Header image with Photo of Supervisor Pat Bates. Followed by office information
March 23, 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. Swallows Day Parade

2. Poche Beach Bacteria Disinfection

3. Antonio Parkway Bridge

4. Unfunded Liability Update

5. Newport Coast Improvements

6. Ladera Ranch Improvements

7. Orange County Sheriff

8. Legislative Bulletin

9. Free Train Ride!

10. Nix Nature Center

11. County Beach Lifeguards

12. Ocean and Bay Rain Advisory

13. Tuberculosis Cases Down

14. Public Health Week

15. 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 7
Swallows Day Parade

The 2007 Swallows Day Parade will be held on Saturday, March 24. The Fiesta de la Golondrinas celebrates the legend of the return of the swallows to the San Juan Capistrano Mission on March 19. This event is the reason for all the festivities.

The Swallows Day Parade takes place in downtown San Juan Capistrano. The parade is the nation's largest non-motorized parade and draws interest worldwide. This is a fun-filled, family event that celebrates the annual return of the swallows to San Juan Capistrano Mission. To view photos of the parade, please click here.

Please arrive early as most street closures occur by 10 a.m. The parade begins promptly at 11 a.m. To avoid vehicular traffic, a fun and easy way to arrive at the parade is to ride the train into the historic San Juan Capistrano train depot - just one short block from the parade route. For information about taking the train to the parade, please click here.

For more information about the Swallows Day Parade, please visit http://www.swallowsparade.com.

Poche Beach Bacteria Disinfection

At Tuesday's meeting, the Board and I approved plans and specifications for the Poche Beach Ultraviolet Light Bacteria Disinfection Project. Poche Beach, located in the City of San Clemente, is frequently posted during the summer by the Health Care Agency for exceeding State mandated standards for bacteria. The major source of bacteria is runoff entering the beach from the Prima Deshecha Flood Control Channel. This project would reduce runoff bacteria by treatment with ultraviolet light in a facility to be located immediately upstream of the beach.

In 2001 the County of Orange applied for and received a $500,000 Clean Beaches Initiative grant from the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) to design and install a pilot project ultraviolet (UV) bacteria disinfection treatment plant near Poche Beach. The design was completed; however, it was not built due to lack of funding to construct the plant.

The County developed a modified design for the pilot project UV plant that was much less expensive and installed it in the flood control channel. The County gained valuable experience in the operation and maintenance of ultraviolet disinfection systems over the last four years through this pilot project plant. The plant is extremely effective in reducing bacteria; however, it requires the removal of solids (e.g., grass clippings) from the runoff prior to treatment and maintenance is expensive. We learned that channel flows must be pre-treated to remove solids which interfere with the ability of ultraviolet light to kill bacteria.

On June 21, 2006, the SWRCB approved an additional $1,500,000 to the County in order to construct a permanent Poche Beach ultraviolet disinfection treatment plant with pretreatment of channel flows. The Resources and Development Management Department (RDMD) proposes to accelerate this project by bidding the project concurrent with completing (1) the state permits and (2) negotiations with the City of San Clemente on funding. We expect both of these concurrent tasks to be completed in early summer. To view RDMD's presentation on the project, please click here.

Antonio Parkway Bridge

At Tuesday's meeting, the Board and I awarded a contract to the lowest responsible bidder for the widening of Antonio Parkway Bridge. The approximately half mile of Antonio Parkway from southerly of Benjamin Avenue to southerly of Oso Parkway in unincorporated Orange County, completed in May 1999, was originally constructed with four lanes (two in each direction). However, the original alignment was planned to accommodate widening the roadway to the ultimate widths required by the Master Plan of Arterial Highways. The Antonio Parkway Bridge project includes widening the existing roadway to a Major Arterial Highway standard of six lanes. In order to meet these standards, one lane, including curb and gutter and new sidewalks, will be added in each direction. In addition, the bridge over the existing wildlife corridor will be widened to accommodate the new traffic lanes.

Other improvements will include installation of new street lighting and a permanent storm drain system. Funding for the roadway and bridge widening, which serves the Ladera Ranch community, comes directly from bond sale funds.

Unfunded Liability Update

On Tuesday, March 20, the Board of Supervisors received and filed the Retiree Medical Program Unfunded Liability Status Report. In the last three years, the Board has taken a series of actions to address issues concerning medical plan coverage for retired former County employees.

A Retiree Medical Plan (the Plan) has been in place for many years that allows retirees to continue participation in County health plans and to receive a Retiree Medical Grant (the Grant) to help offset the cost of health plan premiums. In recent years the Plan was being challenged from two major areas. First, a cash flow problem developed because excess reserves from the Orange County Employees Retirement System (OCERS) were being depleted and Plan costs were increasing due to an increased number of participants and cost of living adjustments. The second challenge was the promulgation of new accounting and reporting requirements by the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB). The regulation referred to as GASB 45 requires governmental entities to report the total estimated unfunded liability for retiree medical programs and Other Post Employment Benefits (OPEBs).

In the case of Orange County, as of June 30, 2005, the total unfunded accrued actuarial liability was $1.4 billion and the Annual Required Contribution (ARC) was $131 million per year.

A series of negotiations and discussions with various labor organizations took place over several months. The purpose of these meetings was to identify ways to preserve a retiree medical program which could be sustained within existing resources. On September 12, 2006, the Board of Supervisors approved agreements with the Orange County Employees Association (OCEA) and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). The resulting impact on the estimated unfunded liability of the Plan was a reduction of $578 million.

