Header image with Photo of Supervisor Pat Bates. Followed by office information
June 13, 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. South County Transportation Update

2. Transportation Funding Secured For South County

3. Citizens Law Enforcement Review Board

4. Domoic Acid / Ocean Pollution

5. Mission Viejo's First Mayor Passes Away

6. New County Deputy CEO

7. New CEO for The Toll Roads

8. New Aliso Viejo Councilman

9. Wetlands Recovery Project Small Grant Recipients

10. New Launch Ramp for Dana Point Harbor

11. Board Meetings Online

12. NACo Achievement Awards

13. 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 12
South County Transportation Update

In combination with my responsibilities on the Orange County Board of Supervisors, I am also a Director for the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) and Chair of the South Orange County Major Investment Study (SOCMIS) that is identifying solutions to the traffic headaches that plague our area of the County. Over the course of the last several weeks – following the tragic accident on the southbound I-5 that took the lives of the Coble children last month – I have held extensive meetings with transportation and other governmental stakeholders to identify ways to expedite congestion relief projects that have been on the books, but moving slowly due to technical construction issues and lack of adequate funding.

With the help of state transportation leaders including Marian Bergeson – Chair of the California Transportation Commission, Will Kempton – State Director of Caltrans, and Cindy Quon – Caltrans Director District 12, I have been given a preliminary commitment that chokepoint improvement projects will be accelerated at both the Crown Valley and Oso Parkway interchanges with the I-5 Freeway by approving funding advances and accelerating design and construction processes. There are not many easy fixes in a given area and in a number of cases the cost share, planning and actual construction also involves oversight by the County of Orange, OCTA and Caltrans.

With regard to collaboration and communication among agencies involved, I have been working with the assistance of OCTA staff and recently convened a special meeting with public works department officials from each city in the Fifth District. The goal of this meeting was to discuss and compile an index of all current South Orange County traffic relief projects so we can begin a strong advocacy effort to ensure these regional projects get the funding needed to move them off the books and on the roads.

Finally, it recently came to my attention that there was a concern that the California Highway Patrol (CHP) office in San Juan Capistrano would close. This would effectively leave South Orange County woefully understaffed with officers to enforce traffic safety in the Fifth District and particularly in our unincorporated areas. I am happy to report that after meeting with the CHP, there is no such plan to close the office. Going forward, I am committed to working with the Governor’s Office and our Orange County legislators to ensure that the San Juan Capistrano CHP office retains adequate staff to serve our growing population.

I will continue working with transportation leaders on these critical issues and will keep you updated on the process we must support for ensuring more timely solutions to our traffic safety and congestion problems in South Orange County. To view a letter sent this week to Caltrans regarding I-5 chokepoint projects at Oso and Crown Valley Parkway, please click here.

Transportation Funding Secured For South County

Traffic concerns are rampant in South Orange County and they range from driver frustration spending hours in commute, to real public safety concerns, as our roads and freeways screech to a halt. It is imperative for local leaders to fight for our fair share of transportation funding from Sacramento to move these traffic congestion relief projects off the books and on the roads where it helps residents.

I'm pleased to announce that with the assistance of the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA), and Orange County's own Marian Bergeson, who currently chairs the California Transportation Commission (CTC), we were able to program critical funding for improvements to the I-5 / SR-74 Interchange as well as the widening of SR-74 from Calle Entradero to Antonio Parkway.

This funding, as part of the 2006 State Transportation Implementation Program (STIP) Augmentation, is essential for ensuring that both projects stay on schedule. Through our advocacy efforts, OCTA leadership and CTC Chair Marian Bergeson, $10 million was programmed for the SR-74 widening project and $32 million for improvements at the I-5/SR-74 interchange. For more information, please click here.

Citizens Law Enforcement Review Board

At a recent Board meeting, Supervisor Moorlach proposed an ordinance that would form a Citizens Law Enforcement Review Board similar to one created several years ago in San Diego County by way of ballot measure. Establishing such a board is a major policy decision; one which I believe requires in-depth discussion, thorough analyses and careful study. As a firm believer in objective oversight of government, I voted with my colleagues to direct staff to meet and confer on this matter as well as hold a workshop that will serve as a forum for the public to participate in the in-depth discussions and thoughtful review of all possibilities that come before us on this matter.

