Header image with Photo of Supervisor Pat Bates. Followed by office information
March 14, 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. Nature Notes

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

Elise Lampe:
Executive Policy Advisor

Chip Monaco:
Executive Policy Advisor

Ruth Strachan:
Executive Secretary II

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Volume 2 Issue 9

Accelerating Oversight in Law Enforcement

Later this year, the County will fully implement the Board-approved Office of Independent Review, consisting of a Chief Attorney with law enforcement review experience and appropriate staff to examine the practices of our Sheriff-Coroner Department. On Tuesday, Acting Sheriff Anderson requested the hiring of Michael Gennaco to begin providing these services on an interim basis.  The Board of Supervisors approved this request to ensure an immediate procedural review and response to the Orange County Grand Jury report on the 2007 jail beating death of Richard Chamberlin. Currently, Mr. Gennaco’s firm provides Independent Review services to the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department. In order to properly and fully implement the newly established OIR in Orange County, the CEO is preparing an RFP for Board approval to begin the selection process for this important tool.

Funding for Jail Enhancement Construction

The Board of Supervisors approved the County’s application to the California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation for grant funding to cover a portion of the cost for the development of the James A. Musick facility. To be competitive with other counties for these grant funds, Orange County must consider establishing a reentry/rehabilitation program. Currently, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department is considering implementing such a reentry program at their Theo Lacy facility. However, more evaluation and analysis of this proposal will be undertaken before proceeding. For more information, please click here.

Health Community Prepares for Disasters

The Board accepted two grants to help prepare Orange County in the event of an emergency. The Public Health Emergency Preparedness Center grant assists local government to establish disaster plans, operate emergency sites, and prepare staff for emergencies. The Hospital Preparedness Program grant assists local healthcare system providers such as hospitals with volunteer management, pharmaceutical supplies, and pandemic planning efforts. Ongoing efforts to coordinate countywide disaster planning will help ensure that Orange County will be ready should a crisis situation occur.

Weed Abatement Is Fire Prevention

Last October, the Santiago Fire consumed more than 28,500 acres, severely damaging eight residential structures and destroying 14 homes.  To help encourage our residents to protect themselves and others from the dangers of unattended weeds and nuisance brush, the County approved its annual Weed Abatement Program.  This important program notifies property owners with hazardous weeds and vegetation of their responsibility to remove any nuisance debris that could become a fire hazard.  Property owners are expected to remove all fire hazards and provide appropriate levels of property maintenance by April 15. Otherwise, the County will provide the necessary maintenance and charge the homeowner for this important service.  Please protect yourself and your neighbors by clearing the natural brush around your homes. For more information, please click here.

Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program

The Board improved an increase in the funding for the Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program to fully offset operating costs. Children with abnormal or high blood lead levels are visited by Public Health Nurses, and Registered Environmental Health Specialists visit the homes of the families of affected children to determine the lead source and educate the family about preventing and caring for lead poisoning. Those concerned about potential lead poisoning may contact their child’s doctor or the Health Referral Line at (800) 564-8448.

Barking Dog Program a Success

South County has many devoted animal lovers. But what do you do when you live next to an incessantly barking dog? In November of 2006, the Board adopted a new Barking Dog Ordinance focused on community education and offering easier resolutions to this common problem. Upon the first complaint, an Animal Control Officer visits the dog owner to provide information about the Barking Dog Program, responsibilities of being a dog owner, and tips for solving barking dog problems. If the barking has not ceased after 10 days, the Animal Control Officer has the authority to issue a citation for $250. To learn more about the barking dog procedure, please click here.

Cities contracting with the County may adopt the Barking Dog Ordinance. Currently, Laguna Hills, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Juan Capistrano and the unincorporated areas participate in the program in addition to many North and Central County cities. Since the end of June, 2007, when the Ordinance officially commenced, Animal Care Services has received over 536 complaints and issued over 50 citations. To view information presented to the Board on Tuesday, please click here.

Orange County Historical Commission

The Board approved my nomination of Ilse Byrnes of San Juan Capistrano to represent the 5th District on the Orange County Historical Commission. Ilse joins Doris Walker-Smith of Dana Point as my appointees to the Historical Commission.

