2023 State of the City Address

2023 state of the city

Presented by Mayor Farrah N. Khan March 7, 2023 Reception 5 p.m. State of the City Address 6 p.m. Irvine Barclay Theatre

Mayor Farrah N. Khan

Vice Mayor Tammy Kim

Councilmember Larry Agran

Councilmember Mike Carroll

Councilmember Kathleen Treseder

The following is the City of Irvine State of the City Address, originally delivered March 7, 2023 by Mayor Farrah N. Khan

Good evening, and welcome to the 2023 State of the City Address. I am honored to stand before you as mayor of this great city, and it is my privilege to share with you the progress we have made, the challenges we have faced, and the vision we have for the future. Can you please give a warm round of applause to the students, our vision for the future, for their participation this evening? Thank you! I would like to take a moment to express my gratitude to my City Council colleagues for their dedication and service to our community. The work that we do would not be possible without their tireless efforts and commitment to making Irvine a better place for all. I would also like to welcome our city commissioners, committee members, state and regional elected officials, military leaders, and international officials joining us today. Thank you for your efforts to enhance and support Irvine… California’s 13th largest city, the fastest growing city in the United States, and America’s greatest master-planned community. I would also like to introduce and thank our City Manager Oliver Chi. Our Assistant City Managers, Michelle Grettenberg, Pete Carmichael, Brian King and our Deputy City Manager Melissa Haley…And a special thank you to our Police Chief, Michael Kent. Additionally, I would like to recognize our City Department Directors, and our incredible staff for keeping Irvine the best place to live…work…and play. This month, we are celebrating Women’s History Month. As part of that celebration, we are honored to have 3 of Irvine’s women Mayors here with us this evening. Please join me in recognizing former Mayors, Christina Shea, Beth Krom, and Sally Anne Sheridan. It is a special treat that we have Sally Anne here with us as she spearheaded the development of the Irvine Barclay Theatre. Thank you ladies for all your work and for joining me here today. At this time, I would like to recognize, and express my sincere thanks and appreciation to the Irvine Barclay Theatre, this is the second year they have hosted the State of the City Address! Thank you!

A very special thank you to our Presenting Sponsors: UCI and UCI Health! And to all our sponsors who graciously supported this community event; thank you! And most importantly, I would like to take this opportunity to thank my family for their ongoing love, and support of me, in my role as Mayor of this wonderful community we call home. Last year,….I spoke about a balanced community and our commitment to the principles of Irvine’s Master Plan, a living document serving as a road map for Irvine’s exceptional quality of life. As I reflect on our community's progress, I am struck by the incredible generational success that Irvine has experienced. From an idea, to inception, to a world-class city offering residents and businesses the best quality of life experiences. Our City's success is a testament to the contributions of each and every one of our community members, both past and present. From the founding fathers who had the vision to create a master-planned city, to the current generation who are working to make Irvine an inclusive, green, and vibrant place to live, work, and raise a family – Irvine is home. A home where everyone feels safe, has heart, and shows compassion. Today I also want to thank our community for their generosity and support in collecting coats and blankets for the countless victims of the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria. And, as you saw earlier today, we continue to stand in solidarity with the women in Iran. I am so proud of our community. Thank you.

Tonight, I am excited to share the state of our great city. Our city has come a long way in a short amount of time. In 2022 Irvine became the 13th largest City in California, and one of the top ten fastest growing Cities in the nation. This is a testament to our strong and vibrant community and reflects our growth and prosperity. For generations, investment into people has carried Irvine into the thriving city it is today...ensuring that everyone in our community has an opportunity to succeed and reach their full potential. With this growth, we now have a seat with the Big City Mayors Coalition where Mayors from the 13 largest cities in California advise on local issues. And just this past year, Irvine will secure funding to support regional coordination and expand or develop capacity to address homelessness. I will continue to work with my fellow mayors to push for meaningful solutions that will make a difference. As Mayors, we know what’s happening in our cities and where the needs are. I will continue to advocate and work hard to build relationships at the state and federal level. In October 2022, I had the great privilege and honor of welcoming President Joe Biden at the John Wayne tarmac during his visit our great city and Irvine Valley College to discuss the Inflation Reduction Act. It was a momentous occasion, our city continues to gain recognition and put itself on the map. However, we are also aware of the many critical challenges that we face, such as inflation, supply and demand, and infrastructure. Just days before the President's visit, I had the pleasure of hosting former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa at our Great Park. He now serves as Governor Newsom's Senior Infrastructure Advisor..….during his visit we shared significant City priorities including, the Great Park Framework and Transit Vision Study. We don't rest on our laurels… we are always working to bring dollars back to Irvine.

