In response to the thousands of conversations I have had on my quest to knock on 10,000 Irvine voters door’s, I developed a three-point program for what I intend to accomplish, once I am sworn-in. It’s called Retool, Reduce, Rethink.
RETOOL (Less Traffic)
The City of Irvine operates 338 traffic signal intersections. Currently, the City uses a traffic control center that manually adjusts traffic lights M-F during business hours, and all other times employs obsolete auto timers.
It’s time to bring Irvine’s traffic control system into the 21st century and optimize the existing traffic system by implementing a new Automated Traffic Surveillance and Control (ATSAC) System.
ATSAC uses computer-driven traffic signal control software that provides adaptive traffic control system based on real-time traffic conditions. ATSAC underground sensors detect the number of vehicles, vehicle speed, and the level of congestion, which are analyzed and adjusted on a minute-by-minute basis at the ATSAC Operations Center.
(In Los Angeles, studies of the ATSAC system show travel times, traffic signal delay, vehicular stops, air emissions and fuel use are significantly reduced. ATSAC has been shown to reduce travel time by 12% and increase speeds by 16%)
REDUCE (High Density Building)
I would seek to reduce the number of new high density units throughout the city. Especially, development proposals that will significantly affect surrounding community’s quality of life.
One example is Woodbridge Shopping Center, which houses our famous Ruby’s on the Lake. One development concept is to tear down the entire center and build condominiums. That would require re-zoning the property for this density.
I would oppose such an attempt because surrounding streets are narrow two lane roads in each direction. They cannot sustain more traffic without slowing traffic considerably. That, in turn, would increase the emissions and further pollute the air quality for the surrounding neighborhoods.
THE GREAT PARK: The current City Council has voted to approve nearly 10,000 new homes on the 1,347 acres adjacent the Great Park — with a potential for an additional 5,000 homes later. I do not support more home building near the Great Park.
The city has already spent approximately a quarter of a billion dollars on plans, consultants, lawyers and PR consultants to construct our Great Park. So far, the entire process has been a colossal failure. Our Great Park is becoming Boston’s “Big Dig.” That plan to construct a tunnel under the harbor took 25 years and cost a staggering $22 billion — after initial estimates of $2 billion.
A recent audit and subsequent media coverage paint a picture of corruption, cronyism and public fraud costing Irvine residents tens of millions in waste. According to public documents, former Mayor Larry Agran has quite a lot to answer for.
RETHINK (Privatize City Services)
The city’s collective bargaining agreement expires in August 2015. I would like to put all new hires on a private sector 401k plan. Any city employee could contribute up to 5% of their salary, which the city would match dollar-for-dollar. Currently, the city pays just over 12.4% for every 6.5% contributed by the employee. This is not a sustainable long-term financial benefit plan. (San Diego recently passed a private 401k plan.) I realize the city employees do valuable work for all of us and want to make certain they are treated fairly for their faithful service.
In addition, I will closely examine all city services which are currently being done by the city. When feasible and financially beneficially to our tax payers, I would push our City Council to vote to outsource these services, such as landscaping and city vehicle maintenance.
I will push for the City Council to expand the city’s “Competitive Bidding.” (The lack of competitive bidding was cited as a major flaw in the Great Park development disaster.) This approach will also reduce Irvine’s public pension obligations by offloading employee benefit responsibilities to private employers.
Because the City of Irvine is a so-called “Charter City, with own civic constitution” we have much more flexibility to accomplish these objectives.