Header image with Photo of Supervisor Pat Bates. Followed by office information
December 5, 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. Holiday Celebration Invitation

2. Board Bulletin Board

3. County Connections

4. Health Herald

5. Transportation Information

6. Notes From The Field

7. ‘Tis The Season

8. Critter Chronicles

9. South County Holiday Festivities

10. Fifth District Spotlight

11. Fifth District Wrap-Up


Justin McCusker:
Chief of Staff

Sergio Prince:
Executive Director of Public Affairs

Kristen Thornton:
Executive Policy Advisor

Ray Grangoff:
Executive Policy Advisor

Chip Monaco:
Executive Policy Advisor

Ruth Strachan:
Office Manager

Patricia Wenkart:
Policy Assistant

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Volume 2 Issue 45
Holiday Celebration Invitation

Fifth District Holiday Open House

I cordially invite you to join me and my staff for light refreshments Wednesday, December 17 from 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM at our Fifth District Holiday Open House. This festive holiday celebration will take place in my office, located at 333 W. Santa Ana Blvd., Santa Ana, CA 92701. For a map and directions, please click here.

Please RSVP by December 12 to Ruth Strachan or Patricia Wenkart at (714) 834-3550 or email ruth.strachan@ocgov.com. For more information, please click here.

Board Bulletin Board

No Board Meeting Held This Week

Due to the Thanksgiving Day holiday, there was no regularly scheduled meeting of the Board of Supervisors this week.

Our next Board meeting will be held Tuesday, December 9. For Agenda & Meeting Information, please click here.

Live Internet broadcasts of Board of Supervisors meetings are available and archived as video-on-demand. To view live and/or past Board meetings, please click here.

County Connections

Property Tax Relief Related to Freeway Complex Fire

The Orange County Assessor is committed to helping property owners impacted by last month’s Freeway Complex Fire to get property tax relief benefits provided by law. Freeway Complex Fire victims who suffered over $10,000 in property damage may qualify for two types of property tax relief:

  • Temporary reduction in current property taxes (lower taxes)
  • Temporary deferral of property taxes due 12/10/08 (more time to pay)
To qualify, you must complete the applications for property tax relief and return them to the Assessor by December 10, 2008. To download an application for property tax relief, please click here. For more information, please click here.

OCFA Creates Blog to Address Fire Questions and Concerns

The Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA) has created a blog as a way to conduct conversations with the people about the Freeway Complex Fire that recently caused so much destruction and disruption of people’s lives. OCFA also encourages constructive ideas on how they conduct their firefighting efforts, what did and didn’t work, and how residents can work with the Fire Authority to reduce the chance of a recurrence of this type of a fire.

The blog is a first-time effort for OCFA and the goal is to read every question or comment within a day and respond in no more than one more day. To view the blog, please click here.

Highest & Best Rating Given to Orange County Investments

The Orange County Treasurer’s $3.6 billion money market funds were awarded the prestigious AAAm rating by Standard & Poor’s this week. Orange County is the first municipality in the State of California and the first County in the United States to have ever been awarded this highest rating. The AAAm rating is reserved for money market funds with the highest level of principal and stability protection. For more information, please click here.

Orange County Office on Aging

The Orange County Office on Aging serves as the lead advocate, planner and facilitator relative to all aging issues on behalf of all older persons in Orange County. Together with their partners, the Office on Aging provides a full range of older adult services, including information and assistance on programs and services available for older adults and their caregivers. For more information, please click here.

OC Public Library Holiday Schedules

Due to the holidays, all OC Public Libraries will be closed at 5:00 p.m. on December 24 and December 31, 2008. In observance of the official County holiday schedule, all branch libraries will also be closed all day on December 25, 2008 and January 1, 2009. Libraries will resume normal operating schedules immediately following the holidays. To see upcoming events at South County’s branches, please click here.

Laguna Woods Library, located in Laguna Woods City Hall, will be closed December 24, 2008 through January 4, 2009 for the holidays. City Hall will also be closed throughout the entire period.

