The following is the full text of the State of the City address delivered by Mayor Christina Shea on February 25, 2020
Thank you for attending the State of the City Address.
Tonight, I’ll show you highlights from our historic year, 2019,
and share with you the promise of a great new year and new
First let me say, the state of our City is undeniably on the
right track as we head into this new year.
Of course, we will have challenges, but our City Council is
accomplishing great things.
I would like to introduce and thank my City Council
colleagues for their collaborative and thoughtful work this
Please stand as I call your names:
• Mayor Pro Tem Mike Carroll
• Councilmember Melissa Fox
• Councilmember Farrah Khan and,
• Councilmember Anthony Kuo
I would like to introduce and thank our City Manager John
Russo, Assistant City Manager Marianna Marysheva, Deputy
City Manager Michelle Grettenberg, and our Police Chief
I would further like to recognize our City Commissioners
and Committee members, our City Department Directors,
and our staff for keeping Irvine the best place to live, work,
Let’s give them a round of applause.
And, let me introduce my family members and my executive
staff who are here tonight:
I would like to introduce my family members…
Also my executive assistant team: Don Davis and Stephanie
Martinez, and my interns from Ivy Max.
Thank you all for being here on such an important evening
for the City of Irvine.
Tonight, with assistance from our video staff, Tom Macduff
and his team, we have created a special video to highlight the
City’s accomplishments in 2019.
Enjoy the memories.
I hope you enjoyed the video and our accomplishments for
And now I would like to share my goals and objectives for
Tonight we highlighted many of our City’s Green Initiatives
with displays in the lobby showing projects we’ve embarked
on in the past few years.
The City of Irvine is far ahead of most cities in the United
States with our Green Initiatives.
To further demonstrate our commitment to sustainability,
our foliage that highlighted tonight’s event is native to the
local environment and will be replanted back into the City’s
As you saw tonight, we had an interactive goat experience
in our piazza provided by Sage Environmental Group and
supported by the OCFA (Hot Shot) hand crew and Irvine
Our goats are an important component of our non-toxic
And, we will be expanding our goat herds into more areas of
our City this year to assist with weed and fire abatement.
I hope you had an opportunity to enjoy time with them.
Our non-toxic pesticide policy, which I brought forward to
our City Council in February 2016, is maintaining all of our
parks, our greenbelts, and our open space with non-toxic
pesticides and organic methods.
This program is a great success and, over the course of four
years, more than 160 cities across America have adopted our
organic policies — which is really fantastic.
This past week, our City staff and I were honored with the
California Environmental Protection Agency “Sustainability”
award in Sacramento for our City’s organic landscape policy.
What a wonderful and prestigious award for all of Irvine.
We care about the health of our children, our families, our
pets, and our wildlife.
And, I would like to acknowledge our City staff, Scott Smith
and Dennis Chiotti, who have been instrumental in the
development of this program.
I also want to acknowledge a few volunteers who brought
this concept to me in 2016: Kathleen Hallal, Ayn Craciun,
and Laura Thompson.
If you would stand and be recognized.
To continue our sustainability efforts, our City Council just
approved a review of Community Choice Energy.
This is an alternative to the rising cost of electricity and a way
to give residents a choice of clean energy, with a savings to
their monthly energy bills.
Additionally, Irvine has a robust Green Waste diversionrecycling
program and a Zero Waste Initiative.
These efforts collectively have diverted more than 12,000
tons of green waste and food from landfills since the
inception of the programs.
The City has incorporated energy-efficient designs into our
municipal facilities as well.
And, we are presently developing a Strategic Energy Plan
that will examine “cost effective measures” to reduce energy
Each program is thoughtfully reviewed for financial costs
Once again, the City of Irvine was honored for the lowest
violent crime rate in the United States for a City its size.
Marking the 14th year in a row, this is truly a remarkable
achievement for Irvine and our community.
This is why we continue to invest in Public Safety as our top
We invest in Emergency Preparedness to ensure we are
prepared for any major emergency that may come our way.
We are fortunate to have an outstanding Community
Emergency Response Team ready to help us.
We invested in a new Public Safety Drone Program in 2018.
The drone program is being utilized in the search for missing
persons, for the evaluation of wildland fire events, and for the
apprehension of individuals suspected of committing a crime.
