The attached photo shows Mayor Donald P. Wagner, in response to Irvine voters’ direction, signing a letter on Monday, July 16, 2018 to the California Department of Veterans withdrawing the Strawberry Fields site near the Great Park from any consideration for a state Veterans Cemetery. Last week, the following statement by the Mayor concerned action taken by the City Council on July 10 regarding the advancement of a Veterans Cemetery in Irvine.
IRVINE, Calif. (July 13, 2018): “In response to Irvine voters’ recent decision rejecting the location of a veterans cemetery at the Strawberry Fields site, the City Council has directed the immediate start of a citywide effort to evaluate the ARDA site or find an alternate site in or near the Great Park for creation of the cemetery.
“The Council’s decision was in keeping with Irvine’s commitment to foresight and diligent planning. Irvine, of course, was built on a Master Plan; unfortunately, prior Councils abandoned the principles of that Master Plan, burdening us with increased traffic and overdevelopment. But this Council has refused to continue those mistakes of the past. That is why a majority of the Council and I asked that the Transportation, Planning, and Finance Commissions, as well as the Planning Department and new City Manager, begin work promptly to identify and properly plan for the creation of the cemetery. This will be a comprehensive City effort to do the project right.
“I also pledged at the last City Council meeting to continue my work with the Veterans Administration in Washington, D.C., and with my former colleagues in Sacramento in the State Legislature to respect the voters’ will by changing the approved location of the cemetery away from the Strawberry Fields and to get for the City the necessary full state funding – which so far has never been provided – to complete this project in a quick and fiscally responsible manner.
“We owe a great debt to those who serve in our nations’ military. A dignified final resting place here in Orange County appropriately respects their sacrifices. With the Council’s decisive action to implement the will of the voters, we have re-affirmed our commitment to the proper planning and creation of that veterans cemetery.”