July 17, 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. COUNTY CONNECTIONS
5. FIFTH DISTRICT SPOTLIGHT
6. ENVIRONMENTAL MEMOS
7. HEALTH HERALD
8. CRITTER CHRONICLES
9. NOTES FROM THE FIELD
10. 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
Board Directive for Budget Reduction Updates
At Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, I directed the County CEO to provide the Board with a weekly update on the progress of implementing the budget reductions that we approved in the Fiscal Year 2009-10 Budget on June 23. During these unprecedented and ever-changing budgetary times, it is important that the Board and the public are kept informed about how each County agency and department is executing its budget plan. As your Supervisor, I have the responsibility to ensure that reduction measures are being put in place appropriately and expeditiously. Any delay in necessary cuts due to a failure to carry out the direction of this elected Board will only worsen the impacts to our residents and that is unacceptable. I will continue to closely monitor the County budget to ensure it is implemented in a fiscally responsible manner because my highest priority as your representative is seeing to it that your tax dollars are used to deliver the services for which they are intended.
Board Approves San Juan Watershed Study Extension
The Board of Supervisors has extended an agreement with Rancho Mission Viejo (RMV) and Pacific Advanced Civil Engineering to conduct and prepare a study of the San Juan Creek Watershed. This study will focus on issues surrounding hydrology, river hydraulics, sedimentation accumulation and stream bed erosion. The original agreement approved in 2005 required RMV to fund $950,000 of this study, with RMV and Pacific Advanced Civil Engineering performing the work. The original agreement allowed two years to complete the study; however it has been extended twice to allow additional time to perform the required work. The amendment approved by the Board of Supervisors this week will allow this study to continue for an additional year until July 31, 2009.
Appointment to Housing and Community Development Commission
On Tuesday, the Board approved my re-appointment of Bruce Sonnenberg, a resident of Lake Forest, to serve on the Housing and Community Development Commission. As a veteran commissioner, Mr. Sonnenberg has played an important role in working to meet the housing needs of Orange County and will continue to be a qualified representative for the Fifth District.
Bus Service Reduction Update
In March 2009, the OCTA Board of Directors took action to reduce bus service to address a projected annual operating revenue shortfall, at the time estimated to be approximately $33 million. To meet the needed reduction of approximately 400,000 annual revenue vehicle hours (RVH) of service to shore up the deficit, the Board adopted a strategy to make the reductions over the course of the next year with each quarterly service change receiving a reduction of 100,000 annual RVHs.
Last month, after analysis of system ridership and utilization, and extensive public input, the Board approved a service reduction proposal involving 29 bus routes for the first targeted 100,000 annual RVH reduction scheduled for September 2009. At that time, the Board directed staff to return with an analysis of the feasibility of making the remainder of the planned service reductions all at one time, instead of continuing with an incremental approach.
Favoring the one-time approach, on Monday the Board approved a plan to make the remaining 300,000 annual RVH of service during the March 2010 Service Change. This approach will provide time to conduct a broader based analysis of the impacts of the service reductions and to more thoroughly review service demand. It will also allow more time to conduct outreach to impacted riders as well as employers that may be affected so they can explore the possibility of utilizing a vanpool program.
91 Freeway Widening
OCTA Directors selected a consultant Monday to perform architectural and engineering work for a westbound lane addition on the Riverside Freeway (SR-91) between the Santa Ana Freeway (I-5) and Orange Freeway (SR-57). The proposed improvements to the 91 Freeway are included in the Renewed Measure M program. With the project report and the environmental documents nearing completion, the plans, specifications, and estimate that will be provided by the selected firm will take this project into the construction phase.
Laguna Beach Summer Arts Festival Shuttle
On Monday, the OCTA Board approved a Cooperative Agreement with the City of Laguna Beach as part of Step Two of the City’s Go Local bus/shuttle proposal. 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, Laguna Beach’s bus shuttle, entitled the “Laguna Beach Sumer Arts Festival Shuttle,” will provide a direct connection from the Irvine Metrolink Station to the Laguna Beach Festival of Arts operating on weekends during the summer season. The shuttle is intended to relieve congestion along Laguna Canyon Road and reduce the need for additional parking at the Act V parking lot in the city.
|SOUTH COUNTY NEWS
San Clemente Quiet Zone
The City of San Clemente is working diligently to establish a Safety/Quiet Zone so trains are not required to blow their horns at at-grade crossings as they travel through San Clemente. In my capacity as a Director on the OCTA Board, I have been working to assist the City in its efforts to receive a Quiet Zone designation from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA).
