Veterans in Irvine deserve BOTH sites in the Great Park for cemetery, housing and services

Veterans in Irvine deserve BOTH sites in the Great Park for cemetery, housing and services

0 have signed. Let’s get to 100!
At 100 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!
Luette Forrest started this petition to Mayor Irvine Mayor and City Council

Marine Corp Air Station El Toro was a military base that was decommissioned in 1999. The base consisted of 4682 acres. In 2005, 3724 acres were sold for development; 1375 acres were set aside for the Great Park. ZERO acres were set aside for veterans.

In July 2014, the veterans asked Irvine City Council for a veteran’s cemetery.    https://voiceofoc.org/2014/07/irvine-council-designates-land-for-veterans-cemetery/   “Retired Army chaplain Tom Sandy told council members that the base was the last stop for thousands of American service members on their way to Vietnam and other conflicts, hundreds of whom never returned.  For “many of them that was the last time they saw the United States. For God’s sake, do the right thing,” he told the City Council.”

Still - we have no actual cemetery site set aside for our deserving veterans.  It would fill many paragraphs to even briefly describe all the “things” that have happened to prevent this cemetery from becoming a reality.  We will not attempt to describe here.   How many veterans attending that 2014 meeting will perish without the long promised final resting place?

The delays and bickering are a disgrace; citizens of Irvine have not honored their 2014 agreement with the veterans. Payment is past due.  This is a failure of city councils past and present.  Our current council appears to be waffling on the last agreement that was preceded by a ballot initiative in 2020 to make the ARDA site the only site.  The city council voted in May 2020 for the ARDA site; they backtracked at the 2021 March meeting. It is probable that this backtracking will lead to further legal challenges, costs, and delays.                                                                                                                                      Currently, two sites are being considered for the cemetery by Cal Vets. Costs were incurred of $500,000 in 2016 for the ARDA site review by Cal Vets. Now Cal Vets are investing another $700,000 to both review a different 100-acre site and update the costs of the original ARDA site. Not only have the Cal Vets NOT gotten a promised cemetery, they are spending over one million dollars NOT to have one!  Costs to build only increase with each passing year.

In the years between 2014 and 2021, it has become increasingly evident that our veterans face multiple challenges, including homelessness, disability, addiction, suicide, and unemployment. Most of our veterans are elderly and will certainly need more services. Younger veterans are more disabled than previous generations. California has 1.6 million veterans.

There is a recent 2020 report from the Census Bureau on veteran demographics.  https://www.census.gov/newsroom/press-releases/2020/veterans-report.html   Some key points from this study are copied below:

      The median age of veterans in 2018 was 65. By service period, Post-9/11 veterans were the youngest with a median age of about 37; Vietnam Era veterans had a median age of about 71; and World War II veterans were the oldest with a median age of about 93.

·       Post-9/11 veterans had a 43% chance of having a service-connected disability, after accounting for differences in demographic and social characteristics among veterans —significantly higher than that of veterans from other periods.

·       Among veterans who had a service-connected disability, Post-9/11 veterans had a 39% chance of having a disability rating of 70% or more — significantly higher than for veterans from other period

When this base was sold, there was no land or funds set aside for any care or consideration of the veterans. It was not known when the base was sold in 2005 how disabled our younger military would be from the recent wars. They clearly need more help than earlier generations.

Veterans ONLY asked for a final resting place. We can and should do better and give CalVets BOTH sites as partial compensation for our prolonged delays. We need to help living veterans that need housing and more services.  

We the undersigned are asking that the City of Irvine cede both sites, the ARDA site and the other 100-acre site to Cal Vets. One site, the ARDA site was approved already as the cemetery site. We ask that Cal Vets plan for best use of the remaining lands for care of living veterans. “For God’s sake, do the right thing”

 

 

 

 

0 have signed. Let’s get to 100!
At 100 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!