Header image with Photo of Supervisor Pat Bates. Followed by office information
January 11, 2008

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. South County News

4. County Connections

5. Registrar of Voters Report

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 2 Issue 1

New Chairman and Vice Chairman Elected

Supervisor Chris Norby of the 4th District has ably served as the Chairman of the Board during the past year. I would like to thank him for his dedication as the Chairman and his efforts in seeing a number of projects to fruition including the new Performance Audit function, the new signage around the Civic Center, and the OC Parks Strategic Plan.

This upcoming year will bring financial challenges as the State struggles to make ends meet. In this spirit, I supported the nomination of Supervisor John Moorlach, our former County Treasurer, as Chairman of the Board. At the same time, I was honored to accept my colleagues’ nomination as Vice Chairman of the Board. Together with Chairman Moorlach, I hope to continue to improve the efficiency of Orange County’s operations and to demonstrate our commitment to fiscal responsibility.

Risk Analysis of Treasurer’s Investment Pools

In December, the Board of Supervisors directed the CEO to contract with an independent party to perform risk analysis of the Orange County Treasurer’s Investment Pools. With an independent assessment, the Board hoped to gain a better understanding of the strength of the Investment Pool as well as the process by which investments such as SIV’s were included in the Portfolio. PFM Asset Management was selected to conduct the independent assessment and presented a suggested scope of work on January 8. PFM plans on reviewing both the Policies and Procedures concerning oversight of the Treasurer’s Investment Pools and the Investment Program and Portfolio Review. The Board will hear a final report and review on January 29. To view the Preliminary Report on Risk Analysis of the Treasurer’s Investment Pools presented to the Board on Tuesday, please click here.

Board Selects Performance Auditor 

After a long process involving a nationwide search for candidates, the Board of Supervisors has selected Steve Danley to serve as Performance Auditor. The Performance Audit function, created by the Board in June, 2007, will review the various County departments and make recommendations on how to improve efficiency among County operations.

Animal Care Community Outreach Committee

I want to welcome Doug Coleman as the newest member of Orange County’s Animal Care Community Outreach Committee. His nomination as the 1st District appointee was approved by the Board at Tuesday’s meeting. He joins our 5th District appointee, April Josephson, to support Animal Care Services in achieving the vision and goals of the organization and foster community input and support in animal care related issues. For more information about Animal Care Services, please click here.


TCA Chair Asks Congresswoman To Correct Errors

The Chair of the Board that oversees the 241 Toll Road sent a letter to Rep. Susan Davis this week, urging the Congresswoman to withdraw her amendment to the Defense Authorization Bill, remove false information about the 241 Toll Road from a press release on her Congressional website, and provide the Coastal Commission with the facts.

Rep. Davis authored an amendment that will politicize the approval process for the final 16 miles of the 241 Toll Road. Planning for the roadway has been underway since the mid 1990’s by federal, environmental and transportation agencies to determine the best alignment and help solve major regional transportation issues. Every aspect of the alignment is designed with sensitivity to the environment, neighboring communities, and the coastline. For more information, please click here. The Coastal Commission will vote on the project at the Commission’s February 6-8 meeting in San Diego. For more information, please visit www.RelieveTraffic.org.

Flaws Cited in Coastal Commission Report on 241

The Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA) this week issued a compelling, detailed response that rebuts findings in the California Coastal Commission’s staff report on the proposed 16-mile extension of the 241 Toll Road in South County.

The response calls the report “inaccurate and misleading” and corrects numerous factual errors and other misleading statements made as the toll road agency seeks a coastal consistency certification required as a next step in moving the toll road extension forward, which is critical for mobility in the region. The Coastal Commission is scheduled to hear the request for certification at its hearing in early February. To see TCA’s response to the Coastal Commission report, please click here. For more information, please click here.

Crown Valley Traffic Relief Project

Earlier this week, the contractor began installing crossings for new traffic signals. The plan was to complete one intersection per night beginning with Marguerite on Tuesday and moving west through four other signals. For more information, please click here.

Goods Movement Public Workshop

Next week, OCTA will be hosting workshops in Anaheim and Laguna Hills for the public to provide input on the Multi-County Goods Movement Action Plan (MCGMAP). The purpose of the MCGMAP is to partner with the private sector in the development of a strategy and implementation plan for an improved regional goods movement system.

Please join me at the MCGMAP public workshop to be held on January 17, 6-8 p.m., at the Laguna Hills Florence Sylvester Memorial Senior Center, 23721 Moulton Parkway, Laguna Hills. Please contact Kelly Hart at (714) 560-5725 if you are interested in attending. For more information, please click here.

