Header image with Photo of Supervisor Pat Bates. Followed by office information
July 31, 2009

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.













Chip Monaco:
Chief of Staff

Sergio Prince:
Executive Director of Public Affairs

Don Hughes:
Executive Policy Advisor

Kristen Thornton:
Executive Policy Advisor

Ray Grangoff:
Executive Policy Advisor

Ruth Strachan:
Office Manager

Margaret Chang:
Policy Assistant

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Volume 3 Issue 30

Sheriff’s Department Budget Update

At Tuesday’s Board meeting, Sheriff Hutchens provided the Board with an update on how her department is implementing its 2009-2010 Budget. You will recall from previous newsletter updates that due to declining revenues the Sheriff’s Department is implementing a $20 million reduction plan. In her report to the Board, the Sheriff outlined reductions that have already been made as well as informed the Board of her plans to reduce command staff and her strategy to reduce overtime costs.

Each of the cost savings measures identified by the Sheriff are important steps toward reaching a fiscally responsible operating budget. I commend the Sheriff’s Department for working to follow the Board’s request of limiting the impact of budget reductions on direct services to the citizens of Orange County. The Board and the Sheriff will continue to work together to ensure that the County is able to keep its public safety commitments despite the bleak financial outlook. To view a copy of the Sheriff’s Power Point presentation, please click here.

Correctional Assistant Positions

On Tuesday, the Board took an important step toward reducing the costs of operating the County jail system by approving specifications for a new correctional assistant position classification. The goal of the Board and the Sheriff is to have a sworn deputy to non-sworn correctional assistant staffing ratio of approximately 70:30. This new staffing ratio will result in substantial savings for the Department. Replacing a portion of the sworn deputy staff with non-sworn correctional assistants is estimated to save the taxpayers approximately $10 million annually.

OC Fairgrounds Resolution

The Board adopted a resolution Tuesday supporting Governor Schwarzenegger’s proposal to sell the Orange County Fairgrounds so long as the Fairgrounds are sold to a local government agency or local not-for-profit corporation to perpetuate its use as a fairground, event center and equestrian facility. Earlier this month, the Fair Board approved a resolution with similar language. The Fair Board is currently working to form a nonprofit organization that could purchase and operate the Fair and the County stands ready to offer assistance in that effort. For a copy of the Resolution, click here.

Transfer of Harbor Justice Center

On Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors approved the necessary agreements to finalize the transfer of responsibility to the State for operations of the Harbor Justice Center Trial Court Facility in Newport Beach.

Historically, the State has operated local trial courts and counties have assumed responsibility for the facilities maintenance. To improve the efficiency and effectiveness of court operations, in 2002 the Trial Court Facilities Act (SB 1732) authorized the State of California, through the Judicial Council, to assume the financial responsibility for the facilities operations of local trial courts.

Because the State will continue to operate the Harbor Justice Center for court purposes, the transfer will result in no significant impact in the levels or quality of services provided to Orange County constituents. However, the transfer will relieve the County of incurring costs associated with operating, maintaining and renovating the court facilities, which amounts to approximately $2 to $3 million per year for the Harbor Justice Center. Under SB 1732, the County is required to make a fixed annual payment to the State in perpetuity on each transferred court facility to assist the State in maintaining the court facilities. For the Harbor Justice Center, the annual payment is $296,997.

In the coming months, the Board will be asked to approve the transfer of responsibility to the State for the remaining courts in Orange County.

Grand Jury Response: "The Guardian of Last Resort"

The Orange County Public Administrator/Public Guardian (PA/PG) provides valuable services to the citizens of this County. The Public Administrator (PA) is an elected official in Orange County and the Public Guardian (PG) is appointed by the Board of Supervisors. The offices of the PA/PG combined to become a separate County department in 2005, with the intention of providing Orange County taxpayers reduced management costs and improved efficiency. For more information on the PA/PG, please click here.

In May, 2009, the Grand Jury released a report titled “The Guardian of Last Resort”, regarding the office of the PA/PG. The report included recommendations to address concerns raised regarding management practices and responsibility. On Tuesday, the Board approved responses to the Grand Jury’s Findings and Recommendations. To view the responses, please click here.

[Please note: Finding F.1.c was modified to change “Executive” Manager to “Administrative” Manager, and the response was amended to read: “Recommendation requires needs further analysis.” Additionally, the response to Finding F.4 was amended to read: “Recommendation requires needs further analysis.”]


John Wayne Airport Construction Alert

As part of the John Wayne Airport Improvement Program, construction activity will begin in the area of the new Terminal and Parking Structure C on July 29, 2009 and will continue until late 2011. A map of the affected area can be seen by clicking here.

Visitors to the Airport will experience periods of heavier than normal traffic with trucks carrying construction materials on and off the construction site which is located just south of Terminal B. All construction vehicles will access the Airport roadways at Airport Way from Campus Drive. All efforts are being made to minimize any impacts to passengers and visitors to the Airport, including Airport tenants and employees. The Airport encourages those using Airport roadways to use extra caution when driving in this area.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact a John Wayne Airport Improvement Program representative at 949-252-6054. For information about the Airport Improvement Program, please visit www.ocair.com/improvements.

