March 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. IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT
2. BOARD BULLETIN BOARD
3. TRANSPORTATION INFORMATION
4. COUNTY CONNECTIONS
5. FIFTH DISTRICT SPOTLIGHT
6. CRITTER CHRONICLES
7. HARBOR HAPPENINGS
8. HEALTH HERALD
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
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Daylight-Saving Time Returns
Daylight-Saving Time begins at 2:00 a.m. this Sunday, March 8. Don't forget to “spring forward” and set your clocks ahead one hour Saturday night!
|BOARD BULLETIN BOARD
Agencies Added to Emergency Management Council
At Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, the Board voted to add a representative from both OC Community Resources and the Orange County Transportation Authority to the Emergency Management Council. The Emergency Management Council is comprised of various county agencies that work together to prepare the County for a disaster or emergency. Adding these two agencies will facilitate greater collaboration among all the county agencies in the event of an emergency. I currently Chair the Emergency Management Council and I look forward to working with the two new members.
Real Estate Fraud Prosecution Trust Fund
The Board voted to approve a new service fee to establish a Real Estate Fraud Prosecution Trust Fund. By State law, counties can collect a $3.00 recording fee for certain real estate transactions in order to provide a funding source for a specialized unit to prosecute, investigate and deter real estate fraud crimes. The recording fee, which was proposed by the District Attorney, will be collected during transactions such as deed of trust, request for notice, notice of default, etc. The fee will expire in three years and is estimated to generate approximately $1.6 million in annual revenue. It will be deposited to an account and the money will be restricted for use only in Real Estate fraud prosecution.
Although I was reluctant at first to support the fee, after being provided with more information and hearing from the three major Real Estate Associations representing 15,000 members in my district that are supportive of the enhanced fraud protection measures it would fund, I supported this item. With the recent spike in real estate fraud in Orange County, those who pay the fee will benefit directly from it. Real estate fraud is a serious crime that can be extremely detrimental to those involved in buying and selling homes. A recent study shows that real estate fraud has led to a half percentage increase in mortgage interest rates. We must have dedicated resources to stopping this crime, particularly during these economic times.
An advisory committee comprised of members of the real estate industry and professionals in the lending, credit counseling, escrow, and title insurance industries will be formed to oversee implementation and prioritization of the specialized fraud unit. I am confident that the Advisory Committee will provide the necessary oversight, participation, and accountability to insure that the funds generated are dedicated to the intended purpose of prosecuting real estate fraud. In one year’s time, the Board will hear a report on the success rate of this program and at that time we will reevaluate the fee.
County Awarded $13.7 Million for Homeless Services
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) awarded the County of Orange $13,765,384 in homeless assistance funding as part of the Continuum of Care Super Notice of Funding Availability (SuperNOFA) grant competition. The SuperNOFA is an annual process and the grant award to the County of Orange, with OC Community Services (OCCS) as the lead agency, is a direct result of the County’s partnership with cities and homeless service organizations to address the issue of homelessness in Orange County. This collaborative effort is part of a regional plan aimed at breaking the cycle of homelessness. According to the County’s 2007 needs assessment survey, Orange County residents experience approximately 35,000 episodes of homelessness throughout the course of one year. The $13.7 million grant award will provide transitional shelter and supportive services for families and individuals as well as permanent supportive housing for the disabled and special needs homeless populations.
On Thursday, I was pleased to join the Executive Director of the US Interagency on Homelessness, Philip Mangano, and Supervisor John Moorlach at an event announcing the award. The money will go to support programs that are truly dedicated to helping people help themselves.
For more information about the grant as well as a list of the Continuum of Care Homeless Assistance Award recipients, please click here.
OCTA Responds To Bleak Budget Situation
OCTA staff members made a presentation to the Board of Directors last Monday outlining the current financial picture for bus transit operations. As has been widely discussed, the situation is bleak – declining sales tax and a cut in state funds have left OCTA with a significant budget shortfall over the next year and a half.
If the situation remains unchanged, OCTA will need to reduce expenses by 30 percent through June 2010. The presentation included a forecast of potential service reductions and corresponding personnel reductions for each of the next five service changes. The current scenario would result in personnel reductions of 339 coach operators and 81 maintenance employees through June 2010. OCTA is hopeful this situation can be avoided by working together with union representatives to seek additional resources to help protect jobs and provide vital bus service for customers.