As we grow in size and diversity, we are adding additional
police officers and public safety personnel to reflect our
Our Public Safety motto is: “In Partnership with the
Community.” I want to thank Police Chief Mike Hamel, his
command staff, and each and every member of our Irvine
Police Department for making Irvine the safest City in
I would like to have all of our officers that are here this
evening to stand for a round of applause.
In 1993, I brought forward our first Safe Community Task
Mindful of recent tragic events across our country, I believed
it was time to revisit that document and reconstitute this
important community asset.
As a result, on September 10, 2019, the Irvine City Council
voted to reestablish the Safe Community Task Force.
The Task Force hosted our first community stakeholders
meeting February 4 to discuss human trafficking, Irvine
public safety statistics, and an update from our District
We will continue over the next eight months to examine
incidents that have occurred in other communities and
within our own city.
Our goal is to create a comprehensive task force report,
similar to what we published in 1993, to ensure our City
remains the safest City in America.
I would like to acknowledge tonight, the nine members of
our Safe Community Task Force; if you would look at the
I would ask that the members of the Task Force who
are present here with us tonight to please stand and be
recognized as I call your name:
• Mayor Pro Tem Mike Carroll, City of Irvine, Co-Chair
• Ira Glasky, Irvine Unified School District
• Vivian Atkinson, Greater Irvine Chamber of Commerce
• Rabbi Ciner, Beth Jacob Congregation of Irvine
• Edgar Dormitorio, University of California, Irvine
• Dr. Kambria Hittelman, Hoag Hospital
• Pastor Molina, Mariners Church
• Commander Smiley, City of Irvine Public Safety
With the business environment strong across the country,
Irvine continues to be the largest employment center in
Throughout 2020, I plan to continue to build upon the
outstanding relationship the City has with the Greater Irvine
We will ensure to attract a highly educated and skilled
workforce to keep Irvine as the economic center of
innovation, technology, and creativity.
Just this past year, the Chamber indicated that direct group
sales and marketing revenues for the City last year boasted
This is under the strong leadership of CEO Bryan Starr.
We want to thank you, Bryan; please stand and be
Irvine is the top city in America for fiscal strength for the
third year in a row according to Truth in Accounting.
Irvine boasted a taxpayer surplus of $4,100 per person,
while most other major cities are in the red, such as San
Francisco with $17,000 deficit per person and Oakland at
$18,000 deficit per person.
Irvine’s Operating Revenues are strong at $207 million for
Fiscal Year 2019-2020.
Our City’s General Fund reserves are now at 25 percent of
our annual budget — and our pension liability is being paid
down annually, which is an important debt reduction plan I
brought forward in 2013.
Our Shop Irvine! program helps to increase our sales tax.
This past holiday season, with the help of additional
advertising by the City and our business community, Irvine
experienced a strong revenue stream moving into 2020.
This has been aided by the Irvine Company’s reinvestment
into the Irvine Spectrum, introducing an elevated retail
experience and new store openings, as well as the newly
remodeled Regal Theater with a 4DX movie experience.
With us this evening, representing the Irvine Company, is
Paul Hernandez, Senior VP, Corporate Affairs. Thank you,
Paul, for the ongoing partnership.
My plan is to increase the Shop Irvine! promotion
throughout the entire year.
The City of Irvine is debt free and fiscally strong.
I am proud of our fiscal achievements, as Irvine continues to
be the Top City in America for fiscal strength.
Starting in 2020 and over the next five years, significant
rehabilitation improvements have been proposed by our
We have approved an additional $10 million in funding in
our recent budget.
We will see some wonderful upgrades and improvements in
the next several years.
A few examples:
• Our Aquatic Center will be upgraded.
• Playgrounds at Las Lomas, Heritage, Deerfield, and other
locations will be rehabilitated with new safety surfaces
and improved playground equipment.
• The Lakeview, Rancho, and Trabuco Senior Centers will
be getting a facelift.
• Ryan Lemmon Stadium will see new stadium seating and
a new video scoreboard.
• Our Irvine Animal Care Center remodel is underway
and will be providing a much nicer home for our
We are committed to keeping the City of Irvine facilities
well maintained and with top-notch amenities.
With all of Irvine’s strengths, we do have challenges — one
being traffic congestion.
I am happy to report that we continue to make progress
toward real solutions.
Under the newly formed Transportation Commission’s
leadership, development plans are being evaluated to ensure
traffic impacts are properly mitigated.
Presently, staff is creating new project improvements
throughout the City to elongate left turn lanes to assist with
better traffic flow.
