March 19, 2010
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. COUNTY CONNECTIONS
4. SOUTH COUNTY NEWS
5. FIFTH DISTRICT SPOTLIGHT
6. ENVIRONMENTAL MEMOS
7. HEALTH HERALD
8. CRITTER CHRONICLES
9. NOTES FROM THE FIELD
10. SOUTH COUNTY CALENDAR
11. FIFTH DISTRICT WRAP-UP
Chief of Staff
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|BOARD BULLETIN BOARD
“3% at 55” Safety Employee Retirement Formula
As you know, last month the Board approved an agreement with the Association of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs (AOCDS), which, in part, requires new public safety employees to be subject to a “3% at 55” retirement formula. On Tuesday, the Board unanimously adopted the resolution needed to officially implement that policy. By shifting away from the “3% at 50” formula and requiring public safety personnel to contribute to their own pensions, the County has accomplished two more goals in our pension reform efforts.
Building and Planning Fee Schedules
Last year, I requested a performance audit of the County’s Planning Department. The audit contained a number of recommendations for improving the Department, including implementing a new fee structure for the County’s Planning and Development review and permit services.
Over the past several months, OC Public Works has worked collaboratively with the CEO and the Board Sub-Committee, on which I participated, to develop an alternative fee schedule. On Tuesday, the Board considered the first reading of an ordinance to adopt and implement the new fee structure.
The proposed Building and Planning Fee Ordinance includes a hybrid of a variety of fee types. Most of the County’s building permit fees (both residential and commercial) will be calculated using the (property) valuation-based system. Flat fees will be charged for safety related and simple ministerial permits and actual costs will be recovered for discretionary development/entitlement and grading permits.
The new fee structure will provide a more simplified and streamlined process for customers and will allow the Department to better track processing wait times. As I stated at the hearing on this item, this new fee structure is a starting point and the County will be reviewing the effectiveness of the new rates as we move forward. I am very pleased with the efforts of our Public Works Department as they continue to implement the recommendations of the audit, as these improvements will ultimately lead to enhanced customer service for our residents.
Fee Waiver for Victims Rights March
The Board approved waiving permitting fees for the Annual Victims’ Rights March and Rally that will take place on the grounds of the Old Orange County Courthouse. The rally, which draws hundreds of people every year, will be held on Tuesday, April 20 at 10:30 a.m. This is an incredibly moving event and I encourage all to attend in support of victims of violent crime.
Sheriff’s Department Medal of Valor Awards
The Board adopted several resolutions commending recipients of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department Medal of Valor Award. The Medal of Valor is a high honor for our county law enforcement personnel. It is an opportunity to recognize exceptional bravery and heroism. The medals will be awarded on April 1. To view a list of all the recipients, please click here.
I-5/Oso Parkway Off-Ramp Project
Despite delays, the Orange County Transportation Authority, California Department of Transportation and Southern California Gas Company continue to work to complete the I-5/Oso Parkway interchange improvement project.
The project proposes to relieve a known chokepoint on the I-5 freeway with the construction of an additional westbound lane on Oso Parkway by widening the railway overpass next to the southbound off-ramp at Oso Parkway. Widening of the overpass is needed to accommodate the widened southbound off-ramp but in order to widen the bridge, it is necessary to realign an existing 30-inch high-pressure gas line, which the Southern California Gas Company owns and operates.
In relocating the gas line, the Gas Company has run into unforeseen obstacles, including delays in obtaining easements necessary to continue the work. At my urging, the Gas Company will continue to put forth all effort necessary to complete this project as swiftly as possible.
The interchange project was scheduled for completion in August, and though Caltrans will be able to open one additional off-ramp lane by mid-May (providing a three lane off-ramp), full project completion is not expected for several months. Timely completion of this project is a top priority of mine and I will continue to meet with all agencies involved to ensure cooperation and quick resolution of these delays. I know this is an important issue to you as well, so I will continue to provide updates on the progress of this project in future newsletters.
I-5 HOV Extension Project
The Orange County Transportation Authority, in cooperation with the California Department of Transportation and the cities of San Clemente, Dana Point and San Juan Capistrano, are proposing the addition of one High Occupancy Vehicle (or “carpool lane”) in each direction from Avenida Pico to San Juan Creek Road on the I-5 Freeway. The project will minimize weaving where the current carpool lanes end and maintain travel speeds for carpool lane users.