Housing, Land Use and Transportation Policy Committee

I was recently appointed Vice-Chair of the Housing, Land Use and Transportation Policy Committee for the California State Association of Counties (CSAC). The Committee reviews state budget items, ballot resolutions, and state/federal legislative proposals in these three important interrelated areas. Major areas of policy development and review include, transportation/infrastructure planning and funding, public works contract administration, general plan/planning procedures, growth strategies and regional government decision-making proposals, housing policies, airport land use commissions, authority of state agencies and federal transportation programs. I am honored to have this appointment and look forward to bringing issues surrounding housing, land use and transportation to the forefront in California and Orange County. For more information, please click here.


OCTA Chief Executive Officer Outlines Goals for 2008

Closely monitoring the status of important freeway improvement projects for South County traffic congestion relief, I am pleased to announce the 2008 goals of Orange County Transportation Authority CEO Art Leahy.  I want to thank Art for his leadership in advocating for state funds through Caltrans and the California Transportation Commission (CTC) on South County freeway projects including public safety improvements along I-5 at Oso Parkway, the I-5/Ortega Highway interchange, and the lower Ortega widening project.  To see the entire list of goals for 2008, including ongoing projects such as the South Orange County Major Investment Study, please click here.  

State Panel Recommends $218 million for OCTA 

Orange County is in line to receive $218 million from the state to help offset the impacts of goods moving from the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles through our region.

The funding recommendation was released Monday by the California Transportation Commission (CTC), which is allocating $3 billion to agencies statewide through the Transportation Corridor Improvement Fund. The CTC is expected make a final decision in April on allocating the Prop 1B bond money, approved by voters in 2006.

The Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) requested funding for seven grade separation and two freeway projects. Eight of the nine projects are being recommended for funding. OCTA will provide $263 million in matching funds, bringing to $481 million the total for projects set to begin construction in the next two to five years. For more information, please click here.

All Orange County Cities On Board With “Go Local”

Two years after challenging Orange County cities to develop improved connections to their local Metrolink stations, all 34 have climbed aboard. OCTA is making a significant investment in the Metrolink service in the coming years because two-thirds of Orange County’s jobs and population are within a four-mile radius of each of the county’s 11 Metrolink stations.

The first step of Go Local provides the $100,000 grants to study possible extensions to linking major activity and employment centers with a Metrolink station. In the second step, cities will compete for additional funding to further develop the top-ranked projects based on predetermined evaluation criteria. There is $25.4 million available during this phase. For more information, please click here.

OCTA Wants You!

OCTA is looking for qualified volunteers to serve on its 34-member Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC). The committee is responsible for providing input and advice on OCTA’s transportation projects, studies and outreach activities. Tasks include identifying opportunities for community input, recommending methods for obtaining public feedback on specific transportation issues, serving as a liaison between the public and OCTA, and commenting on significant transportation issues.

OCTA is seeking individuals with a demonstrated interest in community activities and transportation issues who are willing to dedicate at least 20 hours per year to OCTA meetings and activities. This is an unpaid volunteer position and CAC members are asked to commit to a two-year term. Candidates must be at least 18 years of age and live in Orange County. Applications must be received by April 11. For more information, please click here.


Surplus Computer Donations to Non-Profits

The Board of Supervisors approved a program to donate surplus computers to non-profit 501(c)(3) organizations within the County of Orange.  The program will benefit local non-profits that are organized for the care, teaching, or training of children or developmentally disabled children, as well as those that are in the business of providing health and human services to the citizens of Orange County.

The CEO/Purchasing Division will now accept applications from 501(c)(3) organizations.  A limited number of applicants from each district within the County will be added to the donation list.  The list will be updated annually.  To receive an application, please email to the County Surplus Coordinator at surplus@ocgov.com or send your inquiry via US Mail to:

Attn: Surplus Program
1300 S. Grand Ave, Bldg A
Santa Ana CA 92705

OC Parks Welcomes New Library

OC Parks welcomes the new Katie Wheeler Branch Library to Irvine Ranch Historic Park – land that once represented the agricultural heart of Orange County. The Library was constructed as a faithful reproduction of the original Irvine family ranch house, the hub of operations for their sprawling ranch. It is the first completed piece of OC Parks’ Irvine Ranch Historic Park, which will eventually include preserved and restored outbuildings, homes and offices – structures that once housed some of the County’s first agricultural workers.

OC Parks will hire consultants to prepare the General Development Plan to map out the park’s future. The plan will make specific recommendations for the development, preservation, and adaptive reuse of the park and its historic properties. OC Parks is in the process of putting the finishing touches on the Requests for Qualifications package to send to consultants, architects and planning firms. Anyone interested in the process or applying for this project can contact OC Parks Design projects at (714) 972-6614. For more information, please click here.

