Vote NO on Measure D!!!

This June, no proposition is more important to the civil liberties of Irvine residents than Measure D.  In a basic assault on our citizens’ rights, our Mayor and the OC Taxpayers Association (supported by the Irvine Company and Five Point) have put the developers’ interest above that of Irvine residents.  The title says it all – PROHIBITING VOTER APPROVAL REQUIREMENTS.

Let’s look at the measure and the arguments of its proponents:

  1. If a building project is estimated to have a 15% fiscal benefit before Council approval, petitions cannot be used to stop the project. The fiscal benefit means a financial benefit.

Problems:

  1. Who estimates this benefit? According to the Impartial Analysis of the City Attorney, the applicant (developer) may do it. Hmm….
  2. Even if done objectively, this method of estimation excludes many determining factors for Irvine residents’ support – e.g., the effect on traffic, the effect on the overcrowding of schools and the effect on the probability that school district lines will have to be redrawn forcing some students to have to go to schools that are not closest to them.   

In other words, it might be a net benefit to Irvine’s developers but a major problem for Irvine’s residents.

  1. What if the project runs over budget after the Council approves it?
  2. The supporters of the measure cite the following from the Impartial Analysis of the Irvine City Attorney:

“The proposed Charter amendment would not restrict the power of referendum over individual project approvals, as otherwise allowed by state law and/or the Irvine City Charter.”

However, in that same analysis the sentence before states the following:

“the proposed Charter amendment measure would add Section 1009 to the Irvine City Charter to prohibit the imposition of voter approval requirements on projects that obtain City approvals, so long as the project provides specified fiscal benefits.”

Confusing? The title provided by the Impartial Analysis says it all about the intention:

            “[Prohibiting Voter Approval Requirements on Fiscally Beneficial Projects]”

  1. The supporters of the measure mention that developers must guarantee they are investing in the community.

Problem:

This is a qualitative statement – not a quantitative one. How much must they be investing? $1,000,000 can be investing but so can $100 or $1. Does this investment need to make up for the increased crowding from development projects so that the quality of life of existing residents is not negatively affected?

  1. The supporters of the measure assert that a yes vote provides accountability of developers for Irvine residents. How? The developers are accountable to show the fiscal effects of their projects to the City Council. In turn, the City Council is accountable to the residents of Irvine.

Problems:

  1. As stated, the developers are only “accountable” in that they need only prepare their own report to show a financial benefit of 15% to themselves alone and must only show it before the project is approved.
  2. Unfortunately, the City Council is not actually accountable to Irvine voters.

The elections in Irvine to the Council are sadly determined by who has more money – to do the necessary advertising via mailers, fliers, yard signs. Who has that money? Developers like the Irvine Company.

It is not a coincidence that every community development project no matter its size or potential effect on traffic has been approved by the City Council despite the unaddressed and growing congestion problems in our city.

It just so happens our Council Members receive the majority of donations from the development community and if they receive such donations DO NOT have to recuse themselves from voting on those development projects.

See another post on this blog: https://irvinewatchdog.org/2018/05/07/corruption-at-city-hall/

  1. The supporters of the measure cite the measure being endorsed by the Orange County Taxpayers Association, the Irvine Taxpayers Association, The Greater Irvine Chamber of Commerce, and the Irvine Police Association

Problems:

  1. The Orange County Taxpayers Association is supported, among others, by the Irvine Company and Five Points – Irvine’s biggest developers.
  2. The Greater Irvine Chamber of Commerce emphasizes economic growth but not quality of life. When opposing previous measures, they cite the potential effects on growth. They do not state and thereby do not understand the main point of economic growth for Irvine: the quality of life of its residents. What good is high economic growth if people are unhappy due to all the overcrowding?
  3. The Irvine Police Association’s rationale for supporting this measure is a bit sketchy. No reason has been publicly offered. A recent email from the Executive Director of the Orange County Police and Sheriffs speaking for this association confirmed they were for Proposition D but no mention of the reason why was given and a subsequent email from us to clarify the reason was not returned. The only reason appears to come from a mailer stating but not quoting that it is for reasons of fiscal responsibility – which does not make any sense.  

Why are Irvine Citizen Petitions Needed for Development Projects?

These are needed because our City Council and Planning Commission are not doing their job in terms of managing the pace of building, and there are other potential building projects that might occur that would lead to even more congestion problems.

Parkview Center

The remodel is to be done by the Irvine Company and was approved by our city’s Planning Commission.

  1. University and Michelson are already at an extremely poor level of service and yet we are expected to absorb MORE traffic!
  2. Only an “access study” was done but not a full traffic analysis.
  3. A 24-hour convenience store with alcohol will be built.  
  4. There was NO TRAFFIC REPORT available to the public ahead of the meeting. Is this not a BROWN ACT VIOLATION?
  5. Only “Neighbors” within 500 feet were informed by the city. Why wasn’t this posted on NextDoor to TurtleRock?  These citizens use this center and SIT IN THIS TRAFFIC!!
  6. The University / Ridgeline intersection has been slated for upgrade for ages as the site has been the scene of numerous fatalities. But for the Planning Commission, this wasn’t even considered!!

In other words, the priority of the Council and the Planning Commission does not appear to be the quality of life for Irvine residents but simply the approval of building projects with as little inconvenience as possible. We need more citizen oversight.

Rancho San Joaquin Golf Course

Located near UC Irvine, a 147-acre golf course is up for sale. Many residents are fearful that this could be turned into hundreds of homes. Currently, only 47 additional homes would be allowed under current zoning, but this can become the hundreds feared. All that is needed is City Council approval.