Trading places with Donald Bren

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What would you do differently if you were Donald Bren, CEO of the Irvine Company?

No, I’m not talking about buying a big house on Harbor Island. He already has that and much more.

Are there any policies of the Irvine Company that you would revise?

Since you can’t respond, allow me to tell you what I would do, but first let me state that I admire Mr. Bren and what he has accomplished as the CEO of his company. Approximately 60 percent of the Irvine Ranch will remain open space and never be developed.

This gift will ensure his legacy in Orange County forever. And let’s not forget when he took over the company, he dramatically reduced the cost of leases, enabling US “poor folk” to purchase the land on which our homes were built. I am one of the thousands of recipients of that generosity. Thank you Mr. Bren.

Now let’s get back to the main point. If I was Donald Bren what policies of the Irvine Co. would I change?

Since I have already preserved tens of thousands of acres of open space, I would now like to improve my own environment.

No, I do not mean a bigger house. I sometimes get lost in my Harbor Island mansion already. I’m referring to the city in which I live.

Newport Beach is one of the wealthiest cities on earth, so about the only complaints you hear about the community are: (1) the houses are too expensive and (2) the traffic is really bad. Since I’m a billionaire I’m not the least bit concerned about the first complaint, so let’s discuss the second one.

The traffic problem is a concern to every resident in the city. Since I live here you would presume that I would do everything within my considerable powers to either reduce the traffic problems or at least not make them worse. This brings us to changing the General Plan of NB at the next election.

On the Nov. 4 ballot is measure Y, which will make big bucks for my company by expanding Fashion Island by 500,000 sq. feet of office buildings, plus

50,000 sq. feet of commercial space and 500 new residences. Good for the Irvine Co., right? That’s correct, but there is one very big problem for the people of NB and me (remember I live on Harbor Island).

The City’s Environmental Impact Report estimates all this development would add an average of 9,120 vehicles trips a day to roads that are already congested. This is in addition to the thousands of cars the new Pimco building will produce when completed.

That’s bad news for me as well as the rest of the people in the city.

No one likes heavy traffic. This measure also makes my company look bad since it states in the summary that it reduces traffic, which is deceitful.

Since I am the CEO, I now have the power to stop this deception and at the same time not worsen the environment of my community.

I want my legacy to include making my home town a better place to live, plus not having to wait in long lines of traffic is worth more to me than the money those projects would generate.

Heck, I already have more money than I can ever spend, but those long lines of traffic are the pits.

My new policies are to never build anything that will make traffic worse and to be forthright with my neighbors by not trying to trick them with deceptive language in any future ballot measures.

I’m heading home to Harbor Island right now (did I mention that’s where I live?) and the traffic is heavy. Measure Y was a bad idea.

Bill Cool

Corona del Mar

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  1. “Y” is more of a “Green light” for more selective building in Newport no matter what, we’ve been down this road before with the “City Hall in the Park” maneuvers. I’d like to add one more item to Dons list that Bill Cool can add in his letter.
    The bay isn’t what it used to be health wise, because of The Irvine Company’s control with the County, the developments are the foundation of all the toxic silt flowing into Newport Bay. The delivery system from inland areas in our watershed all funnel to San Diego Creek. Basically our bay has been turned into a County flood control system and the end of the pipe is the harbor entrance. Most efforts and ideas get scuffled to the wayside because the magic words repeat themselves… “Who’s going to pay it?”. This is the one extremely more important project this man Donald Bren can certainly accomplish and take the kudos as well. So Don you’ve have masterfully built an empire, now its time for you to detail the little messes here and there, its well worth its weight in gold. PS, its going to take more than talked about mini treatment plans to accomplish this as local NGO’s boast. Divert the daily stormwater/runoff to the Santa Ana River, its practically ready to do, I know how, do you?