Header image with Photo of Supervisor Pat Bates. Followed by office information
September 24, 2010

Pat Bates's Picture

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 38

State of the County

I had the privilege this week to present a “State of the County” speech to the Dana Point Chamber of Commerce. With the November Election right around the corner, public dialogue has been mounting about key issues such as the economy, jobs creation, taxes, government spending and pension reform. As such, I felt it was appropriate to provide an update on what the County of Orange is doing to address some these issues here at the local level, as they are certainly shaping the debate in elections throughout our state and country.

To that end, I discussed how the County has stimulated private sector jobs by accelerating capital projects that are not funded by the general fund. I also reviewed a number of recent successes the Board of Supervisors has achieved in reigning in pension costs as well as how the County has reduced its budget by more than $1 billion dollars, or 20%, over the past two years. In doing so, the County has targeted administrative overhead first in order to protect the delivery of services. We’ve also reduced the size of government in terms of positions with 1,147 fewer positions this fiscal year than two years ago.

While these are just a few of the highlights from my speech, it is clear that in spite of the many challenging issues before us, the County has managed to downsize government and reign in spending while meeting the needs of our residents. Be assured that your County government is demonstrating how a fiscally responsible government operates and that it scores high marks on the issues identified as those that voters need to be most vigilant about in November to ensure future generations do not inherit financial burdens that will diminish their quality of life.


Medical Marijuana Collectives or Cooperatives

As you are aware, the November statewide general election will include Proposition 19, which, if approved, would legalize the use and possession of up to one ounce of marijuana for personal use for persons over the age of 21. The law would permit local governments to regulate and tax businesses that sell marijuana.

On Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors voted on an urgency measure that would authorize a moratorium on the issuance of permits for the establishment of medical marijuana collectives or cooperatives in the unincorporated areas of Orange County. The moratorium was requested to provide County staff time to study the various approaches to the regulation of medical marijuana collectives and cooperatives. The Board voted 3 to 2 in favor of the measure, however, the item failed due to lack of a 4/5 vote as required for urgency measures.

The Board directed staff to immediately begin preparation of a new ordinance implementing a Use Permit process and further directed staff to review the issue of taxation authority as provided for in the legislation should Prop 19 be approved by the voters. The Board has asked that the issue of whether to impose a moratorium on dispensaries until a proper ordinance is developed be agendized for discussion at the November 9 Board meeting, at which time the results of the election should be known.

FY 2009-10 Fourth Quarter Budget Report

The Board received a presentation on the final budget results from the County’s FY 2009-10 year end reporting. Results indicate proactive measures that began in 2008 were successful in trending costs downward. The County experienced flat or slower growth in several key revenue sources; however, funds available at year end were $41.6 million, $21.6 million better than had been budgeted as a result of cost-cutting measures enacted over the previous years.

Overall, County cash balances are 4.5% above the level 12 months ago. In FY 2009-10, we achieved $45 million in savings for salaries and benefits by freezing salaries for certain groups, initiating furloughs, deleting of positions and layoffs.

To view the FY 2009-10 Fourth Quarter Budget Report, please click here. To view the PowerPoint presentation received by the Board, please click here.

Aliso Viejo Library HVAC System Upgrades

The Board approved plans and specifications Tuesday for installation of a more reliable, energy efficient, and environmentally friendly heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system at the Aliso Viejo Branch Library. In doing so, the Board also authorized the Clerk of the Board to advertise the project for bids.

The existing air conditioning at Aliso Viejo Library utilizes a Thermal Energy Storage (TES) system, or ice storage, as a portion of its HVAC system. The proposed TES design enhancement incorporates the latest energy efficiency changes to the system, which also allows for future expansions.

In addition, the project will incorporate a new hot water boiler heating system for morning HVAC warm-up cycles, thus saving electricity by reducing dependence on the originally installed and inefficient ceiling mounted electrical radiant heat panels.

To view the staff report on this item, please click here.


Orange County Fire Authority to Disband Volunteer Firefighters Program

At Thursday night’s Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA) Board of Directors meeting, the Board of Directors voted 15 – 6 with 1 abstention to disband volunteer firefighter units at eleven of the OCFA’s fire stations, including three within the Fifth District.

Facing rising costs to train and equip volunteer Reserve Firefighters, in May 2009 the OCFA Board formed a Reserve Firefighter Program Ad-Hoc committee to review the long-term feasibility of continuing the Reserve program, which consists of 21 squads made up of 259 reservists. As part of that study the Board also adopted the requirement that beginning in January 2010, if a station is deficient upon 6 months of review (January 1 – June 30), the station is to be allowed 6 additional months (July 1 to December 31) for the opportunity to correct its deficiencies in order to avoid closure.

