Header image with Photo of Supervisor Pat Bates. Followed by office information
January 25, 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. Headline News

2. Transportation Update

3. Registrar of Voters’ Report

4. South County Spotlight

5. Health News

6. Environmental Notes

7. Orange County Fire Authority

8. South County Calendar

9. Fifth District Wrap-Up


Justin McCusker:
Chief of Staff

Sergio Prince:
Executive Director of Public Affairs

Eileen Takata:
Executive Policy Advisor

Jeff Corless:
Executive Policy Advisor

Elise Lampe:
Executive Policy Advisor

Ruth Strachan:
Executive Secretary II

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Volume 2 Issue 3

Special Weather Statement

Due to the approaching rain storm, the National Weather Service has issued a Special Weather Statement for Orange County indicating a forecast of heavy rain this Saturday night and Sunday. Total storm precipitation amounts of 2 inches are possible along the coast, and 4 to 6 inches on south and southwest facing slopes. The heavy rainfall could cause flash flooding and debris flows, especially in recently burned areas. For more information, please click here. To view emergency information about flash flood watches, weather notices, and evacuation notices, please click here.


Location Change for Coastal Commission Hearing

Due to overwhelming interest, the Coastal Commission Hearing for Foothill-South being held on Wednesday, February 6, has been moved to Wyland Hall at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Del Mar, CA 92014. For directions, please click here.  

The meeting will begin at 9am. The Transportation Corridor Agency (TCA) needs as many supporters as possible to attend this important Coastal Commission meeting. We need people at the hearing who are willing to stand up and tell the Coastal Commissioners why the 241 completion is so important. Please email jseaton@thetollroads.com if you are interested in attending or if you have any questions. For more information, please click here and here.

Governor Supports Completion of 241

As reported in my newsletter last week, Governor Scwarzenegger has sent a letter to the Chairman of the California Coastal Commission, urging the Commission to approve the Foothill-South / 241 Toll Road extension and concur with TCA’s certification that the project is consistent with the California Coastal Zone Management Plan.

Of particular significance to the 5th District, the letter also makes reference to the $100 Million that TCA will provide to the State’s ailing park system. Crystal Cove, San Onofre and San Clemente State Parks would be beneficiaries of these funds, providing the opportunity for significant improvements for Park users. To read the Governor’s letter to the Coastal Commission, please click here. For more information, please click here.

91 Freeway and Express Lane Closures

As a member of the Orange County Transportation (OCTA) Board of Directors, it is our goal to provide you with a fast, safe and reliable commute. To that end, we want you to be aware of the following closures impacting the SR-91 Freeway:

During the night-time and early-morning hours of January 25-27, the 91 Freeway will be fully closed at Green River Road for construction work on the Green River Road Bridge. The 91 Express Lanes will be closed in conjunction with the 91 Freeway closures. Drivers are advised to use alternate freeways during these closures.  For more information, please click here.

Metrolink Ride to Chinatown

To celebrate the Lunar New Year, residents can receive free tickets from the Metrolink station in Irvine to Chinatown in Los Angeles on Saturday, Feb. 9.  The Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) is extending a special holiday greeting to the community by commemorating the “Year of the Rat” with a one-hour program starting at 9:30 a.m. at the Irvine Transportation Center, 15215 Barranca Parkway in Irvine.

Festivities will feature good wishes from local elected officials, traditional music, food, and a performance by the Truong Son Vietnamese-American Girl Scout troop.  The finale will include a traditional lion dance accompanied by drums to welcome a new year of joy and good fortune for Metrolink passengers.  Residents may then hop on the 10:37 a.m. train to Los Angeles, where they can enjoy the Chinese New Year Festival and Car Show as well as the 109th annual Golden Dragon Parade. The first 300 guests will receive free round-trip Metrolink tickets to continue the celebration in Los Angeles’ Chinatown. For more information, please click here.


