Header image with Photo of Supervisor Pat Bates. Followed by office information
August 10, 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.



!. Constitutionality of Pension Benefits

2. Road Improvement Funding

3. San Juan Creek Study

4. Renewed Measure M Funding

5. Continuous Access HOV Lanes

6. Special Needs In Transit Advisory Committee

7. Orange County Coastal Coalition

8. Mountain Lion Incidents

9. Persied Meteor Shower

10. San Clemente Fiesta Street Festival

11. Ladera Ranch Cycling Grand Prix

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 15
Constitutionality of Pension Benefits

Following an in-depth discussion at the July 31 Board of Supervisors meeting regarding the complex legal, financial and human issues that are involved, I voted with my colleagues to take the following actions:  Seek independent legal counsel to review constitutional issues relative to pension benefit compensation in order to obtain supplementary objective analysis before taking official legal action; on September 18, we will consider the intent to rescind the retroactive portion of the “3% at 50” pension increase to all Public Safety employees who received such retroactive increase approved in 2001, except that members who have retired since the increase took effect shall not be required to repay any pension payments received; direct staff to return with recommendation on how to effect such rescission if the Board moves forward with legal action on September 18; and direct the County’s Legal Counsel to return with a recommendation for retaining outside counsel to pursue this matter in court as well as seek independent analysis of case law affecting the granting of pension benefits.

Further I voted to direct staff to evaluate the issues raised by Sheriff Michael Carona and District Attorney Tony Rackauckas including examination of all documents/evidence that was a part of the 2001 negotiations to approve the pension increase.

Given the legal requisite inherent in the Oath of Office I took as an elected official to uphold the provisions of our Constitution, I considered these actions as mandatory.  Going forward, it is imperative to determine whether there in fact is a prohibition against granting retroactive public employee pension benefits and, if so, the Board will take necessary action. 

The next step will be a public discussion at our September 18 Board of Supervisors meeting to review all relevant history and documents on this issue before proceeding with filing any legal action.  It is important to understand that no rescission of retroactive pension benefits will occur unless directed by the Courts where our Sheriff’s Deputies are entitled to a fair hearing.

I appreciate your input and encourage you to pay close attention to the details of this issue as the discussion evolves.  I will be providing periodic updates regarding this issue in my newsletter.

Road Improvement Funding

I’m pleased to announce that at our July 31 meeting, my fellow supervisors and I approved the City Aid Program (CAP), a new road improvement funding program. Due to excess Proposition 42 funds, the CAP program will provide Orange County cities $10 million in road maintenance funds each year. This equates to roughly $2 million for the Fifth District cities. We will all benefit as potholes are fixed, drainage issues are corrected and aging roads are re-surfaced. The Board also agreed to divide $61.6 million of Proposition 1B funds equally between each supervisorial district over the next 10 years. That means we will have an additional $12 million for use on priority road construction projects in South County!

San Juan Creek Study

On July 31, the Board approved extending a contract with PACE Engineering and the RMV Community Development Company for completion of the San Juan Creek Watershed Study. This project includes analysis of hydrology, river hydraulics, sedimentation, and erosion protection of the watershed. The resulting data will help determine appropriate flood control improvements to protect lives, homes and businesses.

Many of us vividly recall the January 2005 storm in which a portion of the levee system failed, causing hundreds of homes and businesses to be evacuated. The County’s Public Works forces immediately began the repair of the levee and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers stepped in to assist in the completion of the repair.  This Study will ensure that a permanent flood management solution is finalized and considered within the context of the entire watershed. Protection of lives and property is a serious obligation and I am committed to ensuring these efforts continue.

Renewed Measure M Funding

Over the next couple of weeks I will be having follow-up meetings with various South County cities to make certain Mayors and City Managers have the resources they need to meet eligibility deadlines and requirements for receiving Renewed Measure M funding.  It is important to make sure our cities have the support they need from the Transportation Authority and the County to deliver much needed projects in a timely manner.

Continuous Access HOV Lanes

The Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) completed a survey of 1,084 people regarding the continuous access of High-Occupancy Vehicle Lanes.  An overwhelming 71% support the continuous access concept.  OCTA is exploring the possibilities of considering this for Carpool Lanes on other Orange County freeways including the I-5 in South County.  To see the results of the survey, please click here.

Special Needs In Transit Advisory Committee

The Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) is looking for individuals with a demonstrated interest in, and involvement with, persons with disabilities and/or senior citizens to serve on its Special Needs In Transit Advisory Committee. Committee members advise OCTA on methods to promote integrated public transit services and help improve communication between OCTA and its special needs customers. Applications for a two-year term beginning in 2008 can be submitted through August 23. To request an application please contact Donna Berger at (714) 560‑5538 or dberger@octa.net. For more information, please click here.

Orange County Coastal Coalition

On July 26, I chaired the fifth Orange County Coastal Coalition meeting for 2007 at the Newport Beach Library. Supervisor Moorlach’s Chief of Staff Mario Mainero and Interim Director of the County’s Watershed & Coastal Resources Division Mary Anne Skorpanich were also on hand to facilitate the discussion. For a detailed meeting summary, please click here.

