Header image with Photo of Supervisor Pat Bates. Followed by office information
September 26, 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. Transportation Information

3. County Connections

4. Critter Chronicles

5. Notes From The Field

6. South County Calendar

7. 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 35
Board Bulletin Board

Preserving Hiking and Riding Opportunities in South County

On Tuesday, the Board entered into a five year access agreement that allows the public to utilize an SCE utility easement from El Toro Road through Laguna Coast Wilderness Park as a natural hiking and riding trail. This partnership offers the public with world-class hiking and riding trails right in the middle of nature and all its glory. I encourage you to take advantage of Laguna Coast Wilderness Park or any of the County’s regional facilities. For more information on OC Parks, please click here.

Laguna Canyon Road Project Wins State Award

An important Fifth District project, the Laguna Canyon Realignment and Widening Project, was recognized by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) on Tuesday as a 2008 Excellence in Transportation award recipient. This project realigned Laguna Canyon Road, from the San Joaquin Hills Transportation Corridor (SJHTC) to Interstate 405, including two travel lanes in each direction, bike lanes, utility undergrounding, and construction of wildlife under-crossings at Laguna Lakes, Little Sycamore Canyon and Stage Coach crossings.

Caltrans and OC Public Works joined forces in a cooperative effort to plan, design, fund, environmentally review, and construct this approximately 4 mile long roadway project. The project was selected by Caltrans because of its environmentally sensitive approach in preserving the natural setting and enhancing environmental protections. The environmental stewardship items included:

  • Protected mature coastal live oaks and removed non-historical eucalyptus trees at the Laguna Lakes.
  • Addressed water quality in the Canyon and at the Laguna Lakes by constructing water quality basins along natural water courses within the project limits.
  • Reconnected Laguna Lake #’s 2 & 3 – the only naturally occurring lakes in Orange County – to improve water quality and faunal diversity in the combined larger lake.
  • Recovered a spectacular variety of paleontological resources during grading, including an almost fully intact fossilized whale.
  • Realigned roadway closer to the original canyon stagecoach route, delivering scenic views of the Canyon, while providing a safe, modern and efficient roadway.
  • Reused the former two-lane roadbed as base material within the new facility.
  • Undergrounded overhead utility lines within the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, enhancing views of park and roadway users.
  • Included architectural features evocative of a more carefree past on all of the undercrossing structures.
  • Provided upgraded access to the Nix Nature Center, located just west of the roadway, in the heart of Laguna Canyon.
Re-vegetation design and construction efforts will begin shortly to establish, enhance, and restore wetland areas along the former roadway alignment and within the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park. Additionally, the planting of roadway slopes and under-crossings with grasses, shrubs and trees will take place to accommodate safe use by animals within the canyon, and to provide the feeling of a roadway that seamlessly passes thru the canyon.

Naturally, I am very pleased with the environmentally friendly approach we took with this project, and the County is extremely honored to be recognized by our partners at Caltrans. To view a photo of the award I accepted on behalf of our County team, please click here.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Diverting recyclable materials from disposal at landfills is mandated by the state and a responsibility the County and each of its Cities takes very seriously. To that end, County staff from the OC Waste & Recycling Department provides the Board with quarterly reports that highlight programs and efforts being undertaken to increase the diversion rates of each local government entity. Highlights of the report indicate a 61% decrease in self-hauled waste, which typically contains a large volume of recyclable content, suggesting more material is being recycled than buried at a landfill.

Another County-initiated program yielding great results is the County’s Regional Recycling and Waste Diversion Grants program. This Board-approved grant pushed revenues generated from the self-hauled waste stream to our local cities. These dollars have enabled them to address specific needs within their local communities to increase diversion. As all politics are local, meaningful solutions must also be local. As such, I like to provide resources to local agencies to determine how best to address specific challenges they face within their community. To view the quarterly report presented to the Board, please click here.