Registrar Kicks-Off Early Voting

The Orange County Registrar of Voters kicked-off Early Voting for the February 5 Presidential Primary at ten locations on January 20. Early Voting allows any registered voter in Orange County the opportunity to vote in a polling place setting prior to Election Day and is especially convenient for voters that believe they will not be able to vote at their polling place on Election Day. Examples of Early Voting sites include John Wayne Airport (for ticketed passengers) and The Shops at Mission Viejo.  Early Voting runs through January 29. For a full list of locations and times for Early Voting, please click here.

Decline-to-State Voters Have Ballot Options

Registered voters with a Decline-to-State (DTS) party affiliation have ballot options available to them. Although DTS voters are accustomed to having ballot options in primary elections, fewer options are available for February 5 than in prior elections. DTS voters may vote a non-partisan ballot that contains only state propositions and local measures and contests. As an option they may also choose to vote a Democratic Party ballot or an American Independent Party ballot. No other party ballot will be available to DTS voters, including Republican Party ballots. Permanent Vote-by-Mail voters were sent a postcard advising them of their ballot choices in November of 2007. The Registrar of Voters office asks that you contact the political parties regarding party policy decisions to allow or disallow ballot options to DTS voters.

Grand Jury Casts Vote of Confidence for Election Process

The Orange County Grand Jury released its report this week regarding Orange County’s election process. They determined that Orange County voters can trust the election safeguards put in place by the Registrar of Voters. The Grand Jury wanted to ensure that the Registrar of Voters office was taking care of any privacy, security and accuracy issues with the voting system that came out of the top-to-bottom review commissioned by the California Secretary of State, Debra Bowen. To read the Grand Jury report, please click here.

Tests to be Conducted on Voting System

Accuracy testing of Orange County’s voting system will take place January 29 for the February 5, 2008, Presidential Primary Election. The Logic and Accuracy test is required by law to be performed prior to each election. Logic and Accuracy tests will include proofing the programming of the ballot, each ballot style and each contest position on the ballot. All previous tests of the voting system have proven it to be 100% accurate. The Logic and Accuracy test process is open to the public. The location, date and time are as follows:
Where: Orange County Registrar of Voters           
1300 South Grand Avenue
Santa Ana , California                                                          
Date: January 29, 2008
Time: 10:00 a.m. until complete


San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board

I’m very pleased to announce the appointments of Fifth District residents Wayne Rayfield and Kris Weber to the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board. We’re fortunate to have such qualified individuals on the Regional Board representing South County’s interests. Congratulations are also in order for Susan Ritschel on her recent election as Chair of the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board.

In related news, the Regional Board will hold their monthly hearing in Mission Viejo on February 13 and encourages the public to attend. Because of the two recent appointments, a quorum now exists and the Board can resume their discussion and pending approval of the County’s NPDES Municipal Stormwater Permit which has been up for renewal for a year. For more information, please click here.


Ocean Water Protection Program

As part of the County of Orange Health Care Agency (HCA), Environmental Health’s Ocean Water Protection Program is responsible for protecting the public from exposure to ocean and bay waters that may be contaminated with sewage or may cause illness along Orange County’s 42 miles of open ocean coastline, and 70 miles of harbor and bay frontage. Ocean and bay waters used for body-contact recreational activities such as swimming, surfing and diving must meet specific bacteriological standards to be considered safe for such purposes.

Over the past 40 years, HCA and two local sanitation agencies (the Orange County Sanitation District and the South Orange County Wastewater Authority) have been cooperatively testing the coastal waters in Orange County for bacteria that indicate the possible presence of disease-causing organisms.  The sanitation agencies and HCA program staff participate in the weekly collection of water samples at approximately 150 ocean, bay, harbor and drainage locations throughout coastal Orange County.

When the results of testing indicate that one or more of the Ocean Water-Contact Sports Standards have been exceeded, the public is notified (i.e., signs are posted at the beach, and the hotline at 714-433-6400 and website at www.ocbeachinfo.com are updated). To view the current Ocean & Bay Closures, Warnings and Advisories Status Report, please click here.

Endemic Typhus in Orange County

Endemic (flea-borne) typhus, an illness that prior to 2006 was considered rare in Orange County, is on the increase, with six confirmed or probable endemic typhus cases reported to the Orange County Health Care Agency in the first few weeks of 2008.

Endemic typhus is transmitted by the bite of infected fleas that may be found on cats, opossums, and rodents. Because cats and opossums are present throughout the County, human cases may occur in any area. Prior to 2006, the last case reported in Orange County was in 1993. Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle ache and rash, and many of the recent cases have reported having fever for a number of days before being diagnosed. For more information, please click here.


Orange County Coastal Coalition

Yesterday, I co-chaired the first Coastal Coalition meeting of the year held at the Ocean Institute in Dana Point. We were treated to a special presentation by 5th grade watershed scholars and learned about the upcoming Marine Life Protected Area re-designation process. More details to come in my next newsletter.


Urban Search and Rescue Task Force Unit

Thursday evening, I attended the Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA) Board of Directors meeting where we were presented with Spuds and Jester, the first two of five search & rescue canines that will be assigned to the OCFA’s Urban Search and Rescue Task Force Unit (USR).  The USR program was established by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).  Currently, OCFA is one of twenty-eight local fire agencies in the United States and one of eight in the State of California that has established a USR unit program for disaster search, rescue and recovery. 

Spuds and Jester were rescued from an animal shelter and have been designated canine officers of the OCFA. Both Spuds and Jester have received eight months of training for their primary function of live human searches and rescues. These canines along with three more to come may also receive additional training for human victim recovery post-disaster. 

Of the seventy members on the USR Unit, four canine specialists are assigned full time to handling the canine officers and receive an additional year of specific training.  The canine specialists incorporate cameras and other technology in electronic search efforts combined with the physical searches conducted by the canine officers. Spuds is assigned to the Fifth District’s very own Fire Station No. 29 located in the City of Dana Point. To see pictures of Spuds and Jester, please click here.

Governor’s Blue Ribbon Task Force

Fire Chief Chip Prather has been appointed to Governor Schwarzenegger’s Blue Ribbon Task Force created after the 2007 wildfires to re-assess the Blue Ribbon Fire Commission Report released in 2003.  The Task Force has been charged with prioritizing the conclusions from the 2003 analysis and reporting to the Governor with a set of recommended priority action items. Chief Prather has assured me he is intimately engaged in this Task Force and will remain vigilant in advocating for the implementation of its final recommended actions to the Governor. To view a statement from Governor Schwarzenegger’s office on this task force, please click here.


CARE’s 5th Annual Car Show

Capistrano Animal Rescue Effort (CARE) expects more than 400 cars at their 5th annual car show on February 2, from 8 am to 2 pm, at the San Juan Capistrano Community Center at 25925 Camino Del Avion, San Juan Capistrano. The event will feature live entertainment, opportunity drawings, displays, vendors, food & beverages, goodie bags and more. Well-behaved dogs on leashes are welcome.  For more information, please call (949) 240-1735 or click here.  


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

  • Met with representatives of Ladera Hope and the staff of the Air Quality Management District regarding air quality issues associated with the proposed Peaker Plant
  • Co-Chaired the January meeting of the Coastal Coalition (more on this in my next newsletter)
  • Traveled to Eureka, CA, to meet with a member of the Coastal Commission regarding the completion of the 241 Toll Road
  • Attended the bi-monthly meeting of the Orange County Fire Authority

My office also:

  • Attended the Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce 2008 Spirit of Laguna Awards and Board of Directors Installation to provide Certificates of Recognition to this year’s award winners and outgoing board members
  • Met with the Orange County Tourism Commission to discuss coordinating efforts to promote 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!