February 6, 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. COUNTY CONNECTIONS
3. ENVIRONMENTAL MEMOS
4. HARBOR HAPPENINGS
5. SUPPORT OUR TROOPS
6. CRITTER CHRONICLES
7. NOTES FROM THE FIELD
8. SOUTH COUNTY CALENDAR
9. 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
CCW Policy Update
The Board of Supervisors will be receiving an update from Sheriff Hutchens on her Concealed Carry Weapon (CCW) permit policy during our February 10th Board meeting. Anyone wishing to share their opinion on this issue is encouraged to attend the Board meeting and speak during public comment.
Additionally, I encourage any current CCW permit holder who has received a letter of intent to revoke to provide additional information to the Sheriff’s Department to strengthen his or her case for good cause based on the Sheriff’s published CCW permit policy. It is important to see the process though to its conclusion. Click here to view the Sheriff’s CCW policy.
I will continue to encourage the Sheriff to adopt a policy that is both transparent and recognizes the right of authorized citizens to carry a concealed weapon. Please continue to provide your comments and feedback to my office as I value your input on this topic.
Other Sheriff’s Department News
In recent weeks there have been reports about issues surrounding the security services provided by the Sheriff’s Department during Board of Supervisors meetings. After the January 13 Board meeting, several concerned residents contacted my office regarding the large number of Sheriff’s Department personnel present at the meeting as well as alleged actions taken against those in attendance to speak about the Sheriff’s CCW permit policy. Last week, it came to light that security surveillance cameras, used in the Board room during January 13 Board meeting, were found to have filmed confidential images of hand-written notes of two of my Board colleagues. This week, as a result of a public records request, we learned that several e-mails and text messages sent among Sheriff’s Department personnel during the November 18, 2008 Board meeting included hostile comments about both members of the Board and the public.
Obviously, all of these issues are of concern and it is unfortunate that the Board must take time to deal with such matters when we have so many other significant challenges to address. With that said, my Board colleagues and I are in the process of evaluating Board meeting security policies in an effort to ensure the meetings are kept safe for the public, county staff and elected officials to gather and conduct business while remaining a place where individuals’ rights to privacy and to exercise free speech are not infringed.
Police Community Reconciliation Program
This week I held a press conference, joined by Assistant Sheriff Jack Anderson and Human Relations Commission Director Rusty Kennedy, to announce several highlights of the newly created Police Community Reconciliation Program (PCRP) which are outlined in the Orange County Human Relations Commission’s recently released second quarterly report.
The PCRP was created last May by the Board of Supervisors to help community members come together with Sheriff’s deputies to resolve complaints that do not rise to the level of a formal investigation. These types of complaints usually result from misunderstandings and do not include cases where there are serious allegations or criminal misconduct. The mediation and conciliation processes, which are the core of the PCRP, are helping the Sheriff’s Department manage better community relations within its contract cities. The positive feedback coming from both the citizens utilizing the program as well as the Sheriff’s Department is encouraging, as the intention of creating the program was to facilitate better communication between the public and law enforcement and to resolve complaints in a more efficient and conciliatory manner.
For more information about the PCRP, please click here.
Continuation of Pay and Benefits for Employees on Active Duty
The Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the continuance of supplemental pay and provision of health benefits for County employees serving on active military duty. On October 16, 2001, the Board approved a resolution to provide supplemental pay and benefits to assist County employees serving in support of the National Emergency declared by the President as a result of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
The resolution applies to employees whose military base pay is less than their County base pay. The amount of supplemental pay received by the employee is the difference between their County base pay and their military base pay. Last year, 47 County employees received continued supplemental pay and benefits at a total cost of $712, 292.73. There are presently 29 employees serving on active duty.
OC Human Relations requests nominations
For 38 years, OC Human Relations has been honoring law enforcement officers, school officials and community members for their contributions to human relations in Orange County. The department is currently calling for nominations for Awards 38, its annual awards program. You are encouraged to submit nominations of individuals or groups of people you believe go above and beyond the call of duty to make significant contributions to their communities. Honorees in the past have advocated human and civil rights in the areas of health, education, immigration, labor, justice, housing, and employment. Nominations are due by March 2, 2009. For instructions on how to submit a nomination, please click here.
