Header image with Photo of Supervisor Pat Bates. Followed by office information
December 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. Headline News

2. Board Bulletin Board

3. South County News

4. Transportation Update

5. ‘Tis the Season

6. South County Calendar

7. South County Spotlight

8. 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 24

Storm Forces Park Closures

A second rain storm in as many weeks hit Orange County on Thursday night, forcing several parks & trails to close and requiring extra efforts to keep some facilities out of harm’s way.

This is the second storm since the recent Santiago Fire scorched much of Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park and burned within feet of the historic Helena Modjeska House. The rain placed added stress on these fragile areas and led to park closures due to concerns for public safety. For more information, please click here.

Emergency Flood & Mudflow Information

Thunderstorms, flash flooding, mudslides and debris flows are possible as we contend with the rainy season in the aftermath of the devastating Santiago Fire. Residents living in and below burned areas or near hillsides should be prepared for potential mudslides, debris flows and/or rock slides. These can occur even during periods of little or no rainfall. Residents should monitor news broadcasts and be prepared to take action if flash flood warnings are issued. For more important information, please click here.


Legislative Platform: Complete Foothill-South / 241 Toll Road

As a former member of the California State Assembly, I was accustomed to meeting with advocacy groups and lobbyists promoting the agenda of a particular organization or client.  While that remains true in my current role on the Board of Supervisors, I am now able to work to craft a legislative agenda on behalf of the County of Orange.

On Tuesday, the Board approved the County’s Legislative Platform that embodies the County’s formal public policy positions and describes in detail legislative initiatives we hope will be enacted into law. An important item included in the policy statements this year is clear support for the completion of SR 241 (Foothill-South Toll Road). To view the Legislative Platform presentation provided to the Board, please click here.

As I have communicated numerous times in the past, Foothill-South is an essential component to our transportation network in South County.  It will provide necessary congestion relief to I-5 and surrounding arterials as well as act as an alternate emergency route for public safety vehicles. To that end, I wish to alert you of an upcoming presentation that you should certainly make an effort to attend or tune in to watch.  On Tuesday, December 11, the Board will receive a presentation by the Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA) that dispels misinformation that has been circulated regarding completion of Foothill-South and highlights significant benefits it will have for Orange County and particularly for Fifth District residents.

Lastly, to show support for completion of the 241, you can help immensely by writing to the California Coastal Commission. I also urge Foothill-South supporters to attend and speak at the Coastal Commission meeting on February 7, 2008. For more information, please click here.

Emergency Management Performance Grant

I am pleased to announce that the County has been awarded the Emergency Management Performance Grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in the amount of $395,909.  This national program is administered by the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services to each Operational Area in California.  The grant will support the County’s efforts to prevent, prepare for, respond to, and recover from emergencies and disasters, whether natural or man-made. Specifically, these funds will be distributed to all of our county’s cities and the Emergency Management Division for salary expenses of emergency management staff.

Emergency Management Council

The Orange County Emergency Management Council, which is the disaster council for our county, is updating the membership and management practices of our county in times of disasters or emergencies to more clearly define and reflect the roles/responsibilities of each agency. 

Currently, a member of the Board of Supervisors, the County Executive Office, Resources and Development Management Department, Orange County Fire Authority, Health Care Agency, Sheriff-Coroner Department, Social Services Agency, and Probation Department make up the Emergency Management Council.  The proposed resolution will add the Integrated Waste Management Department, Housing and Community Services Department, County Counsel, Human Resources Department, John Wayne Airport, Auditor-Controller, Treasurer-Tax Collector, District Attorney, and Public Defender as members to create a more collaborative process for managing emergencies. 

Additionally, based upon the type of disaster that occurs, the appropriate department head would serve as the designated Director of Emergency Services.  I supported continuing this item and directed staff to provide language that designates the CEO to serve as the Director of Emergency Services who will be responsible for issuing orders to agencies, establishing a clearer chain of command in times of disaster.  Staff will work with my office to incorporate those changes and return to the Board for approval in two weeks.

