Irvine (pronounced /ˈɜrvaɪn/) is an incorporated city in Orange County, California, United States. It is a planned city, mainly developed by the Irvine Company since the 1960s. Formally incorporated on December 28, 1971, the 69.7 square mile (180.5 km2) city has a population of about 212,793 (as of January 1, 2009). It has annexed in the past an undeveloped area to the north, and has also annexed the former El Toro Marine Corps Air Station, most of which is planned to be converted into the Orange County Great Park.
Because of its good schools, jobs and housing, the city was chosen in 2008 by CNNMoney.com as the fourth best place to live in the United States. In June 2009, the Federal Bureau of Investigation reported that Irvine had the lowest violent crime rate (four homicides, 17 rapes, 50 robberies and 55 aggravated assaults in 2006) among cities in the United States with populations of more than 100,000, and in August 2008 the Census Bureau ranked Irvine as having the seventh highest median income among cities in the United States with populations of more than 65,000.
Irvine is home to the University of California, Irvine (UCI), Concordia University, the Orange County Center of the University of Southern California (USC), and the Irvine campuses of Alliant International University, California State University Fullerton (CSUF), University of La Verne and Pepperdine University. Irvine Valley College, a community college, is also located in the city.
Irvine was inhabited by the Gabrielino indigenous group about 2,000 years ago. Gaspar de Portolà, a Spanish explorer, came to the area in 1769. This brought on the establishment of forts, missions and herds of cattle. The King of Spain parceled out land for missions and private use.
After Mexico's independence from Spain in 1821, the Mexican government secularized the missions and assumed control of the lands. It began distributing the land to Mexican citizens who applied for grants. Three large Spanish/Mexican grants made up the land that later became the Irvine Ranch: Rancho Santiago de Santa Ana, Rancho San Joaquin and Rancho Lomas de Santiago.
In 1864, Jose Andres Sepulveda, owner of Rancho San Joaquin sold 50,000 acres (200 km2) to Benjamin and Thomas Flint, Llewellyn Bixby and James Irvine for $18,000 to resolve debts due to the Great Drought. In 1866, Irvine, Flint and Bixby acquired 47,000-acre (190 km2) Rancho Lomas de Santiago for $7,000. After the Mexican-American war the land of Rancho Santiago de Santa Ana fell prey to tangled titles. In 1868, the ranch was divided among four claimants as part of a lawsuit: Flint, Bixby and Irvine. The ranches were devoted to sheep grazing. However, in 1870, tenant farming was permitted.
In 1878, James Irvine acquired his partners' interests for $150,000. His 110,000 acres (450 km2) stretched 23 miles (37 km) from the Pacific Ocean to the Santa Ana River. James Irvine died in 1886. The ranch was inherited by his son, James Irvine, Jr. who incorporated it into The Irvine Company. James, Jr. shifted the ranch operations to field crops, olive and citrus crops.
In 1888, the Santa Fe Railroad extended its line to Fallbrook Junction (north of San Diego) and named a station along the way after James Irvine. The town that formed around this station was named Myford, after Irvine's son, because a post office in Calaveras County already bore the family name. The town was renamed Irvine in 1914.
By 1918, 60,000 acres (240 km2) of lima beans were grown on the Irvine Ranch. Two Marine Corps facilities, MCAS El Toro and MCAS Tustin, were built during World War II on ranch land sold to the government.
James Irvine, Jr. died in 1947 at the age of 80. His son, Myford, assumed the presidency of The Irvine Company. He began opening small sections of the Irvine Ranch to urban development. Myford Irving died in 1959. The same year, the University of California asked The Irvine Company for 1,000 acres (4 km2) for a new university campus. The Irvine Company sold the requested land for $1 and later the State purchased an additional 500 acres (2 km2).
William Pereira, the University's consulting architect, and The Irvine Company planners drew up master plans for a city of 50,000 people surrounding the new university. The plan called for industrial, residential and recreational areas, commercial centers and greenbelts. The new community was to be named Irvine; the old agricultural town of Irvine, where the railroad station and post office were located, was renamed East Irvine. The villages of Turtle Rock, University Park, Culverdale, the Ranch and Walnut were completed by 1970.
On December 28, 1971, the residents of these communities voted to incorporate a substantially larger city than the one envisioned by the Pereira plan. By January 1999, Irvine had a population of 134,000 and a total area of 43 square miles (111 km2).
Irvine is a charter city, operating under a Council/Manager form of government.
According to the city’s most recent Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the city’s various funds had $403.8 million in Revenues, $261.4 million in expenditures, $2,265.1 million in total assets, $101.9 million in total liabilities, and $755.9 million in cash and investments.
|City Manager||Sean Joyce|
|Assistant City Manager||Sharon Landers|
|Assistant City Manager||Wally Kreutzen|
|City Attorney||Phil Kohn|
|City Clerk||Sharie Apodaca|
|Director Administrative Services||Rick Paikoff|
|Director of Community Development||Douglas Williford|
|Director of Community Services||Paula Burrier-Lund|
|Director of Public Safety||Dave Maggard|
|Director of Public Works||Manuel Gomez|
|Orange County Great Park CEO||Mike Ellzey|
The City Council consists of the Mayor and four City Council members. The Mayor serves a two year term and Council members serve 4 year terms. The city has a two term limit for elected officials. Elections are held every two years, on even-numbered years. During each election, two Council members and the Mayor's seat is up for consideration. The City Council appoints the City Manager, who functions as the chief administrator of the city. The City Council sets the policies for the city, and the City Manager is responsible for implementing the policies.The City Council appoints volunteers that serve on various advisory boards, commissions and committees.
The City of Irvine is served by eight departments. These departments are responsible for managing and performing all of the business of the City Hall and its services:
Irvine has three independent districts: Educational, Police and Utilities. Other government services are:
Irvine contracts with the County of Orange for fire and medical services. Fire protection in Irvine is provided by the Orange County Fire Authority with ambulance service by Doctor's Ambulance. Law enforcement is provided by the Irvine Police Department (IPD). The IPD operates in a suburban city rated as having one of the lowest violent crime rates among cities with over 100,000 inhabitants by the FBI every year since 2005. The University of California Police Department also has jurisdiction – including arrest power – in areas of the city near the UC Irvine campus, while the California State University Police Department has similar jurisdiction in areas of the city near the CSU Fullerton Irvine campus.
In the state legislature Irvine is located in the 33rd and 35th Senate Districts, represented by Republicans Mimi Walters and Tom Harman respectively, and in the 70th Assembly District, represented by Republican Chuck DeVore. Federally, Irvine is located in California's 48th congressional district, which has a Cook PVI of R +8 and is represented by Republican John Campbell.