OCTA has launched a page on the OCTA Web site – www.octa.net/budget – to provide employees and the public with the latest information as it relates to the budget. OCTA continues to keep you updated on its efforts to deliver a balanced budget during these uncertain times.
Click here to visit the website.
Spring Blooms Again in Wildlands of Orange County
As you recall, the Santiago Fire of October 21, 2007 burned 28,517 acres of land and was the most disastrous wildland fire in Orange County’s history. Much of those burnt acres were located along the 241, 261 and 133 Tollroads. I remember quite vividly the devastation that this fire caused along these routes. On Wednesday, the Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA) staff provided the Foothill/Eastern Transportation Corridor Board an update on its annual Habitat Mitigation and Monitoring Program. A large portion of this presentation focused on the amazing re-growth of the natural habitat along the burnt areas of the corridor. In just 16 months, the areas have nearly reestablished themselves. To view the presentation click here.
Additionally, TCA will be hosting tours of its annual tour of its native habitat restoration areas. Tours will be held on March 21, March 28, April 18 and May 2. These tours fill up fast. If you are interested in participating in one or more of these opportunities, please contact TCA staff as soon as possible. For more information, please click here.
Great Park Conservancy Donates 5,000 Citrus Trees
The Great Park Board of Directors and the Irvine City Council recently voted to accept a generous donation of 5,000 Valencia Olinda Citrus Trees from the Great Park Conservancy. The Conservancy received the generous gift from Halvajian Desert Nursery in Thermal, California. The trees will ultimately be planted in the Orange County Great Park to honor Orange County's rich agricultural history.
|FIFTH DISTRICT SPOTLIGHT
Coldwell Banker gives to the community
This year, the Coldwell Banker Laguna Niguel and San Clemente/Dana Point offices, in conjunction with the Orange County Social Services Agency, collected over 350 coats and jackets for the One Warm Coat community service effort. These lightly worn coats and jackets are distributed free of charge directly to local children and adults in need. As Coldwell Banker Laguna Niguel sales associate Carole Sharp believes, “helping those in need is one of the most important things we can do.”
This year’s donations exceeded those of years passed, showing that even during these difficult economic times, our communities are willing to help those less fortunate than ourselves.
I am proud to recognize the Coldwell Banker Laguna Niguel and San Clemente/Dana Point offices and the Orange County Social Services Department for their altrustic efforts.
Cost of Pet Adoption and Services Provided by OC Animal Care
As we all know, these are difficult economic times. With this in mind, it is the continued goal of OC Animal Care, in addition to providing quality care to the animals in their keeping, to review all fees in order to ensure they are limited to cost recovery and are reasonably contained. To that end, these fees are reviewed annually.
Upon closer review, the cost of adoption and services provided by OC Animal Care is indeed comparable to other animal shelters throughout Orange County. OC Animal Care also offers reduced adoption fees for dogs that have been at the shelter longer than a week. In addition, non-profit rescue organizations only pay for animal services already provided, such as vaccinations and micro-chipping, and any services requested. In 2008, my Board colleagues and I were pleased to approve the LIFE program, offering selected animals with significant medical issues to rescue groups absolutely free of cost.
As an avid animal lover, I urge citizens who may be unable to afford adoption fees to seriously consider the costs associated with the daily care of a pet, as affording adoption fees are only the beginning to being a responsible pet owner. Food, water, obedience training, grooming supplies, toys, kennels, bedding, veterinary care, etc., can cost significantly more.
For those interested in acquiring a pet and who are able to afford its proper care, I’m pleased to report OC Animal Care hosts adoption events that offer substantial reductions in adoption fees. On December 6, 2008, OC Animal Care hosted its second Forever Friends for Free event, charging only license and microchip fees, at which 116 animals were adopted. On February 28, 2009, OC Animal Care hosted its first "Spay Day" event, which offered adoptable animals at a reduced adoption fee and provided 55 pets with new homes. On March 28, 2009, OC Animal Care will be hosting another Forever Friends for Free event, sponsored by the Angels Foundation, which hosted Angels for Animals in September 2008, and will again offer adoptable pets to the public for only the cost of a license and microchip.
