August 28, 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. HEALTH HERALD
7. CRITTER CHRONICLES
8. ENVIRONMENTAL MEMOS
9. SOUTH COUNTY CALENDAR
10. 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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Pension Lawsuit Appeal
During a closed session meeting on Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors voted 4 to 1 in favor of appealing a Superior Court decision made in the County’s ongoing lawsuit against Association of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs to rescind retroactive retirement benefits that were granted to deputies in 2001. The Board, along with the County’s attorneys, believes the case continues to have merit in spite of the denial of our suit by the Superior Court.
Unfortunately, the Board has been unable to resolve the constitutional issues regarding the granting of retroactive pension benefits, which exceeded the County’s debt limitation, through negotiation. Therefore, I supported proceeding with the appeal as the only way to move forward in our efforts to reduce the County’s unfunded pension liability (exceeding $2 billion), to keep the pension program viable and to keep this debt from being passed on to future generations.
|BOARD BULLETIN BOARD
Rental Assistance for Homeless Disabled Veterans
In June, the Orange County Housing Authority (OCHA) submitted an application to the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to receive Housing Choice Vouchers for the 2009 Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) Program.
The VASH Program is designed to provide tenant-based rental assistance for homeless veterans with disabilities who are referred by the Veterans Administration (VA) facility in Long Beach. On July 15, 2009, HUD announced that OCHA was awarded 70 Housing Choice Vouchers in the amount of $745,382 to assist eligible veterans in paying their monthly rent. Eligible veterans selected by the VA will be able to use this rental assistance throughout the County to apply for apartments, condominiums and other rental units to meet their needs.
OCHA currently provides monthly rental assistance to over 10,000 Orange County households in 31 cities and more than 3,500 property owners participate in the program. If you have questions about this program, please contact Kristine de Leon of OCHA at (714) 480-2970.
Real Estate Fraud Prosecution
On Tuesday, Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas presented his Real Estate Fraud Prosecution Program Annual Report for FY 2008-09 to the Board. The Real Estate Fraud Unit is a specialized unit which prosecutes, investigates, and deters real estate crimes. The District Attorney’s Office is committed to aggressive prosecution of those involved in real estate fraud schemes that victimize Orange County residents. The launch of the program has been very successful. To view the report, please click here.
Board and Committee Appointments
The Assessment Appeals Board (AAB) conducts hearings to consider taxpayer disputes of Assessor established property values for secured and unsecured property in Orange County. Members of the AAB must have professional experience as an appraiser, real estate broker, CPA or attorney.
This week, with the support of my fellow Supervisors, I had the pleasure of reappointing three Fifth District constituents to the AAB – Jeanette Krembas and Jerry McCloskey of Laguna Niguel, and Craig Alexander of Dana Point.
I was also pleased to reappoint Donald Bondi of Laguna Woods to the In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) Advisory Committee. The purpose of the Committee is to submit recommendations to the Board of Supervisors on the preferred mode or modes of services to be utilized in the County for the In-Home Supportive Services Program.
Please join me in thanking these Fifth District constituents for their outstanding commitment to public service.
Supported Employment Services
This week, the Board approved an Agreement with Goodwill Industries of Orange County to expand vocational services to South County and provide education, placement, training, and support to individuals with mental illness who require job assistance to obtain competitive employment. It is expected that the Supported Employment Program in South County will serve a minimum of 70 clients annually.
September Bus Service Change
Cuts to state transit funding along with declining sales tax revenue have necessitated reductions in the Orange County Transportation Authority’s budget for bus operations. The service reductions will affect 30 routes effective September 13, 2009. Approximately one week prior to the service change, OCTA’s September 2009 Bus Book will be available on buses and in schedule racks throughout the County. The eBusbook for September 2009 is available now by clicking here.
For more information about the September Bus Service Change and for a list of all the affected routes, please click here. For the latest printed changes to bus routes due to detours, road closures and service adjustments, check the Riders’ Alert section of the website.
Railroad Crossing Safety Enhancement Kick-Off
On Thursday, OCTA, the City of Orange and Metrolink kicked off the railroad crossing safety enhancement project with a huge celebration at the unveiling of the newly constructed pedestrian undercrossing in the City of Orange.
In 2005, OCTA’s Board of Directors approved a $70-million program to enhance rail safety throughout the County. This program is the first countywide effort to enhance the rail corridor that will benefit thousands of community members who live near the 52 railroad crossings in Orange County.
