Join Our “Supporting Seniors” Virtual Phone-Banking Campaign!

Governor Gavin Newsom has urged all Californians to check in on their older neighbors with a call, text or physically-distanced door knock to make sure they’re okay during this COVID-19 outbreak and stay-at-home order.

Our campaign — Melissa Fox for California Assembly (AD68) — has decided to use our phone-banking and community outreach resources to call seniors and people in need of critical services in the cities of Assembly District 68 — Lake Forest, Tustin, Orange, Irvine, Anaheim Hills and Villa Park — to ask how they’re doing during this stressful time and to see whether they need any help, including food assistance and mental health assistance and other community resources.  Our volunteer callers will be able to provide information and connect seniors with any community assistance or resources they might need.

If you would like to join our “Supporting Seniors” virtual phone-bank and be a volunteer caller, please contact Meredith at Carson at

You can also sign-up on our campaign website at

See our event page on Facebook HERE.


See also: COVID-19 Resources and Information

A Whale of a Tale Children’s Bookstore in Irvine Now Offers Curbside Pick-Up Service!

My longtime favorite Irvine bookstore is A Whale of a Tale Children’s Bookshoppe!

When my son, Max, was little, we loved to go to A Whale of a Take together to hear famous authors read from their books or just to browse their shelves.  I believe our favorite was Dave Shannon, author of “No, David!” and “How I Became a Pirate.”

We especially loved their magical late-night parties when the newest Harry Potter books were first released!

For 20 years Irvine’s own secret garden of children’s books, owned and run by Alex Uhl, has given time and dollars to enhancing community spirit and the education of young people.  They’ve truly lived up to their motto of “Integrity + Service + Respect + Love of Books and Community.”

Irvine City Councilmember Melissa Fox with Whale of a Tale children’s bookstore owner, Alex Uhl.

Because of the COVID-19 outbreak, A Whale of a Tale has had to close to the public.

However, they’ve now announced that they will be offering carry-out curbside book service!

It also a great way to support one of our most community-oriented local independent small businesses!

Here’s their announcement:

“Dear Book Readers,

We hope you are safe, healthy, and enjoying some quality time with your family!
As you know, A Whale of a Tale is closed to the public till further notice…and of course, all of our March and April events have been cancelled.  However, in order to satisfy your need for books and to support your local independent bookstore….

Beginning April 1st we will be offering
BOOK CARRY-OUT curbside book service…
pick-up ONLY!

Interested? We do not have an active on-line shopping cart, but you can still order via e-mail.  So, complete this form if you would like to purchase (add a couple of alternative options)   or e-mail a list to 
 (Please include your phone number)

We will gather the books, package them and have them ready for curbside pickup.  If we don’t have a specific book, we will make every effort to order (might take a day or two longer) and/or offer an alternative.  As soon as your order is ready, we’ll give you a call to arrange for payment and pick up. 

Not sure about selection???  Give us your child’s age, gender and interests and we can pull together a SURPRISE Bag of books!! 

 Whale of a Tale is an independent bookstore, in business since 1989, serving children of all ages in greater Orange County, especially Irvine.  It is an honor to serve this community, and we are grateful for your support.
We are committed to physical distancing and to keeping everyone healthy.  Still, it goes without saying that bookstores and books are essential in their own special way, especially now with schools and libraries closed, and our children at home.
Books keep your spirits up and minds active!

Stay safe, stay healthy, take care of each other…. and make time to READ together!  

Please note that due to the current health situation, books purchased at this time are not returnable.”

A Whale of a Tale Children’s Bookshoppe
16277 Laguna Canyon Rd. Suite G  Irvine, Ca.
Phone: 949-854-8288

I’ve aways loved reading stories out loud and we’ve spent many wonderful hours at A Whale of a Tale Children’s Bookshoppe in Irvine. I’ll be reading a selection of great children’s books handpicked by Alex, the proprietor. Here is “What Does an Anteater Eat?” by Ross Collins.

Let’s Help UCI Medical Center’s PPE Donation Drive!

UCI School of Medicine is in urgent need of personal protective equipment (PPE)!

Medical students are hosting a personal protective equipment (PPE) drive the week of March 30 – April 4, 2020.

