Honoring Our Heroes
Assemblywoman Quirk-Silva Releases State’s first Artist Rendering of Orange County Veteran Cemetery at Strawberry Fields Site
The study was started after the City of Irvine originally voted to transfer 125 acres of land to the California Department of Veteran Affairs in September. Nonetheless, arguments as to the merits of this new site, over the previous ARDA site have ensued by the Irvine City Council. Construction costs are generally the same for both sites located on the El Toro Marine Base. The difference is the removal of over $30 million for the demolition, and removal of debris and pollution that came with the previous airfield construction on the ARDA site. The site at Strawberry fields will be roughly half the cost.
“It is important that people are informed of any developments that can spur public discussion, especially when it will determine a resting place for our nation’s great heroes,” said Quirk-Silva. “The new artist rendering illustrates the progress we have made. We have a vision, and if everything goes smoothly, cemetery construction could start as early as October 2018.”
The new cemetery is expected to relieve a shortage in military gravesites in Southern California. The national cemetery in Los Angeles is at capacity and the one in Riverside requires a lengthy wait. Local chapters of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion have backed the strawberry field site.
An Orange County Veterans Cemetery is Within Reach – Let’s Finish the Job
The closest veterans cemetery to Orange County, California is located in Riverside, California and in the next few years will be reaching its maximum capacity, leaving many of our fallen heroes without a final resting place to commemorate their service to our Nation.
I am honored to have authored legislation (AB 1453) in 2014 that put us on a path toward State and Federal approval of plans that will lead to the construction and operation of Orange County’s very own veterans cemetery project.
The law I wrote for that purpose brought funding to pay for preparation of a site agreed to by veterans, state & federal officials, local leaders, and the developer of a portion of the El Toro base. Now, there is still more work to be done to see this through, and I will continue to push the state to do its part on the project.
Recently, I have heard from a number of veterans regarding a new proposal the developer and city of Irvine have floated for a different site. There are pluses and minuses to both the current and newly proposed sites, and I am open to being convinced that the new proposal is a better alternative.
The City of Irvine deserves high praise for making a $38 million commitment to a veteran's cemetery. This is a major step forward in finally bringing a fitting resting place for our local servicemen and servicewomen who gave so much their country and our freedoms.
What matters is that we deliver a cemetery that honors the brave men and women who have served our country in defense of our freedoms and way of life.
The key issues in this situation are: 1) Making sure taxpayers are compensated for tax money already spent on the new site; 2) Ensuring that the switch will not cause delays in delivering the cemetery; 3) Bringing all parties to agreement in an expedited fashion; and, 4) Having legal assurances that Five Points, the developer, will follow-through on the cemetery – that this is not a tactic by them to derail this effort.
In short, it’s all about honoring our veterans. Let us re-double our efforts to make that happen quickly and at minimal cost to taxpayers. I have confidence the city will work with all interested parties, especially our California veterans, to ensure they receive the proper recognition they deserve. Members of the public deserve the right to review all proposals and ask questions. This is only way the community can have confidence decisions are being made in their best interests.
The men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice for this nation deserve proper recognition without further delay; and, the taxpayers of Orange County need to know they will not be asked to foot the bill for big land developers. I urge all parties to proceed with these two goals in mind.
Published on Jul 31, 2014
(Irvine, CA) – The Irvine City Council unanimously voted to give up to 125 acres of the city’s Great Park as a future site of what would be Orange County’s only veterans cemetery. The vote is another step toward making legislation by California State Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva into a reality. If passed and signed into law, Assembly Bill 1453 would start the process with the federal government to build a veterans cemetery in the OC. Assemblywoman Quirk-Silva, who is chair of the Assembly Veterans Affairs Committee was joined by area veterans, their families and the Orange County Veteran Memorial Park Committee (OCVMPC) at the meeting to urge the council’s support.
“We are all here for a very short time and our legacy is many times forgotten,” Assemblywoman Quirk-Silva said in her closing remarks to the council. “But this bill will live long past us. It’s important. This is the time, today is the moment. You are a part of an historic time and we urge your vote.”
