October 31, 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. Presidential Election 2008
3. Fifth District Spotlight
4. Transportation Information
5. Critter Chronicles
6. South County News
7. Harbor Happenings
8. Environmental Memos
9. Notes From The Field
10. South County Calendar
12. 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
Growing Orange County’s Open Space
On Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors accepted a donation of more than 74 acres of open space from The Irvine Company that will now become part of Laguna Coast Wilderness Park. This open space is a valuable addition to the OC Parks system and enhances the natural and environmental charm of the surrounding area. I am very grateful for this donation and excited to provide additional open space opportunities for Orange County residents and visitors.
Regulatory Enhancements for Environmental Stewardship
On Tuesday, the Board approved sending a letter to all 58 Counties in California, informing them of troubling new regulatory requirements that will tie up public dollars from being used to enhance our local environmental stewardship efforts and ask that each County begin doing their own assessment of the potential impacts to their budgets related to this regulatory change.
In the last few months, the County of Orange has become aware of a change in state policy related to financial assurance for habitat mitigation projects that will have a significant financial impact on cities and counties. The change significantly increases the obligations of public agencies to provide financial assurance for habitat mitigation projects, which can result in detrimental effects on the economy of local government and agencies.
The purpose of financial assurance is to ensure the California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG) will have sufficient funding available to complete habitat and project mitigation should a project proponent default and fail to complete the required mitigation. To make sure sufficient funding is available, CDFG has insisted that project proponents, including public agencies, place up to 100% of the mitigation cost in an escrow fund to cover establishment, monitoring and maintenance of the mitigation. This means that funds can be held up to 7 years past the construction of the mitigation site and are in addition to the public agency’s cost for implementing the mitigation plan.
The County of Orange estimates as much as $54 million may be tied up in mitigation escrows and endowments as a result of currently anticipated road and flood control projects, and as much as $7 million may be held as a result of future waste management and recycling projects. It is important to note this $61 million is in addition to project construction costs and is a freezing of funds which would otherwise be available for other essential public works projects necessary to improve public safety and the environment.
There will be more to come as we begin receiving feedback from our colleagues across the state.
Audit of Sheriff’s Department Overtime Expenditures
As reported in my newsletter last week, the Board directed the Performance Audit Director to conduct a thorough audit of overtime costs in the Sheriff’s Department. I have included the completed report and Sheriff Hutchens’ response. The report provides a baseline that clearly defines opportunities and constraints surrounding the use of overtime as a management tool.
It is important to note that earnings from overtime are not used to calculate Deputy Sheriffs’ retirement pensions, as these dollars are not base-building or pension–building. While the use of overtime in lieu of hiring additional Deputies has saved County taxpayers $1.8 million over the last 6-years, there isn’t a consistent policy and/or protocol with regard to the assignment of overtime hours.
It was determined through our audit process that by appropriately using overtime as a management tool in lieu of hiring additional staff, savings of $147 million over the next 30 years can be achieved throughout the various OCSD operations. In addition, Sheriff Hutchens confirmed her intention to look for additional long-term cost savings in jail operations by using non-sworn correctional officers in Orange County’s jail system and will be providing the Board with an update on her progress.
To view the Performance Audit Director’s overtime audit of the Sheriff’s Department, please click here. To view the Sheriff’s response, please click here.
Streamlining DNA Forensics in Law Enforcement
Our CEO led a stakeholder driven review of DNA processing and programming in the County of Orange. The review included the Sheriff, District Attorney (DA), Public Defender, Police Chief’s Association, and Legislative Affairs.
The panel reviewed a number of critical aspects of DNA, including history, proposals from the Sheriff and DA, and a comparison to other jurisdictions throughout the state and nation. Key issues included the need for cooperation and trust, improving turnaround times, integrity of results, costs, number of labs (one or two), clientele, evidence collection, and the importance of a Forensic Sciences Advisory Council to sustain stakeholder input.
