Collection Scope and Content Summary
Title: Shirley Grindle papers
Identifier/Call Number: MS.R.084
Special Collections and Archives, University of California, Irvine Libraries
Language of Material:
6.0 Linear feet
(12 boxes and 12 oversized folders)
Date (bulk): Bulk, 1974-2000
Date (inclusive): 1956-2005
This collection comprises the papers of Shirley Grindle, an environmental and political activist, self-proclaimed "watch-dog"
for Orange County campaign ethics, and former Orange County (California) Planning Commissioner (1973-1977). The papers include
records of the Orange County Planning Commission from her time as a commissioner, index cards she used to track campaign donations
and monitor compliance with the Time Is Now, Clean Up Politics (TIN CUP) ordinance, her TIN CUP files and subject files reflecting
her involvement in the preservation of open spaces in Orange County. The papers include index cards, environmental impact
reports, maps, reports, correspondence, agendas, memoranda, notes, clippings, minutes, ephemera, legal documents, and photographs.
The collection is open for research.
Property rights reside with the University of California. Literary rights are retained by the creators of the records and
their heirs. For permissions to reproduce or to publish, please contact the Head of Special Collections and Archives.
Shirley Grindle papers. MS-R084. Special Collections and Archives, The UC Irvine Libraries, Irvine, California.
Gift of Shirley Grindle, 2001-2006, 2010.
Accruals are expected.
Processed by Audrey Pearson, 2007, and Carole McEwan, 2010.
Environmental and political activist Shirley Grindle served as a member of the Orange County Planning Commission from January
1973 to January 1977 and subsequently became a vocal advocate for the preservation of open spaces and campaign finance reform
in Orange County, California. Grindle has also acted as a self-proclaimed "watch-dog" for campaign ethics in Orange County
A Nebraska native raised in Long Beach, California, Grindle obtained her degree in aeronautical engineering from the University
of California, Los Angeles, and was the only female engineering student in her graduating class. She worked as an aeronautical
engineer, and pioneered the development of the hyperthermal plasma arc wind tunnel to simulate re-entry into the earth's atmosphere.
Grindle conducted thousands of re-entry tests on candidate nose cone materials to ascertain their ability to safely return
a man from outer space. When the need for new re-entry materials ceased, Grindle retired to run a construction engineering
firm with her brother, conducting off-site grading and installation of storm drains, sidewalks, paving, etc. In the mid 1960s
a prominent sand and gravel mining company had attempted to re-zone property near Grindle's residence to allow the digging
of another 70-acre gravel pit. Grindle organized local homeowners associations and successfully blocked the re-zoning after
an 8-year battle. Grindle's accomplishments brought her to the attention of County Supervisor Ralph Clark, who appointed her
to the Orange County Planning Commission in January 1973.
Grindle served as an Orange County Planning Commissioner for the Fourth District from 1973 through 1976. The Commission is
made up of five commissioners appointed by the Orange County Board of Supervisors, each representing one district of the county.
Commissioners review Orange County General Plan amendments, zoning changes, conditional use permits, variances, and revocation
proceedings. The Commission holds regular and special meetings to discuss issues such as road realignments, city zone changes,
regional parks, future housing tracks, flood control, and land grading. Commissioners vote to determine whether or not to
approve requests. Decisions are largely based on environmental impact reports and statements and the recommendation of the
County Planning Department staff. The Planning Commission then makes its recommendations to the Orange County Board of Supervisors
who have final approval authority on most issues. During her term, Grindle was specifically charged with resolving the development
issues associated with Orange Park Acres -- a large rural county island in Clark's Fourth District.
After resigning from the Planning Commission in January 1977, Grindle went to work for an environmental firm and wrote environmental
impact reports associated with military projects. In 1981 Grindle retired from Ultrasystems, Inc., and has since dedicated
herself full-time to political and environmental activism.
In 1977 after leaving the Planning Commission, Grindle authored a campaign finance ordinance known as TIN CUP (standing for
Time Is Now, Clean Up Politics). Grindle led the county-wide initiative that collected in excess of 100,000 signatures to
qualify the ordinance for the ballot. She requested the Board of Supervisors to adopt the ordinance since it was likely to
pass if put on the ballot. They did so and the TIN CUP ordinance became effective December 8, 1978. It limited contributions
initially to $1,000 per election cycle; by 1992 the limit increased to just over $2,000 due to cost of living increases.
In 1992 Grindle amended the TIN CUP ordinance and asked the Board of Supervisors to place it on the ballot. The amended ordinance
(TIN CUP II) was passed by 85% of the vote and went into effect in June 1992. Grindle also wrote an ordinance with the Board
of Supervisors in 1993 that prohibited county employees, including appointed and elected officials, from receiving gifts from
anyone who had done business with the county in the last 12 months. Also in 1993, she helped write a code of ethics that banned
county officials and former employees from lobbying the county for one year after leaving their positions.