Published on Jul 31, 2014
(Buena Park, CA) – California State Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Fullerton) and Chair of the Assembly Veterans Affairs Committee hosted a legislative update and pancake breakfast for local veterans in Orange County at the Walter Ehlers Recreation Center in Buena Park. Assemblywoman Quirk-Silva met with over 200 veterans and guests and discussed her legislation, Assembly Bill 1453. If passed and signed into law, AB 1453 would start the process of creating a Veteran’s Cemetery in Orange County.
“Our veterans have been instrumental in shaping the proud history and democracy that we enjoy today. With their service, veterans have kept our families and homes safe and in return, these heroes should receive the benefits that will keep them healthy, secure and employed. Orange County’s veterans and their families also deserve an accessible location to celebrate the life and contributions of the brave men and women who have courageously served our nation. I fight for our veterans because I am grateful. It is time that we serve those who have served us,” stated Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva.
Published on Aug 22, 2014
(Sacramento) – Orange County is getting closer to having its own Veterans Cemetery as legislation authored by California State Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Fullerton) has been approved by the State Legislature and awaits the governor's signature. Orange County is the largest county in California without a Veterans Cemetery, despite the fact that it’s home to Army, Navy and Marine bases. Assemblywoman Quirk-Silva authored Assembly Bill 1453 because she believes it’s time Orange County veterans and their families have a cemetery in close to their homes. Here’s more from Assemblywoman Quirk-Silva in this Assembly Web Report.
Published on May 30, 2014
(Sacramento) – Orange County is a step closer to getting a Veterans Cemetery as legislation authored by California State Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Fullerton) has passed the Assembly. Orange County is the largest county in California without a Veterans Cemetery, despite the fact that it is home to Army, Navy and Marine bases. Assemblywoman Quirk-Silva authored Assembly Bill 1453 because she believes it is time Orange County veterans and their families have a cemetery in close proximity. If AB 1453 becomes law it will direct the California Department of Veterans Affairs to apply for the construction of a Veterans Cemetery in Orange County. Here is more on this Assembly Access video.
SACRAMENTO - Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva hosted California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. in Orange County, where they held a media availability immediately after a private tour of proposed sites for a new state veterans cemetery in Irvine. Assemblywoman Quirk-Silva and Governor Brown also met with local officials and community groups.
“I am honored to have authored legislation (AB 1453) in 2014 that put us on a path toward State and Federal approval of plans that will lead to the construction and operation of Orange County’s very own veterans cemetery project,” said Quirk-Silva. “The law I wrote for that purpose brought funding to pay for preparation of a site agreed to by veterans, state & federal officials, local leaders, and the developer of a portion of the El Toro base. Now, there is still more work to be done to see this through, and I will continue to push the state to do its part on the project.”
SACRAMENTO – On Tuesday, May 30, a day after Memorial Day, Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva (Fullerton) was the focus of a stealth texting, email and robocall campaign in Fullerton that has been operating in order to mislead public opinion against the veterans cemetery project; saying that Orange County money would be spent on a “pet project” outside Assembly District 65 and given to Irvine.
“A resting place for California’s veterans is not a ‘pet project,’” Quirk-Silva said. “It is a necessary and important project for our veterans in California. The state funds in question were secured for a cemetery that all Southern California Veterans have earned. It's shameful that some would try to disrupt the funding for a veterans cemetery a day after Memorial Day, and for political gain.”
- The Voice of O.C. - May 12, 2017
OC Veterans Cemetery: Strawberry Fields Forever?
- The Orange County Register – May 12, 2017
Gov. Brown visits Irvine, says ‘absolutely certain’ Orange County will get veterans cemetery
- Los Angeles Times – April 14, 2017
Gov. Brown to visit potential veterans’ cemetery site in Irvine
- The Orange County Register – April 5, 2017
Irvine commits $38 million toward 125-acre veterans cemetery at Great Park — with condition
- The Orange County Register – March 31, 2017
Irvine to consider committing $40 million toward veterans cemetery at Great Park