Orange County Human Relations Commission

In 1971, the Orange County Board of Supervisors, in collaboration with the League of Cities, created the Orange County Human Relations Commission. Over the last 37 years, Orange County has changed dramatically, transitioning from a predominately white suburban community to a diverse urban county. On Tuesday, the Board supported my nomination of Bill Wood of Laguna Beach to serve as my Fifth District appointee to the Commission. For more information, please click here.

Transportation Information

OCTA Supports Federal Rail Safety Legislation

In the wake of the recent collision between a Metrolink and Union Pacific train, the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) has voted unanimously to support the Rail Collision Prevention Act. The proposed legislation calls for U.S. passenger railroads to develop and submit a plan to implement a positive train control system within 12 months of the bill’s passage. For more information, please click here.

County Connections

Orange County Investment Pools

Orange County Treasurer Chriss Street announced this week that the Orange County investment pools have no exposure to Lehman Brothers or AIG, and that he will continue purchasing ultra safe Government Sponsored Entities during this time of market uncertainty. For more information, please click here.

Adding Foreclosed Homes to Affordable Housing Stock

Neighborhood Housing Services of Orange County, in alliance with the Orange County Housing Trust, has launched a program to purchase foreclosed homes at auction, refurbish them if necessary, and return them to the County’s housing stock as affordable rental or for-sale housing. For more information, please click here.

Critter Chronicles

Anxious Dogs Learn To Relax On OCTA Buses

Nerves and anxiety strike dogs just as they do humans; and the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) is offering training to service animals and their handlers to help ease those reactions when riding the bus. For more information, please click here.

World-renowned dog behavior specialist Cesar Millan, recently counseled an OCTA rider and her service dog on the popular National Geographic Channel show “The Dog Whisperer." The Dog Whisperer said he was impressed with OCTA bus services in Orange County.

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.

South County Calendar

3rd Annual Founders Day Fair at the Aliso Viejo Ranch

Bring the family and join 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.

First Thursday’s Art Walk in Laguna Beach

Join member galleries throughout Laguna Beach on Thursday, October 2, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. for a festive, cultural evening. Free shuttles to participating galleries start at 6:15 PM at the Laguna Art Museum (corner of PCH & Cliff Dr.) and Bluebird Center (1590 S. Coast Highway) and run until 8:45 PM. For more information, please click here.

Ladera Ranch Oktoberfest Featuring ‘Dogue Vogue’

Come out to Ladera Ranch for the second annual Oktoberfest featuring the exciting Dogue Vogue Fashion Show and children's costume show from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 4. This event will be designed as an "Oktoberfest" with all the fixings of a German themed event. Admission is FREE to the public. For more information, please click here.

21st Annual San Clemente Seafest

Come to beautiful San Clemente and enjoy a day at the beach and the cool waters of the exquisite Pacific Ocean at the 21st annual San Clemente Seafest on Sunday, October 5. The Seafest features a Chowder Cook-off, Fisherman’s Lobster, Killer Dana Surf Contest, Business Expo, Arts & Craft Show, entertainment, and a U.S. Coast Guard Search & Rescue Demo Operation all taking place at the historic San Clemente Pier area. For more information, please click here.

Fifth District Wrap-Up

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

  • Testified at a public hearing on the proposed completion of the 241 Toll Road.
  • Presented a Board resolution to representatives of the Financial Planning Association of Orange County, proclaiming October 6 thru 12 Financial Planning Week in the County of Orange. To see a photo of the presentation, please click here.
  • Was presented the 2008 Excellence in Transportation Award from the California Department of Transportation for the Laguna Canyon Realignment and Widening Project. To see a photo of the presentation, please click here.
My office also:
  • Attended a meeting of the South Orange County Community College District Board of Trustees to present a proclamation in honor of the 40th anniversary of Saddleback College in Mission Viejo.
  • Attended a meeting of the Orange County Coastal Coalition (more on this in my next newsletter).
  • Participated in a planning meeting for a South County Disaster Preparedness Expo to be held in October (more on this in my next newsletter).
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!