January 9, 2009
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. TRANSPORTATION INFORMATION
3. ENVIRONMENTAL NOTES
4. COUNTY CONNECTIONS
5. NOTES FROM THE FIELD
6. CRITTER CHRONICLES
7. FIFTH DISTRICT SPOTLIGHT
8. SOUTH COUNTY CALENDAR
9. 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
No Board Meeting this week
There was no regularly scheduled meeting of the Board of Supervisors this week.
Our next Board meeting will be held Tuesday, January 13. 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 Budget Challenges
Many of you have contacted my office to express concern regarding the recent staffing reductions made by the County of Orange Social Services Agency (SSA). I understand your frustration and assure you the County is considering all options as our departments work together to meet the challenges presented by our current economic situation.
I would like to explain to you some of the background surrounding our budget issues and why the County, and specifically SSA, is dealing with these extremely serious challenges.
As you may know, the General Fund revenue is the only discretionary revenue received by the County. In Orange County, we have two pots of revenue that feed our General Fund – County tax dollars and State dollars. Both of these revenue streams are shrinking. The SSA, which receives most of its funding from State dollars, has so far experienced a loss of State revenue in the amount of $30 million in FY 2008-09 and $54 million in FY 2009-10, by far the most of any other county agency.
To shore up this extreme budget deficit, the SSA has taken a number of steps including deleting all vacant positions, cancelling building leases, and reducing contracted services, among other things. Unfortunately, these actions have not been enough to address its budget shortfall, which is the reason it was necessary to release 209 employees, including 110 new-hire probationary employees.
As we move forward, the Board of Supervisors will be faced with increasingly difficult decisions in our efforts to keep the budget in check. As I have reported before, in November the Board of Supervisors voted to cut $32 million in the current budget without anyone losing their job. As part of that action, the Board also returned over $3 million in district park and program funds to the general fund to help with the situation. Currently, county officials are preparing to move forward with a full-scale furlough program for all 4,218 employees working at the Social Services Agency, which will ultimately save up to 600 jobs. This week, County managers also chose to defer 2.5 percent performance based salary adjustments expected in January. These are just a handful of examples of what the County has been doing to work collaboratively and strategically to address our budget challenges.
As your representative, I will continue to keep you apprised during this financially uncertain time as I strive to make decisions that are fair for all.
Prop. 1B Funding in Jeopardy
In December, the California Pooled Money Investment (PMI) Board, consisting of the State Treasurer, State Controller and Director of the Department of Finance, took action to direct all state agencies to cease entering into any new agreements or contracts that are financed through funds derived from the Pooled Money Investment Account (PMIA). Proposition 1B funded projects rely heavily upon disbursements from the PMIA.
Subsequently, Will Kempton, Director of the California Department of Transportation, has suspended awards of state-advertised bond-funded projects. This will impact the release of solicitation for bids on the Riverside Freeway (SR-91) improvement project eastbound from the 241 Toll Road to the Chino Valley Freeway (SR-71).
The PMI Board’s action to cease any new infrastructure spending could also jeopardize the following Prop. 1B funded projects affecting the Fifth District:
- San Diego Freeway (I-5) sound wall at El Camino Real
- Countywide traffic light synchronization program
- Metrolink Service Expansion Program
- Various transit security projects
Ortega Highway Safety Improvement Project Completed Ahead of Schedule
Thanks to innovative engineering designs, successful partnering among agencies and cooperation from motorists, Caltrans was able to finish construction on the SR-74 Ortega Highway Safety Improvement Project in two-thirds the original contract time and on budget. The $40 million project, which took place on a three-mile section of Ortega highway from San Juan Hot Springs to the Orange County Line, was completed the week of December 19, 2008. On this historically dangerous and narrow road, the project succeeded in widening the existing 10-foot lanes to standard 12-foot lanes and added 4 feet of shoulder to each side of the highway. Additionally, turnouts were improved, rumble strips were installed and guard rails were added. In order to improve motorists’ sight, 1000 meters of rock wall was also removed with special consideration made to maintaining the surrounding natural environment. This finished project is important to improving safety on this vital highway and response from motorist has been extremely positive.
