Newly elected Irvine mayor Beth Krom delivered a State of the City address on Jan. 25 at the Irvine Civic Center highlighting the economic and social state of the city as well as current and future goals in the areas of urban planning, commercial development, education, mass transit and public safety.
The city currently operates on a $100 million budget. However, the state has reduced approximately $2.4 million in anticipated revenues with the same amount of loss in the next fiscal year.
With the city’s population approaching 175,000, Mayor Krom prided the city on its developing communities including the future Orange County Great Park, formerly the El Toro Marine Base, which will not only serve as a community park but will also be one of only five polling places in the United States for Iraqi nationals and Iraqi Americans to cast their vote in the first democratic election in Iraq.
Among other milestones for the city, Krom relayed the recent accomplishments the city has made in terms of cultural and religious institutions.
Deemed an ‘international crossroads city,’ many cultural groups including the EKTAA Center for East-Indian Culture and the South Coast Chinese Cultural Center are set to open it doors later this month.
‘With such a diverse population, whenever something happens in the world, it touches someone in our community,’ Krom said.
Krom assured audience members that her term as mayor will bring an incessant pursuit of defending the best interests of the city.
This goal solidified mainly after the struggle to stop the construction of an airport at the former El Toro Air Force Base.
Currently serving as chair for the Orange County Great Park board is ex-mayor Larry Agran who Krom claims has distinguished himself for his advocacy on open space preservation and his leadership in fighting the El Toro Airport.
‘We brought all our resources to bear to fight the airport. Now we must be just as dedicated to realizing the vision for the Orange County Great Park,’ Krom said.
One of Krom’s main agendas in the address was the impact of UCI on the Irvine community. Krom recognized Liz Toomey, director of government relations for UCI, for maintaining a strong relationship between the campus and the community.
‘Let me express my appreciation for the commitment Liz and her team have made to work in a positive way to ensure that what occurs on campus meets the interests of the community at large,’ Krom said.
Also recognized was Chancellor Ralph Cicerone for his nomination for president of the National Academy of Sciences.
‘We wish [Cicerone] great success in [his] new position and hope [his] successor will continue the work he has done to strengthen the relationship between ‘town and gown’ in Irvine,’ Krom said.
Another topic addressed by Krom was the use of mass transit in and out of city boundaries.
With approximately 750 mass-transit commuters to and from Irvine each day, new and improved methods of mass transportation have already come under way in the city.
Later this year, the city will introduce the ZevNet program