Donate Blood at John Wayne Airport

Passengers traveling to and from John Wayne Airport on Thursday, March 20, will have an opportunity to donate blood from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The Orange County Chapter of the American Red Cross will have its Bloodmobile parked at John Wayne Airport’s Thomas F. Riley Terminal on the lower (arrival) level outside of Terminal A, between the first and second traffic signal. Departing passengers may consider making time to give blood prior to checking in for their flight and arriving passengers can participate after picking up their luggage at baggage claim. For more information, please click here.

Public Administrator/Guardian to Hold Public Auction

The Orange County Public Administrator/Public Guardian will auction fourteen real property estates on Thursday, March 27, at noon in Santa Ana. The Public Administrator/Public Guardian conducts private auction sales to sell real property belonging to conservatorship estates they administer. For more information, please click here.


ACS Community Service Day

Orange County Animal Care Services (ACS) is hosting its first semi-annual Community Service Day – a special day for youth to get involved with animals at ACS. Saturday, March 15, 10:00 AM – 4:30 PM. Space is limited. For more information, please click here.


Spectacular Wildflower Bloom in our Wilderness Parks

Recently, various publications have reported on the spectacular wildflower bloom occurring throughout Orange County. Many OC Parks – like our very own Caspers Wilderness Park and Laguna Coast Wilderness Park in the 5th District – are currently filled with colorful spring flowers, courtesy of the winter’s rain. Please come out to our parks to enjoy the painted landscapes before they disappear, but please do not pick the flowers. Leave them for the enjoyment of others and to reseed for another spectacular show next year.

OC Parks has developed a page on its website, highlighting the blooms within our parks, and will be updating it regularly as they receive pictures from rangers and the public. For more information, please click here.

Guided Hikes in Laguna Coast Wilderness Park

Explore the trails and learn more about the flora, fauna, geology and history of this 6,600-acre wilderness area with Laguna Canyon Foundation volunteer naturalists and Orange County Parks staff!  Below are a few of the opportunities being offered. For more information, please click here.

  • Saturday, March 15
    Keep It Wild Volunteer Day
    8-11 a.m.
    Volunteers help Laguna Canyon Foundation and OC Parks staff with exotic plant removal and other restoration projects. Meet at Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, Little Sycamore Canyon Staging Area (west side of Laguna Canyon Road/SR-133, approximately 5 miles south of I-5/405). Reservations suggested. For more information, please call 949-923-2235. Free (parking fee waived).
  • Saturday, March 15
    Diverse Wildlife of Coastal Sage Scrub & Grassland
    9 a.m.–noon
    Join Laguna Canyon Foundation volunteer naturalists Penny Lewis and Annie Stoeckmann on this moderate, 3.5-mile hike. Learn about the animals and plants of two of Orange County's most endangered plant communities. Meet at Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, Willow Canyon Staging Area (20101 Laguna Canyon Road, west side, just south of El Toro Road intersection). Reservations suggested: 949-923-2235. Parking: $3.  
  • Sunday, March 16
    Intermediate Mountain Bike Ride
    9 a.m.-noon
    Enjoy ocean and canyon views on this 8 to 15 mile ride led by Laguna Canyon Foundation Mountain Bike Trail Assistant Mark Warrick. Reservations and helmets required, call 949-923-2235. Meet at Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, Big Bend Staging Area (ask for directions when making reservation). Parking: $3.
  • Thursday, March 20
    Fitness Hike
    9-11 a.m.
    Raise your heart rate and your spirits on this strenuous, fast-paced, 3.5-to-5-mile hike with Laguna Canyon Foundation volunteer naturalist Helen Flanagan. Meet at Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, Willow Canyon Staging Area (20101 Laguna Canyon Road, west side, just south of El Toro Road intersection). Reservations suggested: 949-923-2235. Parking: $3.  
  • Saturday, March 22
    Sex Life of Plants Hike
    9 a.m.-noon
    Explore the sex life of flowering plants with Sarah Jayne, Laguna Canyon Foundation volunteer naturalist and president of Orange County's Native Plant Society. Meet at Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, Willow Canyon Staging Area (20101 Laguna Canyon Road, west side, just south of El Toro Road intersection). Reservations suggested: 949-923-2235. Parking: $3.

Notes from the Field

‘Notes from the Field’ is a new e-journal produced by the Irvine Ranch Conservancy to help their volunteers, partners, and the public keep up with the activities of their Science & Stewardship Program. The journal features news and information, scientific results, and features that highlight work on the land. For more information, please click here.


