February 11, 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. PAT’S PERSPECTIVE
2. BOARD BULLETIN BOARD
3. TRANSPORTATION INFORMATION
4. COUNTY CONNECTIONS
5. SOUTH COUNTY NEWS
6. FIFTH DISTRICT SPOTLIGHT
7. HARBOR HAPPENINGS
8. CRITTER CHRONICLES
9. ENVIRONMETNAL MEMOS
10. NOTES FROM THE FIELD
11. SOUTH COUNTY CALENDAR
12. FIFTH DISTRICT WRAP-UP
Chief of Staff
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County Achieves Another Milestone in Pension Reform
Over the past few years, your Orange County Board of Supervisors has been working diligently to reform and repair the broken county employee pension system. This week, we achieved another significant victory with the Board’s approval of an agreement with the Orange County Deputy Sheriffs Association (AOCDS).
This new agreement with AOCDS is unprecedented. For the first time, the contract calls for public safety employees to begin contributing to their pensions. Specifically, over the three-year term of the contract, current employees will now contribute 5% of their salaries to their pensions. Additionally, a new pension formula tier has been created for all newly hired public safety employees who will contribute 6.6% of their salaries and be subject to a new “3% at 55” retirement formula. This agreement is estimated to save the taxpayers approximately $6 million dollars over the term of the contract.
For some, the contribution by AOCDS members may seem small compared to what most people contribute in the private sector. I recognize that much more still needs to be done before we accomplish our goal of making pensions and other post-employment benefits sustainable for the County. Nonetheless, it is an important step in the right direction. It is necessary to understand that undoing labor contracts and reversing long-standing agreements is a challenge that cannot be achieved overnight.
Rest assured that this Board of Supervisors is committed to the long path toward real reform. This is underscored by our past successes with Measure J, our legal action to overturn the “3% at 50” retroactive public safety pensions approved in 2001, as well as our recent agreement made with the Orange County Employees Association (OCEA) for a new lower pension formula, “1.62% at 65”, combined with a Defined Contribution Plan that is now available to all (non-public safety) County employees.
These continued achievements represent important steps forward for the County in our efforts to reduce unfunded pension liabilities and ensure that we do not pass on debt to future generations. We’re off to a good start, but this is just the beginning. Guided by the values of fiscal responsibility and limited government, I will continue to work with my Board colleagues to reform our pension system so it is no longer an unfair burden on taxpayers.
Recalculation of Sentences
Last Friday, close to 400 inmates were released from the Orange County Jails as a result of a new law passed by the State Legislature. The law reduces the sentences of “low risk” inmates. There is some question as to whether or not the law applies to county jails and whether it should be enforced retroactively. However, State Attorney General Jerry Brown has not yet responded to requests to provide counties with proper clarification on this issue. County law enforcement officials have determined that they have no other choice but to follow the law and release the inmates by reducing their sentences. Most sentences will be reduced by a certain number of days or months.
This is another example of Sacramento legislators passing shortsighted policy that does more harm than good. Orange County has plenty of room in our jails for these inmates, yet we are being forced to release these criminals. I will be working with County legislative advocates to urge Sacramento to pass legislation repealing this misguided law. Additionally, Attorney General Brown should issue an opinion that clarifies the law and allows counties to keep these inmates where they belong, behind bars. We strongly urge our Legislature and Attorney General to act immediately on this issue that affects our public safety.
|BOARD BULLETIN BOARD
Second Quarter Budget Report
On Tuesday, the Board approved changes to the 2009-2010 County Budget that were recommended in the Second Quarter Budget Report. The Quarterly Budget Report provides an overview of the current status of revenues, expenditures, Net County Cost (those funds that come directly from the General Fund), total budgeted positions and various departmental issues requiring recommended mid-year changes to the County's budget.
One of the most significant recommendations was the adoption of a 5% reduction in each department’s Net County Cost. These reductions are necessary due to the continuing decline in revenue and they reflect the Board’s commitment to keeping a fiscally responsible budget. To view a power point presentation on the report, please click here.
A large portion of the Board’s discussion on the Second Quarter Report focused on the shortfall in the Sheriff’s Department budget. My colleagues and I expressed our concern regarding a major reorganization of the Department’s command structure that included the promotion of new Captains and Assistant Sheriffs. The Sheriff clarified that these promotions did not include pay raises and therefore would not add to her Department’s shortfall. We will continue to review this issue and other challenges in our Public Safety Working Group.
The Board of Supervisors remains committed to working with our public safety departments to ensure proper resources are provided to keep Orange County safe. We encourage improved communication and collaboration in this effort so that our ability to maintain a balanced budget and preserve front line public safety services is not hindered.
Orange County Development Agency’s Annual Report
On Tuesday, the Board received the 2008-2009 Annual Report for the Orange County Development Agency. The report provides updates and financial information on development projects in the unincorporated areas of the County. You can read the financial and activities reports by clicking here.