Reduction of Call Boxes

The number of calls placed from call boxes in Orange County has decreased from an average of approximately 135 a day in the early 1990s to approximately 15 a day currently. The reduction is due largely to the increase in cell phone use. In response to this decline, the Orange County Transportation Authority Board of Directors approved a plan to reduce the number of call boxes in May, 2005. By 2006, the number of call boxes were reduced from approximately 1,200 to 630 by changing the spacing from one every quarter mile to one every half of a mile. This spacing is consistent with the minimum call box spacing requirements in the State Call Box Guidelines.

Since that time, there have been no reports from Caltrans, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) or OCTA Customer Relations that motorists have not been able access assistance in areas where call boxes have been removed. Therefore, in an effort to reduce maintenance costs, the OCTA Board has directed staff look into further reducing the number of call boxes within the County. Because this could increase the call box spacing beyond the minimum requirements in some places, OCTA must get approval from Caltrans and CHP prior to implementation. In evaluating call box removal proposals, Caltrans and CHP take into consideration several factors beyond spacing requirements including the number of calls made from each box and from the system as a whole, the availability of services nearby, terrain (more boxes needed in hillier areas), remoteness, and danger from wildlife.

Upon approval by the State agencies, the OCTA Board of Directors will have final discretion over whether to proceed with the reduction plan. I am interested to hear your thoughts on this issue. You may email me at pat.bates@ocgov.com.


Laguna Beach Library to Temporarily Close

Beginning August 17, 2009, the Laguna Beach Library will be temporarily closed for renovation until its scheduled reopening on November 16, 2009.

One of the most notable enhancements will be the new interior lighting. New carpeting, new interior paint, upgraded outdoor lighting, as well as minor roof repairs are also part of the renovation efforts. The renovations are possible in large part to the support of the Friends of the Laguna Beach Library.

For library services, residents are encouraged to use the near-by Dana Point Library at 33841 Niguel Rd., Dana Point, (949) 496-5517, and the Laguna Niguel Library at 30341 Crown Valley Pkwy, Laguna Niguel, (949) 249-5252. Visit www.ocpl.org for other branch locations and hours.

Veteran’s Memorial at Saddleback College Underway

The Saddleback College Foundation is in the process of completing the College’s Veterans Memorial. The memorial will pay homage to our armed forces and feature a life-size figure, surrounded by fountains and lights to illuminate the sculpture at night. The memorial, which was designed by artists Richard White and Fred Olsen, will be dedicated this fall.

The site will be a place of reflection and remembrance and used by professors for class discussions. For students and visitors, the memorial will serve as a constant reminder of the service and sacrifices made by so many in the name of freedom. When finished, the Saddleback College Veterans Memorial will display the first American flag flown over the United States Embassy in Ho Chi Minh City. It was a gift from Chapter 785 of the Vietnam Veterans of America, which obtained the flag from Pete Peterson, the first U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam and a former Prisoner of War.

For more information and the opportunity to participate, please contact Michelle Anstadt at 949-582-4479.


Verizon Wireless Keeps Jobs in Orange County

Despite enticing proposals to move operations out of Orange County, the cell phone company Verizon Wireless has decided to keep its regional headquarters located in Irvine, where 2,300 workers are currently employed. The company recently signed another 10-year lease for its western regional facility located on Sand Canyon Ave.

Considering Orange County is still on the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ top-five list of metropolitan divisions for year-over-year job losses, it is important to recognize local businesses, large and small, that are doing their part to keep Orange County residents employed. In order to achieve economic recovery in this County, it is my belief that keeping people employed and finding jobs for those currently unemployed has to be our top priority. It is encouraging to see examples such as this of the private sector playing an important role in that effort.


Dana Point Encourages Going 'Green'

The Dana Point City Council this week adopted a resolution to start a voluntary program to reduce the use of Styrofoam and plastic bags at local restaurants, retailers, city facilities and city-sponsored events.

Polystyrene foam (or Styrofoam) is a petroleum based byproduct frequently used for food packaging purposes that is currently non-recyclable and non-biodegradable. Because of its inability to decompose, polystyrene foam waste is consuming an ever-increasing amount of space within landfill facilities. Moreover, polystyrene foam products are detrimental to the health, safety, and welfare of the general public, as well as to the ecosystem. Plastic bags are made of polyethylene, are non-biodegradable, and are made from crude oil and natural gas, both non-renewable resources. While they can be recycled, plastic bags are often improperly disposed of, and often make their way into storm drains and the ocean.

By committing to actively encourage businesses to voluntarily reduce their use of plastic bags and Styrofoam containers and promoting the use of recyclable products, the City of Dana Point is taking an important step in lessening the impact of litter, increasing the life of local landfills and helping ensure the vitality of the Pacific Ocean.


