The Dark-Money Attacks on Lauren Johnson-Norris, Candidate for Irvine City Council, are Despicable. Why are Developers So Afraid of Lauren Johnson-Norris?

The well-funded, dark-money attacks on Lauren Johnson-Norris, candidate for Irvine City Council, are despicable.

Anonymous cowards have sent out unsigned letters to voters with vile lies about Lauren, who is a brilliant attorney, the mother of twin five-year-old girls, and a tireless advocate for children, families, and veterans.

In addition, more than $100,000 in dark-money has flowed into the coffers of a mysterious and unaccountable political action committee to spread even more lies about Lauren.

No doubt more dark-money attacks will follow.

The initial goal of these cowardly attacks was to scare Lauren into dropping out of the race.

That effort failed, and now the goal is to deceive Irvine voters.

These dark-money attacks, and the cowards behind them, will not succeed.

Irvine voters know the dedication to Irvine’s children and families that Lauren Johnson-Norris has demonstrated as a devoted and effective Community Services Commissioner.

Irvine police know the dedication to at-risk children and families that Lauren has shown – and have emphatically endorsed her campaign for Irvine City Council.

Ask yourself, what are the anonymous and well-financed cowards behind these attacks on Lauren afraid of?

They are afraid Lauren’s strength, intelligence, and courage.

They are afraid of Lauren’s vow to take forceful action to deal with Irvine’s over-development and traffic congestion.

They are afraid of Lauren’s commitment to ensure that Irvine’s children have access to quality, affordable child care.

They are afraid of Lauren’s independence and integrity.

They are afraid because Lauren is endorsed by both Irvine police officers and OCFA firefighters.

Most of all, they are afraid of you — Irvine’s voters — because they know you are sick and tired of our community being under the control of powerful developers hiding behind mysterious political action committees driven by unlimited piles of dark-money.

I condemn and denounce these false and cowardly attacks on Lauren Johnson-Norris, and I call upon other elected officials, candidates, and community leaders to join me in condemning these attacks.

I call upon everyone who loves Irvine to join me in rejecting this dark-money poison from our community and voting for Lauren Johnson-Norris for Irvine City Council.

Join Me at the Irvine Police Department Open House!

One of the coolest events of the year is the Irvine Police Department Open House, set this year for Saturday, October 20 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Irvine Civic Center.

Irvine has again been recognized by the FBI as America’s safest city, in large part because the brave men and women of the Irvine Police Department perform their duties at the very highest levels of professionalism and integrity.

They also horses and dogs and lots of extremely cool gadgets!

You can meet these brave men and women — and visit with the horses and dogs and see some of these cool gadgets — at the Irvine Police Department Open House.

You’ll get an opportunity to take a behind-the-scenes look at the Police Department facilities when IPD opens its doors to visitors for station tours. The tour winds its way through the station, offering a glimpse at areas including Crime Scene Investigations and the holding facility.

You’ll also have the chance to meet the Mounted Unit and K9 Unit member Kenny and Barrett, and check out police vehicles including the SWAT truck, motorcycles, and Mobile Command unit.

Bounce houses and face painting are among the many activities for children at this free event.

Food trucks will offer items for purchase.

Visitors are encouraged to ride their bikes to the Civic Center and enjoy a free bike valet, or participate in the bike rodeo.

Parking is available at Creekside High School, Colonel Bill Barber Marine Corps Memorial Park, and the Free Chapel. A courtesy shuttle will carry passengers to the Civic Center from those sites.

For more information, visit irvinepd.org or call 949-724-7193.

See you there!

Help Us Preserve and Rehabilitate Bommer Canyon Cattle Camp

Members of the Irvine community are invited to provide comment on proposed plans for the rehabilitation and preservation of Bommer Canyon Cattle Camp.

The Bommer Canyon Cattle Camp rehabilitation project focuses on refreshing the 15-acre Cattle Camp, originally built in 1967. The proposed rehabilitation includes site layout revisions, accessibility improvements, replacement of portable buildings, addition of permanent restroom facilities, and landscaping improvements.

Two hearings on the proposed plans for the rehabilitation of Bommer Canyon Cattle Camp will be held by the Irvine Community Services Commission.

The City of Irvine Community Services Commission will hold public hearings for the project on:

  • Wednesday, October 3, 5:30 p.m., at Las Lomas Community Center, 10 Federation Way, Irvine.
  • Wednesday, October 17, 5:30 p.m., at Irvine City Hall, 1 Civic Center Plaza.

