This Thursday, I had the honor of participating in an amazing class on tackling controversial topics at Plaza Vista School in Westpark.
The class was Ms. Natalie Elliott’s “Scholars’ Writing Celebration.”
The fifth-grade students were required to present their written opinions on a controversial topic.
To do so, they were first required to research a controversial topic, organize their facts, and write a five paragraph essay with an introduction, three reasons in support of their claims, and a conclusion.
Wow! I was impressed!
The controversial topics chosen by the students included “Is kneeling during the National Anthem disrespectful?,” Are the oceans over-fished?,” “Is heath care a right or a privilege?,” Should museums be free to the public?,” “Should the U.S. amend the 2nd Amendment?,” “Is climate change really happening?,” “Should school uniforms be mandatory?,” “Should professional athletes get paid less?,” “Should the U.S. government spend more on arts or on STEM?,” and “Should Donald Trump have a Twitter account?”
Each of the students orally presented their position paper, then took questions from other students, parents, and me. Every one of the position papers was well argued and ably defended! Every one of the presenters was impressive in their passion and their poise.
Leaving the classroom, I felt extremely positive about the future — knowing that these Irvine young people will soon be running the world!
Please join me in voting for Lauren Johnson-Norris for Irvine City Council!
I’m voting for Lauren because she will fight along side me for more child care, less traffic, and for bringing great improvements like Wild Rivers, museums, and botanical gardens to the Great Park.
Lauren is also strongly committed to keeping Irvine America’s Safest City — that’s why Lauren is the only Irvine City Council candidate endorsed by both the Irvine Police Association and Orange County Firefighters!
She is a respected lawyer, the mother of twin five-year-old girls, the wife of a veteran, and has served our community with dedication for nearly two years as a Community Services Commissioner, fighting for better parks making sure that our children and families experience the highest quality recreation.
Lauren has earned bipartisan support from the most trusted voices in our community.
Now she needs your vote!
Irvine needs Lauren Johnson Norris — a smart, strong and independent council member fighting for our values and our future!
Find your polling place and see a sample ballot here.
You can learn more about Lauren here.
Vote for Lauren Johnson-Norris for Irvine City Council!
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.
As we celebrate Labor Day, I want to take the opportunity to recommit to improving the working conditions of Irvine residents by increasing the availability of child care.
Too often, parents in Irvine are forced to choose between going to work and caring for their children.
Nearly 2,500 Irvine families do not have adequate child care, with the most acute shortage for children under 2 years-old and children 6 to 12 years-old.
I have been working with City staff, my Community Services Commissioner Lauren Johnson-Norris, developers, childcare providers, and the business community to increase child care through an overall city child care development plan.
Irvine Community Services Commissioner Lauren Johnson-Norris has eloquently addressed this issue:
Parents are being advised to apply for child care 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 child care 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 child care in a community start kindergarten at a disadvantage.
Ultimately, the negative effects of 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 child care for families in Irvine. Increased child care 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.
Families in Irvine are looking to the City Council for solutions.
What kind of waiting periods are you facing right now for child care and preschool in Irvine?
What kinds of improvements do you want to see in the availability of child care and preschool in Irvine?
The City of Irvine is accepting applications for two volunteer positions (parent/guardian representatives) on the Irvine Child Care Committee.
The Irvine Child Care Committee acts in an advisory capacity to the Community Services Commission, providing input on the needs of the community pertaining to child care-related issues.
The Child Care Committee is an advisory body of the City of Irvine, reporting to the Community Services Commission, providing input on the needs of the community pertaining to child care related issues.
The Committee’s mission is to develop recommendations related to the availability of affordable quality child care and early education in Irvine.
The Committee works collaboratively with City departments and community organizations to enhance the provision of child care and early education services, providing outreach, and serving as a liaison to the community by informally sharing information learned at meetings, promoting City events for families and early childhood educators and sharing questions, concerns and ideas from the community with the Committee.
The full committee includes five City Council appointees; two center- or home-based child care providers; two parents/guardians; three representatives, one each from Irvine Unified School District, University of California, Irvine, and Irvine Valley College; and two community representatives.
Applicants must be the parent or guardian of a child younger than 12 at the time of application and be willing to commit to a two-year term of active service, from January 2019 through December 2020.
Irvine Child Care Committee meetings are held the second Tuesday of select months (at least six times a year) from 9 to 10:30 a.m. at Heritage Park Community Center or other Irvine locations.
Applications are available now at the Irvine Child Resource Center and Irvine Civic Center, and online at cityofirvine.org/childcare.
As I’ve said before, Irvine needs more childcare.
We know that our great schools, beautiful parks, and safe environment attract many families with young children. We also know that a critical part of any thriving community is safe, professional, reliable, and affordable preschool and childcare. Irvine must become truly family friendly with no more waiting lists.
I strongly urge interested and dedicated parents or guardians to apply to serve on the Irvine Child Care Committee.
Completed applications must be received by 5:00 p.m. Monday, Sept. 10.
Applications may be mailed or hand-delivered to:
Irvine Civic Center, 1 Civic Center Plaza, Irvine, CA 92606
For additional information, contact Traci Stubbler at 949-724-6635 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, What are you doing for others?” — Martin Luther King, Jr.
For Immediate Release
Contact: Jason Mills (714) 576-4303
IRVINE UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT BOARD PRESIDENT PAUL BOKOTA ENDORSES MELISSA FOX FOR IRVINE CITY COUNCIL
IRVINE, CA Irvine Community Services Commissioner and City Council candidate Melissa Fox today announced an endorsement from Irvine Unified School District (IUSD) Board President Paul A. Bokota. Coming on the heels of Melissa Fox’s recent endorsement by Irvine City Council Member Lynn Schott, the endorsement of IUSD Board President Bokota gives the Fox campaign further momentum going into the final weeks of the campaign.
“As IUSD Board President, and an IUSD parent, I know that the School Board needs allies on the Irvine City Council who care about ensuring Irvine’s tradition of educational excellence,” Bokota said. “Melissa Fox shares my passion for education excellence in Irvine and is committed to helping us continue the success of our Irvine schools.”
“Paul Bokota’s endorsement means a lot to me,” Melissa Fox said, “because I know how hard he works to keep our Irvine schools exceptional. As a member of the City Council, I look forward to working with Paul to support our schools and maintain excellence.”
IUSD Board President Paul A. Bokota was first elected to the Board in November 2012 and was selected to serve as Board President for 2016. Prior to his election, he served on the IUSD Finance Committee for six years, including serving as the chairperson of the Revenue Enhancement Committee. He is a graduate of Harvard University and the Indiana University School of Law, presently serving as Division Vice-President and Division General Counsel for Spectrum Brands, Inc.
He is currently a candidate for re-election to the IUSD Board and is endorsed by the Irvine Teachers Association (ITA), the Irvine Chapter of the California School Employee Association (CSEA), IUSD Board Member Sharon Wallin, IUSD Board Member Ira Glasky, IUSD Board Member Lauren Brooks, IUSD Board Member Michael Parham, former IUSD Board Member Gavin Huntley-Fenner, former Irvine School Board Member Carolyn McInerney, and Past Chair of the Irvine Public Schools Foundation (IPSF) Lita Robinow, among many others.
Melissa Fox is an Irvine Community Services Commissioner, attorney, and small business owner in Irvine. To learn more about her campaign for Irvine City Council, visit www.votemelissafox.com.