Health Herald

Orange County Drinking and Driving Community Forum

The Orange County Drinking and Driving 2008 Community Forum will be a comprehensive and multidisciplinary conference to discuss innovative strategies for reducing drinking and driving and to promote local efforts that effectively deal with drinking and driving related issues in Orange County. The 2008 Orange County DUI Community Forum will be held December 10, 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM, at the Costa Mesa Community Center, 1845 Park Ave., Costa Mesa. For more information, please click here.

Transportation Information

Metrolink Holiday Toy Express

The colorful, action-packed Metrolink Holiday Toy Express is heading for Orange County! This child and crowd-pleasing show features a Metrolink train festively lit with thousands of colorful lights, a special appearance by Santa and Mrs. Claus, plus a live singing and dancing cast performing an energetic show guaranteed to get you into the holiday spirit.

The holidays can be a busy time, so make plans now to catch the Holiday Toy Express at a Metrolink station near you. For more information, please click here.

Notes From The Field

Nature's Holiday Leaf Light Show

As winter approaches in southern California, sycamores and other broadleaf trees finally get the signals that reach their northern neighbors much earlier in the fall. In response to shorter days and reduced sunlight, trees begin shutting down the food factories in their leaves.

As photosynthesis stops, leaves' green chlorophyll disappears and hidden colors gradually appear. Cool nights turn the glucose in the leaves from yellow and orange to red, as colder temperatures bring out brighter colors. Enjoy nature's own leaf light show this holiday season!

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.

Winter Solstice Hike
Sunday, December 21
2:00 PM – 4:30 PM

Celebrate the shortest day of the year on this slow-paced, 2.8 mile steep hike up Little Sycamore Canyon to Serrano Ridge with OC Parks Resource Specialist Laura Cohen and Laguna Canyon Foundation volunteer naturalists. Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, Little Sycamore Canyon Staging Area/Nix Nature Center (west side of Laguna Canyon Rd/SR-133, approximately 3.5 miles south of I-5/405). Reservations required: 949-923-2235. Program: $5. Parking: $3.

December Events and Programs at OC Parks

To see a list of events and programs being offered in the month of December at OC Parks throughout Orange County and the Fifth District, please click here.

‘Tis The Season

Opportunities to Assist People in Need this Holiday Season

Adding one more gift to your shopping list can make holiday dreams come true for a needy child or teen, an impoverished senior citizen, or a low-income family. For information on volunteer and donor opportunities available this holiday season, please click here.

TCA’s Holiday Toy Drive

The Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA) has partnered with Ware Disposal, Inc. to collect toys through December 11. The annual drive benefits Camp Pendleton’s Military Outreach Ministry (MOM), an organization that helps meet the basic needs of families while their loved ones serve overseas.

Drivers passing through toll plaza cash lanes on the 73, 241, 133 and 261 Toll Roads can make donations to support the families of those who sacrifice their lives to protect our country. Collection bins will also be located inside the Irvine and San Clemente service centers. Suggested items include new, unwrapped toys; books, games or videos; gift-wrapping paper and ribbon; and new or gently used children’s clothing. For more information, please click here.

Critter Chronicles

Forever Friends for Free: A Gift from OC Animal Care

Your forever friend might be waiting for you! OC Animal Care is offering free adoptions on Saturday, December 6, from 10 AM to 5 PM, at the OC Animal Shelter, located at 561 The City Drive, in Orange.

This festive event will include the Grand Opening of the new OC Animal Care entrance; hundreds of adorable puppies, dogs, kittens, and rabbits available for adoption; food and fun for the whole family; special gifts and much more! For more information, please click here.

Alicia Pet Care Center and The Pet Rescue Center

The public is invited to the Alicia Pet Care Center and The Pet Rescue Center Holiday Open House and Fundraiser on Sunday, December 7, 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM, to celebrate the holidays and visit their new facility at 25800 Jeronimo Road, Suite 100, Mission Viejo.