San Juan Creek Levee Project Underway
A restoration project to build a protective levee along a portion of San Juan Creek is now underway. Motorists in San Juan Capistrano are urged to use caution when driving along Del Obispo Street from Alipaz Street to Blue Fin Drive. The first phase of the San Juan Creek Channel West Bank Levee Protection project, which is funded by the Orange County Flood Control District project, is expected to last roughly nine months. The bike trail/access road north of the Stonehill Drive Bridge will be affected during construction and bicyclists, joggers and pedestrians will be required to alter their route while it is temporarily closed. Although it may cause an inconvenience now, the levee project is an important step in preventing future degradation of the concrete walls within the San Juan Creek Channel.
Water Pollution Hotline
The County’s 24-Hour Water Pollution Hotline has a new toll free number. If there is a water quality issue that you feel should be brought to the attention of the County, it may be reported by calling 1-877-89-SPILL. It is important to always remember that everything entering our gutters and storm drains goes directly into our waterways. Yard clippings and pet waste should be put in the trash; motor oil and paint disposed of at a household hazardous waste center. Additional information about household, gardening, pet care, auto care, and other tips for protecting water quality is available at www.ocwatersheds.com.
Point in Time Count
On January 24th, 2009, OC Community Services and its partners, Applied Survey Research (ASR), OC Partnership, and the Orange County Health Care Agency, will be conducting the third biennial countywide homeless population count and survey in order to ensure that Orange County continues to receive important Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funding for homeless shelters and supportive services. It is also intended to help determine the size and scope of the homeless problem at the local level, plan services and programs appropriately to address local needs, and measure progress in addressing homelessness in our community.
OC Community Services is looking for dedicated volunteers to assist with the “Point in Time Count”. Consider joining the effort as a Field Team Counter or a Deployment Center volunteer on the day of the count and survey or as a support volunteer in the weeks before to assist with preparation. You can also help by donating products or funds to purchase care package items that will be distributed to homeless clients during the count and survey.
To learn more about how you can get involved, please visit the Point in Time website www.pointintimeoc.org or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information you may also contact Kelly Lupro, the County Homeless Coordinator, at 714-480-2744 or email@example.com.
|NOTES FROM THE FIELD
OC Parks 2009 Park Passes, which grant access to a variety of wilderness and regional parks, historical sites and coastal facilities throughout Orange County, are now available for purchase at most OC Parks facilities. An annual regional park pass costs $55 ($35 for seniors over age 60 and disabled persons). Park passes are valid for the calendar year January 1 through December 31, 2009. Click here for a list of purchase locations. For more information about annual passes and park fees please call (714) 973-6865.
New Year’s Resolutions for Your Pet
Now that 2009 is here, it’s likely you’ve made your resolutions and you’re committed to sticking to them, but did you remember to include your pets? It’s not too late! Here are some great resolutions for you and your lovable furry friends:
- Spend productive quality time with your pet: enroll in a training class, volunteer, play and relax
- Grooming: Regular brushing not only improves your pet’s appearance but it is also good for its health
- Exercise: Instead of joining a gym take your dog out for a walk
- Tooth Brushing: Regular dental care, which includes brushing, will help reduce tartar build-up and gingivitis
- Ear Cleaning: Regular ear cleaning can greatly reduce the common external ear infection many pets get
- Safety: Update ID Tags, microchips and emergency numbers
- Health: Regular check-ups and vaccinations will keep your pet happy and healthy
|FIFTH DISTRICT SPOTLIGHT
South County Senior Services
After four years of fundraising, the Dorothy Visser Senior Center Capital Campaign has reached its goal of $3 million thanks to a $650,000 grant from the Gary and Mary West Foundation. Together, with existing donations and pledges that amount to $2.35 million, the Gary and Mary West Foundation grant means the senior center can begin construction of the new and improved facility. The new center will provide appropriate medical oversight and a variety of exercise programs designed to meet the specific needs of seniors. Groundbreaking of the new center is expected in March, 2009.
