November 13, 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. DISASTER READINESS, RESPONSE & RECOVERY
4. COUNTY CONNECTIONS
5. SOUTH COUNTY NEWS
6. HEALTH HERALD
7. HARBOR HAPPENINGS
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
Click here to subscribe.
Click here to unsubscribe
|BOARD BULLETIN BOARD
Public Safety Budget Reductions
Following my request, at Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting the County’s CEO budget staff presented the Board with a list of practical reductions the Sheriff’s Department could take to assist in closing its budget shortfall.
According to our budget staff, the Sheriff’s Department faces a $24 million dollar shortfall this fiscal year and an estimated $63 million shortfall next fiscal year. The shortfall stems from a continuing decline in revenue. It is my hope that the options presented by the CEO will serve as a useful tool for the Sheriff’s Department staff as they work to bring their budget into balance.
On November 24th, the Board will receive our first quarter budget report for all County departments. At that time, we be reviewing our CEO’s recommendations and beginning our work with the departments with a focus on trimming overhead costs while maintaining quality core services.
To view a copy of the CEO’s recommendation click here.
Internal Borrowing Policy
As reported in my newsletter previously, on October 9, 2009, the Board of Supervisors authorized the borrowing of approximately $22 million from the OC Waste and Recycling post-closure fund for costs associated with the Assessment Tax System and Property Tax Management System, which are vital to the County’s operations. This action was necessary to bring these systems online and included a cost-effective repayment plan within 5 years.
During the discussion of this proposal, the CEO’s office was directed to return to the Board with a policy that would provide strict parameters for utilizing OC Waste and Recycling post-closure funds and similar funds for internal borrowing purposes to ensure that all future internal borrowing occurs only to maintain the core functions of the County during these difficult economic times.
On Tuesday, the CEO’s office returned to the Board with such a policy. It addressed many of the concerns presented by the Board regarding the practice of internal borrowing. However, I recommended inclusion of an additional requirement that all borrowed funds be paid back within 5 years and only by a 4/5 super-majority vote could that timeline for repayment be extended. The Board unanimously approved this policy.
Having served in the Legislature and observed first-hand some of the questionable borrowing practices of the State, I feel this additional requirement was necessary as a safeguard. I believe the final policy adopted by the Board ensures that County agency budgets are protected and that all internal borrowing is kept in-check and only used under the most severe circumstances.
Bus Cuts will be less than Expected
The Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) Board of Directors voted Monday to reduce 150,000 hours of service in March – half of the 300,000 hours that were originally planned.
The service reductions are taking place in an effort to bridge a more than $330 million budget shortfall over the next five years due to a decline in sales tax revenue and fare revenue and the elimination of the State Transit Assistance fund.
The impetus for reducing the amount of needed cuts was a recent court ruling which determined that the State’s raid on transit money was illegal, increasing the likelihood that the Sate could restore some of its funding for transit operations. If the state funding is not restored, OCTA may need to reduce additional service.
The Board’s decision follows a public hearing that was held on October 26, where residents provided input on strategies for reducing service. So far, more than 900 comments have been received regarding the service cuts. The Board is scheduled to vote on a specific service reduction plan at the November 23 Board meeting. For more information on the bus service reductions, please visit www.octa.net/marchchange.
Improved Cell Phone Service Coverage on the way
On Thursday, the Foothill/Eastern Transportation Corridor Agency Board of Directors received an update on the construction of four cell towers along the SR-241 from Irvine to the 91 freeway. Construction is nearly complete and cellular carriers AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon have begun installing their equipment. Drivers can expect improved cell phone coverage on the following dates:
Additionally, each cell site will also host Metro PCS which will be available some time in 2010. Please remember to always follow state law and use a hands-free device when talking on a cell phone while driving.
- Windy Ridge - AT&T and T-Mobile: available now; Verizon and Sprint: available the week of November 16
- Irvine Lake – Sprint, AT&T and T-Mobile: available the end of December
- Presidio Canyon - Verizon: available November 13; AT&T: available December 2; T-Mobile and Sprint: available December 20
- Loma Ridge - Verizon: available November 13; AT&T: available the week of November 16; Sprint and T-Mobile: available December 10
To view the power point presentation which outlines the locations of the four new cell towers, please click here.