It is important that we take a close look at existing civilian law enforcement review boards such as those operating in San Diego and Los Angeles to evaluate their performances as well as be clear on their strengths and weaknesses before we settle on a particular model. The building of an effective and responsible citizen’s law enforcement oversight committee should have direct input from the citizens of the community it is to serve. Citizens will expect members of such a committee to perform their duties with the highest level of professionalism and objective analysis of each and every issue that comes before them. To that end, I welcome your comments, questions and concerns.

To read Supervisor Moorlach’s proposed ordinance, please click here. To view Sheriff Mike Carona’s presentation to Board of Supervisors regarding a Citizens Law Enforcement Review Board in Orange County, please click here.

Domoic Acid / Ocean Pollution

The link between dying sea lions and urban runoff is unsubstantiated at this time. However, as part of our ongoing water quality improvement efforts, the County is continuing to pursue urban runoff solutions. The County views this as a regional/state issue and is not directly involved in researching the matter. However, the California Department of Health Services is one of the agencies participating in monitoring the problem.

Locally, USC and the Southern California Coastal Waters Research Project are also taking part in research. I’m pleased to report that David Caron from USC will be presenting at the next Coastal Coalition meeting, Thursday, June 28, 2007, 9am-11am, The Ocean Institute, Samueli Conference Center, 24200 Dana Point Harbor Dr., Dana Point, CA 92629 (Please note the new meeting location as the Newport Beach library was unavailable in June). David Caron is the region’s leading expert on harmful algal blooms (or HAB’s). Mr. Caron will report on the latest scientific research on HABs and answer questions. The public is welcome to attend.

The County of Orange Health Care Agency (HCA) has provided a brief overview of their understanding of this issue. To view the HCA overview, please click

Mission Viejo's First Mayor Passes Away

We were saddened to learn recently that in the early morning hours of Wednesday, May 23, 2007, Norman P. Murray passed away peacefully at his home in Mission Viejo.

Norman P. Murray was selected to be the first Mayor of the City of Mission Viejo on March 31, 1988.

A tribute to Norman was held at Mission Viejo's Memorial Day Ceremony. Memorial Services were held at the Presbyterian Church of the Master in Mission Viejo, and the Board of Supervisors and I adjourned our meeting in his memory on June 5.

Norman was a dear friend and will be sorely missed. My deepest condolences to his family and loved ones. For more information about Norman P. Murray, please click here.

New County Deputy CEO

The County has a new member of its executive management team - Alisa Drakodaidis, the new Deputy CEO for Infrastructure & Environmental Services. She will oversee five departments: Resources & Development Management Department; Housing & Community Services; Integrated Waste Management; Registrar of Voters; and Dana Point Harbor Department.

Before joining the County in 2004 as the Chief Deputy Director of the Social Services Agency, Alisa held various positions with the County of Los Angeles for nearly fifteen years including serving as an Assistant Chief Administrative Officer.

I congratulate Alisa on her recent promotion and look forward to working with her!

New CEO for The Toll Roads

The Boards of Directors of the Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA) voted unanimously last week to offer Thomas Margro the position of Chief Executive Officer for Orange County's 67-mile toll road system.

Mr. Margro is currently the General Manager for the Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART) in Oakland, holding the position since 1996. He began his career at BART in 1990 as Assistant General Manager - Development. For more information, please click here.

Congratulations to new TCA CEO Thomas Magro with whom I look forward to working.

New Aliso Viejo Councilman

The Aliso Viejo City Council recently selected 10-year resident Phillip Tsunoda to fill the vacancy created by the departure of Mayor Cynthia Adams who resigned last month.

A ceremonial swearing-in for Councilman Tsunoda took place at the council's regularly scheduled meeting on June 6. For more information, please click here.

Congratulations to Councilman Phillip Tsunoda!

Wetlands Recovery Project Small Grant Recipients

I am pleased to announce Orange County's 2007 Wetlands Recovery Project Small Grant recipients! They are:

1) Mission Viejo's Carden Academy of Basic Education and it Pioneer Park Wetlands Restoration. The Carden Academy, its students, parents and neighbors will restore a riparian wetland that runs through school property by removing non-native invasive plants and planting native California wetland plants, and

2) Friends of Harbors, Beaches & Parks for their Orange Coast River Park Native Plant Propagation Nursery. The nursery will provide a permanent native plant supply for the OCRP's ecosystem restoration projects including fresh and salt water marshes.

