Header image with Photo of Supervisor Pat Bates. Followed by office information
March 21, 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 Information

3. County Connections

4. South County News

5. Notes from the Field

6. Guided Hikes in our 5th District Wilderness Parks

7. Critter Chronicles

8. South County Calendar

9. Fifth District Spotlight

10. Fifth District Wrap-Up   


Justin McCusker:
Chief of Staff

Sergio Prince:
Executive Director of Public Affairs

Jeff Corless:
Executive Policy Advisor

Elise Lampe:
Executive Policy Advisor

Chip Monaco:
Executive Policy Advisor

Ruth Strachan:
Executive Secretary II

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Volume 2 Issue 9

Treasurer’s Update on Structured Investment Vehicles (SIV)

On Tuesday, the Board received an update from Treasurer Chriss Street on County investments, particularly an SIV named “Whistlejacket”, which went into default in February.  The challenged $80 million investment represents less than 1.3% of the total investment portfolio.  Put in perspective, the Treasurer’s office earned the County over $300 million in investment returns last year alone. 

The Treasurer reported that the County is a senior secured note holder and that he is working with County Counsel to resolve legal issues surrounding the investment.  An initial interpretation of the terms of the contract was rendered by a British Chancery Court, but the findings are being appealed and no firm answers are available as of yet.  This is a fluid situation involving a complex financial instrument.  Please be assured that I will continue to monitor the matter closely and provide regular updates as more information becomes available.

Remaining Vigilant on Behalf of Orange County Taxpayers

The Internal Audit Department of the County of Orange provides the Board of Supervisors with an update on audit activities, which ensure the County’s compliance with regulation and policy as well as proper accounting and fiscal standards.  The Internal Auditor is charged with ensuring the Board of Supervisors has full and unfettered access to County departmental records and processes to make sure Orange County taxpayers are being properly served and the public coffers are protected.  To see the Internal Audit Report presented to the Board on Tuesday, please click here.

Breaking Down County Bureaucracy and Enhancing Services

Providing cost-effective and efficient public services was one of my campaign promises while running for Fifth District Supervisor. In keeping with that promise, my Board colleagues and I authorized the CEO to initiate a process to reorganize a portion of the County bureaucracy into functional units to enhance service delivery, flatten organization and increase transparency while providing the County with the opportunity to realize cost savings. Included in this reorganization are several departmental name changes that will enhance the public’s understanding as to what core functions they serve for our residents.   

Specifically, the reorganization will break up pieces of the Resources and Development Management Department and change its name to OC Public Works.  Sections within OC Public Works will include OC Planning, OC Flood & Road, and OC Facilities.  Other critical functions such as Watershed & Coastal Resources, Surveying, and the Agricultural Commission will be managed within these new sections.  This effort also includes combining several smaller departments into one manageable department and renamed OC Community Services.  The alignment and combination of these smaller departments will reduce redundant administrative costs and enhance its ability to better serve the public.  OC Community Resources will include the Housing & Community Services Department and rename its function to OC Community Services.  Also included in this new department are OC Parks, OC Public Libraries, and OC Animal Care. 

The alignment and combination of these departments will flatten organization, reduce administrative bureaucracies and improve service delivery. To that end, I directed the CEO to continue his efforts to identify additional opportunities and provide the Board regular reports on the operational progress and fiscal impacts related to implementation of this reorganization.

Among the new departmental name changes was the renaming of the former Harbors, Beaches and Parks Department to OC Parks. During Board deliberations, I contended that to remove the word “Beaches” from the department’s name would be to essentially disregard a fundamental component of Orange County’s unique identity. I believe unquestionably that the lure of our world famous beaches help make Orange County the envy of the nation and a coveted destination location for international travelers. As such, I submitted for the Board’s consideration the name “OC Beaches & Parks”. However, my suggestion was not seconded and the motion died.