The City has undertaken a multi-pronged strategy that includes a Safety/Quiet Zone Partnership with the City of Oceanside, administrative approaches with the FRA and California Public Utilities Commission and legislative approaches with Federal and State governments. The City is also actively evaluating infrastructure improvements including wayside horns, crossing closures, and underground crossings.
For more information on the City’s efforts, click here.
South County Teen Center Summer Day Camp
The South County Teen Center's 4th Annual Summer Day Camp Program is currently underway and registration is still available. The 11-week program offers daily activities designed to provide a fun-filled summer for youngsters ages 11-14.
Weekly community service projects give teens the opportunity to grow and learn while giving back to the community. Throughout the summer, day campers will visit Southern California's major amusement parks and will enjoy local field trips, beach days and activities in town.
For more information or to register online, visit www.scteencenter.com.
Santiago Oaks Opens New Deer Trail
Hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians gathered at Santiago Oaks Regional Park on July 12 to celebrate the official opening of a new trail built entirely through volunteer efforts. Known as Deer Trail, the trail is located in the northern section of Santiago Oaks Regional Park which was heavily burned in the 2007 Windy Ridge Fire.
The roughly mile-long trail was built at no cost to the County, thanks to help from the Irvine Ranch Conservancy and to 26 trail users who worked 154 hours to hand-finish the trail. Many of those volunteers gathered with their horses, bikes and hiking boots to celebrate the trail’s dedication. Attendees also included OC Community Resources Director Steve Franks, OC Parks Deputy Director Mike Brajdic, OC Parks District Supervisor Linda Mayer and Irvine Ranch Conservancy Executive Director Michael O’Connell.
A trails assessment in 2008 recommended that the unauthorized trail, known as “SORP 10,” be closed until it could be rerouted. It was heavily rutted and consultants warned that the steep, unofficial trail was not sustainable. During a series of public meetings in 2008, trail users asked that the trail remain open and volunteered to help.
OC Parks Rangers Jim Simkins and Maureen Beckman took those hikers, bikers and equestrians up on their offers. Adam Maywhort, Planning and Field Operations Manager for the Irvine Ranch Conservancy, operated the organization’s trail-cutting mini-bulldozer on his own time to make the initial cuts. The volunteers followed, putting on the finishing touches using hand tools.
The resulting trail creates a loop, connecting with the Barham Ridge and Anaheim Hills trails. It zig-zags down into a canyon and climbs back up. The moderately steep trail provides an accessible challenge for hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians alike. Though this effort was no small feat it reminds us that by working together and volunteering time and energy anything is possible.
|FIFTH DISTRICT SPOTLIGHT
Rancho Santa Margarita Named One of the Best Places to Live
Congratulations to Rancho Santa Margarita! MONEY Magazine just named the community as one of the Best Small Towns (BST) for families in the United States. The magazine used a variety of criteria to select the best towns, including job growth, income increases, cost of living, housing affordability, school quality, arts and leisure, safety, health care, diversity and several ease-of-living criteria.
MONEY Magazine described Rancho Santa Margarita as an Orange County suburb tucked beneath the Saddleback Mountains, with great views of Modjeska Peak. When compared to other towns on the Best Small Towns list, Rancho Santa Margarita received high marks for median family income ($122,165 RSM vs. $97,441 other BSTs), test scores in reading (61.9% above the state average vs. 25.6% other BSTs) and low property crime (11 per 1,000 RSM residents vs. 19 per other BST residents).
Rancho Santa Margarita placed 82 out of 2,466 towns that were considered for inclusion on the list. Towns with a population of 8,500 to 50,000 residents were part of the consideration set.
For a complete list of the Best Small Towns, please visit www.money.cnn.com.
