November 26, 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. HEADLINE NEWS
2. BOARD BULLETIN BOARD
3. TRANSPORTATION INFORMATION
4. FIFTH DISTRICT SPOTLIGHT
5. NOTES FROM THE FIELD
6. SOUTH COUNTY CALENDAR
7. SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENTS
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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Emergency Operations Center
The Orange County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) was activated Tuesday in anticipation of mudslides and other emergencies associated with expected heavy rains in the areas affected by the Freeway Complex Fire earlier this month.
The County Public Information Hotline has also been activated to provide residents with information regarding any voluntary or mandatory evacuations. The Public Information Hotline phone number is (714) 628-7085.
Additionally, at Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, the Board voted to maintain the State of Emergency in the affected burn areas in order to continue to make emergency funding and resources available throughout the heavy rains. A voluntary evacuation went into effect Tuesday for three specific areas of Yorba Linda that were affected by the fires. Residents of these areas were notified Monday evening via the AlertOC System.
AlertOC is a mass notification system designed to send emergency messages to residential telephones. Residents who wish to receive these alerts on their cell phones and through e-mail are encouraged to register at www.alertoc.com.
|BOARD BULLETIN BOARD
Fiscal Year (FY) 2008-09 First Quarter Budget Report
On Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors approved the County’s First Quarter Budget Report which is used to provide an overview of the status of the FY 2008-09 revenues, expenditures, Net County Cost, budgeted positions and various departmental issues requiring recommended changes to the County's budget.
The FY 2008-09 Budget was conservatively developed and included reduced revenue growth factors consistent with the economic conditions at that time. It also included the anticipated impact of the pending State budget. However, since the budget was passed, sales tax and vehicle license fee revenues have continued to decline. The final, actual June 30, 2008 General Fund balance available (FBA) came in at $62.4 million, which was $7.6 million below the adopted FY 2008- 09 budget FBA of $70 million, and well below the June 30, 2007 final, actual FBA of $129.6 million.
In anticipation of the FY 2008-09 impacts from the State budget deficit and the projected decline in local revenue sources, the County Executive Office has continued to implement proactive measures to reduce the County budget and drive cost savings. Components of the mid-year budget reduction plan include:
These measures are expected to trend the County’s budget downward as we continue to closely monitor the changes to the state and local economy.
- Restructuring of the retiree medical program resulting in a reduction of the annual required contribution (ARC) from $131 million to $26 million
- Deletion of long-term vacant positions
- Implementation of a hiring freeze for regular and extra-help positions
- 2% reduction in Net County Cost limits for FY 2008-09 budgets
- Direction to County Agencies to develop an additional 5% Net County Cost reduction contingency plan for FY 2008-09
- Capital project and information technology project budget reductions
- Reduction in Workers’ Compensation and liability insurance rates
- Revised contract guidelines directing County Departments to negotiate level growth in annual costs for multi-year contracts
- Contract encumbrance review and reversals
- $100 million TRAN issue
- Cash flow monitoring at fund and agency level
- Restructuring of Teeter program
In an effort to be proactive in demonstrating fiscal responsibility, on Tuesday I returned $965,000 from a Fifth District discretionary fund set aside for unbudgeted parks and library capitol projects to be placed back into the General Fund to help address some of the impacts associated with the significant revenue shortfalls.
To view the FY 2008-09 First Quarter Budget Report, please click here.
Crout & Sida Jail Report
Crout & Sida Criminal Justice, Inc. recently completed a comprehensive review of the Orange County jail system and at Tuesday’s Board meeting my colleagues and I were given a report on their findings.
In the report, Crout & Sida concluded that the Orange County jail system is generally in “good shape and effectively managed.” However, the report highlights three areas of concern: 1.) a more challenging inmate population; 2.) outdated, inappropriate, and insufficient jail facilities; and 3.) inadequate staffing levels. As such, the report includes recommendations on staffing levels and modifications to the facilities. Additionally, the report discusses the different type of personnel that can be used to operate the jail system and what type of personnel is best for the Orange County system.
The information and recommendations in the report will need to be fully analyzed and evaluated as the County considers the best way to address the needs of the Orange County jail system.
To view a copy of the report, please click here. To view a copy of the power point presentation that was given to the Board please, click here.
On Tuesday, the Board approved the 2009 Legislative Platform which outlines the basic guidelines and policy positions held by the Board of Supervisors. The Legislative Platform lists Orange County’s priorities for federal funding as well as County sponsored legislative proposals that will be brought forward in both Washington, D.C. and Sacramento.
