Planning Commissioner and former Irvine City Councilmember Mary Ann Gaido passed away Wednesday, September 6, following a courageous battle with cancer. Mary Ann was a dedicated public servant, community advocate, and cherished friend to many.
A long-time resident of Turtle Rock, Commissioner Gaido was first appointed to the Planning Commission just after Irvine’s incorporation in 1971. She was a member of the City’s first Transportation Phasing Task Force from 1974 to 1976, serving as chair from 1974-75. She served two terms on the Irvine City Council, from 1976 to 1984. She returned to the Planning Commission in the mid-1980s, and since that time, served a total of 20 years on the commission. Mary Ann was also dedicated to the visual and performing arts, including serving on the Irvine Barclay Theatre Board.
Under her thoughtful leadership, Irvine experienced many significant accomplishments, including:
- Approving the City's first General Plan, a comprehensive, long-range vision of Irvine's future development and preservation.
- Acquiring 10,000 acres of open space and protecting parks through her efforts to purchase Bommer Canyon from the Irvine Company.
- Increasing affordable housing.
- Establishing the University Community Park Skateboard Run, the first skate park in Irvine.
This year, Mary Ann received the Ralph Kennedy Award for her decades of work in Irvine and throughout Orange County to increase affordable housing and advocate for those most in need.
Commissioner Gaido worked as a housing specialist for the Orange County Human Relations Commission. She was a founding member of several boards, including Jamboree Housing, the Kennedy Commission of Orange County, the Orange County Community Housing Corporation, and the Orange County Affordable Housing Clearinghouse.
Mary Ann was a lifetime member of the Orange Coast League of Women Voters and devoted time to social justice work with the Interfaith Community in Orange County.
In addition, she worked as Vice President of Government Relations at St. Joseph Health System.
The City of Irvine is grateful for the vision, dedication, and leadership Mary Ann provided throughout more than four decades of public service to the City and its residents.
Watch the ICTV feature, highlighting Mary Ann Gaido for her instrumental work in the creation of Irvine’s Open Space Initiative.