After TIN CUP went into effect in 1978, Grindle carefully maintained index cards on which she recorded every campaign contribution
made to candidates running for county office. This allowed her to discover and track possible violations. When she found violations,
she contacted the candidate and his or her treasurer to seek corrective action of the violations. In virtually all cases,
voluntary compliance was achieved once the violation was brought to the candidate or treasurer's attention.
Grindle has also worked for over 20 years to help establish permanent open spaces in Orange County, including the El Modena
Hills in East Orange, now included as part of Santiago Oaks Regional Park, and the 526-acre Barham Ranch which was also subsequently
added to Santiago Oaks Regional Park.
Grindle began work in 1970 to preserve as open space a parcel of land east of the City of Orange, known as Jones Ranch. Jones
Ranch includes the lava-rock outcroppings of the El Modena Hills. By 1972 Jones Ranch was offered for sale for eventual residential
development. Grindle, acting as Planning Commissioner, established a committee comprised of the developer, the land owner,
representatives of nearby neighborhoods, and the city and county governments to devise a plan of development for the East
Orange area. The compromise plan was adopted in 1976 and preserved 110 acres of Jones Ranch, which included the El Modena
Hills primary ridgeline and slope, in exchange for increased density on the rest of Jones Ranch. In 1978 a developer requested
an amendment to allow development in the open space. In response to this new threat, in 1979 Grindle formed the non-profit
"East Orange Open Space Management Corporation" to accept title and responsibility for the open space. During the 1980s the
Jones Ranch was sold to a series of developers. In 1989 the El Modena Hills were finally deeded to the County of Orange as
part of Santiago Oaks Regional Park. Grindle then contacted the Los Tesoros Homeowners Association, which held 32 acres adjoining
the open space, and convinced them to dedicate the land to the Santiago Oaks Regional Park.
Barham Ranch is a 526-acre wilderness park that was jointly owned by the Serrano Water District and the Orange Unified School
District. The Ranch was acquired in the 1880s for water rights and a dam site by Carpenter Irrigation District and Serrano
Irrigation District (now the Serrano Water District). In the 1970s Carpenter Irrigation District sold its undivided 50% interest
to the Orange Unified School District with a written agreement that Barham Ranch was to be used for "general public benefit
and educational purposes." By 1999 however, the Serrano Water District entered into an agreement with a private developer
(SunCal Companies) to sell their undivided 50% interest in Barham Ranch so that SunCal could build 600 homes on it. After
much public outcry and pressure from Prange Park Acres and the Save Barham Ranch group (comprised of Marilyn Ganahl, Theresa
Sears and Shirley Grindle), the Serrano Water District sold its half interest to the Orange Unified School District for $2.4
million in (January 2000). Subsequently, after much negotiation with members of the Orange Unified School District Board of
Trustees, the County Board of Supervisors bought Barham Ranch for $4.2 million on August 27, 2002, thereby connecting Irvine
Regional Park with Santiago Oaks and Weir Canyon Regional Parks for a total of 1,550 acres of protected open space.
Collection Scope and Content Summary
This collection comprises the papers of Shirley Grindle, former Orange County Planning Commissioner, author of Orange County's
Time Is Now, Clean Up Politics (TIN CUP) ordinance, and environmental and political activist. The materials include her files
as a planning commissioner (1973-1978), the index cards she used to track campaign donations and monitor compliance with TIN
CUP (1978-1990), her TIN CUP files and subject files reflecting her involvement in the preservation of open spaces in Orange
County (1970-2005). Her papers include index cards, environmental impact reports, maps, reports, correspondence, agendas,
memoranda, notes, clippings, minutes, ephemera, and legal documents. Also included are a few photographs related to Grindle's
This collection is arranged in 6 series.
- Series 1. Orange County Planning Commission files, 1971-1978. 2.5 linear feet
- Series 2. Environmental activism files, 1956-2005. 1.5 linear feet
- Series 3. Campaign finance reform index cards, 1978-1990. 0.8 linear feet
- Series 4. TINCUP files, 1970-2007. 1.0 linear feet
- Series 5. Awards,1976-2008. 0.1 linear feet
- Series 6. Orange County Grand Jury investigation of District Attorney, 2002. 0.2 linear feet
Several newsletters and magazines were removed from this collection and cataloged separately in Special Collections and Archives.
Subjects and Indexing Terms
Grindle, Shirley -- Archives.
Orange County (Calif.). Planning Commission..
Campaign funds -- California -- Orange County -- 20th century.
Environmental impact statements -- California -- Orange County -- 20th century.
Environmental protection -- California -- Orange County -- History -- Sources.
Ephemera -- California -- Orange County -- 20th century.
Letters -- California -- Orange County -- 20th century.
Letters -- California -- Orange County -- 21st century.
Open spaces -- California -- Orange County -- History -- Sources.
Orange County (Calif.) -- History -- Sources
Orange County (Calif.) -- Politics and government -- 20th century -- Sources.
Photographic prints -- California -- Orange County -- 20th century.
Regional planning -- California -- Orange County -- History -- Sources.
Topographic maps --California -- Orange County -- 20th century.