By the end of 2006, the Board of Supervisors approved agreements with all remaining bargaining units with the exception of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) which opted out of the program in September 2005, and the Association of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs (AOCDS) who have not yet completed negotiations with the County. The resulting impact of the restructuring of these remaining groups on the estimated unfunded liability was an additional decrease of $237 million reducing the total outstanding liability to $598 million.

The County is continuing to pursue achieving the same results with AOCDS as have been accomplished with the other labor representation groups. To view staff's presentation of the 2006 Restructuring of Retiree Medical Program, please click here.

Newport Coast Improvements

At Tuesday's meeting, the Board authorized release of security for private street improvements, street lights, landscaping, and monumentation in the Newport Coast area.

Ladera Ranch Improvements

At Tuesdays Board meeting, my fellow Supervisors and I adopted a resolution certifying completion of and release of security for street improvements, street lights, storm drains, sewer and water systems, landscaping and monumentation in Ladera Ranch.

Orange County Sheriff

At Tuesday's meeting, the Board of Supervisors approved the Sheriff-Coroner to travel to Great Britain and France to meet with law enforcement, private sector and government officials on international terrorism and law enforcement issues. Sheriff Carona will travel to Lyon, France, to meet with Secretary General Ronald Noble of Interpol for a series of classified briefings on intelligence, drug and human trafficking, money laundering and terrorism. Establishing a direct relationship with Interpol will provide the Sheriff with direct access to timely intelligence. The Sheriff will also travel to London to meet with Great Britain's top metropolitan police agency, Scotland Yard, to be briefed by its commissioners on security operations at London-Heathrow Airport and on the London Underground public transportation system. He will be given a briefing on the Closed Circuit Television system utilized for security in the greater London area. Upon his return, Sheriff Carona will provide the Board of Supervisors with a complete report on findings and public safety goals developed from the comprehensive briefings.

Legislative Bulletin

The Orange County 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 as approved by the Board of Supervisors on March 20, 2007, please click here.

Free Train Ride!

The Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) is offering free rides on Metrolink from the San Clemente North Beach station from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, March 25. Experience loads of fun exploring new adventures such as dining in downtown Fullerton, shopping at the Irvine Spectrum (free shuttle service available), enjoying the beach in Oceanside, touring Olvera Street in Los Angeles or dining in Old Pasadena. For more information, please click here.

Nix Nature Center

Last Saturday, March 17, Laguna Coast Wilderness Park's James and Rosemary Nix Nature Center officially opened to the public - open daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

As the park's new headquarters, the Nix Nature Center is now 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.

County Beach Lifeguards

The County's contractor, US Ocean Safety (USOS) has increased their staffing for this weekend and next. They have added 4 extra shifts. This is due to the warmer weather and an increased south swell. USOS makes a daily morning assessment of the weather and other potential issues affecting visitation and adds personnel as necessary. Their staffing will be increased again during school spring breaks, which begins the weekend of March 31 in North County and the week of April 6 in South County.

Ocean and Bay Rain Advisory

The Environmental Health Division of the Health Care Agency advises swimmers that levels of bacteria can rise significantly in ocean and bay waters, close to storm drains, and the outlets of creeks and rivers during and after rainstorms. The elevated bacterial levels in the coastal ocean waters may continue for a period of at least 3 days depending upon the intensity of the rain and volume of the runoff. Swimmers should avoid Orange County coastal waters during this time, and beach users should avoid contact with any runoff on the beach.

Storm drains, creeks and rivers carry floodwaters and urban runoff to the ocean. Urban runoff may include fertilizers, road oils, animal wastes and litter. During and after rain events, discharges may contain large amounts of bacteria from a variety of sources such as animal wastes and decomposing vegetation. Sewage is not normally present in the storm runoff since the sewer system is separate from the storm drain system. In the event of a sewage spill, the Environmental Health Division will quarantine the affected ocean or bay water area.

For information regarding Orange County ocean, bay or harbor postings and closures, please call (714) 433-6400 or visit ocbeachinfo.com. To report a sewage spill, please call (714) 433-6419.

Tuberculosis Cases Down

A total of 226 Tuberculosis (TB) cases were reported in Orange County during 2006, a decrease of 6.6% from the total of 242 cases reported in 2005. For more information, please click here.

Public Health Week

In recognition of National Public Health Week, the Health Care Agency (HCA) will hold a Public Health Week Celebration on April 4 to honor the department's achievements in health education. Emergency preparedness displays and take-home information will set off this year's theme - "Preparedness and Public Health Threats: Addressing the Unique Needs of the Nation's Most Vulnerable Populations."

The celebration will begin at noon at the Public Health Education Center, located at 1729 W. 17th St./Bldg. E in Santa Ana. To find out more information about this event and other events held during Public Health Week, please visit http://www.ochealthinfo.com/public/phweek/.

fifth District Wrap-up

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

  • Met with Orange County veterans regarding the future of the Tustin blimp hangars.
  • Met with Friends of the Library regarding Orange County's inter-loan policy between libraries.
  • Chaired the Orange County Coastal Coalition's meeting on bacterial contamination and urban runoff (more on this next week).
  • Attended the 2007 Medal of Valor Luncheon honoring our Sheriff's Deputies and Officers who acted in the heroic tradition of their departments - saving and protecting the lives of Orange County citizens. To view photos of the event and Master of Ceremonies Ed Arnold, 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 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,