My Busy — and Rewarding — Weekend!

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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

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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.

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.

10+ Quotes for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

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“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”

“Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love.”

“We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”

“Everybody can be great … because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”

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“If the cruelties of slavery could not stop us, the opposition we now face will surely fail. Because the goal of America is freedom, abused and scorned tho’ we may be, our destiny is tied up with America’s destiny.”

If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.”

“The time is always right to do what is right.”

“Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.”

“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”

and my personal favorite:

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?'”

Celebrating Korean American Day!

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Today, January 13, has been designated by the City of Irvine as Korean American Day.

On January 13, 1903, a group of 102 Korean laborers arrived in Honolulu from Japan aboard the steamship RMS Gaelic to work in the Hawaiian sugar cane fields. This date is traditionally regarded as marking the first Korean immigration to the United States and celebrated as Korean American Day — although several individual Koreans had immigrated to the United States earlier, including Philip Jaisohn (Seo Jae-pil), a journalist and medical doctor and a noted champion for Korea’s independence, who in 1890 became the first Korean to become a naturalized U.S. citizen.

Korean American Youth Performing Artists mix colorful fans and clothing with graceful dance during the Korean Cultural Festival at Irvine City Hall on Sunday. ///ADDITIONAL INFO: - Photo by MINDY SCHAUER, THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER - shot: 051416 i.0514.koreanfestival Thousands attend the seventh annual Irvine Korean Cultural Festival, which commemorates Korean immigration to the United States since Jan. 13, 1903.

Korean American youth performing during the Korean Cultural Festival at Irvine City Hall. Photo: Mindy Schauer, OC Register

From these humble beginnings, a large and vibrant Korean American community has grown, now numbering nearly 2 million people of Korean descent in the United States, including nearly half a million people in California.

Irvine is proud to celebrate our thriving Korean American community each year in our annual Irvine Korean Cultural Festival, designed to share Korean culture with the entire community by showcasing its customs, heritage, arts and cuisine.

Our city has adopted the South Korean city of Seocho-gu as one of Irvine’s four “Sister Cities,” and has begun planning for the construction of a traditional Korean garden in Col. Bill Barber Park next to Irvine City Hall.

As the daughter of a Korean War combat veteran, and as a resident of Irvine, I feel a deep appreciation for the vital contributions that Korean Americans have made to our city (including two Korea-born mayors), our state, and our country.

I am proud to live and serve on the City Council in a city that celebrates and treasures our Korean American community and I join my Korean American friends and neighbors in celebrating Korean American contributions to our shared American heritage and way of life.