Restoring Crystal Cove’s Historic Cottages

As Orange County residents, we enjoy an unparalleled lifestyle, much of which centers on our 42 miles of exquisite coastline.  With this in mind, I’m pleased to announce that at Tuesday’s Board meeting, the County assisted the Crystal Cove Alliance (non-profit/501(c)(3)) (CCA) in floating revenue bonds to restore the historic cottages at Crystal Cove State Beach.  Crystal Cove and its historic cottages are located in the fabulous 5th District.  This is a major step toward ensuring a new generation of Orange County residents can have the sensational experience of waking up with the Pacific Ocean practically at their doorstep. 

The funding, $7 million to be exact, will restore the cottages, operating facilities, and Los Trancos Creek.  Although the County has no financial obligation or liability associated with the project, the CCA was required to have the County endorse the project through a public hearing, which was accomplished through a 5-0 vote of the Board of Supervisors.  CCA works to expand park programs and facilities with an emphasis on environmental and cultural education.  With the restoration of the cottages and facilities, CCA hopes to double the number of students visiting the park annually from 5,000 to 10,000. For more information, please click here.

Providing a Safe Route to Schools for South County Students

The Board of Supervisors will begin a critical process to install a pedestrian activated crosswalk warning light system at Sienna Parkway and Flintridge Avenue to assist Chaparral Elementary School students and parents safely cross this intersection in Ladera Ranch. The innovative system will include in-pavement flashing lights and/or overhead flashing beacons to better direct drivers’ attention to pedestrians waiting to cross. This important project has also received the support of the Capistrano Unified School District.

Honoring our Law Enforcement Explorers

An awards banquet honoring our law enforcement Explorers and their families will be held on March 27 at the Hilton Irvine / Orange County Airport.  Explorer Scouts will be recognized for their extensive volunteer service, assisting our Sheriff’s Department in areas such as special events, crowd & traffic control, public education, natural disasters, search missions, and recruitment.

In 2007, 150 Explorers worked over 13,000 hours, allowing our sworn Deputies substantially more time to focus on critical law enforcement duties.  The total volunteer hours saved nearly $732,000 in potential overtime costs to the county.  Further, these teenagers and young adults are learning unique skills & training that will prepare them to be valuable contributing members of the community.  Congratulations to our law enforcement Explorers on a job well done! For more information, please click here.

Providing Educational Support to Dependent Youth

On Tuesday, the Board approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the County’s Social Services Agency (SSA) and Department of Education to provide educational support to dependent youth living in out-of-home placement within Orange County. The goals of the MOU are to provide support to these students to help improve their academic achievement, decrease truancy and dropout rates, as well as reduce the number of disciplinary problems and juvenile delinquency. For more information, please click here.

Orange County Juvenile Peer Court

Nearly a decade ago, the Orange County Probation Department implemented a Juvenile Peer Court to serve juvenile offenders who are eligible for appropriate sanctions other than incarceration.  The purpose of the Peer Court is to deal with juvenile offenders and their families in a manner that more effectively prevents the juvenile from repeating delinquent behavior in the community.

The Peer Court includes a judge, probation officer, legal advisors, bailiffs, and a jury of high school students; all of whom participate on a volunteer basis.  Juvenile offenders referred to Peer Court by the Probation Department agree to acknowledge responsibility for the charges against them and abide by the decision of the Peer Court.  A student jury hears the charges, questions the juvenile offender and their parents, and makes a recommendation to the judge, who makes a final ruling. 

This program is fully funded by the County General Fund.  Studies show that approximately 90% of participants are successful and do not re-offend as minors upon exiting the program.  I have asked our Chief Probation Officer to provide results of performance measures for this program on a regular basis to ensure cost effectiveness. For more information about Peer Court, please click here.


Crown Valley Traffic Relief Project

The roadway widening on the south side of Crown Valley Parkway is now complete and a new lane has been opened east of Bellogente. While the parkway improvements continue on the south side, there are now three lanes of traffic the entire length. Additionally, a traffic signal timing sequence has been implemented to facilitate traffic flow until the automatic detection system can be restored.

Construction continues on the north side of Crown Valley to add another westbound lane. This lane is expected to be completed and open by the end of June. The median and parkway landscaping improvements are expected to be completed by the end of August. For more information, please click here.


