Irvine is one of the most successful cities in the United States, with a long and growing list of accolades, “bests,” and superlatives to support that status.
Since he was elected in 2016, Mayor Don Wagner has done everything he promised in his campaign and after the election to maintain the level of excellence Irvine residents enjoy and expect. He has been an excellent, engaged and energetic steward of that success, while taking decisive steps with the city council and city staff to ensure it continues.
Irvine remains one of the safest cities in America, home to a superbly educated citizenry, a place that welcomes entrepreneurs and a wide range of large and small businesses across hundreds of industries. Irvine is a wonderful place to raise a family, with first-class public education through the renowned Irvine Unified School District and the equally prestigious UCI.
The city features strong business attraction, retention, and growth with more than 200,000 people working in more than 17,000 Irvine businesses. Many well-educated people from around the state, country and world come to Irvine to live, work and learn. Residents and visitors enjoy miles of bike and hiking trails, open spaces, parks, and sports facilities.
Irvine does face challenges. Most are born out of its success, and are the types of issues many less successful cities can only hope to have.
Maintaining Irvine’s master plan is a key duty of city government, as is supporting our “safest city” status, the quality of the public schools, and the services we expect municipal government to provide. Mayor Wagner has met and exceeded those duties. Wagner has also been proactive with the city council and staff in addressing issues such as traffic, housing, economic development in the city, and broader regional issues such as homelessness.
He’s taken steps to correct mistakes of the past city councils that deviated from the master plan, especially in the Irvine Business Complex, that have led to issues of traffic congestion in the city.
Wagner has worked tirelessly with the city council and city staff in working toward long-term improvements to driving conditions.
Tackling issues such as traffic takes more than two years. Especially when also working to maintain the jobs, vitality and smart growth that makes Irvine one of the strongest, most vital economies in Orange County.
Mayor Wagner has also proven more than willing to push back on threats to the quality of life and civic successes Irvine enjoys. He worked to block attempts to place a homeless encampment at county land next to the Great Park, while also working with other mayors, nonprofits and government officials to address the challenge of the region’s homeless population while abiding by the orders of U.S. District Judge David Carter.
Wagner stared down attempts by “no-growth” proponents that would hamstring the economic vitality of the city through no-growth proposals, while also following the masterplan to manage the economic growth of the city.
“Irvine has long been a vibrant and open city,” the mayor said. “Now is not the time to pull in the welcome mat, shut our doors, and call it ‘responsible’ growth…No city has ever stagnated its way to greatness.”
Mayor Wagner has also stood against the descent into divisiveness that has long been fomented by factions in the city seeking a return to political power—the power they squandered in previous administrations.
Wagner is pragmatic, fiscally conservative, and no-nonsense when it comes to the future of the city and how to spend taxpayers money. Unlike too many politicians, he doesn’t have the need to spend money just because it exists.
A pleasant surprise from Wagner’s first term is how eloquent and inspirational the mayor is when it comes to describing the exceptional nature of Irvine:
“I firmly believe that wherever you come from, and whatever your interests and talents, you want the same thing from government for you and your family,” the mayor said in his first State of the City Speech. “The ability to live and work productively, in safety; to provide a quality education to your children; and to be free to speak, worship, participate, and thrive in your community. This is a city where goals and dreams can be realized, and are being realized every day.”
He’s also cordial and collegial, and displays a winning sense of humor when the occasion calls for it. We expected all of that when Irvine City News endorsed his candidacy two years ago, and nothing since has changed our mind about Mayor Wagner being the best person to lead Irvine.
Mayor Don Wagner has earned a second term guiding the most successful city in the country. We strongly endorse his candidacy and urge those who have faith in the future of Irvine to vote Wagner for mayor.
Two-year success story
More than $116 million in traffic capital projects to manage congestion and improve traffic flow are underway and planned. Mark Linsenmayer was appointed as Irvine’s new Director of Transportation, overseeing all aspects of transportation, including traffic management and transit planning. His appointment was a key part of the mayor’s and city council’s commitment to improve traffic in the city. He’s also the staff liaison to the Transportation Commission, newly created as one of Wagner’s first acts as mayor, with the city council.
The mayor and council are challenging the County of Orange in court over the county’s proposed mega-development on a 100-acre parcel of land it owns adjacent to the Orange County Great Park.
The Orange County Business Council awarded the city of Irvine its Public-Private Partnership Award for its work with FivePoint on the Great Park Sports Park and the Anaheim Ducks on the Great Park Ice Arena.
The mayor and city council provides nearly $10 million a year in direct and indirect support to our schools. The mayor and council approved the ongoing Educational Partnership Fund and Challenge Match Grant programs through the 2019 and 2020 school years providing funds to support school nurses and health clerks, guidance counselors, the school resource officer program, and to provide lump sum allocations for the school district’s unique needs.
The Irvine City Council unanimously approved a plan between FivePoint and Live Nation Entertainment to build and operate an interim outdoor amphitheater next to the Orange County Great Park, the first full season of which is coming to a successful close this month.
“Carrie has proven she understands the complexities of transportation and congestion management,” said OCBC President and CEO Lucy Dunn. “Anthony has been an important voice on the city’s Planning Commission, advocating for thoughtful, balanced development that meets the city’s workforce housing needs.”
The OCBC has also endorsed Mayor Don Wagner for a second term as mayor of Irvine, saying that as a public servant he has “pursued policies that align with OCBC’s mission to represent and promote the business community – working with government and academia – to enhance Orange County’s economic development and prosperity.”