August 1, 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. Fifth District Spotlight
3. South County News
4. Transportation Information
5. County Connections
6. Environmental Memos
7. Notes From The Field
8. Critter Chronicles
9. South County Calendar
10. Fifth District Wrap-Up
Chief of Staff
Executive Director of Public Affairs
Executive Policy Advisor
Executive Policy Advisor
Executive Policy Advisor
Executive Secretary II
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|Board Bulletin Board
A “Measure” of Protection
On Tuesday, I voted unanimously with my Board colleagues to place a measure on the November ballot that will allow the residents of Orange County to weigh in and ultimately decide on future proposed retirement benefit enhancements for County employees. This is modeled after a measure that recently passed in San Diego and has been in place in San Francisco.
As I walked door-to-door during my campaign, I met many people. Knocking on thousands of doors allows an elected official to understand the voice of the public, but also a chance to build personal relationships with their constituencies and voters. You spell out what you believe to be important. I campaigned on a number of important issues. In responding to the concerns of the vast majority of residents, one of the most important was a commitment I made to work to ensure that the unfunded liability of the County would not grow under my watch, a liability squarely on the shoulders of the taxpayers of this County.
People still remember the bankruptcy and while the County has taken remarkable steps to fix the problems that led to the County’s last financial crisis, we are in a time of considerable public worry and apprehension about the state budget and their own pocketbook.
This measure provides an added layer of protection to the people we serve; not just during the tenure of this board, but future boards as well. Having a secure and solvent pension system in Orange County is in everyone’s interest and I believe this gets us closer. I know this measure will be subject of great scrutiny on blogs and in the newspapers, and I have a great deal of pride in the great talent and expertise of our County staff. It is important to understand this measure will do nothing to take away or diminish our County staff’s current benefit package or our ability to provide future compensation to continue to attract and retain the best and brightest.
Update on Campaign Finance Reform
In early February, I reported on two proposals before the Board of Supervisors to reform the “Time Is Now, Clean Up Politics”
(TINCUP) Ordinance and create a Fair Campaign Practices Commission (FCPC). I shared with you concerns I had about the unintended consequences of rushing to place a measure on the ballot that would ask the voters to give the Board of Supervisors authority to delegate subpoena powers to a non-elected commission. I suggested that the people would be better served with a collaborative approach, incorporating a broad based stakeholders working group tasked with assessing the need for reforms in campaign finance guidelines. Such a group would carefully study methods by which needed reforms may be accomplished.
Since then, the Orange County Grand Jury conducted its own review of this issue. I agree with most of their findings; however, the report did not recognize existing oversight mechanisms in place. The District Attorney is responsible for enforcing TINCUP on a local level. The California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) enforces state requirements, including disclosure of all campaign contributions, which are available to the public through our Registrar of Voters. Any suspected violations are subject to investigation by the FPPC and the State Attorney General.
On Tuesday, the Board agreed on creating a broad based stakeholders working group in response to the grand jury report. Each Supervisor shall appoint two people to the working group, who will return to the public with its finding and recommendations in 6 months. To view the grand jury report, please click here. To view the Board of Supervisors’ response, please click here.
OC Animal Care Fees
On Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors approved the annual OC Animal Care fee package. These fees help support the wide range of high quality animal care and control programs and services provided to two million residents in twenty cities and the County unincorporated areas. OC Animal Care’s annual budget totals $14.4 million and fees generate nearly $9 million in revenue. This year’s increase in fees can be directly attributed to enhanced levels of animal care and control services requested by the public.
Field Services is now at full staff for Animal Control Officers, which enables OC Animal Care to respond to calls for service from residents more quickly. The Barking Dog Ordinance, adopted by the Board of Supervisors in November, 2006, was adopted by 18 of 19 cities that contract for animal control services. Implementation of the program began in June, 2007, and was fully launched in all 18 cities by May, 2008.
OC Animal Care also continues making enhancements to its shelter operations to ensure the animals are provided a very clean and sanitary environment in which to live and receive high quality veterinary care, lifesaving surgeries and spay/neuter surgeries prior to adoption. OC Animal Care also made significant improvements in its Call Center, which receives on average of 500 to 1,000 calls each day. A new switchboard operation and new telephone system have reduced caller wait times to less than four minutes.
