Header image with Photo of Supervisor Pat Bates. Followed by office information
May 7, 2007  

Pat Bates's Picture

Welcome to this edition of the Fifth District Report, an electronic newsletter keeping you updated about the events taking place in Orange County and in the Fifth District. It is my hope that you find this distribution informative and I would encourage you to contact me regarding any thoughts, comments, or concerns you may have.



1. Alton Parkway Update

2. Harbors, Beaches, and Parks

3. Bus Strike Update

4. Medical Marijuana

5. Orange County Legislative Bulletin

6. Dana Point Harbor Department Director Resigns

7. Aliso Viejo Mayor Resigns

8. Great Park News

9. E. Coli Outbreak Update

10. Ladera Ranch Traffic Survey

11. Taste of Ladera

12. Fun With Chalk

13. EMS Week: May 20-26

14. Tip of the Day

15. Fifth District Wrap-up


Justin McCusker:
Chief of Staff

Sergio Prince:
Executive Director of Public Affairs

Eileen Takata:
Executive Policy Advisor

Jeff Corless:
Executive Policy Advisor

Elise Lampe:
Executive Policy Advisor

Ruth Strachan:
Executive Secretary II


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 Volume 1  
Issue 10
Alton Parkway Update

At the May 1 Board meeting, my colleagues and I approved environmental analysis and alignment investigations for the extension of Alton Parkway between Irvine Boulevard and Commercentre Drive. The proposed project would construct a six-lane divided highway from Irvine Boulevard in the City of Irvine to Commercentre Drive in the City of Lake Forest in accordance with the Orange County Master Plan of Arterial Highways. Other improvements will include drainage facilities, flood control improvements, on-road bikeway, curb, gutter, sidewalks, street lights, and environmental mitigation measures. The proposed highway will cross through portions of the former Marine Corps Air Station, El Toro that is owned by Lennar Corporation or the FAA. To view staff's presentation to the Board, please click here.

Harbors, Beaches, and Parks

A Harbors, Beaches and Parks Ad Hoc Committee that includes Chairman Norby and Supervisor Campbell as members identified a number of strategic issues relating to the County's role of providing regional park services. At last week's Board meeting, a straw-poll was taken regarding adopting the Ad Hoc Committee recommendations on these issues. To view the issues and adopted recommendations, please click here.

Bus Strike Update

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger recently intervened to halt a strike and launch the process that could lead to a cooling-off period between the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) and coach operator union leaders. He determined a strike would significantly disrupt public transportation and endanger the public's health, safety or welfare.

Union leaders from Teamster Local 952 have said that a massive bus strike is imminent if the OCTA does not provide its drivers with a sufficient wage increase. Currently, OCTA bus drivers earn hourly wages of between $13.72 and $21.42. OCTA is offering its 1,100 coach operators a more than 13 percent increase in wages and benefits over the next three years. Union members are seeking $19 million more than the previous contract.

As requested by OCTA officials, the Governor will appoint a state board to investigate the negotiations and make a written report - during which time union members are prohibited from striking.

OCTA will continue providing bus services for its more than 200,000 daily customers. If any service changes become necessary, OCTA will inform bus customers so they may prepare plans for future travel. OCTA operates about 900 buses that carried more than 68 million passengers last year, making the service the 12th busiest in the nation.

OCTA expects that these labor issues will not have any impact on the OCTA's ACCESS service for people with disabilities. Metrolink train service also will continue as usual along with "station link" buses that serve those passengers.

We'll keep you up to date as we continue our efforts to resolve this issue with the coach operators' union. For more information, please click here. To view the letter from Gov. Schwarzenegger appointing members to investigate the dispute between OCTA and coach operator union leaders, please click here.

Medical Marijuana

Whether or not to permit the use of marijuana for medical purposes is both a public policy issue and a contentious legal issue. Under federal law, marijuana use for any purpose is illegal even for medical reasons. In 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the federal government can still ban possession of the drug in states that have eliminated sanctions for its use in treating symptoms of illness. But federal law has not stopped a number of states from enacting medical marijuana legislation. California was one of the first. In 1996 California voters passed Proposition 215, the Compassionate Use Act, legalizing marijuana for medical use - putting California law in direct conflict with federal law.

But state law does not supersede federal law, and as a result, marijuana is still designated as a Schedule I drug and possession is strictly prohibited under federal law. Senate Bill (SB) 420, passed in 2003, provided direction concerning certain aspects of Proposition 215 - including a Medical Marijuana Identification Program (MMIP). SB 420 ordered county health agencies to issue photo ID cards that verify legitimate users. However, the bill did not include a deadline for counties to comply with the State mandate, and several larger counties, including Orange County, have not yet complied.

Recently, San Diego County along with San Bernardino and Merced Counties filed a lawsuit halting implementation of the ID program. They lost the first round of litigation and are now in appeals court. Opposing the MMIP could create additional litigation and incur costly sanctions against the County than implementing the program correctly and in accordance with State law.

On Tuesday, April 17, my Board colleagues and I heard public testimony from patients advocating a Medical Marijuana ID Card Program in Orange County. After considerable discussion, on a 4-1 vote, the Board of Supervisors directed the Health Care Agency to review similar programs in other counties throughout the state, discuss public safety concerns with local law enforcement agencies, solicit input from Orange County cities and communities, and return in 90 days with a draft policy regarding a Medical Marijuana ID Card Program for Orange County.

