June 26, 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. SOUTH COUNTY NEWS
4. HEALTH HERALD
5. ENVIRONMENTAL MEMOS
6. NOTES FROM THE FIELD
7. HARBOR HAPPENINGS
8. CRITTER CHRONICLES
9. SOUTH COUNTY CALENDAR
11. 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
Orange County Fiscal Year 2009-2010 Budget Approved
As reported in my Special Report earlier this week, the Board of Supervisors approved the County Budget for Fiscal Year 2009-2010 during Tuesday’s Board meeting. The $5.5 billion dollar budget represents a decrease of 18% compared to last year’s budget.
Combined with reductions implemented during Fiscal Year 2008-2009, the County has reduced the General Fund budget by over $377 million. With the decline in property tax and sales tax revenues in recent months, the Board has taken many proactive steps and continues to work toward reducing county spending while maintaining essential public services. As Chair, my goal is to maintain the Board’s commitment to minimize the impact of needed budget reductions on the residents of Orange County and on County staff while demonstrating fiscal responsibility.
Sheriff’s Department Contracts Approved
On Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors approved agreements between the Sheriff’s Department and the Fifth District cities of Dana Point, Laguna Hills, Laguna Woods, Laguna Niguel, Lake Forest, Mission Viejo, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano and Rancho Santa Margarita for law enforcement services for the coming fiscal year. The contracts, which have been approved by each respective City Council, define the service levels and costs associated with providing law enforcement services including salaries, wages, benefits, services, supplies and transportation expenses, as well as division, department and County General (CWCAP) overhead. With nearly all of the cities in the Fifth District contracting with the Sheriff’s Department for law enforcement services, I closely review each city’s contract to ensure they are fair and meet the needs of South County residents.
2009 Mortgage Credit Certificate Program
In March 2009, the Board established the 2009 Mortgage Credit Certificate Program (MCC). The MCC is a Federal Income Tax Credit program that assists first-time homebuyers in qualifying for home mortgages by allowing them to take a federal income tax credit of 15% of the annual interest paid on their home mortgage.
Reducing federal income taxes for first-time home buyers helps increase the loan amount they can qualify for by increasing their yearly net earnings. Those who qualify for the tax credit will receive the benefit each year for as long as they own the home.
Since first public notice in May, there has been a high level of interest in this program from potential first-time homebuyers, lenders and participating cities. Within the Fifth District, cities that are eligible for the Mortgage Credit Certificates include Aliso Viejo, Dana Point, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Laguna Woods and Mission Viejo as well as the County’s unincorporated areas. To learn more about the MCC Program and other homebuyer assistance programs, please visit the Affordable Housing Resource Guide by clicking here.
511 Motorist Aid and Traveler Information System
In 2005, a federal law passed requiring that by 2010 a national traffic information system be established that includes a “user friendly” telephone service and comprehensive website. While the Federal Communications Commission has designated 511 as the national travel information number, implementation of the system was left to states and local agencies.
As such, on Monday the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) Board of Directors approved an agreement with the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transposition Authority to participate in the regional 511 Motorist Aid and Traveler Information System (MATIS). MATIS will operate through an interactive voice response telephone system and a web portal capable of providing a variety of traveler information and service to the public including traffic speed, congestion and incident information, roadwork advisories, bus and rail trip planners, park-and-ride and airport information. This system is intended to reduce the number of non-emergency calls made to 911 by motorists. The system is expected to be operational by November 2009 with enhanced features such as alternative routing available by late 2010.
Commuter Rail Grade Crossing Monitor Program
The OCTA Board approved an agreement with the Southern California Regional Rail Authority (SCRRA) to implement the Commuter Rail Grade Crossing Monitor Program as part of the national effort to improve safety at rail crossings. The program includes the installation of rail grade crossing monitors at five crossings in South Orange County and updates monitoring capabilities at 37 grade crossings throughout the County. The grade crossing monitoring system automatically monitors the health and performance of rail grade crossing equipment and provides immediate notification to frontline personnel in the event of damage or malfunction, reducing the response-recovery time and the risk of rail-motor vehicle collisions, thereby improving the safety and security performance of the Metrolink system.
