Header image with Photo of Supervisor Pat Bates. Followed by office information
May 09, 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. Health Herald

5. Critter Chronicles

6. Notes From The Field

7. South County Calendar

8. 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 17
Board Bulletin Board

Donation Helps Water Quality Project Cross the Finish Line

It is a rare occasion when the Board of Supervisors is asked to accept a large donation to help a public project cross the finish line. I had the pleasure of accepting a $250,000 donation from the non-profit ‘Miocean’ to help complete the water quality improvement project at Poche Beach.

Poche Beach is a small beach that lies between Capistrano Beach and the City of San Clemente and has a long history of being posted by the Health Care Agency for exceeding State-mandated water quality standards. The project will treat urban runoff in the Prima Deshecha Channel by filtering the runoff to remove solids and exposing the urban runoff to intense ultraviolet light to kill the bacteria. The treated water will then be released at the mouth of the channel directly onto Poche Beach.

Miocean is a local non-profit comprised of Orange County business executives with a strong commitment to our coast and passion for the ocean. They are committed to developing, supporting and implementing programs to reduce urban runoff and preserve the environmental integrity of Southern California’s beaches and coastal waters. On behalf of the taxpayers of Orange County and the County of Orange, I wish to extend our most gracious appreciation for their donation. For more information, please click here.

Enhancing Views along Laguna Canyon Road

For all of us who have driven along Laguna Canyon Road, the natural surrounding is hard to miss. As part of the widening of Laguna Canyon Road, the County took an important step to improve and enhance our environmental experience by undergrounding utilities along the County’s portion of the road from the San Joaquin Hills Toll Road to the 405 Freeway. High voltage lines, electrical transmission lines and telecommunications lines were all removed from the poles and placed underground to enhance the aesthetics of the natural surroundings.

Funding South County Parks and Local Projects

On Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors approved my request to fund eight important recreational and community projects that are sure to improve the quality of life we cherish in Orange County. Listed below are the approved projects, delivering more than $1.5 million in enhancements to South County regional resources:

  1. Salt Creek Beach
    • Replace three picnic shelters and associated fixtures removed due to deterioration caused by exposure to the marine environment and age.
    • This project was identified by OC Parks as a priority project for the Fifth District.
  2. Aliso Creek Trail
    • Connect Aliso Creek Trail to Aliso & Wood Canyons Wilderness Park for a safe connection to the popular trail system within the wilderness park.
    • Presently, the Aliso & Wood Canyons Park entrance may only be reached from the existing Aliso Creek Trail by traveling along a narrow road. The connection will allow trail users to extend their trip and reach the wilderness park without driving.
    • This project was identified by OC Parks as a priority project for the Fifth District.
  3. Laguna Coast Wilderness Park
    • Design and develop interpretive signage for Coastal Wilderness Parks in South County to assist visitors in understanding the natural and cultural history of our coastal canyon environment.
    • Signs will be placed throughout the parks along the trail system. The signage program will enhance the visitor experience by offering new perspectives and informative details about their surroundings as they explore the wilderness areas.
    • This project was identified by OC Parks as a priority project for the Fifth District.
  4. Aliso & Wood Canyons Wilderness Park
    • OC Parks will assist in the design, land preparation and development of the proposed Orange Coast Watershed and Environmental Center.
    • A campus like complex comprised of above-grade prefabricated modules is proposed to provide interpretive and educational programs on water quality, pollution prevention, and riparian habitat topics in addition to other natural history subjects.
    • Lessons learned at the Center will extend to local residents and students who will gain information on lifestyle changes to limit domestic water use and prevent pollution.
  5. Orange Coast Watershed & Environmental Center
    • Funding to sponsoring non-profit for development of a permanent watershed interpretive facility at the Aliso & Wood Canyons Wilderness Park.
    • This project includes modular buildings consisting of exhibits to promote watershed and environmental education and awareness.
  6. South Coast Water District (SCWD)
    • Funding will assist collaborative efforts related to improving water quality in the Aliso Creek Watershed through a partnership with the SCWD’s water quality/water reclamation project.
    • Funds will be used to purchase necessary water quality equipment and infrastructure to benefit Aliso Creek Watershed and Aliso Beach.
  7. Dana Point Harbor Wharf Public Restrooms
    • Expand existing restroom by adding stalls and retrofitting the facility for ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliance.
  8. Bell Tower Foundation Community Needs Assessment
    • Conduct a comprehensive survey identifying community/public needs relating to health and human services, recreation, and quality of life issues.
    • The needs assessment will include the unincorporated areas of Coto de Caza, Dove Canyon, Foothill Ranch, Ladera Ranch, Wagon Wheel and Trabuco Canyon as well as the City of Rancho Santa Margarita.