Larry Honeybourne from the County’s Health Care Agency presented the 2006 annual beach water quality report card. I was pleased to hear that the majority of Orange County beaches got “A’s” & “B’s” and that sewage spills are on the decline. To view Mr. Honeybourne’s presentation, please click here.

Richard Boon of the County’s Watershed and Coastal Resources Division gave us an overview of the Orange County Stormwater Program. We learned how the County is working closely with Cities to protect rivers, creeks and coastal waters through cooperative stormwater management. The good news is that enforcement actions are down because County businesses and residents are serious about curbing water pollution. To see Mr. Boon’s presentation on the program and to learn more about the municipal stormwater permit, please click here.

Pat Fuscoe of Fuscoe Engineering enlightened us with his presentation on ‘Green Streets’ at the Orange County Great Park (formerly MCAS El Toro). This new approach to road design, also known as Low Impact Development (LID), will transform streets into sustainable and pedestrian-friendly travelways without sacrificing safety or function. Bordered by attractive drought tolerant landscapes and shade trees, ‘Green Streets’ are narrower, can harvest stormwater with permeable surfaces and clean urban runoff. For more on Mr. Fuscoe’s innovative ‘Green Streets’ project at El Toro, please click here.

Our next Coastal Coalition meeting will take place August 23, 2007, from 9am-11am, at the Newport Beach Library, 1000 Avocado, Newport Beach. Please join us!

Mountain Lion Incidents

Multiple law enforcement and resource agencies recently responded to Laguna Niguel Regional Park to investigate and locate a mountain lion following a sighting that occurred early in the morning Wednesday, August 01, in the vicinity of the concession building. The park was closed while Harbors, Beaches & Parks staff assisted Orange County Sheriff and Animal Control officers that responded to the incident.

The Laguna Niguel incident followed a confrontation that took place a week earlier in Coto de Caza when Department of Fish & Game wardens shot a 70-pound young male mountain lion – one of two that had been seen in the area. One mountain lion was crouched near a yard where children were playing. The animal was killed by a game warden after it approached the officers with no sign of fear.

Such behavior by a mountain lion is highly unusual and potentially dangerous. Since 1986 there have been three fatal attacks in the state and ten non-fatal ones – including the 2004 killing of a mountain biker in South Orange County and the severe injury of another. Although mountain lion attacks on humans are extremely rare, conflicts are increasing as human populations expand into mountain lion habitat. Additionally, we may be attracting mountain lions to our property without even knowing it. To learn how to prevent deadly conflicts with these beautiful wild animals, please click here. .

Persied Meteor Shower

Join the Orange County Astronomers for an evening of star gazing and other celestial observations. The Persied Meteor Shower occurs each August and there is a good chance to view a meteor as it streaks across the night sky. This year there is no moonlight to interfere. In a dark sky, it may be possible to see an average of one meteor a minute. The cost is $2.00 per person and children under 12 are free.

WHEN: Sunday, August 12, 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
WHERE: Riley Wilderness Park, 30952 Oso Parkway, Coto de Caza
CONTACT: Riley Wilderness Park, 949-923-2265

For more information, please click here.

San Clemente Fiesta Street Festival

Don't miss the Annual San Clemente Fiesta Street Festival on Sunday, August 12, 9 a.m. - 7 p.m., with free-admission to a day-long Block Party on picturesque downtown Avenida Del Mar:

  • Three Stages of Continuous Live Music
  • Non-profit Food & Game Booths, Contests, Exhibits
  • Salsa Challenge
  • Petting Zoo, Children's Rides
  • Classic Car & Harley Show
  • Arts & Crafts Fair & More!

For more information, please click here.

Ladera Ranch Cycling Grand Prix

Attention competitive South County cyclists and runners! Get ready for the first annual Ladera Ranch Cycling Grand Prix and 5K on Sunday, August 19, 2007. The Grand Prix race will begin at 9:00 AM and end at 6:00 PM.  The circuit will be around Founders Park. This offers plenty of excitement for spectators as cyclists race to cross the finish line. 

In addition to cycling races there will be a 5K run and, for children, a Little Legs 1K run.  The running events start at 7:45 AM. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. For registration and other information about the Ladera Ranch Cycling Grand Prix, 5K or Little Legs 1K, please contact Ladera Cyclery at 949-429-7784, or click here.

Fifth District Wrap-Up

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

  • Attended a meeting of the South Orange County Major Investment Study (SOCMIS) Policy Advisory Committee.
  • Met with Paul McIntosh, CEO, California State Association of Counties (CSAC) for an update on CSAC issues.
  • Met with representatives of the American Institute of Higher Education Resources to discuss organizational advancement and staff development.
  • Attended a special meeting of the Orange County Fire Authority and presented Certificates of Recognition to this year’s Academy graduates.

My office also had the honor of:

  • Attending a meeting of the South Orange County Regional Chambers of Commerce Government Affairs Committee.
  • Attending a meeting of the Children and Families Commission.
  • Attending a meeting of the Airport Commission.
  • Presenting a Certificate of Recognition to tennis great Andre Agassi at the Grand Opening of the 24 Hour Fitness Agassi Super-Sport Club in Laguna Niguel.
  • Attending a meeting of the National Children's Study - Community Advisory Board at the Discovery Science Center.
  • Attending a meeting of the CalOptima Board of Directors.

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!