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Veterans' cemetery will be near 5/405 interchange after Irvine votes to swap

Veterans' cemetery will be near 5/405 interchange after Irvine votes to swap Great Park land for strawberry fields.

 
http://www.ocregister.com/2017/06/06/irvine-approves-site-swap-a-farm-near-5405-interchange-for-veterans-cemetery/

By Lou Ponsi | Orange County Register
PUBLISHED: June 6, 2017 at 9:05 pm | UPDATED: June 7, 2017 at 12:56 pm

No details on the company’s plans for the land it acquires in the swap were given.

Mayor Don Wagner and council members Melissa Fox and Christina She voted in favor of the Five Point proposal. Mayor Pro Tem Lynn Schott and Councilman Jeffrey Lalloway turned in the dissenting votes.

Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva, D-Fullerton, who co-authored the bill to establish a veterans’ cemetery on the city-owned land, announced May 26 that the state would only contribute $30 million for the project.

That prompted Wagner and Fox to ask for Tuesday’s special meeting.

Irvine taxpayers would have to make up the $50 million difference, Wagner said.

“That’s not fair to our taxpayers and won’t get the veterans cemetery they deserve.”

Lalloway said there are too many unknowns in FivePoint’s proposal and there is no way to determine the actual costs to Irvine without more research.

“We’re just going to shove this down people’s throats without proper study,” Lalloway said. “This is ludicrous, absolutely ludicrous.”

Schott called the FivePoint proposal “nothing more than a real estate business deal.”

“I think what we are seeing here is the giveaway of our Great Park and I’m not going to facilitate that,” Schott said.

The panel heard from about 50 speakers, with nearly an equal number expressing support and opposition to the FivePoint site.

Some said the process of selecting a site had become too political.

“Let’s set aside all the politics,” said Peter Katz, an Army veteran and member of the Orange County Memorial Park Committee.

“I favor the strawberry field,” Katz said. “The costs are cheaper. The access is easier.”

Some veterans who addressed the council said they support either site.

“What I want to see is a cemetery for our veterans,” said James Torres, a disabled Vietnam veteran and past commander of the Disabled American Veterans Department of California. “Whatever you decide, I will back you 100 percent.”

Fox addressed the speakers during the meeting.

“I appreciate all the passion in this room to support the veterans, no matter what your opinion is,” she said.

 

 

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California Council of MOAA
California Council of MOAA