September 12, 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. South County News
4. Environmental Memos
5. Notes From the Field
6. Critter Chronicles
7. South County Calendar
8. 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
Building Green with Economic and Environmental Benefits
When you think of a landfill, you probably have a vision of trash blowing and noisy tractors roaming freely, and a smell that makes you want to run the other way. I am happy to report that those are landfills of the past.
The County owns and operates three landfills that process Orange County’s municipal solid waste daily in a clean, efficient and environmentally conscientious manner. To take this responsible approach one step further, the County is about to embark on building its second “green building” at one of the three landfill sites. The first building is located at the Frank R. Bowerman Landfill in Irvine, which was retrofitted in 1998 to add 3,500 square feet to an existing 5,000 square foot building. This retrofit included the best “green building” practices available at that time.
On Tuesday, the Board authorized staff to bid out the construction of a second “green building” to be built at the Prima Deshecha Landfill in San Juan Capistrano. Design features and construction methods will embrace the most innovative, environmentally responsible building concepts such as a native plant green roof, programmable energy efficient lighting, heating and air conditioning, and incorporating building materials fabricated with recycled materials. Even more exciting is the building will be powered by energy generated by conversion of landfill gas into electricity. Staff has assured me that this building will be less expensive to maintain and operate and will result in long term savings for the County. I will provide you with updates as this project moves forward.
Enhanced Stewardship of All Taxpayer Funds
Last August, I asked County staff to begin looking at green alternatives for many of our County activities and operations. To that end, the County established a “Green Team” to begin evaluating opportunities to provide long-term economic savings to Orange County taxpayers. I am pleased to report that this effort has seen its first success.
On Tuesday, the Board unanimously approved a policy to support responsible procurement practices that evaluate total cost of ownership and product life-cycle analysis into all that we buy. While the County calls this it’s Environmentally Preferred Purchasing Policy, I like to think of it as our ‘Responsible’ Procurement Policy that improves stewardship of ALL taxpayer funds.
This policy makes sure taxpayers not only get what they pay for, but get the biggest bang for their buck in terms of product alternatives that may have a longer lifecycle. Obviously, a longer lifecycle means fewer replacements, and fewer replacements mean less money spent. This makes perfect sense to me.
I took the approval of this policy one step further by requesting the CEO investigate opportunities to embark on a responsible regional procurement strategy that would involve all local governments within the County. As Cities, Special Districts and the County are all purchasing paper, printer ink cartridges, paper clips, etc., I have directed staff to explore the feasibility of a regional procurement process that would yield cheaper costs to all governments by consolidating our procurement of these goods into one vendor and purchasing these common items in larger volumes. I will be sure to keep you updated on the efforts of our County’s “Green Team.”
Improved Transportation on Ortega Highway Coming Soon
For those who drive along Ortega Highway east of the 5-Freeway, traffic relief is on its way. The County plans to add an additional lane in each direction, from the San Juan Capistrano city limits east, approximately 1,900 feet, terminating just past the intersection of Ortega Highway and Antonio/La Pata.
The County will soon initiate a competitive bidding process, which means construction will not begin until after the first of the year. The good news is we are getting closer. While there will undoubtedly be traffic concerns during construction, I have already begun meeting with County staff to ensure morning and evening peak driving times are the least impacted to minimize inconveniences to drivers and burdens to the surrounding communities.
Improving Customer Service at OC Planning Department
County Planning is a critical service for those living in the unincorporated areas of the County. If these residents wish to add on to their homes, build a patio cover, or replace a water heater, a County permit is required. This agency is also the County department that functions most like a private company, experiencing the ebbs and flows of the economy. Recently, my office has experienced a number of constituent complaints, such as costs, the time it takes to process a permit, or simply good customer service practices.
During my election campaign, I promised to keep the bureaucracy mindful that the taxpayer is our customer and we need to serve them with the highest degree of trust, accountability, efficiency and respect. Anything short of that is unacceptable.