Our conservative approach to budgeting and careful management of resources has allowed us to weather the pandemic and economic uncertainty… while maintaining our high level of programs and services. I am proud to report that the City remains financially strong, with a balanced budget and a healthy reserve. Most recently the City saw an increase in revenues generated by sales tax.....sales were up when compared to the same period in 2021. As we move forward, we will continue to prioritize fiscal responsibility and make smart investments in our community. It is no secret that the COVID-19 global pandemic left the world feeling fatigued beyond measure. But together, we faced that challenge and came out strong. The City Council adopted the Irvine Recovery Plan in October 2021. With this we allocated $56 million dollars to community programs and services, like…the • Irvine Children's Fund – which provides childcare scholarships. • And, we also provided grants to support vulnerable populations, small businesses, and emerging nonprofits. • And one of my favorites...is the One Irvine program. There we have provided direct home improvement funds, community building events, and neighborhood improvements. Our investment in our community enables us to continue being one of the most desirable places to live, work and play. Ensuring the safety of our residents is a fundamental responsibility of local government, and a top priority for this Council. For the 17th year in a row Irvine has had the lowest per capita violent crime rate for its size. Irvine has a stellar police department, staffed by dedicated

and highly trained personnel….working tirelessly to keep our community safe. We continue to make investments, including expanding our police department to meet the needs of our population, implementing technologies and tools, and further strengthening our partnerships. And as a result, our officers are recognized nationally and internationally for their work in our schools, with our youth, to support emergency preparedness and so much more. This is all achieved in working in partnership with the community. Since 2000, the Community Emergency Response Team, also known as, CERT, has produced trained community members to keep us safe…providing a positive and realistic approach to emergency and disaster situations. More than 3,000 of our community members are now trained as CERT responders, and the Irvine Police Department has held 92 CERT classes, and is halfway through their 93rd class. And so many of our youth have participated in the Irvine Police Explorers program. The Explorers program provides teens who may be interested in a career in law enforcement with a comprehensive volunteer program, including training, competition, service and practical experiences. And as we speak of generational success, 7 current IPD staff members were part of the Explorers program, including our very own Chief Kent. As we look to the future, we are committed to building on this progress… working together to ensure that Irvine remains one of the safest cities in the country. I, again, thank Chief Kent and the men and women of the Irvine Police Department. Another area of important focus is the health and wellness of our community.

The COVID pandemic illustrated that local governments have an important role to play in the public health space. Through a variety of initiatives and programs we have an opportunity to address community needs in a transformative way...as we assess current emerging issues, it is clear that mental health, addiction, and wellness programming are important, unmet needs that we as a community must address. As such, we have been working diligently to implement a Health and Wellness initiative... to focus on providing services and programs considering the unique needs of our children, families, individuals, and seniors. Staff is currently working through an assessment to identify physical and behavioral health needs in Irvine, and identify potential gaps. This is addressed in coordination with our amazing local partners. This effort is vitally important for Irvine, as our community continues to grow and mature. And investing in the mental health and well-being of our community is an investment in our future. And one of the best ways to be well is through recreation. We are a city focused on recreation. Home to a nationally ranked park system, our parks and open space play a significant role in enhancing the health and well-being of our community. Our park systems continue to be ranked highest in the nation. For the 7th consecutive year, our parks have been ranked among the top 10 in the nation. The ParkScore Index, is recognized as the national gold-standard comparison of park systems in the United States. As this incredible community has grown, each phase has been accompanied by the preservation and enhancement of natural open spaces. More than one-third of the City…that is 16,000 acres…is preserved as parks, trails, and natural wildlands.

