed toward them simply because of their religion or their country of origin. Furthermore, other residents from our immigrant communities have expressed concerns about how the recent increase in hate crimes nationally may affect local policing efforts.  These developments are deeply troubling to me and to many others throughout our wonderfully diverse community,” she added.

Recent events have unsettled many Irvine residents.  Violent threats and assaults based on religion and national origin have increased across the county.  Last week, two Indian Americans were shot in Kansas in a hate crime.  Mosques have been the targets of arson in California, Texas, Washington, and Florida.  Jewish cemeteries have been desecrated in Missouri, Pennsylvania, and New York.  Here in Irvine, the Jewish Community Center, along with more than 20 other Jewish Community Centers across the nation, recently received a bomb threat.  In addition, there have been hate crimes directed toward Irvine’s Muslim residents.

“I believe that now is the time for us to reassure all members of our community that we celebrate diversity, embrace inclusion, and will ensure equal protection under the law,” Councilmember Fox said.

“That’s why I’ve asked the Irvine City Council to place on the March 14, 2017, my request that City staff coordinate a community meeting, possibly in cooperation with other stakeholders, such as the Orange County Human Relations Commission or members of our faith-based communities, to reassure everyone in our richly diverse community that the City of lrvine will serve and protect all our residents with fairness, compassion and understanding.”

My Busy — and Rewarding — Weekend!


The weekend of February 25-26 began early on Saturday morning, meeting up with Orange County Fire Authority Chief Greg McKeown and dozens of volunteers from OC Fire, OC Fire Explorers, the Irvine Police Department, Irvine Police Explorers, CERT, and the Red Cross to inspect and install smoke detectors for residents at The Groves, a resident-owned senior community in the Irvine. A total of 738 smoke alarms were installed in 349 homes free of charge by 87 volunteers!

Then I headed out to Harvard Community Athletic Park for the Opening Ceremony and a pancake breakfast fundraiser for Irvine PONY Baseball, which included a beautiful salute to the American flag led by Irvine Boy Scout Troop 645.

Next on my Saturday agenda was a visit to Mike Ward Community Park in Woodbridge to participate in the “OC Charity Dog Walk – Who Walks Who?,” sponsored by Irvine Rotary and the Rotaract UC Irvine. The event included dog photo booths, veterinarians, dog toys, an auction and dog contests — all to raise money for great causes. $6,500 was raised for local charities!

Councilmember Melissa Fox joins with Gold Star Mothers and other City Councilmembers at Northwood Gratitutde and Honor Memorial Expansion Ceremony

Irvine City Councilmember Melissa Fox joins with Gold Star Mothers and other City Councilmembers at Northwood Gratitutde and Honor Memorial Expansion Ceremony.

Then I stopped at the Islamic Center of Irvine to drop off a donation of lightly used shoes for Soles4Souls, a charity that aims to disrupt the cycle of poverty, create sustainable jobs, and provide relief through the distribution of shoes and clothing around the world.

On Sunday, I joined with Mayor Wagner, Mayor Pro Tem Lynn Schott and Councilmember Christina Shea, as well as Gold Star parents and other City officials, to take part in the groundbreaking ceremony of the expansion of the Irvine Nothwood Gratitude and Honor Memorial.
Located in Northwood Community Park, the Northwood Gratitude and Honor Memorial is the nation’s first memorial dedicated exclusively to listing the names of all the fallen American service members in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Last year, the Irvine Community Services Commission, of which I was then a member, recommended that the City add two new pillars to the site, extend the area of the plaza, install two new benches, and add a pedestal with the history of the Memorial. The City Council then unanimously approved the Commission’s recommendations.

“As a resident of Irvine and the daughter of a Korean War combat veteran, I am proud that Irvine continues to honor and express our gratitude to America’s fallen heroes,” I said. You can watch and hear all of my remarks here.

My favorite part of being an Irvine City Councilmember is representing our great City at community events.

Sometimes it is serious and solemn, like the Northwood Memorial expansion ceremony.

Sometimes it is just great fun and completely delightful, like the OC Charity Dog Walk and the PONY Base Opening Day ceremony.

But it is always rewarding, and it’s always an honor and a privilege to represent the City of Irvine and to meet with our residents and participate in the great things they’re doing.