At a Special Board Study Session held September 9, staff presented the final report and recommended that the Board dissolve 11 of the 23 reserve stations due to not meeting established performance standards. At that time, I asked that the Board follow the process set forth by our earlier board directive which requires deficient stations be allowed additional time to address deficiencies. Unfortunately, that motion failed and the staff recommendation to dissolve 11 of the 23 reserve stations was again placed on this week’s agenda.

I did not vote in favor of this action for several reasons. Our Board of Directors adopted a directive in May 2009 to allow deficient stations an additional 6 months following the evaluation period to fix their squads and raise their performance.

The action taken did not respect the original Board directive as it accelerated that process and did not allow deficient squads the chance to address their performance issues. I believe that there are options that deserved to be initiated that could have potentially helped deficient squads raise their performance standards and remain on the job.

A critical need to reduce costs in the FY10-11 budget was the reason given for accelerating the elimination of these units instead of giving them the promised time to correct deficiencies. While that might be a short-term solution, I remain concerned that the true picture of long-term community and financial impacts of eliminating a well-trained and supervised volunteer firefighter program has the potential for serious unintended consequences. A more thorough analysis of these long-term impacts needs to be part of the second review of the remaining volunteer reserve stations. I wish to extend my sincere appreciation to the volunteers who have given dedicated service to their communities for many long years.

Meet Your Local Firefighters

The public is invited to meet their local firefighters and learn how to protect family and property during two educational and fun-filled community events hosted by the Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA) in October.

Meet your local OCFA firefighters Saturday, October 2, during a special open house from 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM at your local OCFA Fire Station.

The Oct. 2 event, which caters to people of all ages, will be followed by OCFA’s 5th Annual Open House on Saturday, October 9, from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM at 1 Fire Authority Road in Irvine.

The open house will include live demonstrations and a host of activities, as well as important information for protecting homes and property through OCFA’s "Ready! Set! Go!" program.

For more information on both OCFA open house events, please click here.


Alton Parkway Extension Groundbreaking Ceremony

This Wednesday, I was pleased to participate in the Groundbreaking Ceremony for the Alton Parkway Extension project. This project, which is more than 20 years in the making, will close the existing gap on Alton Parkway, creating a vital linkage in South County.

The Alton Parkway extension is the result of a collaborative process to achieve our goal of providing a safe roadway that is sensitive to natural resources and minimizes the impacts to the environment. The project, which traverses the former Marine Corp Air Station in El Toro, required collaboration with the Cities of Lake Forest and Irvine and Shea Baker Ranch, a private developer, as well as approvals from the U.S. Navy, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, California Fish & Game and the Water Quality Control Board.

I would like to express my gratitude to everyone who has worked so diligently on this project for so many years.

Rideshare Week: October 4 – 8

Rideshare Week is an annual statewide campaign that promotes carpooling, public transit and other alternatives to driving alone as a means of easing traffic congestion and improving air quality. The Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) celebrates the event October 4 – 8 with a weeklong campaign to promote awareness to Orange County commuters and employers.

Everyone wins with a better environment when you pledge to Share the Ride, but there are also fabulous prizes to win! For more information, please click here.

San Clemente Road Projects Underway

Construction along the Avenida Pico corridor is expected to ramp up in the coming weeks, as the City of San Clemente begins two road improvement projects. The projects include expansion of the Pico and El Camino Real intersection, as well as the widening of Pico between Calle de los Molinos and El Camino Real.

The Pico intersection project is expected to take about six months to complete and will ultimately create dual left–turn lanes from eastbound El Camino Real onto northbound Pico and from southbound Pico onto eastbound El Camino Real. When completed, the widening project will result in two lanes in each direction between El Camino Real and Calle de los Molinos, making left turns easier and improving safety for bicyclists.


Registrar of Voters Releases Customer Service Results

The Orange County Registrar of Voters (ROV) has released results of customer service surveys taken during Statewide Primary Election in June. During the Statewide Primary Election cycle, the surveys were used to gather data on eight levels of service provided by the ROV. Overall, the survey results reflect extremely well on the department.

For more information, please click here.


Coastal Cleanup Day

As reported last week in my newsletter, September 25 is Coastal Cleanup Day, the nation’s premier volunteer event focused on the marine environment. Coastal Cleanup Day is a great way for families, students, service groups, and neighbors to join together to care for our fragile marine environment and have lots of fun!

Be part of the solution to marine pollution! Please join us Saturday, September 25 from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM for the 26th Annual California Coastal Cleanup Day. For more information, please click here and here. To see photos of last year’s event, please click here.


Annual Park Passes at Half Price

As a reminder, OC Parks annual day-use passes for County beaches, regional parks and wilderness parks are now available at half the regular price. The passes remain valid through December 31, 2010. For more information, please click here.

