Header image with Photo of Supervisor Pat Bates. Followed by office information
July 27, 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 Traffic Update

2. South Orange County Major Investment Study (SOCMIS)

3. South County Improvement Projects

4. Bus Strike Ended

5. Coastal Coalition

6. Medical Marijuana ID Program

7. CLERB Public Workshop

8. Response to Grand Jury

9. Firefighter Academy Graduation

10. Boards, Committees & Commissions

11. Focus On: Ladera Ranch

12. 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 14
South County Traffic Update

I recently convened a meeting with the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA), CalTrans and public works directors from various South Orange County cities for an old-fashion session of rolling up our sleeves to find a better way for the State, County, OCTA and Cities to take traffic congestion relief projects off the drawing boards and onto the streets.

Of concurrence between the County and cities alike was the need to find a more collaborative approach to project delivery when working with utility companies. For many South County residents, the utility company that services their community is San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E).

Based on these talks, I arranged a meeting with officials from SDG&E and focused the discussion on strategies to expedite the delivery of local traffic congestion improvements such as the Crown Valley Traffic Relief Project. With our growing population in South Orange County, we discussed the importance of SDG&E working at off-peak hours such as late in the evening to reduce the impact on daily commuters who can't afford to be significantly further delayed on what already amounts to an overly long drive to and from work.

Perhaps the most important outcome of the meeting was the idea to establish "quarterly utility meetings" between South County cities and SDG&E. In listening to both groups, they felt projects were commonly delayed over misunderstandings and miscommunications. Shortly after this meeting, I contacted city public works directors and informed them of our discussion and SDG&E's willingness to provide for more face-to-face meetings as projects near completion. Cities were receptive and provided positive feedback to my office.

Overnight work shifts and quarterly utility meetings won't fix every problem but based on the encouraging responses I've received thus far, they should prove instrumental in the timely delivery of South County transportation projects as well as help address our traffic congestion problems.

South Orange County Major Investment Study (SOCMIS)

The next SOCMIS Policy Advisory Committee (PAC) meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, August 1, 9:30 a.m. at Mission Viejo City Hall. Since our PAC meeting in March, the staff study team has been analyzing 14 congestion relief alternatives. All alternatives were compared with the “2030 Baseline” projected traffic counts. The staff study team will present the congestion relief preferred alternatives for discussion at our August 1 meeting. For more information, please click here.

South County Improvement Projects

In my continuing efforts to enhance our quality of life, my Board colleagues and I authorized funding for several recently completed South County Improvement Projects including:

  • Installation of a traffic signals at the intersection of O'Neill Parkway and Cecil Pasture Road in Ladera Ranch.
  • Private street improvements, street lights, sewer, water, landscaping and monumentation in Ladera Ranch.
  • Storm drain and landscaping improvements and monumentation in Aliso Viejo.

At our July 24 Board meeting, we also renewed an agreement with the City of Dana Point for contract road maintenance operations for an additional two years so as to continue providing safe roadways for Dana Point residents and visitors.

Bus Strike Ended

The Orange County Transportation Authority's (OCTA) Board of Directors approved a new agreement with its coach operators this week, ending a strike by the Teamsters Union that crippled the transit system for more than a week. The most important component of the agreement is that it fairly distributes cost-of-living increases to both Junior and Senior Coach Operators to improve recruitment and retention. Under the new contract, over the course of 3 years, coach operators will receive a 14.7 percent increase in wages and benefits. I appreciate the hard work, professionalism and leadership that OCTA staff put forth to provide taxpayers and coach operators a fair deal. For more information, please click here.

Coastal Coalition

Last month, I chaired the Orange County Coastal Coalition meeting held at the Ocean Institute in Dana Point. Also on hand to facilitate the discussion were Supervisor Moorlach’s Chief of Staff Mario Mainero and Deputy Director of the County’s Watershed & Coastal Resources Division Mary Anne Skorpanich.

Guest speakers discussed Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) including domoic acid. HABs have been linked to deaths of sea lions, birds and other marine life, have shut down fisheries, and may even threaten human life.

Dr. David Caron from USC – a leading expert in the field of HABs research – was the keynote speaker. Dr. Caron’s research on HABs is focused on determining the causes of toxic tides and examining the ecological relationships and environmental conditions that may trigger such events.

We also heard from Debbie McGuire, Wildlife Director of the Wetlands & Wildlife Care Center in Huntington Beach; Dominic Gregorio, Senior Environmental Scientist for the State Water Resources Control Board; Karen Cowan with the County’s Watershed Division; and Steve Aceti with the California Coastal Coalition.

For more information on last month’s Coastal Coalition meeting on HABS, please click here.  To view Dr. David Caron’s presentation on Harmful Algal Blooms and their ecosystem impacts, please click here.

Medical Marijuana ID Program

Proposition 215 - the Compassionate Use Act - allowed physicians to provide recommendations for the use of marijuana. SB 420 attempted to define certain aspects of Prop 215, and outlined the Medical Marijuana ID Program. In April, the Board directed the Health Care Agency (HCA) to return in July with an Implementation Policy for the issuance of Medical Marijuana Identification Cards; a survey of other health departments; a survey of Law Enforcement; and a County Counsel memo on the Medical Marijuana Program.