Presentation on the OC Crime Lab Structure
In October 2008, the Board established a Cooperating Department Head Structure to govern the County’s DNA Crime Lab. The structure includes oversight functions from the County CEO, the District Attorney and the Sheriff. On Tuesday, the District Attorney’s Office gave a presentation to the Board outlining the work that has been achieved under the new structure.
Highlighted was the fact that the OC Crime Lab continues to submit the largest number of DNA profiles to the statewide database and still has the largest number of DNA cold hits than any other California crime lab. Additionally, despite the increase in the number of DNA items analyzed, the turn around time to analyze a DNA sample has decreased for most crimes from last year to this year (assault and property crimes are the exception). To view the power point presentation, please click here.
Inside the Outdoors
The Board approved an agreement with the Orange County Superintendent of Schools for use of the County of Orange park system to host the “Inside the Outdoors” program for elementary school students.
Inside the Outdoors is a non-profit enterprise supported by charitable donations operating under the Orange County Superintendent of Schools since 1974 and has been utilizing the Orange County parks since the early 1990’s. The program has been a leader in providing unique, hands-on environmental, outdoor science and social science education programs. The program meets state science and social science standards and allows the students to interact with these subjects in a real world setting. To learn more about this wonderful program, please click here.
Lifeguard Programs at County Beaches
The Board approved contracts with US Ocean Safety Lifeguards and California Junior Lifeguards Program for the operation of the County of Orange’s Junior Lifeguard Program at Salt Creek and Sunset Beaches. Both programs will be operating again out of Salt Creek Beach. These two camps are very popular and consistently receive high customer ratings from participants. The junior lifeguard programs consist of 3-week long sessions that provide instruction and hands-on training in first-aid, CPR, ocean safety, rescue techniques, surfing, and bodyboarding.
For more information on the programs offered by US Ocean Safety Lifeguards please click here, and for more information on the California Junior Lifeguards Program, click here.
San Clemente Considers Wayside Horn System at Rail Crossings
The City of San Clemente has eight pedestrian railroad crossings lining its beach trail that allow users to access the coastline safely. In an effort to reduce or eliminate train horn noise at these crossings, the City in partnership with OCTA is pursuing the implementation of a Wayside Horn System.
A wayside horn is a stationary horn system at railroad crossings that sound off a warning, directed towards pedestrians, when a train approaches. While in place, it substitutes for the sound of a train horn.
OCTA is joining the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and the California Public Utilities Commission to conduct a sound study in coordination with the City of San Clemente to determine if wayside horns are appropriate for the proposed pedestrian railroad crossings. The study will analyze the possibility of reducing FRA mandated wayside horn volumes at pedestrian crossings in order to enhance the quality of life for surrounding residents. A preliminary report of the study is anticipated to be completed in March 2010.
Metrolink Announces New Schedule
New Metrolink schedules will go into effect on Monday, February 15. The Orange County and Inland Empire-Orange County Line weekend schedules will change the following Saturday, February 20.
This schedule change will incorporate the service reductions approved by the Metrolink Board of Directors at the January 8 Board meeting and include minor changes to a number of other weekday trains in response to current operating conditions on the system. Orange County Line Weekend Service (Oceanside – San Juan Capistrano – Los Angeles) will be reduced from eight trains to four trains.
To view the new schedule changes, please click here.
John Wayne Airport’s January 2010 Statistics
Airline passenger traffic at John Wayne Airport increased in January 2010 compared to January 2009. In January 2010, the Airport served 651,224 passengers, an increase of 9.9% when compared to the 592,370 passenger traffic count of January 2009.
Commercial Carrier flight operations increased 3.2%, while Commuter Carrier (air taxi) operations decreased 58.9% when compared to the operations recorded in January 2009.
Total aircraft operations decreased in January 2010 as compared to the same month in 2009. In January 2010, there were 15,526 total aircraft operations (take-offs and landings), a decrease of 7% when compared to 16,692 total aircraft operations in January 2009.
The following excerpt was published in the Sacramento Bee on December 25, 2009. It provides an idea of what is at stake with the 2010 Census.
“The feds and the state have been arguing over California’s population for nearly a decade, and it looks like the matter won’t get settled until the 2010 census. Last week, the state Department of Finance figured it, as of June 30, at 38.5 million. This week the U.S. Census Bureau put it at just under 37 million. They disagree on how many people have moved from California to other states. What’s at stake is a bunch of federal dollars, plus a vote in Congress…”The difference of 1.5 million people is significant and could mean hundreds of millions of dollars of additional funding for a state suffering through a financial crisis. In fact, one group estimates that each uncounted resident could result in the loss of $1,000 a year in federal funding for a state. And since the Census numbers retain their importance for a decade, that means more like $10,000 for each uncounted resident.