New Recycling Grant Program

I’m very pleased to announce the inception of the new Regional Recycling and Waste Diversion Grant Program for the Cities and unincorporated communities of the County. This is a great opportunity for South County Cities to develop new and effective recycling and waste diversion programs. To benefit from this program, Cities will need to apply to the Integrated Waste Management Department (IWMD) to receive grant funds for new or expanded programs. Awards range from $20,000 to $40,000, depending on population. $1,000,000 is available through June 30, 2008. The source of this funding is derived from the recently implemented AB 939 Self-Haul Surcharge. Remember, funding requests must:

  • Address a need
  • Explain the expected impact
  • Be business/resident/user-friendly
  • Have measurable outcomes; and
  • Ideally include matching funds

I encourage you to come up with effective and even innovative approaches to expand recycling programs so together we can maximize the useful life of the Prima Deschecha Landfill.

For more information, please contact Isabel Rios, Manager, Regional Recycling and Waste Diversion Grant Program, IWMD, at (714) 834-4118 or via email at Isabel.Rios@iwmd.ocgov.com. Detailed information on the grants program can also be found by clicking here.


Dana Point Harbor Revitalization

As I reported in my newsletter last week, the Dana Point Harbor Department has prepared an Initial Study (IS) for the proposed waterside Marina Improvement Project in Dana Point Harbor and determined that a Subsequent Environmental Impact Report (SEIR) is required.

A public SEIR scoping meeting will be held on Saturday, December 8, 2007, from 11am to 1pm at the Dana Point Youth and Group Facility, Dana Cove Room, 34451 Ensenada Place, Dana Point Harbor, Dana Point, California 92629. All those with an interest in the revitalization of the Harbor are encouraged to attend.

A complete copy of the Notice of Preparation (NOP) and Initial Study (IS) prepared for the proposed project may be reviewed at the Orange County Dana Point Harbor Department, 24650 Dana Point Harbor Drive, Dana Point, California 92629, or online at www.dphplan.com. These documents form the basis of the SEIR study to be performed on the waterside development. The public comment period ends on January 2, 2008. For more information, please click here.

Coto de Caza Public Safety Update

The County and the Sheriff’s Department are working with Coto de Caza to review a recently completed revenue study as well as the options available for modifying law enforcement services to meet community needs. As always, the Sheriff’s Department is committed to providing a high level of service to the community. 

Coto de Caza residents may have noticed an increase in Sheriff’s patrol cars on their streets. The increased presence is not a response to an increase in crime as the community enjoys a high level of public safety.  Rather, the increased presence is in response to requests from the community to bring Community Oriented Policing to Coto de Caza. The first steps include an increase in patrols by deputies, periodic patrols by specialty units such as bike patrol and the Mounted Enforcement Unit (MEU), a higher level of participation by Department personnel in community meetings and events, and spreading the word through venues such as the local newspapers. 

I invite Coto de Caza residents to work with the Sheriff’s Department as well as my office to better shape services to the community. Lieutenant Bill Griffin manages Sheriff’s Department personnel and resources in Coto De Caza as well as all South County unincorporated areas. If you have any comments or questions, please do not hesitate to contact him at (949) 425-1819 or via e-mail at wpgriffin@ocsd.org.


Oso Parkway Signal Synchronization

Early next year, be on the lookout for the signals to be re-timed along Oso Parkway for anticipated improved traffic flows. Signal synchronization is a cost-effective way to increase roadway capacity without the expense of major new construction. At Tuesday’s meeting, my Board colleagues and I approved the Memorandum of Understanding for this pilot program in partnership with OCTA, Caltrans and the Cities of Aliso Viejo, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Hills, and Mission Viejo.

Out of 34 signals along Oso Parkway, the County is responsible for two signals in unincorporated County areas at Meandering Trail and Antonio Parkway. Once the program has proven to be effective, I look forward to “test-driving” the newly timed green lights next year as I’m sure you will too!

TCA’s FasTrak System

SR 125 recently opened in San Diego using the FasTrak system trademarked by the Orange County Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA) to allow drivers to pay at highway speeds without stopping at toll booths. SR125 is another example of the FasTrak commitment to improving the lives of all Californians by relieving traffic congestion throughout the State.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger recently talked about his plans to expand the use of public-private partnerships to meet the State’s demand for new infrastructure. “State agencies estimate that California needs $500 billion in infrastructure over the next 20 years,” Schwarzenegger stated on November 27. “We will need that infrastructure delivered, operated and maintained on-budget and at the lowest risk and cost to taxpayers.”

