Watch My Town Hall Meeting!

I held a public Town Hall Meeting at the Irvine Championship Stadium in the Great Park on Saturday, October 21, where we discussed traffic, childcare, the Southern California Veterans Cemetery, affordable housing, and other issues of interest to Irvine residents.

I was joined by several of my city commissioners, as well as by members of the Irvine Police Department, who were also there to answer questions.

Several dozen Irvine residents spoke and asked questions, and I thank everyone who attended.

Here are some photos from the event:

I really enjoyed the open, public dialogue with Irvine residents, and I intend to make these Town Hall Meetings a regular part of my work as an Irvine City Councilmember.

You can watch the complete October 21 Town Hall Meeting on my YouTube channel (Melissa Fox, Irvine City Council) here:

 

 

 

 

 

Irvine’s Kids Need You! City of Irvine Seeks Applicants for Four Positions on Child Care Committee!

The Irvine Community Services Commission is accepting applications to fill two government, civic, or community agencies vacancies, and two child care provider vacancies on the Irvine Child Care Committee.

There is a serious child care crisis in Irvine.  At present, nearly 2,500 Irvine families do not have adequate child care. Irvine will need an additional 4,551 child care spaces by 2035, due to the increase in housing development and the concomitant increase in the number of families with young children moving to Irvine.

As a member of the Irvine City Council, I have made it a priority to increase childcare and early childhood education opportunities in Irvine. By volunteering to serve on the Irvine Child Care Committee, you can serve our community and help me and others work to alleviate our childcare crisis.

The Irvine Child Care Committee is a 15-member advisory body to the Irvine Community Services Commission, and works cooperatively with the Irvine Children, Youth, and Families Advisory Committee, Child Care Coordination staff, and Community Development to enhance the quality of childcare and school readiness in the City of Irvine.

Committee meetings  are held on the second Tuesday of January, March, May, September, October and November, from 9:00 am to 10:30 am at Heritage Park Community Center, or other designated Irvine location.

Staff and committee members will interview candidates in October 2017.  Following interviews, recommendations will be presented to the Community Services Commission for appointment effective January 2018.

Applications are available here, or at the Irvine Civic Center (on the 2nd floor in the Community Services Department), and at the Irvine Child Resource Center.

If you would like more information, please contact my Lead Council Executive Assistant, Allison Binder, at abinder@ci.irvine.ca.us.

Thanks!

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!

 

Community Services Commissioner Lauren Johnson Asks Irvine Parents about Their Childcare Needs

Guest article by Lauren Johnson, Irvine Community Services Commissioner

Hello Irvine Moms and Dads!

What kind of waiting periods are you facing right now for childcare and preschool in Irvine?

What kinds of improvements do you want to see in the availability of childcare and preschool in Irvine?

As a Community Services Commissioner and Co-Chair of the Irvine Children, Youth and Families Committee, Lauren Johnson Norris has spoken with numerous parents who are experiencing significant waiting lists to access childcare.

Parents are being advised to apply for childcare and get on waiting lists while they are expecting a child and still report waiting several months to a year to secure a spot for their child. Infant care has been identified as the most challenging childcare to secure, especially considering the important low provider-to-child ratio mandated by state law. Some Irvine parents report putting their families on lists and simply never hearing of an opening.

The consequence of the Irvine childcare gap is that families are forced to make unanticipated career and financial decisions. Parents report having to make the sometimes difficult decision to have one parent stay home, even where the families was previously a dual-income family.

Statistically, it is increasingly difficult to return to the workforce the longer a worker is away.

In addition, the result is not only lost income while the child is infancy, but potentially for years to come. For a single parent, the situation is even worse — and may be untenable if family care or care outside the city is unavailable.

A critical part of any thriving community is safe, professional, reliable, and affordable preschool and child care. Preschool has been shown to positively affect children’s social skills and prepare them for the rigors of K-12. Children who miss the opportunity for preschool because of inadequate childcare in a community start kindergarten at a disadvantage. Ultimately, the negative effects unavailable or inadequate preschool or childcare extend beyond individual children and families to the community as a whole.

It is time to address the shortage of childcare for families in Irvine. Increased childcare through designated private sites as part of an overall city development plan, access to childcare in houses of worship, and the option of city early childhood education must be part of this plan. Too many families are waiting for these solutions.

What kind of waiting periods are you facing right now for childcare and preschool in Irvine?

What kinds of improvements do you want to see in the availability of childcare and preschool in Irvine?

Send your information to me at laurenjohnson78@gmail.com.

Irvine’s Farmers’ Markets Keep Growing: Two New Markets Join Old Favorites — with Update on Fast Food and Fast Growth at University Town Center

Melissa Fox, Irvine Commissioner Melissa Fox, melissajoifox, melissafoxblog.com, melissafoxblog, Melissa Fox blog, Melissa Fox for Irvine City Council

I love farmers’ markets.

