Irvine is one of the fastest growing cities in the state. Between 2010 and 2020, Irvine added over 95,000 new residents; among cities statewide with at least 100,000 people, none grew faster over the past decade. This dramatic increase has been fueled by ongoing growth in immigrant communities. With growing numbers of Asian American, Pacific Islander, and AMEMSA residents, the city is also home to an emerging low-income population with needs similar to those of Latinx communities in Costa Mesa. Figure F below illustrates the distribution of low-income communities across Irvine, Costa Mesa, and Tustin. Recognizing common needs related to affordable housing, language access, and other concerns, public programs providing rental assistance and workforce development target communities in both Irvine and Costa Mesa. These needs are much different than those of affluent coastal communities like Newport Beach and Laguna Beach.
Guidance: Irvine and Costa Mesa should be kept whole, drawn together with parts of Tustin, and apart from more affluent coastal communities like Newport Beach and Laguna Beach.
Detailed Testimony: Mary Anne Foo (OCAPICA)
Community of Interest Testimony to the California Citizens Redistricting Commission
Date: October 5, 2021
Zone: J (Orange County)
Area: Irvine/Costa Mesa/Tustin
Name: Mary Anne Foo
Organizational Affiliation: Orange County Asian and Pacific Islander Community Alliance (People’s Redistricting Alliance)
Community of Interest: Low-income and limited English proficient Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, Latinx, and AMEMSA communities
Direction: Keep Irvine whole and drawn with Costa Mesa and parts of Tustin
Hi, my name is Mary Anne Foo and I am the executive director of the Orange County Asian and Pacific Islander Community Alliance, also known as OCAPICA. OCAPICA is a nonprofit organization serving more than 55,000 community members annually in 26 languages in the areas of health, mental health, youth leadership and development, workforce development, housing, and civic engagement. We serve thousands of community members in need across diverse racial and ethnic groups throughout the county. In addition, we are a member of the People’s Redistricting Alliance, a coalition of 16 community-based organizations established to promote a greater community voice in statewide and local redistricting processes here in Orange County.
Who my community is:
Our communities of interest include low-income and limited English proficient Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, Latinx, and AMEMSA communities.
Where my community is located:
Throughout the county. However, for today I would like to focus upon three cities that we work in – Irvine, Tustin, and Costa Mesa.
My community is similar to the following neighborhoods:
Orange County is home to the third largest Asian American and Pacific Islander population, representing nearly 800,000 community members. The City of Irvine has the largest Asian American population and the City of Costa Mesa has a significant Pacific Islander and Latinx population. We feel it’s important in the redistricting process to keep the City of Irvine whole and to include the City of Costa Mesa and a part of the City of Tustin in its district. The City of Costa Mesa has been included in the coastal cities in previous redistricting efforts but it actually has more in common with cities like Irvine and parts of Tustin. The cities face similar issues around the lack of affordable housing, a large amount of apartment complexes as well as students and families living in overcrowded conditions. OCAPICA is funded to do rental assistance and rapid rehousing as well as workforce development and we see so many similarities in the needs of the low income families residing in these cities. Low income residents who are limited English proficient have even higher needs in both cities and have a difficult time navigating to health care, housing, jobs, and education resources. Finally both have strong Asian ethnic commerce areas where small businesses can work together on workforce development, health care for workers, and economic development.
We urge the commission to recognize the shared needs of communities in and around the cities of Irvine, Costa Mesa, and parts of Tustin to ensure that the needs of the low income and limited English proficient immigrant communities of interest that we serve are better met by policymakers. This will ensure that policymakers serving the areas will have a better understanding of language access, need for affordable and low income house, representation for immigrants and refugees, representation for the undocumented, public transportation, as well as keeping ethnic commerce areas together because of shared interest needs of small business owners.