Header image with Photo of Supervisor Pat Bates. Followed by office information
September 19, 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. Board Bulletin Board

2. Fifth District Spotlight

3. Transportation Information

4. Health Herald

5. Environmental Memos

6. Notes From The Field

7. South County Calendar

8. Fifth District Wrap-Up


Justin McCusker:
Chief of Staff

Sergio Prince:
Executive Director of Public Affairs

Jeff Corless:
Executive Policy Advisor

Don Hughes:
Executive Policy Advisor

Chip Monaco:
Executive Policy Advisor

Ruth Strachan:
Office Manager

Patricia Wenkart:
Policy Assistant

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Volume 2 Issue 34
Board Bulletin Board

Dana Point Harbor Revitalization Update

There are a number of County resources we could herald as our crowned jewels. In the Fifth District, Dana Point Harbor is certainly one of them. For nearly 40 years, its sleepy charm has endured and is sustained by the personal pride that local merchants and popular ‘mom-and-pop’ restaurants hold true to their hearts. This is what makes our Harbor different from many others and a main reason why people love to come here.

The County has embarked on a Harbor revitalization process to improve the aging infrastructure within the Harbor while attempting to maintain its unique old-town charm, which makes the Harbor a place that residents, tourists, merchants and boaters have grown to love for many generations.

Brad Gross, Director of the OC Dana Point Harbor Department, presented the Board with a status report of the Harbor Revitalization Project. The presentation provided an update on landside and waterside improvements as well as an overview of options being considered for slip configurations and boating infrastructure. To view the presentation, please click here.

Options proposed for the waterside improvements sparked a lively discussion, focusing on how to achieve a balance among various boat slip sizes that will meet the needs of our boating community while adhering to building safety and accessibility codes. As space in the Harbor is limited, it will require a balanced approach on all fronts to provide the best possible amenities and experience for our residents, merchants, boaters and visitors alike.

Enhancing South County’s Ability to Reduce, Reuse & Recycle

One of the fundamental goals of our landfill operation is to protect and preserve capacity. The longer we have capacity, the cheaper our residential and commercial waste disposal costs will be. To help preserve capacity now and into the future, the Board approved a contract with CR&R to locate a material recovery facility (MRF) at Prima Deshecha Landfill in San Juan Capistrano.

This placement of a MRF is representative of OC Waste & Recycling’s efforts to address the self-hauled waste stream in Orange County. Such efforts began on July 1, 2006 with the implementation of the Self Hauled Waste Surcharge. The surcharge was a market-driven remedy to incentivize individuals to take recyclable material to a local MRF in lieu of a landfill. I am pleased to report this market-driven approach has yielded a 61% decrease in self-hauled waste during its first two years of implementation.

The second effort involved innovative programs to supplement the surcharge. OC Waste & Recycling staff initiated a Board-approved Construction and Demolition Policy and Procedure, requiring contractors to divert 50% of waste generated at each individually permitted job. Construction and Demolition waste is a large chunk of the self-hauled waste stream, and this program helps reduce that percentage even more.

Additionally, the Board approved a $1 million grant program to provide our partner cities with financial resources to address this waste stream at the most local level. This, too, has been a very effective program. Last but not least, the Board approved a countywide public education program that is in its planning stages and being designed to educate the public of the importance in diverting all recyclable materials from landfills.

The final effort is investing in capital projects and infrastructure to help remove these materials from the waste stream before being processed at a landfill. The MRF at Prima Deshecha Landfill will do just that.

This new facility will add no additional traffic as it will accept a waste stream already coming to the landfill. In fact, the Cities of San Juan Capistrano and San Clemente have participated and endorsed this project. I’m pleased to say this project is good for the County as well as the community.

Fifth District Spotlight

Lifesaving Efforts of OCSD Deputies and CHP Officer

Last month, a twenty-two year old female resident of Laguna Niguel, despondent over a relationship break-up, made access to the outside bridge railing of the Alicia Parkway overpass, above Interstate 5. Motorists witnessed the young lady walking out over the freeway traffic and dialed “911.” Sheriff’s deputies from nearby cities and California Highway Patrol officers quickly arrived.

