Header image with Photo of Supervisor Pat Bates. Followed by office information
November 24, 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 47

Happy Thanksgiving!

In 1621, our Pilgrim forebearers sat down with members of the Wampanog Indian Tribe to give thanks to God for their many blessings. The pilgrims were grateful for family and friendship, gratified for surviving a harsh year in Plymouth, Massachusetts, and above all, thankful to be able to live in a society where they could freely practice their religion and live their lives free from oppression.

While much has changed since 1621, we Americans still enjoy a free society. Although our nation is experiencing a time of great challenge and many of us face individual struggles, we must always remember how fortunate we are to live in a land where freedom endures. As we gather to celebrate Thanksgiving 2010 and our many blessings, let us also never forget to thank and be grateful to the brave men and women who fought, and still fight, to protect our precious freedoms.

Wishing you and yours a safe and Happy Thanksgiving!


Lobbying Ordinance

As follow up to previous Board discussions, Supervisor Nelson and I on Tuesday introduced a County lobbying ordinance for Board consideration. You may recall a few weeks ago the Board voted down a lobbying ordinance introduced by Supervisor Campbell. I was among the Board majority that voted against that ordinance because I believed the language did not clearly define who must report.

The ordinance we introduced on Tuesday proposed alternative language that would have clarified reporting requirements to ensure all those who in fact “lobby” the Board for their interests, projects, programs, etc., be incorporated, including representatives from labor unions and government affairs representatives from businesses and non-profit groups, who potentially would have been excluded under the original language. Our version incorporated much of the same language from Supervisor Campbell’s version; however, it sought to clarify the definition of lobbyist.

Unfortunately, during the discussion the intent of our hybrid ordinance was mischaracterized as requiring anyone who contacted a Board member formally or informally on any matter would be considered a lobbyist. This was debated at length. Our intention was to provide a fair and clear policy that would provide real transparency by informing citizens about who is seeking access to their tax dollars. As proposed, the ordinance would not have been an obstacle to individual citizens seeking to interact with their elected officials.

In the end, it was decided to send all versions – the less restrictive and more restrictive versions - to County Counsel and our CEO for more vetting that incorporates input from all Board members and seeks input from stakeholders.

Above all, I believe citizens should know what is going on in their government and how their taxpayer dollars are being spent. While it can be a long process, we will eventually have an ordinance that provides citizens with assurances that all the information they seek to access about their government and the work of their elected officials is readily available and prevents no one from the opportunity of interacting with their government.

Strand Vista Park Property Exchanges

As part of the Headlands Project in the City of Dana Point, the County acquired Strand Beach as a southerly addition to Salt Creek Beach. The City of Dana Point acquired land adjacent to the County-owned Selva Road parking lot for development of Strand Vista Park and land adjacent to the County-owned beach access stairs for a funicular (an inclined elevator).

This week, the Board voted to clarify City/County property lines and entered into a maintenance agreement, in which the County will pay the City for maintenance of the County-owned beach access stairs; the County-owned restrooms at the top and bottom of the stairs; and associated landscaping. As a result, the agreement will provide a uniform and cost-effective level of maintenance for Strand Vista Park and the beach access facilities.

Bluff Park Picnic Shelters Replacement

The County's Salt Creek Beach, located in the City of Dana Point, includes Bluff Park, a large turf area situated above the beach with areas for picnicking and recreation. Until several years ago, Bluff Park included three wood picnic shelters. However, due to severe deterioration, the shelters had to be demolished.

As such, the Board approved a contract for the Bluff Park Picnic Shelters Replacement at Salt Creek Beach. The project involves replacement of the old shelters with three new picnic shelters and fifteen concrete picnic benches, specifically designed for the beach location, returning a valuable amenity to the park.

Disaster-Related Debris Management and Recovery Services

The recent catastrophic Santiago and Freeway Complex fires created a need for the County to take proactive measures for securing additional disaster response and recovery services. To that end, the Board approved a contract with AshBritt, Inc., which will provide disaster-related debris management and recovery services in the event of a disaster or major emergency.