While the Legislative Platform defines the County’s priorities as a whole, there are a few projects that primarily benefit the residents of the 5th Supervisorial District, including a flood control project for Aliso Creek and another for San Juan Creek. These projects include, among other things, bank stabilization, fortifying structurally deficient levees and restoration of native riparian vegetation.
To review the entire 2009 Legislative Platform, please click here.
OC Human Relations Commission Annual Report
The Board received the Orange County Human Relations Commission 2007-08 Annual Report. The Report highlighted the Commission's efforts to create safe and inclusive communities. Among its highlights, the Human Relations Commission reached over 40,000 youth; helped develop diverse leaders with over 500 police and community members trained in human relations; mediated conflict with over 3,000 people in dispute resolution; and helped build understanding and respect for over 5,000 residents who attended human relations presentations and activities.
Items specific to the Fifth District in the Report include:
To view the presentation received by the Board, please click here.
- A tribute to former Commissioner Pat Krone, my appointee to the Commission, who passed away recently after serving 30 years.
- The BRIDGES Program, working to create safe, inclusive communities at Las Flores and Rancho Santa Margarita Middle schools and Laguna Hills High School.
- Parent Leadership Training done in partnership with Las Palmas Elementary School in San Clemente.
- Grassroots leadership development in San Juan Capistrano and San Clemente, building effective participation in the decision-making process.
Quarterly Information Technology Project Status Report
The Board received the Quarterly Information Technology (IT) Project Status Detail and Executive Summary Reports for the period of July through September, 2008. During this reporting period, four IT projects were completed including the IT Strategic Plan, a highly collaborative effort between CEO and all County Agencies and Departments to define a 5-year IT Strategic Plan, as well as a 3-year tactical project plan. Of the total 26 active IT projects, 25 are progressing within or under budget, 19 are on schedule and 4 have been rebaselined to reflect revised schedules as the projects move from planning to the implementation phases.
Within the report, 4 projects were identified as scheduled to begin next quarter. Considering the difficult financial times ahead for the County, I directed staff to report back to the Board the justification for all new projects. If any new project is not the result of a mandate or requirement for compliance, it is my belief that it should not be prioritized and, therefore, be deferred and reconsidered next quarter.
To view the report, please click here.
Off-Campus Student Training for University Students
The Health Care Agency (HCA) requested approval of a Master Agreement to provide Off-Campus Student Training for university students that will be assigned to various HCA departments, allowing them to receive off-campus training experience, which is a required and integral component of many universities' curriculum. The Agreement, approved by the Board on Tuesday, will also benefit the County by providing additional clinical resources to HCA.
Last year, the County utilized 533 unpaid student interns for various HCA departments, including Behavioral Health Services, California Children Services, Correctional Medical Services, Juvenile Health Services, Medical and Institutional Health Services, and Public Health Services. County clinicians and managers supervise the student interns, whose participation in the program also help enhance the County’s capacity to deliver these services.
Orange County Transportation Authority
On November 24, the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) Board of Directors voted to increase bus fares in order to maintain long-term viability of this critical public service. OCTA has experienced increased costs associated with higher fuel prices since 2005, increased service levels and higher administration costs even with reduced employee benefits. That, coupled with reduced revenues due to less state funding and lower sales tax revenue, has made it financially imperative for OCTA to reduce costs and adjust fares.
The new bus fares, which will go into effect January 4, will increase the cost of one-way trips by 25 cents from $1.25 to $1.50. Monthly passes will increase from $45 to $55. It is important to note that this is only the second time in 18 years that OCTA fares have risen. The $1.50 cost to ride a bus in Orange County is still below the $2.32 average for metropolitan areas throughout the state.
Additionally, to reflect the serious financial challenge OCTA is faced with this year, the Board voted to amend OCTA’s current Fiscal Year 2008-09 Budget by reducing revenues by $63.3 million, the services and supplies budget by $5.2 million, and the capitol and fix-asset budget by $58.1 million. Among other things, OCTA will implement bus service reductions and delays in capitol construction projects.
I voted in favor of the fare increases because I felt it was necessary to protect South County residents from even more reduced bus service and even higher fare increases that might have been targeted specifically at South County cities due to lower ridership in comparison to the rest of the county. I felt this was the most equitable solution to this growing problem.
Even with the increase, taking transit is still one of the most cost-effective ways to travel. According to an analysis from the American Public Transportation Association, commuters in Orange County can save an average of nearly $650 a month by taking OCTA’s bus system, which equates to more than $7,500 a year.
