Header image with Photo of Supervisor Pat Bates. Followed by office information
March 9, 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. Festival of Whales

2. Daylight Savings Time

3. Legislative Bulletin

4. Emergency Medical Services Fund

5. First District Update

6. Laguna Canyon Fire

7. Nix Nature Center

8. Steelhead Recovery Plan

9. Grunion Greeters Wanted

10. Dana Point Harbor Update

11. Clerk Recorder - South County Office

12. Fifth District Wrap-up


Patti Gorczyca:
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 5

If you missed the City of Dana Point's 16th annual Festival of Whales held in beautiful Dana Point Harbor last weekend, you still have another opportunity to attend on March 10 & 11. Come join the community as we celebrate the return of the Gray Whales off the coast and sample the best of Dana Point through more than 100 booths, displays, and fun activities for the whole family. From anywhere in the county, you can get on an OCTA bus and ride along the coast on bus routes 1, 70 and 85 to celebrate the migration of one of the world's largest mammals. To find out how, please click here.

For more information about this final weekend for the Festival of Whales, please call 888-440-4309 or visit www.festivalofwhales.com.

Daylight Savings Time

Spring is almost here and you may already know about the upcoming changes in Daylight Savings Time (DST). One of the key provisions of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 extends DST by approximately four weeks. In compliance with this provision, beginning this year DST dates in the United States will start three weeks earlier (2:00 a.m. on the second Sunday in March) and will end one week later (2:00 a.m. on the first Sunday in November).

It seems so simple and familiar: Spring forward, fall back. That's what we have done in the past with our clocks on the first Sunday in April and the last Sunday in October. However, DST takes effect this year on March 11 and it has sent thousands of technicians scrambling to make sure countless automated systems switch their clocks at the right moment. Unless changed, many systems will remain programmed to read the calendar and start Daylight Savings Time on its old date in April, not its new one in March.

Any time-sensitive functions could be impacted by this change and it is important for users to assess their environments and develop appropriate plans for applying the necessary changes. The challenge carries faint echoes of the Y2K scare, when governments and corporations feared computer systems would go berserk the instant that 1999 flipped to 2000. However, it has received nothing near the same level of attention. Automatic updates should be easy for many widely used devices. Cell phones should flash the correct date and time because they receive such information from their service providers' networks. Similarly, the Internet will automatically update clocks on many personal computers that use relatively up-to-date software.

On March 11, 2007, you might plan to check on all those time sensitive devices that you have around your home. You may be surprised at how many you have to change!

Legislative Bulletin

At Tuesday's Board meeting, my fellow Supervisors and I approved the Orange County Legislative Bulletin. The Legislative Bulletin provides the Board of Supervisors with analyses of measures pending in Sacramento and Washington that are of interest to the County. To view the Orange County Legislative Bulletin, please click here.

Emergency Medical Services Fund

At Tuesday's Board of Supervisors meeting, my colleagues and I approved General Fund money for the Emergency Medical Services Fund. The County currently reimburses Emergency Room physicians 83% of Medicare rates for uncompensated care. This amount is less than private insurance reimbursements, and certainly less than Medicare. We need to keep our ER doctors in Orange County. To do this, we should pay them a fair reimbursement rate.

Paying for uncompensated care should not be the County's responsibility, but the State is failing to keep up with these costs. We can use this one-time allocation of general funds for the emergency services fund as "proof of purchase." After allocating this money, Orange County and the medical community can show the State exactly what they owe us for our Emergency Medical Services Fund. The Governor and the State Legislature are piecing together a Health Care Plan. In that plan, they must include a solution for funding our ER's and Trauma Centers. We all understand there is a need to keep our ER's open, but the County cannot continue to pay for a State responsibility.

First District Update

On Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors voted to postpone seating a new Supervisor for the First District after Superior Court Judge Michael Brenner verbally requested the Board not take action. Judge Brenner will preside over Trung Nguyen's court challenge of the February 6 Special Election results.

The Board chose to wait until the Court made a decision on the validity of the recount. The three-day trial is set for March 21. Pending the Court's ruling, we hope to name a winner at our March 27 meeting.

On February 26, Registrar of Voters Neal Kelley certified the results of the recount giving Janet Nguyen (no relation to Trung Nguyen) the highest number of votes.

This week, Judge Brenner ruled in a hearing on a Motion to Quash, filed by Registrar Kelley, four trial subpoenas issued by the Trung Nguyen campaign. After hearing the arguments of counsel, the Court granted the Registrar's Motion to Quash.

Laguna Canyon Fire

A brush fire that Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA) investigators blame on arson closed Laguna Canyon Road between I-405 and El Toro Road for a half-hour yesterday morning.

The fire was reported one mile south of the 405. Forty-four firefighters and one helicopter from the Fire Authority contained the nearly three-acre blaze within 33 minutes.