These enhancements and others over the past few years have resulted in significant increases in adoptions; unprecedented growth of community outreach programs and responsible pet ownership education; a burgeoning volunteer program with over 150 active volunteers; and a highly successful adoption partner program, which last year adopted over 2,300 special needs animals to animal rescue organizations.
The Board of Supervisors also approved OC Animal Care’s new LIFE Program, which targets special needs animals with significant physical or medical conditions and enables non-profit 501c3 animal rescue organizations the opportunity to adopt these animals at no cost.
OC Animal Care hopes to exceed last year’s adoption increase of 14% over the prior year, but they need your help. Please consider opening your heart and home to a new pet. Please visit www.ocpetinfo.com to view all the adoptable animals and find your perfect match. To read the Board resolution approving OC Animal Care’s Schedule of Fees, please click here. To see the OC Animal Care Fee Study, please click here.
Grand Jury Report on Restaurant Inspections
In May of this year, the Grand Jury released a report titled "Restaurant Inspections: What No One Is Telling You." This report directed Findings and Recommendations to the Health Care Agency and the Board of Supervisors. Recommendations included adopting a new grading procedure for restaurant inspections that provides accurate and easily understood on-site health information for all restaurant and food vending locations.
Implementation of a recommended ABC grading system would be similar to one presently in use in Los Angeles and neighboring counties. The Orange County Health Care Agency will provide the Board of Supervisors with a report for the Board’s consideration on the available public notification options for food facility inspection results by November. To view the Grand Jury Report, please click here. To view the Response to Findings and Recommendations, please click here.
|Fifth District Spotlight
Happy Trails to Elise Lampe!
This week my office bid a fond farewell to Ms. Elise Lampe, my Executive Policy Advisor on health care, social services, and financial issues. Prior to joining my staff, Ms. Lampe served as Policy Advisor to Supervisor Chris Norby.
Elise departs the County of Orange to continue her education in pursuit of a medical degree. Given her keen mind, exemplary work ethic, and genuine compassion for her fellow man, I have the utmost confidence Elise will make us all extremely proud, ultimately becoming a highly distinguished physician. We wish Elise the greatest success in all her future endeavors and shall miss her very dearly!
|South County News
South County Senior Summit
As Supervisor for Orange County’s Fifth District, and with South County facing an ever increasing senior population, addressing issues affecting older adults remains a top priority for me. To that end, last week I was pleased to host the first South County Senior Summit in conjunction with the Office on Aging.
The Summit, which was held at the Laguna Hills Community Center, was attended by over 350 South County seniors and provided information on the many community resources available to them.
Specially tailored for older adults, the Summit offered informative presentations from renowned experts on a wide variety of important topics, including “Healthy Aging” (the theme of the event), physical fitness, nutrition, medication management, and driving strategies for seniors.
The program featured:
PowerPoint presentations by the speakers are available on the Office on Aging website at www.officeonaging.ocgov.com or by calling 1-800-510-2020.
- California Department of Aging Director Lynn Daucher who spoke on best practices in aging programs and services.
- OC Community Services Director Karen Roper who spoke on services for older adults available through the County.
- Dr. Laura Mosqueda, the keynote speaker, addressed the signs of aging, medications, how to talk to the doctor, the value of exercise, having a positive attitude, as well as essential elements necessary for a good life.
- Pharmacist Bill Liu spoke on managing medications.
- Dietician Lisa Gibson discussed the DASH diet and the types of foods older adults should eat.
- Dr. Jessie Jones explained how exercise affects brain function; and
- DMV Senior Ombudsman Richard Kohr suggested steps to take to maintain driving safety.
I want to thank OC Community Services Director Karen Roper and the Office on Aging staff, as well as Marilyn Ditty and her staff from South County Senior Services for their outstanding efforts in making our first South County Senior Summit an enormous success. Stay tuned for information on future South County Summits! To see photos of the event, please click here.
Renewed Measure M Project Report
Measure M requires quarterly progress reports to the public and elected officials. To see a status update on current Measure M projects, please click here.
