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July 30, 2010

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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.













Don Hughes:
Chief of Staff

Kristen Thornton:
Deputy Chief of Staff

Ray Grangoff:
Deputy Chief of Staff

Sergio Prince:
Policy Advisor

Sabrina Ross:
Policy Advisor

Brian Probolsky:
Policy Advisor

Ruth Strachan:
Office Manager

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Volume 4 Issue 30

Redistricting the County of Orange

The Board of Supervisors is required to redraw supervisorial district boundaries after each Federal decennial census. Using census data, the districts are to be drawn so they are equivalent in population and comply with the Voting Rights Act. The County will receive the necessary census data in January 2011 and must have the district lines redrawn by November 2011.

On Tuesday, the Board formed an ad-hoc subcommittee, comprised of Supervisors Nguyen and Campbell, to review the redistricting process. The subcommittee is tasked with making recommendations to the Board on the composition of the final redistricting committee, the type of experts needed to assist with analyzing the census data, and identify appropriate communities of interest to include in the process. The ad-hoc committee will report back to the Board within 90 days.

First and foremost, my commitment is to support a process that is open, transparent, and encourages public input, which is best for our representative democracy. Additionally, we must ensure the process establishing the final approved boundaries will withstand legal challenge and not result in districts imposed by the courts on the people of Orange County.

TINCUP: County Campaign Finance Regulations

In July 2008, Supervisor Moorlach created an ad-hoc committee to review and make recommendations for potential revisions to TINCUP, the County’s Campaign Finance Ordinance. The committee reached consensus on a number of revisions, but was not able to reach consensus on such items as the creation of an enforcement commission or changes to contribution limits. Therefore, on Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors received and filed a report on the ad-hoc committee’s work.

Although the Board opted to make no changes to TINCUP at this time, the work to reform campaign finance regulations should continue. In a representative democracy, the people are best served when they have a strong field of qualified candidates to choose from on Election Day. To that end, we must have a campaign finance system that provides equal opportunities for all aspiring candidates.

Unfortunately, many campaign finance laws passed under the banner of “reform” may actually harm our system and can significantly deter potential candidates from seeking elected office. Current campaign contribution limits greatly advantage wealthy, self-financed candidates, as well as those supported by independent expenditures (IEs) which have no limits whatsoever, and incumbents with high name identification. As such, reforming current campaign finance regulations will make our campaign finance system more equitable for all candidates and protect our representative democracy.

Board Approves Two Grand Jury Responses

This week, the Board of Supervisors approved responses to two Grand Jury reports. The two reports, titled “Childhood Obesity in Orange County: More Needs to be Done” and “Fraud Made Easier: A Study of Fraud Prevention and Eligibility Screening of CalWORKS,” were critical of the Orange County Health Care Agency (HCA) and Social Services Agency (SSA), respectively.

The County’s two required responses provided a line by line analysis of the reports’ criticisms and recommendations and in many cases illustrated how HCA and SSA had already implemented the recommendation or that the recommendation was not necessary.

To view a copy of “Childhood Obesity in Orange County: More Needs to be Done,” please click here. To view the County’s response to this Grand Jury report, please click here.

To view a copy of “Fraud Made Easier: A Study of Fraud Prevention and Eligibility Screening of CalWORKS,” please click here. To view the County’s response to this Grand Jury report, please click here.

OC Planning: Performance Audit Progress Report

Last summer, after receiving a number of complaints from constituents, the Board of Supervisors unanimously supported my request to initiate a performance audit of the County’s Planning Department. To see my August 11, 2009 Special Report and OC Register editorial on this matter, please click here.

Today, I am pleased to share the Performance Auditors’ latest report to the Board of Supervisors, detailing the significant progress that has been made over the past 12 months at the Planning Department. To view the Performance Auditors’ report, please click here. Please be assured that I will in continue to monitor this matter to ensure continued improvement in the department.

Veterans Employment-Related Assistance Program

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Orange and Los Angeles Counties represent one of the largest Veteran populations in the nation. On Tuesday, the Board authorized the acceptance of Veterans Employment-Related Assistance Program (VEAP) funds to provide employment and training services to 140 Veterans in our region.

The State Employment Development Department had approved $989,893 in federal grant funding for the Orange County VEAP, which will help 140 Veterans in our area reintegrate into the workforce. To that end, the Orange County Workforce Investment Board will lead a partnership of service providers to offer these Veterans employment and training in high demand and high growth jobs. For more information, please click here.

