On Thursday, Sept. 23, the city of Irvine was recognized by the League of California Cities for excellence in sustainability, innovation and public safety. With the recognition, Irvine, along with 10 other cities have received the Helen Putnam Award For Excellence.

Specifically, Irvine was recognized for excellence in internal administration, which the city achieved by creating a web-based platform for building and zoning plan submissions. This paperless system allows permits and fee payments to be done digitally. The program, IrvineREADY!, has processed more than $1 billion in new development investments, according to the League of California Cities.

In the public safety category, the League of California Cities recognized Irvine’s innovation in creating a real-time, virtual evacuation map. The map was successfully implemented during the Silverado Fire in October 2020, when more than 90,000 residents were forced to evacuate their homes between the cities of Irvine and Lake Forest.

This year, the League of California Cities also recognized the city of Buena Park for innovation. Buena Park will join Irvine in becoming the first few cities in the county to become part of the Orange County Power Authority.

The other cities that were recognized for their 2021 achievements

  • City of Buena Park, Housing Programs, and Innovations
  • City of Burbank, Health and Wellness Programs
  • City of Cupertino, Ruth Vreeland Award for Engaging Youth in City Government
  • City of Escondido, Economic Development through the Arts
  • City of Irvine, Internal Administration and Public Safety
  • City of Modesto, Community Services and Economic Development
  • City of Pismo Beach, CCS Partnership Intergovernmental Collaboration
  • City of Rolling Hills, Enhancing Public Trust, Ethics, and Community Involvement
  • City of South San Francisco, Planning and Environmental Quality
  • City of Whittier, League Partners Award for Excellence in City-Business Relations
  • Town of Windsor, Public Works, Infrastructure, Transportation

Irvine Vice Mayor Tammy Kim was quick to share the news on Twitter, standing in a few photos with Mayor Khan, and Irvine Council Member Anthony Kuo, adding a comment that she was proud that the city was recognized for its outstanding accomplishments.

The Helen Putnam Award For Excellence was developed in honor of the California League of Cities’ first woman president. Putnam, a former mayor of Petaluma County, also served on the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors. Putnam’s influence in Sonoma politics helped establish massive population growth in Northern California.

This is not the first time the League of California Cities has recognized the city of Irvine with the Putnam Award distinction. In 2006, Irvine received the award for establishing the Community Energy Partnership Program. The program aimed to, “change energy consumption habits of residents and businesses in an effort to protect the environment, save money, and conserve resources for today and the future.”