Please attend one of these hearings and help us improve the Bommer Canyon Community Park Cattle Camp event site.

No RSVP is required.

Copies of the Community Services Commission staff report, the proposed plans, and other project information will be available for review by 5 p.m. on Friday, September 28, at the Community Services Department, 1 Civic Center Plaza, Irvine (City Hall) or online at cityofirvine.org/cattlecamp.

For more information, call 949-724-7462 or visit cityofirvine.org/cattlecamp.

Watch the Great Park Balloon ‘Jack’ Installation!

You are invited to watch the Great Park Balloon ‘Jack’ Installation as Irvine’s iconic giant orange balloon is transformed into a Great Jack-o’-lantern for Halloween!

Balloon pilots are lifted by a large crane to attach black vinyl tarp pieces to the Balloon’s sides, creating a jack-o-lantern face affectionately known as “Jack.”

The transformation is scheduled for 9:00 –11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, October 2.  The transformation could be delayed to the evening if winds are too strong. Check back on the Great Park Facebook Page for any updates.

There is no cost to watch the Balloon’s transformation, and guests are welcome to enjoy other Great Park amenities open that day, including the Farm + Food Lab and lawn areas.

Also, join us for Irvine’s Spooktacular Fun Days, Oct 13 – Oct 14, the Orange County Great Park’s annual fall tradition featuring a treat town, pumpkin patch, petting zoo, entertainment, crafts, inflatables, face painting, community booths, carnival games, food concessions and much more.  For more information,  visit ocgp.org/spooktacular.

 

 

 

Irvine Does Not Need a Spectacle of Divisiveness

Irvine Mayor Donald P. Wagner has placed a discussion of SB 54 on the City Council agenda.  I believe this is a serious mistake.

Irvine does not need a spectacle of divisiveness.

Local government has tremendous responsibilities. We make decisions that directly affect the daily lives of our residents. Public safety, parks, traffic, and land use are just some of the many important concerns for which we have primary constitutional responsibility.

As elected City of Irvine officials, the residents have entrusted us with ensuring that Irvine is the best place to live, work, and raise a family. As Board Members of The Great Park, we also have the additional responsibility to create and maintain a truly Great Park for generations to come.

These substantial responsibilities and historic opportunities are more than enough to keep our City Council, and our City staff, fully engaged and absorbed in the business of the People who elected us to work together to guide this beautiful and dynamic City.

We should not chase after issues, concerns and controversies that are well outside our important but constitutionally limited areas of responsibility.

We should especially avoid doing so regarding issues, concerns and controversies that are also highly divisive. As City leaders, we should not be inciting unnecessary and corrosive divisions in our community.

For these reasons, I strongly oppose placing a discussion of SB 54 before the Irvine City Council.

SB 54 prohibits local and state law enforcement from using their resources to investigate or arrest people for federal immigration enforcement purposes. It also prohibits new or expanded contracts with federal agencies to use California law enforcement facilities as detention centers, although it does not force the termination of existing contracts – including Orange County’s contract with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).  At its root is a contentious political dispute between the State of California and the Trump Administration. This political dispute has now become a constitutional dispute, as the Trump Administration has sued the State of California, claiming that SB 54 violates the Supremacy Clause by improperly intruding on the federal government’s authority over immigration.

These constitutional issues will be resolved in the courts, not in our City Council Chambers. There is no good reason for the City of Irvine to become involved.  There is absolutely nothing that Irvine can add to either side of the debate.

Importantly, the procedures and policies of our Irvine Police Department are not affected by SB 54.  In fact, we have been repeatedly assured by our Police Department that SB 54 does not in any way negatively impact their ability to ensure public safety in America’s safest city.

On the other hand, we know that in each of the cities in Orange County where this issue has been placed on the City Council agenda, a spectacle of divisiveness has followed. In city after city that has placed a discussion of SB 54 on the Council’s agenda, resident speakers have been far outnumbered by outsiders and reasonable voices have been drowned out by extremists.

What these spectacles have produced is not positive policy that can bring a city together, but a theatrical politics of division that can only drive us apart.

We are proud of saying that Irvine is not only among the most diverse cities in the nation, it is also the most fully integrated.  There are no ethnic, linguistic, religious, or cultural enclaves in Irvine; every neighborhood reflects Irvine’s harmonious ethnic, linguistic, religious, and cultural diversity.

