Header image with Photo of Supervisor Pat Bates. Followed by office information
December 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. Transportation Update

3. Dana Point Harbor Revitalization

4. South County Calendar

5. ‘Tis The Season

6. South County Spotlight

7. 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 25

Official Status of the Sheriff-Coroner

Over the past few weeks, I have received numerous inquiries regarding the official status of Orange County Sheriff-Coroner Michael Carona. Less than 30 days ago, the Sheriff notified the Board of Supervisors that he would be taking a voluntary Leave of Absence for 60 days following a federal indictment. As a Board, we directed County Counsel to provide specific answers to the many legal questions raised regarding the Sheriff and his self-imposed leave of absence.

On Tuesday, County Counsel provided the Board with a very thorough report of their findings. Following a comprehensive legal research of case law, County Counsel addressed us that the Board of Supervisors has no legal authority to:

  • Remove another County elected official from office
  • Place a County elected official on any kind of leave from their duties
  • Deny a County elected official their pay even if they choose to go on leave

In short, until a court decision is forth coming or a voluntary resignation is tendered, the Sheriff may keep his pay and his office. To view the County Counsel report to the Board, please click here.

The day-to-day operations of the Sheriff’s Department continue to be managed by Undersheriff Jo Ann Galisky. Undersheriff Galisky and the command staff, including the Assistant Sheriffs and Captains, continue to provide me with regular updates on operations in the 5th District and countywide programs.

The Board also recently voted in favor of revising the class specification standards for the position of Assistant Sheriff. The revision reapplies standards in place prior to December, 1998.  As always, I will continue to work to ensure the public safety as well as provide the highest quality law enforcement to Orange County residents.

South County Recycling Opportunities Increase

The Prima Deshecha Landfill is the principle site for receipt of South County’s waste materials. Stretching the useful life of this landfill will address South County residents’ waste disposal needs for decades to come. Sorting recyclable from non-recyclable waste through a Material Recovery Facility or MRF is a critical part of extending the viability of the landfill and meeting state mandates. On Tuesday, the Board approved the release of a Request for Proposals for the creation of a MRF at South County’s Prima Deshecha Landfill. My staff and I worked closely with the County Integrated Waste Management Department, local businesses, Cities of San Juan Capistrano and San Clemente and other stakeholders to ensure this MRF can meet their needs and the state requirements to divert waste from landfills via recycling.

“The Ocean Begins At Your Front Door”

Clean beaches and creeks are one of my top priorities for South County. That is why I’m very pleased the Board supported me in approving the contract for continuing the public stormwater education and outreach campaign. The good news is that the public is more aware today than 10 years ago that “the ocean begins at our front door.” However, we still have a long way to go before everyone understands that polluted urban runoff from our neighborhoods travels to the ocean and can harm the health of humans, marine life and migrating birds.

Some common sources of pollutants include trash, landscape clippings, over-watering of fertilized lawns (which harbor bacteria), tires, brakes and pet waste. Did you know that in a Laguna Beach Park, in one day, one person picked up 60 pounds of dog waste? That waste contains concentrated nutrients that could rob Laguna Canyon Creek of life-giving oxygen or harbor harmful bacteria that reach the beach. Lets all do our part to curb ocean pollution and pick up after ourselves as well as our pets.

For public education materials or to order online, click here.

To view the Stormwater Duckie PSA, please click here.

Human Relations Commission Annual Report

On Tuesday, the Human Relations Commission presented their Annual Report to the Board, highlighting programs completed across Orange County.  The BRIDGES program, already conducted at Laguna Hills High School and Rancho Santa Margarita Intermediate School of Medicine & Health Sciences, teaches students how to resolve disputes by using words and community dialogue rather than violence. The Human Relations Commission also offered Civic Leadership training in San Juan Capistrano and assisted the San Clemente Youth Task Force in improving civic participation. The Human Relations Commission also works with local law enforcement to diffuse potentially eruptive community situations and offers mediation services for citizens with cases in civil court. To view the Human Relations Commission Annual Report presented to the Board, please click here.


Response to Anti-241 Study

In my newsletter last week, I invited readers to tune into the Board of Supervisors Board Meeting on Tuesday, December 11, to hear a presentation by David Lowe of the Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA) where I sit on the Board of Directors.

I asked Mr. Lowe, Chief Engineer for TCA, to present the analysis of a study by Smart Mobility (an east coast firm) conducted for the Coastal Commission on the impacts of completing the Foothill-South / 241 Extension. The TCA analysis posed serious questions challenging the study’s findings that need addressing before Coastal Commissioners can decide whether or not to support completion of Foothill-South.

Setting the record straight on the significant negative community impacts that would result from widening I-5 as compared to completing SR 241 / Foothill-South along the preferred alignment is critical to convincing the Coastal Commission to approve the project. To view the TCA presentation to the Board in response to the Smart Mobility study, please click here. To view a briefing paper presented to the Board by the County Public Works Department raising serious questions regarding the study’s validity, please click here.

South Orange County Major Investment Study (SOCMIS)

The South Orange County Major Investment Study Policy Advisory Committee which I chair met last week and received a report on a Weekend Traffic Study which was conducted at the request of the committee. It provided substantive evidence indicating nearly 70% of trips on Interstate 5 originate in South County. As residents, we use this arterial as a local route and remain in the immediate area.