The Board of Supervisors approved the CEO’s recommendations to expand the DNA lab within existing facilities maintained by the Sheriff. Additionally, the CEO will execute the Cooperative Department Heads Working Group (CDHWG), an equitable partnership that includes the Sheriff, DA and CEO. This group will establish a governance structure for the inter-agency run DNA lab and provide oversight to ensure no conflicts of interest or undue influence on collection and processing of evidence exists.
To that end, I asked that a protocol regarding communication by either prosecution or defense advocates with criminalists analyzing DNA evidence be established to further protect the integrity of the scientific process. The CDHWG will provide quarterly reports and a one-year assessment to the Board.
This model will establish one lab for law enforcement to share instead of two independent labs, which would be more costly to taxpayers. The Sheriff and DA will achieve economies of scale in sharing equipment and resources often funded by state and federal grants.
Most importantly, the Working Group’s unified communication and governance will streamline processing of DNA, resulting in improved turnaround times and faster adjudication of all criminal cases. To see the full report, please click here.
Alcohol, Drug, Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Services
The Board approved increases to funding for the provision of alcohol and drug prevention and tobacco cessation services. Community Service Programs, Inc. and the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence-Orange County are currently contracted for alcohol and drug prevention services, with Anaheim Memorial Medical Center and Nhan Hoa Comprehensive Healthcare Clinic providing tobacco cessation services.
Money for these programs comes from Tobacco Settlement Revenue funding, which received an increase in financial support to expand and enhance prevention and cessation services currently provided through these agreements. The additional funding will allow an expansion of drug prevention services to include a new County-wide educational campaign on the dangers of prescription drug abuse.
According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, prescription drugs have become the second most abused drug among youth ages 12 to 17. A recent survey indicated that 18% of Orange County 11th grade students have used prescription drugs recreationally.
The increased funding will also enable tobacco cessation services to be applied to mental health, alcohol and drug clients. The rates of smoking are two to four times higher among people with psychiatric and substance abuse disorders, according to a 2005 study in the American Journal on Addictions.
Smoking cessation classes and counseling will be available to youth and adult mental health clients, coupled with an awareness campaign to encourage mental health and drug abuse clients to quit smoking. This campaign will be designed to support mental health patients through their quit smoking process and train mental health professionals on providing interventions to encourage their patients and clients to quit smoking.
Property Fraud Prevention Notices
The Board approved an agreement between the Clerk-Recorder and Data Trace LLC for creation and mailing of Property Fraud Prevention Courtesy Notices to grant deed owners of real property in Orange County after grant deeds are recorded in Orange County.
For the past two years, the Clerk-Recorder has mailed courtesy notices alerting property owners when a grant deed is recorded on their property. This program was established after the Orange County Grand Jury recommended the creation of this program during their 2005-2006 session. The program was created to protect Orange County property owners from real estate fraud. Property owners have indicated that the service is extremely valuable to them.
During the past year, the Clerk-Recorder has mailed an average of 5300 notices a month to property owners, alerting them of documents attached to their deeds, including liens. The program has allowed the Clerk-Recorder to notify 100% of affected property owners of potentially unknown transactions affecting their real estate.
Treasury Oversight Committee
In 1995, the Board of Supervisors adopted a resolution, which established the Treasury Oversight Committee. To that end, Committee members are nominated by the Treasurer and then confirmed by the Board of Supervisors.
On Tuesday, I supported and the Board confirmed the Treasurer-Tax Collector’s nomination of Dr. Raghu Mathur as a public member of the Treasury Oversight Committee. In addition to being a resident of the Fifth District, Dr. Mathur also serves as Chancellor of the South Orange County Community College District.
|Presidential Election 2008
November 4 General Election Information
With expectations of heavy turnout on Election Day, the Orange County Registrar of Voters (ROV) is issuing a warning to voters of the potential for long lines for the November 4, 2008 Presidential Election.
The ROV has received a record number of voter registrations prior to the Presidential Election. There are well over 100,000 more registered voters than there were for the General Election of 2004. The high number of registered voters, a long ballot and high level of interest in the election will potentially produce lines at many polling places. In addition, voters need to be aware that parking will be limited at some polling places.