Transportation Security Grant Program

As part of the 2007 Transit Security Grant Program sponsored by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), supplemental funds were made available to law enforcement agencies involved with providing security for transportation systems. The qualification process for these grant funds required proposals for coordinated programs that improved overall regional security on transportation systems. OCTA's Transit Police Services, provided by the Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD), worked with the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department Transit Services Bureau to develop a coordinated plan to provide random facility inspections and mobility imaging and screening services at OCTA, METRO, and Metrolink facilities.  These services will be facilitated by OCSD’s Visual-Intermodal Protection and Response Team (VIPR)/Special Operations Threat Interdiction Team. The Orange County Board of Supervisors considered and approved this proposal at our meeting on Tuesday. OCTA staff will prepare a similar item for consideration by the OCTA Board outlining more details pertaining to this proposal and the agency's role.

Update on Go Local Funding Program

I want to remind cities of the OCTA Board's recent actions to initiate the selection of projects to enter into Step 2 of the Go Local Program by March 1 and to extend the deadline for Step 1 final reports to June 30. City Managers should be assured that OCTA is ready to assist any city with the Go Local project concept process at their request. So far, 28 Orange County cities have begun the process of preparing proposals for submission to be considered for Go Local program funds. In the coming weeks, OCTA staff will be bringing to the OCTA Board more definition on proposed projects for the competitive funding process which will be followed by the establishment of the procurement method.  For example, in the case where cities may wish to initiate funding for projects that improve connections to Metrolink such cities should provide local input on how to bring their jurisdictions to the core of Metrolink Services if applicable.  Please contact Jeff Corless in my office with any further questions on this program.


Storm Forces Closure of Parks & Trails

A major winter storm brought heavy rain to Orange County last weekend, forcing the closure of some OC Parks facilities and trails. This was the third major storm to hit the County since October's Santiago Fire scorched much of Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park. There may be additional closures as OC Parks manages its park facilities and sensitive resources following the losses from the fire and concerns created by wet weather. Your continued support and cooperation is greatly appreciated.  For more information, please click here.

Rancho Santa Margarita Tops FBI’s List of Safest Cities

For the second consecutive year, Rancho Santa Margarita ranked as the safest city in California among cities with a population of 20,000 to 100,000 residents. According to figures recently released by the FBI, the city averaged 0.98 crimes per 100 residents in 2006. Rancho Santa Margarita was the only city within the population range to experience less than one serious crime per 100 residents. Rancho Santa Margarita was also the safest city in the state among cites with the same populations range in 2005 with an average of 0.96 crimes per 100 residents. Congratulations, Rancho Santa Margarita!

OC Sailing and Events Center

I’m pleased to announce that the Dana Point Youth and Group Facility’s name has been changed to the OC Sailing and Events Center. The new name accurately reflects the mission of the County facility – providing sailing and water based experiences to our community while also hosting social and business events at our harbor location. I invite you to tour “your” community facility and become apart of the excitement. For more information, please click here.

Laguna Woods at the Movies: “Based on the Book”

Friends of the Laguna Woods branch of the Orange County Public Library are starting a new movie series called “Based on the Book.” It will premiere on January 20 at 2 p.m. with a movie based on the book, “Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont” starring Joan Plowright. Plowright plays a widow who moves into a London hotel full of eccentric residents. The movie is open to the public and there is no cost to attend the showing at City Hall, 24264 El Toro Road. However, RSVPs are a must as seating is limited. For more information, please call 949-639-0555.


Orange County Grand Jury Needs You!

The number of South County residents applying to serve on the Orange County Grand Jury is significantly lower than in previous years with only seven applications received from the 5th District. It is important that we receive a broad range of applicants to represent the entire County. At my request, the deadline to submit applications has been extended from January 11 to January 18. I hope you will assist us in our Grand Jury recruitment effort. For more information, please click here.

Board of Equalization Member Uncovers State Error

2008 began with some great news for Southern California taxpayers and small businesses. Late last month, Orange County’s very own Board of Equalization 3rd District Member Michelle Steel uncovered a million dollar mistake at the State Board of Equalization, where thousands of tax refund checks were wrongly withheld from thousands of small businesses. Statewide, the Board of Equalization could be withholding anywhere from $16-20 million in tax refunds; some refunds delayed upwards of four years.  One victim of this state error is 5th District business owner Richard Thompson of San Juan Capistrano as noted in a recent Sacramento Bee article detailing this victory for taxpayers.  All eligible cases are being reviewed by Board Member Steel’s staff to help return several million dollars back to taxpayers. At this month's Board of Equalization hearing, she will be asking the agency to correct this problem statewide.