Orange County’s 73, 133, 241 and 261 Toll Roads and SR125 in San Diego are examples of public-private partnerships that ease traffic by building new infrastructure at no cost to taxpayers. For more information, please click here.


Santa’s Train Is Coming To Town!

With the price of fuel these days, not even Santa can afford gas. That’s why he’s taking an early train from the North Pole to Orange County. The public is invited to experience the fun and magic of the holidays with OCTA and the Metrolink Holiday Toy Express. Families will have a chance to catch Santa at their nearest Metrolink station. Come share in the joy of the season with music, fun and activities.

What could be better than St. Nick arriving in his sleigh, pulled by reindeer? It’s a 450-ton train decorated with giant glittering ornaments, animated displays and more than 50,000 twinkling lights! Not only will the train bring Santa Claus and his friends from the North Pole, but there will be a musical stage show and chances for kids of all ages to meet the jolly old man himself.

Most importantly, the Holiday Toy Express will give you the chance to make life a little brighter for children who might otherwise be left out of the holiday celebration. This event supports the Southern California Firefighters’ Spark of Love Toy Drive that collects and distributes toys to less-fortunate children. The public is encouraged to share their holiday spirit by bringing a new unwrapped toy or sporting equipment to the show to donate to this worthy cause. For information on when Santa’s train will be arriving at an OCTA Metrolink station near you, please click here.

Holiday Volunteer & Donation Opportunities

Adding one more gift to your shopping list can make holiday dreams come true for a needy child or teen, an impoverished senior citizen, or a low-income family. For a number of wonderful volunteer and donation opportunities available this holiday season, please click here.

December Is Adopt A Bunny Month

During the entire month of December, Animal Care Services will be promoting rabbit adoptions by offering a plush rabbit toy with all rabbit adoptions. For information on how to find some bunny to love, please click here.


17th Annual Winter Fantasy

The magic continues at the 17th Annual Winter Fantasy, on Saturday & Sunday, December 8 & 9, at the world-famous Sawdust Art Festival in Laguna Beach. Visitors can experience the artistic wonders of 170 Laguna Beach artists and craftspeople amidst towering eucalyptus trees and tranquil waterfalls within a three and half acre canyon setting. The Winter Fantasy includes art projects for children and adults, live holiday entertainment, artist demonstrations including glass blowing, a snow playfield, 3 outdoor cafés, and visits with Santa! For more information, please click here.

Ladera Ranch Tree Lighting Ceremony

Join the Ladera holiday tradition as they light their new 60 foot tree in the Town Green. Enjoy refreshments, live music and other shows while you await Santa’s arrival atop Engine 58, their local Fire Engine. Town Green, 28801 Sienna Parkway, Ladera Ranch. Friday, December 7, at 6pm. For more information, please click here.

33rd Annual Boat Parade of Lights

Don’t miss Dana Point’s 33rd Annual Boat Parade of Lights with this year’s theme: A MERRY MARDI GRAS. Boaters from all around Orange County decorate their boats and vie for the awards of Judges Choice, Best Theme, Best Use of Lights, Best Animation, Most Colorful, Most Original, Best Sailboat, Best Powerboat and the Perpetual Trophy for the Yacht Club with the Most Entries. Landlubbers can view the parade free from anywhere in the Harbor. Come on down and enjoy the sights and sounds of the season. Fridays, December 7 & 14; and Saturdays, December 8 & 15; at 7:30pm by the water’s edge. For more information, please click here.

Laguna Hills Breakfast with Santa

HO-HO-HO! Santa will arrive at the Laguna Hills Community Center for a wonderful morning full of holiday fun. Join Santa and his helpers for a scrumptious pancake breakfast, holiday crafts, photo with St. Nick, and a bag full of goodies for each child. Saturday, December 8, from 9 to 10:30am. Laguna Hills Community Center, 25555 Alicia Parkway, Laguna Hills. For more information, please click here.

2007 Laguna Niguel Holiday Parade

Generations of families will gather along Crown Valley Parkway on this peaceful and brilliant Saturday to watch the largest and most creative display of community in the City’s history! This year, the parade is filled with beautiful equestrian units, patriotic and inspirational military tributes, spirit filled youth groups, classic auto clubs, talented marching bands and some of the biggest attractions in the nation!  Also included in the mix of fun and eclectic entries are this year’s Celebrity Grand Marshals. Don’t miss out on this annual, hometown tradition. Saturday, December 8, beginning at 10:00am. For more information, please click here.