And we look forward to adding hundreds of acres of open space, trails, and parks. We recently announced the plans to acquire and close the All American Asphalt plant and establish the Gateway Preserve. Gateway Preserve will connect open space and amenities that include interpretive displays; native gardens; outdoor classrooms; a small amphitheater for community programs; and a trailhead that will connect with nearby trails. As we focus on the outdoors, we continue our attention on our people. Through the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, we made a commitment to ensure that every person living and working in our community is treated with fairness, and has access to equitable services and opportunities. We have celebrated our community like never before with inaugural events like Pride in Irvine, Juneteenth, Mid-Autumn Festival and Fiesta Latina en Irvine…all culminating with Irvine’s signature Global Village Festival. We now have a score of 100 from the Human Rights Campaign due to our efforts to create a more inclusive atmosphere. I look forward to continuing our efforts to celebrate diversity, promote equity, and create opportunities of inclusion for all. And much of who we are comes from our educational institutions. From our award-winning public and private schools to top tier colleges and universities – we deliver the best in education. Just today, Concordia University announced the purchase of its Spectrum campus. This campus will serve as the new home of Concordia’s successful School of Health & Human Services. And as UCI approaches its 60th Anniversary in a few years, they continue to drive its mission to catalyze the community and enhance lives through rigorous academics, cutting-edge research, dedicated public service, and a health system devoted to improving the lives of the people

in our community and beyond. As you know we’re one of the few cities that continues to grow and provide opportunities – and now we have an obligation and a mandate from the state, to make sure we provide housing for not only our growing population, but also housing that’s affordable for our young professionals, seniors, veterans, people with disabilities, and people experiencing homelessness. Our state, our region, and our city are facing a housing crisis. Irvine provides more affordable housing than any other city in Orange County, more than 5,000 units and hundreds more in the pipeline. …with each new neighbor we welcome, we are reminded of our own stories of why we chose Irvine to be our home. And I ask each and every one of you to remember that feeling when Irvine became your home. We know that housing with services ends homelessness. Permanent supportive housing is a proven solution to homelessness for the most vulnerable and chronically homeless people. It pairs housing with case management and supportive services. In addition to ending homelessness for people who are chronically homeless, research has demonstrated that permanent supportive housing can also increase housing stability and improve health. We continue to lead the way on so many important initiatives, I think it’s about time that we lead the way to end homelessness and plan for diverse housing plans. And with housing comes transportation. As the primary source of greenhouse gas emissions in our City, the transportation sector demands immediate attention, and we recognize that promoting active transportation options is crucial. Currently, our City has over 400 miles of on-street and off-street bikeways and 900 miles of sidewalk, we will continue to expand and improve this network.

The recently adopted Strategic Active Transportation Plan serves as a blueprint for future active transportation projects, with a range of offerings enhancing safety for pedestrians and bicyclists. In December 2022, we completed construction and opened the Venta Spur Pedestrian-Bicycle Bridge over State Route 133, providing a connection to Great Park that can be easily navigated on foot or bike, free of interaction with freeway ramp traffic. And…the work continues, with the construction of a bicycle-pedestrian bridge over Interstate 5 beginning this year, extending nearly 1,200 feet in length and closing a critical gap along the Jeffrey Open Space Trail. We are also in the planning and design phase for six new bicycle-pedestrian trail segments and two additional bridges, with over 30 potential bridge locations for future planning. Our Transportation Vision Study is also progressing, geared towards studying mobility and travel patterns, focused on connecting local neighborhood destinations. With my introduction in 2019, and Council approval last month, we approved the pilot implementation, to improve mobility and accessibility for all residents, while reducing congestion on our roads. This Fixed Route Transit Program establishes a route along Yale Avenue and Barranca Parkway. This option provides convenient access between homes, local jobs, and schools, and also connects to existing transit routes and the Irvine Metrolink station for regional trips. Our vision is to create a more connected and accessible city, by expanding our bike lane network, increasing public transportation options, and encouraging the use of electric vehicles. That includes more than 200 EV charging stations being deployed at our City facilities. The City of Irvine has a strong history of environmental stewardship, including voter support of Measure S in

