What: Conversation on early child care the education crisis in Orange County. When: Tues., September 29, 2020, at 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Where: Online. Link is https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81915074314.
Early Childhood OC is a community collaborative that was formed to develop Orange County’s Early Childhood Policy Framework in order to ensure that young children reach their developmental potential and are ready to succeed in school and life. The Framework ensures adults are knowledgeable, nurturing, responsive and interact effectively with other adults, children and the family unit and environments that impact children are safe supportive, stable and healthy. Through implementation of the Framework, Orange County will attain economic and social benefits.
Pretend City Children’s Museum is “the world in a nut-shell”, designed for children to learn how the real world works while engaging their curiosities and imaginations. The museum is a child-size interconnected city built to balance rich educational intention with boundless fun, where children can assume various real-world roles and let their creativity rule. Through interactive exhibits and activities facilitated by our trained professional staff, children learn foundational math, reading and science skills while fostering curiosity, creativity, critical thinking, problem-solving, and teamwork. They see how academic concepts have real-life application by learning in our unique, hands-on environment. Located at 29 Hubble Irvine, CA 92618. For more information, call 949-428-3900.
Child360 is a leading nonprofit working toward a future where every child has the educational opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. Our name reflects our 360 degree approach to improve and expand the vital early learning opportunities our young children need, by working alongside educators, families, partner organizations, policy makers and our communities.
I would like to hear the Mayor commit to establishing a Climate Action Plan for Irvine, with the goal of eliminating half of all greenhouse gas emissions in the city and aiming for all electricity used in the city to be from renewable sources by 2035.
Climate Action Plans make it easy for the public to see what cities plan to do to meet state targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Sprinkling such actions throughout the General Plan is not as transparent and is not in the best interest of the public.
Other cities, including San Diego, Los Angeles, Long Beach, Seattle, Baltimore, Phoenix and Houston already have Climate Action Plans. As the self-proclaimed City of Innovation, Irvine should be a leader in this national effort.
An Irvine Climate Action Plan would benefit both the environment and the regional economy, creating new jobs in the renewable energy industry, improve public health and air quality, conserve water, more efficiently use existing resources, increase clean energy production, improve the quality of life, and save taxpayer money.
Most importantly, a Climate Action Plan would fulfill our obligation to ensure that Irvine remains a beautiful green city for future generations.
Traffic Congestion and Traffic Safety
We have made significant progress in alleviating Irvine’s traffic congestion. We expanded the iShuttle to provide more transportation. We’ve enabled left-hand turns in some intersections to allow traffic to move faster and more efficiently. We’ve widened roads and made other improvements.
But we need to do more.
I would like to hear the Mayor announce a plan to create a greener, smarter, and more efficient transportation future by further expanding our iShuttle. For example, a route that would take people from UCI to the Spectrum would be good for both Irvine traffic reduction, Irvine’s air quality, as well as for UCI students and Spectrum businesses.
Our roads are not only too often congested, they are also becoming too dangerous, as people fail to obey stop signs and follow the rules of the road.
I would like to hear the Mayor propose a major comprehensive traffic safety project, focusing on ensuring motorists come to a full stop at stop signs. This project would involve education, increased enforcement and deploying more advanced stop sign technology.
Many cities have lighted stop signs. Irvine should have them as well. Our Irvine Police should also receive a clear mandate from the Mayor and the City Council to take whatever enforcement actions are necessary to make our streets safer for our residents.
The Great Park
Irvine has made tremendous progress on fulfilling the promise of the Great Park and all of us should be proud of what we’ve accomplished.
What I would like to hear the Mayor speak about tonight is a vision and a plan for completing the next crucial phase of the park – the Cultural Terrace.
The City Council entered into an exclusive negotiating agreement to bring Pretend City Children’s Museum to the Cultural Terrace. When the relocation of Pretend City to the Great Park Cultural Terrace initially came before the City Council in 2017, I strongly supported it and was disappointed when we did not have the votes to act at that time. I am extremely pleased that we have moved forward this year.
But much more needs to be done to truly create the Cultural Terrace as the jewel of the Great Park.
Importantly, the history of the Juaneno/Acjachemen and Gabrielino/Tongva — our County’s indigenous people — needs to be told!
In fact, while Orange County is the only county in Southern California that does not have a natural history museum, Orange County is already home to a fabulous collection of fossils and artifacts in the Dr. John D. Cooper Archaeological and Paleontological Center, now located in several warehouses in Santa Ana. This rich history of fossils and artifacts, perhaps one of the most important fossil-bearing areas in North America, if not the world, needs to be curated and displayed.