UCI Medical Center is accepting the following supplies in unopened and unused condition:
-N95 Respirators
-Surgical Masks
-Face Shields
-Protective Goggles
-Disposable Gloves
-Hand Sanitizer
-Isolation Gowns

Drop Off Locations and Dates:

3/30, 3/31, 4/1, 4/2, 4/4 @ 8 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Gavin Herbert Eye Institute Parking Lot
850 Health Sciences Rd, Irvine, CA 92697

3/30, 3/31, 4/1 @ 8 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Albertsons Ladera Ranch
27702 Crown Valley Pkwy Suite B, Ladera Ranch, CA 92694

For questions or concerns, please email

Thank you for your support!


Drive-Thru Farmer’s Market Continues on Sundays at the Great Park!

I have worked with City of Irvine staff and the coordinator for the Great Park Farmer’s Market to develop a Drive-Thru Farmer’s Market for Sundays, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

I’ve always loved farmer’s markets, and I’m glad I was able to help provide fresh food to our community when it’s never been more important to eat right to stay healthy!

Some options from last week’s Drive-Thru Farmer’s Market at the Great Park. Photo by Caroline Djang.

The Sunday Drive-Thru Farmer’s Market at the Great Park allows for the market to be open during the COVID19 outbreak while maintaining social distancing in keeping with state and federal guidelines will continue on Sundays from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm until further notice.

At this time, there are approximately 23 vendors scheduled to participate with items varying from fruits and vegetables to hummus, bread, beef jerky, honey, and eggs.

A traffic safety plan has been developed with the assistance of Public Works & Transportation, Public Safety, and Community Services staff to facilitate anticipated traffic.

The Market will be staffed with four uniformed police officers in marked vehicles to assist in traffic flow and to ensure social distancing is adhered to. Community Services will also have three staff on-site beginning at 6 a.m. to facilitate the vendors or provide additional assistance as needed.

Admission is free. The Farmers Market is located in Lot No. 2; enter along Great Park Boulevard at Sand Canyon Avenue.

Last week, when we first opened the Drive-Thru Farmer’s Market at Great Park, I arrived just before 10:00 a.m. and it took e about an hour to get through the line.  Since then, City staff and I have discussed ways to try to improve on that time — now, to better facilitate traffic, vendors with packaged products such as kettle corn, bread, nuts and beef jerky will be at the beginning of the drive-through, and vendors with fresh vegetables will be in two lines at the end — but I would still expect to spend about an hour in line in your car.

We bought fresh vegetables, fruit, bread and terrific tamales last week — and we’re looking forward to shopping there again this Sunday!

UPDATE: (Sunday, March 29, 2020) The line was indeed faster and better organized today! We bought breads, berries, jerky, dolmades, yogurt, chard, green onions, other veggies, and kombucha!

Here is some important information:

  • Drive-thru only. No walk-ups or cyclists will be served.
  • Exact cash is required, if using cash. Venmo and bank cards will be accepted.
  • Purchase only what is needed, be considerate of others in need.
  • Be patient and proceed slowly when waiting in traffic.
  • Wash all produce before consumption.

The Great Park Certified Farmers Market is operated by Mary Ann Senske. For vendor details or other information, visit the market on Facebook  or  Instagram.

For questions or to request an application to be a vendor, contact her at 714-733-3167 or

California Governor Orders Halt in All Evictions Due to COVID19

Today California Governor Gavin Newsom issued a new Executive Order halting all evictions statewide for those affected by COVID19.

The measure prevents the evictions of renters over the nonpayment of rent through May 31.

It covers those who have lost work because of the pandemic, have become sick or have had to take care of family members with COVID19. Law enforcement and the court system also would be prohibited from executing evictions while the order is in effect.  Renters are required to eventually pay all the rent they owe, and must notify their landlords in writing within seven days of their nonpayment.

In an earlier Executive Order, Governor Newcom had given authority to local governments to ban evictions due to COVID19 for 60 days.  Many cities had exercised this power to halt evictions, including Anaheim and Costa Mesa in Orange County, as well as San Diego, Long Beach, San JoseLos AngelesLong BeachEl MonteFresnoSan Francisco,  CamarilloOjaiOxnardThousand OaksMoorpark, and Santa Monica.

The Governor’s new order is especially welcome in cities like Irvine, where this week, by a 4-1 vote, the Irvine City Council refused even to vote on my motion to order a legal moratorium on evictions due to the COVID19 crisis, opting instead to “strongly encourage” landlords not to seek evictions by passing a non-binding resolution with no legal force. I voted No because Irvine renters need real protection but the resolution passed by the Council has absolutely no legal force or effect. 

