Supervisor Shawn Nelson - Fourth District Update
December 2, 2011
Volume 2, Issue 20

Denis Bilodeau
Chief of Staff

Audra Adams
Policy Advisor /
Communications Director

Steve Spernak
Policy Advisor

David Zenger
Policy Advisor

Scott Carpenter
Policy Advisor

Mark Lopez
Policy Advisor

Neha Sata
Executive Aide


Welcome to Nelson's E-News!

Dear Friends,

There have been many innovative program initiatives occurring in Orange County recently, especially in transportation. At the OCTA, for example, significant progress has been made to reduce traffic congestion and increase safety. Below, I have included some of the more notable projects in which I have participated in my role serving on the Board of Directors. The Fourth District has benefitted and will continue to benefit from these policies and programs.

In addition, many special events have occurred in our community during the past month. In particular, my staff and I had the privilege of hosting a Veterans Day ceremony and participating in a day of service for the less fortunate on Thanksgiving. Please keep reading for descriptions and photos. In case you missed these, I have also included a list of upcoming events for this month.

As always, your feedback is appreciated.

Shawn Nelson.

OCTA Leadership Forum

Every year, OCTA conducts a series of forums throughout the five County Supervisorial Districts to provide updates on local transportation projects and solutions. These meetings are open to elected officials, community leaders and members of the public. Supervisor Nelson was pleased to host this year’s Fourth District Leadership Forum in Buena Park where OCTA showcased the progress being made with our valuable tax dollars.

OC Bridges, Traffic Light Synchronization and several freeway widening projects were among the various issues addressed this week. These topics are discussed in greater detail below.

With the population exceeding three million people, it is certainly a challenge to keep Orange County moving. However, with continued dialogue and communication at forums such as this, Supervisor Nelson is confident that we can successfully meet our growing transportation demands together.


To view pictures of the event, please click here:

SR-57 Groundbreaking

Following the OCTA Leadership Forum, Supervisor Nelson attended a groundbreaking ceremony at the Honda Center for the widening of the SR-57 freeway, which connects most of the cities in the Fourth District. This three-mile stretch on the northbound side is actually Segment 2 of the widening project, as many frequent travelers may have noticed that construction on Segment 1, from Orangethorpe Avenue in Placentia to Lambert Road in Brea, is already underway.

The project will be financed with state funding from Proposition 1B and locally by Measure M1/M2 dollars. For those of you traveling through the Fourth to home or work, this will significantly shorten your commute times when completed in approximately three years.

For more information on the project, please click here.


(Above) Supervisor Nelson addresses the crowd at the 57 Groundbreaking Ceremony

Traffic light synchronization reduces congestion in Orange County!

As Orange County has become more urban and experienced increased vehicle traffic, innovative solutions are required to accommodate future transportation needs, including lowering air and noise pollution, reducing commute times and increasing fuel mileage.

OCTA’s Traffic Light Signal Synchronization program has helped to reduce traffic congestion, and its related challenges, along major routes in Orange County. In the Fourth District, traffic signals have been synchronized along Beach Boulevard, Euclid Street and Harbor Boulevard.

For more information, including videos illustrating the improved conditions (2nd video from top), click here:

Click here to view the “Fast Facts” of Traffic Light Signal Synchronization,


OC Bridges


The OCTA is continually working to enhance the quality of life for residents of the Fourth Supervisorial District and all of Orange County. One of the agency’s current goals is to improve safety and reduce traffic congestion at seven railroad crossings in the Fourth District. Construction is already underway and is expected to be completed in 2016.

Although the streets at these seven locations are presently at-grade, meaning that they are at ground level with the train tracks, three streets will be converted into overpasses and four into underpasses at these intersections over the next few years and with a total budget of nearly $600 million.

Several benefits of this construction include better vehicle and pedestrian safety, shorter emergency response times, the elimination of commute delays, easier access to businesses and reduced air and noise pollution.

Below, please find informative highlights on all grade separations, including video renderings following their completion:

Please click below to view the revised Railroad Grade Separation Program Schedule and the Trade Corridor Improvement Map.


Placentia Avenue – Underpass

A vehicle underpass will be constructed at the intersection of Placentia Avenue and the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad. As part of the project, the roadway will be lowered beneath train traffic.