This information will be valuable in determining which of six proposed transportation alternatives will provide the greatest traffic congestion relief and best alternative for local circulation needs. The next step in the study will be a comprehensive engineering analysis as we work toward a final selection of one of the six proposals. This will be deemed the Local Preferred Strategy. A final decision is due mid 2008.


Marina Improvement Project Public Scoping Meeting

On Saturday, December 8, the Dana Point Harbor Department (DPHD) conducted a public scoping meeting for the Marina Improvement Project, Subsequent Environmental Impact Report (SEIR).  My staff was in attendance to hear public comments. I wish to thank everyone who took time out of their busy weekend to attend the meeting and provide their comments on the process and the environmental issues.

DPHD will be conducting future public meetings to discuss the marina design which is not yet finalized. I encourage your continued participation at these future meetings. The public comment period for the Notice of Preparation (NOP) and Initial Study (IS) documents ends January 2, 2008. Please submit your comments in writing to marinaeir@dphd.ocgov.com or to Brad Gross, Director, Dana Point Harbor Department, 24650 Dana Point Harbor Drive, Dana Point, CA 92629. To see the NOP, please click here. To see the IS, please click here. . To see a recently completed Boat Traffic Study, please click here. For more information, please click here.

Dana Point Harbor Receives $4.8 Million

Last week, the State Department of Boating and Waterways Commission approved a loan of $4.8 million to the Dana Point Harbor Department (DPHD) for the waterside portion of the Revitalization Plan.

This amount completes the final funding phase for the first of four loans from the Department of Boating and Waterways. To date, DPHD has acquired $15 million from Cal Boating.

The County is preparing plans to rebuild the East and West Marinas in Dana Point Harbor. Built in 1971, the Harbor has approximately 2400 wet slips whose docks and utilities are in dire need of replacement. For more information, please click here.

Coastal Commission Dredge Permit Obtained

On Wednesday, December 12, the California Coastal Commission (CCC) approved their Notice of Intent to issue a permit allowing the Dana Point Harbor Department (DPHD) to move forward with the maintenance dredge project.

This permit is the fourth of five necessary approvals needed for the maintenance project and puts us one step closer to being able to dredge the harbor. To date, DPHD has received approvals from the State Lands Commission, the Regional Water Quality Control Board, the City of Dana Point, and now the Coastal Commission, leaving the Army Corps of Engineers as the final permit required. 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 on Friday & Saturday, December 14 & 15, at 7:30pm by the water’s edge. http://www.danapointharbor.com/Calendar.html

First Responders Appreciation Day

Please join us on December 15 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Heroes Park, 25420 Jeronimo Road, Lake Forest, to honor the emergency personnel who responded to the Santiago Fire. The day will include an appreciation ceremony recognizing the American Red Cross, California Highway Patrol, Orange County Animal Care Services, Orange County Fire Authority and Orange County Sheriff’s Department. The event will also feature music, games, bounces houses, beverages, chips and hamburgers. All entertainment, food and beverages will be provided at no charge by the City of Lake Forest. 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. To see where and what time Santa’s train will be arriving in South County on Sunday, December 16, 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.

Gifts of Christmas

The Toll Roads is partnering to collect toys for Camp Pendleton's Military Outreach Services, an organization that helps meet families' basic needs while their loved ones serve overseas.

Each year, they host a "Gifts of Christmas" event where base families have the opportunity to "shop" for gifts. Each family receives toys for their children and a basket of food. For information on suggested gift items and TCA locations to donate them, please click here.

Adopt A Christmas Bunny

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.


SCWD Groundwater Recovery Facility

I recently attended the grand opening celebration of South Coast Water District’s (SCWD) long anticipated Groundwater Recovery Facility.

Until the recent activation of SCWD’s new Groundwater Recovery Facility, 100% of the District’s water was imported from the Colorado River and Northern California by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. With imported water supplies decreasing due to climate change, ongoing drought, changes in government policy and legislative decisions restricting flows to Southern California, SCWD sought to enhance water reliability for the residents and businesses it serves by diversifying the area’s water resources with the development of this new sustainable local supply. SCWD built the innovative Groundwater Recovery Facility to meet this goal which will help preserve the local economy, safeguard the environment, and ensure the quality of life enjoyed in south Orange County.

SCWD provides drinking water to 40,000 residents, 1,000 businesses, and more than two million visitors a year in the communities of Dana Point, South Laguna, and area of north San Clemente. I’m very pleased to report that residents and businesses within the SCWD service area will benefit greatly from the Groundwater Recovery Facility and this new source of drinking water -- today and in the future. For more information, please click here.


Fifth District Wrap-Up

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

  • Participated in the 2007 Laguna Niguel Holiday Parade. To see a photo taken at the event with former LA Dodgers’ Manager Tommy Lasorda, please click here.
  • Attended a Holiday Tea & Open House at the Orangewood Children’s Home
  • Met with Sheriff’s Dept. officials to discuss Sex Registrant release notification
  • Met with the Orange County Transportation Authority CEO to discuss ‘chokepoint’ congestion relief on the I-5 in South County

My office also:

  • Attended the SEIR Scoping Meeting held at Dana Point Harbor
  • Delivered the keynote address at a meeting of the Rotary Club of Coto de Caza
  • Attended a Rancho Santa Margarita City Council meeting to view a presentation by Public Finance staff on Community Facilities Districts
  • Attended the Women's Council of Realtors Installation of Officers Reception and presented Certificates of Recognition to their outgoing officers
  • Attended two Community Open Houses hosted by SDG&E regarding the proposed Margarita Energy Center in Ladera Ranch

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!