Speed Limit Reduced on John Wayne Airport Roadways
Effective Monday, November 16, the speed limit on a portion of John Wayne Airport’s roadways will be reduced from 25 mph to 15 mph due to ongoing construction activity. The reduced speed limit will affect traffic exiting the Airport on both the upper and lower level roadways towards Campus Drive and MacArthur Blvd. as well as traffic entering the Airport from Campus Drive. Speed limits will be strictly enforced. Additionally, beginning November 20, 2009, a new traffic signal will be added to Airport Way and a portion of John Wayne Airport’s Terminal roadways near Terminal B will be narrowed to one lane until late 2010.
|DISASTER READINESS, RESPONSE & RECOVERY
County Launches OC Fire Watch Program
This weekend marks the one-year anniversary of the Freeway Complex Fire, the County’s most devastating fire on record which consumed over 30,000 acres and destroyed hundreds of homes and buildings. The memories of that fire and the Santiago Fire two years ago still linger as painful reminders of the devastation wildfires can inflict on our wilderness areas and nearby residential communities. On Thursday, I was pleased to have representatives from OC Parks and OC Fire Authority join me in a press conference announcing the launch of County’s new OC Fire Watch program.
It was during the planning of this year’s South County Disaster Preparedness Expo that the need for OC Fire Watch became very clear, as my office was engaged in discussions with several existing Fire Watch groups throughout the County -- groups such as the Irvine Ranch Conservancy, South County Land Stewards, Greater Laguna Fire Safety Council, and the Inter-Canyon League. These citizen Fire Watch groups work to deter arson and report behaviors that could lead to wildfire in the specific wilderness areas they patrol during periods of elevated fire danger, also known as Red Flag conditions, which occur when strong winds are accompanied by low humidity levels and high temperatures.
Through our OC Parks department, the County manages nearly 40,000 acres of parkland and open space. Additionally, the County manages an Adopt-a-Park program, consisting of approximately 4,000 volunteers who perform a variety of activities that benefit our OC Parks. Yet, until now, there was no volunteer Fire Watch program for these OC Parks volunteers and the community to become involved in.
Going forward, OC Fire Watch volunteers will be deployed to monitor the wildlands within and around our County parks during Red Flag conditions. At such times, all Orange County wilderness and regional parks as well as OCFA fire stations will also raise Red Flags displaying the words “Fire Alert” to warn residents of the increased risk of wildfire.
As we move forward, I will be inviting all Orange County cities to participate in the OC Fire Watch program by joining the County in raising the red Fire Alert flags at their respective City Halls during Red Flag conditions. In the future, we expect to also extend invitations to schools, businesses and land owners along the urban/wildland interface to participate in the Red Flag program and to help disseminate the OC Fire Watch information and materials developed by OCFA.
Additionally, my office is currently in discussions with The Toll Roads to participate in OC Fire Watch by displaying matching Red Flag Alert signage along the toll roads and to inform motorists of increased fire dangers, especially the risk of fire ignition caused by the catalytic converters of vehicles pulling off the roadside.
I will also soon be hosting an OC Fire Watch Community Action Forum with all the local Fire Watch groups and other interested parties throughout Orange County in an effort to establish a cohesive network to share information and resources that will further work to protect our communities and wilderness areas from the threat of wildfire.
I would like to thank OC Parks and OCFA and their respective staffs for their outstanding efforts in this important countywide effort!
More information about the OC Fire Watch program and volunteer opportunities is available at ReadyOC.org by clicking here and OC Parks’ website by clicking here. To view photos from the press conference, please click here.
Candidates Sought to Fill Retirement Board Vacancy
The Board of Supervisors is seeking candidates to fill a vacancy on the Board of Retirement of the Orange County Employees Retirement System (OCERS).
The vacancy, created by the resignation of an OCERS Board member, is for a term that expires December 31, 2009. The candidate selected may be reappointed to a full three year term on the OCERS Board.
I encourage interested Orange County residents to send a letter of interest to my office stating their credentials for the position. The OCERS Board of Retirement is an extremely important group to the County of Orange, its employees and the taxpayers. We are seeking highly qualified candidates for our consideration in filling this vacancy.
Letters of interest and supporting information should be sent as soon as possible to:
Supervisor Patricia C. Bates
Chair, Orange County Board of Supervisors
333 W. Santa Ana Blvd., 5th Floor
Santa Ana, CA 92701
Adventures in Writing
Orange County Public Libraries, in association with the Barclay Theaters, is sponsoring a short story writing contest for Orange County children between the ages of 8 and 12. This year’s theme, “Nobody’s Perfect”, encourages students to submit stories in which the main characters learn valuable lessons when life takes unexpected turns. All finalists will have their stories copied, illustrated and bound into a book that will be available at each of the County’s libraries. For more information and the contest entry form, please click here.
|SOUTH COUNTY NEWS
Concert Supporting Vocational Visions
The City of Mission Viejo is teaming up with Vocational Visions to host a special music program on November 22 to benefit the organization, which serves people with developmental and other disabilities. Back to the Beatles: A Musical Journey will be held from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. at the Norman P. Murray Community and Senior Center, 24932 Veterans Way. Visitors will enjoy the talents of well-known performer Sebastian Chang on piano and keyboard along with some light refreshments.