The number of requests for assistance does require me to gather more information to make a well informed decision as to what might best remedy the challenges our customers may be experiencing. To that end, Supervisor Campbell and I enlisted the support of the Board in approving an item directing the County’s Performance Audit Director to conduct an overview of the process and explore alternatives to the manner in which the department does business. This audit is in the cue and will likely begin in December. I will report more on its progress as I receive updates. To view the memo to our Performance Auditor, please click here.
In-Custody Substance Abuse Treatment Services
On Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors approved a renewed agreement with the Arizona Board of Regents, University of Arizona for evaluation services supporting the County’s Alcohol and Drug Abuse Services program. New Start, an in-jail therapeutic community drug treatment program, is currently operated in Theo Lacy Jail by a private contractor – Phoenix House, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department and the Orange County Health Care Agency.
In-custody substance abuse treatment services are provided to a maximum of 64 adult male inmates to help address substance abuse problems, thus reducing their likelihood of re-arrest. The program has been funded through the Sheriff’s Department from an allocation of Measure H and Tobacco Settlement Revenue since its inception in January, 2000.
The program is an intensive in-custody treatment program consisting of daily structured activities, including individual and group counseling, education and relapse prevention classes. Therapeutic Community (TC) programs such as New Start have several distinctive features in jails and prisons:
Of those who entered the New Start program, approximately 70% completed it. Although a 90-day program, about half the people entering it enrolled for 100 days or more. Participants completing New Start typically remained until they were released from jail. To further improve treatment outcomes, a continuum of after care treatment is available to clients upon release from jail. This component includes services ranging from intense residential treatment to outpatient treatment and sober living.
- They present an alternative concept of inmates that is often more positive than prevailing beliefs.
- They provide activities that embody positive values, help promote positive social relationships, and encourage a more responsible and productive way of life.
- They have staff that are positive role models.
- They help offenders transition from an institutional to a community existence, with treatment typically occurring just prior to release and continuing care in the community.
The most recent recidivism study of the New Start program was completed in June, 2008. The study compared re-arrest rates among participants who were in the program during January, 2006 thru December, 2006 with re-arrest rates of inmates who applied to the program but did not get in. Results indicate that New Start participants at 12-months following release from custody did better than the comparison group. Less than half of the New Start participants were re-arrested; whereas nearly 2/3 of the comparison group was re-arrested.
Angels for Animals
On Saturday, September 13, the Angels of Anaheim will host their first Angels for Animals event at Angel Stadium. This event, partnered by the Angels and the Orange County Animal Care Center, is an effort to raise awareness for animal adoption and the importance of spaying and neutering pets. Fans attending the game that evening will have the opportunity to visit the Orange County Animal Care booth, highlighting many of the animals currently available for adoption at the Shelter.
Between 4:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. on September 13, OC Animal Care staff and volunteers will be present under the Batting Hats at the main entrance to Angel Stadium, showing off adoptable animals as well as providing attendees with information about OC Animal Care and responsible pet ownership, including the importance of spaying and neutering pets.
Before the game, OC Animal Care staff will be invited onto the infield and will be introduced along with several adoptable pets. Throughout the game, photos of Angel players with our adoptable pets will be posted on the JumboTron along with important messages about responsible pet ownership and spay/neutering. Proceeds raised during the event will be distributed to a number of animal welfare organizations. For more information, please click here and here.
Metrolink Ridership Report
This week’s Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) Board meeting featured an update on Metrolink Ridership and an On-Time Performance Report. As background, the Southern California Regional Rail Authority (SCRRA) is a regional joint powers authority (JPA) that operates seven commuter rail lines throughout Southern California’s five-county, 400 mile commuter rail system known as Metrolink. OCTA is a member of SCRRA and today there are three lines serving Orange County, providing a total of 44 daily weekday trains to 11 Orange County stations. For more information, please click here.
A great deal of discussion at the meeting focused on strategies for expanding commuter ridership on Metrolink. A critical element to expanding ridership is increasing parking availability at stations along the routes. To ensure strategies are tailored to the unique characteristics of each Metrolink stop, staff will be conducting a study to determine the needs at each station (present and future) based on a demand and ridership profile. Options such as remote parking with shuttle service and valet parking will be considered.