Supplementing OC Public Work's Operations Center and the County’s Regional Mutual Aid contracts, the contract with AshBritt will add to the County’s ability to secure the additional manpower and equipment necessary to effectively and efficiently address large scale emergency debris removal and recovery efforts.

For more information, please click here.

Sheriff’s Department Volunteer Services

At Tuesday’s meeting, the Board granted authorization for Sheriff’s Department Professional Service Responders and adult Explorers to drive County vehicles, expanding the services provided by these volunteer positions.

The Sheriff’s Department currently has over 800 volunteers providing 100,000 hours per year of unpaid services to the County of Orange, valued at approximately $5 million. The volunteers consist of 225 Reserve Deputy Sheriffs, 180 youth Explorers and approximately 430 Professional Service Responders, including 30 Chaplains.

These volunteers help provide high level public safety services to the County, and donating their time greatly assists with our budget shortfalls. I applaud and thank all our County volunteers for their efforts!

The State of Orange County Infrastructure

The Board received a presentation on The State of Orange County Infrastructure. Not only were we were the first County in the nation to have such a report card prepared, we are also the first to have done this now 3 times!

A volunteer partnership that includes UC Irvine Civil and Environmental Engineering Affiliates, the American Society of Civil Engineers and the Orange County Business Council prepared the report titled “The State of Orange County’s Infrastructure 2010.” This collaboration also conducted similar report cards in 2002, 2005, and 2010.

To that end, this effort strives to identify and monitor trends, fully inform the public and policy makers, and help establish community expectations related to infrastructure, now and for the future. To view a full summary of the report, please click here.

Legislative Platform

On Tuesday, the Board approved the 2011 Legislative Platform. The Platform provides direction to County staff and our legislative advocates. It is a statement describing what the County is attempting to achieve through the legislative process.

As such, initiatives in the Platform include some introduced by my office. Specifically, we are seeking legislation that will provide greater flexibility in the use of federal homeless assistance funding, as more flexibility in funding means increased local control. This will allow cities like Laguna Beach, currently grappling with the issue of homelessness, to develop innovative programs that address the needs of their specific homeless population.

To read a copy of the Legislative Platform, please click here.

Board Bans Marijuana Dispensaries in Unincorporated Areas

The Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 in favor of banning medical marijuana dispensaries in unincorporated parts of the County.

Under current Orange County law, only a couple of commercially zoned areas in the unincorporated communities could host marijuana dispensaries – including Ladera Ranch in the Fifth District. All other areas else would be off limits due to their proximity to schools and homes.

Because of the geographic limitations, the Board felt allowing dispensaries in these areas could lead to a clustering of them as well as more crime in the affected communities, potentially harming the health and overall welfare of nearby residents.

Friends of the Laguna Niguel Library Donation

The Board accepted a donation in the amount of $40,000 from the Friends of the Laguna Niguel Library. This generous donation from the Friends of the Library will significantly contribute to refurbishing the Laguna Niguel Interim Library, providing the community with essential services during construction of Laguna Niguel’s new main library.

To that end, the community is invited to the opening of the Laguna Niguel Interim Library – located at Laguna Niguel Town Center, 30100 Town Center Drive, Suite N – on Wednesday, December 1 at 10:00 AM. In addition, the Friends of the Laguna Niguel Library’s temporary bookstore is also located in the Town Center, just a few steps away in Suite K.

For information about Friends of the OC Public Libraries, please click here.


Measure M Quarterly Progress Report

The Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) has prepared a Measure M progress report for the third quarter of 2010. This is a regular report highlighting Measure M projects and programs currently under development. To view the report, please click here.

Measure M2 Financing

Last week, the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) financing team met with Fitch Ratings, Moody's Investors Services, and Standard and Poor's in New York to discuss OCTA's upcoming Measure M2 financing.

The meetings focused on projects being funded, legal structure of the financing, the status of sales tax collections, Orange County’s economy and the upcoming schedule.

OCTA officials anticipate issuing more than $350 million in Measure M2 bonds with $258 million going to fund specific transportation projects. The remaining amount will go toward refinancing existing tax-exempt commercial paper notes.