Now, renters in all California cities — including Irvine — are protected from eviction due to COVID19.

Thank you, Governor Newsom!


“Irvine Neighbors Helping Irvine Neighbors” — City of Irvine and Families Forward Host Food Collection Event on Sat., March 28

City of Irvine staff has coordinated with Families Forward, an Irvine-based non-profit dedicated to helping low income & homeless families, for an “Irvine Neighbors Helping Irvine Neighbors” Food Collection event this Saturday, March 28 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

The event will be held at two locations — the Irvine Civic Center (north parking lot next to the Child Care Center) and at the Orange County Great Park (Lot 2, Festival Lot).

Since the COVID-19 outbreak, food assistance requests to Families Forward have increased 500%.

They are in most need of the following items:

  • Cereal
  • Peanut Butter
  • Canned Chicken
  • Canned Tuna
  • Pasta Sauce
  • Dried Pasta
  • Baby Wipes

Familes Forward.donate-page-with-familyThe event will be staffed by Families Forward volunteers as a “drop-and-go” with items being removed from the trunk of vehicles to adhere to social distancing requirements. Participants are required to remain in their vehicles.

A traffic safety plan has been developed for both sites with the assistance of Irvine Public Works & Transportation, Public Safety, and Community Services staff to facilitate anticipated traffic.

Families Forward is an Orange County, California, non-profit that exists to help families that are homeless or at-risk of homelessness achieve and maintain self-sufficiency through housing, food, counseling, education, and other support services. It assists families in financial crisis to achieve and maintain self-sufficiency. As Families Forward explains, “We do not just provide support; we supply the tools for families to once again become independent, productive residents of the community.”

To make a financial donation to Families Forward, click here.

At one time or another, any family may find itself in need of some form of support. If you are in need of support, please contact Families Forward at (949) 552-2727 or

The Irvine City Council Refuses To Order Moratorium On Evictions. Instead, Council “Encourages” Landlords Not To Evict. Tell Them To Order That Irvine Residents And Businesses Be Protected From Eviction Due to the COVID-19 Crisis.

At tonight’s Irvine City Council meeting, Mayor Christina Shea and three City Councilmembers refused to order a legal moratorium on evictions due to the COVID19 crisis, and instead adopted a non-binding resolution to “strongly encourage . . . residential and commercial landlords, and all utility providers, in the City of lrvine to abide by the provisions of the Governor’s Executive Order, and to specifically refrain from evictions, foreclosures, rent increases, or service and utility disconnections during the period of the COVID-19 emergency.”

Photo: Tomoya Shimura, Orange County Register.

I voted No because the resolution passed by the Council has absolutely no legal force or effect. 

I am extremely disappointed in the Mayor and my Irvine City Council colleagues, who have failed to use the authority granted to us by the Governor to fully protect our residents and businesses by legally ensuring that they will able to remain their in homes and shops during this crisis — as has been done in many other California cities, including San Jose, Los Angeles, Long Beach, El Monte, Fresno, San Francisco,  Camarillo, Ojai, Oxnard, Thousand Oaks, Moorpark, and Santa Monica.

The Council also claimed that it had no authority to halt evictions due to foreclosure, although the Governor’s Executive Order explicitly states that local governments like the City of Irvine are empowered to halt evictions where “The basis for the eviction is nonpayment or rent, or a foreclosure” due economic loss because of COVID19.

Our residents and businesses deserve a legally binding order halting evictions due to COVID19.

Corporations are always asking for certainty and clarity in laws and regulations. Don’t the people also deserve certainty and clarity?

If the Mayor and the rest of the City Council choose to attack me personally because I stand for real protections for our residents and local businesses, so be it.

See the Voice of OC story HERE.

However, I have not given up on the people getting the Irvine City Council to do the right thing and use the our authority to order a legally binding moratorium on all COVID-9 related evictions.

Please continue to contact the Mayor and the members of the Irvine City Council and ask them to exercise their full power to protect Irvine residents and businesses from eviction.

If you are personally in danger of eviction, or in the process of eviction, please let them (and me) know.

You can contact all of us on the Irvine City Council at

Thank you.

We’re all in this together.