The additional lanes can be accomplished by limited widening and re-striping along the freeway. The project also includes improvements to various interchanges, on- and off-ramps, and local intersections (including Avenida Pico) to help alleviate congestion.
The plan for the project is currently in the environmental and engineering study stage. To provide the public with more information on the project and the Initial Study/Environmental Assessment, Caltrans is holding a Public Information Open House on Monday, March 29 from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. at the San Clemente Community Center (100 N. Calle Seville). For more information, please call the OCTA at (714) 560-5374.
Community Indicators Report
On Tuesday, the Board received a presentation on the 2010 Community Indicators Report. The 2010 Community Indicators Report is the tenth annual indicators report published by the County of Orange, in partnership with the Children and Families Commission of Orange County and the Orange County Business Council. The report is intended to measure the overall quality of life in Orange County by tracking key indicators of economic, social and environmental well-being. To view the full report, please click here.
|SOUTH COUNTY NEWS
Easter Care Packages for Our Troops
As we prepare to celebrate the Easter holiday, it is important that we remember the men and women who are fighting abroad for our safety.
Move America Forward, a non-profit organization, has organized a program to send Easter Care Packages to our troops serving abroad. The group has set up a website where people can purchase baskets that will be sent immediately to troops in time for Easter. The baskets include Easter themed candy, food, entertainment and other items the troops will enjoy and find useful. Additionally, purchasers can send along a personal note to convey their appreciation for the soldiers’ work. For more information about Move America Forward’s efforts, please click here.
|FIFTH DISTRICT SPOTLIGHT
Ladera Ranch Elementary Raises Money for OC Public Library
The Orange County Public Library in Ladera Ranch is stocked with 106 new books thanks to the generosity of Ladera Ranch Elementary School.
The overwhelming success of the school’s recent Scholastic Book Fair allowed the PTA to donate $5,000 worth of books to the library. The new books will be selected by Librarian Kristine Russell based on recommendations from teachers and students from the school.
For more information about the Ladera Ranch Public Library, visit ocpl.org.
Over the next year, the County, in collaboration with Orange County cities, will be introducing “OC Sunergy,” an innovative program that will provide a new option to Orange County property owners who are looking for ways to lower their electric bills and help the environment.
OC Sunergy will provide property owners the opportunity to obtain energy audits, energy efficiency improvements (i.e. double-pane windows, insulation, updated furnace and air conditioning unit, etc.) and electrical generating solar panels. Property owners who choose to participate in the OC Sunergy program can expect to lower their energy consumption, reduce their carbon footprint and help stimulate the Orange County economy.
The program will finance the upfront costs for installing permanent energy efficiency and solar technology improvements on participating residential and commercial properties. These improvements will lead to reduced consumption, lower energy bills and decreased greenhouse gas emissions. Property owners will then pay back this loan over a several year period through a voluntary assessment on their property tax bill.
At this Tuesday’s meeting, the Board of Supervisors selected Public Financial Management, Inc. (“PFM Group”) as the Program Administrator for OC Sunergy. As Program Administrator, the PFM Group will be responsible for all aspects of the OC Sunergy program including marketing, processing property owner applications and supervising installers in the field. The Board also selected Psomas FMG to assist the County with obtaining and utilizing a federal loan guarantee to help lower the cost of the program.
OC Sunergy is expected to launch in mid 2010. Watch for upcoming announcements and be the first to sign up in your community for this exciting opportunity!
Food Service Awards of Excellence
The Orange County Health Care Agency’s Environmental Health Department has issued Award of Excellence certificates to 3,041 local Orange County food facilities, including hundreds from South Orange County.
The County’s Food Protection Program recognizes food facilities for their outstanding safety and sanitation practices. In order to receive the award, the facilities must go an entire year without any major violations, have no more than 6 minor violations in the past calendar year, have been inspected at least twice in the year and have at least one employee who has passed an approved food safety exam.
To view award recipients listed by city or to learn more about the award, please click here. Congratulations to all these facilities for helping to keep Orange County healthy!
Doggies and Divas
What dog wouldn’t enjoy a day of pampering? What owner wouldn’t love to learn more about their dog’s wellness? Come enjoy both at the “Doggies and Divas” event taking place at 6:00 p.m. on March 24 at Beauty a Go Go, located at 212 N. El Camino Real in San Clemente. Guests will enjoy free pet wellness consultations, receive coupons for doggie massage discounts and even get beauty makeovers for their diva dogs and themselves. For more information please call (949) 492-5656.
