June 12, 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. PAT’S PERSPECTIVE
2. BOARD BULLETIN BOARD
3. TRANSPORTATION INFORMATION
4. COUNTY CONNECTIONS
5. SOUTH COUNTY NEWS
6. FIFTH DISTRICT SPOTLIGHT
7. HARBOR HAPPENINGS
8. HEALTH HERALD
9. NOTES FROM THE FIELD
10. CRITTER CHRONICLES
11. IN MEMORIAM
12. SOUTH COUNTY CALENDAR
13. 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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Signifying our commitment to fiscal responsibly, this week the Board voted to reduce our own salaries and those of 97 department heads and top managers by 5 percent. Other elected officials in the County, including the Sheriff, District Attorney, Treasurer, Clerk-Recorder, Public Administrator, Auditor-Controller and Assessor, have indicated they will also accept the 5 percent pay cut. This action amounts to approximately $625,000 dollars in savings to the County over the next year, which the Board intends to redirect to departments that have been forced to make difficult budget reductions.
The Board opted to exclude Social Services Agency executives from the cuts because they have already taken 8 to 10 percent pay cuts through furloughs. Additionally, earlier this year department heads and executive management chose to defer their 2 percent performance based salary increases, which brings their total salary reductions to 7 percent.
As you can see, your county leaders understand the severity of our budget challenges. While no cuts are easy, they are necessary to make and during these tough economic times the Board joins all levels of County employees in contributing to the solution, starting at the top.
|BOARD BULLETIN BOARD
County of Orange Fiscal Year 2009-2010 Budget
This week the Board of Supervisors deliberated on the County Budget for Fiscal Year 2009-2010 during a two-day marathon public hearing. Like many families and businesses in Orange County, our local government is faced with declining revenue and is required to reduce our spending.
Fortunately, the County has been proactive. Early in the 2008-09 budget planning cycle, when national economic indicators signaled an impending downturn, including a growing State Budget deficit and a drastic decline in property and sales tax revenues, we immediately implemented spending reductions across County departments while exercising care not to impact our responsibility and commitment to delivering an excellent level of service.
By taking necessary actions early, the County has avoided having to implement the draconian cuts being made by other local municipalities around the state. While our responsible actions have helped ease the pain, ongoing economic challenges, including continuing cuts from the State, have resulted in significant shortfalls for the 2009-10 Budget and have necessitated a new round of budget reductions.
In a non-binding straw vote, the Board preliminarily approved a budget totaling $5.5 billion. This reflects a decrease of $1.2 billion, or 18%, over last year. On June 23, the Board will vote on a final budget.
In making the tough cuts required to balance the County’s budget, your Board of Supervisors is demonstrating a marked contrast to our State Legislature, which has continued its irresponsible spending for several years. Even with raising taxes and borrowing from local governments, the State finds itself in deeper debt and in severe financial crisis. The Board of Supervisors refuses to pass today’s financial problems on to tomorrow. We will demonstrate fiscal discipline by showing that we intend to live within our means and spend hard-earned tax dollars in a wise and efficient manner. The taxpayers deserve nothing less.
Investors Buy Orange County Short-Term Notes at Low Interest Rate
Counties routinely borrow money during this time of year by issuing Tax and Revenue Anticipation Notes, or TRANs, to provide the cash flow needed for operational expenses until tax revenues, like those from property taxes, are received. On Thursday, the County successfully offered $150 million in TRANs at an interest rate of just 0.40%. This is the lowest interest rate cost to the County on a note of this type in recent years.
The favorable interest rate, which will significantly lower the County’s interest costs, is a direct result of the disciplined actions of the Board to reduce expenses and implement budget cuts early on. Other counties throughout the state are also issuing similar notes, however, some that have delayed in addressing their budget problems have experienced declining credit ratings which have resulted in increased interest rates on their TRANs to as high as 0.65%.
Proceeds from the sale will be received by the County on July 1, 2009 with repayment on June 30, 2010. The TRANs were given the highest rating possible by all three rating agencies – Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s, and Fitch.
