Header image with Photo of Supervisor Pat Bates. Followed by office information
September 14, 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. Board Bulletin Board

2. South County News

3. Environmental Notes

4. Helpful Hints

5. Save the Date

6. 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 17
Board Bulletin Board

Medical Marijuana ID Program

On July 17, the Board of Supervisors directed the Health Care Agency (HCA) to return with a fee schedule and proposal for implementation of a Medical Marijuana ID Program for Orange County as mandated by State law (SB 420). I also requested information on verifying legal residency status and any current Orange County policy on regulating medical marijuana dispensaries. At Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, staff reported that Orange County has the ability to deny the issuance of a card if an application does not meet required criteria. However, the database for the ID Cards is maintained at the State level. As a result, ability to deactivate a card lies with the State. With regards to residency, individuals are required to present a government-issued ID and proof of Orange County residency when completing an application. I do not believe that the terms “government-issued” were specific enough and directed staff to only accept IDs issued by the government of the United States.

The success of the Medical Marijuana Program has yet to be proven. Rising costs and low participation rates make the future of this program questionable. However, unless there is a successful legal challenge or the State can no longer recover costs, the County of Orange will abide by State mandate and operate the ID Program.

Although State law requires counties to issue Medical Marijuana ID cards, the state has not suggested that counties also need to provide the medicine. The sale of marijuana is illegal under federal law. Given this, I do not believe the County of Orange should support the sale of an illegal product. Staff reported that the County does not currently have an official policy on medical marijuana dispensaries. With this in mind, I directed staff to return in 30-60 days with a proposed general ordinance specifically prohibiting dispensaries in the unincorporated areas Orange County. Many South County cities already have moratoria or bans on medical marijuana dispensaries including Aliso Viejo, Laguna Hills, Lake Forest, Mission Viejo, and San Juan Capistrano.

Treasurer – Tax Collector

At Tuesday’s meeting, the Board considered an urgency ordinance revoking the investment authority of Treasurer – Tax Collector Chriss Street. Mr. Street was elected by the people of Orange County to perform these duties. While I understand the desire to be cautious in matters concerning the County’s financial health, I believe that compelling evidence is necessary to overturn a decision made by Orange County voters. Official charges have not been filed against Mr. Street, and a recent report from Auditor-Controller David Sundstrom gives County investments a clean bill of health.

At this time, I do not believe an emergency situation exists that supports the immediate removal of the investment authority of Treasurer Street. As such, I introduced a motion supported unanimously by my colleagues, directing staff to work with the Auditor-Controller in providing a weekly update on the County investments, and for County Counsel to continue monitoring the legal situation of the Treasurer. Staff will report to the Board on October 16. I will continue to keep a close eye on the situation and would not hesitate to call a special Board meeting should an emergency action be required before then.

Polygraph Testing Adult Sex Offenders

For the last several years, our county’s Adult Sex Offender Unit in the Probation Department has conducted polygraph testing on the nearly 500 adult sex offenders under their watch. Adult Sex Offenders that resist treatment and supervision have proven to be more likely to commit another offense. These polygraph tests provide invaluable information for tailoring supervision of adult sex offenders as well as managing the level of treatment they receive during the course of their time on probation.  On Tuesday, I voted with my colleagues to renew an agreement with C.M. Tipton & Associates to continue providing polygraph testing services. The better we supervise and treat adult sex offenders, the more likely we will be able to reduce the threat they present to our communities.

4th Quarter Budget Report

At Tuesday’s Board meeting, we reviewed the 4th Quarter Budget Report. With each quarterly Budget, the Board considers departmental staffing & budgetary needs, and has the option of reallocating any excess revenues.

County revenues came in below budget for this quarter. However, County expenses were even more below budget. As such, the County continues to maintain good financial health. For more details about revenues, expenditures, and staffing, please click here to see the presentation given at the September 11 Board meeting.
South County News

Point Harbor Open House

I hosted a Dana Point Harbor Open House on Wednesday, September 12.  I appreciate the participation of everyone who attended this networking and project updates event held at the Youth & Group Facility. The purpose of the event was to facilitate open dialogue between the Dana Point Harbor Department (DPHD) and stakeholders. In my remarks, I reiterated my commitment to facilitating open communication between all stakeholders which is critical for achieving success in the harbor revitalization. There were displays manned by staff and consultants on the dredging project as well as waterside and landside revitalization updates. Information on possessory interest tax appeals, water quality education, and County services, were available on public information tables as well. I also had the pleasure of introducing the new DPHD Director, Brad Gross. Thank you to everyone who helped to make this Open House successful and I look forward to seeing you at future Harbor events.
Environmental Notes