OCTA is seeking formal ratings from the three firms and anticipates receiving the ratings by December 6, 2010. The M2 financing is scheduled to take place December 8, 2010.

‘Text4Next’ Program Wins National Honors

OCTA’s text messaging program, which helped save tens of thousands of dollars, recently earned one of the nation’s top marketing honors from the Mobile Marketing Association. OCTA earned the honor for its Text4Next program, an interactive campaign that helped reduce operating costs by giving passengers the ability to request bus schedule information via text message rather than calling the agency’s customer support center.

The award-winning Text4Next allows passengers to text a bus stop number and route number to OCTAGO (628246) to receive arrival times of the next three buses for that stop, adding flexibility to confirm bus schedules on the go.

As a result, the program has reduced incoming customer calls to the agency’s call center by more than 40 percent. In comparison, the program provides tremendous savings to OCTA with SMS text messaging services, costing 10 cents per message versus $2 per call placed by customers to the call center.

Special Thanksgiving Metrolink Offer

To help make your holiday weekend hassle free, Metrolink is offering a special Thanksgiving deal. From November 25 to November 28, costumers can enjoy unlimited Metrolink rides for just $8 per day! For more information, click here.


Thanksgiving Holiday Travel Tips

This being our most heavily traveled holiday period, John Wayne Airport (JWA) offers travel tips to help passengers prepare for a safe and enjoyable holiday air travel experience, as passengers traveling through November 29 will experience higher than normal passenger traffic due to the Thanksgiving Holiday, with the busiest travel days expected Wednesday, November 24 and Sunday, November 28. For information, please click here and here.


Thanksgiving Food Safety Tips

The Orange County Health Care Agency asks you to practice safe food handling procedures to reduce the risk of food-borne illness to your family this Thanksgiving holiday. For important tips to keep your Thanksgiving dinner safe, please click here.


Keep Out Holiday FOG

With the holidays on tap with savory foods to please our palates, residents are encouraged to keep their sinks "fat-free" this holiday season to benefit the environment and save money.

Throughout the year – and especially during the holidays – byproducts of cooking are poured down the sink. Fats, cooking oils, and grease (FOG) can clog pipes and cause sewer lines to back up into homes. FOG can also cause blockages further down sewer lines, which can result in overflows or sewage backups into yards or streets, storm drains and our water ways – ultimately creating a public health risk.

In addition, FOG making its way to waste water treatment plants can disrupt treatment processes and add to the need for maintenance. To prevent such problems, the public is encouraged to properly dispose of leftover FOG. For more information, please click here.


Prevent Cooking Fires

As reported in my newsletter last week, cooking fires are the leading cause of fires, fire injuries and fire deaths in Orange County. Given their frequency, the Orange County Fire Authority believes more actually occur than are reported. During this holiday season, please take extra precautions when cooking, particularly when using ovens. For more information, please click here.


Thanksgiving Pet Safety Tips

As you prepare for the first family feast of the holiday season, please keep your pet’s safety in mind, too! The following are a few Thanksgiving Pet Safety Tips:

  • Avoid feeding your pet table scraps, as this can cause weight gain, and we all want to avoid that this season!
  • Keep turkey bones away from your pets, as these dangerous treats can splinter upon consumption and cause serious injury.
  • Make sure holiday guests understand your pet's "house rules" when it comes to playtime, treats, jumping, getting on counters, table scraps, etc.
  • Chocolate should be kept away from pets’ reach at all times, as it is toxic to animals, particularly dogs.
  • Be careful with candles and do not leave them unattended, as a wayward tail can cause a fire.
  • Secure trash cans so dogs cannot tip them over and get into items that could be harmful.
For more information, please click here and here.

Holiday Fun at OC Animal Care!

OC Animal Care is hosting several festive pet events this holiday season, including Meet Your Mature Match (Dec. 4), Photo With Santa (Dec. 4, 11, 18 & 19) and a Pawliday Adoption Event (Dec. 18). If you’re looking for an adorable pet to include in your family and provide a warm, loving home for just in time for the holidays, then these events are for you!