Rancho Santa Margarita Law Enforcement Contract

The Board approved the fiscal year 2010-2011 law enforcement contract between the Sheriff and the City of Rancho Santa Margarita. As with almost all other Fifth District cities, the City of Rancho Santa Margarita contracts with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department for law enforcement services. To read a copy of the contract and staff report, please click here.

ICE Contract: Postscript

As reported in my newsletter last week, the Board unanimously approved an agreement to lease jail bed space to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). As there is significant empty bed space in the County Jail System, and in an effort to reduce the Sheriff’s Department budget shortfall, the Sheriff sought an agreement with ICE to lease 838 beds for federal detainees, of which 366 beds are within the James Musick Facility, located in the City of Irvine, near the border of Lake Forest.

Since Board approval of this item last week, my office has received a number of emails initiated as a result of a substantial amount of misinformation disseminated about the plan. Please note this new contract does not expand the Musick Jail population or alter the type of inmates held at that facility. The Sheriff has committed to the Board that she will not break agreements with the Cities of Lake Forest and Irvine, which dictate the number and type of inmates housed at Musick.

Please click here to see a document that shows the population of Musick over a six month period in 2007, compared to the first six months of 2010. As one can see, adding 366 detainees to the current number of inmates at Musick still maintains the population at 25% to 30% below previously high levels. Should you have any additional questions about this agreement, please don’t hesitate to contact my office at (714) 834-3550.


Vaccination Recommended as Pertussis Cases Increase

The number of pertussis (whooping cough) cases continues to grow. The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has reported nearly 1500 cases, with Orange County reporting 138 pertussis cases as of July 26. Of greatest concern is that nearly 40% of Orange County cases are in infants under 6 months of age. In response to the increased level of disease, the CDPH has broadened recommendations for immunizing against pertussis.

Pertussis is a highly contagious disease, and young infants are particularly vulnerable. According to Dr. Nancy Bowen, Medical Director of the Orange County Health Care Agency’s Public Health Services, incidence of severe pertussis is highest in babies under 6 months of age, with hospitalization rates over 80% in the youngest infants.

It is critical that individuals in close contact with infants be immunized against pertussis to better protect babies too young to be completely vaccinated. Since it takes a couple weeks for protection, people planning to have close contact with an infant should get vaccinated now. This also includes pregnant women prior to delivery. For more information, please click here and here.


OCFA Board Selects New Chair and Vice Chair

After serving on the Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA) Board of Directors since 2004, Rancho Santa Margarita City Council Member Neil Blais was recently appointed to serve as Chair of the OCFA Board. Chair Blais brings a wealth of emergency management experience and knowledge of local and regional government to the Board. For more information, please click here.

Additionally, Lake Forest Councilman Mark Tettemer was selected to serve as Vice Chair of the OCFA Board. Congratulations to 5th District residents Neil Blais and Mark Tettemer on their prestigious and well deserved appointments! I look forward to working with them on the OCFA Board of Directors and heartily commend them for their outstanding commitment to public service.


San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS)

The public is invited to join representatives of Southern California Edison on Thursday, August 12, 4:30 PM - 7:30 PM, at the San Clemente High School Triton Center for “SONGS: An Interactive Exhibit and Open House for the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station.

This informative community event is designed to engage the public in positive and proactive dialogue and respond to their inquiries about San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS), as well as educate residents on the benefits of nuclear energy. Along with other SONGS experts, Chief Nuclear Officer Ross Ridenoure and SONGS Station Manager Doug Bauder will be present to answer questions. Refreshments will be served.

For more information, please click here or contact Barbara Culverhouse at (949) 368-3345 or Barbara.Culverhouse@sce.com.


Orange County Coastal Coalition

In addition to my duties as a member of the Board of Supervisors, I’m also pleased to serve as Chair of the Orange County Coastal Coalition. The monthly meeting of the Orange County Coastal Coalition provides an opportunity to learn about and collaborate on current topics affecting our coast. The July 22 meeting once again offered a forum to learn about issues on the forefront and their potential impact to Orange County.

Nancy Caruso, a Marine Biologist and the Founder of Get Inspired, gave a presentation titled “Restoring our Coastal Waters with Kelp.” Nancy has been the driving force behind the Orange County Ocean Restoration Project, which has taught 4600 students how to grow giant kelp in their classrooms.

Her program is also responsible for educating over 50,000 people about the importance of kelp. As a result, due to the efforts of 287 trained divers and volunteers, there are now giant kelp forests in areas that had been barren for more than 25 years! To view Nancy’s presentation to the Orange County Coastal Coalition, please click here.

