Irvine Council Approves Veterans Cemetery Resolution That May Arm AB 1453

Sharon Quirk-Silva’s AB 1453, which would have the state commission a new veterans cemetery in Orange County, could be one of two things: (1) a symbolic but ultimately ineffectual statement of support that got nothing done, or (2) the means to actually get a cemetery built.

For it to be the latter, some donor had to stand up and say that they were willing to give the state the land, so that it could then apply for federal funding through the Department of Veterans Affairs.  (It could also be sold to the state — but the state has not been particularly interested in that.)

Such a donor could be private — but that wasn’t likely.  Finding a public donor would also be hard.  The only public donor with appropriate land that was obviously available and possibly willing was the City of Irvine, which had a 125-acre parcel of the Great Park left over, one that was not owned by Lennar or Five Point.  So on Tuesday night, Irvine voted on whether they were willing to seriously consider giving the state the land.

This wasn’t going to be a commitment, which the state would really like.  And it wasn’t specifying the Great Park site; if another Irvine site became available, that would be just fine, so far as this resolution went.  But it would probably be enough of a gesture to get AB 1453 past its initial hurdles — at which point it would tend to pick up steam.  So, in a sense, this was a make or break vote for really actually getting a veteran’s cemetery in Irvine — potentially the last best chance to do so for a long time.

Drumroll, please!

Proponents of the veterans cemetery won.  The critical vote was 3-2, with Jeff Lalloway joining Larry Agran and Beth Krom in rejecting a substitute amendment by Christine Shea with the support of Mayor Steven Choi.  That amendment would have delayed the decision process long enough that AB 1453 would not be able to be approved by the deadlines imposed by the legislative calendar.  (Once the killer amendment was rejected, Choi joined Lalloway in voting for the final bill — but however many people he thinks that will fool, this blog will make sure that it fools fewer than that.)

Irvine Council votes to move towards Great Park Veterans Cemetery

Christine Shea looks unhappy and Stephen Choi seems to think he successfully pulled a fast one, but it was a majority of Larry Agran, Beth Krom, and Jeff Lalloway who kept alive the dream of actually building an Orange County Veterans Cemetery in this decade.

Orange Juice Blog will have a more extensive story on this development sometime tomorrow.  But that’s the big news; in the meantime, see this preview story from Monday for more details about the deal generally.  (And there are plenty of more details about this vote — it was quite a meeting!)


About Greg Diamond

Somewhat verbose attorney, semi-disabled and semi-retired, residing in northwest Brea. Occasionally ran for office against jerks who otherwise would have gonr unopposed. Got 45% of the vote against Bob Huff for State Senate in 2012; Josh Newman then won the seat in 2016. In 2014 became the first attorney to challenge OCDA Tony Rackauckas since 2002; Todd Spitzer then won that seat in 2018. Every time he's run against some rotten incumbent, the *next* person to challenge them wins! He's OK with that. Corrupt party hacks hate him. He's OK with that too. He does advise some local campaigns informally and (so far) without compensation. (If that last bit changes, he will declare the interest.) His daughter is a professional campaign treasurer. He doesn't usually know whom she and her firm represent. Whether they do so never influences his endorsements or coverage. (He does have his own strong opinions.) But when he does check campaign finance forms, he is often happily surprised to learn that good candidates he respects often DO hire her firm. (Maybe bad ones are scared off by his relationship with her, but they needn't be.)