For more information, please click here.

Coyote Concerns Increasing in South County

On Wednesday, December 1, the City of Laguna Hills will host a Public Meeting to discuss growing concerns regarding increased Coyote encounters in the community. The meeting will be held at the Laguna Hills Community Center, 25555 Alicia Pkwy., from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM and will be aimed at understanding the problem, increasing awareness and providing education.

Representatives from OC Animal Care and the California Department of Fish and Game will also be present to discuss the problem. For more information, please click here.


OC Public Libraries: Holiday Hours

In observance of the Thanksgiving holiday, all OC Public Libraries will be closed Thursday and Friday, November 25 & 26.


Laguna Coast Wilderness Park: Wobble Walk

For a fun and easy way to walk off your Thanksgiving dinner this year, join the Wobble Walk – a slow-paced, 2-mile fitness hike with an OC Parks Resource Specialist on Friday, November 26 from 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM.

Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, Little Sycamore Canyon Staging Area / Nix Nature Center (west side of Laguna Canyon Road / SR 133, 3 miles south of I-405). Reservations required: (949) 923-2235. Parking: $3. Program: $2/person. For more information, please click here.

San Juan Hot Springs and Cold Springs Canyon Hike

For a more challenging way to burn off those extra Thanksgiving calories, join a Caspers Wilderness Park Naturalist on a 3-mile journey through nature and time. This hike will take participants past the famous San Juan Hot Springs while learning its history and geologic significance; then it’s up Cold Springs Canyon, where you’ll find a wide variety of flora and fauna under a canopy of beautiful Coastal Live Oak.

This hike will take place Saturday, November 27 from 9:00 AM to 12:00 noon and is approximately three miles long with 400 feet elevation gain. Reservations are required and space is limited. Meet at Hot Springs parking lot on Hot Springs Road, behind the Fire Station. To RSVP, please contact Cindi Morgan at (949) 923-2207 or cindi.morgan@ocparks.com. For more information, please click here.


Turkey Dinners Delivered to At-Risk Youth

Turkey dinners were hand-delivered last week to 420 at-risk students who succeeded in a Gang Reduction Intervention Partnership (GRIP) challenge to improve their attendance, behavior, and grades in time for Thanksgiving. The turkey dinners were donated by Saddleback Church in Lake Forest as part of the ongoing GRIP gang prevention effort to keep kids in school and out of gangs.

For more information, please click here.


Dana Point: Annual Holiday Events

2010 Turkey Trot
Tomorrow, over 10,000 participants will once again participate in California's Thanksgiving Day Run, the Dana Point Turkey Trot – one of America's most scenic coastal runs! This annual event, hosted by the Dana Point Chamber of Commerce, includes a competitive 10K run, children's "Hot to Trot" race, entertainment, costume contest and much more! For more information please visit www.TurkeyTrot.com.

Holiday in the Harbor
Celebrate the season at the annual Holiday in the Harbor on Friday, December 3, as three areas of Dana Point Harbor – Dana Wharf, Mariner’s Village and Mariner’s Alley – host festive holiday activities for the whole family. Then bring the kids back December 4 & 5 for Boat Rides with Santa. For more information, please click here and here.
Mission Viejo: Holiday Festivities

Jolly Old Saint Nick's Arrival
The public is invited to celebrate Jolly Old Saint Nick's arrival on Sunday, November 28 from 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM at the Mission Viejo Civic Center. The holiday celebration includes free games and crafts galore for kids until 5:00 PM, when talented local performers will take center stage, delighting visitors of all ages with music and dance. Santa follows at 6:00 PM with his debut in town and the lighting of the community Christmas tree. For more information, please click here and here.

A Celtic Christmas
Celebrate the joy of an old-fashioned Celtic Christmas with traditional music, dance, tales and holiday cheer on December 1. The FREE holiday event, featuring talented performers of the noted Tin Box Theatricals, starts at 6:30 PM at the Norman P. Murray Community Center, 24932 Veterans Way. For more information, please click here and here.
Laguna Niguel: Holiday Happenings

Menorah Lighting and Chanukah Celebration
The City of Laguna Niguel invites you to a Grand Menorah Lighting and Chanukah Celebration at Crown Valley Park Amphitheater. The FREE event will feature spectacular live entertainment and Chanukah fun and food for the whole family on Wednesday, December 1 from 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM. For more information, please click here.