Mission Viejo Ranks Nationally as a “Smarter” City
Mission Viejo has been ranked 7th in the top 15 of small cities nationwide considered “smarter” by the Natural Resources Defense Council for its efforts in environmental stewardship and sustainability. The designation stems from a research project launched last year to create a portrait of the progress that U.S. cities are making to move toward environmental stewardship and sustainability.
Using a survey tool, information was solicited from 655 cities of different population sizes from around the nation and used to rank them across nine different sustainability criteria. Mission Viejo, which has long been a leader on the environmental front, received a top 10 ranking among several small city categories including 1st for recycling; 3rd for transportation; 7th for green space; and 8th for energy production and conservation. Small cities consist of 50,000 to 99,999 residents.
From citywide reductions in greenhouse gas emissions to green development and innovative stormwater management solutions, Mission Viejo’s environmental initiatives reflect a strong and increasing commitment to urban sustainability.
For more information about the findings, visit smartercities.nrdc.org.
New Health Care Agency Director
David L. Riley was appointed this week to serve as the Director of the Orange County Health Care Agency (HCA). Mr. Riley, who has been serving as Interim Agency Director since March, brings to the position a wealth of knowledge about the Agency and its important role in the community. Mr. Riley first joined HCA in 1983 and has held a number of administrative positions including Assistant Agency Director. HCA’s major program areas include Public Health Services, Behavioral Health Services and Medical and Institutional Health Services. Congratulations David!
Hot Weather Tips for Pets
As you may know, overheating can be very harmful, even fatal, to pets. Therefore, during the hot summer month, it is especially important to pay close attention to your pets’ needs to prevent heat related harm. As such, OC Animal Care Services offers the following Hot Weather Tips for Pets:
For further information on how to help your pet beat the heat, call the Public Education Office at (714) 935-6301.
- Never leave your pet alone in a vehicle, even with the windows cracked slightly. It only takes a few minutes for the temperature inside to reach 160 degrees and with only hot air to breathe, your pet can quickly suffer brain damage or heatstroke. Parking in shade offers little protection, as the sun shifts during the day. When traveling, carry a gallon thermos of fresh, cool water for your pet.
- In hot, humid weather, don’t force your pet to get exercise after a meal. Always exercise your pet in the cool of the morning or evening.
- In extreme hot weather, don’t leave your pet standing on the hot pavement and keep walks to a minimum. Your pet is much closer to the ground and its body can heat up quickly.
- Never take your pet on an outing unless you can provide a shady spot to rest and plenty of fresh water to drink.
- Always provide plenty of shade for your pets that stay outside of the house. A properly constructed doghouse serves best. Bring your pets inside during the heat of the day and let them rest in a cool part of the house. Be especially sensitive to the needs of older and overweight animals in hot weather.
- Brachycephalic (snub-nosed) dogs (especially Bulldogs, Pekingese, Boston Terriers, Lhasa Apsos and Shih Tzus) and those with heart and lung disease should be kept indoors in air-conditioning as much as possible.
- A clean coat can help prevent summer skin problems, so keep your dog and cat well groomed. If your pet sports a heavy coat, shaving your dog’s hair to a 1-inch length will help prevent overheating. Do not shave your dog’s hair down to the skin; this robs it of protection from the sun. A cat should be brushed frequently to keep its coat tangle-free.
|NOTES FROM THE FIELD
On Saturday, July 25, enjoy unspoiled canyon views and learn about the geology of the region on a strenuous, 2.8-mile hike to Barbara's Lake, one of the only natural lakes in Orange County. The hike will be led by Laguna Canyon Foundation volunteers and begin at 8:30 a.m. at the Little Sycamore Canyon Staging Area/Nix Nature Center located on west side of Laguna Canyon Road/SR-133, approximately 3.5 miles south of I-5/405. Reservations are required and parking is $3. For more information, please call (949) 923-2235.