The high-frequency Metrolink service project is designed to complement the existing Metrolink commuter-rail service and includes various improvements to the rail network within the County. Improvements include increased train service north of the Fullerton Transportation Center, upgraded train stations and enhanced safety at railroad crossings. During summer 2010, Orange County will increase the frequency of passenger-rail service between the Fullerton and Laguna Niguel/Mission Viejo train stations to provide passengers with more opportunities to get to and from school, work and fun destinations in Orange County. As safety enhancements are implemented at each railroad crossing, cities may apply to the Federal Railroad Administration to establish a designated quiet zone in each community so that trains will no longer need to blow their horns.
For more information about OCTA’s Rail Safety Celebration and to learn more about Orange County's upcoming rail projects, please click here to view OCTA’s “Transportation in 2” video on YouTube.
|SOUTH COUNTY NEWS
San Juan Creek and Trabuco Creek Levee Reinforcement Projects
The Orange County Flood Control District (OCFCD) has embarked upon a levee fortification program to protect hundreds of residences from levee failure along San Juan Creek and Trabuco Creek. These creeks have sustained extensive damage in the past requiring residents in the immediate areas to be evacuated during heavy rainstorms. The program, which was presented to the community on April 15, 2008 in a public meeting, involves inserting steel-pile protection through the top of the levee in order to stop bank erosion and prevent levee failure.
Considering the significant cost of this protection project, approximately $100 million, work must be accomplished in phases. The first phase of the levee reinforcement project is well underway and is anticipated to be completed by November of 2009. Phases Two and Three have begun and are anticipated to be completed in the fall of 2010. The importance of these levee repairs is underscored by the fact that we are preparing for a possible upcoming El Nino season.
For a map detailing the various phases along San Juan Creek as well as its upstream tributary, Trabuco Creek, please click here.
To be included in the mailing distribution list for public meeting notices about this project, please call (714) 834-2599.
Orange County Fire Authority’s Fourth Annual Open House
Meet your local firefighters and learn how to prepare for a wildfire as Orange County Fire Authority hosts its Fourth Annual Open House on Saturday, October 3, 2009, from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at its Regional Fire Operations & Training Center located at 1 Fire Authority Road (Jamboree & Tustin Ranch Rd.) in Irvine. Bring your family and friends to see live fire demonstrations, put out make-believe fires, try on firefighter turnouts, and discover fire safety information in a fun-filled environment. For more information, please visit OCFA’s website at http://www.ocfa.org/.
|FIFTH DISTRICT SPOTLIGHT
"Tidepool Scene" Wins Telly Award
The Laguna Ocean Foundation’s “Tidepool Scene”, an educational video that emphasizes the importance of protecting the tide pools of Laguna Beach, recently won a coveted bronze Telly Award in the Education category.
The Telly Awards recognize the best in local and regional commercials and television programs and are extremely competitive, drawing thousands of applicants each year nationwide. The seven minute video, which was produced by Barnstormer Productions and the Laguna Beach Visitors & Conference Bureau, won an Emmy in the category of Children’s Programming earlier this year.
The feature short film is used in classrooms to prepare school children who are taking field trips to Laguna Beach. It has also been shown in local hotels, on regional cable television stations and can also be found on multiple websites. For more information and to view the film, please click here.
High Temperatures Bring Risk of Heat-Related Illnesses
During this current heat wave which is expected to extend through the weekend, the National Weather Service is urging residents to take precautions to prevent heat related illnesses.
Recommended precautions to prevent heat related illnesses include:
If you have to be outside in the heat, follow these recommendations:
- Staying cool indoors. Use your air conditioner to cool your home. If you don’t have air conditioning, visit public facilities such as shopping malls, community centers or libraries to stay cool. Do not rely on electric fans as your primary cooling device during a heat wave. When the temperature is in the high 90’s or higher, a fan will not prevent heat-related illness. A cool shower or bath is a more effective way to cool off.
- Drinking more fluids, especially water. Don’t wait until you are thirsty.
- Checking often on those at high-risk. This includes older adults, those with chronic medical conditions, people with disabilities, those who take certain medications and children. Make sure their air conditioner is turned on, or offer to take them to a cooler place.
- Don’t forget your pets. Remember that your pets are also in need of extra water and shade during this time.
For more information on heat related illnesses, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at www.cdc.gov.
- Wear light, loose-fitting clothing and a hat to provide shade from the sun. Use sunscreen.
- Avoid over-exertion and schedule outdoor activities for the cooler part of the day. Spend as much time as possible in the shade.
- Never leave a person or pet unattended in a closed car or other vehicle.
Special Cat and Kitten Promotion from Mission Viejo Animal Services
Now is the time to adopt a cat or kitten from Mission Viejo Animal Services, during a money-saving special promotion from August 29 to September 6.