RSM Mayor Appointed to Water Board
Congratulations to Rancho Santa Margarita Mayor Gary Thompson who was appointed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to serve on the prestigious San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board. In this capacity, Mr. Thompson will develop and enforce plans to help protect the quality of water in our region. His insight and experience will surly be an asset to the Board.
|SOUTH COUNTY CALENDAR
Teen Driving Safety
The City of Laguna Niguel is hosting a free Teen Driving Safety Workshop for parents and teens on Wednesday, January 14 from 6:30–7:30 PM. Former Orange County Sheriff’s Deputy Will Frank will discuss important information about provisional licenses, illegal vehicle modifications, street racing and much more. The event will be held at Crown Valley Park. To register, please call (949) 425-5100 by January 9. Click here for more information.
Lake Forest Snow Fest 2009
Snow is forecasted in Lake Forest on Saturday, January 24, 2009! Come be a part of this annual City of Lake Forest wintertime tradition and hit the snow laden slopes at Pittsford Park from 11:00 AM–3:45 PM. Sleds and saucers will be available for you and your family to slide down Mount Pittsford. There will also be a free snow play area for kids 5 and under. Pre-registration is required and will take place January 13, 14, and 15. Tickets are $5 per sledder. To register, please call (949) 461-3457. Fore more information, click here.
Roadmap to Help with Aging
Offering guidance on caring for elderly loved ones, the Orange County Council on Aging is hosting “A Roadmap to Help with Aging” seminar at the Norman P. Murray Community Center in Mission Viejo on January 15 from 7:00-8:00 PM. Topics to be discussed inlcude crisis care giving, evaluating health, physical and mental organization planning, financial planning and much more. The event is free and registration is required. Please call (949) 470-3062 for more information.
SOCCCD President’s Cup
Come watch as the Saddleback College Gaucho men’s and women’s basketball teams face off against their athletic rivals, the Irvine Valley College Lasers at 5:00 PM on Friday, December 16 at the Saddleback College Gym. As the first ever, “President’s Cup,” you will have the opportunity to meet the South Orange County Community College District’s Board of Trustees and Chancellor as well as the Presidents from both colleges. Don’t miss what is sure to be an entertaining match-up. Admission is free.
Keep it Wild Volunteer Day
Volunteers are needed to help the Laguna Canyon Foundation and the OC Parks staff with clean-up and restoration projects on Saturday, January 17 from 8:00-11:00 AM. Volunteers will meet at the Aliso & Wood Canyons Wilderness Park Ranger Headquarters located at 28373 Alicia Parkway. Parking is free. For more information, please call (949) 923-2235.
San Clemente Day of Your Dreams
The City of San Clemente invites you to attend the annual Day of Your Dreams expo at the San Clemente Community Center on Saturday, January 17 from 12:00-5:00 PM. This free event will feature samplings from local caterers, musicians, entertainers and local fashion designers. Plus you can meet and greet with florists, photographers, videographers and other event related vendors for advice on all your upcoming parties and events. For more information, please call (949) 361-8264.
|FIFTH DISTRICT WRAP-UP
In addition to my many meetings, briefings, and other supervisorial activities, I also:
My staff also:
- Attended the City of Dana Point’s 20th Anniversary Celebration aboard the brig Pilgrim and presented a resolution.
- Attended a Gold Award Celebration for Girl Scout Troop 72 and presented a certificate to Troop member Emily Van Guilder for her outstanding accomplishments
- Travelled to Sacramento with Supervisor Campbell to meet with Senate and Assembly leadership as well as our Orange County legislative delegation to discuss some of the challenges Orange County faces from the State
- Met with Sheriff Sandra Hutchins to continue ongoing discussions regarding her CCW permit policy
My staff and I look forward to continually providing you updated information in our Fifth District Newsletter and website.
- Toured the Central Jail Complex and the Theo Lacy Jail Facility
- Presented a certificate to The Cellar Wine Bar in San Clemente in honor of its Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
- Met with various city representatives and OCTA staff to discuss legislative transportation priorities for 2009
- Attended the Laguna Niguel Chamber of Commerce Legislative Affairs meeting
- Presented a certificate at a celebration in honor the championship football team of St. Margaret’s Episcopal School in San Juan Capistrano
Please feel free to contact my office with your concerns, comments or questions at (714) 834-3550.
I would like to wish each and every one of you the very best in 2009! It is an honor and a privilege to serve as your Supervisor for Orange County's Fabulous Fifth District.