The last day to request a vote-by-mail ballot was October 28. If registered voters are going to vote at the polls, the best chance to avoid lines is by voting mid-day if possible. The busiest times for polling places are in the morning and after work. The ROV office has increased the number of voting systems being deployed to poll sites and have allocated equipment based on historical turnout.
For information about planning ahead, please click here.
For other important details regarding the November 4 General Election, please click here. To view updated election results in Orange County, please click here.
|Fifth District Spotlight
Local Medal of Honor Recipients Remembered
On October 25, the Marine Monument at Park Semper Fi in San Clemente was rededicated to honor three local deceased Medal of Honor winners for their heroism in battle and making the ultimate sacrifice. The honorees were Cpl. Jason L. Dunham, USMC; Lt. Michael P. Murphy, USN (Seal); Master-at-Arms Second Class Michael A. Monsoor, USN (Seal).
The soldiers’ selfless acts of heroism included falling on a live grenade and absorbing the explosion in an effort to save the lives of their nearby comrades. Marines lit torches above the permanent brass plaques, commemorating each man at Park Semper Fi.
Bus and Shuttle Projects Take Shape
Transit connections to major activity areas will begin detailed planning as 25 bus and shuttle projects move into step two of the Go Local program, a four-step process to plan and implement city-initiated transit extensions to a Metrolink station.
With two-thirds of Orange County’s jobs and population within a four-mile radius of the County’s eleven Metrolink stations, the Orange County Transportation Authority is making a significant investment in Metrolink service for the coming years. By 2010, 30-minute service is planned, 18-hours a day between Fullerton and Laguna Niguel. For more information, please click here. For a complete list of approved projects, please click here.
Rabies is a public health issue because it is a viral disease that is fatal in mammals, including humans and domestic pets (dogs, cats, and livestock). It is transmitted by the bite or scratch of an infected animal through their saliva. Rabies is preventable in domestic animals through routine vaccination, but is not curable after the onset of symptoms.
Prevention and education are the keys to keeping you and your family safe from the disease. Listed below are ways to prevent exposure:
Due to Election Day, OC Animal Care's monthly low-cost vaccination clinic will be rescheduled for Thursday, November 6, from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. For more information, please click here.
- Vaccinate your pets. Dogs are required to be vaccinated for rabies at 4 months of age. Cats can be vaccinated as early as 8 weeks. The first rabies vaccine is effective for 1 year. Animals should be re-vaccinated every 3 years.
- The Animal Care Center provides low cost Rabies Clinics on the first Tuesday of each month, from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Contact your local veterinarian, who may offer low cost vaccination clinics. Low cost clinics may also be available at local pet centers.
- Teach your children to respect wildlife, but keep a safe distance. Do not feed or provide harborage to wildlife on your property.
- Report any bite or scratch from a domestic or wild animal to OC Animal Care (714) 935-6106.
- Report dead, sick or nesting bats immediately to OC Animal Care (714) 935-6848. Do not attempt to confine the animal.
|South County News
Dana Point Chamber of Commerce Unveils New Website
The Dana Point Chamber of Commerce recently unveiled their new website. The new site represents what the Chamber hopes will be an even more interconnected community.
Three sections segment information into categories. The “Work” section of the website offers a wealth of information on the Dana Point Chamber, events, news and positions on legislation. The “Live” section aims to help the many people who wish to relocate to the area by including details on real estate, schools, recreational facilities, churches, etc., and also includes a relocation guide. The “Play” section offers all the information visitors need when visiting Dana Point, whether for a day trip or weeklong vacation. For more information, please click here.
More Sand for Baby Beach and Capistrano Beach
As reported in my newsletter last week, the Dana Point Harbor maintenance dredging project began October 9 and has made great progress in a very short amount of time. To view photos of the replenishment effort at Baby Beach, please click here.
Orange County Coastal Coalition Update
Last Thursday, Monte Ward, Director of Special Projects for the Orange County Transportation Authority, presented information about two exciting environmental programs that were created as a result of Renewed Measure M.