Census forms will arrive in March, so when you receive your form, fill it out and return it as soon as possible. Not only will you be helping Orange County achieve a complete count, you may help settle the disagreement over California’s true population.
|SOUTH COUNTY NEWS
2010 South County Senior Summit
My staff and I have been gearing up to host the much anticipated 2010 South County Senior Summit on Friday, March 5 in Laguna Woods Village, Clubhouse 3. The enormously popular annual event, featuring this year’s theme “Your Health and Financial Wellness: Looking into the Crystal Ball,” will include informative and exciting presentations by several distinguished speakers.
The event will begin at 8:00 a.m. with a complimentary continental breakfast. Back by popular demand is Dr. Laura Mosqueda, Director of Geriatrics, UC Irvine, who will speak on important health issues relevant to older adults. A panel of renowned experts in the financial and service industries will also be present to discuss the current economy and how it is affecting social and health services available to older adults and caregivers.
Guests will be treated to a vast array of vendor booths, as well as a complimentary lunch at the conclusion of the event. There will also be a number of drawings during the program, offering guests the opportunity to win fabulous prizes.
As Supervisor for the Fifth District, I’m pleased to serve my constituents by providing them with access to vital resources that can enhance their quality of life. The South County Senior Summit provides an outstanding opportunity for our residents to become better acquainted with the many programs and services available to them by the County of Orange.
Joining me in hosting the third annual South County Senior Summit is the Orange County Office on Aging, Laguna Woods Village, and Age Well Senior Services.
Seating is limited so reserve your place today! For authorized entry into Laguna Woods Village, RSVPs must be received by February 26. To RSVP, please call the Office on Aging at (800) 510-2020.
For more information, please click here.
|FIFTH DISTRICT SPOTLIGHT
South County Resident Stars in the Super Bowl!
During last Sunday’s Super Bowl, San Clemente resident Matt Gahan wasn’t focusing on game but rather the commercials. Matt had entered a contest called “Hire My TV Ad” put together by Careerbuilder.com which allowed film-makers to submit commercial concepts for the company’s Super Bowl ad to be aired in front of 106 million viewers.
Matt’s entry, which pushed “Casual Friday” to a new level, was selected as one of three finalists out of over 1,000 entries. All three finalists were awarded $100,000. To Matt, however, that wasn’t enough. As an owner of his own production company, Matt knew that the grand prize of winning that coveted air time was priceless.
With one of the finalists eliminated by CBS executives, it was between Matt’s and one other entry. When his commercial aired during the first half of Sunday’s game, Matt knew he had won the contest. He hopes now that it will be the start to a great future for his business. To view the Matt’s commercial click here.
14th Annual Surf City Marathon
Before watching the Super Bowl game on Sunday, February 7, 40,000 runners from each of the 50 states and 13 different countries lined up at the start line of the 14th Annual Surf City Marathon in Huntington Beach.
Competitors of all ages and skill levels came prepared to compete in a full marathon, half-marathon, or 5K run along Orange County’s scenic coastline as a fundraiser for charity. Money raised from this year’s event will help Free Wheelchair Mission deliver specialty wheelchairs to victims of the earthquake in Haiti.
The main event of the morning was the 26.2-mile full marathon. Marathon runners from thirteen-year-old Joesline Barralon of Laguna Niguel to 81 year old George Border of Huntington Beach completed the challenging dash to the finish line. The runners with the best times in each category, including two Fifth District residents, Jason Valenzuda of Laguna Hills and Kate Accardo of Laguna Woods, were awarded the 2010 “Freedom” edition of the Annual Surf City Marathon surfboard-shaped medal for their incredible accomplishments.
Local Coastal Program Amendment
As anticipated, the Dana Point City Council took a favorable position this week regarding the Dana Point Harbor Local Coastal Program Amendment (LCPA) Land Use Plan (LUP).
Voting unanimously in support of the document, the Council highlighted the strong community effort, which has been ongoing since 1997 and encouraged progressive actions to continue towards implementing the Harbor Revitalization Plan. Noting that the new Dana Point Town Center is planned in a way to create linkage to the Harbor, this positive step allows the County to proceed with the next steps in updating the area. These next steps will include additional Coastal Commission Hearings for formal adoption of the LUP, as well as approval of the supporting Implementation Plan, followed by Coastal Development Permits to be presented to the City Council for approval.
For updates on the Dana Point Harbor Revitalization Plan, please visit www.DPHplan.com.
Orange County Super Dogs
On Tuesday, Orange County’s very own group of super-dogs was on display at the Orange County Fire Authority headquarters. These dogs may not be able to fly or wear a cape like the famous Underdog, but they are highly trained search and rescue dogs that are always ready to help in emergencies.