- Release of the Environmental Impact Report for the Interstate 5/State Route 74 Ortega Highway interchange improvement project
- Completion of design for new southbound and northbound lanes on the Interstate 405 between the Interstate 605 and State Route 55 Costa Mesa Freeway
- $4 million allocation from Proposition 1B for signal synchronization on 10 major corridors and development of a County traffic signal master plan
- Initial results from the signal synchronization demonstration project on Oso Parkway showing improvements of up to 30%
- Allocation of $218 million in Trade Corridors Improvement Fund projects for seven M2 grade separations and westbound lanes on the State Route 91 Riverside Freeway
- Award the cities of Santa Ana and Anaheim $5.9 million each in Measure M1 Go Local funds for the fixed-guideway projects
5-1-1 Transportation Information by Phone
OCTA staff provided the Board of Directors with an update on studying possible implementation of 5-1-1 service. 5-1-1 is a three digit phone number reserved by the U.S. Department of Transportation as part of an initiative to develop a national intelligent transportation communications system. This system is intended to make information regarding all forms of travel available through one telephone number by voice command, such as checking traffic conditions, bus routes or flight information. To view the OCTA update, please click here. For more information about the national initiative, please click here.
Quarterly Update on OCTA CEO Goals
I want to thank OCTA CEO Art Leahy for his leadership on achieving 5th District goals. The collaboration and work with the state to successfully fast track funding allocations for Oso Parkway southbound Interstate 5 widening improvements was a major priority for South County residents and commuters.
OCTA Fuel Crisis Contingency Plan
As fuel prices rise, interest in public transportation as an alternative to private vehicle travel also increases. As demand increases, available capacity is reduced. At some point, additional service will need to be deployed to accommodate growth in ridership.
To prepare for a significant increase in demand, the Orange County Transportation
Authority (OCTA) is executing a fuel crisis contingency plan. It is based on maintaining additional reserve capacity that can be deployed to supplement those services where a depletion of capacity has been verified. For more information, please click here.
How to Ride a Bus 101
OCTA provides extensive bus and rail transit service throughout Orange County. In addition, OCTA offers numerous services for new and existing customers, such as online pass sales and trip planner. The OCTA Customer Information Center, at 714-636-RIDE, is also available to assist with your transit planning.
If you are an existing customer, you can go directly to OCTA’s online Bus Book to get individual and system maps, schedules and other information. If you are a new transit customer, please click here and simply follow the steps outlined to help you get started.
Be Prepared for Earthquakes and Other Emergencies
As we all know, a 5.4 magnitude earthquake struck the Chino Hills area Tuesday at 11:42 AM. The Orange County Emergency Operations Center was quickly activated and officials from several County agencies collaboratively assessed the situation. County officials were prepared to address any potential issues and/or needs before deactivating the Emergency Operations Center.
The public is encouraged to take this opportunity to update their personal, family, and business preparation for the next earthquake occurrence. Being ready for any type of emergency is as simple as planning ahead. To learn how you can be prepared, aware and involved, please click here.
New Parking Lot Opens at John Wayne Airport
As part of John Wayne Airport’s (JWA) Improvement Program, a new Parking Lot C opened today for passenger vehicle parking. The new surface parking lot is located on Airport Way, just south of the Riley Terminal. Free shuttle service to and from the Terminal will be provided. Parking Lot C can be accessed via Campus Drive to the south or the Terminal roadway system to the north.
Parking Lot C will open with about 900 parking spaces and eventually be expanded to 1,100 spaces at the beginning of 2009. Existing Parking Structure B1 will close permanently on September 2, 2008, to make room for construction of new Terminal C. When complete, Terminal C will be 250,000+ square feet with six new bridged aircraft gates, more security checkpoints, and additional customer amenities. Construction of a new Parking Structure C will be built in unison with Terminal C. Both are scheduled to open in 2011.
The Airport Improvement Program will allow the Airport to continue providing convenient, efficient and secure air service with the high level of customer comfort and service that JWA passengers have come to expect. For more information, please click here.
Free Child Support Seminars Offered
Orange County Child Support Services is offering informative seminars on designated Saturdays throughout August, which has been designated Child Support Awareness Month. Experienced child support officers and attorneys will be on hand to answer questions after each presentation. For more information, please click here.
Orange County Coastal Coalition
Orange County has a wealth of environmental treasures, with many along our coastline that easily escape notice. On July 24, as I Co-Chaired the monthly meeting of the Coastal Coalition, we learned of two such treasures – the Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach with the Seal Beach National Wildlife Refuge; and the new Wheeler North Reef being constructed by Southern California Edison (SCE) off San Clemente State Beach.