South Justice Center Project Moves Forward

This week, the Board approved 5-year lease agreements for the District Attorney (DA) and Public Defender (PD) to relocate staff serving the Harbor Justice Center from the Laguna Niguel facility to office space in proximity to the Newport Beach facility. The Laguna Niguel facility will be closed later this year as we move forward with the South Justice Center project. Cases previously held in Laguna Niguel will now be heard at the Newport Beach location until the new South Justice Center project is complete. Leased office space for DA and PD staff is required due to insufficient space at the Newport Beach location. I remain committed to ensuring the South Justice Center project continues moving forward in a timely manner.

Police Community Reconciliation Program

The Board of Supervisors approved a two-year trial of the Police Community Reconciliation Program (PCRP) on Tuesday. The program is based on my directive to County staff during approval of the Office of Independent Review (OIR). OIR is a professional oversight mechanism for reviewing law enforcement policies and procedures as well as major incidents.

In contrast, the PCRP will be a confidential grievance procedure through which citizens can report serious complaints regarding law enforcement that do not rise to the level of review by the OIR. Further, the PCRP will allow citizens and Sheriff’s Deputies to meet confidentially with a state certified mediator to resolve such complaints. This comprehensive policy will create a transparent and civil exchange, giving the public even greater confidence in our law enforcement professionals.

Voluntary participation from our Sheriff’s Deputies and citizens are essential components of the PCRP. I look forward to providing you frequent updates as this program is implemented.

Public Mass Notification System

The Board approved a three-year agreement with the NTI Group for a public mass telephone notification system. In 2007 at the direction of the Board, the CEO participated in a pilot project with the County’s IT Terrorism Working Group as well as County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) staff to observe similar systems working for other local governments. The pilot system was activated in November, 2007, to disseminate flood watch and evacuation notices to households and businesses in the Santiago Canyon burn areas.

This is an essential component to providing quick notices to residents and business owners during emergencies. The County is working with cities to receive input on how we may best serve their needs.

Customer Service Tracking System

During our stakeholder working group meetings for developing oversight in law enforcement, the question was raised regarding how we oversee customer complaints throughout County government. In the effort to streamline government and improve service delivery, the Board approved the Customer Care Tracking System.

Since the agencies handle complaints in different ways, there is no central collection point for complaint data, which would be useful for management to improve the way we serve our citizens. Through our Board directive, the CEO has developed a policy for collecting and monitoring citizen complaints countywide to ensure they are resolved. I am confident this will show how well the County handles complaints and provide important information on trends to aid management’s decision making process as well as streamline the way we serve our constituents.

Third Quarter Budget Approved

The Board approved the 3rd Quarter Budget at Tuesday’s meeting. As expected with current slow-downs, the County is receiving less revenue than was budgeted for 2007-2008. Fortunately, the County has implemented measures to keep costs low, adjusting expenditures to remain below budget as well. Within the 3rd Quarter Budget were allocations for the DNA Identification Program and the County Library in Laguna Niguel. To see a complete presentation of highlights from the 3rd Quarter Budget, please click here.

Performance Audit Work Plan

The Performance Audit Work Plan, a list of proposed projects for the Performance Auditor to investigate, was reviewed at our Board meeting. Since the Board is in the process of deciding how to structure and utilize the Performance Auditor most effectively, only 3 projects were approved for this quarter.

These projects include a management audit of the Health Care Agency’s Correctional Medical Department, a performance audit to assess whether current risk management processes offer sufficient protection to County assets, and time set aside for unanticipated Board requests. The Board will review progress of these projects and the structure of the Performance Audit Department during the June Budget Hearings.

Transportation Information

Biological Opinion Issued for the 241 Toll Road

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service issued the Biological Opinion for the 241 Toll Road, confirming that the 16-mile roadway complies with the Endangered Species Act. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is the federal resource agency responsible for regulating habitat for terrestrial threatened and endangered species.

The Biological Opinion issued this week concludes the 241 Toll Road will not appreciably reduce the likelihood of survival and recovery of any endangered or threatened species – including the Pacific pocket mouse, the arroyo toad and the coastal California gnatcatcher. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration had previously issued its determination that the Project would not adversely impact the steelhead trout.

The Biological Opinion describes the comprehensive minimization, mitigation and enhancement measures that TCA has committed to implement in association with the 16-mile toll road extension. For more information, please click here.

Laguna Niguel Receives $3.8 Million For Smart Street

Construction on Laguna Niguel’s final segment of the Moulton Parkway Smart Street Program can get under way after funding was approved by the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) Board of Directors.

The funding will be used to build improvements on the 1.7 miles of Golden Lantern between Aloma Avenue and Serenity Lane. The project will widen the street to six lanes from four lanes, construct new medians and retaining walls.

Construction of the final portion of this Smart Street project is expected to cost a total of $6.3 million. The city will commit $1.4 million for the project and OCTA is funding the remainder with the recently approved $3.8 million and $1.1 million previously approved. Work is expected to get under way this summer.

The Smart Street Program is part of the original Measure M, which has provided funding to improve four major arterials throughout Orange County, including improvements on the Moulton Parkway stretch from Tustin to Dana Point. For more information, please click here.

TCA Enforcement Process for Protected Plates

The Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA) is made up of two separate government entities, representing the County of Orange and a number of cities within the areas of benefit for the Foothill/Eastern and San Joaquin Hills Toll Roads. The two agencies are the Foothill/Eastern Transportation Corridor Agency and the San Joaquin Hills Transportation Corridor Agency.

This week, the TCA Boards of Directors received an overview presentation of the Agencies’ procedure for collecting violations incurred by motorists with protected plates. These make up a very small percentage of total violations. TCA has compiled a list of mailing addresses of agencies that issue protected plates and mails violation notices directly to the agencies. The agencies then pass the violation on to the employee that the vehicle is issued to.

TCA recently provided the list of mailing addresses to the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA), enabling OCTA to begin collecting violations by drivers with protected plates.

County Connections

Postal Rate Change and Vote-by-Mail Ballot Procedures

At the request of the Orange County Registrar of Voters, the United States Postal Service notified all postal centers in Orange County to honor the postage due on vote-by-mail ballots mailed for the June 3, 2008 Statewide Primary Election in compliance with Postal regulations. Postal employees have been instructed not to turn away vote-by-mail ballots if a voter inadvertently forgets the additional postage.

The Registrar of Voters is particularly concerned given the postage rate change that is effective on May 12. First class postage is set to increase by 1-cent. In addition to the assistance from postal officials, voters are still reminded to affix the correct postage to their return ballots.

John Wayne Airport Survey

John Wayne Airport has begun construction on one of Orange County’s largest public works projects ever. The multi-year Airport Improvement Program will add a third Terminal, over 2,000 parking spaces, and additional concessions and amenities for passengers. If you have traveled at John Wayne Airport in the past 12 months, please take a short survey to help staff manage communications about the Improvement Program. For more information, please click here.

EMS Week: May 19-25

Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Week in Orange County marks its 6th anniversary in 2008, promoting health and safety through awareness and education. The County of Orange Health Care Agency and its EMS partners throughout Orange County have planned a month-long celebration featuring free services, demonstrations, and educational opportunities.

Most EMS Week events are free and open to the public, and we encourage you to participate. Education and prevention are two important ways we can keep ourselves and our families safe from harm. For more information, please click here.

OCFA Bone Marrow Donor Drive

The public safety sector is in the business of saving lives and property, and now you can save a life too. The Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA) in conjunction with the National Marrow Donor Program will host a marrow donor drive on Thursday, May 15 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at its Regional Fire Operations & Training Center, Classroom 3. The training center is located at 1 Fire Authority Road in Irvine. It’s a painless cheek swab that takes less than five minutes and the usual $52 processing fee is waived thanks to The National Marrow Donor Program. For more information, please click here.

Health Herald

Mental Health Services Act Implementation

Progress made during 2007 in the implementation of the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) Community Services and Supports Plan in Orange County is detailed in a report now available for public review and comment. The progress report will be discussed May 28 during a Public Hearing conducted by the County Mental Health Board at the Hall of Administration, with public comment being accepted through May 25.

A copy of the progress report and the comment form are available on the MHSA website at ochealthinfo.com/mhsa/css. Copies are also available at the Health Care Agency Mental Health Services Act Office located at 600 W. Santa Ana Blvd., Suite 510, Santa Ana, CA 92701. For more information, please click here.

Critter Chronicles

Critter Chronicles Newsletter

Published quarterly by OC Animal Care staff, the Critter Chronicles Newsletter contains information about program services, employees, animal care tips and events. For more information, please click here.

Hot Weather Tips for Pet Owners

The “Dog Days” of summer will soon be here, and now is a perfect time to review some safety tips that will keep your pets healthy and happy in the upcoming months. California law requires that we as pet owners take extra care and precautions for our animals during the summer months. There may be serious consequences for those that leave their pets unattended in a hot car or with little to no relief from the sun while they are in a backyard. On an 80 degree day, temperatures inside a parked car, with the windows partially open, can exceed 100 degrees in 5 minutes, and over 120 degrees in just 10 minutes.

For important and helpful hot weather tips to protect our furry friends, please click here.

Notes From The Field

TCA Native Habitat Spring Tours

As a reminder, the Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA) is conducting native habitat spring tours. These hikes are led by biologists and scientists through open space areas protected or restored during construction of The Toll Roads. The third of four tours being offered by TCA is:

Upper Laurel Canyon
Wildlife Undercrossing Hike
May 10, 8:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.
This moderate six-mile hike begins in Laguna Coast Wilderness Park and leads participants through an oak woodland canyon, toward the 73 Toll Road. The tour continues through a wildlife undercrossing where participants can look for tracks and identify wildlife using this access way. A plant ecologist will also describe restoration techniques used to create sustainable habitat along the Toll Road’s slopes for the California gnatcatcher, a threatened songbird. For more information, please click here.

Guided Hikes in Laguna Coast Wilderness Park

Explore the trails and learn 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, May 10
    Native Plant Hike

    8-11:30 a.m.
    Look for edible plants and learn to identify native bloomers on this vigorous, 3.5-mile hike with Laguna Canyon Foundation volunteer naturalist Nadine Nordstrom. 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, May 11
    Mother's Day Hike

    9:30-11:30 a.m.
    Bring Mom and the whole family on this 2-mile hike up and down Little Sycamore Canyon Trail with OC Parks Resource Specialist Laura Cohen. Meet at Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, Nix Nature Center, Little Sycamore Canyon Staging Area (west side of Laguna Canyon Road/SR-133, approximately 3.5 miles south of I-5/405). Reservations required: 949-923-2235. Parking: $3. Program: $4/person.
  • Thursday, May 15
    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, Little Sycamore Canyon Staging Area (west side of Laguna Canyon Road/SR-133, approximately 3.5 miles south of I-5/405). Reservations suggested: 949-923-2235. Parking: $3.

  • Saturday, May 17
    Keep It Wild Volunteer Day

    8-11 a.m.
    Volunteers help Laguna Canyon Foundation and OC Parks staff with exotic plant removal and other restoration projects. Bring your own work gloves or use the ones provided. Wear sunscreen, a hat, sturdy shoes, and long sleeves. Meet at Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, Little Sycamore Canyon Staging Area (west side of Laguna Canyon Road/SR-133, approximately 3.5 miles south of I-5/405). Reservations suggested. For additional information, call 949-923-2235. Free (parking fee waived).

  • Saturday, May 17
    Native Plants & Pollinators Hike

    8-11 a.m.
    Join Sarah Jayne, Laguna Canyon Foundation volunteer naturalist and president of the Native Plant Society, to learn about the plants of Laurel Canyon and their pollinators. 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, May 18
    Intermediate Mountain Bike Ride

    9 a.m.-12 p.m.
    Enjoy ocean and canyon views on this 8- to 15-mile ride led by Laguna Canyon Foundation volunteer naturalists and mountain bike trail assistants. RESERVATIONS AND HELMETS REQUIRED: call 949-923-2235. Meet at Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, Big Bend Staging Area (ask for directions when making reservation). Parking: $3.

South County Calendar

Aliso Viejo Street Fair

The Aliso Viejo Street Fair will be held on Saturday, May 10, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Aliso Viejo Town Center. This fun-filled day offers 50 exhibitors, live entertainment, and much more! There will even be Corvettes on display for auto enthusiasts. Admission is free and everyone is welcome to come out and join the fun! For more information, please click here.

Living History Day – Second Saturdays at the Mission

On Saturday, May 10, come and enjoy Mission San Juan Capistrano's Living History Day. Also known as 'Second Saturdays', this event is held on the second Saturday of each month, 11 AM – 2 PM. The Living History Society makes history come alive for visitors of Mission San Juan Capistrano. This group of dedicated volunteers entertains adults and children of all ages, sharing their love of history through the characters they portray. The Society creates drama and intrigue while providing historical information through stories, demonstrations and crafts. For more information, please click here.

Rancho Days Fiesta at Heritage Hill Historical Park

On Saturday, May 17 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Rancho Days Fiesta at Heritage Hill Historical Park will celebrate the colorful history of the Saddleback Valley with music, entertainment and crafts for the whole family. Piñatas, butter and ice cream churning and candle dipping are just some of the period-appropriate activities that will be available. The day will include traditional performances of Native American music and dance, as well as Ballet Folklorico de San Juan Capistrano and much more! Heritage Hill Historical Park is located at 25151 Serrano Road in Lake Forest. For more information, please click here.

“Fun With Chalk” in Mission Viejo

On May 17 and 18, from 10 AM to 6 PM, "Fun With Chalk" will celebrate it's 10th Anniversary at the Norman P. Murray Community and Senior Center in Mission Viejo. Each year the asphalt surface of the Community Center in Mission Viejo is marked off with hundreds of squares of varying sizes ranging from 2 x 2 children's squares up to 12 x 12 feet for professional artists who work to create masterpieces. You are welcome to visit both days and watch as they begin their preliminary chalk layout to the finished street paintings on Sunday. This is one annual family event you should not miss. For more information, please click here.

Passport to San Juan Capistrano History

Celebrate National Historic Preservation Month! San Juan's celebration - a "Passport to San Juan Capistrano History" - will begin with a free evening event on Monday, May 12, "Celebrating our History and Heritage." The week will culminate in their annual historic building tour on Saturday, May 17. For more information, please click here.

Fifth District Wrap-Up

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

  • Participated in the closing ceremonies for the 5th Annual Senior Games of Laguna Woods
  • Met with representatives of the Association of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs to discuss the Police Community Reconciliation Program
  • Delivered the keynote address at the monthly meeting of the Laguna Canyon Conservancy
  • Joined Caltrans officials for an Ortega Highway Safety Project Tour
  • Met with the Performance Auditor to discuss the yearly Performance Audit Plan
My office also:
  • Attended a Laguna Niguel Chamber of Commerce ribbon-cutting ceremony to present a Certificate of Recognition in honor of the grand opening of Hallmark Celebrations in Laguna Niguel.
  • Attended the retirement celebration for Stephen Long, State Parks Chief Ranger for South Orange County, to present a proclamation in honor of his 34 years of exemplary service
  • Met with the Vice-President of Community Investment for OC United Way to learn about United Way activities in the community
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.

I wish moms all over Orange County a very Happy Mother's Day!

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!