Mission Viejo-based Vocational Visions has provided services for people with developmental and other disabilities since 1974. Serving more than 400 adults in South Orange County, Vocational Visions is the only organization of its kind in the area with both on-site and community-based services. Through eight comprehensive programs, the organization focuses on enhancing the quality of life for adults with disabilities by providing education, job training and placement, health-related services and recreational activities. For more information, please call (949) 470-3062 and reference course #1812.
Aliso Viejo Friends of the Library Donation
This week the Orange County Board of Supervisors was notified of a very special donation from the Aliso Viejo Friends of the Library. The generous donation of $8,000 will go towards reupholstering the chairs currently in use at the Aliso Viejo Library. Friends of the Library programs operate bookstores, hold fundraisers, and solicit donations around the County to provide financial support, reading materials, and program support to the County’s regional library system.
H1N1 Vaccine Update
On Saturday, 1,900 South County children were able to receive a free H1N1 vaccination at Cox Communications in Rancho Santa Margarita. During my visit to the site, I was very pleased with how efficient the County of Orange Health Care Agency handled the proper distribution of the vaccine.
For those individuals still waiting to get their seasonal or H1N1 flu shot, please visit the HCA website for more information as additional clinics are scheduled. Women who are pregnant should call the Health Care Agency Referral Line at (800) 564-8448 to schedule an appointment for a preservative free H1N1 vaccination. For more information, please visit HCA’s website by clicking here.
November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month
November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month, a national campaign dedicated to increasing attention to lung cancer issues. According to the American Cancer Society, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in American men and women today. It’s also the most preventable form of cancer, with 87 percent of lung cancer cases attributable to tobacco use. It’s estimated that more than 213,000 new cases of lung cancer will be diagnosed in the U.S. before year’s end and more than 160,000 lives will be lost. The following tips are things people can do to reduce their risk of getting the disease:
Visit American Cancer website Society at http://www.cancer.org for resources, tips for quitting smoking, research and much more.
- Quit Smoking: According to reports, smoking is the number-one risk factor for lung cancer. Quitting smoking is the best defense against lung cancer.
- Eat fruits and vegetables: Studies suggest eating fruits and vegetables, which are rich in antioxidants and flavonoids, will help to protect your cell’s DNA and repair damaged cells.
- Have your home tested for radon: Radon is the result of broken down uranium. It is a radioactive gas that cannot be seen, felt, smelled or tasted. According to reports, uranium occurs naturally in the soil, and the fear is that homes are being built over natural deposits, creating high levels of indoor radon exposure, which can lead to lung cancer.
- Know what you are being exposed to in the workplace: If you are exposed to fumes, dust, chemicals and such at work, you have a right to know. Gasoline, diesel exhaust, arsenic, vinyl chloride, nickel chromates, coal products, mustard gas, and chloromethyl ethers are all carcinogens and can be found in some work environments. Talk to your employer about limiting exposure.
- Keep away from secondhand smoke: Secondhand smoke is the smoke exhaled from a smoker or smoke from a lit cigarette, pipe or cigar. This smoke contains more than 60 known carcinogens.
Portions of the Dana Warf parking lot will be closed November 16-18 for concrete repairs to the parking lot, followed by asphalt pavement replacement. All businesses will remain accessible as there will be no sidewalk closures. For additional information, please contact OC Dana Point Harbor at (949) 923-3794.
OC Animal Care Foster Program
OC Animal Care’s Foster Program is providing a second chance for young, injured, abused or under-socialized animals. Sometimes kittens, puppies, cats and dogs need special attention and extra interaction, which the shelter cannot always provide.
That’s why foster caretakers are so important. These volunteers care for animals that are in need of extra attention at their homes and return them to the shelter when they are ready for adoption. They provide handling, socialization, care and love to the foster animals while OC Animal Care provides any medical treatment necessary as well as donated food, toys, and supplies.