There will be pictures with Santa for pets and families, tours of the facility, interactive educational booths, food, face painting, balloons and other festivities! The event is free, donations only. Proceeds will benefit The Pet Rescue Center. For more information, please click here.

Holiday Pet Safety Tips

There's no place like (a safe) home for the holidays. Here are some helpful tips to make sure your pets stay safe and healthy this holiday season.

  • Holiday lights also mean extra cords and plugs. Take a moment during decorating to tape down or cover cords. This will help prevent shocks, burns or more serious injuries to your pets.
  • Secure Christmas trees to keep them from falling when a good game of doggie wrestling occurs. Also, keep tinsel decorations high on the tree.
  • During holiday parties, provide pets a quiet place to retreat.
  • Chocolate contains the heart stimulant theobromine and can be toxic to dogs and cats.
  • Mistletoe, holly berries, and poinsettias can also be poisonous to pets.
  • Keep current identification on your pets at all times, including ID tags on the outside and a microchip on the inside.

South County Holiday Festivities

Heritage Hill’s 27th Annual Victorian Christmas Celebration

Journey back in time at Heritage Hill Historical Park in Lake Forest and see how Orange County traditionally celebrated the holiday season. The park's 27th Annual Victorian Christmas will be held Saturday, December 6 from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM.

Four historic buildings will be adorned in turn-of-the-century holiday finery and hosted by costumed docents. There will be live entertainment and children can participate in old-fashioned hands-on activities. Don’t miss out on the fun! For more information, please click here and here.

Christmas at the Mission San Juan Capistrano

Saturday, December 6 at 5:30 PM, the official City ceremony and lighting of the San Juan Capistrano Christmas tree begins in Historic Towne Center Park, with a visit from Santa, a Live Nativity Presentation, Merchant Open House, Music and Fun!

From there, holiday guests are invited to attend the annual Christmas at the Mission Festival. Throughout the evening, musical performers from groups in and around San Juan Capistrano entertain guests as they visit the nativity scene, St. Nicholas, and enjoy the beauty of Mission San Juan Capistrano. For more information, please click here.

San Clemente’s “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. The season wouldn’t be complete without falling snowflakes and Santa visits, so bring your camera Saturday, December 6, from 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM. For more information, please click here.

“Santa’s Holiday Dreams Show” in Laguna Niguel

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. Fore more information, please click here.

Dana Point Harbor’s 34th Annual Boat Parade of Lights

Enjoy the 34th Annual Boat Parade of Lights, “Santa’s Sealife Celebration”, beginning 7:30 PM on Friday, December 5 and Saturday, December 6; and Friday, December 12 and Saturday, December 13.

You can view the parade for free from anywhere in the Harbor, or make reservations at one of the restaurants to view it from a warm, cozy spot. For more information on “Holiday in the Harbor” events, please click here.

Laguna Niguel Holiday Parade

On Saturday, December 13 at 10:00 AM, generations of families will gather along Crown Valley Parkway on a peaceful and brilliant morning to watch the largest and most creative display of community in the Laguna Niguel’s history.

The Holiday Parade is filled with beautiful equestrian units, patriotic and inspirational military tributes, spirit filled youth groups, classic auto clubs, talented marching bands, and some of the biggest attractions in the nation! Also included in the mix of fun and eclectic entries are this year’s Celebrity Grand Marshals. For more information, please click here and here.

Mission Viejo’s “Celtic Christmas”

On Saturday, December 13, children 4 years of age and older are invited to experience a “Celtic Christmas” in Mission Viejo – an event that will feature holiday merriment, music and more. The program, which takes place at 11:00 AM in the City Hall Saddleback Room, features performers from “Rags to Reels”, who will entertain in the holiday tradition with music, dance and storytelling.

Children will also have an opportunity to make a special Celtic holiday ornament. The program is sponsored by the Friends of the Mission Viejo Library. For more information, please call the Mission Viejo Library Youth Services Desk at 949-830-7100, ext. 5107.