Heritage Hill’s 22nd Annual Candlelight Tour

The twinkle of candlelight dances in the moonlight as the sound of holiday carolers’ waft over the smell of fresh baked cookies and apple cider. Over 1000 luminaries are lit and placed along the walkways and doorways during this beautiful evening event. Children will delight as they visit with Santa in the arbor and sit at a turn-of-the-century school desk while storytellers spin holiday tales in the one-room El Toro Grammar Schoolhouse. Parents and friends will enjoy the sights of antique holiday decorations as costumed docents lead them through the history of old Orange County. Listen to harp music as you tour the 1930s-vintage Bennett Ranch house, watch a Spanish guitarist and Flamenco dance in the 1863 Serrano Adobe, and enjoy ongoing entertainment in the circa-1891 St. George’s Episcopal Mission.

Soak up the warmth of the holidays and let Heritage Hill’s Candlelight Tour become one of your family’s holiday traditions. This year’s Candlelight Tour will take place on Saturday & Sunday, December 8 & 9, 5:30pm – 8:30 pm, at Heritage Hill Historical Park, 25151 Serrano Road, Lake Forest. For more information, please call Heritage Hill Historical Park at (949) 923-2230 or (949) 923-2232, or click here.

Menorah Lighting – Hanukkah at the Ranch

Join the Ladera Ranch community to celebrate Hanukkah! This event, sponsored by residents and several local Jewish organizations will feature music, a candle-making factory, food, children’s activities and lighting the Menorah. Sunday, December 9, 3 – 5pm. Town Green, 28801 Sienna Parkway, Ladera Ranch. For more information, please click here.

Laguna Niguel Chanukah Festival and Menorah Lighting

Join the City of Laguna Niguel for the lighting of the giant Menorah, live music entertainment, holiday crafts/activities, hot latkes, sufganiyot (holiday doughnuts), refreshments, Hanukkah Gelt and Dreidles. Presented by Chabad of Laguna Niguel. Sunday, December 9, at 4pm. Crown Valley Park, Amphitheater (new location), 29751 Crown Valley Parkway, Laguna Niguel. For more information, please click here.


Mary Fegraus – Laguna Canyon Foundation

I recently had the pleasure of attending the first anniversary celebration of the James and Rosemary Nix Nature Center and presenting a proclamation in honor of Mary Fegraus, recently retired Executive Director of the Laguna Canyon Foundation.

Almost seventeen years ago, Mary Fegraus worked with other founding directors to create Laguna Canyon Foundation, where she served as Executive Director until July of 2007.  She worked both professionally and personally toward enhancing Laguna Coast Wilderness Park and the Nix Nature Center as well as other open spaces and parks in Orange County. 

Mary has been an active volunteer in our community, assuming leadership roles in a variety of other local organizations including that of naturalist and director of the Laguna Greenbelt as well as serving on the Laguna Beach Planning Commission, Laguna Beach High School Scholarship Foundation, Laguna Beach Community Foundation, and Girl Scouts Laguna Beach Service Unit.

Mary’s tireless commitment and dedication in support of Laguna Coast Wilderness Park and the Laguna Canyon Foundation will be greatly missed. On behalf of the Fifth District, I thank Mary Fegraus for her outstanding accomplishments in preservation of our open spaces and extend sincere best wishes for continued success in all future endeavors. To view photos of the event held at the Nix Nature Center, please click here. For more information about the James and Rosemary Nix Nature Center, please click here.


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

  • Co-Chaired the ninth and final meeting for 2007 of the Orange County Coastal Coalition. For more information, please click here.
  • Delivered the keynote address at the quarterly meeting of the Independent Special Districts of Orange County
  • Met with constituents from Coto de Caza to discuss traffic enforcement and other issues
  • Adjourned the December 4 Board of Supervisors meeting in memory Mike Allen

My office also:

  • Met with Social Services Agency staff regarding foster care and Transitional Age Youth (TAY)
  • Attended a Laguna Canyon Conservancy reception along with Watershed & Coastal Resources Division staff to provide an overview of the Aliso SUPER Project
  • Provided a Certificate of Recognition in honor of the 20th Anniversary Celebration of the Dana Point Historical Society. 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 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!