Helping Meet Mandatory Water Conservation Goals

In response to the current water supply situation, water agencies throughout Orange County are asking consumers to reduce their water use up to fifteen percent, prompting some consumers to ask, “Having done so much already, how can I save more?” Here are the top five ways that residents can save water:

  1. Repair leaks – According to the American Water Works Association, leaks account for 5.5% of residential water use. This amounts to approximately 21.9 gallons per household, per day.
  2. Replace older toilets with high efficiency toilets – Toilets use the largest amount of water inside the home. This makes them a great target for water savings.
  3. Replace old washing machines with high efficiency ones – Clothes washers use the second largest amount of water inside the home.
  4. Water only when your plants need it – According to landscape professionals, over-watering is the most common problem associated with home landscape.
  5. Plant the right plants for our arid climate – With increasing demand for water and reduced supply (due to both climatological and regulatory constraints), Southern California landscapes need to transition from traditional turf-intensive landscapes to California friendly landscapes.
Even if some of these recommendations have already been implemented, there is likely still room for improvement in other areas. With just a couple of these measures, water saving goals can be achieved. To find out more about water-saving opportunities for residents, visit www.H2Ouse.org and www.bewaterwise.com.


Prevent Drowning Accidents

With scorching heat and summer in full swing, the Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA) is reminding the public to take precautions to prevent drowning accidents. Drowning is the nation’s number-one killer of children under the age of 5, and it’s the second leading cause of death from unintentional injuries for children ages 1 to 14. This year alone, OCFA has responded to 28 near-drownings and 6 fatalities. Most of these accidents occur in residential swimming pools and spas. Never leave a child near water without supervision. Many drownings occur even though there are large gatherings of people nearby, so you cannot leave the responsibility solely up to a lifeguard. Children drown without a sound, and learning the following “ABC’s of pool safety” could help prevent this senseless tragedy:

  • “A”- Adult Supervision: It is important that the “water watcher” is somebody who is capable of swimming. Be sure to have more than one water watcher who can swim if possible and have a phone nearby to call 911 in an emergency.
  • “B”- Barriers: In addition to barriers, you should have multiple layers of protection such as safety covers, door alarms, gate alarms and motion detectors to warn of possible problems.
  • “C”- Classes: Learning CPR is extremely important. Child swimming classes are also essential. Stay calm when calling 911 and make sure to clearly state the information and listen for instructions. Those vital seconds could save your child’s life. Inform your children of the dangers and teach them water-safety rules.


Surf Culture Days

Casa Romantica is hosting Surf Culture Days, a two-day festival on Saturday and Sunday, August 1 and 2, to celebrate the people, art, culture, music and history of surfing in San Clemente and throughout Southern California. Highlights will include the premiere of "SHAPED" The Movie at The Surfing Heritage Museum, a documentary film paying tribute the art of shaping. Proceeds from the event will benefit Casa Romantica's Arts and Educational Programming, as well as their historic preservation efforts, and participating non-profit organizations including Surfrider Foundation, Surfing Heritage Museum, Ocean Institute and San Clemente Green. For more information, visit www.surfculturedays.com.

Star Gazing at O’Neill Park

Make your way down to O'Neill Regional Park in Trabuco Canyon for a night of star gazing on Thursday, August 13 from 8:30 pm to 10:30 pm. Gaze through telescopes at the wonders of the night sky as the Orange County Astronomers answer all of your stellar questions. For more information, please click here.

Breakfast with the Mayor of Aliso Viejo

The Aliso Viejo Chamber of Commerce invites you to meet Mayor Donald Garcia for his “State of the City” address. Come enjoy a fabulous breakfast at the City’s new Aliso Viejo Conference Center. Aliso Viejo’s top citizens of the year will also be introduced consisting of city, community and business leaders from South Orange County. For more information or to register, click here.

RSM Healthy Community Expo and 5K

The City of Rancho Santa Margarita will host the 5th Annual Healthy Community Expo and 5k Fun Run/Walk on Labor Day - Monday, September 7. The event offers a combination of health/fitness information, activity in form of running or walking and a delicious pancake breakfast. For more information, please click here.

International Coastal Cleanup

Mark your calendars now for the 24th annual International Coastal Cleanup taking place Saturday, September 19. Last year, nearly 400,000 volunteers collected more than 6.8 million pounds of trash in 104 countries and 42 U.S. states during the 2008 International Coastal Cleanup - the world's largest volunteer effort of its kind. Official registration opens on August 3. For more information and to register for the event, please click here.


In addition to my many meetings, briefings, and other supervisorial activities, I also:

  • Hosted a reception for Orange County Leadership Academy’s 11th graduating class
  • Met with a representative of Orange County coach operators to discuss transit issues
  • Presented a County Update at the Newport-Irvine Rotary Club member luncheon
  • Toured the South Coast Medical Center Foundation
My office also:
  • Attended the Rancho Santa Margarita Sphere of Influence Working Group meeting
  • Met with a representative from the Sheriff’s Department to discuss budget issues
  • Attended the OC Taxpayers Association meeting
  • Attended the Treasurer’s Oversight Committee Quarterly Meeting
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.

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