Orange County Legislative Bulletin

The Orange County Legislative Bulletin provides the Board of Supervisors with analyses of measures pending in Sacramento and Washington that are of interest to the County. To view the Orange County Legislative Bulletin as approved by the Board of Supervisors on May 1, 2007, please click here.

Dana Point Harbor Department Director Resigns

County Executive Officer Thomas G. Mauk last week accepted the resignation of George Caravalho, Dana Point Harbor Department Director. The resignation is effective June 30, 2007.

Caravalho was appointed Director of the Dana Point Harbor Department in March, 2005. The Dana Point Harbor Department was established as a separate County department to coordinate the 20-year harbor revitalization plan for the aging facilities.

We are sorry to see him go and wish him success in every future endeavor. To view a farewell letter from George Caravalho to the Dana Point harbor community, please click here.

Aliso Viejo Mayor Resigns

Mayor Cynthia Adams, a founding member of the Aliso Viejo City Council, staunch fighter against an airport at El Toro, and friend to many across the county, resigned her City Council post on Wednesday, April 18. She will move out of state and retire from political life to enjoy more time with her husband, Barry. Her last day on the job is May 13. We wish Cynthia and Barry much happiness and success. For more information, please click here.

Great Park News

Planning for the wildlife corridor involves close collaboration among ecologists, civil engineers, and hydrologists. This sensitive parcel of the Great Park will be dedicated to enhancing movement of animals across the Park land, joining the mountain reserves to the coastal reserves. For more information, please click here.

E. Coli Outbreak Update

The health permit for the Foothill Ranch Souplantation, 26572 Towne Center Dr., Lake Forest, was recently reinstated following a re-inspection of the facility on April 19 by staff from the Orange County Health Care Agency (HCA) Environmental Health Food Protection Program. Souplantation voluntarily closed the restaurant on April 6 and the health permit was suspended by HCA Environmental Health on April 7 as part of an on-going investigation of reported E. coli O157 cases. For more information, please click here.

Ladera Ranch Traffic Survey

Speeding and disregard for traffic and parking laws are top traffic safety issues in Ladera Ranch, according to an annual survey of residents conducted by the Ladera Ranch Transportation Club. To view the survey, please click here. For more information, please click here or call Chuck Gibson at (949) 429-3972.

Taste of Ladera

This year's Taste of Ladera is scheduled for May 19, 11am - 7pm. This is Ladera's biggest family celebration and community service support event. For more information, please click here.

Fun With Chalk

Experience the 9th Annual Italian Street Painting Festival. On May 19 and 20, 10am to 6pm, come see an asphalt parking lot turned into a gallery of magnificent art. This fabulous family festival will be held at the Norman P. Murray Community Center, 24932 Veterans Way (at La Paz Rd.), in Mission Viejo. For more information, please call (949) 367-1222 or visit www.FunWithChalk.com.

EMS Week: May 20-26

Orange County's Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Week will mark its 5th anniversary in 2007, promoting awareness of the emergency services provided by doctors, nurses, fire personnel, paramedics, emergency medical technicians, police officers and other professionals.

The Orange County Health Care Agency's Emergency Medical Services has planned a month-long celebration featuring free services, demonstrations and services, including blood pressure checks and car seat inspections throughout the County of Orange.

Most of these events are free and open to the public, and we encourage you to take part in them. Education and prevention are two important ways we can keep ourselves and our families safe from harm. For more information, please click here.

Tip of the Day

Recycle motor oil, brake and transmission fluid, and water based paint. Remember, the ocean begins at your front door.

fifth District Wrap-up

Among my many meetings, briefings, and other supervisorial activities, I also:

  • Adjourned the April 24 Board of Supervisors meeting in memory of former San Clemente Mayor Stephanie Dorey. A beloved champion of the coast and battler for the environment, Stephanie resigned her post on the City Council in 2005 to fight malignant melanoma. She passed away on April 6 at her home in San Clemente. For more information please click here.
  • Attended a meeting of the Talega Joint Planning Authority.
  • Met with Sonoma County Supervisor Valerie Brown.
  • Attended a dinner of the Women's Roundtable of Orange County with former Orange County Supervisor Harriett Wieder.
  • Delivered a speech to the Orange County Chapter of the Women's Transportation Services.
  • Attended a meeting of the Laguna Beach Taxpayers Association.
  • Met with San Clemente constituents regarding the proposed La Pata extension.
  • Chaired the San Juan Capistrano Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs Committee meeting.
  • Chaired the April meeting of the Orange County Coastal Coalition.
  • Presented a Certificate of Special Recognition to the 73rd Assembly District's Woman of the Year - Susie Caskey.
  • Delivered a speech to the South Orange County Chambers of Commerce Government Affairs Committee.
  • Delivered a speech to the Laguna Woods Republican Club.
  • Attended the Saddleback Valley Unified School District's Teacher of the Year Awards Ceremony and presented Proclamations in honor of the 2007 award winners - Jennifer Blount, Kathleen Cannarozzi-Harris and Beth Moore.
  • Attended a reception of the Historical Society of Laguna Woods and presented a Certificate of Special Recognition to their Volunteer of the Month - Denise Dowd Welch.
  • Attended the "Is Your Teen at Risk?" Community Forum in Rancho Santa Margarita. To view a photo, please click here.

My staff and I look forward to continually providing you updated information in our Fifth District newsletter and website.

Please feel free to contact my office with your comments or questions at (714) 834-3550.

It is an honor and a privilege to serve as your Supervisor for Orange County's beautiful Fifth District. Thank you so much for your support!