Can the politicking over the Great Park veterans cemetery end now? The land swap with developer FivePoint that the Irvine City Council approved Sept. 26 offers the best chance for properly honoring our nation’s veterans.
It should be a cause for celebration, but so long as political hay can be made from where to inter our fallen men and women in uniform, you can count on politicians to make it an issue.
Much has been made of it already. The council split over dueling sites after the previous one garnered controversy due to its proximity to homes.
And, just prior to last week’s vote, news broke that “Irvine officials considered giving the cemetery site in phases so the city could use some of it for other purposes, such as hotels and housing,” the Register reported.
Luckily, the council vetoed that absurd idea, and it intends to immediately hand the land over to the state. But the vote remained split, with Mayor Pro Tem Lynn Schott and Councilman Jeff Lalloway opposing the swap.
But this site has the support of neighbors, veterans, the developer and a majority of the City Council. That is why the politics must end now. And it shouldn’t have been made a political issue or an election year issue in first place. It is about local veterans deserving an appropriate final resting place — and this is the place.
Spread across as much as 125 acres, it fittingly straddles Marine Way and contains a host of proposed amenities for honoring our fallen men and women in uniform. The site would include a veterans memorial on the side facing the I-5 freeway. Its proximity to the freeway allows ease of access for visitors and a solemn reminder of the price of freedom to those passing by.
To be sure, government often works at a snail’s pace, so the cemetery’s completion could still be a ways away. But, if everything goes right, work could begin as early as October 2018. And, thanks to $10 million from FivePoint, and another $5.5 million from the state, money for the…