News and notes
Irvine City News regularly reports on the city’s many top rankings and superb superlatives. We call it the “best city beat.” Most know that Irvine has been named the safest city in the United States by the FBI every year since 2005. The ranking is based on the amazing job the Irvine Police Department does to keep the rate of violent crime in our community the lowest per capita in the nation among cities with a population of 250,000 or more. Now, that effort is deservingly recognized as truly world-class: Irvine is one of the 10 safest cities in the world, according to statistical analysis reported by CEOWORLD magazine. Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, is ranked the safest city in the world, with Doha (Qatar) close behind in 2nd place. The next eight safest cities in the world are Osaka, Singapore, Basel, Quebec, Tokyo, Bern, Munich, and Irvine, in that order. “Irvine has held the status of the Safest City of its size in America by the FBI for 13 consecutive years. It is no surprise to learn that our city is now ranked among the top ten safest cities in the world,” said Bryan Starr, president and CEO, Greater Irvine Chamber. “This accomplishment is in large part the result of a visionary Irvine Master Plan set forth more than a half a century ago, excellent city management, a world-class police department, and engaged residents and business leaders that take pride in their community.” The safety index ranks 338 cities. Following Irvine on the list are Dubai (the UAE), Eskisehir (Turkey), Zurich (Switzerland), Nizhny Novgorod (Russia), and Aalborg (Denmark). The first U.S. cities on the list after Irvine are Madison, Wisconsin, at No. 35 and Salt Lake City at No. 38. The bottom five among the 388 cities analyzed are San Pedro Sula, Honduras; Caracas, Venezuela; Fortaleza, Brazil; Durban, South Africa; and Johannesburg, South Africa.
High OCTANe Economy
The top 10 ranking for safety in CEOWORLD magazine can’t help but add to Irvine’s recognition as a community that’s a great place to live, as well as to work and grow a company. A key Orange County incubator that supports the development and growth of innovative industries in Orange County is moving some elements of its business incubation operations to Irvine from Aliso Viejo. OCTANe, which has helped hundreds of medical technology, information technology, sports technology, and clean technology companies get started and grow, will make the FivePoint Gateway Campus its headquarters for certain of its operations that support the acceleration and growth of early stage companies. The vision still being finalized will be to create the Orange County Great Park as the epicenter of innovation for all of SoCal, according to Bill Carpou, OCTANe CEO. More details to come. Carpou was a speaker at the recent Greater Irvine Chamber’s Business Outlook Breakfast. Attendees walked away informed, as well as entertained by the event’s keynote speaker Chris Thornberg, founding partner of Beacon Economics. His insightful, detailed and amusing talk cut to the chase about the health of the U.S. and local economies: “It’s going to be a good year. Things are wonderful. You’re going to have a great 2019,” Thornberg said. In his economic forecast presented to more than 600 business and community leaders, Thornberg, who predicted the housing market crash in 2007, is optimistic regarding economic growth in the year ahead, thanks to rising wages, low unemployment, and increased consumer spending. Another key takeaway: we need to significantly increase housing throughout the state, but particularly in Orange County and Irvine.
Irvine’s accolades aren’t always as eye-catching as being one of the safest cities in the world. To run a city well takes attention to detail, particularly to fiscal fitness and budgets. Thankfully, the city staff and council is top of its class at those financial factors. Irvine has been awarded the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA), it was recently announced. The award represents the “highest form of recognition in government budgeting for a municipal entity,” according to the press release regarding it. In order to receive the budget award, the Irvine budget had to satisfy nationally recognized guidelines for effective budget presentation. The city also received the Excellence Award for Fiscal Year 2018-19 Operating Budget from the California Society of Municipal Finance Officers. Congrats!