OCTA Fiscal Year 2009-2010 Budget
On Monday, the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) Board of Directors held a public hearing and approved the Operating and Capital Budget for Fiscal Year 2009-10 in the amount of $1.2 billion. The available funding includes revenues of $708.2 million and reserve uses of $505.6 million. The reserves are comprised of funds previously designated or reserved for alternative operating and capital projects.
In response to the dramatic decline in operating revenues, this budget includes a wage and hiring freeze for administrative employees, a 10 percent reduction in divisional budgets, deferral of several capital projects, and the utilization of economic stimulus dollars for operations. Despite making these reductions, OCTA anticipates having revenue shortfalls of more than $30 million in bus operations which will require additional service cuts. Unfortunately, additional service cuts are required to preserve a sustainable level of service over the long-term.
The budget also accommodates the continuing commitment of the original Measure M Program (M1) with the construction phases planned for both the Santa Ana Freeway (I-5) Gateway Project and the San Diego Freeway (I-405) West County Connectors Project.
On a year-over-year comparison, this budget is $156 million (14.8%) greater than the FY 2008-09 budget with the planned investment in the Metrolink Service Expansion Program and the Renewed Measure M (M2) Early Action Plan accounting for most of the increase.
Bus Service Reductions
Responding to a $33 million shortfall in transit funding as a result cuts from the State Legislature, the OCTA Directors approved a plan Monday to reduce bus service throughout the County effective September of this year.
During the Board meeting, there was much discussion regarding which factors of bus service should be prioritized. After receiving many public comments, the Board decided to reduce the “frequency” of service in order to preserve the “span” on certain routes. This means that the first and last trips of the day with 8 or more passengers will be maintained but that the bus will run fewer times throughout the day on the routes in question. The Board also voted to maintain Night Owl Service (midnight to 4:00 a.m.) on selected routes until the end of the year. A total of 34 routes and will be impacted by these reductions during the September service change.
New Fire Chief Appointed
The Board of Directors at the Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA) appointed Keith Richter as its new Fire Chief on Thursday, replacing Chip Prather who is retiring this July.
Mr. Richter takes over August 1 as Chief of one of the largest fire agencies in California with its nearly 850 firefighters at 62 fire stations. Richter was selected by the OCFA Board from a large pool of well-qualified candidates from throughout the nation. He comes to the OCFA from Contra Costa County Fire District where he has been Chief since 1998. He has more than 30 years experience in the fire service. He started his career with the Tucson Fire Department back in 1977 as a firefighter. Richter holds a Master of Science degree in Fire Administration and is a graduate of Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. He is also an Executive Board Member of the Metropolitan Fire Chiefs Association.
Mr. Richter replaces Chief Chip Prather who has been OCFA's leader for the last 12 years. Chief Prather is retiring after nearly 38 years in the fire service.
New Director for Child Support Services Department Appointed
The Board of Supervisors appointed Steven Eldred as the Director of Child Support Services effective June 5. As head of the County’s Child Support Services department, he will oversee approximately 630 employees who establish and enforce court orders for the financial and medical support of children in an effective, efficient and professional manner.
Mr. Eldred became a Major with the U.S. Army Reserve Judge Advocate General Corps in 1997, and has since worked as a police officer and an attorney with Child Support Services in both Fresno and Orange Counties. He became Chief Deputy Director of Orange County Child Support Services in 2004.
After completing a competitive national recruitment process, I am confident that Mr. Eldred will work to meet the needs of Orange County’s children and promote the self-sufficiency of families. He brings proven commitment and a solid background to this key management position.
|SOUTH COUNTY NEWS
Aliso Viejo Recognizes Firefighters’ Efforts
The Aliso Viejo City Council will recognize officials from the Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA) on July 1 for their quick response and efforts in extinguishing a fire that took place last Friday, June 5.
The fire, which damaged about three acres in a brushy area near Moulton Parkway and Laguna Hills Drive, sparked during the Aliso Viejo Community Cup at the Aliso Viejo Country Club, just up the street from the scene.
