7/10/18 Irvine City Council Meeting Notes

Announcements: Wagner announced that there will be no bullet proof glass wall. (Read more here)

Approval of hiring John Russo as City Manager:

Public comments:  complained about ethics lawsuits against Riverside that are related to John Russo’s contract as Riverside City manager and related to his firing as Riverside City Manager.  Public comments requested putting of hiring John Russo until after further review.

John Russo spoke and comments were made by city council members.  Wagner said that he discussed the legal issues with Russo in detail and Shea said that law suits are a fact of life. Fox reported that colleagues of Russo when he worked for Riverside complemented Russo and his work.

Wagner asked Russo to speak.  Russo said that Irvine is going through growth pains, particularly with regards to traffic and organization structure and this needs to be looked at.  Russo listed his five principles and values: Transparency, responsiveness, accountability, fiscal prudence, and decisiveness. He said that he would do his best to implement his principles an values.

Hiring Russo was approved by the City Council.

Agenda Item 2.4 Regarding Slurry Seal Project: Under the perview of Public Works.

Wagner: Wagner asked that the projects be done during non-peak hours and therefore done before 8AM and not after 4 PM because the street repair projects cause  horrific traffic congestion. Wagner requested that the contracts with companies specify that the work times be respectful of peak hour traffic.

Lalloway:  Lalloway added that the same rule should replay to companies working on construction projects.

Agenda Item 2.5:  Approval of plans for accessibility improvements of Turtle Rock Community Park:

All community parks and senior centers will have accessibility improvements that comply with updated ADA (American Disabilities Act).  Other parks and community centers will be scheduled over the next few years.

Veteran’s Cemetery:

A huge number of public comments supporting the cemetery at the ARDA site and a few opposing the ARDA site.

Lalloway gave report on history of Veteran’s Cemetery (on the ARDA site)which had been approved at state Level by Wagner when he was in the Legislature and by Governor Brown and had been approved by the Irvine City Council in 2014.  He explained the funding sources were available at no cost to Irvine taxpayers as the funds were being placed in the Great Park fund 180 which is set up to, and specifically dedicated to develop the Great Park. Lalloway said that the voters approved the Cemetery by voting no on B by 63%.  He further stated that’s those who say that the voters were confused and did not understand what they were voting for are being disrespectful to Irvine voters as Irvine residents are well educated and are sufficiently intelligent to understand the B ballot measure. Lalloway further reported that the land is contaminated and has to be cleaned up for whatever use.  Lalloway asked for a motion to recognize the City Council’s 2014 approval of the Cemetery on the ARDA site and that clean up and construction be scheduled to begin right away. He said that once built, the State of California will be responsible for care and maintenance as well as operation of the cemetery. Lalloway asked that the cemetery be built and operational by Veterans Day, November 11, 2020. Lalloway said that no matter what the cemetery will not be built in the Strawberry site.  That option is gone.

Schott: Totally supported honoring the voters and building the cemetery and a Veteran’s Memorial on the ARDA site.

Shea:

Shea said that voters’ wishes matter, however finances matter more.  The Great Park Fund 180 is meant to be used for all projects and projects need to be prioritized.  Shea said that the funds need to be used to build the Cultural Terrace and the Water Park. Shea stated that the cemetery could only be built if Irvine residents voted to spend 80 million dollars on the cemetery.

Fox:

Fox stated that voters should be honored as should the veterans and the cemetery.  She said that the responsibility to build up the Great Park also needs to be honored.  Fox said that the ARDA land was given to the city to sell and use the proceeds to fund the great park. Fox said that there is other land available to use for the Cemetery.

Wagner:

Wagner supported Shea and Fox positions.  He said that voters are tired of overdevelopment and traffic.  He said that the cemetery can be placed in another location He said that he would not approve any project that did not mitigate traffic and that all development should get back to the master plan.

Wagner made a substitute motion to return the Veteran’s Cemetery to the Planning Commission to obtain all commissions’ evaluations and reports regarding the scope of work, cost, traffic studies and work with veterans’ groups to come up with a plan for the Veteran’s Cemetery…essentially starting over.  The motion was approved 3 to 2.

Irvine Land Trust:  Lack of transparency, violation of Brown act by baring public attendance at Irvine Land Trust Board Meetings.