Header image with Photo of Supervisor Pat Bates. Followed by office information
March 28, 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. Fifth District Spotlight

4. South County News

5. County Connections

6. Health Report

7. Environmental Notes

8. Notes From The Field

9. Guided Hikes in the 5th District Wilderness Parks

10. South County Calendar

11. 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 11

No Board Meeting Held This Week

There was no regularly scheduled meeting of the Board of Supervisors this week.

Our next Board meeting will be held on Tuesday, April 1. For Agenda & Meeting Information, please click here

Live Internet broadcasts of Board of Supervisors meetings are available and archived as video-on-demand. To view live and/or past Board meetings, please click here.


South Orange County Major Investment Study

As Chair of the South Orange County Major Investment Study (SOCMIS), I presided over our March 28 Policy Advisory Committee meeting.  We received a presentation on the current schedule and process of selecting the preferred strategy for reducing traffic congestion in South County.  The Committee of local elected officials and representatives from Caltrans and the Transportation Corridor Agencies will decide which alternatives best serve the needs of commuters and provide real solutions to our transportation challenges. 

In our efforts to incorporate citizen input, we held three open houses in South County with over 100 members of the community in attendance.  Attendees took advantage of the opportunity to view various long term multi-modal transportation concepts being studied by their elected officials.  As a part of SOCMIS, the Policy Advisory Committee is also reviewing costs associated with each alternative.  Our next meeting will be held on May 28, at which time the Committee will begin building consensus around the most favorable locally preferred strategy.  For more information, please click here.

Proposed Bus Service Improvements and Service Changes

The Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) Board of Directors will hold a public hearing at 9:00 a.m. on Monday, April 14, at the Orange County Transportation Authority, 550 South Main St., Orange, California. The public hearing is for the purpose of considering major route modifications to routes 470 and 471; implementation of new Route 671 OC Flyer service; cancellation of Route 686; and implementation of new Route 792 OC Express service. For more information, please click here.

OCTA Discounts and Destinations Guide

The OCTA Discounts and Destinations Guide features a variety of things to do around Orange County. The Guide is divided into North County, West County and South County. Each section features nine categories: Entertainment, Historical, Shopping, Sports & Recreation, Nature & Science, Libraries, Colleges & Universities, Farmers Markets, and Dining.

Have fun exploring your county. There's something you’ll love to do near you. For that matter, there's something you’ll love to do far from you, too. For a FREE copy of the OCTA Discounts and Destinations Guide, please click here.


Mission Viejo Celebrates Twenty Years of Cityhood

I am delighted to announce that the City of Mission Viejo this week is celebrating twenty years of cityhood. In honor of this momentous occasion, the City has hosted a week full of entertainment and commemorative events for all members of the community to come together and celebrate the great place in which they live, work and play.

The celebration began last Saturday with an opening ceremony at the Village Green in Oso Viejo Community Park, where I was honored to be introduced by Mission Viejo Mayor Trish Kelly. Olympian and soccer star Julie Foudy served as the mistress of ceremonies. Activities following the opening ceremony included games, an egg hunt and a special appearance by the Easter Bunny who parachuted in from the sky!

The City’s 20th Anniversary Celebration concludes on Saturday, March 29, with the Artes de la Vida festival, a concert at Oso Viejo Community Park featuring the South Coast Symphony playing Broadway music, and a ribbon-cutting ceremony to commemorate the grand opening of the Norman P. Community and Senior Center. Congratulations to the residents of Mission Viejo for twenty glorious years of cityhood! For more information, please click here.

Sulphur Solution: Prevent, Control, Restore Project

The City of Laguna Niguel and its partner agencies, the County of Orange and the City of Laguna Hills, are proud to announce the completion of the Sulphur Solution: Prevent, Control, Restore Project.  This 4-year, $2.3 million effort was funded by a Proposition 13 grant through the State Water Resources Control Board.  Funds were used for:

  • Conversion of over 700,000 square feet of existing landscaping at single family homes, homeowners associations and public parks/streetscapes from higher-impact to lower-impact conditions
  • Installation of over 250 trash screens on catch basins on public streets; and
  • Restoration of natural stream conditions at a 400'-long flood control channel in Laguna Niguel Regional Park.