I love buying fresh fruit, vegetables, eggs, and bread for my family.  I love talking to the vendors, especially those from nearby farms.  I love talking to other shoppers about recipes, about what’s in season, what’s really organic, what’s local, and what’s going on in our community.

Melissa Fox, Irvine Commissioner Melissa Fox, melissajoifox, melissafoxblog.com, melissafoxblog, Melissa Fox blog, Melissa Fox for Irvine City Council Orange County Farm Bureau certified farmers’ markets are guaranteed to be the real thing – places where genuine farmers sell fruits, nuts and vegetables directly to the public.  Every farmer who sells at a certified market is inspected by the county agricultural commissioner to make sure he/she actually grows the produce being sold.

The California Federation of Certified Farmers’ Markets has some great tips for farmers’ market shoppers (like “When you first arrive, walk through the entire market and look at all the offerings before you buy. There are many differences in prices for the same produce type and quality” and “If the farmer is not too busy, do not hesitate to ask questions about recipes or growing methods. You might even get to know each other’s names.”) Check out these shopping tips here.

We are fortunate in Irvine to have had several excellent certified farmers’ markets for many years – and now we have two more!

Melissa Fox, Irvine Commissioner Melissa Fox, melissajoifox, melissafoxblog.com, melissafoxblog, Melissa Fox blog, Melissa Fox for Irvine City Council The two farmers markets in Irvine that have been around for quite a while are:

Certified Farmers’ Market at University Town Center at the corner of Bridge and Campus, Irvine 92612 (across from UCI).

Day and Time: Saturdays, 8:00 AM – 12:00 Noon (rain or shine).

Orange County Farm Bureau Certified: Yes.

Contact: Manager: Trish Harrison. Tel: 714-573-0374. Email: ocfb@sbcglobal.net.

Melissa Fox, Irvine Commissioner Melissa Fox, melissajoifox, melissafoxblog.com, melissafoxblog, Melissa Fox blog, Melissa Fox for Irvine City Council

Shoppers at the Great Park Farmers’ Market, open Sundays 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM.

We used to shop at the farmers’ market at University Town Center all the time when my husband was studying for his Ph.D. at UC Irvine.

Certified Farmers’ Market at the Great Park, Irvine 92618 (Marine Way off Sand Canyon).

[Note: Access to the Great Park via Marine Way is now closed off until at least July 27, 2014, and visitors need to use an alternative route, entering via Trabuco Road at Sand Canyon Avenue].

Melissa Fox, Irvine Commissioner Melissa Fox, melissajoifox, melissafoxblog.com, melissafoxblog, Melissa Fox blog, Melissa Fox for Irvine City Council Day and Time: Sundays, 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM (rain or shine).

Orange County Farm Bureau Certified: Yes.

Contact: Manager Mary Senske. Tel: 949-724-7403. Email: ocgpfm@verizon.net.

The Great Park Farmers’ Market is now our family’s main farmers’ market.  We love being able to bring our Siberian Husky, Scout, eat a lunch we’ve bought from the vendors or one of many food trucks, and listen to live music.

Melissa Fox, Irvine Commissioner Melissa Fox, melissajoifox, melissafoxblog.com, melissafoxblog, Melissa Fox blog, Melissa Fox for Irvine City Council The two new farmers’ markets in Irvine (which we have not yet personally visited) are:

Irvine Crossroads Certified Farmers’ Market at 3750 Barranca Pkwy, Irvine 92606 (between Culver and Harvard).

Day and Time: Sundays, 9:00 AM – 2:00 PM (rain or shine).

Orange County Farm Bureau Certified: Yes.

Contact: Managers Melissa Farwell and Katie Rogers. Tel: 818-591-8161. Email: info@rawinspiration.org.

Update: I have now visited the Irvine Crossroads Farmers’ Market.  Although it is not large, the produce is fresh and the vendors are friendly.  Recommended!

Irvine Square Certified Farmers’ Market at 17901 MacArthur Blvd., Irvine 92614 (MacArthur and Main).

Day and Time: Sundays, 9:00 AM – 2:00 PM (rain or shine).

Orange County Farm Bureau Certified: Yes.

Contact: Managers Melissa Farwell and Katie Rogers. Tel: 818-591-8161. Email: info@rawinspiration.org.

According to the Irvine Company, at the new farmers’ markets you will be able to “Shop a variety of offerings from local purveyors including: locally grown fruits and vegetables; freshly baked artisanal breads and pastries; olive oil, hummus, tapenades, and garlic spreads; fresh fish, free-range/grass-fed beef, and grilled sausages; dried fruits and nuts; fresh cut flowers; and more.”

Sounds great!

If you see me at one of our Irvine farmers’ markets, please say hello!

Photos of the Great Park Farmers’ Market by (c) Geoff Fox.