Several city officials, business owners and others who participated in the annual fundraising golf tournament watched as OCFA helicopters scooped up water from the golf course to help fight the fire which started around 3:30 p.m. Even with the fire being pushed by winds, firefighters had it under control by 4:30 p.m.
|FIFTH DISTRICT SPOTLIGHT
Capistrano Valley High School Senior Drafted to the Big League
Tyler Matzek is ending his senior year at Capistrano Valley High School with a bang! With several accomplishments already under his belt, including a CIF-SS Division I title, on Tuesday he was selected 11th overall by the Colorado Rockies in the 2009 MLB First-Year Player Draft. A left-handed pitcher, Tyler finished his senior season with a 13-1 record and 0.98 ERA, and batted .404 with eight home runs. If Tyler decides not to join the Rockies, he plans to attend the University of Oregon where he’ll likely play first base. Congratulations and best of luck to Tyler Matzek.
Dana Point Harbor Revitalization Program
During its hearing on Thursday, the Coastal Commission lacked a quorum which forced it to postpone consideration for approval of the Local Coastal Plan Amendment that would allow the landside portion of the Dana Point Harbor Revitalization Program. Nearly 100 people attended the hearing in support of the program. The next hearing date will be scheduled for October in Oceanside.
OCFA “Be the Match” Marrow Registry and Blood Drive
The Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA) will host a “Be the Match” Marrow Registry and Blood Drive next week. This drive is in coordination with “Be a Hero, Become a Donor” and the American Red Cross.
At two South County locations on two different dates, the public is invited to come out and help save a life! In addition to collecting much-needed blood, the goal is also to educate the public how to recycle their bodies by being a marrow donor.
Over 70 different diseases are treatable and cured by bone marrow transplants. Getting on the Marrow Registry is easy and painless; it simply requires some paperwork and a cheek swab. Additionally, there is no cost to register during this drive. If matched and selected for a marrow donation, the donation process is done via outpatient services with very little or no discomfort involved.
The South County Marrow Registry and Blood Drives are as follows:
For more information, please visit www.givelife.org
- Tuesday, June 16 from 1:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at OCFA Station 57: 57 on Journey in Aliso Viejo
- Thursday, June 18 from 1:00 pm to 7:00 p.m. at OCFA Station 58: 58 on Station Way in Ladera Ranch
|NOTES FROM THE FIELD
County Lifeguard Services Survey
Whether you’re an avid beachgoer or enjoy an occasional stroll in the sand, your opinion is wanted. OC Parks is conducting a brief survey to obtain valuable input on peoples’ lifeguard experiences at County beaches. Answers from the survey will assist the department as it prepares to release an RFP for contracting for ocean lifeguard services at County beaches such as Capistrano Beach, Salt Creek Beach, Aliso Beach (including Camel Point, Table Rock and Thousand Steps), and Poche Beach. To link to the survey, please click here.
OC Animal Care Hosts Pet Fair 2009
OC Animal Care is hosting its annual Pet Fair 2009 event on Saturday, June 27 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The event provides a great opportunity to highlight many of the services the County provides, promote responsible pet ownership, and most importantly, find loving homes for the many animals in our care.
Money received from generous donations will go to offset the cost of adoptions during the Pet Fair. Additionally, adopters will not be charged for spay or neuter surgery for their new pet. In addition to the opportunity for pet adoption, the Pet Fair will showcase over 50 non-profit animal rescue organizations, pet related services, wildlife exhibits, pet demonstrations and much more.
Last year over 10,500 dogs, cats, rabbits and other loveable animals were adopted from OC Animal Care. This year’s Pet Fair will take place at 561 The City Drive South, Orange. For further information about this event, please call 714-935-6301 or visit www.ocpetinfo.com.
Residents are urged to beware of coyotes in response to a recent increase in sightings and activity in the area. Coyotes are found throughout Orange County but sightings generally increase this time of year.
While not normally a threat to humans, coyotes will display defensive behaviors if threatened or cornered, especially when adult coyotes are caring for their young during the months of May through September. Domestic dogs are especially vulnerable to an attack during this time.
