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November 6, 2018 — California General Election
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Local

City of IrvineCandidate for City Council

Photo of Lauren Johnson-Norris

Lauren Johnson-Norris

Irvine Commissioner/Businesswoman
17,147 votes (11.5%)
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • I will be ready on day one to propose my comprehensive traffic plan which can be read in full at www.laurenforirvine.com/trafficplan.html
  • Work to increase childcare options in our city for diverse families.
  • Protect our excellent quality of life in Irvine.

Experience

Experience

Profession:Irvine Commissioner/Businesswoman
Community Services Commissioner, Irvine City Council — Appointed position (2016–current)

Biography

Hello there! My name is Lauren Johnson-Norris, and I am a small-business owner, attorney, Community Services Commissioner, and mother in Irvine. Throughout my life, I have devoted myself to creating positive change in my community and advocating for children and families.

I grew up in Southern California and earned my Bachelors degree from Pitzer College in Claremont. I later traveled to New York, where I earned my law degree from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. After graduation, I moved to Orange County and served as a Deputy Public Defender, where I fiercely fought to protect my clients’ rights. In 2009, I opened up my own law practice in Irvine, with a focus on children, youth, and families. In 2011, I received a fellowship award for my parental advocacy work from Appellate Defenders, Inc. I have held leadership positions on the board of a local YMCA and as President of the South Orange County Bar Association. I have volunteered with the Orange County Bar Association Mentorship Committee and have been a guest speaker at the UCI Law School.

I currently serve my community as an Irvine Community Services Commissioner, advising the City Council and other stakeholders regarding challenging issues within the city. While on the commission, I have advocated for addressing the city’s transportation needs, affordable housing, increased water safety, more park space and recreation, increased childcare services, and land conservation. I am co-chair of the Irvine Children, Youth and Families Advisory Committee.

I am married to the one and only Craig Norris, an entrepreneur and US Coast Guard veteran. Together we are raising our twin girls, Riley and Chloe, our two black cats, Huey and Lexi, and a senior beagle named Randy. In my spare time I enjoy dancing, weightlifting, listening to podcasts, and discovering new restaurants and activities in Irvine to enjoy.

Who supports this candidate?

Featured Endorsements

  • Irvine Police Association
  • VALOR OC (Veterans Alliance or Orange County)
  • Orange County Professional Firefighters Association

Organizations (25)

  • Irvine City Employees Association
  • Orange County Labor Federation
  • Orange County Professional Firefighters Association
  • Democratic Party of Orange County
  • WAVE
  • Women in Leadership
  • Teamsters Joint Council 42
  • International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 441
  • Operating Engineers Local 12
  • Orange County Young Democrats
  • Women for American Values and Ethics (WAVE)
  • Run For Something Action Fund
  • National Women's Political Caucus Orange County
  • UA Local 250 Steamfitters and Refrigerators
  • AFSCME Local 2076
  • Generation Change
  • CWA Local 9510
  • Los Angeles / Orange Counties Building and Construction Trades Council
  • UA Local 582 Plumbers and Steamfitters
  • Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters
  • International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 47
  • Community Action Fund of Planned Parenthood of Orange and San Bernardino Counties
  • Orange County Association of Realtors
  • Unite Here Local 11
  • Orange County Employees Association

Elected Officials (15)

  • California State Senator & former President Pro Tempore Kevin De León
  • California Board of Equalization Member Fiona Ma
  • Congressman Lou Correa
  • California State Senator Connie Leyva
  • Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez
  • California Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva
  • Santa Ana School Board Member and President Valerie Amezcua
  • Anaheim Union High School District Trustee Al Jabar
  • Santa Ana City Councilman Vincente Sarmiento
  • Tustin Mayor Pro Tem & OC Board of Education Trustee Beckie Gomez
  • Irvine City Councilwoman Melissa Fox
  • Tustin City Councilwoman Letitia Clark
  • Artesia City Council Member Ali Taj
  • Santa Ana Mayor Pro Tem Michele Martinez
  • California State Senator Ed Hernandez

Individuals (1)

  • Joe Kerr Former President of OCPFA

Political Beliefs

Position Papers

TRAFFIC, TRANSPORTATION, AND DEVELOPMENT PLAN

Summary

I have a detailed traffic plan that I will agendize at my first Irvine City Council meeting. Irvine residents are demanding action. No more delays. No more studies.

Despite Irvine’s core philosophy and tradition as a city committed to smart planning, city leaders have continually failed to adequately plan for massive infusions of traffic. Every day, thousands of commuters travel through Irvine to their workplace destinations in our city. Residents increasingly see previously-uncrowded residential streets being used as commuter thoroughfares for cars avoiding highway traffic. In addition, unchecked residential development has led to overcrowded schools, frustrated commutes, and congested shopping centers. 
 
Traffic poses a real threat to Irvine’s special character as a city devoted to a great quality of life for families and residents. On some streets, traffic volumes have increased by as much as 28 percent or more in the last 10 years[1]with few improvements to Irvine’s traffic mitigation strategies. In the same period, OCTA has cut transit service by as much as 20 percent in some areas[2].
 
Instead of taking action, the current council has offered only empty promises, delays, and “studies” that go nowhere. They installed a “traffic czar” and a toothless traffic commission that does nothing to fix the problem and offers no solutions to these very real issues. Irvine residents are demanding action. No more delays. No more studies.
 
My plan is achievable, and if elected, I will submit it on day one and agendize it for my very first council meeting. As a working mom and Irvine business owner, I know firsthand the frustrations of extended commutes. The essential elements of my plan, which is designed to offer both relief and safety to Irvine’s residents and commuters, are:
 
-Bring back Irvine’s original commitment to careful planning on all new housing development projects to maintain the master plan’s village concept, including walkable access to childcare, K-12 schools, and after-school programs, and closer proximity to shopping, dining, and grocery stores.
 
- Increase on-site childcare options for working parents throughout Irvine to remove added trips for commuters, especially at peak traffic times.
 
- Work with the local school districts to increase options for students and parents including: staggered drop-off and pickup time and locations, safe and reliable carpooling options, safer bicycle routes, and increased shuttle options. 
 
- Provide an “all-of-the-above” directive to the city’s traffic commission and planning staff so they are focused on fixing this problem with all transit options on the table, including:
            - implementing ride-sharing options and stops in both commerce and residential centers
            - increasing clean transportation options and mass transit 
            - expanding the ishuttle program
            - increasing shuttle routes from transit centers to business hubs
            - increasing connectivity, bridges, and lane-safety improvements for bicycles and pedestrians
            - partnering with businesses to incentivize employee use of public and active transportation
            - requiring public and active transportation stops for all new commercial and residential construction 
 
- Partner with state and regional groups to demand Irvine receives its fair share of funding from SB1, the $54 billion infrastructure package passed by the state meant to fix roads, freeways, and bridges across California to provide immediate relief for commuters.
 
- Provide real deadlines and enforcement actions to the traffic commission if they fail to take action.
 
There are many innovative solutions that have been implemented across America in cities dealing with similar issues. There's no shortage of ideas on this topic, what's lacking is leadership. Unfortunately, the current council has lost focus on addressing these very serious issues and ignored the growing concerns of our community. My life's work has been to implement solutions, rather than just study them, and I make that same commitment to Irvine residents. 
 
[1]http://www.octa.net/pdf/2018-ADT.pdf
[2]https://www.scpr.org/news/2015/11/30/55888/oc-proposal-to-win-back-bus-riders-shorter-waits-b/

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