Irvine Council member Lynn Schott contacted us Tuesday night to say she would not be attending next Monday’s Town Hall meeting where she and Mayor Steven Choi would “join the discussion of relocating the Veteran’s (sic) Cemetery to another location. Don’t miss the great opportunity to express your concerns to city leaders.”
The Town Hall is being run by the Orange County Residents Alliance, OCRA, and the names of the individuals who lead this group isn’t known. The flyer gives the impression that Choi and Schott are hosting the event and, falsely, suggests the majority of Irvine residents oppose the placement of a Veteran’s Cemetery & Memorial at the Great Park.
Schott, apparently fearing reprisal from Veteran’s organizations the GOP so covets, has pulled out of the event:
“The Mayor and I were approached by members of the community who are concerned about the proposed cemetery location in the Great Park, and were asked to meet with them to hear their concerns.
A meeting was arranged to provide the community with an administrative update on any application process, and to provide them with an opportunity to come and voice their opinions.
This afternoon I became aware of a flyer posted with an article at Liberal OC that seems to indicate that I have agreed to meet with the community in order to steer the discussion in a particular direction.
I hope that this is an honest misunderstanding, but to avoid further miscommunication, I have decided not to attend the meeting on Monday evening.
A retraction of the misleading flyer/material is greatly appreciated.
Since we didn’t create the flyer, we are not retracting it or our story.
Schott posted the exact same message as a response to a post by the Democrats of Greater Irvine Facebook page and then deleted the comment entirely (she cuts and pastes regularly on her Facebook page).
Veterans organizations have been contacted and are anticipated to attend the Open House on Monday. In a story in World Journal from late October 2014, a week before the election, direction and information attributed to Irvine Planning Commissioner Anthony Kuo suggests the possibility of a cemetery at the Great Park was “not to be large” due to environmental assessment processes and other soil preparation issues. This was viewed as a blatant untruth designed to garner votes from the Chinese-American community for the Republican slate. Mayor Choi reached out to the Chinese community via this YouTube video (after having insulted them over a friendship city proposal).
Steven Choi was quoted last fall speaking to those Chinese neighbors: “When we needed you, where were you? We had a series of meetings on the agenda, but I couldn’t stop it alone. The boat has left. Governor signed the bill.”
The Irvine Republican Council majority still takes direction from the developers who funded the last election and will likely fund the next. They made it clear they didn’t want this cemetery, but couldn’t really say anything for fear of pissing off Veterans. I’ll remind readers of a debate from last fall on this topic.
The discussion of the Veterans Cemetery was also illuminating. After Mayor Choi brought up the issue of Feng Shui in initially opposing the Cemetery and Memorial and even FivePoint backed away from it saying Feng Shui was a consideration in discussions about the Memorial, Lalloway tried to use Agran’s dismissal of Feng Shui as some sort of intentional disrespect to the Chinese American Community. But Lalloway made a big mistake and didn’t drop the other shoe. Choi used Feng Shui as a reason to oppose building the Cemetery and Memorial at the Great Park. Choi was bowing to the wishes of the developer and tried to suggest Federal Land north of the Great Park would be a better spot, citing a meeting he asked for with the FBI about a parcel for a cemetery and homebuyer objections to a cemetery so close to homes. Melissa Fox used her time to say she’d include input from the Chinese American community in the development of the cemetery. Katherine Daigle provided the most emotional and heartfelt answer of why the Veteran’s Cemetery and Memorial needed to be in Irvine; she was misty-eyed defining the freedoms we enjoy today were due to the sacrifice of men and women in uniform. How some of them came back and others didn’t. And she said opposition to placing this memorial at the Great Park should not be tolerated. It was Daigle’s best moment and one that made Choi look small-minded.
But back to Schott’s request to retract the flyer. We didn’t produce it so we can’t retract it. And the flyer certainly looks as though the meeting is hosted by the Mayor and a City Council member.