Anyone with information that may aid arson investigators are asked the call the arson tipline at 800-540-8282.

To view pictures, please click here.

Nix Nature Center

Beginning Saturday, March 17, Laguna Coast Wilderness Park's James and Rosemary Nix Nature Center will be open daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

As the park's new headquarters, the Nix Nature Center will be the gateway for recreational users to explore a network of linked trails throughout the 6,600-acre Laguna Coast Wilderness park - including the James Dilley Preserve; and Willow, Sycamore and Laurel canyons, as well as Crystal Cove State Park and City of Irvine Open Space Preserve South.

The park is located north of the 73 toll road off Laguna Canyon Road. The realigned section of Laguna Canyon Road provides under-crossings for park visitors and wildlife, and direct access to Orange County's only natural lake, Barbara's Lake.

Laguna Woods Village residents James and Rosemary Nix provided $500,000 to commence the $3.4 million project in 1999 - the center was dedicated in November 2006.

To view photos of the Nix Nature Center, please click here.

For more information, call Laguna Canyon Foundation at (949) 497-8324 or visit www.lagunacanyon.org.

Steelhead Recovery Plan

A public meeting was held on February 16, 2007 to present a draft of the San Juan and Trabuco Creeks Steelhead Recovery Watershed Management Plan and to solicit input regarding existing watershed conditions, limiting factors and possible solutions for Steelhead recovery in the San Juan and Trabuco Creek Watershed.

The purpose is to develop a watershed plan for the San Juan Creek and Arroyo Trabuco Creek drainages in south Orange County that will emphasize the needs of the Southern California Steelhead Trout (Oncoryhnchus mykiss irideus), a federally-listed endangered species found along the coast of Southern California.

The document is available for viewing on the “Trout Unlimited” website and has been continued for public review through March 30, 2007. The California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG) and Trout Unlimited’s South Coast Chapter invite you to provide comments on this document so that a recovery plan for Steelhead within this watershed can be finalized and recovery efforts can continue to be funded and implemented. To view the document, please click here.

This watershed plan is made possible by CDFG Support Program-General Funds, National Marine Fisheries Service, and the California Coastal Salmon Recovery Program.

In order to incorporate your comments/letters into the final plan, please return all comments and/or letters in support of the plan by March 20, 2007 to:

Wendy Katagi
523 West 6th Street
CDM – Suite 400
Los Angeles, CA 90014
PH: (213) 457-2132
Fax: (213) 627-8295

A comment form can be downloaded by clicking here. Thank you for your help in bringing Steelhead back!

Grunion Greeters Wanted

California Grunion are a species of marine fish found only along the coast of southern California and northern Baja California. They are justifiably famous for their unique spawning behavior. Shortly after high tide, on specific nights, sections of these beaches sometimes are covered with thousands of grunion dancing about on the sand. The popularity of these grunion runs means that some nights there are more people lining the beaches than grunion in the run.

In 2007, for the sixth year, citizen scientists will observe the California Grunion's intimate activities on beautiful sandy beaches during the most ideal times for viewing. Grunion Greeters observe small stretches of beach on nights of Grunion runs during peak spawning season from April through early June. Grunion runs occur at night, twice a month, after the highest tides associated with a full or new moon.

Many workshops for Grunion Greeters are scheduled in various cities in southern California a month or two before the predicted run -- volunteers 18 years of age or older are welcome. RSVPs are required for the workshop of your choice. For workshop information, please click here.

For more information about the Grunion Greeter Project, please click here or visit www.Grunion.org

Dana Point Harbor Update

The Dana Point Harbor Department (DPHD) has released their February Report on their Dana Point Harbor revitalization efforts. To view the DPHD update, please click here.

Clerk Recorder - South County Office

The Orange County Clerk Recorder's South County branch provides copies of birth, death and marriage certificates, issues marriage licenses, performs civil marriage ceremonies and records real property documents. In the past year, the Laguna Hills location has served 12,600 customers!

The office is located in the Laguna Hills Civic Center, off I-5 and El Toro Road, across from the Laguna Hills Mall. It is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and offers free parking. For more information, please call (714) 834-2500 or visit www.ocrecorder.com.

fifth District Wrap-up

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

  • Met with Dana Point Harbor Department (DPHD) officials to discuss harbor/boater concerns.
  • Flew to Sacramento on behalf of the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) to lobby for greater authority to deliver projects more quickly and efficiently through the use of design-build contracting and design-sequencing; and for Orange County to receive its fair share of transportation dollars. While there I also received the Governor's Strategic Growth Plan. To view the plan, please click here.
  • Met with Rancho Mission Viejo officials to tour the Ranch and discuss early delivery of necessary transportation improvements to support the Ranch project.

My staff and I look forward to continually providing you with updated information in our 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!

As always,