During construction, Placentia Avenue will be open to travel in both directions, with cars traveling on a temporary roadway constructed just east of the current route while train traffic is diverted to a third track.

  • Location: Placentia Avenue and the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad
  • Construction Timeframe: Mid 2011 – Mid 2014
  • Total Cost: $78.2 million
  • Funding Sources:
    • State: $14.9 million
    • Measure M1/M2: $57.3 million
    • Other Local: $6.0 million
  • Video

Kraemer Boulevard – Underpass

A vehicle underpass at the intersection of Kraemer Boulevard and the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad will separate car and train traffic.

During construction, the entire intersection of Kraemer Boulevard and Crowther Avenue will be lowered and the rail traffic will pass over the cars. Temporary rail tracks will be built south of the current tracks, while construction is underway. Once the intersection is completed, the rail traffic will be shifted back to the original track configuration. The intersection will be closed during a substantial period of the construction phase.

  • Location: Kraemer Blvd. & Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad
  • Construction Timeframe: Mid 2011 – Mid 2014
  • Total Cost: $70.4 million
  • Funding Sources:
    • Federal: $30.6 million
    • State: $22.6 million
    • Measure M2: $15.7 million
    • Other Local: $1.5 million
  • Video

Orangethorpe Avenue – Overpass
OCTA will reconstruct Orangethorpe Avenue as a bridge to allow vehicles to pass over the BNSF Railway tracks. On the west side of the project, Crowther Avenue and Miller Street will rise to meet Orangethorpe Avenue. On the north side of the project, Chapman Avenue rises to meet the elevated portions of Orangethorpe. The project will be constructed in phases allowing Orangethorpe to remain open (one lane in both directions) during construction.

  • Location: Orangethorpe Ave. & Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad
  • Construction Timeframe: Mid 2012 – Early 2015
  • Total Cost: $117.4 million
  • Funding Sources:
    • Federal: $63.4 million
    • State: $41.7 million
    • Measure M1/M2: $12.3 million
  • Video

Tustin Avenue/Rose Drive – Overpass
A vehicle overpass will be constructed at the intersection of Tustin Avenue/Rose Drive and Orangethorpe Avenue, along the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad track. Approximately 2,100 feet of Tustin/Rose will be elevated and realigned to pass over Orangethorpe Avenue and the railroad tracks.

Orangethorpe will be widened and restriped to accommodate turning lanes needed to connect to the access road. The intersection will be closed during a substantial period during the construction phase but when completed, the project will allow cars to safely cross over the railroad tracks and train horns will no longer be needed at this rail crossing.

  • Location: Tustin Ave./ Rose Dr. and Orangethorpe Ave. along the BNSF Railroad
  • Construction Timeframe: Early 2012 – Late 2014/Early 2015
  • Total Cost: $103.0 million
  • Funding Sources:
    • Federal: $58.8 million
    • State: $31.4 million
    • Measure M1/M2: $12.8 million
  • Video

Lakeview Avenue – Overpass
OCTA will build a bridge along Lakeview Avenue to allow vehicles to pass over the BNSF Railway tracks. During construction, Lakeview will be elevated and realigned to pass over the railroad tracks. A ramp connecting Lakeview to Orangethorpe will be constructed, and North Bubach Street in the northeast corner of the project area will be rerouted to connect to the ramp with a new signalized intersection. A new road will be built in the southeast corner of the project for local business access. A new road will also be built in the southwest corner to connect the new frontage road to Lakeview.

Access to homes and businesses will remain open during construction.

  • Location: Lakeview Avenue and BNSF Railroad
  • Construction Timeframe: Mid 2013 – Late 2015
  • Total Cost: $70.1 million
  • Funding Sources:
    • Federal: $32.5 million
    • State: $28.7 million
    • Measure M1/M2: $8.9 million
  • Video

Raymond Avenue – Underpass
This location is still in the final design and planning stages. More information will be available soon.

  • Location: S. Raymond and E. Valencia Drive
  • Construction: Mid 2013 – Early 2016
  • Total Cost: $76.7 million
  • Funding Sources:
    • State: $56.3 million
    • Measure M1/M2: $20.4 million

State College Boulevard – Underpass
This location is still in the final design and planning stages. More information will be available soon.