Laguna Hills Deputy Brian Gunsolley, Laguna Niguel Deputy Mark Wehrli, and CHP Officer Robert Rand found the young woman holding on to a one inch chain link fence, and standing on a three inch ledge about fifty feet above the freeway. The officers tried to persuade her to return to safety, but she appeared determined to jump. As Deputy Gunsolley spoke to the woman, she closed her eyes and extended her arms. Fearing she was preparing to release her grip, Gunsolley grabbed her fingers through the chain link fence. Officer Rand and Deputy Wehrli went out on the ledge and grabbed the woman’s arms to prevent her from falling. With very little footing and the woman fighting to get away from them, the three officers held on to her while the Orange County Fire Authority tried to position one of their ladder trucks underneath them.

The woman tried to fight the officers’ attempts to keep her from falling. She lost her footing and fell off the ledge. The only thing keeping her from falling to the pavement was the three officers clinging to her clothing and fingers. Deputy Gunsolley saw that she was slipping from the grasp of the Deputy Werhli and Officer Rand, so he let go of her fingers and quickly climbed over the fence and out to the ledge to assist. Sheriff’s Sergeant Jim Fouste, Deputy John Frey, and Deputy Tim Brown all grabbed onto the three officers on the ledge as they struggled to hold the woman as she dangled over the freeway.

The Fire Authority ladder truck was eventually positioned below the woman, where deputies and firefighters extracted her from the deputies’ grasp and into the basket. She continued to fight all attempts to pull her to safety. She was taken to Mission Hospital for psychiatric observation.

An emergency medical technician who witnessed the ordeal called the Sheriff’s Department Watch Commander to commend the officers for their heroic actions. She said she had never seen anyone “put their neck out on the line” as these officers did for this distraught woman.

At our September 16 Board meeting, I was honored to present Orange County Sherriff’s Deputies Brian Gunsolley and Mark Wehrli with a Board resolution, commending them for heroic actions above and beyond the call of duty. To see photos of the presentation, please click here.

Transportation Information

Metrolink to Help Victims of Train Collision

Many families have been affected by the tragedy of September 12. To that end, the Metrolink Board of Directors has taken action to offer them as much help as possible. At its meeting of September 17, the Southern California Regional Rail Authority Board of Directors, operators of Metrolink commuter train service, took the following actions:

  • Unanimously approved the creation of a Victims Assistance Fund.
  • Unanimously approved the creation of a Temporary Assistance Fund.
  • A Ventura County Line passenger compensation program to provide for a complete refund to any rider who chose not to continue riding the train after September 12, 2008.
In a separate action, the Metrolink Board unanimously approved a motion to support Senate Bill 3943, The Rail Collision Prevention Act. The proposed legislation calls for U.S. passenger railroads to develop and submit a plan for implementation of a positive train control system by December 31, 2014, within 12 months of the passage of the bill. For more information, please click here.

Rideshare Week '08: October 6 – 10

Still driving to work alone? Your perfect match is out there, and ridesharing can help you find it. Could it be commuting by bus, Metrolink train, carpooling, vanpooling or biking? By ridesharing, you will also help reduce traffic and clean the air. For more information, please click here.

Health Herald

Preventing Substance Abuse Among Children and Teens

The Prevention Coalitions of Orange County (PCOC) and the Orange County Health Care Agency are joining in the eighth annual celebration of Family Day – A Day to Eat Dinner with Your Children™ on September 22 as part of the continuing effort to prevent substance abuse among children and teens. For more information, please click here.

Launched in 2001, Family Day is a movement that encourages parents to frequently eat dinner with their kids and be involved in their children’s lives. Research conducted by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University consistently shows that the more often children eat dinner with their families, the less likely they are to smoke, drink or use drugs.