If you encounter a coyote remember to leave a comfortable distance between you and a coyote and keep dogs out the area. Dens are usually found in steep banks, rock crevices and underbrush. Coyotes are most active at night and during the early morning and late evening hours, but young coyotes tend to be more active during daylight hours.
If a coyote ever approaches too closely, pick up small children immediately and act aggressively toward the animal. Wave your arms, throw stones and shout. Appear larger by standing tall or stepping onto a rock, stump or stair. The idea is to convince the coyote that you are not prey.
For more tips on coyote safety, call your local animal care agency or OC Animal Care at (714) 935-6848.
Ralph B. Clark
Former Supervisor Ralph B. Clark, a leading force in bringing the Rams to Orange County and 12-time chairman of the Orange County Transit District, died this week in Anaheim after a long illness. He was 92.
Also a former mayor of Anaheim, Ralph helped steer through turbulent political times in the 1970s and 1980s, championing transportation improvements, advocating for regional park expansions and promoting economic development while earning a reputation as an urban environmentalist. When he became a Supervisor, the County owned three regional parks – Irvine, O’Neill and Featherly, plus a golf course and a partial facility at Mile Square Park. Today, Orange County has 37,000 acres of public parkland and wilderness areas, including the 105-acre Ralph B. Clark Regional Park in Buena Park, which was named in his honor in 1987. He served four full terms as Fourth District Supervisor. He will be missed but not soon forgotten.
|SOUTH COUNTY CALENDAR
Relay For Life of Rancho Santa Margarita
Be a part of the fight against cancer on Saturday, June 13 in the Relay for Life taking place at Central Park in Rancho Santa Margarita. This is a 24-hour team event where participants can walk or run relay-style around a path and take part in fun activities off the path. No matter who you are, there's a place for you at the Relay! For information, visit www.relayforlife.org/ranchosantamargaritaca or call Vicki Jobe at (949) 567-0625.
Crown Valley Community Park Summer Concert Series
Laguna Niguel’s Summer Concert Series will keep you grooving all summer long. The Crown Valley Community Park Amphitheater will host a number of concerts including everything from jazz to swing to rock music. The first concert is Friday, June 19 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and will feature the Mike Sullivan Band (acoustic pop/jazz). For more information, please click here.
5th Annual U.S. Flag Retirement Ceremony
In honor of Flag Day, the American Legion Post 862 and Scout Troup 623 of Rancho Santa Margarita will be retiring worn and/or unserviceable U.S. flags during a Flag Retirement Ceremony on Sunday, June 14. The ceremony will begin at sunset (approximately 7:45 p.m.) in the RSM City Hall parking lot located at 22112 El Paseo. The community is encouraged to participate in this sacred and honored tradition by bringing their worn flags to the ceremony. For more information please contact American Legion Post 862 at (949) 635-9369 or email Commander@post862.org.
Thinking Ahead Lifelong Wellness Expo
The Alzheimer’s Association is hosting an expo and Town Hall meeting on Saturday, June 20 at the Laguna Hills Mall to discuss the issues and needs of family caregivers. Legislators are currently crafting the California State Plan on Alzheimer's disease and you are encouraged to be a part of the long-range solutions. The Thinking Ahead Lifelong Wellness Expo, which will bring out about 1,500 participates, is taking place from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in the “pumpkin patch” location with the Town Hall taking place at 10:00 a.m. For more information, please call (949) 955-9000.
|FIFTH DISTRICT WRAP-UP
In addition to my many meetings, briefings, and other supervisorial activities, I also:
My office also:
- Chaired the two-day public hearing for the County’s Fiscal Year 2009-2010 Budget
- Met with the Orange County Attorneys’ Association
- Participated in the Upper Chiquita Reservoir Groundbreaking Ceremony
- Presented a proclamation at the Coffee Importers’ 30th Anniversary in Dana Point
- Attended the MiOcean fundraising event to raise funds to protect our precious ocean resources
My staff and I look forward to continually providing you updated information in our Fifth District Newsletter and website.
- Attended the OC Green Task Force Meeting
- Attended the Dana Point Chamber Legislative Committee Meeting
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.
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