Op-Ed: Why Irvine Should Vote for the Entire NO on B Team
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By: Harvey H. Liss
This election on November 6th is very different from previous ones for two reasons:
- Developer FivePoint has been earning hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue from their General Plan – breaking development at the expense of the City and its residents, solely by virtue of a complicit City Council. Thus, FivePoint has been and is willing to continue spending millions of dollars to support its surrogate candidates and to oppose its opponents (the “NO on B Team of Three”) with a vast propaganda campaign.
- The NO on B campaign created a substantial base of voters out of the 28,638 voters who opposed Measure B, who will vote for the “NO on B Team of Three” candidates (Ed Pope for Mayor; and Jaci Woods and Frank McGill for Council) Hence, the election battle is really between the candidates funded by FivePoint and the “NO on B Team of Three.”
As a consequence, any vote for any candidate other than members of the NO on B Team will most likely be a vote for FivePoint. FivePoint only needs to win one seat to retain majority control of the Council, while the residents need to win ALL three seats (the Mayor and two Council seats) to overcome the votes of Councilmembers Christina Shea and Melissa Fox, who are both FivePoint surrogates.
Nonetheless, there are voters who may not understand the arithmetic of this reality, and want to know what, beyond building a Veterans Cemetery, the NO on B Team of three will do.
Following, is a list of what Pope, Woods and McGill can do after ordering construction to begin on the Veterans Cemetery on the ARDA site, which will forever prevent FivePoint from gaining control of those 125 acres for their massive development:
- Limit the issuance of building permits to a sustainable rate (about half the current rate).
- Have the required infrastructure completed before buildings are occupied.
- Re-establish a comprehensive school bus transportation system to help mitigate morning and afternoon traffic.
- Dramatically expand the iShuttle.
- Increase developer fees in order to modernize the traffic control system to be adaptive rather than fixed, so that traffic signals can not only be all synchronized, but their cycles will change with traffic conditions.
- Have the street and intersections updated and improved (right-turn lanes, bus cut-outs, etc.)
- Establish a Transportation Commission and City traffic engineer who would be beholden to Irvine’s workers and residents rather than to developers. That would prevent absurd traffic reports that claim development has no impact on traffic congestion, and that traffic congestion is in the drivers’ imaginations.
- Great Park development can be put back on track, following the original, $38 million world-class design that resulted from an international competition, and that was trash-canned when FivePoint took control of the City Council in 2012. E.g., a new, resident-supportive Council can put back the incredible canyon that was the most attractive feature of the Great Park rather than Councilmember Shea’s unnecessary and park-killing golf course. It can also put back other actual park features rather than more commercial enterprises that benefit FivePoint and kill the Great Park it was intended to be.
- Replace the Irvine Land Trust Board members beholden to FivePoint with the new majority Councilmembers beholden to the residents, so it can once again fulfill its original mission, which was to address affordable housing and the homeless, rather than serve FivePoint’s interests.
- Require schools and development to first address contamination issues that are so prevalent on the former MCAS El Toro, and have been covered up by FivePoint with their vast propaganda and lobbying that even reach into our State agencies to deceive the public.
- Restore development requirements that require traffic mitigation and public parkland that have been waived since 2012.
- The City Council is responsible for the health and welfare of the City’s students, and can have a great impact on the IUSD’s decisions that recently have been solely for the benefit of FivePoint.
- Make better use of the expertise available amongst UCI faculty.
But, first, the residents have to regain control of the City Council majority; otherwise, none of the above will be accomplished, and that is a question of arithmetic.