It is estimated that the project will reduce water use by almost 40 acre-feet per year; reduce trash, debris and particulate pollutants in the catch basins by 85%; reduce dry-weather bacteria discharges from the channel by 50%; and increase wetland/riparian habitat acreage by 50,000 square feet.


Lessons Learned at the Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA)

On Thursday, March 27, the OCFA Board approved investing more than $14 million to hire additional fire personnel and obtaining additional firefighting equipment.  This will help ensure that Orange County residents and property are better prepared in the event of future destructive wildfires.  As you may recall, the Santiago Fire began on October 21, 2007, and continued on its path of destruction for 19 days. 

With an estimated cost of nearly $28 million dollars in total damage, this was the most disastrous wild land fire in Orange County in over 30 years, ultimately consuming 28,517 acres and destroying more than 40 structures. Among the priorities being considered for funding is the procurement of two additional firefighting helicopters to increase the County’s early accessibility to air resources.  I fully support the recommendations of the Santiago Fire After Action Report approved by the OCFA Board. To view the full report, 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.


Tuberculosis Cases in Orange County Continue to Decrease

Tuberculosis (TB) cases in Orange County decreased 4% during 2007, with a total of 217 TB cases reported during the last calendar year. Orange County’s TB case rate remains just below the statewide rate and Orange County is fourth among California counties in the total number of new TB cases reported, behind Los Angeles, San Diego and Santa Clara Counties.

A continuing concern is the thousands of Orange County residents who carry TB bacteria in their bodies but have not become ill, which is known as latent TB infection. In Orange County, the Health Care Agency’s Public Health Services investigates reports of active TB cases, provides treatment and control services for those with active TB and provides treatment of latent TB infection for individuals who are at increased risk of developing active TB disease. For more information, please click here.


Coastal Coalition Shares Good Water News for South County

On March 20, I co-chaired the Orange County Coastal Coalition at the Ocean Institute in Dana Point, where guest speakers discussed ocean water quality improvements and innovative ways to increase water supply for South County homes & businesses.

Larry Honeybourne from the County’s Health Care Agency kicked the morning off by sharing good news about improved water quality along Orange County’s beaches.  Larry indicated that, in 2007, Orange County experienced fewer sewage spills and beach closures than in previous years. This is excellent news for our creeks, oceans and beaches! We also learned that pipeline blockages of roots, grease and debris are common causes of sewage spills and often lead to beach closures. To see Mr. Honeybourne’s presentation, please click here.

The final report will be out shortly and available at www.ocbeachinfo.com. This website also contains general beach information, including closures and postings. The Beach Hotline is (714) 433-6400. To report a sewage spill, call (714) 433-6419 (Mon. thru Fri., 8am-5pm) or (714) 628-7008 (after hours/weekends). Remember to not swim near creek outlets and pipes for 72 hours after rainfall.

Karl Seckel from the Municipal Water District of Orange County (MWDOC) provided an update on the proposed Dana Point Ocean Desalination Project. The 15 million gallon per day (MGD) desalination plant has a construction cost estimate of $136 million and could supply approximately 25% of anticipated water demands for Laguna Beach, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, Moulton Niguel Water District and South Coast Water District. Using an innovative, environmentally sensitive slant well technique, ocean water would be pumped and filtered through a pipe below the ocean floor. I was impressed by this proposal and commend MWDOC and its partners for continuing to seek ways to increase supply and system reliability for South County residents and businesses. To view Mr. Seckel’s presentation, please click here.

I invite you to join me at our next meeting on Thursday, April 24, at the Newport Beach Library. To be placed on the email distribution list for Coastal Coalition meetings, please send your email address to Norma.Nuno@rdmd.ocgov.com.


Saturday Night Campfire Program at Caspers Wilderness Park

Bring family and friends to camp out and join park staff for the Saturday Night Campfire Program at Caspers Wilderness Park from 7:00pm to 8:00pm. This 1 hour program will include various activities such as slide shows, live animals, poetry, singing, theatrical skits, and many artifact and ‘eco-fact’ displays, including animal skulls and skins. This program is limited to overnight family campers. For more information, please call the park office at (949) 923-2210 or click here.