Being a foster caretaker can be both a challenging and rewarding experience. This program has helped saved thousands of lives and with the support of new and existing foster caretakers, it can help save thousands more. If you are interested in learning more about this program, please contact the OC Animal Care Volunteer Program Coordinator at (714) 935-6194.
|NOTES FROM THE FIELD
American Indian Stories, Toys and Games at Laguna Coast Wilderness Park
Join the talented Acjachemen performer, Jacque Nunez, as she transports visitors into the traditional life of the Acjachemen people and into the world of our shared past on Sunday, November 15 at the Nix Nature Center at Laguna Coast Wilderness Park. Guests will get the opportunity to make their very own American Indian toys to take home. The event will take place from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. with performances beginning at 2:00 p.m. The Nix Nature Center is located on the west side of Laguna Canyon Road/SR-133, approximately 3.5 miles south of I-5/405. Reservations are required and can be made by calling (949) 923-2235.
|SOUTH COUNTY CALENDAR
Care Packages for Marines and Sailors
The public is invited to help support Mission Viejo’s adopted Marines and Sailors by contributing items for holiday care packages. Volunteers are also sought to put together the packages that will be shipped overseas before the holidays.
Volunteers from the City’s Marines and Sailors Adoption Committee will collect donations from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 14 at the Albertsons grocery store located near the intersection of La Paz and Muirlands. If you are unable to make it to the store on Saturday, you can still drop off donations in specially designed boxes at City Hall; the library; Norman P. Murray Community and Senior Center; and the Montanoso and Sierra Recreation Centers.
Donations will be packaged by volunteers at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, November 15 at the Norman P. Murray Community and Senior Center, 24932 Veterans Way. For more information or to sign up to volunteer with this effort, call (949) 470-3061.
Free E-Waste Event
The City of San Juan Capistrano is teaming up with Goodwill of Orange County to host a free E-Waste Collection Event on Saturday, November 14 in celebration of America Recycles Day, a nationally recognized day dedicated to encouraging citizens to recycle and buy recycled products. Residents and businesses can dispose of electronic waste such as old cell phones, computers, monitors and TVs free of charge. The event is from 8:00 a.m. to noon in the City Hall parking lot at 32400 Paseo Adelanto. For more information about the City's E-Waste Event celebrating America Recycles Day, visit the City's Web site at www.sanjuancapistrano.org.
Laguna Hills Blood Drive
The Laguna Hills High School Key Club is hosting a blood drive on Thursday, November 19. Donors must be at least 17 years old, weigh more than 105 pounds, and must not have gotten a tattoo in the past six months. The blood drive will be held in the main gym from 7:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Visitors welcome to donate and do not need an appointment but are asked to first check in at the front office to get a visitor pass. For more information, please call (949) 770-5447.
Canned Food Drive
El Toro High School is collecting canned food for two local food banks through November 20. Cans and other non-perishable food may be dropped off at the school’s front office between 7:00 am and 4:00 pm (25255 Toledo Way, El Toro). The school hopes to collect 45,000 cans which will be given to the South County Outreach and Adopt-A-Neighbor programs.
Laguna Niguel Toy Drive
The Laguna Niguel Military Support Committee is accepting new unwrapped toys, gift cards or cash donations to support the city’s adopted Marines of the First Battalion Fourth Regiment and Sailors of the USS McClusky. Donations are tax-deductable and can be dropped off Monday through Friday between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. before December 4th at Laguna Niguel City Hall (27801 La Paz Road). 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:
- Joined with Supervisor Bill Campbell to attend a meet and greet at Camp Pendleton Marine Base with Major General Anthony L. Jackson and Colonel Nicholas F. Marano and their respective staffs
- Provided welcoming comments and presented certificates of recognition at the Laguna Woods American Legion Post 257 Veterans Day Ceremony
- Presented certificates of recognition at the Laguna Woods Bridge Club Conference recognizing UCI research into the causes and treatment of Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia
- Hosted a press conference to launch the OC Fire Watch Program
- Presented a resolution and certificates of recognition to "Our Adoption Heroes" at the Social Services Agency’s Children & Family Services Reception recognizing November as Adoption Awareness Month
- Attended the Rancho Santa Margarita Mayor's Economic Update Breakfast
My staff and I look forward to continually providing you updated information in our Fifth District Newsletter and website.
- Attended budget briefings for the Sheriff’s Department, District Attorney’s Office, Social Services Agency, Health Care Agency, Public Administrator, Public Guardian and Probation Department
- Presented a certificate of recognition at the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for the Lighting Gallery in Laguna Niguel
- Presented a certificate of recognition at the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for Be Buff Pilates in Laguna Niguel
- Presented a certificate of recognition at the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for the Laguna Beach Chiropractic Wellness Center
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.
Follow me on Facebook!