For information on local Family Day activities, please contact Pauline Stauder, program supervisor for the Orange County Health Care Agency Alcohol and Drug Education and Prevention Team at (714) 834-2094. For more information on the national observance of Family Day, please click here.

Environmental Memos

Coastal Cleanup Day: September 20

As reported in my newsletter last week, 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 natural resources. 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.

Laguna Coast Wilderness Lake Experiencing Fall Turnover

Barbara’s Lake at Laguna Coast Wilderness Park is currently experiencing what is called a “fall lake turnover,” causing a strong, unpleasant odor in the area. Although is does not happen frequently to this extent at Barbara’s Lake, this is a naturally occurring event. The odor is caused by decomposing plants, algae and other matter coming to the surface. The low water level of the lake, due to the drought we’re experiencing, may also be contributing to the intensity of the event this year.

The lake at Laguna Niguel Regional Park recently experienced the same issue. County staff has inspected Barbara’s Lake and is monitoring the situation. The odor is expected to dissipate in a week or two and the water clarity should improve. For more information, please click here.

Notes From The Field

San Juan Capistrano’s “Ridge Walk”

The City’s Open Space Committee and San Juan Capistrano Rotary are teaming up to host a community “Ridge Walk” from 8 a.m. to noon on October 4. The Ridge Walk is part of the City’s goal to educate the public and introduce it to the town’s pristine open space, trails and natural areas.

This special event celebrates hiking, healthy outdoor living, and the ecologically sound lifestyle that helps to distinguish the community. The trail walk is designed for all ages. Friendly dogs on leashes are also welcome. Proceeds will be used to help improve hillside trails, which are enjoyed by hikers, bicyclists and equestrians alike. Reservations are now available for this picturesque walk through the City’s open space area and trails. For more information, please click 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.

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.

South County Calendar

3rd Annual Founders Day Fair at the Aliso Viejo Ranch

Bring the family and join with neighbors, friends and community leaders for a day of good old fashioned fun, food and festivities! Aliso Viejo's 3rd Annual Founder’s Day Fair at the AV Ranch will be a vivid community celebration that will feature rock climbing, a BMX bike show, hula-hoop contest and more. Saturday, September 27, 12:00 PM to 6:00 PM. For more information, please click here and here.

Fifth District Wrap-Up

In addition to my many meetings, briefings, and other supervisorial activities, I also:

  • Attend an Orange County Forum reception featuring Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens as keynote speaker.
  • Presented a Board resolution to Orange County Sherriff’s Deputies Brian Gunsolley and Mark Wehrlii, who serve the Fifth District cities of Laguna Hills and Laguna Niguel respectively, honoring them for heroic actions above and beyond the call of duty. To see photos of the presentation, please click here.
  • Attended a Dana Point 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. To see a photo of the presentation, please click here.
  • Attended a San Clemente City Council meeting to present a check for $100,000 of Prop 1B state transportation funds to the City for local street and road improvements. To see a photo of the presentation, please click here.
  • Attended the bi-monthly meeting of the Orange County Fire Authority, where an overview of their Reserve Program was presented. To view the presentation, please click here.
  • Chaired the Coastal Chambers Legislative Coalition's (CCLC) Annual Luncheon in Aliso Viejo. The CCLC fall program – "Build It or Not, They Will Come” – featured Economic Development Directors and/or City Managers from the Cities of Dana Point, Laguna Beach, Laguna Niguel, San Clemente, and San Juan Capistrano, as well as representatives from the County of Orange and the Orange County Transportation Authority, discussing infrastructure issues facing South County. To view the various presentations, please click here.
  • Adjourned the Board of Supervisors meeting in memory of William “Billy” Rogokos of Aliso Viejo.
  • Adjourned the Board of Supervisors meeting in memory of William Paul Moffatt of San Clemente.
My office also:
  • Attended a reception in Rancho Santa Margarita hosted by the South Orange County Community College District Board of Trustees in honor of Dr. Tod A. Burnett, who they recently appointed to serve as the 9th president of Saddleback College. For more information, please click here.
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!