June 27, 2008
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.
IN THIS ISSUE...
1. Board Bulletin Board
2. Transportation Information
3. Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA)
4. Notes From The Field
5. Critter Chronicles
6. South County Calendar
7. SAVE THE DATE!
8. Fifth District Wrap-Up
Chief of Staff
Executive Director of Public Affairs
Executive Policy Advisor
Executive Policy Advisor
Executive Policy Advisor
Executive Secretary II
Click here to subscribe.
Click here to unsubscribe
|Board Bulletin Board
Sandra Hutchens Sworn-in as Sheriff in Public Ceremony
Tuesday morning, we opened the Board of Supervisors meeting on the steps of the Old County Courthouse to swear-in Sandra Hutchens as Orange County’s 12th Sheriff.
I want to extend my heartfelt thanks to Assistant Sheriff Jack Anderson, who served as the Acting Sheriff for 163 days. He worked tirelessly to prepare the Sheriff’s Department for a new direction. Assistant Sheriff Anderson will remain in Sheriff Hutchens’ command staff continuing to serve our county.
For more information on the swearing-in of Sheriff Hutchens, please click here. To view photos of the public ceremony, please click here. To watch a video of the ceremony, please click here. To read my editorial featured in last Sunday’s Orange County Register, articulating my reasons for voting to appoint Sandra Hutchens as our new Sheriff, please click here.
FY 2008-2009 Budget Approved
Due to anticipated cuts or delays in the State Budget, the County of Orange focused on limiting growth in staff and program costs. Departments carefully examined their Budget Requests and pared down unnecessary costs until a $6.6 Billion Budget remained for Board approval. Highlights from the Budget include:
The Police Community Reconciliation Program was created following the establishment of the Office of Independent Review. The Orange County Human Relations Commission will assist community members in navigating and understanding the Orange County Sheriff’s Department complaint process and will offer opportunities for deputies and citizens to come together and resolve complaints.
- Official funding for the Police Community Reconciliation Program
- Additional funding for emergency mental health services
- Reserves for libraries
- New pilot programs for animal care services
In December, 2007, the Board of Supervisors identified the need for an increased number of inpatient psychiatric beds through the Strategic Financial Planning Process. At that time, there was no funding available, so the Board reconsidered the issue during the FY 2008-09 Budget Hearings. As a result, funding was approved to double the current number of inpatient psychiatric beds. This step will free-up Emergency Room beds by allowing individuals requiring special mental health treatment to move to the inpatient psychiatric beds.
A recent Performance Audit report on the Orange County Library System highlighted the critical need to address deferred maintenance in many of our Branches. To address this need, I proposed setting aside $2.1 Million, obtained from a recent land sale, in a fund for Library Capital Projects. County staff will return with a prioritized list of capital improvement and maintenance projects.
Finally, I am pleased to report that my colleagues supported my request for three Pilot Projects in Animal Care Services. These three projects include:
To view the FY 2008-2009 Budget Workbook, please click here.
- Pilot Spay/Neuter Voucher – Vouchers will target pet owners whose animals have been impounded at OC Animal Care.
- Pilot Trap/Neuter/Release – OC Animal Care will vaccinate and spay/neuter feral cats, and return the cats to a responsible party.
- Communal Cat House – This project would consist of a stand-alone “house” that is air-conditioned, heated, and well ventilated. This living arrangement is anticipated to reduce the incidence of Upper Respiratory Infections (URI) a highly communicable disease.
Sheriff Provides Police Services for Orange County Cities
The Board of Supervisors approved $98,384,352 in contracts for cities that outsource their police services to our Sheriff’s Department. The cities of Lake Forest, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Woods, Rancho Santa Margarita, Mission Viejo, Dana Point, San Juan Capistrano, San Clemente, Aliso Viejo, Stanton and Villa Park as well as the Orange County Transportation Authority, John Wayne Airport and Capistrano Unified School District benefit greatly from the economies of scale achieved through the delivery of regional law enforcement services by our Sheriff’s Department.
The average cost increase in contract police services was 3-5%. The majority of cities maintained their current levels of service from the menu of options available with the exception of Laguna Woods expanding traffic enforcement and Capistrano Unified School District increasing funding for school safety resources.
I want to extend my gratitude to the men and women of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department for maintaining the exceptional service they provide our residents, especially during a tumultuous time with the many leadership changes that occurred at the top in the last six months.
GPS Monitoring for Criminal Offenders on Home Detention
On October 19, 2005, Senate Bill (SB) 619 and Senate Bill (SB) 963 were enacted, giving counties the authority to utilize electronic monitoring and home detention programs for criminal offenders. Consistent with SB 619 and SB 963, the Probation Department has developed departmental policies and procedures for the supervision of low-risk adult offenders through the use of Supervised Electronic Confinement (SEC) / Home Detention Program Services. Offenders are required to wear ‘ankle bracelets’ which provide law enforcement information on their whereabouts at all times.