Join Me on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, for the Northwood Gratitude and Honor Memorial Expansion Groundbreaking Ceremony


Please join me this Sunday afternoon, February 26, 2017, for the Northwood Gratitude and Honor Memorial – Expansion Groundbreaking ceremony.

Irvine’s Northwood Gratitude and Honor Memorial, located in Northwood Community Park, is the nation’s first memorial dedicated exclusively to listing the names of all the fallen American service members in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The names of every service member who has died in Afghanistan and Iraq are engraved in granite in a permanent memorial, to assure that future generations of Americans will remember and honor them with gratitude as we do today. The panels carry the names of all those who died in Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation New Dawn.

cf0z1wwukaaxklyThe Memorial is the result of both community activism and local government commitment. In 2003, shortly after the invasion of Iraq, an Irvine resident named Dr. Asher Milgrom created the first display in the park. The original make-shift memorial consisted of thirty wooden posts bearing the names and photos of the fallen. Starting in 2006, a non-partisan group of Irvine residents advocated for the establishment of a permanent memorial. In late 2009, the Irvine City Council unanimously approved a plan to create a permanent memorial, which was dedicated on November 14, 2010.

I am proud to say that last year, the Irvine Community Services Commission, of which I was then a member, recommended that the City add two new pillars to the site. extend the area of the plaza, install two new benches, and add a pedestal with history of the Memorial. The City Council then unanimously approved the Commission’s recommendations.

Irvine has a long and proud military tradition. From 1942 to 1999, Irvine was home to Marine Air Station El Toro, the largest Marine Corps Air Station on the West Coast. During World War II, the Korean Conflict and the Vietnam War, thousands of United States Marines, as well as airmen, sailors, and soldiers, departed for war from MCAS El Toro.  Irvine’s own sons and daughters have also served our nation in times of war. Too many did not return.

As the daughter of a combat veteran and as an Irvine City Councilmember, I am proud that Irvine honors our fallen heroes.

I hope to see you there.

What: Northwood Gratitude and Honor Memorial – Expansion Groundbreaking

Where: Northwood Community Park, 4531 Bryan Avenue, Irvine, CA 92620

When: Sunday, February 26, 2017, 4:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

For more information, call 949-724-6728.

What I’m Listening for in the Mayor’s State of the City Address


Irvine Mayor Don Wagner and I have very different views on many national issues. Yet in the short time that we have served together on the Irvine City Council, I believe we have come to mutually respect each other’s genuine concern for solving Irvine’s problems and improving the lives of the residents of our City.

That’s why I look forward to Mayor Wagner’s first State of the City Address.

Here’s what I will be listening for:

Plans to tackle Irvine’s growing traffic and transportation problems. Everyone who lives or works in Irvine knows that Irvine has serious traffic and transportation problems. Every person who ran for Mayor or City Council in 2016 – including myself and Mayor Wagner – promised to take bold and meaningful action to reduce traffic congestion. To solve these problems, Irvine needs to increase the safe, effective, and efficient transportation choices available in the City (including public transportation and bicycle routes), and will need to hold developers accountable for resolving traffic issues before more entitlements and building permits are issued. While I agree that there is no quick-fix or miracle cure for traffic, I believe Irvine’s voters spoke loudly and clearly in the most recent election: our Mayor and City Council must take decisive action against Irvine’s transportation issues – congestion, environmental impact, accessibility, and public safety.

Progress on the Great Park. For too long, the promise of a truly Great Park has been obscured by bickering and recriminations. All of us on the Irvine City Council need to move forward and put the interests of Irvine’s residents and our regional neighbors first. Among the specific Great Park projects I am interested in supporting is a new amphitheater to host world-class musicians and local favorites, as well as a new world-class water park, while not negatively impacting our traffic or public safety. The Mayor and the City Council need to work in harmony with Irvine residents, our regional neighbors, developers, and other partners in creating a Great Park that we can all be proud to bequeath to future generations.

Plans to ensure smart growth in Irvine instead of runaway development. Here, too, Irvine’s residents have spoken loud and clear in the last election: Development must not come at the price of Irvine’s schools, public safety, or quality of life. I look forward to hearing the plans Mayor Wagner has for working with our school districts, developers, and regional partners to prevent school overcrowding and further exacerbation of our traffic woes, while maintaining Irvine’s high educational and public safety standards.