  • Location: S. State College Blvd and E. Valencia Drive
  • Construction: Mid 2013 – Early 2016
  • Total Cost: $73.6 million
  • Funding Sources:
    • Federal: $30.7 million
    • State: $31.8 millio
    • Measure M1/M2: $450,000
    • Other Local: $10.6 million
KCRW Radio Interview

Yesterday afternoon Supervisor Nelson had the opportunity to be interviewed on KCRW’s “Which Way LA?” about the state’s decision to redirect funding to Orange County in the most recently adopted state budget. During the interview we discussed the steps the county had to take in order to address that problem and how it may be solved going forward. To listen to the interview on a podcast you can follow this link:

11/11/11 Veterans Day Event
Supervisor Nelson was proud to coordinate a Veterans Day celebration giving thanks to America’s brave heroes in uniform. Hundreds attended the ceremony at Rose Drive Friends Church for a 90 minute program, in what was one of the largest Veterans Day events in OC. Following the program that featured choir-orchestra songs, patriotic speakers and a candle lighting by St Catherine’s Academy Cadets, a sunset memorial program took place giving attendees the opportunity to extend their thanks and appreciation to Orange County’s fallen military since 9-11. The stark beauty of this “Hillside of Heroes” memorial at Tri-City Park glowed with the daytime colors and softened candlelight night presentation that stood from Friday evening to Monday morning. The memorial allowed the host cities of Placentia, Brea and Fullerton to honor all Veterans and 70 Gold Star families.

Red County article by Cynthia Ward below:

Top Left – Crosses that were displayed overnight at Tri-City Park
Top Right – Supervisor Nelson answers a question from Mrs. Donna Bagley, widow of a WWI veteran
Bottom – Supervisor Nelson pauses to chat with Greg Sowards (left) and Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait (right)

Thanksgiving– Anaheim Honda Center

On Thanksgiving morning, Supervisor Nelson’s staffer Steve Spernak was on hand to help celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Frank Garcia’s “We Give Thanks” by volunteering to serve meals and providing dessert favors hosted for Orange County residents at the Anaheim Honda Center.

The official turkey carving ceremony, which has become an annual tradition, took place at 10:45 AM. Key members of the community, as well as Anaheim Ducks players were on hand to help with serving food. Entertainment and music was provided. Parking at Honda Center was complimentary and free transportation to and from the venue was also be provided from La Casa Garcia Restaurant, located at 531 W. Chapman Ave., Anaheim, CA 92802.

For more information and how to help out next year visit WWW.WEGIVETHANKSFOUNDATION.ORG

Left – Steve Spernak and Frank Garcia were all smiles and paused to snap a photo before the official ceremony began. Right – Steve Spernak alongside a hungry patron was on hand to help serve dessert at the annual event
County Committee Vacancy

The 4th District has a vacant appointment on the following committee:

Public Financing Advisory Committee (3 years)

If you are interested in serving on this committee, please call Audra Adams at (714) 834-3998.
OC Animal Care

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Grand Opening – Brea Plaza Shopping Center

Fourth District Representative Daniel George (middle) presents a Certificate of Recognition congratulating the owner of the Brea Plaza Shopping Center on the grand opening of the expanded center. Brea Plaza’s expansion saw the opening of several new stores and improved the layout of the parking lot to reduce congestion. The opening ceremony was accompanied with stands operated by each of the restaurants and markets in the center. With this update, the Brea Plaza Shopping Center will provide more jobs and better service for residents in Brea and nearby communities.

4th District Certificates of Recognition

Brea Plaza Shopping Center – Brea – Expanded Grand Opening
Tom Fuentes – Legal Leaders Award
Thomas Malcolm, Esq. – Legal Leaders Award
Chick-fil-A – Fullerton– Grand Opening
Santa Rosa Dental – Brea – Grand Opening
UPS Store – Fullerton – Grand Opening
So Cal Baby -The Boutique – Fullerton – Grand Opening
Salon Technique – Fullerton – Grand Opening
Baby Story Studio – Fullerton – Grand Opening
Nathan Nowack Photography – Fullerton – Grand Opening
Match Fitness – Fullerton – Grand Opening
ePower Network – Placentia – Opening
The Grind – Fullerton – Grand Opening

Irvine Park Railroad’s 16th Annual Christmas Train

Santa will visit Irvine Park Railroad Dec. 2-4, Dec. 9-11 and Dec. 15-23. Please check the Events & Programs section for specific times, at

It’s the season, once again for Irvine Park Railroad’s annual Christmas Train. Come with family and friends and take this enchanting night ride through historic Irvine Regional Park to meet Santa Claus. The train will depart from the brightly-lit train station and drop you off at Santa’s Village.

