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September 11, 2009

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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

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Volume 3 Issue 35

Patriot Day

Today, we remember a tragic day in American history, September 11, 2001. On this eighth anniversary of the terrorist attacks we remember the nearly 3,000 Americans who lost their lives. We also honor the many men and women of our armed forces who have sacrificed their lives since that day in our nation’s War on Terror. It is because of the bravery of our armed forces that this country has not had to endure another attack on our soil. We can be proud of our servicemen and women for being 100% successful in keeping our nation safe from the threat of terrorism.

In his address to the nation on the evening of September 11, 2001, President Bush said, “on this day our fellow citizens, our way life, our very freedom came under attack.” The American people responded with a unified voice and showed the world the importance of standing up for the values we hold so dear. We faced then, and we still face today, an enemy that does not believe in the equality of all and the freedom of every individual. In the eight years since that day, we have scored many victories, but have also lost many brave Americans. We can honor them best by remaining united in our efforts to keep our nation safe. Let us be thankful for the gifts our country has, and remember that we must always be united and vigilant in the defense of those gifts, our values, and our freedom. May God bless the souls of the victims of September 11 and may He continue to protect and bless the servicemen and women who are keeping us safe.


No Board Meeting this Week

There was no regularly scheduled meeting of the Board of Supervisors this week.

Our next Board meeting will be held Tuesday, September 15. For Agenda & Meeting Information, please click here.

Live Internet broadcasts of Board of Supervisors meetings are available and archived as video-on-demand. To view live and/or past Board meetings, please click here.

County Conveys Concern with State’s Proposed Early Release Plan

On Thursday, county law enforcement officials joined me in sending a letter to Governor Schwarzenegger expressing deep concern over the proposed legislation to release serious and violent felons into our communities without parole.

The letter, which was also signed by Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas, Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens and Orange County Chief Probation Officer Colleene Preciado, sent a unified message that Orange County does not support the recommended early release policy because it will expose law enforcement agencies to a significantly increased number of criminals that are now well aware that they will not be held accountable for their actions. The letter further requested that each county in California be given no less than a thirty day notice of the early release of prisoners concurrent with the right to determine if local supervision is warranted. We’re simply asking that the State provide local law enforcement with the tools needed to keep our communities safe.

To view the letter that was sent, please click here.

Audit Oversight Committee

On September 2, I participated in the quarterly Audit Oversight Committee meeting which I sit on as a voting member through my position as Chair of the Board of Supervisors. For those that may be unaware of this committee, the Audit Oversight Committee was established by the Board of Supervisors after the County’s bankruptcy to provide an additional layer of oversight on the financial operations of the County of Orange. The members of this committee include Chair and Vice-Chair of the Board, Auditor-Controller, County Executive Officer and a publicly appointed member. The Treasurer-Tax Collector is also a member of this committee serving as an Ex-Officio Member.

The committee received an overview of the process that the County’s external auditors will use to perform audits during the upcoming fiscal year and the changes in auditing standards that will be applied to these audits.

The Committee also received an update on the performance of the Structured Investment Vehicles (SIVs) currently held in the County’s investment fund. Currently, two of the County’s three SIVs have matured as of June of this year. The Whistlejacket Capital LLC was valued at $80 million at the date of receivership and the County has received approximately $28 million in monthly cash distributions, with $51 million currently outstanding. These monthly payments reflect the County’s pro-rata share of our investment in the overall portfolio.

The committee reviewed and approved the Compliance Audit of the Audit Oversight Committee which found no material weaknesses in the governance model of the Committee. However, there was discussion as to the best structure to model the committee after, and included suggestions from the Auditor-Controller on additional policies that could provide greater oversight and accountability to the County’s finances.

Before the Committee adjourned, I requested the County’s Internal Auditor to perform a thorough review of the Community Facilities Districts (Mello-Roos) to ensure compliance with the requirements established under the Mello-Roos act and the provisions specified in original bond approvals. This request was approved by the members of the Committee and the audit will be underway shortly. Upon the conclusion and approval of the audit, I will be making the audit findings public so that the residents currently living within these Mello-Roos districts are fully informed as to where and how these funds are utilized.

Orange County Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO)

At our September 9 meeting, the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) considered a Sphere of Influence update for the City of Rancho Santa Margarita. Representatives from the City of Rancho Santa Margarita, Coto de Caza, Las Flores, LAFCO and my office have been involved in a series of meetings to assess potential long-term governance options for this area. As such, the Commission voted to continue this item for six months to allow the discussions between the various stakeholders to reach conclusion.

The Commissioners also received a report, analyzing alternative governance options of the Municipal Water District of Orange County’s current governance structure. Although no action was taken on report as it was received as an information item, a number of interested parties attended the meeting to address the Commission on the matter. The LAFCO Governance Study for the Municipal Water District of Orange County can be found on page 212 of the LAFCO Agenda. To view the September 9 LAFCO Agenda Packet, please click here.