At our July 17 meeting, the Board of Supervisors authorized HCA to conduct a fee study and return within 30 days for approval. I also directed staff to ensure the program confirms legal residency before issuing cards. More importantly, as community standards will not support such a program, I requested an agenda item come before the Board to restrict zoning for proposed dispensaries in the County unincorporated areas. Pending approval on these items by the Board, the ID program could be implemented within 120 days. To view staff’s powerpoint presentation to the Board, please click here. To view HCA’s Implementation Policy, please click here. To view results of the Law Enforcement Survey, please click here. To view County Counsel’s memo, please click here.

CLERB Public Workshop

On May 22, the Board of Supervisors directed the CEO to report back concerning the establishment of a Citizens Law Enforcement Review Board (CLERB) within 60 days.  At my recommendation, the Board also directed staff to hold a Board of Supervisors “Public Workshop” to allow us and the public to hear from the various stakeholders regarding different formats and types of oversight. The Public Workshop is scheduled for Tuesday, September 18, 2007. I encourage the public’s participation in this important workshop. Please RSVP to me directly at PatBates@hoa.ocgov.com if you plan to attend. The CEO also presented a Report to the Board of Supervisors – a thorough preliminary research document that will be an important component of the Public Workshop. To view the report, please click here.

Response to Grand Jury

In May, 2007, the Grand Jury released a report titled "The Absentee Ballot Process:  Does Your Vote Count."  This report directed Findings and Recommendations to the Registrar of Voters and the Board of Supervisors. To view the Grand Jury report, please click here. To view the County’s response approved at the July 17 Board meeting, please click here.

Firefighter Academy Graduation

The Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA) Career Recruit Academy #32 graduated on July 18.  The recruits received their badges after completing a 16-week, 640-hour training academy that was held at the OCFA Regional Fire & Training Operations Center in Irvine. Congratulations to the Academy graduates! To see a photo of the graduating class and their instructors, please click here.

Boards, Committees & Commissions

At the July 17 Board meeting, I was pleased to appoint Brian Probolsky of Laguna Niguel to the Harbors, Beaches and Parks Commission; Stephen Blythe of Lake Forest to the Airport Commission; and Joe Brown of Laguna Niguel to the Coastal Greenbelt Authority.

Additionally, at the July 24 Board meeting, I was pleased to reappoint Steven Knoblock of San Clemente to the Waste Management Commission; and Bruce Sonnenberg to the Housing and Community Development Commission.

Focus On: Ladera Ranch

Ladera Ranch is a unique young community, offering residents a wonderful small-town feeling. But what many residents may not know is what goes on behind the scenes. The Ladera Ranch Maintenance Corporation (LARMAC) is about to share these stories with the world and in doing so will be the first community association with an original video documentary series. "Focus On: Ladera Ranch" will take viewers on behind the scenes tours of Ladera Ranch. In true Hollywood fashion, a trailer website was created to give sneak previews of the show. To view the entertaining trailers, please click here.

The first 20 minute episode which focuses on Ladera Ranch’s Green Waste Recycling Program premiered on July 13 and is accessible for residents and non-residents of Ladera Ranch to view. For more information about "Focus On: Ladera Ranch", please click here. To view “Episode 1: Follow The Leaf” hosted by Ladera Ranch’s own Jeff Blugrind, please click here.

Fifth District Wrap-Up

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

  • Met with representatives of Families and Communities Together (FaCT), Orangewood Children's Foundation, and the South County Family Resource Center. Working together in public/private partnerships, these organizations provide many vital services to families in the community. For more information, please visit www.FactOC.org.
  • Received an overview of 2-1-1 Orange County, a comprehensive information and referral system linking Orange County residents to community health and human services and support. For more information, please visit www.211OC.org.
  • Attended the South Orange County Regional Chambers of Commerce Installation Luncheon to deliver the Invocation and present Cerificates of Recognition for outgoing Board members. For more information, please click here.
  • Met with Presiding Judge Nancy Wiebenstock, Presiding Judge Kim Dunning, and Superior Court CEO & Assistant Presiding Judge Alan Slater regarding the South Court Justice Center.
  • Toured John Wayne Airport with Airport Director Alan Murphy
  • Attended a reception celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the Kiwanis Club of Laguna Woods and presented a proclamation in honor of their forty years of outstanding community service.

My office also had the honor of:

  • Attending a reception at the Ocean Institute in Dana Point to present a proclamation in honor of retiring Dana Point Harbor Association President Don Hansen.
  • Attending the Orange County Human Relations Commission meeting at Chapman University.
  • Attending the Senior Citizens Advisory Council meeting in San Clemente.
  • Attending the Orange County Child Care & Development Planning Council meeting at the Orange County Department of Education. For more information, please visit www.occhildcarecouncil.org.
  • Attending the premiere of "Focus On: Ladera Ranch" - a new video documentary series highlighting and promoting the community of Ladera Ranch - and presenting Certificates of Recognition to video series producer Jeff Blugrind and Town Manager Dennis Javens representing the Ladera Ranch Maintenance Corporation Board of Directors. For more information, please visit www.focusonladeraranch.com.
  • Attending the Coastal Greenbelt Authority meeting in Laguna Woods.
  • Meeting with representatives of the Children & Families Commission and Habitat for Humanity of Orange County to discuss the Homes For Heroes program in San Juan Capistrano. 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!