A quarter of our residents were born outside the United States.  A non-English language is spoken in more than half of Irvine homes, with more than 70 different languages spoken in residences throughout Irvine. Irvine is also home to more than 80 different churches, mosques, synagogues and other places of worship, serving Irvine’s wonderful cultural and religious diversity. Irvine celebrates this diversity and difference in numerous cultural, ethnic, and religious festivals throughout the year, culminating in our world-famous showcase of Irvine’s cultural richness, the Irvine Global Village Festival.

What is foreign to Irvine is the spectacle of divisiveness that this unnecessary agenda item will produce.

I have been proud to work together with my colleagues on the Irvine City Council to accomplish many good things for this wonderful City. While we have had disagreements, these disagreements have not been partisan or ideological. We have been remarkably free from the partisan rancor that has too often overtaken our national politics, much to the disgust of most of the American people.

Despite our political differences, I have never doubted that each of my colleagues has been motivated solely by concern for what this Council should be doing, within its constitutional power to do, for the residents of this City.

I must conclude otherwise about placing this unnecessary and extremely divisive issue that is outside our jurisdiction on the City Council agenda.

This post originally appeared in slightly different form in the Voice of OC.

UPDATE:  Mayor Wagner removed the item regarding SB 54 from the September 25th Irvine City Council agenda, but has now put the item on the agenda for October 9.  My view remains the same.  This unnecessary and extremely divisive issue that is outside our jurisdiction and authority should not be on our City Council agenda.

 

 

Irvine Again is Safest City in America: Thank you Irvine Police!

Irvine, CA  — The city of Irvine has again been named the Safest City in America.

​Each year the FBI ranks the public safety levels of U.S. cities according to population and considers a number of factors including murder, rape, assault, burglary, arson and auto theft.  This is the 13th year in a row Irvine has held the top spot as America’s Safest City among cities with a population of 250,000 or more.

Irvine Chief of Police Mike Hamel said, “The safety of our City is truly a collaborative effort. The dedicated men and women of the Irvine Police Department work tirelessly every day to keep our community safe. Our residents and members of the business community partner with IPD to prevent and help solve crime. Our City leaders have always made public safety a top priority, ensuring IPD has the resources necessary to provide only the highest level of service to the public. It is this comprehensive effort that has allowed Irvine to preserve the safety and quality of life our residents have long enjoyed.”

Councilmember Melissa Fox said, “We are America’s safest city because the men and women of the Irvine Police Department continue to perform their duties at the very highest levels of professionalism and integrity.  Our community knows that our police officers treat everyone with fairness and respect, and are dedicated to ensuring the safety of our residents and defending the Constitution of our country.  Thank you, Irvine Police Department.”

For more information on programs and services provided by the Irvine Police Department, visit irvinepd.org.

To view the FBI report, visit http://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s.

 

We’re Number One: OC Register Rates Irvine “Best City” for 2018

The readers of the Orange County Register have rated Irvine the “Best City” in Orange County for 2018.

Here is what the Register had to say:

“By now, Irvine is used to accolades.

The Fiscal Times recently ranked it No. 1 out of 116 municipalities in its annual City Fiscal Strength Index. Within the past year it also made the top 10s of other “best-of”lists, including the Best Place to Raise a Family, the Best Park System in the U.S., Best City for Working Parents and Best City to be a Homeowner.

The personal finance website WalletHub ranked Irvine No. 8 – the highest of any Southern California locale – on its 2018 list of the Happiest Cities in America, which was based on factors such as emotional and physical well-being, income and employment and community and environment.

Last year, Sunset magazine selected Irvine as the SoCal runner-up – behind Ventura – on its list of the 19 Best Value Towns in the West.

“This O.C. town was engineered for livability back in the 1960s,” the magazine wrote. “What it lacks in an actual downtown, it makes up for with 350 miles of bike lanes and trails, an infinitesimal crime rate, a robust economy, a multicultural population, and the Orange County Great Park.”

None of this is news to Best of Orange County voters. Irvine has been voted Best City Live In for 8 of the past 10 years and always places in the top three. Beyond its highly regarded schools and abundant parks, Irvine is frequently cited as a model of master planning – even as the city’s population has grown to 268,000, its design as a cluster of villages helps it retain a small-town vibe.”

Congratulations to us!

See the Register’s full “Best of” issue here.