August 29, 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. Health Herald
2. Transportation Information
3. South County News
4. County Connections
5. Health Herald
6. Environmental Memos
7. Critter Chronicles
8. South County Calendar
9. Fifth District Wrap-Up
Chief of Staff
Executive Director of Public Affairs
Executive Policy Advisor
Executive Policy Advisor
Executive Policy Advisor
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|Board Bulletin Board
No Board Meeting Held This Week
There was no regularly scheduled meeting of the Board of Supervisors this week.
Our next Board meeting will be held Tuesday, September 9. For Agenda & Meeting Information, please click here.
Live Internet broadcasts of Board of Supervisors meetings are available and archived as video-on-demand. To view live and/or past Board meetings, please click here.
Rossmoor Utility Tax Relief Program
On August 19, the Board approved a Utility Tax Relief Program to assist low-income and disabled seniors of the community of Rossmoor in the event they vote for incorporation in the November 7 election. Rossmoor residents will have a choice of approving either a 7% or 9% utility user tax to provide a revenue stream for the new city should they choose to incorporate. The program authorized by the Board could provide up to $80,000 a year for five years to assist Rossmoor’s low-income and disabled seniors in meeting the potential new city’s utility tax requirement.
I did not support this proposal as I felt many important details were left out that should have been included – such as what County fund will provide this 5 year stipend and what criteria will be used to determine eligibility for receiving this tax relief. I also felt the proposal could be considered a gift of public funds. I believed we needed a much clearer legal and financial analysis before approving a program such as this. The proposal passed with a 3 member majority vote. Supervisor Nguyen and I abstained.
Second West Nile Virus Related Death in Orange County
Testing by the Health Care Agency has confirmed the second West Nile Virus (WNV) related death of an Orange County resident this year.
A 72 year old Buena Park woman, the first person in California to die of West Nile virus (WNV) infection this year, died in August after being hospitalized. For more information, please click here. The second victim, a 64 year old male resident of Garden Grove, also died in August after being hospitalized. For more information, please click here.
As of August 28, the total number of confirmed symptomatic cases of WNV infection in Orange County is 32; and 4 blood donors have tested positive for the virus. This is the highest number of WNV infections in the County since 2004, the first year that human cases were reported, when there were 62 symptomatic cases and 2 positive blood donors for the full year. Four WNV related deaths were reported in Orange County in 2004.
We are very concerned about the level of West Nile virus activity in Orange County. While people over 50 years of age are at increased risk of West Nile Neuroinvasive Disease, the more serious form of West Nile Virus infection, there have been several cases reported this year in individuals under age 50, including one juvenile. Adding to our concern is the number of people who will celebrate the Labor Day holiday weekend by spending time outdoors, where they may be exposed to mosquitoes.
With the holiday weekend upon us and children heading back to school and participating in outdoor sports, it is important to remember that by taking personal precautions, each of us can make a difference in the fight against West Nile Virus. The public must take an active role in protecting themselves and their families from mosquito bites. To learn more about the West Nile Virus and how you can prevent infection, please click here.
Public Hearing on 241 Toll Road Set for September 22
Federal officials will hold a public hearing September 22 at the Del Mar Fairgrounds regarding the proposed completion of the 241 Toll Road. People wishing to speak must submit a written request by September 12 to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
After a public hearing in February, also held at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, the state Coastal Commission rejected the project, ruling it would violate the state Coastal Act; however, the Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA) appealed the Commission’s ruling under the federal Coastal Zone Management Act.
The decision now rests with the U.S. Secretary of Commerce, and the hearing will be held by NOAA. If the Secretary finds the road is in our national interest or needed for national security, it can override the state commission’s decision. The deadline for the Commerce Secretary’s decision is December 22.
The public hearing will be held in O’Brien Hall at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, September 22 from 10:30 AM to 8:30 PM. Requests to speak should be sent to Thomas Street, Attorney Advisor, NOAA Office of General Counsel for Ocean Services, 1305 East-West Highway, Room 6111, Silver Spring, MD 20910. For more information on the speaker process for the public hearing, please click here.
South Orange County Major Investment Study
The Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) is conducting the South Orange County Major Investment Study (SOCMIS), the Committee for which I am Chair, to develop long-range improvements for South County's transportation challenges.