OC Public Libraries Teen Poetry and Art Contest
The OC Public Libraries’ 8th Annual Teen Poetry and Art Contest for teens between the ages of 12-18 will run from Monday, February 9 through March 14. Teens may submit an original poem and/or drawing to the contest. The winning poems at each branch library will be included in Voices in Verse, an anthology published by OC Public Libraries. Winning artwork will become the front and back cover designs of the book.
For more information about these and other library programs, visit the OC Public Libraries website at www.ocpl.org.
Shops at Mission Viejo Utilizes Solar Power
The Shops at Mission Viejo became an industry leader in going green with the completion of the largest solar roof installation ever done by a mall in the United States. According to reports, since its installation in late December, the 173-kilowatt system has created approximately 24,510 kilowatts of power, which would offset about 33,407 pounds of CO2 emissions. Mall officials say that even on a cloudy or rainy day the solar panels will be able to save up to 130 kilowatts of power. The 1,020 panel project, which cost more than $1 million, will supply approximately 5% of the mall’s yearly energy consumption, the equivalent of about what 30 homes would use.
Dana Point Harbor dredging work complete
Major dredging operations have completed at Dana Point Harbor. Since October, more than 100,000 cubic yards of sand have been dredged from the harbor. 48,000 cubic yards of high-quality sand was pumped onto Capistrano Beach and nearly 6,000 cubic yards of sand were pumped onto nearby Baby Beach. The dredging equipment will likely remain until the end of the month, however, to allow for any spot dredging that may be needed while post-project surveys are conducted to verify quantities and depths. For more information about Dana Point Harbor, click here.
|SUPPORT OUR TROOPS
Valentines for Laguna Hills’ Adopted Marine Battalion
The Laguna Hills 3/5 Adoption Committee is requesting participation from residents, schools, churches, organizations and businesses in and around Laguna Hills to help send Valentines, packages, cards and letters to the currently deployed Marines of the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment based out of Camp Pendleton. The committee would like to remind everyone that it is important to show the Battalion how much the community supports its service not just on holidays but all year round. Packages can contain anything from packaged holiday candy to toiletry items, games and books. For more information about sending packages and who to contact, please click here.
Interim Director of OC Animal Care Needed
As reported in my newsletter last week, many constituents have contacted me with questions and suggestions regarding the open position for the Director of OC Animal Care. While recruitment for this position began February 4, the department is also currently seeking someone to serve in an interim capacity, managing the day-to-day operations while the recruitment process is underway.
I wish to enlist the community’s assistance to help identify potential qualified candidates to serve as Interim Director of OC Animal Care. If you know anyone possessing the necessary qualifications and attributes to serve in this important capacity, please encourage them to view the job bulletin and/or apply online by clicking here.
For additional information, please contact Steve Franks, Director of OC Community Resources, at (714) 480-2788 or email Steve.Franks@hcs.ocgov.com
Noah’s Ark Revisited
The Ark of San Juan, a companion animal rescue organization in San Juan Capistrano, hit a milestone in January when it reach 40 as the number of animals from San Juan Capistrano it has retrieved from the County Shelter since its creation in April 2008. The number 40 is significant for the non-profit organization because its namesake comes from the Biblical story of Noah’s Ark in which it rained for 40 days and nights. The Ark Volunteers said the significance is enhanced further by the fact that the 40th animal was rescued on the 40th week of its incorporation. Volunteers said, “Whether or not it is divine inspiration, The Ark is caring for God’s creatures with perspiration and perseverance.”
The primary focus of The Ark has been rescuing and re-homing San Juan Capistrano dogs deemed “vicious” and “unadoptable” that are currently scheduled for euthanasia. Along with dogs, The Ark has also rescued cats, rabbits, and even a chicken.
For more information about The Ark and the work of its volunteers, you may visit its website at www.arksanjuan.org or you may call the organization at (949) 388-0039.
|NOTES FROM THE FIELD
Valentine's Day Sunset Hike
On Saturday, February 14, from 4:00-5:30 p.m., join your sweetheart and enjoy the sunset while learning about diverse plant life on a 2-mile hike through Laguna Coast Wilderness Park. Leading the hike will be Orange County Interpretive Specialist Laura Cohen and Laguna Canyon Foundation volunteer naturalist Joyce Cross. The cost is $5 per person and parking is $3. To reserve your reservation, please call 949-923-2235. For more information about this and other events put on by the Laguna Canyon Foundation, please click here.
|SOUTH COUNTY CALENDAR
OC Public Libraries Reader’s Rally
Open houses are currently being held in all branches of the OC Public Libraries through February 14 to showcase special services and programs that highlight why each of them is unique. A calendar of activities can be found at each branch’s webpage on the OC Public Libraries website at www.ocpl.org.