Assure our Muslim and foreign-born residents that Irvine welcomes them. The current political climate has made many Muslim and foreign-born residents of Irvine fearful. I have met many people in Irvine who are genuinely fearful that harm will come to them and their families because of their religion, their appearance, their accent, or their even their names. I would like to hear Mayor Wagner assure these residents that Irvine welcomes them, appreciates them, stands with them, and will not tolerate any bigotry against them.

Commitment to building the Veterans Cemetery and Memorial. One of my proudest moments as an Irvine resident was when the City Council in 2014 voted unanimously to set aside 125 acres in the Great Park for an Orange County Veterans Cemetery. The Governor then signed Assembly Bill 1453 into law, authorizing the State of California “in voluntary cooperation with local government entities in Orange County [to] design, develop, construct, and equip a state-owned and state-operated Southern California Veterans Cemetery, which shall be located at the site of the former Marine Corps Air Station El Toro, on 125 acres known as the Amended and Restated Development Agreement Site in the Great Park in the City of Irvine.”

Since that time, questions have been raised regarding whether there will be sufficient funds to build the veterans cemetery on the allocated site in the Great Park, or whether the best course of action is to accept an offer from the Great Park developer to build the cemetery in another, close-by, location in return for a swap of land. I strongly prefer the original allocated site, not least for historical reasons: The Great Park location is on the site of the old Marine Corps Air Station El Toro, where many thousands of brave men and women served, and from where too many departed American soil to fight in foreign lands and never returned.

But for me, the decisive question is what is best for our veterans and their families. Orange County has a long and proud military tradition. As the daughter of an Orange County Korean War combat veteran, I will insist that we fulfill our promise to Orange County veterans – who have sacrificed so much for us – to provide a fitting and beautiful final resting place close to their families and loved ones. I look forward to hearing what Mayor Wagner says on this matter, and expect I him to unequivocally reaffirm Irvine’s sacred commitment to our veterans.

Concern for the less fortunate and plans for affordable housing. The great prosperity in Irvine is not shared by all. Many students in Irvine’s public schools qualify for free or reduced-price lunches. Too many of the jobs created in recent years do not pay a middle-class or even a living wage. We don’t have enough places to live, and too many people can’t afford the places that do exist. Millennials, especially, have a tough time finding places they can afford to live in our City. In addition, our local region has a severe homelessness crisis that our City must pitch in to solve. I look forward to hearing the Mayor’s plans for tackling these issues.

Plans for more childcare facilities. My neighborhood is filled with the happy sounds of young children. Irvine’s schools and beautiful parks and recreational facilities make it exceptionally attractive for families with young children. Yet Irvine already has a serious childcare crisis. At present, nearly 2,500 Irvine families do not have adequate child care. Our Child Care Needs Assessment revealed a current city-wide shortfall of 2,433 child care spaces across all age groups, with the most acute shortage for children under 2 years-old and children 6 to 12 years-old. Churches and other houses of worship traditionally provide a third of all childcare. Our Irvine City Council and the Planning Commission must zone sufficient areas for churches and houses of worship, as well as take other steps, to meet our growing child care needs.

An inspiring vision for Irvine’s future. Irvine cannot afford to sit on its laurels. Other cities are already moving forward with state-of-the-art communications and smart transportation systems. Other cities are moving forward with environmental protections for its residents and incentives for entrepreneurs and innovators. Irvine has all the tools and resources to continue to be among the best places in the world to live and work. I look forward to hearing Mayor Wagner’s vision for a 21st Century Irvine that continues our quest for being the best.

Like many Irvine’s residents, I am optimistic and have positive expectations for Irvine’s elected officials and Irvine’s future. I know we will succeed if we work together putting the residents first.