Orange County Coastal Coalition

I recently chaired the sixth Orange County Coastal Coalition meeting for 2007 along with Supervisor Moorlach’s Chief of Staff Mario Mainero and Interim Director of the County’s Watershed & Coastal Resources Division Mary Anne Skorpanich. For a detailed meeting summary, please click here. Bill McDonnell, Senior Resource Specialist with the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD), presented information on regional water conservation programs. California’s main water sources have been severely impacted by record dry conditions. Because MWD is our region’s wholesale water supplier, hearing about their regional programs is very timely. Did you know MWD offers rebates to Southern California residents through local water agencies on items such as low flush toilets, washing machines, sprinklers as well as incentives for businesses and homebuilders? To view, Mr. McDonnell’s presentation, please click here. Darren Haver from the UC Cooperative Extension of Orange & Riverside Counties spoke about a unique demonstration project. Through three test home-sites, homeowners, landscapers, developers and gardeners could improve water quality and conserve water. The three demo plots are set up to mimic homeowner water use and reveal ways to reduce excess runoff. The project is paid largely from a grant from the state Water Resources Control Board and will run at least two years. I look forward to future data showing the results of this innovative research! To view, Mr. Haver’s presentation, please click here. Our next Coastal Coalition meeting will be on September 27 from 9am-11am, at the Newport Beach Library, 1000 Avocado, Newport Beach. I look forward to seeing you there!

Coastal Cleanup Day

Last year, over 6500 volunteers in the County of Orange participated in Coastal Cleanup Day, collecting a record breaking 91,000 pounds of trash and recyclables. 2007 will mark the 23rd year anniversary of California’s participation in this world wide event. Orange County has added new participating sites in an effort to include all residents of coastal and inner coastal areas to become part of the solution.

On September 15, 9 a.m. – noon, the County of Orange and the California Coastal Commission invite you to choose your favorite beach, park or waterway, and join us for Coastal and Inner Coastal Cleanup Day. Supplies will be available at each cleanup site along with a friendly face to answer questions. To view the 23rd Annual Coastal Cleanup Site Captains List, please click here.

You can also learn more about Coastal Cleanup Day and locate participating sites by clicking here or here.
Helpful Hints

Help is Here Express

If you are uninsured and struggling, the Partnership for Prescription Assistance may be able to help. Come find out if you may qualify for one or more of 475 patient assistance programs, many of which offer free or nearly free prescription medicines for those in need.

The "Help is Here Express” is coming to cities throughout Orange County, September 16–18. The “Help is Here Express” is equipped with computer terminals and phones so people can find out (for free) if they may be eligible for help. Trained specialists will be on board to make sure the process is quick and easy. For more information, please call (916) 658-0144 or click here.

Hot Weather Tips for Pet Owners

The heat is on and it is important for all pet owners to be aware of how extreme weather conditions can affect their pets. Overheating can kill an animal. By taking simple, preventative measures, your pet can stay cool and comfortable through the hot summer months. For information on how to help your pet beat the heat, please click here.

Encounters with Coyotes

Given the vast amount of open space we enjoy in South County, contact with coyotes is practically unavoidable. Under normal circumstances, they fear humans and avoid contact with us.  However, they have learned that our communities provide an easy source of food and water, and they have become comfortable living in close proximity to us.  While aggressive behavior towards humans is rare, coyotes can lose their natural fear of humans when they learn to depend on us for food. And small pets can easily become coyote prey as well.

There are many things that we can do to prevent these creatures from venturing into our neighborhoods. For more information, please click here or visit the Orange County Animal Care Services informational page at http://www.ocpetinfo.com/coyoteinfo.htm.
Save the Date

Fifth District Open House

You are cordially invited to attend a Fifth District Office Open House on Friday, October 5, at the Hall of Administration in Santa Ana. For more information, please click here.
Fifth District Wrap-Up

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

  • Participated in the annual Republican Club of Laguna Woods Fashion Show
  • Hosted a Dana Point Harbor Open House & Projects Update (see above for details)
  • Led a panel discussion with representatives of OCTA, TCA, Orange County Business Coalition, County of Orange, California Transportation Commission, and Caltrans, regarding Transportation Issues in Orange County and which was hosted by the Coastal Chamber Legislative Coalition (more on this in my next newsletter)
In addition, my office:

  • Toured the South Orange County Family Resource Center in Mission Viejo.
  • Attended a Low Impact Development Workshop
  • Toured the James A. Musick Jail facility
  • Attended a meeting of the Children and Families Commission
  • Attended a meeting of the Audit Oversight Committee
  • Attended the Grand Opening Celebration of the Orange County Sheriff's Regional Training Academy
  • Attended a meeting of the Local Agency Formation Commission
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 concerns, comments or questions at (714) 834-3550.

It is an honor and a privilege to serve as your Supervisor for Orange County's Fabulous Fifth District.

Thank you so much for your support!