Amanda Bird, Eelgrass Project Manager for Orange County Coastkeeper, gave a presentation on the Upper Newport Bay Eelgrass Restoration Project titled “Eelgrass: What is it? Where is it? And why is it important?

Amanda shared the history of why the eelgrass had disappeared from Upper Newport Bay and the importance of bringing it back. Orange County Coastkeeper will be embarking on a pilot restoration project in Upper Newport Bay in March 2011, with the goal of restoring more than 2.5 acres of eelgrass. To view Amanda’s presentation to the Coastal Coalition, please click here.

Such information allows us to continue to use our meetings as opportunities to learn and discuss important issues related to our coast. Please join me at our next Coastal Coalition meeting at 9:00 AM on Thursday, September 23, at Newport Beach Library. To be placed on the email list for Coastal Coalition meetings, please send your email address to betty.ruano@ocpw.ocgov.com. For more information, please click here.


OC Parks Seeks Recruits for Park Ranger Academy

OC Parks is seeking recruits to attend its Park Ranger Academy. This intensive, 14-week academy will prepare anyone interested in a rewarding career as a Park Ranger. It is the only academy of its kind in Southern California and is designed to meet requirements for being a Park Ranger in many cities and counties in California.

Learn how to protect our natural resources, provide a safe environment, and inspire guests visiting Southern California’s parks and beaches. Recruit Initial Screening will be held August 5 and Recruit Formal Orientation will be August 19. The first day of the 2010 Park Ranger Academy will be September 4. For more information, please click here.


Retiring Sheriff’s Department Bloodhound Honored

Taffy, the longest-serving bloodhound at the Orange County’s Sheriff’s Department, has officially retired. A 10-year old bloodhound, Taffy was honored Tuesday by the Board of Supervisors for her meritorious service to the County, having been on the job since before her first birthday.

Touted as the most successful hound in the Sheriff’s Department, Taffy earned the Larry Peabody Award in 2007 from the California Office of Emergency Services, and the American Kennel Club ACE Award (Achievement in Canine Excellence) in 2008 for her work in search and rescue. For more information about Taffy, please click here.


Mission Viejo: Target Symphony in the Cities

Saturday, July 31, 4:00 PM – 9:00 PM, the City of Mission Viejo invites you to enjoy the 6th annual Target Symphony in the Cities concert held on the Village Green at Oso Viejo Park. Led by Music Director Carl St.Clair, the Pacific Symphony Orchestra will perform a musical repertoire, ranging from patriotic medleys to Broadway show tunes. For more information, please click here and here.

Dana Point: Tribute to Bob Seger

The City of Dana Point invites you to enjoy a tribute to the music of Bob Seger, featuring the band “Turn the Page” at Heritage Park on Sunday, August 1, 4:30 PM – 6:00 PM. For more information, please click here.

Laguna Beach: An Evening of Latin Rhythms

The City of Laguna Beach invites you to enjoy an evening of Latin rhythms and Spanish guitars with Buenos Aires band “Los Pinguos” at Bluebird Park Sunday, August 1, 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM. For more information, please click here.

Rancho Santa Margarita: Tribute to Jimmy Buffet

The City of Rancho Santa Margarita invites you to enjoy an evening with Jimmy Buffet tribute band “Mark Wood and the Parrothead Band” at Central Park in the Civic Plaza on Sunday, August 1, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM. For more information, please click here.

Ladera Ranch: Tribute to The Doors

Friday, August 6, 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM, renowned tribute band “Wild Child” faithfully re-creates a live Doors Concert on the Town Green. For more information, please click here.

Laguna Beach Festival of Arts: Smooth Jazz Series

Laguna Beach Festival of Arts invites you to enjoy an afternoon of dynamic contemporary jazz with British born musician and guitar player Chris Standring on Saturday, August 7, 1:00 PM – 3:30 PM. Admission to the concert is free with purchase of a Festival of Arts ticket. For more information about this and other Festival events, please click here.


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

  • Attended a joint meeting of the Boards of Directors of the Orange County Transportation Authority and the Transportation Corridor Agencies.
  • Met with the Executive Director of the Orange County Business Council to discuss Orange County mobility issues.
  • Adjourned the Board of Supervisors meeting in memory of Rudolph “Rudy” Smith of San Clemente and George Elmer Edwards of Rancho Santa Margarita.
My office also:
  • Attended the monthly meeting of the San Juan Capistrano Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs Committee.
  • Attended the Treasurer/Tax Collector’s Quarterly Oversight Committee Meeting.
  • Provided a certificate of recognition for the grand opening of The Sculpt Barre fitness studio in Laguna Niguel.
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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