In one of heaviest turnouts in Orange County incorporation election history, on December 21, 1971 the residents of Irvine overwhelmingly approved becoming OC’s 26th incorporated city.
And we think this year’s slate of candidates was large: The city’s first city council was elected from a field of 32 candidates. A few days later, a reporter for the Daily Pilot described the experience of that election.
“It isn’t every day a reporter gets a chance to observe the birth of a new city,” wrote George Leidal.
“Somehow the past few weeks have led me to feel like I’ve just been assigned to cover, via time capsule, the sailing of the Mayflower. People I’ve met in Irvine, thus far, exude an infectious spirit of hope for their new city.
“The seas the new city government and the city’s 18,000 residents will sail in the next few months are smoothed by the thought that this city, unlike any other in history, may become something other than a pretty, suburbia-perfect new town. It may indeed set the standard for a new city.
“The difference between Irvine and any other new town is that while others are truly company towns, dominated by the master-planning of the developers, Irvine is the lone experiment in residential land use now controlled by a citizen selected city government.”
As we celebrate Irvine’s 45th anniversary, let’s take time to think of and thank the city’s founders, and those who followed, for all the amazing gifts we’ve been given as citizens of Irvine. And let’s honor their example by doing our best to improve the city for all.