OC Parks and the Irvine Ranch Conservancy (IRC)

Orange County residents recently received an unprecedented gift: 20,000 acres of wild and natural open space to protect and enjoy for generations to come. This land, a donation from The Irvine Company, was unanimously accepted by the Board of Supervisors in June. A few years ago, this same land was designated part of a Natural Landmark by both the State of California and the U.S. Department of Interior in recognition of its exceptional value to California and the entire nation.

This spectacular gift was an important milestone, as it placed the last large piece of private open space land in Orange County into public hands, forever ensuring the stunning natural resources found there will be preserved and provide a variety of outdoor opportunities. This addition also increased the park and natural open space land owned by the County of Orange by 50 percent to 60,000 acres.

The Irvine Ranch Conservancy (IRC) and OC Parks have worked together for two years under a partnership agreement, among the first of its kind in Orange County. IRC was also already managing the land recently transferred to OC Parks. With the land now in public ownership, the OC Parks/IRC partnership is poised to achieve even greater accomplishments, which will benefit the land as well as the public who enjoy it.

For more information, please click here.


High Temperatures Bring Risk of Heat-Related Illnesses

Many inland Orange County communities are expected to record high temperatures of over 90° this weekend and early next week, increasing the risk of heat related illnesses like heat exhaustion and heat stroke for those who are more sensitive to the heat.

Prolonged exposure to excessive temperatures may cause serious conditions, such as heat exhaustion or heat stroke, which can be fatal. For more information, including recommended precautions to prevent heat related illness, please click here.

Community Health News from the Health Care Agency

The Orange County Health Care Agency (HCA) has released its community health newsletter, Healthier Tomorrow, which features important information on:

  • Stroke-Neurology Centers – A comprehensive approach to early intervention has improved outcomes for stroke patients.
  • Preventing Childhood Obesity – Increasing physical activity and making healthier food choices are essential to improving health.
  • Controlling Pertussis – Unimmunized or incompletely immunized young infants are particularly vulnerable.
To view the HCA newsletter, Healthier Tomorrow, please click here.

Orange County Health Needs Assessment Newsletter

The Orange County Health Needs Assessment (OCHNA) has released the September/October issue of its newsletter, The Stone Soup Gazette, which features a variety of useful health information. To view The Stone Soup Gazette, please click here. For more information on OCHNA, please click here.


World Rabies Day

In honor of World Rabies Day, please join OC Animal Care on Saturday, September 25, from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM, in promoting rabies prevention awareness and education. FREE goodie bags will be provided, including rabies educational materials and fun activities for children. For more information, please click here.

Laguna Woods Artist Honors Man’s Best Friend at JWA

A collection of paintings by artist Ellen Rose, a Laguna Woods resident, is being featured as part of John Wayne Airport's (JWA) Community Focus Program. Ellen’s paintings will be on display through October 25 on the departure (upper) level near the security screening checkpoints and on the arrival (lower) level near baggage carousels 1 and 4.

Ellen’s "Dogma" collection at JWA includes paintings of one of her favorite subjects, man's best friend – dogs. For more information, please click here.


Snapshot Day: Make It a Library Night

On Wednesday, September 29, OC Public Libraries (OCPL) will join libraries across the state in participating in “Snapshot: One Day in the Life of California Libraries.” This ‘Snapshot Day’ has been developed by the California Library Association. On this day, all OCPL branches will celebrate the occasion with “Make It a Library Night” Open Houses, showcasing their respective staffs and services to the public.

OCPL invites you to visit a branch near you September 29 to learn more about the library and participate in this historic "day in the life". To locate an OCPL branch near you, please click here. For more information, please click here and here.


San Clemente Receives Governor’s Gold Medal Award

The City of San Clemente’s Beaches, Parks & Recreation Division has earned the top gold medal award as part of the Governor’s Spotlight on Fitness. This noteworthy recognition was bestowed by Governor Schwarzenegger in honor of the City’s acclaimed Fun on the Run fitness program, which was among 2,000 entries nominated. The gold medal award also comes with a $10,000 grant to help sustain the program.

The Governor’s committee indicated it was impressed with the City’s programs and will encourage other cities to implement similar programs based on the City’s model. “It’s an honor to have the City’s program, founded on building healthy kids and keeping our youth productive after school, serve as a model for California,” said San Clemente Mayor Jim Dahl.

For more information, please click here.


FREE Museum Day for Two

Saturday, September 25 is Museum Day, an annual event hosted by Smithsonian Magazine, in which participating museums across the country open their doors for FREE to anyone presenting a Museum Day Ticket. The Museum Day Ticket provides free admission to one person plus a guest.

Participating Museum Day venues in South County include the Laguna Art Museum and the Mission San Juan Capistrano. For more information, or to download your FREE Museum Day ticket for two, please click here.