Reading with Fido
Join Orange County Public Libraries and Orange County Animal Care for "Reading with Fido," a free program where kids get to interact with live animals while learning about the responsibility of owning a pet.
The program is geared for children ages 4-9, but kids and adults of all ages are welcome. The event will be on Thursday, March 25, from 3:00 - 3:45 p.m. in the Lake Forest Library's Community Room. For more information, please click here or call (949) 855-8173.
|NOTES FROM THE FIELD
Keep It Wild Volunteer Day
The Laguna Canyon Foundation and OC Parks staff would like to invite the public to help out with restoration projects at the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park and the Nix Nature Center on Saturday, March 20. If you wish to participate, please call (949) 923-2235 to reserve your place. Parking is free. For more information, please visit OC Parks’ website by clicking here.
Spring Equinox Sunset Picnic
The Laguna Coast Wilderness Park wants to help you welcome spring in style with a Spring Equinox Sunset Hike. What better way to celebrate spring than with a 3.5-mile hike with Orange County Resource Specialists and a picnic dinner to enjoy along the way?
The sunset hike will take place from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 20. It will begin at the Willow Canyon Staging Area (20101 Laguna Canyon Road, just south of the El Toro Road intersection). Reservations are required so please call (949) 923-2235 if you are interested. For more information, please click here.
|SOUTH COUNTY CALENDAR
52nd Annual Swallows Parade
This year’s Swallow’s Parade is finally here! The 52nd Annual Swallow’s Parade and Mercado will take place this Saturday, March 20 in San Juan Capistrano. The parade, which is the nation’s largest non-motorized parade, starts at 11:00 a.m. and will take place throughout downtown. The Mercado will run from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Arrive early because most street closures are in effect by 10:00 a.m. For more information, please refer to the City of San Juan Capistrano’s website by clicking here.
San Clemente Drink Contest
The San Clemente Chamber of Commerce is hosting the 6th Annual San Clemente Drink Contest on Thursday, March 25 from 3:00 -5:00 p.m. at Taka-O Japanese Restaurant. Local restaurant bartenders will show off their best concoctions and will be judged by a group of local dignitaries. To purchase your tickets for this exciting event, please call the Chamber at (949) 492-1131. For more information, please click here.
Lake Forest Bunny Blast “An Egg Wonderland”
Come see the Easter Bunny and his friends at El Toro Park on Saturday, March 27 from 11:00 a.m. – 3 p.m. for Bunny Blast “An Egg Wonderland”. The day will be filled with lots of activities including game booths, crafts, face painting, a balloon artist and an egg scramble. For more information please call (949)461-3450 or click here.
Send-off BBQ for San Juan Capistrano’s Adopted Marines
The City of San Juan Capistrano is inviting the public to help send off the City’s adopted 1st Battalion, 11th Marines (1/11) on April 17. The Marine Send-Off BBQ will feature live entertainment, a pie-eating contest, and a bunch of other activities. The event will take place from 11:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. at the City’s Historic Town Center Park (31806 El Camino Real). The 1/11, which has more than 675 military personnel assigned to the battalion, has seen duty in WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, Iraqi and Afghanistan. For more information, please call (949) 443-6317 or click here.
|FIFTH DISTRICT WRAP-UP
In addition to my many meetings, briefings, and other supervisorial activities, I also:
My office also:
- Met with George Sutherland, President of the South Coast Chapter of Trout Unlimited, to discuss progress on the South County Fish Ladder projects
- Participated in an interview for Laguna Wood’s Legislative Connection television show
- Met with representatives of the Emerald Bay CFD to discuss community traffic safety issues
- Attended the Return of the Swallows press conference in San Juan Capistrano
My staff and I look forward to continually providing you in the coming year updated information in our Fifth District Newsletter and website.
- Attended the Combined Mayor’s Breakfast
- Participated in the Public Safety Budget Working Group
- Attended the South Orange County Association of Mayors Breakfast
- Attended the OC Forum Luncheon on Orange County’s Blueprint for Innovation
- Presented a proclamation at the Grand Re-Opening of the Rancho Santa Margarita Library
- Presented a certificate recognizing the OCGOP volunteer of the month
- Presented a certificate at the Grand Opening of Mission Hills Chiropractic
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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