23rd Annual Candlelight Tour of Heritage Hill Historical Park

On Saturday and Sunday, December 13 and 14, grab your mittens and coats for a winter’s stroll as 1,000 luminaries guide your way through Heritage Hill Historical Park in Lake Forest. From 5:30 PM to 8:30 PM, four treasured buildings representing the early history of Saddleback Valley will be aglow with holiday lighting.

Promenade the park’s paths as Victorian carolers, musicians and local talent share favorite holiday melodies. Step into the historic buildings and be captivated by storytellers, authentic flamenco dancers, the sounds of Spanish guitars, a dulcimer, harp and more! For more information, please click here and here.

Fifth District Spotlight

Orange County Historical Commissioner Earns Top Honors

Doris I. Walker’s newest book, “Images of America: DANA POINT”, has been awarded first place as Best History Book in this year’s communications contest of the National Federation of Press Women. The coveted honor was presented at the professional group’s annual conference in Idaho Falls, Idaho.

This book had already been accorded first place among California history book entries in competition by Southern California Media Professionals, an NFPW affiliate. First place winners from all state affiliates become the entries of the national contest.

The announcing judge called the winning book: “A lovely way to get a full history of Dana Point with ease and emotion, because of Ms. Walker’s vivid portraits and pointed captions. Well done!”

Walker has represented the Fifth District as an Orange County Historical Commissioner since 1994. A resident of Dana Point for more than four decades, the author dedicated her newest book to the Dana Point Historical Society, which she co-founded 20 years ago. She has written 11 other books about this county, including its official centennial history (1989) – "Sections of Orange"; and "Orange County Then and Now " (2006); as well as comprehensive histories about San Clemente, Mission Viejo and the Capistrano Bay area. They have all been award-winners.

Walker's current work-in-progress is “Orange County, a Natural History.” It will be her tribute to "this forward-looking county's response to preserving elements of its diverse natural terrain, from the sea to the mountains that surround it." That book is expected to debut late next year. Her other works are available at local libraries and in the Gift Gallery of the Ocean Institute in Dana Point Harbor.

Congratulations to the Fifth District’s very own Doris I. Walker of Dana Point!

31st Annual Dana Point Turkey Trot a Huge Success

Despite an early morning downpour, a record number of participants took part in the 31st Annual Dana Point Turkey Trot last week. More than 10, 600 runners braved the rains and helped raise money for Second Harvest Food Bank. This year, the Dana Point Chamber of Commerce’s donation to Second Harvest more than doubled!

Congratulations to the Chamber and all the Turkey Trot participants on another successful event. To see photos of this year’s Turkey Trot, please click here.

Fifth District Wrap-Up

In addition to many meetings, briefings, and other County and District activities, my office also:

  • Presented a Resolution to California Highway Patrol Officer Robert Rand, stationed at the San Juan Capistrano CHP office, for heroic actions above and beyond the call of duty.
  • Attended a meeting of the Mission Viejo City Council to present a Proclamation in honor of outgoing Councilmember Gail Reavis.
  • Attended a meeting of the Laguna Beach City Council to present a Proclamation in honor of outgoing Councilmember Cheryl Kinsman.
  • Attended a meeting of the Laguna Niguel City Council to present a Proclamation in honor of outgoing Councilmember Mike Whipple and a Certificate of Recognition in honor of the 25th anniversary of the USS McCluskey (FFG-41).
  • Attended a meeting of the San Juan Capistrano City Council to present a Proclamation in honor of outgoing Councilmember Joe Soto and a Proclamation in honor of the 25th anniversary of the San Juan Capistrano Library.
  • Attended a meeting of the San Clemente City Council to present a Proclamation in honor of outgoing Councilmember Steve Knoblock.
  • Attended a meeting of the Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs Committee.
  • Presented a Certificate of Recognition in honor of the Grand Opening of ‘Palladio del Arte’ at The Resort at Pelican Hill in Newport Beach.
  • Attended a meeting of the Laguna Niguel Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs Committee.
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!