DAWG (Dedicated Animal Welfare Group), a non-profit organization that provides animal medical care, is sponsoring a great opportunity to adopt cats and kittens at a reduced cost. Adoption fees are normally $135, but during the promotion will range from only $35 to $85. All cats and kittens adopted will be spayed or neutered, vaccinated and have a microchip. If you are looking to adopt, Mission Viejo Animal Services currently has over 70 cats and kittens anxiously awaiting new homes. For more information, please call (949) 470-3045 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Grant for Regional Waste Diversion Program
On Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors furthered its commitment to serve as the regional leader in waste diversion and recycling activities throughout Orange County by approving the Regional Recycling and Waste Diversion Grant Program for a second year in a row. This grant program utilizes a highly competitive application process and is offered to all cities and special districts within Orange County. Funded through revenue generated by our local self-hauled waste stream, this year’s available allocation was $2.5 million of which $1,139,247 was awarded to Fifth District public entities. It is important to note that these funds are legally restricted and can only be used to support waste diversion and recycling activities. To view a list of the programs receiving funding, please click here.
|SOUTH COUNTY CALENDAR
End of Summer Concert & BBQ with Marines
You are invited to the City of Dana Point’s last summer Concert in the Park on Sunday, August 30 from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. The Dana Point 5th Regiment Support Group will be teaming up with Steer Crazy BBQ to serve delicious food along with other snacks. Proceeds from the outing will be donated to the 5th Marines Headquarters Company Birthday Ball Fund. There will also be live entertainment by three bands, one of which is the SSgt Chris Lozano Country Western Band. Parking is $5. For more information, visit http://www.danapoint5thmarines.com/.
Chamber Features Public Safety Report
The San Juan Capistrano Chamber of Commerce is hosting a breakfast on Wednesday, September 2 from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. at the Emeritus in San Juan Capistrano, 31741 Rancho Viejo Road. The featured speaker will be Sheriff Sandra Hutchens to discuss important public safety issues. The cost is $5 for Chamber members and $10 for the general public and includes breakfast. For more information, please click here.
25th Annual Tall Ships Festival in Dana Point
The Ocean Institute in Dana Point Harbor is celebrating its 25th year hosting the Toshiba Tall Ships Festival, the largest annual gathering of tall ships on the West Coast. Join us September 5 through 7 for a weekend of fun and adventure as we celebrate our area’s rich maritime history!
The festival will feature a spectacular array of family-fun activities, including live music, art & craft shows, exciting living-history demonstrations, and a variety of tasty food. Enjoy nautical displays and presentations, Polynesian dancers, sea-chantey concerts, an interactive pirate encampment and dramatic sunset cannon battles. Additionally, you can explore the historic tall ships and listen to the crew share tales of adventure and life at sea. Last, but not least, you are invited to explore the Ocean Institute and our local marine environment, enjoy live parrot shows, play pirate games, and participate in special interactive programs. For more information, please click here.
2009 Mission Viejo Readers’ Festival: Limited Seating
The 2009 Mission Viejo Readers’ Festival, a free event sponsored by the Friends of the Mission Viejo Library, will take place Saturday, September 12 from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on the Village Green and Norman P. Murray Community and Senior Center. Presentations by bestselling authors Dean Koontz and Henry Winkler are expected to be very popular, so seating is limited.
Free wristbands, which will be limited to one per person and are only available to the first 500 attendees for each event on a first-come-first-served basis, will be distributed beginning at 10:00 a.m. Both events will be held in the Sycamore Room of the Norman P. Murray Community and Senior Center. Henry Winkler will speak from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. and Dean Koontz will speak from 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. More information on the speaking schedule, authors, illustrators, entertainers, and food vendors is available at www.mvreadersfestival.org.
|FIFTH DISTRICT WRAP-UP
In addition to my many meetings, briefings, and other supervisorial activities, I also:
My office also:
- Attended a retirement party for United States Marine Corps Major General Michael R. Lehnert, Commanding General of the USMC Camp Pendleton
- Attended a memorial service for Cheryl Ann Walker, reporter and feature writer for the Laguna Woods Globe
My staff and I look forward to continually providing you updated information in our Fifth District Newsletter and website.
- Attended the South Orange County Regional Chamber of Commerce Governmental Affairs Committee meeting
- Attended the Orange County Taxpayers Association meeting
- Attended the Orange County Public Affairs Association Legislative Staffers Luncheon
- Attended the San Juan Capistrano Chamber of Commerce Legislative Committee Meeting
- Participated in Harbor Patrol tour of the Dana Point Harbor
- Attended the Grand Opening of the Pretend City Children’s Museum in Irvine. Click here for more information.
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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