Aliso Viejo Community Spring Celebration

Celebrate spring with your family while enjoying crafts, games, egg toss, and a visit with Peter Rabbit! Grand Park at Town Center, March 15, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. For more information, please click here.

Ladera Ranch Spring Celebration

Join Mr. Peter Rabbit for a fun-filled day of egg hunts, carnival games, bounce houses, concessions, music and more. It will be an activity-packed day that your family will not want to miss! Founder’s Park, March 15, 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. For more information, please click here.

Return of the Swallows Celebration

Mission San Juan Capistrano will present its annual Return of the Swallows Celebration on Saturday, March 15, 9:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. The Return of the Swallows Celebration, the Mission's biggest annual event, marks the coming of spring – a time of renewal and rebirth. Festivities during the Saturday feast day include the traditional bell ringing, pageantry, live entertainment, ethnic foods and cultural merchants, all to mark the return of the famous birds to Capistrano. For more information, please click here.

Laguna Niguel Bunny Blast

Hop on over on for a morning that is certain to be a blast! Activities include face painting, crafts, games, pony rides, a petting zoo, the Easter Bunny and more. Saturday, March 22, 9am–12:30pm, at Chapparosa Park in Laguna Niguel. For more information, please click here.

San Clemente Easter Eggstravaganza

Hop on down and join in the fun & games! A whole morning of family activities has been planned for the 17th Annual Easter Eggstravaganza. Of course, the Easter Bunny will be there for visits. Saturday, March 22, 7:30am-10:30am, at San Gorgonio Park. For more information, please click here.

6th Annual Eggstravaganza in San Juan Capistrano

Come on down and do the Bunny Hop with the Easter Bunny! Festivities include a marionette show, bounce house, egg coloring, face painting, and concludes with the Easter Bunny leading everyone in a hunt for Easter eggs. Saturday, March 22, 9:00am, at Historic Town Center Park. For more information, please click here.

2nd Annual Paint-Off

The Irvine Ranch Conservancy along with the Capistrano Valley Conservancy will host the 2nd Annual Paint-Off on March 29, beginning at 10 AM. This unique event will be held at The Irvine Ranch Historical Park, site of the original Irvine Ranch Headquarters, at 13042 Old Myford Road in Irvine.  The park site includes the Ranch’s headquarters building, the James Irvine II Home, which houses the County’s brand-new Katie Wheeler Branch Library, as well as numerous barns and other residential buildings. Art enthusiasts will have the opportunity to watch artists create original Plein Air (French for “open air”) paintings of these historic sites. Their paintings will be up for bid during the auction, even before the paint dries! For more information, please click here.


Among my many meetings, briefings, and other supervisorial activities, I also:

  • Presented a Board resolution to Orange County Sheriff's Department Investigators for their exemplary work in solving a South County home invasion robbery. For more information, please click here.
  • Adjourned the Board meeting in memory of Dorothy Fuller of San Clemente
  • Adjourned the Board meeting in memory of Milt Jacobson of Mission Viejo
  • Attended a Republican Women Federated Luncheon in Mission Viejo
  • Hosted my 9th Annual St. Paddy's Day Reception in Dana Point
  • Delivered the keynote address at a meeting of the Laguna Niguel Chamber of Commerce Governmental Affairs Committee
  • Met with the CEOs of various 5th District Chambers of Commerce to plan the next Coastal Chambers Leg Coalition annual luncheon and program
  • Met with the Chancellor and medical of the UCI Medical Center and toured the hospital
  • Met with the Orange County District Attorney and Acting Sheriff to discuss development of an expanded DNA lab

My office also:

  • Attended the Annual Combined Mayor's Prayer Breakfast featuring former Angel’s baseball star Tim Salmon as special guest speaker
  • Attended an Orange County Social Worker Appreciation Ceremony to present a Board resolution declaring March as Social Worker Recognition Month
  • Attended a South Orange County Regional Chambers of Commerce ribbon-cutting ceremony to present a Certificate of Recognition in honor of the Grand Opening of Comerica Bank in Foothill Ranch.
  • Attended a Laguna Hills Mayor’s Breakfast to receive Mayor L. Allan Songstad’s ‘State of the City’ address.
  • Attended a Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce ribbon-cutting ceremony to present a Certificate of Recognition in honor of the Grand Opening of The Signature Gallery in Laguna Beach.

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!