North Pole Adventure
This fun-filled adventure for the whole family will feature live reindeer and a visit with Santa. Activities include face painting, decorating yummy treats, live entertainment, games and crafts on Saturday, December 4 from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM at Sea Country Center, 24602 Aliso Creek Road. For more information, please click here.

Christmas Tree Lighting
Mingle with friends, munch on cookies, sip hot chocolate and enjoy songs of the season at the City of Laguna Niguel’s Christmas Tree Lighting on Sunday, December 5 at 4:30 PM in the Crown Valley Park Softball Field. For more information, please click here.
Laguna Beach: Holiday Treasures

2010 Winter Fantasy
With this year’s theme: A Palette of Holiday Treasures, the 2010 Winter Fantasy held at the world famous Sawdust Art Festival grounds in Laguna Beach will feature amazing art and crafts from over 170 exhibitors, as well as live entertainment, hands-on art projects and picture-perfect moments on weekends, now through December 12. For more information, please click here.

First Thursdays Art Walk
Join over 40 member art galleries throughout Laguna Beach on Thursday, December 2 from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM for First Thursdays Art Walk – a FREE festive, cultural evening held the first Thursday of each month, featuring artist demonstrations, exhibition openings, music, dance, and much more! For more information, please click here.

Hospitality Night
A longstanding holiday fixture in Laguna, Hospitality Night is hosted by the Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce and takes place Friday, December 3, starting at 5:00 PM with a bell choir and community sing-a-long at City Hall. The pepper tree at City Hall will be lighted by Santa at 6:00 PM and the evening will continue with a variety of musical performances. Forest Avenue will be blocked off to traffic for the event, as the Laguna Beach trolleys will be running up and down Coast Highway to bring guests to the holiday celebration. To see Santa’s video invitation to Laguna’s Hospitality Night, please click here.
San Clemente: Holiday Tree Lighting

Celebrate the start of the season as the City of San Clemente lights their Holiday Tree on Thursday, December 2. Santa’s elves will be serving hot cocoa and cookies at the San Clemente Community Center from 5:30 PM to 6:30 PM while awaiting Santa’s arrival for the reading of “Twas the Night Before Christmas”, followed by the Holiday Tree Lighting. For more information, please click here.

Laguna Hills: Breakfast with Santa

Santa will be arriving at the Laguna Hills Community Center on Saturday, December 4 from 9:00 AM to 10:30 AM for a morning full of holiday fun! Enjoy a special holiday celebration complete with a scrumptious pancake breakfast, photos with Santa, holiday crafts and special entertainment for the whole family! For more information, please call (949) 707-2680 or click here.

Lake Forest: 29th Annual Victorian Christmas

Costumed docents will be on hand Saturday, December 4 from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM to lead families through the old buildings of Orange County’s past, decorated to celebrate the holiday season during the 29th Annual Victorian Christmas at Heritage Hill Historical Park in Lake Forest.

This family oriented event provides the opportunity for kids and the young at heart to churn butter and ice cream, make historic crafts, play games, visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus, and capture the magic of a Christmas past. For more information, please call (949) 923-2230 or click here and here.

San Juan Capistrano: Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony

San Juan Capistrano will celebrate the kick-off to the holiday season December 4 with its traditional Tree Lighting Ceremony, a spectacular event that attracts thousands to the downtown area for lively entertainment and holiday cheer.

The celebration starts at 4:15 PM in Historic Town Center Park with performances by orchestra students from San Juan Hills and Capistrano Valley high schools. The Park is at 31852 El Camino Real. For more information, please call (949) 493-5911 or click here.


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

  • Attended a meeting of the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) Board of Directors.
My office also:
  • Attended a meeting of the San Juan Capistrano Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs Committee.
  • Attended a meeting of the Orange County Taxpayers Association.
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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