Autonomous Vehicle Technology in Irvine: Moving Irvine Toward Greener, Smarter Transportation Solutions

Mercedes-Benz Future Bus mit CityPilot; teilautomatisiert fahrender Stadtbus mit Ampelerkennung; Hindernis- und Fußgängererkennung; 10 Kameras; automatisierte Haltestellenfahrten; Radarsysteme für Nah- und Fernbereich Basisfahrzeug: Mercedes-Benz Citaro; OM 936 mit 220 kW/299 PS; 7,7 L Hubraum, Länge/Breite/Höhe: 12.135/2.550/3.120 mm ; Mercedes-Benz Future Bus with CityPilot; semi-automated city bus with traffic light recognition; recognition of obstacles and pedestrians; automated bus stop approaches basic vehicle: Mercedes-Benz Citaro; OM 936 rated at 220 kW/299 hp; displacement 7.7 l; length/width/height: 12135/2550/3120 mm;

Note:  I recently had the opportunity to present a talk to the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC) about bringing research and jobs to Irvine involving the development of autonomous vehicle technology.  Among those present were representatives of major innovative corporations.  I would like to say thank you to Irvine Planning Commissioner Dustin Nirschl for his invaluable help in writing this talk and in bringing AV technology to Irvine. 

Here is the text of that talk.

Irvine boasts a long-standing, commitment to planning that has resulted in it’s being viewed as one of the more desirable locations in the nation.  The city has been planned under a village community model to ensure that residents enjoy safe, accessible, family-oriented living, with short commutes to local entertainment, dining, shopping, and nearby schools.  To complement these village communities, Irvine has consistently worked to develop a robust network of bicycle paths.

Recently, Irvine’s population has surged, and two high-density hubs are nearly built out.  Residents still travel to close-proximity, village destinations, but now also frequent the Spectrum and Irvine Business Complex hubs.  These high-density hubs draw additional vehicle trips on Irvine roadways because: (1) the hub is too far to make walking/bicycling practical, (2) bicycle/pedestrian paths fail to completely connect community to key locations, or (3) a form of preferred alternative transportation such as shuttle or trolley is unavailable to the commuter. Congestion is compounded because Irvine’s daily population nearly doubles due to the influx of business professionals circulating to the Spectrum and IBC hubs. These issues signal that Irvine has reached a point of maturation where more sophisticated and smarter transportation planning with increased transportation choices for Irvine’s residents and commuters is required.

As a 21st century city, Irvine must shape its transportation initiatives and policy to accommodate its residents both for today and for the future.  One especially encouraging option for the future is the use of autonomous vehicles (AVs).  AV technology promises efficiency, and sustainability, as well as economic opportunity, improved freedom, and safety for residents.

Irvine is committed to both listening and leading. We recognize that implementing AV technology can only be done with the City fully behind the project.  We will need to continually educate residents, and to continue to refine the processes we intend to pursue to integrate AV into the community.  For this reason, we are working to re-purpose an abandoned air strip for the establishment of a Center for Excellence conducting AV and other research.  The Center for Excellence will house key players like Tesla and other innovative technology companies.  City partnerships with these innovative companies can enable necessary testing, while simultaneously demystifying many of the unknowns surrounding AV transportation.  Moreover, it will help develop additional partnerships and find ways to overcome infrastructure obstacles and regulatory issues raised by AV transportation to implement AV transportation in the City.

The City also plans to work closely with the University of California Irvine to find ways to bring the UCI Applied Innovation Department, an innovative technology incubator, into the City’s AV effort. This unique department connects the University’s intellectual property and entrepreneurism studies to real world applications.  In addition, the City will look to work with UCI Law School’s innovative Technology & Entrepreneurship Competition, which challenges interdisciplinary teams of graduate students from across the University to structure and negotiate a joint development agreement for a new and exciting technology.  We believe the Center for Excellence can integrate UCI faculty and students into an unrivaled force for research and real-world technological progress.

In addition, we are channeling Irvine City staff toward opportunities involving zero emissions and green city initiatives.  Recently, the VW settlement made available funding for City proposals committed to ZEV infrastructure, public outreach, redevelopment, and green city initiatives.  Obtaining extrinsic funding can help boost public participation and political momentum, while minimizing financial risk.  These initiatives are established to incentivize political mobility, and to lighten transition burdens.

Policymakers in California and across the country understand that local economies, the environment, and resident health all benefit across individual and collective layers of the community by embracing smart, green innovation, especially in transportation.

As an Irvine City Councilmember, I am grateful for the opportunity to better enable and further this quest.  In January, I successfully committed Irvine’s city staff to the exploration and implementation of advanced transportation methods and infrastructure.

I believe that our city, our businesses, and our people can become more connected.  AV transportation modes can connect village communities and travelers by acting as a first/last mile solution to business, entertainment, and transportation hubs.

We look forward to a greener, smarter future, but understand we have work to do right now to make that future possible.