To view a chart of OCTA’s new fares, please click here.
|FIFTH DISTRICT SPOTLIGHT
Students at Crown Valley Elementary in Laguna Niguel are to be commended for their hard work in collecting CARE packages and writing "thank you" letters for the city’s adopted First Battalion, Fourth Marine Regiment that is stationed in Iraq. The students, who worked with the Laguna Niguel Military Support Committee, which was appointed by the City Council to gather donations to send overseas to both the 1/4 Marines and sailors aboard the USS McClusky, have surely made the holiday season brighter for our troops.
|NOTES FROM THE FIELD
Birding Hike in Laguna Coast Wilderness Park
Spot fall and migratory birds on a hike through Laguna Coast Wilderness Park which has one of the most diverse plant communities in the United States! Join Laguna Canyon Foundation volunteer naturalist Paul Klahr and bird expert John Heussenstamm on Sunday, November 30 from 8:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. for this exciting tour. This is a free event but reservations are required. For more information or to reserve your place, please call 949-923-2235.
|SOUTH COUNTY CALENDAR
First Thursday’s Art Walk in Laguna Beach
Join member galleries throughout Laguna Beach on Thursday, December 3, from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. for a festive, cultural evening. Free shuttles to participating galleries start at 6:15 p.m. at the Laguna Art Museum (corner of PCH & Cliff Dr.) and Bluebird Center (1590 S. Coast Highway) and run until 8:45 p.m. For more information, please click here.
Christmas at the Mission
The official lighting ceremony of the San Juan Capistrano Christmas tree and the annual Christmas at the Mission Festival will take place on Saturday, December 6 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. in Historic Towne Center Park. This special night includes a visit from Santa Claus, a live nativity presentation, a merchant open house and musical performances. Santa’s workshop will be set up in the Barracks Gallery for kids to enjoy crafts from 5:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. For more information, please call (949) 234-1300 or click here.
San Clemente HollyJollyHoopla
This holiday spectacular will convert the San Clemente Community Center into the North Pole, complete with live penguins and reindeer, sled rides on REAL snow – plus Mrs. Claus’ Bakery where you can decorate cookies and enjoy a variety of other food options. The holiday hoopla will also include strolling characters and entertainers, carnival games, face painting, arts and crafts. For more information, please call the San Clemente Recreation Division at 361-8264 or click here.
Santa’s Holiday Dreams Show
Sing along to holiday favorites performed by Santa’s dancing elves and fantasy characters at Santa’s Holiday Dreams Show sponsored by Laguna Niguel Parks & Recreation on Saturday, December 6 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Crown Valley Park. After the show, enjoy face painting, crafts, a balloonist and magic elves. Tickets are $7 per child (ages 2-12) and $3 per adult and are available at the event. Fore more information, please click here.
34th Annual Boat Parade of Lights
Enjoy Santa’s Sealife Celebration, the 34th Annual Boat Parade of Lights, on Friday, December 5 and Saturday, December 6 as well as Friday, December 12 and Saturday, December 13 beginning starting at 7:30 p.m. each night. You can view the parade free from anywhere in the Harbor, or make reservations at one of the restaurants to view it from a cozy and warm spot. For a list of all Dana Point Holiday in the Harbor events, please click here.
Fifth District Open House
Join me and my staff for light refreshments on Wednesday, December 17 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. for our Fifth District Open House. The event will take place at my office which is located at 333 W. Santa Ana Blvd., 5th Floor, Hall of Administration, Building #10, Santa Ana, CA 92701. Please RSVP by December 12 to Ruth Strachan or Patricia Wenkart by calling (714) 834-3550 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, please click here.
Thank you to our Termed-Out Legislators
I would to thank Senator Dick Ackerman and Assemblyman Todd Spitzer, two of our Fifth District state representatives who have been termed out, for their many years of dedicated service to the residents of South Orange County. I extend my sincerest best wishes for their continued efforts on behalf of Orange County.
|FIFTH DISTRICT WRAP-UP
In addition to my many meetings, briefings, and other supervisorial activities, I also:
My office also:
- Participated in the OCTA Board of Directors meeting.
- Participated in the Board of Supervisors meeting.
My staff and I look forward to continually providing you updated information in our Fifth District Newsletter and website.
- Attended a National Eagle Scout Court of Honor Ceremony at Aliso Viejo City Hall to present a Certificate of Recognition in honor of newly inducted Eagle Scouts Nathan Douglas Custance, Garret Braithwaite, Chase Flora, and L.J. Perry.
- Attended the South Coast Water District Board of Directors meeting to present a proclamation honoring outgoing Director Richard Runge.
Please feel free to contact my office with your concerns, comments or questions at (714) 834-3550.
I would like to take this opportunity to wish each of you a very happy and safe Thanksgiving holiday! Don’t forget to take time to reflect on all the blessings this past year has had to offer.
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!