Signal timing and equipment upgrades are underway at 12
of our busiest corridors.
Nine million dollars of Measure M2 grant funds will be
used to assist in alleviating traffic congestion.
We are undertaking an expanded walking and biking
system in the Irvine Business Complex.
The City is building more bridges as I envisioned, to move
traffic along our corridors and give pedestrians safer routes
over busy intersections.
And, we are implementing new technologies such as
Pedestrian Hybrid Beacons and Flashing Yellow Left Turn
Arrows to help make our streets safer and flow better.
In accordance with our Master Plan, the City is committed
to partnering with employers and community stakeholders
to improve our transportation networks for those who live,
work, or do business in our beautiful City.
Our park system is nationally recognized for the
outstanding amenities provided – whether sports, arts,
cultural, or entertainment.
With the largest parkland development project currently
underway – the Orange County Great Park – we continue
to add exciting amenities.
We will see the development of Wild Rivers Waterpark get
underway, and hopefully opening in 2021.
The development of an updated trail system, a joint training facility
for police and fire, botanical gardens, a fire museum, and a permanent
amphitheater will be our top priority projects for the Great Park in
the years ahead.
During the holidays, we are enhancing family entertainment
at the Great Park with an ice rink, a tree lighting ceremony,
interactive holiday activities, a food court, and of course
Santa and Mrs. Claus.
I also look forward to dedicating our Veterans Cemetery
in the Great Park, at the Golf Course site, as we have full
funding to create a final resting place for our veterans.
To support this effort in the coming months, it is my goal to
create a Mayor’s Veterans Advisory Council, inclusive of all
I want to thank Emile Haddad and his team at FivePoint for
their ongoing partnership.
Emile, will you and your team please stand and be recognized.
The City Council continues to provide financial support
to Irvine schools to ensure skilled teachers and a dynamic
learning environment is available for our students.
We invest directly and indirectly up to $11 million annually
to support our students throughout Irvine and portions of
I am pleased we have such a strong relationship with Irvine
Unified School District, Tustin Unified School District, and
Irvine Public Schools Foundation.
I would also like to congratulate tonight Northwood and
University high schools for being recognized by Newsweek
and STEM.org as top 500 STEM high schools in the United
What a remarkable accomplishment for your outstanding
We are privileged to be the home to higher education.
If you would look at the overhead slide, you will see all of the
outstanding colleges and universities we partner with in the
City of Irvine.
Just this month, UCI is breaking ground on a landmark
medical complex adjacent to UCI Research Park.
The new center will redefine medical research, doctor
training, and patient care by shifting the focus from treating
diseases to avoiding them in the first place.
Thank you to all of our learning institutions for providing
Irvine with a diverse and exciting range of talented people
who contribute to a creative, innovative, and inspiring
educational environment – a benefit for Irvine businesses,
residents, and the local economy.
Education will remain one of my top priorities for our City
Included in tonight’s program is an opinion editorial I wrote
in 2013 on the Women’s Suffrage Movement.
Each year, Women’s History Month is celebrated in March,
providing us an opportunity to acknowledge how women
have contributed to the advancement of women’s rights,
equality, and so many wonderful accomplishments in
2020 marks the 100th anniversary of Women’s Suffrage in
America. And, I will be recognizing the centennial at our
March 10 City Council meeting.
It is my hope that we all embrace the decades of personal
development we inherited from so many exemplary women
– women who paved the way for our freedoms, allowing
today’s women to succeed and progress without the
impediments which they faced.
Before I end with you tonight, I want to remind everyone
as we look into the future to 2021: Irvine will turn 50 – a
huge milestone for the City.
The City Council and City staff will be creating our
festivities, as grand as you would expect for our exceptional
As I close this evening, and we move into 2020, we will
continue to remain:
• One of the safest cities in America;
• One of the top cities for fiscal strength;
• One of the best cities for education and innovation;
• One of the best park systems in America;
• One of the best places to live and raise a family;
• One of the best cities for women and children;
• One of the greenest cities in America, keeping our
families, children, and pets healthy; and
• A city that honors our growing cultural diversity with
an emphasis on our families, our seniors, our veterans,
and our faith-based organizations.
I will continue to promote peace and harmony so that our
City will continue to be one of the most inclusive cities in
These are and will be my top goals for 2020.
I want to thank you all for being here tonight. Thank you.
This meeting is now adjourned