Renewed Measure M Progress Report
As required by voters with the passage of Renewed Measure M (M2), quarterly status reports on major projects detailed within the M2 Transportation Investment Plan are to be posted online for public review. The progress report for January 2009 through March 2009 is completed and ready for review by clicking here.
Mission Viejo’s Shuttle Service
On Monday, OCTA Directors approved a Cooperative Agreement with the City of Mission Viejo that establishes roles and responsibilities for the service planning of the City’s bus/shuttle proposal that was submitted to OCTA as part of its Go Local grant program. OCTA’s four-step Go Local program is a process to plan and implement city-initiated transit extensions to OCTA's Metrolink commuter rail line, the backbone of transit in Orange County.
Under the proposal, Mission Viejo’s bus shuttle will provide direct connection from the southern and central portions of Mission Viejo to the Laguna Niguel/Mission Viejo Metrolink Station. Additionally, new service will be available to residential areas along portions of Felipe Road and La Paz Road which are not currently served.
|SOUTH COUNTY NEWS
Rancho Capistrano Grade Crossing Conversion
The City of San Juan Capistrano recently passed a local bond measure to provide for open space acquisition and preservation. To that end, in partnership with a developer, San Juan Capistrano is seeking to acquire over 100 acres of land currently owned by the Robert H. Schuller Televangilism Association, Inc. in order to develop an assisted living facility on the property and dedicate the remaining area for open space.
Currently, there is a private at-grade rail-highway crossing that serves as the primary access point to the property. On Monday, I spoke at OCTA in support of the City’s request to convert this from a private to a public crossing so that the acquisition of land for open space could proceed on this otherwise landlocked parcel.
OCTA approved a Memorandum of Understanding with San Juan Capistrano and in return the city has agreed to support OCTA’s plan to double track the railroad in this area to accommodate the future expansion of rail service on this corridor. Once the application for the private to public conversion is approved by the California Public Utilities Commission, safety improvements will be made to the crossing to bring it into conformance with new SCRRA design standards resulting in a safer crossing for vehicles and pedestrians than currently exists.
National Research Study in Rancho Santa Margarita
The City of Rancho Santa Margarita has been selected to participate in a national research study titled "The National Children's Study." The Federal government has teamed up with various universities to conduct this research. The University of California-Irvine will be operating the recruitment for this study in Rancho Santa Margarita. This is a federally funded 25 year study designed to follow 100,000 children in 105 communities throughout the country from birth to age 21 in order to better understand how children's genes and their environments interact to affect their health and development.
The Rancho Santa Margarita research group will be knocking on the doors of residents to search for eligible research participants. All study recruiters will be displaying identification at all times while wearing a white polo shirt with the "National Children's Study" logo. For more information, please click here.
HCA Drowning Report
Orange County’s Health Care Agency has released its report on Childhood Immersion Incidents and Deaths in Orange County. Drowning consistently remains the leading cause of death among children 1 to 4 years of age and among the top five leading causes for those under the age of 18, both in California and Orange County. The goal of this study was to better guide prevention efforts aimed at reducing the number of childhood immersions and drowning deaths. The report utilizes the 2005-2007 emergency department and hospital patient discharge data provided by the California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development. To view the report, please click here. For a fact sheet on the report, click here.
Water is in short supply for many cities and businesses and will remain so for the foreseeable future. Drought conditions and environmental problems are reducing water deliveries to key regions of California. These regions will continue to see shortages even when normal rainfall returns meaning we can no longer take a reliable water supply for granted.