Orange County Fire Authority Public Presentation

The Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA) will present to the public an overview of local amendments to the 2007 California Fire Code:

Wednesday, March 26
9 a.m. – 11 a.m.
(Registration begins at 8:30 a.m.)

Orange County Fire Authority
1 Fire Authority Road, Irvine
(Jamboree at Tustin Ranch Road)

This is the second presentation on this subject. If you missed the first one last November, I encourage you to sign up for this one. OCFA anticipates a large number of guests. Space is limited. Please RSVP by March 24 and forward your name, company, and phone number to Bob George at BobGeorge@OCFA.org.

Public Administrator/Guardian to Hold Public Auction

The Orange County Public Administrator/Public Guardian will auction fourteen real property estates on Thursday, March 27, at noon in Santa Ana. The Public Administrator/Public Guardian conducts private auction sales to sell real property belonging to conservatorship estates they administer. For more information, please click here.

Red Cross "Bravo for Bravery" Nominations Sought

On June 4, 2008, at the 5th Annual “Bravo for Bravery” breakfast to be held at the Marconi Automotive Museum in Tustin, the American Red Cross of Orange County will honor local heroes who have stepped up to demonstrate courage, compassion and unselfish character to help someone in a time of emergency need. Nominations of people to be considered for this honor are open to the public.

Nominations for “Bravo for Bravery” heroes are being sought from community members in ten categories, including: Fire, Law Enforcement, Medical, Adult Good Samaritan, Youth Good Samaritan, American Red Cross Hero, Workplace Hero, Aquatics Hero, Animal Hero, and Other Hero. People making nominations are requested to submit a completed Nomination Form along with a description of the nominee’s heroic act and available supporting documentation. The act of bravery must have occurred between January 1, 2007 and December 31, 2007.

A committee of community leaders will review the nominations and select the award recipients. All nominees will be notified by the Orange County Red Cross and invited as guests to attend the breakfast where the 2008 award recipients will be announced. The public is also invited to attend this celebration of the human spirit. Tickets will be available for purchase beginning April 1.

Nomination forms are available online at www.oc-redcross.org (follow the “Bravo for Bravery” link from the home page.) Nomination forms are also available by mail or FAX. To receive a nomination form or get more information about the event, please call Alesha Arp at 714/481-5367. The deadline for nominations is Wednesday, April 30, 2008. For more information, please click here.


Habitat Restoration at Prima Deshecha Landfill

Habitat restoration activities at the Prima Deshecha Landfill are now underway along the southern perimeter of the landfill, which is adjacent to the San Clemente communities of Talega and Forster Ranch.

Habitat restoration work at the landfill began in the summer of 2007 with the clearing of non-native vegetation that had traditionally dominated much of the land surrounding the landfill and its neighboring communities. Once the native vegetation is reestablished, the area may eventually become home to several threatened animal species, such as the least Bell’s vireo and the California gnatcatcher, among many others. For more information, please click here.


Wildflowers Bloom Across Fifth District Wilderness Parks

Many Orange County Parks, including Caspers Wilderness Park and Laguna Coast Wilderness Park in the 5th District, are all blooming with colorful spring flowers. To view a slideshow, please click here.

Due to a combination of an extended drought period and intense wildfires followed by the recent rains, this year’s flower displays are particularly spectacular. However, Limestone Canyon & Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park, which burned extensively in the Santiago Fire last October, is still closed to the public due to fire recovery efforts.

I encourage nature enthusiasts to venture out to our wonderful Wilderness Parks and enjoy the painted landscapes before they disappear, but please do not pick the flowers. Leave them for the enjoyment of others and to reseed for another spectacular show next year. For more information, please click here.

Trail Safety Tips

When hiking at any of our wonderful Wilderness Parks, trail users are advised to always stay on designated trails and not pick up items along the trail. Children should always be accompanied by an adult. Hiking in pairs or groups is much safer than hiking alone. Hikers should always be prepared to stay hydrated and be aware of wildlife, such as mountain lions and rattlesnakes as well as poison oak and ticks. Spring is a time animals are more abundant and may be readily seen on trails. Park visitors are advised to never approach wildlife. For more information on Wilderness Parks in the 5th District, please click here.