If you are interested in adopting a pet, please consider the many events offered by OC Animal Care. I also invite you to visit their facility at 561 S. City Drive in Orange or feel free to visit their website at www.ocpetinfo.com for more information.
Dana Point Festival of Whales
The 38th Annual Dana Point Festival of Whales is taking place March 7, 8 and 14, 15 at the Dana Point Wharf. The Festival of Whales is one of Southern California’s largest seafaring celebrations and reaches out to whale admirers from around the world drawing more than 100,000 visitors each year.
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. Come out on both weekends and enjoy the fun! For more information, please click here.
Awards of Excellence
This week, the Health Care Agency’s Environmental Health Division issued 2,821 Awards of Excellence certificates to food facilities throughout the County in recognition of their outstanding food safety and sanitation practices during 2008. The certificate acknowledges the dedication of each recipient and highlights their diligent efforts in preventing health code violations.
The annual Award of Excellence Program was established to provide food facilities an incentive to consistently meet or exceed health and safety standards. Facilities such as restaurants, catering establishments, meat/seafood markets, retail bakers, supermarkets, and public/private schools with food production service are inspected by the Food Protection Program each year to ensure the safe and sanitary preparation and service of foods, prevent food-borne illness, and protect consumers from adulterated food products. For more information about the Health Care Agency’s Food Protection Program, visit www.ocfoodinfo.com/foodaward.htm.
|NOTES FROM THE FIELD
Time Change Brings Extended Park Hours
When the clocks “Spring Forward” for daylight saving time Sunday morning, park visitors will also have more hours to enjoy the County of Orange’s regional parks.
OC Parks will go to spring-summer season operating hours starting Sunday, March 8. Most regional parks’ operating hours for the spring-summer season are 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., seven days a week.
County regional parks affected are: Carbon Canyon, in Brea; Clark, in Buena Park; Craig, in Fullerton; Irvine, in Orange (opens 6 a.m.); Laguna Niguel (opens 6 a.m. for fishing only), in Laguna Niguel; Mason, in Irvine; Mile Square, in Fountain Valley; O’Neill, in Trabuco Canyon; Peters Canyon and Santiago Oaks in Orange; and Yorba, in Yorba Linda.
OC Parks wilderness parks will remain open from 7 a.m. to sunset, seven days a week. Hours for County beaches remain the same. All open at 6 a.m., seven days a week. Thousand Steps closes at 9 p.m.; Sunset, Aliso, Capistrano and Poche beaches close at 10 p.m.; and Santa Ana River Jetty and Salt Creek Beach/Dana Strand close at midnight.
Hours for County historical parks also remain the same. The Old Orange County Courthouse is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Heritage Hill Historical Park is open Wednesday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Hours vary for other County historical parks. Please check with individual facilities.
More information, including operating hours for all OC Parks facilities, is available at www.OCParks.com.
Laguna Canyon Foundation
March 14, Saturday, 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m., Volunteer Training & Orientation:
Learn about various volunteer opportunities with Laguna Canyon Foundation. No experience required. For information and reservations call Laguna Canyon Foundation Volunteer Manager Bette Lee at 949-637-2381 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
March 14, Saturday, 9:00-11:30 a.m., Wildflower Hike:
Learn to identify native spring bloomers with Laguna Canyon Foundation volunteer naturalists Nadine Nordstrom and Norm Lacourciere on this moderate, but steep and rocky, 3.5-mile-hike. Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, James Dilley Preserve (east side of Laguna Canyon Road/SR-133, just north of 73 Toll Road). Reservations are required. Please call (949) 923-2235. Parking is $3.
|SOUTH COUNTY CALENDAR
Patriot’s Day Parade Merchant March
The Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce would like you to join them in the Patriot’s Day Parade Merchant March in support of local businesses on Saturday, March 7. This is a wonderful opportunity to learn about local business and the products and services they provide. The Parade kicks off in front of Laguna Beach High School on Park Avenue at 11 a.m. If you wish to march with the merchants, please let the Chamber know by calling (949) 494-1018. Click here for more information.