Our county’s rich store of fossils and artifacts ought to be open to all in a magnificent museum – a new Orange County Natural History Museum in the Great Park!
I agree with the Great Park Garden Coalition that “We need places where children can experience nature and explore, where all can find refuge from the ever-increasing urban density and traffic, where people of all ages and abilities can experience beautiful outdoor spaces. All great urban parks have great garden spaces: Golden Gate Park, Central Park, Balboa Park.”
The Great Park in Irvine should, too.
Homelessness and Attainable Housing
As we all know, Irvine is among the most expensive real estate markets in the nation; for this reason, there is a tremendous need for, and tremendous obstacles to, affordable housing.
Finding solutions to the housing crisis and alleviating homelessness has been a priority for me, both as a member of the Irvine City Council and as Chair of the Irvine Community Land Trust.
Irvine has been a model in this area and the Land Trust concept, now being adopted by Orange County and many other cities, is something that Irvine has pioneered. No other city has a Land Trust like we have, and other cities are working to copy ours.
I’m proud of what the Irvine Land Trust has accomplished in the past year.
In 2018, we opened Parc Derian, which brings 80 new units of housing for working families, veterans, and special-needs residents of Irvine. We also began work on Salerno, a new 80-unit rental community. Like Parc Derian, Salerno will provide permanent affordable housing for working families, veterans, and special-needs residents of Irvine.
Significantly, we have begun to develop our first homes for ownership with help from a new partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Orange County. This new Irvine community, called Chelsea on Native Spring, located north of Irvine Boulevard, will include 68 affordable home for sale to income-eligible veterans, working families, and young professionals.
In all, that’s 466 households, and more than a thousand people, who can comfortably live, work and raise families in Irvine directly because of the work of the Irvine Community Land Trust.
In addition to my work on the Irvine Land Trust, I have traveled to Pittsburgh and San Antonio to see what other cities have done to successfully combat homelessness, and I have traveled to Sacramento to encourage the legislature to revise regulations and the tax code to make it easier to build affordable housing.
I would like to hear the Mayor reaffirm Irvine’s commitment to support the Irvine Community Land Trust as successful model for other cities to emulate in providing housing for diverse income levels.
I would also like to hear the Mayor present his vision for alleviating the homelessness crisis, and especially what role he envisions Irvine should play in providing shelter and services, especially in light of the case in federal court.
How will he work with the federal court and Board of Supervisors to tackle this crisis on a truly regional basis, and how will he get the Board of Supervisors to spend the money and resources that they have been given specifically to deal with homelessness on an actual solution?
Working Together in an Inclusive Democracy
Our City Council is no longer gridlocked in the partisan bickering that prevented progress for so many years; we have seen that we need to work together to improve the lives of all of Irvine’s residents.
I would like to see our city leaders display the truly democratic spirit that united all decent people in our community in condemning religious and racial bigotry, and not the divisiveness that is created when wedge issues, outside our jurisdiction and purview, are brought before the City Council. Focusing on these wedge issues does not produce positive policies that bring our city together, but instead a theatrical politics of division that can only drive us apart.
I would like to hear the Mayor reach out to those of us on the other side of the aisle, as he has often done, recognizing that it is best for our city and our residents when we work for the common good by looking for common ground.
A Vision for our Great City of Irvine
Our great City of Irvine is truly blessed with wonderful people, a beautiful natural environment, thriving businesses, and remarkable schools.
What Irvine needs is a vision for the future that focuses and energizes our continued quest for being the very best place in the world to live, work and raise a family.
The event begins with a reception at 5:00 p.m., followed by the Mayor’s address at 6:00 p.m.
Both the “State of the City” address and the reception are open to the public. No RSVP is necessary to attend.
The Civic Center is located at 1 Civic Center Drive, Irvine CA 92606-5207. Call 949-724-6077 for more information.
Pretend City Children’s Museum, which opened in Irvine in 2009, is an interactive children’s museum that builds better brains through whole body learning experiences, educational programs, and creative exhibits. It is is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization serving all children.
Designed as a small city, with a grocery store, construction site, art studio, house, café, bank, emergency services, health center and farm, Pretend City is a familiar environment in which children infant through eight-years-old will have joyful opportunities to build problem solving and critical thinking skills, develop creativity and begin a life-long love of learning.
Pretend City is dedicated to ensuring that each child is ready for school success by providing the ideal real-world learning experiences needed by children to develop their essential foundational learning skills.
Our friends at Pretend City Children’s Museum have put together a wonderful program for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in Irvine on Monday, January 21, 2019, from 11:00 am – 5:00 pm.