Laguna Coast Wilderness Park

Explore the trails and learn more about the flora, fauna, geology and history of Laguna Coast Wilderness Park with Laguna Canyon Foundation volunteer naturalists and OC Parks staff!  Below are a few of the opportunities that are being offered. For more information, please click here.

  • Saturday, March 22
    Sex Life of Plants Hike
    9 a.m.-noon
    Explore the sex life of flowering plants with Sarah Jayne, Laguna Canyon Foundation volunteer naturalist and president of Orange County's Native Plant Society. Meet at Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, Willow Canyon Staging Area (20101 Laguna Canyon Road, west side, just south of El Toro Road intersection). Reservations suggested: 949-923-2235. Parking: $3.
  • Thursday, March 27
    Fitness Hike
    9-11 a.m.
    Raise your heart rate and your spirits on this strenuous, fast-paced, 3.5-to-5-mile hike with Laguna Canyon Foundation naturalist Helen Flanagan. Meet at Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, James Dilley Preserve (east side of Laguna Canyon Road/SR-133, approximately 5 miles south of I-5/405). Reservations suggested: 949-923-2235. Parking: $3.
  • Saturday, March 29
    Spotlight Hike--Coastal Sage Scrub Plant Community
    9 a.m.-noon
    Laguna Canyon Foundation volunteer naturalist Len Gardner will highlight the beauty and lore of the local plant community on this 2.5-mile hike up Little Sycamore Trail to Serrano Ridge. Meet at Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, Little Sycamore Canyon Staging Area (west side of Laguna Canyon Road/SR-133, approximately 5 miles south of I-5/405). Reservations suggested: 949-923-2235. Parking: $3.
  • Sunday, March 30
    Birding Hike
    8-11:00 a.m.
    Spot spring birds with Laguna Canyon Foundation volunteer naturalist Paul Klahr as you hike through one of the most diverse plant communities in the United States. Bring binoculars. Meet at Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, Willow Canyon Staging Area (20101 Laguna Canyon Road, west side, just south of El Toro Road intersection). Reservations required: 949-923-2235. Free (parking $3).

O'Neill Regional Park – Saturday Morning Nature Walks

Join Park Rangers or Naturalists for an easy 1.5 mile nature walk through various habitats to learn about the park's diverse plant communities and local wildlife. Meet at the Nature Center Amphitheatre on Saturday mornings at 9:00am. The Nature Walk is canceled if the park receives significant rain fall within the previous 48 hours. Please call the park office at (949) 923-2260 for current conditions and program schedule. For more information, please click here.

Caspers Wilderness Park – Sunday Morning Nature Walks

Caspers Wilderness Park will have a wildflower hike on Sunday, March 30, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m on the East Ridge Trail. Vehicles pay $5 per entry. Parking will be in the Old Corral area. Nature Walks are canceled if the park receives significant rain fall within the previous 48 hours. For more information about Sunday Morning Nature Walks at Caspers Wilderness Park, please call Park Ranger Candi Hubert at 949-923-2209 or click here.


The Pet Rescue Center

The Pet Rescue Center will open in Laguna Hills in April. The Center’s goal is to work with the community and animal rescue groups to provide a no-kill, temporary sanctuary for pets in need of a home. In this effort, they will provide a safe, clean and caring facility to effectively enable rescued pets to find a family. In addition, The Pet Rescue Center will allocate financial grants, as they are available, to assist families undergoing financial hardship to provide lifesaving treatments for their pet. For more information, please click here.

Rescuing Unwanted Furry Friends (RUFF)

Based in Laguna Beach, RUFF's mission is to help pay the veterinary bills for sick, injured and abandoned animals, while also supporting humane education. RUFF does not operate an animal shelter. RUFF provides medical assistance for pet owners as well as rescuers of stray or abandoned pets. For more information, please click here.


Laguna Niguel Bunny Blast

Hop on over on for a morning that is certain to be a blast! Activities include face painting, crafts, games, pony rides, a petting zoo, the Easter Bunny and more. Saturday, March 22, 9am–12:30pm, at Chapparosa Park in Laguna Niguel. For more information, please click here.

