Home At Last: Honoring Our Veterans With A Veterans Cemetery In Orange County

At present, Orange County is the most populous county in the state without a veterans cemetery, with approximately 115,000 veterans in residence. Five years have elapsed since discussions began to open a State Veterans Administration... Read more
At present, Orange County is the most populous county in the state without a veterans cemetery, with approximately 115,000 veterans in residence. Five years have elapsed since discussions began to open a State Veterans Administration Cemetery in Orange County. The closest cemetery for veterans, with space available, is Riverside National Cemetery. There is a growing interest in, and demand for, an Orange County veterans cemetery. Veterans groups and other Orange County residents have become frustrated that progress towards opening a veterans cemetery in Orange County has been hindered by political infighting. The continued lack of progress in the negotiation between the relevant entities and a lack of general understanding of the underlying issues by Orange County residents, prompted the 2018- 2019 Orange County Grand Jury (Grand Jury) to conduct an investigation to gather information for the benefit of Orange County residents. Read less
Irvine, CA ( Local)
October 8, 2019
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Orange County Grand Jury
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4.3

Christina Shea

Mayor
16th/ 4,626 in Voting and Elections

A resolution of the City Council of the City of Irvine, California, designating that the Golf Course Site is hereby designated as the preferred site for development of the Southern California State Veterans Cemetery.

  • That the City Manager, with the assistance of the City Attorney, shall immediately begin negotiations... Read more

A resolution of the City Council of the City of Irvine, California, designating that the Golf Course Site is hereby designated as the preferred site for development of the Southern California State Veterans Cemetery.

  • That the City Manager, with the assistance of the City Attorney, shall immediately begin negotiations with the State of California on an agreement to transfer the Golf Course Site to the State of California, at no cost, once the State provides binding assurances to the City that there are sufficient funds available to remediate the entire site and to complete Phase 1 of the Southern California Veterans Cemetery (Transfer Agreement). 
  • That the Transfer Agreement must be approved by the City Council at a properly noticed public meeting, after receiving a recommendation from the Board of Directors of the Orange County Great Park Corporation, before any City officer has authority to execute the Transfer Agreement. 
  • That the City Manager, with the assistance of the City Attorney, shall take all steps necessary to, contingent on approval of the Transfer Agreement, remove Heritage Fields' right and obligation under the ALA II to construct a golf course at the Orange County Great Park, and in its place secure a commitment that Heritage Fields will contribute $18,000,000 toward the construction of the Southern California Veterans Cemetery on the Golf Course Site. 
  • That City of Irvine staff shall initiate all necessary revisions to the entitling documents for the Orange County Great Park to facilitate the development of a State Veterans Cemetery on the Golf Course Site. 
  • That City Council Resolution 14-27, City Council Resolution 14-92, City Council Resolution 17-39, and all prior policy statements of the City Council with regard to the siting of a Veterans Cemetery in the City of Irvine are hereby rescinded, and replaced with and superseded in full by this Resolution. 

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Anthony Kuo

We are making good on a promise to deliver the Southern California Veterans Memorial Park and Cemetery with a bi-partisan plan that respe...Read more

We are making good on a promise to deliver the Southern California Veterans Memorial Park and Cemetery with a bi-partisan plan that respects our veterans and taxpayers. As our patient veterans organizations have been saying, we are finally on the path to ‘get this done!’

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Nick Berardino for Veterans Alliance of Orange County (VALOR)

Veterans who have so bravely served this great nation were served by a City Council majority who voted for the only reasonable proposal.<...Read more

Veterans who have so bravely served this great nation were served by a City Council majority who voted for the only reasonable proposal.

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4 other solutions

Orange County Grand Jury

OC Grand Jury
October 8, 2019

By November 30, 2019, the Irvine City Council should decide which, if any, site within its borders to pursue for a veterans cemetery. Site selection efforts should validate the cost and valuation information.