Specific to South County and the 5th District, since three trains were extended from Irvine south to the Laguna Niguel/Mission Viejo Station in the fall of 2007, morning peak ridership has increased 9.7%. However, the Laguna Niguel/Mission Viejo Station has been identified as having issues with parking availability. To that end, OCTA has committed to partner with cities to find solutions to parking problems, identify strategies to expand ridership and provide better service to the residents of Orange County.
|South County News
Build It or Not, They Will Come!
South County is nationally renowned for its beauty and quality of life. From movies to magazines, our area is consistently highlighted as a wonderful place to live, work and do business, in addition to being a coveted vacation destination. With that comes the inevitable influx of people to our area. How do we handle the growth in the County? Should we welcome it, stop it, or find a way to make it work? What does it mean for our local economy? How does it impact our infrastructure?
These important topics and more will be addressed by representatives of the County of Orange and five South County cities at the Coastal Chambers Legislative Coalition's (CCLC) Annual Luncheon, which I will Chair on Friday, September 19 at the Renaissance Club Sport in Aliso Viejo. The CCLC fall program "Build It or Not, They Will Come" will feature the Economic Development Directors and/or City Managers representing the cities of Dana Point, Laguna Beach, Laguna Niguel, San Clemente, and San Juan Capistrano, respectively.
Tickets to the event are $40, which includes lunch and parking. To make your reservation, please call the Dana Point Chamber of Commerce at 949-496-1555.
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. To that end, it is my pleasure to announce that 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 our environment. Most importantly, volunteers gain 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.
|Notes From The Field
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.
Events and Programs at OC Parks
To see a list of events and programs being offered in the month of September at OC Parks throughout the 5th District and Orange County, please click here.
A Tail of Two Cities: “Gimme Shelter”
Lost and abandoned animals have a second chance at a good life – thanks to the Pet Project Foundation (PPF) and the San Clemente-Dana Point Animal Shelter. PPF volunteers work diligently every year to put on "A Tail of Two Cities", a fabulous event for all to enjoy, with the hopes of raising the much needed dollars for the homeless and abandoned animals of our communities. Saturday, September 20, 5:30 PM at the Talega Golf Club in San Clemente. For more information, please click here.
PPF is committed to returning these animals to their homes or caring for them until they are able to find them a new forever family, however long it may take. Funds raised provide shelter, food, veterinary care, kennel attendants, dog training, and community programs such as spay and neuter. For more information about the Pet Project Foundation, please click here.
|South County Calendar
San Juan Summer Nites Concert Series
San Juan Summer Nites Concert #4 will take place Wednesday, September 17 from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM at Historic Town Center Park located at 31852 El Camino Real in San Juan Capistrano. The concert features live music, a local business expo, youth area with free activities for the kids, food booths and a beer/wine booth. For more information, please click here.
|Fifth District Wrap-Up
In addition to my many meetings, briefings, and other supervisorial activities, I also:
My staff and I look forward to continually providing you updated information in our Fifth District Newsletter and website.
- Attended the Dana Point Yacht Club Charity Regatta, saluting the opening the Dana Point Harbor Tall Ships Festival. Proceeds of the event fund student scholarships for the Ocean Institute.
- Received a briefing from Stephen Connolly, Executive Director of the Office of Independent Review.
- Attended the dedication ceremony of a new Marine Memorial, located adjacent to the Hall of Administration, to honor the courage and commitment of all Marines, especially those who served at MCAS El Toro and Tustin. To see photos of the dedication ceremony, please click here.
- Presented a Board Resolution to the Ovarian Cancer Orange County Alliance, recognizing September as Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month in the County of Orange. To see a photo of the presentation, please click here. For more information, please click here.
- Attended a Laguna Hills City Council meeting to present a check for $500,000 of Prop 1B state transportation funds to the City for local street and road improvements.
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!