A Possible Explanation of Melissa Fox’s Interpretation of the Vote on B

“In other words, I see the rejection of Measure B as a vote against more development and traffic congestion, and not a vote in favor of spending $40 – $80 million dollars on a veterans cemetery rather than building other popular features of the Great Park.

In a survey of Irvine voters I conducted from my blog and through email, the great majority said that they voted against Measure B because they did not want more development and traffic.”

In her July newsletter, Melissa Fox provided her interpretation for the overwhelming rejection of measure B on June 5th. It was a vote against more development and traffic and not for building the cemetery on the ARDA site. What is particularly interesting is how she supports her interpretation. She is using the results of a survey conducted from her blog and from email she received.

Even if the numbers from these sources are true and assuming people cannot vote more than once, such data are hardly scientific. The people who are responding are those going onto her blog and emailing her. In other words, the survey and email are not a representative sample of voters and thereby cannot be taken as evidence for anything. It is the same problem as with measure B itself – people claiming which cemetery site the “Veterans” supported when there were no representative polls actually taken.

Why make such a claim that her opinion is backed by Irvine voters when her supporting data are hardly convincing?

I think it can be understood in terms of her goal. Looking at Melissa Fox’s situation as a politician, she wants to be reelected and to advance her career into higher office – possibly to mayor to State Assemblywoman and so on.

As a result, she seems to have two priorities. First, maintain a reputation as being against developers as this is what got her elected in 2016. She does not want to risk a full backlash against her.

However, elections cost money – e.g., the campaign signs, fliers, mailers and possibly important endorsements. Who in Irvine has and is willing to spend large amounts of money on city elections? The developers. So, the second priority is the need to advance the agenda of at least one of Irvine’s large developers. Which one? Consider that the major player in the veterans’ cemetery issue is FivePoint. If they can keep the cemetery from being built on ARDA site, they will be able to purchase the ARDA site land’s 125 acres for only $4,000,000 – or about $30,000 per acre.

So, the key for Fox’s political career is to successfully appear to be against Irvine’s major developers while helping at least one advance their agenda of building and building without sufficient infrastructure. It is a tricky balance to be sure. With this balance in mind, it is highly likely she will always oppose the ARDA site but will say it is because of some other alternative place – no matter how unlikely it will be built there or how far away it is from the original site or how long it would take or how unpopular that site may be.

Politicians sometime evolve on their views. But unless another financial benefactor comes along with different views on the location of the veterans’ cemetery, don’t expect any evolution here.