Recently, through a combination of technical study and public feedback, a draft Locally Preferred Strategy (LPS) has been developed. The draft LPS includes a mixture of investment in freeways, toll roads, streets, and transit. For detailed information on the draft LPS, please click here.
OCTA is soliciting public comments and feedback on the draft LPS, and a fourth and final survey is now available. Your input on the SOCMIS is extremely appreciated and will help shape South County's transportation future. The survey will be available until September 12. To take the survey, please click here.
If you have any questions, please email OCTA at firstname.lastname@example.org or call their information line at (888) 569-1144.
OCTA Receives $1.5 Million Transit Security Grant
The Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) on Monday accepted a $1.5 million federal grant that will go toward adding video surveillance to buses and enhancing the agency’s emergency training program.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security provided $11.3 million to the Orange County-Los Angeles region for increased bus and rail security systems. Awarded through the Transit Security Grant Program, OCTA was successful in its efforts to receive $1.5 million.
The remaining funds will support an emergency preparedness exercise and training program that will include workshops, employee preparation and field drills to test OCTA’s Emergency Management Plan. The initial stages of planning are under way and a full-scale drill is expected to take place summer 2010. For more information, please click here.
OCTA Bus Service Change Highlights
Bus Service Change Highlights summarizes upcoming service improvements to the OCTA bus system. These improvements are made to better serve OCTA customers. Service is usually adjusted four times a year (in March, June, September and December) and allows OCTA to respond to customer comments and suggestions to improve the bus system. The changes will be implemented on September 14. For more information, please click here.
Transportation Services for Elderly and Disabled Persons
The Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) has evaluated and recommended a number of projects proposed by non-profits and local agencies to the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) for funding of equipment and para-transit vehicles utilized in providing transportation services to elderly and disabled persons. FTA has awarded $1,855,000 to fund the recommended projects. Of these funds, South County Senior Services will receive $495,000 for three small buses, three large buses and three minivans, expanding service in our region. To learn more about South County Senior Services, please click here.
Rail/Highway Grade Crossing and Quiet Zone Improvements
In 2007, the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) approved $70 million for enhancements and quiet zone improvements to 52 at-grade rail/highway crossings. OCTA recommended the Board of Directors approve cooperative agreements with participating cities to clearly establish roles and responsibilities between jurisdictions. The proposed agreements would require that cities complete relocation of utilities, acquire environmental right-of-way, review/approve design plans, reimburse OCTA based upon a cost sharing formula, as well as complete construction and maintenance agreements with the Southern California Regional Rail Authority by October 31, 2008.
Exceeding the deadline would result in a 2-year deferral of affected grade crossings within non-compliant cities. Some cities expressed concerns over the stringent 60-day timeline for completing the tasks and asked for more time in lieu of a 2-year deferral of projects within their respective cities. OCTA is committed to working with those cities to ensure timely delivery of these important transportation improvements.
Renewed Measure M Environmental Programs Status Report
In my role as a Director for OCTA, I serve as Chair of the Environmental Oversight Committee (EOC) for Renewed Measure M (M2). The M2 Early Action Plan calls for the Environmental Cleanup Program and the Environmental Freeway Mitigation Program to be launched within the next five years. A total of $237 million in M2 funds will be allocated to the environmental cleanup program and $244 million for the freeway mitigation program.
The EOC established two ad hoc working groups, which for the last several months have focused on developing criteria for land acquisition and language for the master agreement with input from the State and Federal Resource Agencies. In September, the full committee will review the recommendations from the ad hoc working groups and prepare recommendations for review by the OCTA Board. For a full status report on the work of the EOC, please click here.
Measure M Quarterly Progress Report
Please click here to view a progress report from OCTA on the management of Measure M projects. Most notably in the 5th District, the City of Lake Forest was issued $1.4 million for improvements on El Toro Road from Interstate 5 to Jutewood Place/Cornelius Drive.
Los Angeles-San Diego Rail (LOSSAN) Corridor Update
The Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) in cooperation with the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro), North County Transit District (NCTD), San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), Southern California Regional Rail Authority (SCRRA), and the Los Angeles-San Diego-San Luis Obispo Rail Corridor Agency has conducted an integrated focus group study to determine interests, demands and challenges for improving transit services and other forms of transportation along the LOSSAN corridor. To view a report of the findings, please click here.
I support OCTA moving forward with clear market research and a timely plan with partnering agencies to determine the best way to improve rail transit services and market them to non-riders who might otherwise be unaware of these services or how to use them. Promoting the use of rail transit regionally is a key component to building a multi-modal transportation system that reduces congestion on our highways.
|South County News
OC Dana Point Harbor Report
The current edition of the OC Dana Point Harbor Report is now available. To view the Harbor Report, please click here.
Harbor Maintenance Dredging Information Meeting
In July, the Board of Supervisors awarded a contract for the OC Dana Point Harbor Maintenance Dredge Project. Work will begin immediately after the end of summer and be completed by early February.
A public information meeting to familiarize the harbor community with the routine maintenance dredging and beach nourishment project will be held September 10 from 5:30 PM to 7:00 PM in the OC Sailing and Events Center, Dana Cove Room. For more information, please click here.
Routine Maintenance Scheduled for County Web Site
The County website will undergo routine maintenance and be temporarily inaccessible for a brief period Sunday, August 31 between 6 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Coastal Cleanup Day Coming September 20
Each year in September, thousands of volunteers help clear trash and debris from California’s coastline and inland areas during California Coastal Cleanup Day.
California Coastal Cleanup Day 2008 will take place Saturday, September 20. Orange County has numerous coastal and park sites where volunteers can learn about and help preserve our state’s natural resources.
Volunteers pick up trash, separating it for recycling, and keep track of what they find – all while caring for the environment. Most importantly, volunteers walk away with a better understanding of the enormous amount of marine debris that litters our coastal environment, what its impacts are, where it comes from, and how we can help combat it. For more information, please click here.
Animal Vaccination and Microchip Clinic
The Mission Viejo Animal Services Center and the Southern California Veterinary
Medical Association will conduct a community animal vaccination clinic on Wednesday, September 17. The clinic will be held from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Mission Viejo Animal Services Center, located at 28095 Hillcrest in the City of Mission Viejo. For more Information, please click here.
|South County Calendar
Laguna Beach Summer Art Festivals
This is the final weekend this summer to attend the world famous art festivals in Laguna Beach:
Festival of Arts / Pageant of the Masters
Famous for its tableaux vivant or "living pictures”, the Pageant of the Masters is an annual event held by the Festival of Arts in Laguna Beach. The Festival takes place in a six-acre canyon park near the ocean and is open daily thru August 30. For more information, please click here.
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. Open daily 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. Open daily thru August 31. For more information, please click here.
24th Annual Tall Ships Festival in Dana Point
The Ocean Institute in Dana Point Harbor is celebrating its 24th year hosting the Toshiba Tall Ships Festival, the largest annual gathering of tall ships on the West Coast. The festival will feature a spectacular array of family-fun activities, including live music, art & craft shows, exciting living-history demonstrations, and a variety of tasty food. Enjoy maritime displays and presentations, Polynesian dancers, sea-chantey concerts, an interactive pirate encampment and dramatic sunset cannon battles.
Additionally, you can explore the historic tall ships and listen to the crew share tales of adventure and life at sea. Last but not least, you are invited to explore the Ocean Institute and explore our local ocean life, enjoy live parrot shows, play pirate games, and participate in special interactive presentations. So, join us September 5 thru 7 for a weekend of fun and adventure as we celebrate our area’s rich maritime history! 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:
- Was interviewed on Laguna Woods TV6 regarding Orange County government and Fifth District issues.
- Co-Chaired the monthly meeting of the Orange County Coastal Coalition (more on this in my next newsletter)
- Attended a Dana Point Chamber of Commerce luncheon meeting to hear discussion on water quality and conservation efforts ongoing in the City of Dana Point.
- Attended the Taste of Laguna Niguel hosted by the Laguna Niguel Chamber of Commerce, featuring culinary delights of many South County restaurants.
- Attended a retirement reception for Jack Foley, General Manager of Moulton Niguel Water District.
My staff and I look forward to continually providing you updated information in our Fifth District Newsletter and website.
- Met with County staff and various partnering agencies to plan for an upcoming South County Disaster Preparedness Expo (stay tuned for more information)
Please feel free to contact my office with your concerns, comments or questions at (714) 834-3550.
I wish you a safe and joyous Labor 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!