While waiting to meet Santa, you may purchase coffee, hot chocolate, freshly-popped popcorn and cookies from our Elf House Snack Bar to warm you up. A full kitchen menu is also available at the Train Station.

Visitors may take their own pictures with Santa or you may purchase a picture taken by Irvine Park Railroad. Each 5” x 7” photo will be presented with an Irvine Park Railroad border and available for pickup shortly after being taken.

After visiting with Santa, hop back aboard the train and enjoy the colorful Christmas lights and decorations, as well as the magical “Tunnel of Lights,” on the ride back to the station house.

When visiting the Christmas Train, remember to dress warmly, bring your camera and film, and arrive early to avoid crowds.

Please visit or call (714) 997-3968 for more detailed information and directions.

Event Fee: The cost to ride the Christmas Train is $10 per person. Children younger than 24 months ride free. Parking Fee: $3 per vehicle on weekdays and $5 per vehicle on weekends. Free after 5 p.m.

Irvine Regional Park
1 Irvine Park Road
Orange, CA 92869
(714)997-3968 or (714)973-3173

Special Instructions: Tickets may be purchased in person or online.

OC Parks Website Article:
Grand Jurors Wanted
The Orange County Superior Court is accepting applications for the next county grand jury, a one-year term that begins in July 2012.

The 19-member grand jury acts as watchdog over county government, schools and special districts. Grand jurors serve full time for one year.

"Past Grand Jury investigations have focused on timely issues such as compensation paid by Orange County cities, the condition and management of Orange County jails, and emergency preparedness of public schools," according to the court announcement.

Deadline for applications is Jan. 13, 2012.

Applicants must be at least 18 years old, a U.S. citizen, an Orange County resident for at least one year and, according to the announcement, "sufficiently fluent in written and spoken English, and possessed of ordinary intelligence, sound judgment, and fair character."

Jurors are paid $50 a day.

Qualified applicants will be interviewed by a panel of Superior Court judges and must undergo an Orange County Sheriff's Department background check. Final selections will be made by random drawing from people nominated by the judges.

To download an application, view past reports or get more information, visit the grand jury website. Applications are also available at the jury commissioner's office, Central Justice Center, 700 Civic Center Drive West in Santa Ana or by calling the grand jury hotline at 714-834-6747.
What: The 14th Annual West Anaheim Holiday Magic Christmas Tree Lighting
Where: Twila Reid Park, 3100 W Orange Ave
When: Friday, December 2, 2011
Time: 6pm – 9pm

What: Annual Tree Lighting
Where: Brea Civic & Cultural Center, Plaza Level, 1 Civic Center Circle
When: Thursday, December 8, 2011
Time: 6pm – 8:30pm

Buena Park
What: 41st Annual Candy Caneland & Craft Faire
Where: Ehlers Community Recreation Center, 8158 Knott Ave
When: Saturday, December 3, 2011
Time: 10am – 4pm

What: Entertainment, Food Booths, Face Painting. Beer and Wine Garden, Spark of Love Toy Drive, and a Tree Lighting at 5pm
Where: Fullerton Downtown Plaza, Wilshire Ave, between Harbor Blvd & Pomona Ave
When: Saturday, December 3, 2011
Time: 12pm – 5:30pm

La Habra
What: City Holiday Tree Lighting
Where: City Hall Steps, 201 E La Habra Blvd
When: Monday, December 5, 2011
Time: 6pm – 7pm

What: Tamale Fest and Las Posadas
Where: Old Town, Santa Fe Ave & Bradford Ave
When: Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Time: 4pm – 9pm


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For questions or comments regarding Nelson’s E-News
please contact the Supervisor's office staff:
Audra Adams Ph: 714-834-3440 Email: