Header image with Photo of Supervisor Pat Bates. Followed by office information
June 20, 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. Notes From The Field

6. Critter Chronicles

7. South County Calendar

8. Celebrating the Fourth of July

9. 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 22
Board Bulletin Board

Enhancing Opportunities at OC Parks through Partnerships

Partnering with Orange County stakeholders who share our values and strategic goals is an important opportunity that I have challenged County staff to begin identifying. Congratulations to OC Parks for being the first to respond to this challenge!

On Tuesday, the Board approved three partnership agreements with the Laguna Canyon Foundation, Upper Newport Bay Naturalists and Friends, and the Irvine Ranch Conservancy to provide increased opportunities to the public for docent lead interpretive programs, parkland stewardship programs, special event coordination, and volunteer and fundraising support.

While having no policy making authority, land management or parks operational responsibilities, these partnerships will provide enhanced recreational opportunities for park visitors. Each of the three entities has long been an informal partner, assisting OC Parks in meeting its mission to effectively manage and operate the County’s regional park system and serving as a steward of our public lands. I look forward to the added value these partnerships will bring to our recreational experiences.

Providing a Safer Route to School for our Children

As a parent and a grandparent, I can remember the anxiety I had when my children, and now grandchildren, would make their way to school each morning. Thoughts of them crossing busy intersections always made me nervous.

On Tuesday, the Board approved a project that takes a small step forward in providing a safer route to school. Three County crosswalks will be retrofitted with in-pavement flashing light reflectors and overhead flashing beacons to alert drivers of pedestrians crossing the road. I am pleased to inform you that one of the crosswalks will be at Sienna Parkway and Flintridge, near Chaparral Elementary School in Ladera Ranch. The retrofitting is expected to begin in the next few weeks.

Fortifying the Levees at San Juan Creek

As I have stated before, protecting life and property is a responsibility I take very seriously. To that end, I am very pleased to report that the Board of Supervisors approved my motion to award a contract to begin efforts to permanently strengthen the levees in San Juan Creek. Phase I of this project will include the installation of sheet piles on the highest priority section of the westerly levee.

The entire stretch of this project begins in San Juan Creek at Stonehill Drive Bridge to the I-5 Freeway, and on Trabuco Creek Channel from its confluence with San Juan Creek Channel to 1,600 feet upstream of the Del Obisbo Bridge. The entire project will take place in eight phases over seven years and is anticipated to cost $80 million.

As many may recall, in 2005, the west levee in San Juan Creek experienced severe damage at two locations and threatened the potential flooding of hundreds of homes. The County and Army Corps of Engineers were able to save all homes from flooding and have worked diligently to design and permit a permanent solution for San Juan Creek.

Important Community Services Continue

The Board approved several community services Agreements on Tuesday. The Workforce Investment Act Youth Program provides youth ages 14-21 opportunities for career exploration, internship, summer employment, occupational skills training, and comprehensive guidance counseling. Two organizations serve South County: La Familia (949) 489-9045; and the BRIDGE (949) 661-0452.

The State of California’s Dispute Resolution Program Act was also renewed an additional year, allowing residents to utilize a lower cost alternative to civil court trials. Organizations such as the Human Relations Council sit down with both parties in legal conflicts, eliminating the need for costly attorneys and filing fees. Interested parties will be referred by Civil Court Operations.

The four Domestic Violence Shelters within Orange County were also approved for funding. These four shelters provide an important refuge for victims of domestic violence and their children. If you know anyone in need of these services, please call Human Options Hotline (949) 854-3554; Interval House Hotline (714) 891-8121; Laura's House Hotline (949) 498-1511; or Women's Transitional Living Center Hotline (714) 992-1931.

The Board also approved Agreements for the Orange County One-Stop System, which assists Orange County residents in assessing their job skills and finding appropriate work opportunities. To view the presentation given to the Board, please click here.

GPS Monitoring of Sex Offenders

The Board approved an agreement with Sentinel Offender Services for Continuous Electronic Monitoring (CEM) Services and Equipment using a Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) System for high-risk adult sex offenders on probation that meet the appropriate criteria outlined in SB 619, passed by the state legislature in 2005.

CEM and GPS have proven to be effective risk management tools for supervising high-risk adult sex offenders on probation. They are an excellent means for prevention as knowledge of their whereabouts is a high priority for maintaining public safety. The daily lease cost of the tracking equipment and monitoring services per person is $7.23. This two-pronged approach provides an outstanding method for monitoring sex offenders at a very low cost to the taxpayers.

Traffic Committee Report and Recommendations

On Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors approved the 2008 Traffic Committee Report and Recommendations. Most notably in the 5th District, the Board approved the recommended speed limit of 55 MPH for La Pata Avenue between Ortega Highway and Vista Montana in the San Juan Capistrano area. To view details regarding the justification noted in the report, please click here.

Transportation Information

New Cell Phone Laws for Drivers Effective July 1, 2008

Two new laws aiming to increase driver safety will soon go into effect. Beginning July 1, all Californians must use a hands-free device when driving and using a cell phone. Projected fines range from $20 to over $150, depending on the number of violations and additional penalty assessments. Convictions will appear on driving records. However, the DMV will not add violation points. When making emergency 911 calls, drivers age 18 and older may hold their cell phones.

Families should note that beginning July 1, drivers under age 18 will not be permitted to use a cell phone while driving. Driving without a hands-free device is a secondary offense for minors, meaning that they cannot be pulled over for this. However, they can still be pulled over solely for using a cell phone while driving. No exceptions will be made for parental consent. For more information, please click here.

Listen to OCTA Board Meetings Online

Residents who wonder how Orange County transportation decisions are made but don’t have time to spend two or more hours sitting in a board room now have an option. The Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) is proud to announce that live audio streaming of OCTA Board of Directors meetings will begin with the Board meeting of Monday, June 23.

Listen online as the 17-member Board of Directors discusses planning, funding and implementing Orange County’s freeway improvements, bus operations, Metrolink service, and street and road projects. In addition to the live streaming, an archive of meetings will be available to allow people online access at any time. For more information, please click here.

OCTA Board meetings are scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. on the second and fourth Monday of each month. Schedules may vary on holidays. For those interested in attending in person, the Board meets at OCTA Headquarters, 600 S. Main St. in Orange.

TCA Corrects Errors in Lieutenant Governor’s Letter

The Transportation Corridor Agencies CEO this week sent a letter to the California Lieutenant Governor regarding his observations about how the Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA) has conducted the planning process for completion of the 241 Toll Road. The letter also reiterated an invitation to the Lieutenant Governor to tour the proposed project site and the accompanying environmental programs. For more information, please click here.

241 Toll Road: Part of the Solution

A recent four-part series in the Los Angeles Times explored the causes and impacts of Los Angeles and Orange Counties’ crushing traffic congestion. The series found that even when other options are available, the majority of commuters simply prefer the convenience of driving. In California, transportation spending has not kept pace with population growth and development. With Orange County now ranking as one of the most congested counties in the nation, the 241 would help address a major challenge that impacts all residents’ quality of life. For more information, please click here.

County Connections

Oath of Office Ceremony for Sheriff-Coroner

The administration of the oath of office for Sheriff-Coroner Sandra Hutchens will be held on June 24 at 9 AM. As the first Board-appointed Sheriff in Orange County, Hutchens will be sworn into office at the Old County Courthouse in Santa Ana. For more information, please click here.

Help Your Home Survive a Wildfire

In an effort to assist residents in preparing for the hot summer months, the Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA) is offering a two pronged approach to increase the chances your home will survive a wildfire. OCFA will provide residents with a “How to Make Your Home Fire Safe Homeowners Checklist” and a defensible space inspection as well as a construction feature assessment. Taking these steps can improve the protection of your home as well as provide firefighters with a place to take a stand. For more information, please click here.

Health Herald

The ABC’s of Pool Safety

California leads the nation in drownings. These needless tragedies are the leading cause of accidental injury and death in children under the age of five and the second leading cause of death in children under the age of 14. In Southern California, drowning prevention and water safety should be practiced on a year-round basis with special emphasis during the summer months. By learning water safety tips, you and your child can learn how to prevent such drownings. For the ABC’s of water safety, please click here.

Mental Health Services Act Funding

The Orange County Health Care Agency’s draft plan to seek $28.3 million in Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) Capital Facilities and Technological Needs Plan funding is available for public review and comment through July 6, 2008. Of the total amount of funding available, 80% will be spent on Capital Facilities and 20% will be used to fund Technological Needs. A portion of the Capital Facilities funding will be used to construct a site for programs including a Wellness/Peer Support Center, a Crisis Residential Program, and a Vocational Training Program. For more information, please click here.

Notes From The Field

Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park to Reopen in July

Limestone Canyon and Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park, which has been closed since last October’s Santiago Fire, is scheduled to reopen in mid to late July. The fire burned 90% of the park, one of Orange County’s most popular hiking and mountain biking spots.

OC Parks staff and other crews have been hard at work over the past eight months to make the park safe for visitors and help the land recover. OC Parks staff, along with the Orange County Fire Authority and Orange County Conservation Corps, worked to re-grade roads and trails, clear brush and fallen trees to ready the park for reopening. New signs, trail markers, bulleting boards and fencing are also being installed to replace those that burned in the fire. 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, June 21
    Celebrate National Trails Day

    8-11:00 a.m.
    Celebrate the longest day of the year with Laguna Canyon Foundation volunteer naturalists Annie Stoeckmann and Penny Lewis and learn about wildlife diversity in our coastal canyons on this moderate, 3.5-mile hike. Meet at Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, James Dilley Preserve (east side of Laguna Canyon Road/SR-133, just north of 73 Toll Road). Reservations required: 949-923-2235. Parking: $3.

  • Sunday, June 22
    Intermediate Mountain Bike Ride

    9 a.m.-noon
    Enjoy ocean and canyon views on this 8 to 15 mile ride over steep terrain led by Laguna Canyon Foundation volunteer Mountain Bike Trail Assistant Tito Fuentes and others. 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.

Events and Programs at OC Parks

To see a list of events and programs being offered in the month of June at OC Parks throughout the 5th District, please click here.

Critter Chronicles

14th Annual DAWG Walk – Pet Faire & Dog Adoption Event

This fun-filled family pet event will be held on Saturday, June 28 between 7:00 a.m. and noon at the Thomas R. Potocki Center/Fields (27301 La Paz Road) and the Oso Creek Trail in Mission Viejo. The Mission Viejo Animal shelter and a number of animal rescue groups will be at the Faire with many wonderful dogs of all breeds and sizes available for adoption. Everyone and their dogs (leashed) are welcome to the Pet Faire. You don't have to participate in the DAWG Walk to enjoy the Pet Faire events and all of the great booths filled with products and services for pets and their owners. For more information, please click here.

South County Calendar

42nd Annual Sawdust Art Festival: “Summer of Enchantment”

Come to the 42nd Annual Summer Show at the Sawdust Art Festival and experience the creative wonders of nearly 200 Laguna Beach artists in an enchanting outdoor canyon paradise adorned with waterfalls, eucalyptus trees, and the best hand crafted art in California. The “Summer of Enchantment” is sure to inspire your inner artist! June 27 thru August 31. For more information, please click here.

Art-A-Fair Festival: “See the World Through an Artist's Eyes”

Nestled in a colorful garden setting in romantic Laguna Canyon, the Art-A-Fair Festival is a wonderful place to spend a summer day in the historic art community of Laguna Beach. Featuring a Venetian theme, this year's festival gives you the opportunity to stroll the festive streets of Palazzo Laguna and “See the World Through an Artist's Eyes.” June 27 thru August 31. For more information, please click here.

Celebrating the Fourth of July

Public Fireworks Displays throughout Orange County

With the Fourth of July fast approaching, the Orange County Fire Authority is encouraging residents throughout Orange County to celebrate the holiday by attending one of the many spectacular public fireworks displays staged by professionals. For a list of community fireworks displays in Orange County scheduled for July 4, please click here.

Fifth District Wrap-Up

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

  • Met with Orange County Sheriff-Designee Sandra Hutchens to discuss an initial overview of 5th District law enforcement issues.
  • Attended a Miocean Foundation reception to accept a $250,000 donation from the non-profit to help the County complete a water quality improvement project at Poche Beach in San Clemente. For more information, please click here.
  • Delivered the keynote address at a Ladera Ranch Chamber of Commerce “State of the Community” Breakfast.
  • Met with representatives of the Ambulance Association of Orange County to discuss ambulance rates.
  • Met with representatives from AIDS Services Foundation OC to discuss an upcoming service agreement.
  • Adjourned the Board of Supervisors meeting in memory of Nancy Falkenburg Ross of Laguna Hills.
My office also:
  • Attended various Chamber of Commerce ribbon-cutting ceremonies in the Fifth District to present Certificates of Recognition in honor of the grand openings of a number of new South County businesses including Gelato Palazzo in Laguna Hills, Capital Bank in San Juan Capistrano, Jack Randall Photography in Dana Point, and the Talega Village Center in San Clemente.
  • Attended an Eagle Scout Court of Honor ceremony in Lake Forest to present Certificates of Recognition to two newly inducted Eagle Scouts.
  • Received a briefing on the County’s 2009 Health Plan Rates.
  • Toured and met with staff from Arts Orange 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!