OC Citizens’ Report

The Auditor-Controller’s office has just released its annual OC Citizens’ Report. The Report presents financial highlights for the County of Orange and is intended for the general or casual reader of the County's financial statements. The information contained in this report is limited to summary-level information from the County's Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR). This is its fifth year for publication. To see the OC Citizens’ Report, please click here.


New Larger Vote-by-Mail Return Envelope Going Out

In an effort to make it easier on voters, we have redesigned our return envelope for vote-by-mail ballots.  The new larger design will allow voters to place their ballots in the envelope without having to adjust their folds (allowing for a much easier fit).  This will reduce damage to the ballots while they are being returned to our office.  We are ahead of schedule for our vote-by-mail processing and will be dropping ballots in the mail next week.

Serial Numbered Seals Will Be Noticeable in Poll Sites

Under new requirements mandated by the Secretary of State, our voting equipment will have a number of seals.  Each poll site may have up to 70 bar-coded seals which seal and secure the JBC (Judges Booth Controller), the e-Slates, the VVPAT printers and more.  Prior to distributing the equipment we will be scanning each seal which is then cross-referenced in a database.  The poll workers must verify these seals throughout the day on Election Day.

Poll Worker Training Now Underway

Thousands of poll workers will be attending training during the coming weeks throughout the County.  We have improved our poll worker manual and training DVD for the 2008 elections.  Each poll worker will receive a manual which outlines Election Day procedures, focuses on the new Secretary of State mandates and includes a new section just for Inspectors.  Our training will run through February.

Paper Ballots Will Be Shrink Wrapped and in Pads

Now voters must have the option of selecting a paper ballot when they visit their poll site.  For the Presidential Primary, we will be delivering ballots for all of the parties on gummed pads.  This will make it easy for poll workers to find the correct party ballot when they are asked by a voter.  We will be sending approximately 500,000 paper ballots to the poll sites for this election.


Nix Nature Center Takes Top National Honors

The Nix Nature Center’s interior exhibits have received the exhibit design world’s equivalent of an Oscar: first place in the National Association for Interpretation’s (NAI) 2007 Interpretive Media Awards Competition. The award was announced at the NAI’s National Workshop in Wichita, Kansas on November 8.  The Full View entry was one of 97 in 2007’s national competition, which promotes excellence in natural, cultural and historical interpretation.

Laguna Canyon Foundation’s Interpretive Exhibit Working Group, staff, consultants and OC Parks developed the Nix Nature Center’s interpretive exhibit program to achieve specific educational goals. Using the Full View concept to explore Laguna Coast Wilderness Park through the eyes of scientists, artists, historians and park advocates, it also employs the building itself as a portal to encourage visitors to explore the outdoors and forge a deeper sense of connection to the land.

The Nix Nature Center was dedicated on November 4, 2006, and opened to the public on March 17, 2007. As Laguna Coast Wilderness Park's headquarters, it is the gateway for recreational users to explore a vast network of linked trails throughout the 20,000-acre South Coast Wilderness. The 2,000-square-foot exhibit hall features interactive displays, interpretive panels, rockwork imbedded with fossil replicas, audio recordings, projected images, art and artifacts. Its picture windows frame four main views or portals titled “The Peaks of Saddleback, Little Sycamores, Of Bunchgrass and Buckwheat and Stories in Stone”, forming the cornerstones of the exhibit plan.

Managed by OC Parks, the Nix Nature Center is located at 18751 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Coast Wilderness Park. Hours are daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, please call Laguna Coast Wilderness Park at 949-923-2235 or click here.


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

  • Was selected by my Board colleagues to serve as Vice-Chair of the Orange County Board of Supervisors
  • Met with Orange County Sheriffs Department officials to discuss Forensic Science Services and DNA issues
  • Delivered the keynote address at a meeting of the San Juan Capistrano Chamber of Commerce
  • Attended a Board meeting of the Remote Access Network (RAN). The “Cal-ID” Random Access Network Board is responsible for advising on the local use of funds towards projects that develop the necessary tools allowing local law enforcement agencies to connect with the State Department of Justice’s criminal databases
  • Attended a reception of the Associated General Contractors of America to present a Certificate of Recognition to its new President, 5th District resident Wayne Lindholm
  • Met with Rancho Santa Margarita Mayor Neil Blais to discuss regional transportation issues
  • Met with Congressman Ken Calvert to receive his ‘Update to the County’

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!