Improved Cell Service on the 241 Toll Road

At Wednesday’s San Joaquin Hills and Foothill/Eastern Board meetings, Directors received an update on the completion of four cell towers along the northern section of the 241 Toll Road between Irvine and the 91 freeway. Construction is scheduled for completion on October 15 at the Windy Ridge and Loma Ridge cell sites and the Presida Canyon and Irvine Lake cell sites should be completed November 1 and at the end of December, respectively. After construction is completed, cell phone service carriers will take about 30 days to install their equipment. Four of the largest carriers -- Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon and AT&T -- will share the sites, improving the signal for many drivers along this stretch.

Construction Update on 73 and 241 Toll Roads

The Foothill/Eastern Boards of Directors also received an update on the roadway improvement projects that are currently underway on the 73 and 241 Toll Roads.

On the 73 Toll Road, concrete and stressing cables have been placed on the Bonita Canyon Road and Newport Coast Drive Bridges and the wildlife crossing bridge is nearly completed. The northern and southern sections of the widening project have been paved and a bridge barrier from the northbound bridge over the 133 at El Toro has been removed to allow for widening and a new on-ramp configuration.

Over the next month, asphalt paving will be completed in the northern section and roadway and barrier work will resume in the southern section. This project is scheduled for completion in December.

On the 241 Toll Road, bridge construction continues at the northbound Windy Ridge Wildlife Crossing and Southern California Edison Bridges. Placement of the base layer and asphalt paving for the northbound widening as well as excavation and rock removal for the southbound widening has been completed.

The contractor is also nearing completion of on-site soil cement treatment. Over the next month, construction will be completed on the Windy Ridge Wildlife Crossing and Southern California Edison Bridges and placement of roadway widening for the northbound and southbound roadway sections will continue. The project is scheduled for completion in October.

In addition to these Transportation Corridor Agency (TCA) improvement projects, Caltrans began an asphalt overlay project on the 73 Toll Road this week. The roadway will be resurfaced from Bonita Canyon Road to the Interstate 5 connection. The plan is to pave the southbound lanes from the north to the south to avoid conflicts with the current northbound widening project. This project is scheduled for completion in January 2010.


Ortega Highway Fire

Late last week there was a 25-acre fire near Ortega Highway. The fire was located in the Cleveland National Forest, roughly 12 miles east of the Orange County line. Firefighters from the U.S. Forest Service, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and the Orange County Fire Authority worked diligently throughout the day and night to get the fire under control and extinguish the flames. No structures were damaged and no major injuries were reported.

Fortunately, this fire did not reach the level of devastation faced by our neighbors in Los Angeles County during the recent Station Fire. However, these fires should serve as burning reminders that we must remain ever vigilant of the threat of fires during this time of year. We live in an area that prone to fire. It is the responsibility of each and everyone of us to make sure we are prepared in the event of a major emergency.

Information is available about disaster preparedness from a number of sources, including a County website, www.ReadyOC.org, that I am pleased to have had input in recreating. I will be actively participating in the official relaunch of the website, which will take place next week. Additionally, I am hosting my second annual South County Disaster Preparedness Expo at the Mission Viejo Norman P. Murray Center on Saturday, October 17. Look for more information in upcoming newsletters.

For more information on the Ortega Highway Fire, visit www.ocfa.org.


Mobile Unit Team Gains National Recognition

An Orange County Health Care Agency (HCA) program delivering health services to the homeless has received the Model Practice Award from the National Association of City and County Health Officers (NACCHO).

HCA’s Mobile Unit Team was one of 23 programs selected to receive recognition from among the more than 115 programs nominated by health departments nationwide. The Model Practice Award honors programs that demonstrate how local health departments and community partners can effectively collaborate to address public health needs.

Orange County’s Mobile Unit Team was formed to address the tremendous need for coordinated services for the homeless. With direction provided by HCA, community partners including the Orange County Rescue Mission, Kaiser Permanente, University of California, Irvine and the Illumination Foundation have joined with HCA staff to better coordinate existing programs and services. Other partners, including Cal Optima, the County’s Medical Services Initiative, the Social Services Agency, legal assistance programs, law enforcement and behavioral health specialists bring additional services and expertise to the effort that originally focused on meeting the health care needs identified during a visit to winter homeless shelters.

During a 17 month period, the Mobile Unit Team has provided services to almost 1,200 clients at twelve different locations in Orange County. Two public health nurses with the County’s Comprehensive Health Assessment Team for the Homeless provide coordination of services and help homeless individuals identify a medical home that will provide them with on-going health care services.


Mission Viejo Country Club Honors Marine

The Mission Viejo Country Club will donate proceeds from its 911 Charity Golf Tournament to help benefit Mission Viejo’s Hometown Marine.

Roughly $6,000 that was raised during Wednesday’s tournament will be donated to the family of 20-year-old Lance Cpl. Alex Minsky, who was severely injured after a bomb exploded near his vehicle in Afghanistan. The country club’s contribution follows an outpouring of community support demonstrated for Minsky during a blood and gift-card drive that was held last month in Mission Viejo in his honor.