Here is what they have to say:
“Every child is unique, and they should know that no matter how different their friend may look from them, everyone should be treated fairly. On this special day at Pretend City, we want to have an open discussion with your child about equality. Don’t miss out on this important life lesson for your child!”
MLK Day Activities include:
Smart Art (in the Art Studio): Today in our Art Studio we will learn all about the word Peace and create a Dove of Peace handprint to encourage peaceful play at Pretend City and at home.
Cultural Connection (11:30 am): As children create their very own self-portrait, they will engage in discussions that show them that even though we are different in many ways (skin color, hair color, eye color, age, etc.) – everyone is special, and we have many of the same hopes, dreams and feelings on the inside.
Loud & Proud (3:00 pm): Dr. King had a dream of peace! What is your child’s dream? After we sing-along to the Martin Luther King Song children will be given the opportunity to share their dream with others.
The cost of the program is included in museum admission. You can purchase your ticket here.
Pretend City Children’s Museum is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization serving all children. The museum is a child-size interconnected city built with rich educational intention, where children can assume various real-world roles. It is designed for children to learn how the real-world works.
Through interactive exhibits and activities facilitated by highly trained professional staff, children learn foundational math, reading and science skills while fostering curiosity, creativity, critical thinking, problem-solving, and teamwork.
Pretend City Children’s Museum is located at 29 Hubble, Irvine CA 92618
Call 949-428-3900 for more information.
Note: At the Irvine City Council meeting on Tues., January 22, 2019, the Council will discuss entering into an exclusive negotiating agreement (ENA) with Pretend City Children’s Museum regarding the relocation of the museum to the Great Park’s Cultural Terrace.
If you’re a fan of Pretend City, be sure to attend!
Irvine Should Move Forward with a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for Pretend City Children’s Museum at the Cultural Terrace of the Great Park.
I am disappointed that at last Tuesday’s City Council meeting, only Councilmember Christina Shea joined with me in agreeing to an MOU with our great Irvine-based Pretend City Children’s Museum regarding a lease of property at the Cultural Terrace of the Great Park. Mayor Don Wagner and Councilmember Lynn Schott voted against. Councilmember Jeff Lalloway was absent.
Because of the City Council’s decision, Pretend City Children’s Museum is in danger of losing a seed money grant from the County for $5 million that depends on the MOU.
Pretend City Children’s Museum, which opened in Irvine in 2009, is an interactive children’s museum that builds better brains through whole body learning experiences, educational programs, and creative exhibits. Designed as a small city, with a grocery store, construction site, art studio, house, café, bank, emergency services, health center and farm, Pretend City will be a familiar environment in which children infant through eight-years-old will have joyful opportunities to build problem solving and critical thinking skills, develop creativity and begin a life-long love of learning. It is dedicated to ensuring that each child is ready for school success by providing the ideal real-world learning experiences needed by children to develop their essential foundational learning skills. This month, the Institute of Museum and Library Services announced that Pretend City is a finalist for the 2017 National Medal for Museum and Library Service.
Susan Bolton, the Executive Director of the Pretend Museum, has explained that the museum “seeks to move to the Great Park to expand its mission in serving the county’s children in providing early childhood education, developmental screenings, hands on play environment for children of ALL abilities and school readiness.”
The arguments against the MOU were that it would give Pretend City Children’s Museum an advantage over other possible occupants of the Cultural Terrace, and that the Cultural Terrace project should not be approved piecemeal. However, we already know the value and quality of Pretend City, which has operated in the city for many years, and the MOU would not commit the city to any final decision regarding the Cultural Terrace.
Moreover, we should be not be pitting the fine organizations that are seeking space in the Cultural Terrace against each other. As Don Croucher – the leading advocate for a California Fire Museum at the Great Park – has pointed out, he and other supporters of the Fire Museum “are very much in favor of Pretend City getting their MOU so they do not lose the grant that is offered to them. We understand the need for them to move forward. It is NOT putting them ahead of any others at the Cultural Terrace, but rather a hand up to get the $5 million grant. We, in no way, want to hinder this important step for Pretend City. We will support them in every step of the way to make sure they get this MOU ASAP.”
Irvine is a great city for families with young children, but we can and should make it even better. We need more childcare and more pre-school programs for children under six-years-old, and I and my Commissioners are working to make this happen. We should also do everything we can to support the terrific work being done by the Pretend Museum for young children right here in Irvine.
As Councilmember Christina Shea has said, “If Pretend City loses their grant and we in turn lose a fantastic partner that supports our children and families, the community will lose and this isn’t what Irvine is about.”
I hope that we can move forward with the MOU soon and that the grant is not lost.
I recommend that those who are interested in this issue contact other members of the Irvine City Council.
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