Sentinel Offender Services has provided these services since 2001. The Board established a new contract with Sentinel after appropriate procurement procedures.
Treasurer – Tax Collector Proposed Cost Recovery Fee Increase
The Treasurer-Tax Collector recently brought forward a proposal to raise certain fees. While I was not supportive of these fees, I was convinced of the need for an increase in only one fee – the Redemption Segregation Fee.
When a developer is ready to sell individual units, the developer is responsible for paying property taxes on these units before requesting the Assessor split the property. However, if these property taxes are not paid before new homeowners purchase the properties, the homeowners receive a notice that they owe taxes on the entire land development rather than their specific unit. This creates a great deal of consternation and confusion for the homeowners and a tremendous amount of Treasurer-Tax Collector staff time and cost to back track, reassess individuals parcel and issue new tax bills. The increase in the Redemption Segregation Fee, which is based on actual costs to prepare documents will be paid by the developers and will encourage them to pay at the appropriate time.
Tobacco Settlement Revenue Plan
In 1998, Tobacco companies signed a multi-state agreement to pay out Tobacco Settlement Revenue. Orange County voters approved Measure H in November, 2000, which requires that Tobacco Settlement Revenue be used as follows:
For 2008-09, Orange County received approximately $29 Million in Tobacco Settlement Revenue to spend on programs such as Senior Non-Emergency Medical Transportation, Substance Abuse Prevention, and reimbursement for Emergency Room physicians. To view the Tobacco Settlement Allocation and Spending Plan, please click here.
- 19% to provide health care services for seniors and persons with disabilities.
- 12% to tobacco prevention and control (including cessation services) for youth and adults to reduce smoking and the consumption of tobacco, other addiction programs, and community mental health programs and facilities.
- 20% to non-profit community clinics.
- 23% to fund emergency medical services provided by emergency room physicians and emergency room on-call physician specialists.
- 6% to hospitals within Orange County maintaining basic or comprehensive emergency services or trauma centers to cover the costs of providing charity care.
- 20% to the Sheriff’s Department for public safety programs and services.
Drug Court and Dependency Drug Court
Drug Court and the Dependency Drug Court focus on drug treatment for program participants and has experienced remarkable success. Adult Drug Court graduates have a recidivism rate for crimes or probation violations of less than half the rate of offenders who qualified for, but did not participate in, the program.
The Dependency Drug Court emphasizes the importance of reestablishing and maintaining a healthy family unit. In 2007, 71 children who had been removed from their home by the County were reunited with their parents on average 183 days earlier than non-participant reunifications. On Tuesday, I was pleased to accept State grants to continue support of these proven programs.
Community Action Partnership of Orange County
Many churches and community groups have extra blankets, baby items, or simply the desire to help those in need. The Community Action Partnership connects individuals who want to help with those who have a need by partnering with Orange County’s social workers. As a former social worker, I appreciate the importance these community resources have in assisting needy children and families throughout the community. The Board action extends the current contract the Social Services Agency has with the Community Action Partnership of Orange County.
New Cell Phone Laws for Drivers Effective July 1
As an important reminder, two new laws aiming to increase driver safety will go into effect next week. 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 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.
|Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA)
Multi-County Goods Movement Action Plan
In June 2004, OCTA entered into a partnership with the other regional transportation commissions and authorities to address the goods movement challenges facing Southern California. This effort was critical to Southern California and Orange County’s success to receive Trade Corridor Improvement Funds. OCTA received $218 million in Proposition 1B funds. A final report on the Action Plan is available by clicking here.
Funding for South County
Earlier this month, the OCTA Board of Directors passed a $1.062 billion budget including Measure M funding for projects within our multi-modal transportation system of roads, bus transit and rail services in Orange County.
To simplify the administrative burden on our cities, OCTA has combined the Measure M grants most used by the County and cities into one programming process called the Combined Transportation Funding Program (CTFP). The CTFP program includes: Smart Street, Regional Interchange Program (RIP), Intersection Improvement Program (IIP), Transportation Demand Management Program (TDM), Master Plan of Arterial Highways Program (MPAH), Growth Management Area Program (GMA), Arterial Highway Rehabilitation Program (AHRP), Grade Separation Projects, and Grade Crossing Safety Enhancements.
Please click here and here to see the allocation summary and project list for projects in the 5th District for 2008-09. Please click here to view the line item summary for the 5th District.