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Christina Shea

The recommendation has been implemented. On July 23, 2019 the Irvine City Council voted to designate the Golf Course site as the preferre...Read more

The recommendation has been implemented. On July 23, 2019 the Irvine City Council voted to designate the Golf Course site as the preferred location for the Southern California Veterans Cemetery.

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Orange County Grand Jury

OC Grand Jury
October 8, 2019

By December 31, 2019, in the event that both the City of Irvine and the Orange County Cemetery District seek to pursue a veterans cemetery, the Grand Jury recommends that a joint City of Irvine and OCCD Veterans Cemetery Selection Committee be established that includes a representative of the Board of Supervisors to determine which of the respective sites will be endorsed. 

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Christina Shea

The recommendation requires further analysis. The City has identified the Golf Course Site as the preferred location for the Southern Cal...Read more

The recommendation requires further analysis. The City has identified the Golf Course Site as the preferred location for the Southern California Veterans Cemetery, has worked with the California legislature to revise Assembly Bill 368 to allow for construction of the cemetery on the Golf Course Site, and has identified significant resources toward the construction of the cemetery. The City is also aware that (i) on September 10, 2019 an effort was made by a State Senator to amend Assembly Bill 368 to allow for the potential development of the Southern California Veterans Cemetery at the Gypsum Canyon Site, but that amendment was not integrated into the Bill, (ii) the forecasted cost of development of a cemetery at the Gypsum Canyon site is more than $250,000,000. As a result, the the Gypsum Canyon Site faces significant development schedule and cost disadvantages when compared to the Golf Course Site. While the City is open to discussions with OCCD, it does not want those discussions to cause any delays in the implementation of the Southern California Veterans Cemetery at the Golf Course Site. 

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Sharon Quirk-Silva

California State Assemblymember
October 8, 2019

Section 1410 of the Military and Veterans Code is amended to read:

1410. (a) (1) Pursuant to Section 1412, the department, in voluntary cooperation with local government entities in the County of Orange, shall acquire, study, design, develop, construct, and equip a state-owned and state-operated Southern California Veterans... Read more

October 8, 2019

Section 1410 of the Military and Veterans Code is amended to read:

1410. (a) (1) Pursuant to Section 1412, the department, in voluntary cooperation with local government entities in the County of Orange, shall acquire, study, design, develop, construct, and equip a state-owned and state-operated Southern California Veterans Cemetery, which shall be located at either the site of the former Marine Corps Air Station El Toro, on 125 acres known as the Amended and Restated Development Agreement Site in the Orange County Great Park in the City of Irvine or at the approximately 100 acres known as the Golf Course Site in the Orange County Great Park in the City of Irvine, as described and adopted by the City Council of the City of Irvine at the July 23, 2019, special joint meeting. The department shall, after completing acquisition studies on both sites, consult with the Department of General Services to determine which site to pursue based on the economic feasibility, benefits to veterans and City of Irvine residents, and availability of each location.

(2) The department shall oversee and coordinate the acquisition, study, design, development, and construction of the cemetery.

(3) For purposes of this chapter, “department” shall mean the Department of Veterans Affairs.

(b) (1) Subject to the eligibility requirements described in Section 2402 of Title 38 of the United States Code, as it may be amended, honorably discharged veterans and their spouses and eligible dependent children are eligible for interment in the cemetery. The department shall establish a fee to be charged for interment of veteran spouses and eligible dependent children. The amount of the fee shall not exceed the reasonable costs to the department for interment in the cemetery.

(2) Subject to Section 1418, for the purposes of this subdivision, the department shall adopt regulations to specify the eligibility requirements for interment in the cemetery.

(3) All fees received pursuant to paragraph (1) shall be deposited in the Southern California Veterans Cemetery Perpetual Maintenance Fund created pursuant to Section 1412.

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Supporting info

Proposed Southern California State Veterans Cemetery

- City of Irvine

Irvine City Council Approves Cemetery Location After Contentious Meeting

2019/07/24 - Irvine Weekly

Home at Last: Honoring Orange County Veterans With a Veterans Cemetery

2019/06/20 - Orange County Grand Jury


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