2010, the Sustainable Community Initiative. Solidifying our commitment to renewable energy and environmental programs to support a sustainable community in Irvine. Irvine has been widely acknowledged as one of the greenest cities in the United States, thanks to our unwavering dedication to sustainability, energy, and environmental preservation. In pursuit of a climate-resilient future, we have undertaken several measures to identify and address climate impacts, such as developing a Climate Action and Adaptation Plan, Solarize Irvine, Cool Irvine, for which we were recognized at the C40 Global Conference in Argentina, and opportunities for residents and businesses to choose their level of renewable energy through Orange County’s first and only Community Choice Energy program - the Orange County Power Authority. As a City, we have also taken a leadership role in sustainability, implementing our Climate Action and Adaption Plan, which includes a comprehensive approach to reducing our carbon footprint, by increasing renewable energy use, reducing waste, and promoting sustainable transportation options. We have also set a goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2030, and are working hard to meet this goal. We are proud to be a leader in this important area and will continue to work towards a more sustainable future. For more than two decades, we have collaborated with our community to establish a regional destination at Great Park. Our residents and visitors can relish in all the current amenities such as miles of walking and biking trails, sports, art exhibitions, live music concerts, seasonal events, and so much more. In July 2022 the Great Park Framework was approved to make real what has been a commitment to build a truly great park for generations to come. This plan will provide a vision for the park that will balance the needs of

our residents with the need for open space, recreational opportunities, and sustainable development. It is no secret that Great Park has been envisioned as the West Coast equivalent of Central Park in New York, and we are making real headway as of late to execute this longstanding vision. Some items underway are: • Demolition of the ARDA site to make way for a Veteran’s Memorial Park & Botanical Gardens • Developing lakes, meadows, farm, and a forest surrounding a world-class amphitheater • Rehabilitating around 450,000 square feet of existing building space to facilitate cultural uses, including the Flying Leathernecks air and space museum concept, the California Fire Museum, Pretend City, and OC Music & Dance. • Making needed improvements to the Sports Complex, including construction of an aquatics facility in partnership with USA Water Polo and a potential inclusion of a Cricket stadium As we all know, Irvine is an intentional destination. Irvine’s strategic location, strong partnerships, creativity and innovation, set us apart as an ideal place for businesses to thrive. The City provides, at a high-level, most everything that is of value to a business: opportunities, local high- skilled employees, public education support, safety, and top-quality infrastructure. Irvine is a thriving and diverse center of business. More than 20,000 businesses have a license in Irvine, producing more than 275,000 jobs. And one of the areas that we are focusing on to sustain our strong economic hub is our start-up ecosystem. In late 2021, I established the Irvine Innovation Council, a working collaboration developing ideas and strategies for further expanding Irvine’s position as a regional technology

and innovation hub. And based on my efforts with the Innovation Council, we’ve been able to refine an action plan geared toward attracting, retaining, and supporting high-growth technology businesses. And… I’m excited to share that we’re on the precipice of launching Irvine’s first Innovation Lab. At the Innovation Lab, entrepreneurs with unique and viable ideas will find a world-class ecosystem of support that will help facilitate the accelerated development of their business through the incubation period, all aimed at growing and retaining successful Irvine-based companies. And once there, entrepreneurs and founders will find access to business support resources, venture capital connections, legal support, and other relevant services. We’ve been able to pull together a tremendous pool of talented business executives to help support and operate this public-private venture. Together, with this group, I will submit a request to the full City Council later this month to consider leasing 4,000 square feet of vacant City-owned space at the Irvine Train Station in order to establish Irvine’s very first Innovation Lab. Later this month local organizations will be hosting Tech Week, and from May 9 -11, I hope you will join me as Octane, in partnership with the city, Greater Irvine Chamber, OC Business Council, UCI Beall Applied innovation and many more will host Innovation Week where entrepreneurs, investors, industry leaders, and professional services firms convene. This… is just the beginning of our ecosystem that generates opportunities, provides support, and retains talent, right here in Irvine. As I look around the room, I am inspired and hopeful because together, we set the standard… for not only Orange County, but the state and the nation. We…set the standard for generations of success because we have a deep sense of

community, a spirit of generosity, a culture of caring, and a passion for excellence. Our city has come a long way in a short period of time, and we should all be proud of what we have accomplished. As we continue to grow, we will remain committed to preserving the qualities that make Irvine such a special place to live, work, and raise a family. We will continue to prioritize the needs of our residents, promote sustainable growth, and maintain our commitment to excellence in all that we do. I am confident that, with your continued support, we will continue to thrive and achieve great things. So, let us celebrate this achievement, and let us work together to build a bright future for Irvine and all of its residents. Thank you, and here's to a great future for our city! Now, I am so pleased to welcome our friends from South Coast Chinese Orchestra and Chinese Dance Company of Southern California … performing an excerpt from Monkey King, a production that originated here in Irvine…. Let’s give them a very warm welcome. Let’s give them a warm round of applause. It has been a privilege to be here with you this evening. Thank you, and have a good night.

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