Aliso & Wood Canyons Wilderness Park General Volunteer Day

Aliso & Wood Canyons Wilderness Park is looking for a maximum of ten volunteers to assist with their General Volunteer Day, held on the last Saturday of every month from 9am-12noon. An application process must be completed prior to volunteering. For more information, please call 949-201-8775 or click here.

Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park Remains Closed

Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park remains closed due to significant damage from the Santiago Fire, which started October 21, 2007. Roughly 90% of the park burned in the massive blaze.

OC Parks hopes to open the park in phases, beginning sometime this summer. For now, the park needs time to heal so wildlife can return to its habitat. OC Parks also needs time to make the park safe for the public as the rainy season brought major erosion damage to many of the trails. Please be assured that park staff is working hard to reopen the park as soon as possible. For more information, 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 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).
  • Thursday, April 3
    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 volunteer naturalist Helen Flanagan. 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. 
  • Saturday, April 5
    Rocks, Ridgelines and Raptors
    9 a.m.-noon
    Enjoy unspoiled canyon views on this moderate, 7-mile hike along Serrano Ridge and down Laurel Canyon. Look for raptors soaring on thermal lifts while discussing the geology of the landscape. Led by Laguna Canyon Foundation volunteers Norris Tomlinson and Bette Lee, this hike will involve carpooling from Willow Canyon to Little Sycamore Canyon to avoid backtracking. 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.
  • Sunday, April 6
    First Weekends at the Nix Nature Center – Meet Your Wildlife Neighbors
    1-4 p.m.
    Meet your wildlife neighbors! Join Mollie Hogan, from Nature of Wildworks from 1:30-2:30 p.m. for a presentation about local wildlife. See a live skunk, opossum, fox, and birds of prey. Make a promise necklace for Earth Day. Meet at Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, Nix Nature Center, Little Sycamore Canyon Staging Area (west side of Laguna Canyon Road/SR-133, approximately 5 miles south of I-5/405). Reservations required: 949-923-2235. Parking: $3.
  • Sunday, April 6
    Art in the Park
    9 a.m.-noon
    Grab a journal and sketchbook and open your mind to nature's inspiration. Laguna Canyon Foundation volunteer naturalists Karin Klein and Gere Botehlo lead this easy, 2-mile stroll through Laurel Canyon's tree-filled riparian zone. 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.

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 rainfall within the previous 48 hours. Please call the park office at (949) 923-2260 for current conditions and program schedule. For more information about Saturday Morning Nature Walks, please click here. For information about O'Neill Regional Park, 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 rainfall 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. For information about Caspers Wilderness Park, 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.

Mission Viejo’s 20th Anniversary Closing Ceremonies

Volunteers will plant along the new Upper Oso Creek Trail followed by “Artes de la Vida”. A South Coast Symphony Broadway concert, closing ceremonial flame performance, and a ribbon cutting ceremony and reception for the grand opening of the newly expanded Norman P. Murray Community and Senior Center will conclude the day. Shuttle service is available from the Civic Center, Potocki Center, and Mission Viejo High School (9:30 AM – 9:30 PM). 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.

First Thursday’s Art Walk in Laguna Beach

Join member galleries throughout Laguna Beach on Thursday, April 3, from 6pm – 9pm for a festive, cultural evening. Free shuttles to participating galleries start at 6:15 PM at the Laguna Art Museum (corner of PCH & Cliff Dr.) and Bluebird Center (1590 S. Coast Highway) and run until 8:45 PM. For more information, please click here.


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

  • Participated in the Orange County Transportation Authority’s annual delegation trip to Sacramento (a full report will be forthcoming in my next newsletter)
  • Attended the 20th Annual Medal of Valor Luncheon of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department to honor 38 of its members for acts of valor, courage, merit and lifesaving. For more information, please click here.
  • Attended the opening ceremony for the City of Mission Viejo’s 20th Anniversary Celebration. For more information, please click here.

My office also:

  • Attended the Treasurer’s monthly meeting to receive an update on SIVs and other issues pertaining to the Treasurer’s Office.
  • Attended a San Juan Capistrano Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs Committee meeting featuring Congressman Ken Calvert as special guest speaker.
  • Attended an American Legion Post 257 reception in Laguna Woods to present proclamations honoring its Fire Fighters of the Year.

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!