Bob Schallmann, Conservation Program Manager for the Naval Weapons Station in Seal Beach, gave a presentation on the innovative programs currently underway at the facility, including a fishing line recycling program, salt water weed control study, burrowing owl relocation program, and an “Eyes on the Colony” program that protects nesting birds. The Seal Beach National Wildlife Refuge, which is open to visitors once a month, has nearly 1,000 acres of pristine wetlands that provide habitat for a variety of migratory shorebirds, waterfowl, and seabirds. To view Bob’s presentation, click here. To learn more about the Refuge, please click here.
Dr. David Kay, Manager of Environmental Projects for SCE, introduced the Wheeler North Reef project off San Clemente. Named after a pioneering marine biologist, 150 acres of giant kelp habitat is being constructed with rock quarried and barged from Catalina Island. The project is designed to offset impacts from the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station and will be maintained by SCE. The success of the 22-acre experimental reef built in 1999 provides the basis for the design and construction of the remaining 128 acres. To see Dr. Kay’s presentation, please click here. To learn more about the Reef, please click here.
Recently, our stakeholders provided feedback on topics they would like to see covered at future meetings of the Coastal Coalition. For the results of the survey, please click here. With this input, we will continue to use our monthly meetings as an opportunity to learn and discuss important issues related to our coast. Please join me at our next Coastal Coalition meeting on Thursday, August 28, at the Newport Beach Library. To be placed on the email distribution list for Coastal Coalition meetings, please send your email address to firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Notes From The Field
Half-Price Annual Park Passes Now On Sale
The cost of annual day-use passes for regional, wilderness and historical parks and County beaches are now on sale. The passes are valid through the remainder of 2008. For more information, please click here and 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! For more information, please click here.
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.
Help Decrease Homeless & Unwanted Pets
Have you ever wondered what you can do to help decrease the number of homeless and unwanted pets that are brought in to our animal shelters? Spaying and neutering your pet is the first place to start. Spaying and neutering not only helps to control pet overpopulation, it also provides many health and behavior benefits for your pet.
Benefits of spaying or neutering pets also include:
OC Animal Care requires that all cats and dogs are spayed or neutered when they are adopted. The simple fact is spaying or neutering your pet will greatly increase their life span and improve their quality of life.
- They are less likely to roam or fight.
- They are generally more affectionate.
- They are less likely to get certain types of cancer or diseases.
- Male cats are less likely to spray.
- For dogs, licensing fees are significantly reduced.
|South County Calendar
Laguna Beach Festival of Arts: Smooth Jazz Concert Series
The Festival of Arts is proud to present an astounding line up of Jazz musicians this summer at the Summer Smooth Jazz Concert Series on select Saturdays from 1 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. Admission is free to the Smooth Jazz Concert on August 2 with the purchase of The Festival of Arts ticket. For more information on the Summer Smooth Jazz Concert Series, please click here.
But wait, there’s more! A special 75th Anniversary promotion grants everyone 75 cents admission after 7:50 p.m. every day of the week. All general admission tickets to The Festival of Arts are season passes with unlimited admission! For more information, please click here.
San Clemente Beach Concert Series
Join the community to celebrate and support live music with the sunset as your backdrop and free seating in the sand. The concert Thursday, August 7 is from 6:00 PM to sunset, on the beach, north of the San Clemente Pier. For more information, please click here.
First Thursday’s Art Walk
Join member galleries throughout Laguna Beach on Thursday, August 7, from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. for a festive, cultural evening. As a special added bonus, Art Walk patrons will receive free admission to the Sawdust Art Festival as well as the Festival of Arts after 9 PM on August 7. Please show a First Thursday’s Art Walk brochure for entry. 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:
- Met with South County Water District Officials to discuss issues of mutual concern.
- Toured the Orange County Data Center.
- Attended a Coastal Chambers Legislative Coalition planning meeting.
My staff and I look forward to continually providing you updated information in our Fifth District Newsletter and website.
- Attended a Ladera Ranch Chamber of Commerce ribbon-cutting ceremony to present a Certificate of Recognition in honor of Baskin Robbins in Ladera Ranch.
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!