Community Dialogue on Housing our Communities
The Neighborhood Housing Services of Orange County, in partnership with the cities of Mission Viejo, San Juan Capistrano, Dana Point and San Clemente, invite concerned members of the public to a “Community Dialogue on Housing our Communities” on Tuesday, March 10 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. This is an opportunity to explore housing issues, share your thoughts, and learn more about current housing trends, enhancing our neighborhoods, and shaping the future of housing in our communities. The event will take place at the Norman P. Murray Community and Senior Center in Mission Viejo. Please RSVP for the event by emailing email@example.com or calling (949) 365- 2277.
Laguna Hills Mayor’s Breakfast
The Laguna Hills Chamber of Commerce is hosting its 2009 Mayor's Breakfast with Mayor Joel Lautenschleger. This year's event will feature a panel discussion and updates with special guests Senator Mimi Walters, Orange County Business Council President & CEO Lucy Dunn, and Economics Professor Linda Cohen.
The Mayor's Breakfast will be held on Friday, March 13, 2009, from 7:15 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. at the Laguna Hills Community Center. The cost is $35 for Chamber, $45 for Non-members, and $50 at the door. For more information, please click here.
Lord of the Strings Presents Former Wings Lead Guitarist
Laurence Juber, Grammy award winner and former lead guitarist of Paul McCartney and Wings, will delight fans of old and new on Saturday, March 14 at 7 p.m. at the Norman P. Murray Community in Mission Viejo. Juber was hand-picked by ex-Beatle McCartney to become Wings’ lead guitarist and later won a best rock instrumental Grammy Award for “Rockestra” from the Wings Back to the Egg album. Tickets are $25 and are available online by referencing course # 1577 at http://econnect.cityofmissionviejo.org. For more information, call 949-470-3062.
Timeless Melodies Presents Rodgers & Hammerstein
The public is invited to embrace and enjoy Timeless Melodies featuring Oklahoma, Carousel, South Pacific, The King and I, the Sound of Music and more on Sunday, March 15 at 7 p.m. on. Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein were a well-known songwriting duo, who created a string of popular Broadway musicals in the 1940s and ‘50s during what is considered the golden age of the medium. Rodgers introduced dance to musical comedy and Hammerstein’s lyrics tackled an array of social issues through the genre. The program takes place at the Mission Viejo City Hall Council Chamber. Tickets are only $10 and are available online at http://econnect.cityofmissionviejo.org by referencing course # 1625. For more information, call 949-470-3062.
Swallow’s Day Parade
The 2009 Swallows Day Parade will be held on March 21. The Fiesta de la Golondrinas celebrates the legend of the return of the swallows to the San Juan Capistrano Mission on St. Joseph's, March 19th. This event is the reason behind all the festivities. The Parade takes place in down-town San Juan Capistrano. This is the nation's largest non-motorized parade. It is totally organized and presented by the San Juan Capistrano Fiesta Association. Arrive early; most street closures are by 10.00 a.m. The parade begins promptly at 11 am.
Traditionally, it is a fun, family event that celebrates the return of the swallows. Call (949) 493-1976 for more information or click here.
|FIFTH DISTRICT WRAP-UP
In addition to my many meetings, briefings, and other supervisorial activities, I also:
My office also:
- Presented a Resolution at the Orange County Sheriff’s Department Communications and Technology Division’s 75th Anniversary
- Spoke at the OC Community Resources’ Continuum of Care - $13.7 Million Grant Award Celebration
- Attended the Ladera Ranch Community Council’s Stranger Danger Forum
- Presented the State of the County at the Laguna Niguel Chamber of Commerce’s Governmental Affairs Committee
- Adjourned the Board of Supervisors meeting in memory of Dr. Brenda Ross of Laguna Woods, Payton Jordan of Laguna Hills, and Col. Johnnie Vance of Mission Viejo
My staff and I look forward to continually providing you updated information in our Fifth District Newsletter and website.
- Met with representatives from Rancho Mission Viejo to discuss using Economic Stimulus funds for future South County arterial roads
- Attended the OC Forum luncheon
- Spoke at the Bell Tower Nonprofit Summit and Community Service Expo in Rancho Santa Margarita
- Attended the Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce Legislative Committee
- Attended the graduation ceremony for Basic Academy Class #188 at the Orange County Sheriff’s Regional Training Academy
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.