With help from the WRP Small Grants Program, successes like these will continue in our County, fostering an ever increasing awareness of, interest in, and protection of these resources that are critical to the wild creatures that depend upon them as well as to our health and well-being.

New Launch Ramp for Dana Point Harbor

For the many boaters in Orange County, I am pleased to announce the completion of the Dana Point Harbor launch ramp. The official ceremony to unveil the renovated facility will take place on Friday, June 22, at 10:30 AM. The public is welcome. To view the invitation, please click here. For more information, please click here.

Board Meetings Online

The County recently began live Internet broadcast of meetings of the Orange County Board of Supervisors. Live streaming video of the Board meetings as well as archives of past meetings since January 2007 is available at http://ocvideo.ocgov.com.

After each Board meeting, video-on-demand will be posted online with an accompanying agenda about two hours after the conclusion of the meeting. Internet users will also be able to search Board meeting broadcasts since January of this year by subject, keyword, or agenda item number. In addition, Internet broadcasts will feature closed captioning for the special needs of an estimated 25% of the population that is hearing impaired and can benefit from watching captioned Board meetings.

I am very pleased that we now have this tool to increase public access to the workings of our County government.

NACo Achievement Awards

The County of Orange was selected for seven Achievement Awards from the National Association of Counties (NACo). The awards will be presented at the NACo Annual Conference in Richmond, Virginia, on July 15. The NACo Achievement Awards recognize effective and creative county programs that promote quality and responsive county government and administration. For more information, please click here.

Fifth District Wrap-Up

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

  • Made the opening remarks and welcomed attendees to the Taste of Ladera. To view photos of this year's festive event, please click here.
  • Met with Aliso Viejo Councilwoman Carmen Vali-Cave regarding Veteran Affairs.
  • Met with members of the American Heart Association Task Force.
  • Attended the Orange County Government Leaders Prayer Breakfast.
  • Met with Autumnwood HOA President Jay Kripes regarding Serrano Creek.
  • Attended the Orange County Business Council's 2007 Annual BIZPAC Luncheon. For more information, please click here.
  • Met with Caltrans and CHP officials regarding South County transportation concerns.
  • Hosted a reception for California Department of Boating and Waterways officials.
  • Convened a special meeting with Public Works Department officials from each city in the Fifth District regarding South County traffic relief projects.
  • Attended a meeting of Southern California Wetlands Recovery Project.
  • Presented a Board resolution in honor of American Wetlands Month and the tenth anniversary of the Southern California Wetlands Recovery Project.
  • Delivered the keynote address to Laguna Wood's American Legion Post 257 and presented proclamations to them as well as to "Moms of the Military".
  • Attended a Womans Club of Laguna Beach luncheon and presented a proclamation to their 2007 Woman of the Year - Jean Raun.
  • Attended a reception in honor of Aliso Viejo's Nicholia Rose Zamora - Orange County's only qualifier for the Brentina Cup Dressage Championship.
  • Attended the Dana Point Chamber of Commerce Installation Awards Banquet.
  • Attended the City of Laguna Niguel's Citizen of the Year reception and presented a proclamation in honor of this year's recipient - Ron Perella.
  • Appeared on Laguna Woods' Channel 3 to discuss South County transportation issues.

My office also had the honor of:

  • Attending the dedication of the new Donna O'Neill Land Conservancy amphitheater and presenting a certificate of recognition to the Dana Hills High School National Honor Society students who built it.
  • Attending Mission Viejo's "Fun With Chalk" event and presenting a certificate of recognition to Dr. Frank Lieberman and their Advisory Board.
  • Attending the Children's Healthcare Initiative of Orange County event at Olivewood Elementary School in Lake Forest and presenting a certificate of recognition to the school for being the first in the city to achieve healthcare coverage for all its students as part of the 100% School Campaign in Orange County. For more information, please click here.
  • Attending the San Juan Capistrano Chamber of Commerce Scholarship Awards Luncheon and presenting certificates of recognition to this year's scholarship award winners.
  • Attending the Dana Point Chamber of Commerce Education Banquet and presenting certificates of recognition to this year's scholarship award winners.
  • Attending the Children's Healthcare Initiative of Orange County event at Las Palmas Elementary School in San Clemente and presenting a certificate of recognition to the school for being the first in the city to achieve healthcare coverage for all its students as part of the 100% School Campaign in Orange County. For more information, 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!