State and local water managers are working now on long-term solutions, but in the meantime, there is an immediate need for Californians to reduce their water use. Conservation is one of the key strategies of a comprehensive solution to the state’s water challenges – and it’s something we can all do today. If we all work together, we can make a difference for our future. For more information on the long-term issues facing the state’s water system and practical tips for reducing water use indoors and outdoors, please click here.
|NOTES FROM THE FIELD
Camp Sage at Willow Canyon
The Laguna Canyon Foundation is hosting two week-long summer camps for children ages 7 through 11 during the month of August. Each day of the camp will consist of explorations into the wilderness with inspiring, playful and fun filled activities. Campers will participate in art activities, make their own nature journals and explore the natural landscape in a safe and nurturing environment. For more information about the camp, please click here.
Operation Dry Water
Marine law enforcement officers, as part of a national coordinated effort known as Operation Dry Water, will be out in full force on California’s waterways this weekend, June 27 and 28, looking for boat operators whose Blood Alcohol Content exceeds that of the state limit of .08 percent. The stepped-up efforts will include increased enforcement on patrol, boating under the influence checkpoints as well as boater education.
Alcohol can impair a boater’s judgment, balance, vision and reaction time. According to the California Department of Boating and Waterways, in 2008, 49 percent of all boating fatalities were a result of alcohol use. In California, a person convicted of operating a boat while intoxicated could receive up to a $1000 fine, six months in jail, or both. To find out more information about Operation Dry Water, please visit www.nasbla.org.
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. The event will take place at 561 The City Drive South in Orange. For more information about this event, please call 714-935-6301 or visit www.ocpetinfo.com.
|SOUTH COUNTY CALENDAR
Capistrano Valley Symphony Concerts Free to Kids
In an effort to bring quality orchestral music to a new generation, the Capistrano Valley Symphony is inviting all children in Kindergarten through grade 12 to attend California Pops concerts at Mission San Juan Capistrano at no charge when accompanied by an adult who has purchased a ticket. Tickets for garden seating are $20 and may be purchased by calling 949 249-8584, sending a request via email to info@CapistranoValleySymphony.org, or in person at the front gate of Mission San Juan Capistrano. When you buy one ticket for an adult, you will be given one free ticket for any student. For program information, dates and times go to www.capistranovalleysymphony.org.
San Clemente Plein Air Competition
The San Clemente Art Association is hosting its 8th Annual San Clemente Plein Air Competition, a judged fine art competition, from June 20 through 27. All proceeds from the event will be dedicated to the “Art Reach Program” benefiting the San Clemente Public School Art Program. For more information, please click here.
Former White House Counsel to Nixon Discusses Watergate
John Dean, who served as White House Counsel to President Richard Nixon in the early 1970s, will headline the Writers Present program on June 30 at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chamber at Mission Viejo City Hall, 200 Civic Center. The free program is sponsored by the Friends of the Mission Viejo Library.
The well-known author, who was entrenched in the events leading up to the Watergate scandal, appends his original best seller, “Blind Ambition”, with new revelations and details that answer the most persistent questions lingering since the original Watergate investigation. Out of print for more than two decades, “Blind Ambition” was republished June 17, the 37th anniversary of the infamous Watergate burglaries. For more information, contact Valerie Maginnis at 949-830-7100, ext. 3076.
Laguna Woods Pet Limit Regulations Effective July 1
On July 1, the City of Laguna Wood’s new pet limit regulations will become effective. No more than two dogs or a combination of three cats and dogs will be allowed per residence. Residents who currently have more animals can apply for a "no fee" exception permit. For more information, please click here.
|FIFTH DISTRICT WRAP-UP
In addition to my many meetings, briefings, and other supervisorial activities, I also:
My office also:
- Provided opening remarks at the Alzheimer's Association Wellness Expo Town Hall Meeting in Laguna Hills
- Presented a resolution to Orange County Fire Authority Chief Chip Prather who is retiring after 39 years in Orange County fire service
- Chaired the Coastal Coalition meeting
My staff and I look forward to continually providing you updated information in our Fifth District Newsletter and website.
- Attended a meeting of the Orange County United Way
- Met with OC Public Works to discuss the County’s sustainability efforts
- Attended the OC Taxpayers Association 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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