Newspaper in Education Youth Program
OCTA’s youthNmotion program is designed to educate and train teachers, parents and students on the benefits of using mass transit and increase ridership of bus service amongst the youth population between ages 11 and 18. Through school outreach and youth event participation, OCTA staff conducts presentations with a tailored message that OCTA bus service is safe, clean and reliable. In the past 2 years nearly 100 presentations have been made reaching over 6,000 students. As a result of the program’s success, the Board approved an additional $50,000 for adding the OC Register’s Newspaper in Education Program. This is an 8 to 12 week curriculum program that can be used in the classroom to teach students about transportation through the newspaper and a teacher’s guide. Also, students will have opportunities for guest speakers, field trips using fixed route bus service and information for OCTA special events. For more information please visit www.octa.net.
|Notes From The Field
Guided Hikes in Laguna Coast Wilderness ParkExplore 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 28
Go Native Hike
Join Laguna Canyon Foundation volunteer naturalists Sarah Jayne and Dan Carreras for a strenuous, 3.5-mile hike featuring practical tips on transforming home gardens into native habitat while reducing water use. Meet at Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, Willow Canyon Staging Area (20101 Laguna Canyon Road, just south of El Toro Road intersection). Reservations required: 949-923-2235. Parking: $3.
- Sunday, July 6
Bats and Other Animals
Join Stephanie Remington for a presentation about bats of Orange County, learn about echolocation with some noisy activities and see live animals visiting from Oak Canyon Nature Center. Meet at Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, Little Sycamore Canyon Staging Area/Nix Nature Center (west side of Laguna Canyon Road/SR-133, approximately 3.5 miles south of I-5/405). Parking is limited. Reservations required: 949-923-2235. Parking: $3.
2008 OC Pet Fair
Each year, OC Animal Care hosts a Pet Fair at the Animal Shelter. This year, over 50 vendors will be in attendance as well as a “Soccer Collie” Exhibit, music, and refreshments sold by OC Animal Care Explorer Post #538. Thousands of residents attend this event. Last year, 75 animals were adopted on the day of the event! The Pet Fair is this Saturday, June 28, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. For more information, please click here.
As a reminder to Fifth District pet lovers, the DAWG Walk 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
Sawdust Art Festival
Come to the Sawdust Art Festival and experience the creative wonders of nearly 200 Laguna Beach artists in an enchanting outdoor canyon paradise adorned with waterfalls and eucalyptus trees. June 27 thru August 31. For more information, please click here.
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. June 27 thru August 31. For more information, please click here.
4th of July Fireworks Displays
Celebrate the 4th of July by attending one of the many spectacular public fireworks displays staged by professionals. For a list of community fireworks displays taking place throughout Orange County, please click here.
|SAVE THE DATE!
South County Senior Summit
I’m pleased to announce that next month, in conjunction with the Orange County Office on Aging, I will be hosting a South County Senior Summit. This important event will take place Friday, July 25, from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., at the Laguna Hills Community Center, 25555 Alicia Parkway, in Laguna Hills.
The Senior Summit will commence with a free continental breakfast at 8 a.m. followed by an exciting program featuring Lynn Daucher, Director of the California Department of Aging; Dr. Laura Mosqueda, Director of University of California, Irvine, Program in Geriatrics; as well as informative presentations from renowned experts on topics such as Fall Prevention, Nutrition Education for Seniors, Exercise and the Brain, and Important Driving Strategies for Seniors. At the close of the Summit, a free lunch will be provided for all attendees.
In addition to free breakfast and lunch, attendees will also have opportunities to win fabulous door prizes! Space is limited! Please RSVP today at 1-800-510-2020 and bring a friend! For more information, please click here.
|Fifth District Wrap-Up
In addition to my many meetings, briefings, and other supervisorial activities, I also:
My office also:
- Delivered the invocation at the public ceremony to administer the Oath of Office to newly appointed Orange County Sheriff-Coroner Sandra Hutchens.
- Adjourned the Board of Supervisors meeting in memory of Bradley James Dillahunty of Laguna Niguel.
- Chaired the San Juan Capistrano Government Affairs Committee and introduced speakers Sheriff Sandra Hutchens and Assistant Sheriff Jack Anderson.
My staff and I look forward to continually providing you updated information in our Fifth District Newsletter and website.
- Presented a Proclamation to Amigos de la Colina in honor of their 25 years of dedicated service to Heritage Hill Historical Park in Lake Forest. For more information, please click here.
- Attended a Laguna Niguel Chamber of Commerce ribbon-cutting ceremony to present a Certificate of Recognition in honor of the eight-year anniversary of Aegis Living in Laguna Niguel.
- Attended a San Clemente Seaside Senior Center reception to present a Certificate of recognition in honor of their 26th anniversary.
- Co-Chaired the monthly meeting of the Orange County Coastal Coalition (more on this in my next newsletter).
- Met with Lake Forest Councilmember Marcia Rudolph to review reports developed by the Orange County Child Care and Development Planning Council.
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!