As you may recall, Orange County voters approved the renewal of Measure M, the half-cent sales tax measure, in 2006. As a result, a total of $243.5 million has been designated to help mitigate environmental impacts of freeway improvements through the Mitigation and Resource Protection Program; and $237.2 million has been dedicated to provide a competitive grant process through the Environmental Cleanup Program.
We also heard a presentation from Calla Allison from the City of Laguna Beach, who reported on the formation of a Stakeholder Advisory Committee for the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA). This group will assist in developing new management strategies for marine protected areas from Point Conception to the Mexican border and is made up of 30 primary members and 27 alternates. To see Ms. Allison’s presentation, please click here. For more information on South Coast Region activities, please click here.
TCA Water Quality Monitoring
The Foothill/Eastern Transportation Corridor Agency (TCA) will perform water quality monitoring at creeks crossed by the planned 241 Toll Road extension. TCA’s water quality monitoring program will be conducted in two phases. Phase one consists of two years of pre-project (or baseline) water quality monitoring; and phase two will consist of five years post-construction water quality monitoring.
Monitoring will track constituents of concern at eight locations (four upstream and four downstream of the alignment) at San Onofre, San Mateo, Christianitos and San Juan Creeks during the wet weather months through April. The constituents of interest include nutrients, metals, total petroleum hydrocarbons and other physical properties commonly found in storm water runoff from highways. 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.
Sunday, November 2
Gifts from Nature
1:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Impress your friends for the holidays with a gift of a basket or gourd ornament. Learn from gourd artists how to work with natural treasures. Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, Little Sycamore Canyon Staging Area/Nix Nature Center (west side of Laguna Canyon Road/SR-133, approximately 3.5 miles south of I-5/405). Reservations required due to limited parking: 949-923-2235. Parking: $3.
|South County Calendar
7th Annual Harvest Festival in Ladera Ranch
Founder’s Park will be in full harvest spirit for the 7th annual LARCS Harvest Festival in Ladera Ranch. The Western-themed day will have live music, food, games, pony rides, an exotic petting zoo and much more! Saturday, November 1, 12 PM – 4 PM. For more information, please click here.
2008 Lake Forest Safety Expo
The Lake Forest Safety Expo will be held Saturday, November 8, from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM, at the Home Depot parking lot, located on the corner of El Toro Road and Rockfield Boulevard. Bring the family and learn about disaster preparedness, home security and personal safety. Visit with Orange County Sheriff's Department K-9 units and check-out some of the Orange County Fire Authority’s newest equipment. For more information, please click here and here.
It’s That Standard Time of Year Again!
Standard Time begins each year at 2 a.m. on the first Sunday of November. This Sunday, remember to move your clocks back one hour at the resumption of Standard Time. Daylight Saving Time and Time Zones are regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation. 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:
- Met with former Orange County Supervisor Harriett Weider.
- Attended a Grand Jury members’ interview.
- Attended a meeting of the San Clemente Exchange Club to present Certificates of Recognition to their Deputy, Firefighter, and Employee of the Year.
- Adjourned the Board of Supervisors meeting in memory of Ruth Slater of Laguna Woods and Ann Hansen of San Clemente.
My staff and I look forward to continually providing you updated information in our Fifth District Newsletter and website.
- Attended a Laguna Niguel Chamber of Commerce ribbon-cutting ceremony to present a Certificate of Recognition in honor of the grand reopening of Mimi’s Café in Laguna Niguel.
- Attended separate Dana Point Chamber of Commerce ribbon-cutting ceremonies to present Certificates of Recognition in honor of the grand openings of NeuImage Rejuvenation Center in Dana Point and the Aventura Island Bar & Grill in Dana Point Harbor.
Please feel free to contact my office with your concerns, comments or questions at (714) 834-3550.
Have a safe and happy Halloween! Remember to set your clocks back one hour on Sunday, and don’t forget to vote this Tuesday!
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!