Cultural Resource Hike
On Sunday, July 26 from 8:00-10:00 a.m., learn how Native Americans used various local plants for survival on a rigorous, 2.8-mile hike through the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park. The hike, led by OC Parks Ranger Jacky Velasquez, will begin at Little Sycamore Canyon Staging Area/Nix Nature Center. The cost is $2 per person and parking is $3. For reservations, please call (949) 923-2235.
|SOUTH COUNTY CALENDAR
2009 San Clemente Ocean Festival
The 2009 San Clemente Ocean Festival is taking place Saturday and Sunday, July 18 and 19. The “Greatest Show On Surf” attracts world class athletes, local residents and visitors alike to participate in a family oriented, all encompassing beach experience. Events featured include surfing contests, fishing derbies, paddle surfing contests, art exhibits, a 5K run, sand sculpting competitions and much more. Don’t miss out on all the fun. For more information, click here.
Family Swim Nights at El Toro High School
Come out and enjoy Friday family swim nights at the El Toro High School pool. Relax at the refreshing pool from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. every Friday night throughout the summer for just $1. For more information, please call (949) 461-3450.
Dana Point Summer Concerts in the Park
Dana Point’s next free summer concert at Heritage Park is taking place Sunday, July 19 from 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Come enjoy the surf sounds of the band Honk. To view a flyer with a list of all the upcoming concerts, click here.
Laguna Beach Sawdust Art Festival
The world famous Sawdust Art Festival, showcasing art created only in Laguna Beach, is in full swing until August 30. Voted “Best Festival” by OC Weekly and named one of the country’s top five festivals by American Style Magazine, this is one festival you don’t want to miss. Located in a beautiful eucalyptus grove in Laguna Beach, visitors experience the creativity of over 200 local artisans while enjoying live entertainment, artist demonstrations, art workshops, and food from local eateries. For more information, please click here.
Pacific Yarning and Yakking, Tales and Snacking
OC Parks and The South Coast Storytellers Guild invite you to a program of stories and music designed to bring together the community at the beautiful Heritage Hill Historical Park in Lake Forest. The Third Annual “Yarning and Yakking, Tales and Snacking”, taking place July 22 and 29 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., will feature music, refreshments and the finest storytellers from Orange and Los Angeles counties. You will be entertained as talented storytellers spin and weave tales that amuse, inspire and enthrall listeners. The event is $5 per person. For more information, please click here.
SOCSA Performs Guys and Dolls
The South Orange County School of Arts (SOCSA) invites you to experience a spectacular song and dance show that’s loaded with entertainment. Guys and Dolls the Musical, taking place July 29, 30, 31 and August 1, will feature hits like “Luck Be A Lady” and “Sit Down Your Rocking The Boat” performed by the very talented SOCSA students.
Tickets for Guys and Dolls are $12 for adults, $10 for students/senior citizens and are available online now at www.SOCSArts.org or prior to the performances at the SOCSA Box Office located at the Porthole Theater at Dana Hills High School. For more information, please visit www.socsaarts.org.
|FIFTH DISTRICT WRAP-UP
In addition to my many meetings, briefings, and other supervisorial activities, I also:
My office also:
- Provided briefings on the progress of the Renewed Measure M Environmental Oversight Committee
- Attended a Corrections Standards Authority meeting in Sacramento
- Met with constituents regarding improvements at the Dana Point Harbor
- Adjourned the Board of Supervisors meeting in memory of James “Jim” R. Henderson of San Clemente
My staff and I look forward to continually providing you updated information in our Fifth District Newsletter and website.
- Presented a Certificate of Recognition at a ribbon cutting ceremony for Stara d’Arts Fine Art Gallery in Laguna Beach
- Presented a Certificate of Recognition at a ribbon cutting ceremony for Divine Deserts etc. in Laguna Niguel
- Presented a Certificate of Recognition at a ribbon cutting ceremony for 225 Forest (Hurley) in Laguna Beach
- Participated in a meeting to discuss Sphere of Influence issues with the City of Rancho Santa Margarita and several Fifth District unincorporated communities
- Attended the South Orange County Regional Chamber of Commerce Legislative Action Committee meeting
- Attended a meeting to discuss South Orange County transportation priorities with several regional stakeholders
- Attended a meeting with Senator Lou Correa to discuss potential economic recovery funding opportunities
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.
For an ADA version of our newsletter, click here.