Each dog is teamed with a member of the OCFA and is provided by the national Search Dog Foundation as part of California Task Force 5. Orange County has four trainer and dog teams: Doug Vanwaarden and Wiley, Davis Doty and Jester, Rick Bartlett and Spuds, and Bruce Hale and Jerry. There are 225 teams in the country that have completed certification, a two year intensive training course. At the demonstration the dogs showed off their abilities to climb through obstacles and search out potential victims. So, while these dogs may not have a catchy theme song, they are always ready to save the day!
The Ark of San Juan
The Ark of San Juan Companion Animal Rescue will be holding a fundraiser on February 18 at 6:30 p.m. at Blenheim Farms in San Juan Capistrano to help fund their rescue efforts. For more information, please call (949) 338-0034 or email email@example.com.
Waste Free OC
Research shows that Orange County residents are more aware of recycling behaviors than waste reduction and reuse behaviors. To that end, this week OC Waste & Recycling and the Board of Supervisors announced the launch of a new, interactive public awareness campaign to reduce everyday waste from entering Orange County landfills. The campaign message, Waste Free OC. Save Room for Tomorrow, empowers Orange County residents, businesses and organizations to change their behavior in ways that will better the environment.
According to OC Waste & Recycling, the average Orange County resident in 2008 generated five pounds of waste per day. With more than three million residents countywide, that number adds up to approximately 15 million pounds of solid waste per day. The campaign’s call to action is to reduce waste by ten percent in 2010. The “10% in 2010 Challenge” means producing less waste to begin with, reusing items as many times as possible and recycling even more. In doing so, we can reduce 1.5 million pounds of waste from going into our landfills over an entire year.
The new Web site, www.WasteFreeOC.com, provides information and resources on how to live a waste-free lifestyle.
|NOTES FROM THE FIELD
OC Chili Winter Trail Run Series
This Saturday, February 13, OC Parks is hosting a trail run at 7:30 a.m. Following the run, participants can warm up with a Chili cook-off and campfire as part of the OC Chili Winter Trail Run Series. The run will take place at beautiful O’Neil Regional Park (30892 Trabuco Canyon Road). The event will go on rain or shine! For more information, please click here or call (949) 923-2260.
|SOUTH COUNTY CALENDAR
7th Annual CARe Show- Postponed to Saturday February 13
On Saturday, February 13, join the Capistrano Animal Rescue Effort (CARE) at the Capistrano Sports Park for the 7th Annual CARe Show. This event was originally scheduled for February 6 but was postponed due to rain. Classic cars will be on display from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. along with live entertainment, refreshments and vendor booths. All proceeds will go to support homeless cats and dogs in San Juan Capistrano. For more information and to check updated information regarding potential weather-induced postponements, please click here.
Valentine’s Special- “Broadway Showstoppers”
Still haven’t planned anything for Valentine’s Day? The City of Mission Viejo has an idea for you: A Valentine Delight with “Broadway Showstoppers” featuring your favorite Broadway hits by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Stephen Swartz and more! Experience the comedy, passion, and romance as you take a ride through Broadway’s greatest moments. The show starts at 8:00 p.m. at the Norman P. Murray Community and Senior Center. To purchase tickets or for more information, please call (949) 470-3062.
Rancho Santa Margarita Free Class Week
In an effort to promote awareness and participation in community programs, the City of Rancho Santa Margarita is hosting a week of free adult classes and youth programs as well as a variety of fitness classes beginning Monday, February 22. The classes will be held throughout the week at the Bell Tower Regional Community Center. For class schedules and more information please call (949) 216-9700 or click here.
The City of Laguna Niguel is inviting all families to come out for a “bubbletastic” time with “Bubble Mania- Family Fun Night” at the Crown Valley Community Park View room. The City will have a professional Bubblologist who will be create rainbow bubbles, square bubbles and even be put the crowd inside a giant bubble! This will be a one time only event on Friday, February 19 at 7:00 p.m. Seating is limited so get there early. For more information, click here.
|FIFTH DISTRICT WRAP-UP
In addition to my many meetings, briefings, and other supervisorial activities, I also:
My office also:
- Attended the OCBC Annual Installation Dinner
- Attended the LAFCO Meeting
- Adjourned the Board of Supervisors meeting in memory of Laguna Woods resident Joyce Barlow King-Stoops.
My staff and I look forward to continually providing you updated information in our Fifth District Newsletter and website.
- Attended a meeting with Hospital Association of Southern California
- Attended an OC Community Resources briefing regarding upcoming programs that will be starting in Orange County Public Libraries
- Participated in a Rancho Santa Margarita Sphere of Influence Working Group Meeting
- Participated in a planning committee meeting for an upcoming OC Fire Watch Workshop. For more information on OC Fire Watch, please visit www.OCFireWatch.org.
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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