As a special feature of Reader’s Rally, the Overdrive Bookmobile will be visiting the Rancho Santa Margarita Library on Saturday, February 14. This 74-foot, 18 wheel trailer-tracker will provide interactive opportunities for the community to learn about the e-audio downloadable books that are available at all branches of the OC Public Libraries.
Heritage Hill Historical Park Free Local History Lecture Series
The Heritage Hill Historical Park in Lake Forest is hosting free Sunday lectures by local author, publisher and teacher Douglas Westfall through Sunday, February 22. A longtime resident of Orange County, Douglas has published books on America’s history for nearly twenty years as owner of The Paragon Agency, Publishers.
The lectures will take place on February, 8, 15 and 22 and begin at 2:00 p.m. Topics include Letters from the Field - Reporting from the Custer’s Last Stand, Stories of Old El Toro, and Prisoners of the Civil War -- The 1st Submarine in Action.
For more information, please call 949-923-2230 or click here.
City of Dana Point Blood Drive
The City of Dana Point and the American Red Cross are sponsoring a blood drive on Wednesday, February 11 at City Hall from noon until 6:00 pm. Donors will receive a coupon for a free appetizer from Mimi's Café and will be entered into a regional drawing for a spa package valued at $500.
To make an appointment for the blood drive, please visit the American Red Cross website at www.givelife.org. If you have any questions about the blood drive or how to donate, please contact Jeremy Kirchner at the City of Dana Point at firstname.lastname@example.org or (949) 248-3579.
Tribute to Louis Armstrong
Memorabilia of the man who is largely credited as the “Father of Jazz and Popular Music”, Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong, will be on display at the Norman P. Murray Community and Senior Center in Mission Viejo throughout February as a part of the City’s tribute to his life. A special screening of the documentary “Satchmo”, which chronicles the life of the legendary musician, will air Friday, February 27 at 7:00 p.m. at the Center. For more information, please call 949-470-8452.
Dana Point Festival of Whales
Mark your calendars for the 38th Annual Dana Point Festival of Whales taking place from March 7 through 15. Drawing over 100,000 visitors each year, the Festival of Whales is one of Southern California’s largest seafaring celebrations and reaches out to whale admirers from around the world. Festival highlights include an opening day parade, street fair and farmers market, art exhibits, classic car exhibits, concerts on land and water, environmental activities, educational opportunities, interpretive crafts, kids activities and of course, whale watching excursions that will allure even the most steadfast landlubber out to sea.
For more information on the Festival and Dana Point, as well as a detailed Calendar of Events visit www.festivalofwhales.com.
|FIFTH DISTRICT WRAP-UP
In addition to my many meetings, briefings, and other supervisorial activities, I also:
My office also:
- Attended the Annual Rancho Mission Viejo Round-Up which honored family matriarch Alice O’Neill Avery on her 92nd birthday
- Attended Jazz in January, a fundraising event for the Ocean Institute in Dana Point
- Joined OC Human Relations Commission at a press conference to discuss activities and accomplishments of the County’s new Police Community Reconciliation Program
- Attended the San Juan Capistrano Chamber of Commerce Breakfast and introduced Mayor Mark Nielsen for his State of the City address
My staff and I look forward to continually providing you updated information in our Fifth District Newsletter and website.
- Attended the Mission Viejo City Council meeting to present certificates to Orange County Fire Authority, Mission Viejo Police Services, and City of Mission Viejo Employees of the Year
- Attended the Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce Governmental Affairs Committee meeting to present an update
- Hosted a tour of the County’s Emergency Operations Center for legislative staff members lunch for the legislative staff members from county, state and congressional offices
- Attended the Laguna Niguel Chamber of Commerce Legislative Affairs Committee meeting to present an update
- Presented a certificate in honor of the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for Pacific Seafood Grill in San Clemente
- Presented a certificate in honor of the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony Café Maiz in Mission Viejo
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.