San Clemente Easter Eggstravaganza

Hop on down and join in the fun & games! A whole morning of family activities has been planned for the 17th Annual Easter Eggstravaganza. Of course, the Easter Bunny will be there for visits. Saturday, March 22, 7:30am-10:30am, at San Gorgonio Park. For more information, please click here.

6th Annual Eggstravaganza in San Juan Capistrano

Come on down and do the Bunny Hop with the Easter Bunny! Festivities include a marionette show, bounce house, egg coloring, face painting, and concludes with the Easter Bunny leading everyone in a hunt for Easter eggs. Saturday, March 22, 9:00am, at Historic Town Center Park. For more information, please click here.

Mission Viejo’s 20th Anniversary Celebration

I am delighted to announce that from March 22 thru 29, the City of Mission Viejo will be celebrating twenty years of cityhood. In honor of this momentous occasion, the City has planned a week of festivities for all members of the community to come together and celebrate the great place in which they live, work and play. For more information, please click here.

2nd Annual “Paint-Off”

The Irvine Ranch Conservancy along with the Capistrano Valley Conservancy will host the 2nd Annual Paint-Off on March 29, beginning at 10 AM. This unique event will be held at The Irvine Ranch Historical Park, site of the original Irvine Ranch Headquarters, at 13042 Old Myford Road in Irvine.  The park site includes the Ranch’s headquarters building, the James Irvine II Home, which houses the County’s brand-new Katie Wheeler Branch Library, as well as numerous barns and other residential buildings. Art enthusiasts will have the opportunity to watch artists create original Plein Air (French for “open air”) paintings of these historic sites. Their paintings will be up for bid during the auction, even before the paint dries! For more information, please click here.

50th Annual Swallows Day Parade and Mercado

The 2008 Swallows Day Parade will be held on March 29. The Parade takes place in downtown San Juan Capistrano. It is a fun, family event that celebrates the return of the swallows to the Mission San Juan Capistrano. This is the nation's largest non-motorized parade! Please arrive early as most street closures occur by 10 AM. The parade begins promptly at 11 AM. For more information, please click here.

The Mercado – a Street Fair and Market Place where visitors can eat, drink, and shop at over 100 booths – is THE place to be after the parade! Listen and dance to traditional country music. Grab a bite to eat and enjoy the beer and wine garden. There is also family entertainment and a kids’ play zone. For more information, please click here.


Community Emergency Preparedness Academy

A generous donation from Mission Hospital ensures that residents will continue to benefit from the Community Emergency Preparedness Academy that is offered in several cities and communities in the Fifth District. Piloted in Mission Viejo in 2004, the Academy provides skills to help residents sustain themselves for 72 hours following a major disaster.

The success and growth of this program over the last four years has enabled hundreds of people to learn sustainability tactics in the event of a disaster. The Academy has been successfully replicated in 10 local communities, including Aliso Viejo, Ladera Ranch, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Lake Forest, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, Santiago Canyon, Silverado Canyon, and Trabuco Canyon.

In addition to support from Mission Hospital and the Orange County Fire Authority, the Academy benefits from the involvement of the American Red Cross, Medix Ambulance, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, and the Santa Margarita Water District. For more information, please click here.


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

  • Met with Ethan Wayne, son of legendary film actor John Wayne, and The Advocacy Group to discuss concerns over a potential name change for John Wayne Airport
  • Co-Chaired a meeting of the Orange County Coastal Coalition at the Ocean Institute in Dana Point (more on this next week)
  • Attended a Sheriff's Advisory Council Medal of Valor Luncheon (more on this next week)

My office also:

  • Attended a Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce ribbon-cutting ceremony to present a Certificate of Recognition in honor of the Grand Opening of Nirvana Grille in Laguna Beach. For more information, please click here.
  • Attended a formal briefing hosted by the American Red Cross/Orange County Chapter titled, “Southern California Catastrophic Disaster Planning – Risk & Readiness: Government Leaders Partnership to Build Response Capacity.” To view the Spring 2008 Red Cross Community Report, 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.

Wishing you and yours a very blessed and happy Easter!