Novel H1N1 Vaccine Update

The Orange County Health Care Agency (HCA) is actively engaged in planning for the distribution of the Novel H1N1 Vaccine in response to the Pandemic (H1N1) 2009. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will be distributing the vaccine after clinical trials are completed to assure its safety and efficacy. It is anticipated that the vaccine will be available to targeted priority groups beginning in late October and through the fall and winter. Priority groups have been identified by the CDC as pregnant women, people who live with or care for children younger than 6 months of age, healthcare and emergency medical services personnel, persons between the ages of 6 months and 24 years of age, and people from ages 25 through 64 years who have chronic health disorders or compromised immune systems.

The HCA will alert providers of the process for registering and ordering the vaccine and will work with community providers to assure full access to the vaccine by individuals in the priority groups. For more information on the H1N1 Vaccine, please click here.

Mental Health Board Openings

The Orange County Health Care Agency’s Behavioral Heath Services Mental Health Board has vacancies that need to be filled and recruitment for new members is underway. Responsibilities include reviewing and evaluating the County’s mental health planning process and the County’s performance contracts as well as making recommendations to the Behavioral Heath Director and the Orange County Board of Supervisors. If you or someone you know may be interested in serving in this volunteer capacity, please contact Danielle Hopson at (714) 834-5481 or dhopson@ochca.com. For more information, please click here.


South County Restaurant Town Hall

The County strives to ensure that the food sold and served in Orange County is safe, wholesome, properly labeled, and produced under sanitary conditions. The public has grown increasingly concerned about food safety, however, due to the link between food handling and food borne illness.

In response, the Board of Supervisors voted in December 2008 to enhance the County’s inspection notification system. The enhanced notification system, which is effective October 1, will include placards with three distinct notification seals to better communicate to the public the level of sanitation in the food facility following its most recent inspection.

In an effort to help educate restaurant owners and food retail facility operators about the new system, I am hosting a South County Restaurant Town Hall on Thursday, September 17 from 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the OC Sailing and Events Center in Dana Point. For the event flyer, please click here.

For additional information about the Food Protection Program enhancements, please call (714) 433–6000 or click here.


Jazz Wednesdays in Laguna Beach

Laguna Beach Live! is presenting extraordinary jazz vocalist Karen Gallinger at the next Jazz Wednesday concert on September 16. The event will take place from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 pm in the beautiful outdoor Rose Garden of the Hotel Laguna, located at 425 South Coast Highway. Cover charge is $10 per person. For more information, visit www.lagunabeachlive.org.

Aliso Viejo’s Founder’s Day Fair

The City of Aliso Viejo will host its annual Founder's Day Fair, a community-oriented event, on Saturday, September 26 from 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. This special "Day at the Ranch" includes live entertainment, a water balloon launch, games, demonstrations, gold panning, pony rides and much more. The fair, which takes place annually at the 7-acre Aliso Viejo Ranch located at 100 Park Avenue, will take visitors on a trip back to the Old West with a walk through an original barn and views of original equipment and farm implements that are no longer made. Admission is free. More information about Founder's Day Fair is available at www.cityofalisoviejo.com.

OC International Triathlon

Accomplished triatheletes from across the country are gearing up for the 2nd Annual Orange County International Triathlon in Mission Viejo on Sunday, September 27.

This year’s event, which is expected to attract 800 to 1,000 participants, boasts the Best of the U.S. Series Championship, featuring athletes who have qualified at a race in each of the nation’s 50 states. The triathlon begins at 7 a.m. with a 1-mile swim in Lake Mission Viejo, followed by a 25-mile bike ride that takes athletes into Santiago Canyon. After returning to Aliso Creek Bike Trail, near the Saddleback Community Church, the athletes will run a 10K that will bring them back to Lake Mission Viejo.

During the last 1/4 mile, participants will cross the 1984 Olympic Bike finish line before entering the Lake area. At the end of the event, the top female and male athlete will be crowned champion of the BOUS Series.

Registration is still available for the event that benefits the Mission Viejo Nadadores, Saddleback YMCA, local youth groups and the MS Society. Applications are available online at www.octri.com. Spectators can enjoy the race around the Lake and on Olympiad and Marguerite. Parking is available at Florence Joyner Olympiad Park at 22760 Olympiad Road. For more information, visit www.octri.com.


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

  • Presented a resolution at the Laguna Woods Village 45th Anniversary celebration
  • Met with representatives from SDG&E regarding emergency preparedness plans
  • Met with OCTA CEO Will Kempton to discuss South Orange County transportation priorities
  • Received a special honor from Mission San Juan Capistrano at it’s annual "Romance of Mission" gala in recognition of my support of the Mission over many years
My office also:
  • Presented a certificate of recognition at the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Studio theater at Sage Hill High School in Newport Coast
  • Toured the improvement project construction site at John Wayne Airport
  • Attended the Dana Point Chamber of Commerce Legislative Affairs Committee meeting
  • Met with representatives of the San Diego Regional Water Board
  • Attended the Laguna Beach Homeless Task Force 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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