Aliso Viejo Founders Day Fair: A Day at the Ranch

The City of Aliso Viejo invites you to the 5th annual Founder's Day Fair on Saturday, September 25, from noon to 6:00 PM, at Aliso Viejo Ranch, 100 Park Avenue.

The City's annual fair transforms the 7-acre Aliso Viejo Ranch back to its California ranching roots, with an old barn, bunkhouse and lots of history. Visitors to the Fair will enjoy a day at the Ranch, including live entertainment, a water balloon launch and dunk tank, giant slide, climbing wall, games, demonstrations, gold panning, pony rides, delectable food and drinks for purchase, and much more!

The Founder's Day Fair is open to the public and admission is FREE. Whether you’re an adult, teen, child, or simply a kid-at-heart, there's plenty to do at the Founder's Day Fair! For more information, please click here.

Dana Point: Star Spangled Spectacular

The City of Dana Point invites you to enjoy a FREE picnic concert in Lantern Bay Park on Sunday, September 26 at 3:00 PM. The Capistrano Valley Symphony will present All-American music, including works by Bernstein, Copland, Ellington, Gershwin, Foster and Sousa. The 1st Marine Division Band from Camp Pendleton will also perform patriotic favorites.

From 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM, musicians will be presenting hands-on activities for kids at an “Instrument Petting Zoo,” where children can hear, touch and play various orchestra instruments. So come on down, bring a picnic and blanket and enjoy the show! For more information, please click here.

Lake Forest: El Toro Park Playground Grand Re-Opening

The community is invited to the El Toro Park Renovation Celebration on Wednesday, September 29 at 2:30 PM in Lake Forest. For more information, please click here.

10K Trail Run, Ridge Walk and Mountain Bicycle Poker Ride

Registration is available for the San Juan Capistrano 10K Trail Run, Ridge Walk, and first-time Mountain Bicycle Poker Ride. The fun-filled event takes place at the Las Ramblas trailhead, located at the east end of Camino Las Ramblas off the I-5.

This family fun affair on Saturday, October 2, kicks-off with a 10K Trail Run, followed by a self-directed Ridge Walk in the local hills, and ends with a first-time Mountain Bicycle Poker Run. The 10K Run begins 7:00 AM; the Ridge Walk trail opens 8:30 AM; and the Mountain Bike Poker Ride starts 11:00 AM. For more information, please click here.

Laguna Niguel: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

Feeling like you don't want summer to end? Well, it doesn't have to! Bring the whole family to enjoy a FREE Fall Flick at Laguna Niguel’s Crown Valley Park Amphitheater on Saturday, September 25, beginning at 7:30 PM.

The fun family film, "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs," is based on the children's book. This animated adventure follows a scientist who tries to solve world hunger only to see things go awry, as food falls from the sky in abundance! For more information, please click here.

Laguna Niguel Community Fair

The Laguna Niguel Chamber of Commerce invites you to enjoy their annual Laguna Niguel Community Fair. The Community Fair takes place Saturday, October 2 from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM and will feature a variety of fun activities for the whole family, as well as vendor booths giving away free samples and selling their products and services, and free tastings of an assortment of delicious food samples from local eateries. FREE parking and admission! For more information, please click here.

Doheny State Beach: Battle of the Paddle

The Battle of Paddle returns to Doheny State Beach in Dana Point on Saturday and Sunday, October 2 & 3, with a celebration of the modern waterman’s lifestyle. The event is a stand-up paddle (SUP) festival, which will include races and demonstrations for people of all ages and skill levels.

For the sport’s elite, the event presents a championship-style race, offering the sport’s largest cash purse – over $25,000! For those just getting their feet wet, it also represents an ideal opportunity to learn about the sport. In addition, the Doheny State Beach Interpretive Association will be organizing kid’s activities throughout the weekend. For more information, please click here.


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

  • Participated in the Alton Parkway Extension groundbreaking ceremony with Lake Forest City Mayor Herzog and Sheriff Hutchens. For more information, please click here.
  • Chaired a meeting of the Orange County Coastal Coalition (more on this in next week’s newsletter).
  • Delivered the keynote address at the Dana Point Chamber of Commerce “State of the County” Luncheon.
  • Attended a Special Meeting of the Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA) Board of Directors.
  • Adjourned the Board of Supervisors meeting in memory of Brian Loughman of Laguna Hills.
My office also:
  • Attended the monthly meeting of the San Juan Capistrano Government Affairs Committee.
  • Attended the South Orange County Association of Mayors and Managers meeting.
  • Provided a certificate of recognition in honor of a ribbon cutting ceremony for Crossfit I-5, a businesses in Mission Viejo.
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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