Header image with Photo of Supervisor Pat Bates. Followed by office information
January 21, 2011

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

Click here to subscribe.

Click here to unsubscribe

Volume 5 Issue 2

Presidential Disaster Declaration Sought for Storm Damage

Orange County Board of Supervisors Chair Bill Campbell and I today sent President Obama and Federal officials a letter urging the issuance of a disaster declaration for Orange County and other California counties as a result of damage from December’s devastating winter storms.

A Federal disaster declaration is necessary to authorize available federal assistance for public and private property damage. The letter details the cities and communities hardest hit by flooding, mudslides and debris flows, with damage in Orange County alone estimated at $36 million.

For more information, please click here.


No Board Meeting This Week

There was no regularly scheduled meeting of the Board of Supervisors this week. To view the Board meeting schedule for 2011, please click here.

Our next Board meeting will be held Tuesday, January 25. For Agenda & Meeting Information, please click here.

Live Internet broadcasts of Board of Supervisors meetings are available and archived as video-on-demand. To view live and/or past Board meetings, please click here.


I-5 HOV Lane Extension Project

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) invites you to attend a public meeting, January 31 from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM, to be held at 910 Calle Negocio, 2nd Floor, in San Clemente. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss the current status of the I-5 HOV Lane Extension Project and solicit feedback on project specifications.

Caltrans, in cooperation with the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) and the cities of San Clemente, Dana Point, and San Juan Capistrano, is proposing the addition of one carpool lane in each direction on the I-5 freeway from Avenida Pico in San Clemente to San Juan Creek Road in San Juan Capistrano.

The addition of carpool lanes will provide continuity to the I-5 carpool network. In addition, the project will add auxiliary lanes where needed to relieve congestion, improve interchanges (including reconstruction of Avenida Pico Interchange) and add soundwalls where necessary.

The additional lanes are planned to be within current freeway limits by limited widening and re-striping along the freeway. The project aims to minimize weaving where current carpool lanes end and help carpool users maintain travel speeds.

In accordance with state and federal environmental requirements, a Draft Initial Study and Environmental Assessment have been prepared for this project, which shows it will not significantly impact the quality of the environment.

The public meeting will provide the community an opportunity to discuss design features of the project with Caltrans staff before final design selection. Your feedback will assist the project team in completing the environmental analysis and moving this project forward.

For more information, please call Caltrans at (949) 724-2705 or click here and here.

Southern California 511

Motorists seeking a convenient way to check real-time traffic speeds, find traffic alerts and plan daily work and travel commutes are in luck with Southern California 511 – a FREE travel information service providing traffic, transit and commuter service information in Orange County, Los Angeles and Ventura Counties via a toll-free phone number and website.

Since its launch in June 2010, many enhancements have been made to the 511 voice recognition system, transit trip planner and website to help improve commutes and keep residents informed about travel conditions before leaving the house and while on the road. To that end, residents can call 511 or visit Go511.com to view live traffic cameras and/or receive information about:

  • Traffic, including freeway travel times and speeds, road construction and traffic incidents
  • Trip planning, such as bus and train schedules and a trip planner that helps you find the best transit route for your trip
  • Commuter services, including finding a vanpool or carpool partner or locating a park-and-ride facility near you
  • Bike information, such as bike maps, how to take bikes on buses and trains, and links to area airports and taxis
  • The latest weather in your neighborhood or any other city in Southern California
For more information, please visit www.Go511.com or simply dial 511 directly.


Cox Forum on Recent Storm Damage and Recovery Efforts

Cox Communications, the cable TV station serving South County, is airing a segment on the impact of the recent storms that reeked havoc in many Orange County communities, including Laguna Beach, which was particularly hard hit. The Cox Forum show will focus on how local residents are coping and what the rebuilding process will require.

The Cox Forum on the storm damage and local recovery efforts will air on Cox Channel 3:

  • Thursday, January 27 at 7:00 PM
  • Friday, January 28 at 6:00 PM
  • Saturday, January 30 at 7:00 PM
  • Tuesday, February 1 at 7:00 PM
  • Wednesday, February 2 at 6:30 PM
Laguna Beach Disaster Recovery

The City of Laguna Beach is continuing to recover from the recent storm events. The current estimate of damage in Laguna Beach is now $12.3 million and involves more than 180 properties.

On Saturday, January 8, along with the assistance of three bobcat and truck teams underwritten by Mission Hospital, 125 volunteers showed up to help clear mud and debris from heavily impacted properties in Laguna Canyon.

The Laguna Relief and Resource Center is also organizing volunteer and fundraising efforts. To volunteer or donate funds to help flood victims, please contact them at (949) 212-9155.

On January 25, a public presentation will be held at the Susi Q Senior Center in Laguna Beach at 6:30 PM. Information will be provided regarding financing, insurance, low interest loans, and landlord/tenant responsibilities in disaster situations.

For more information, please click here and here.


OC Parks: Storm Damage Update

With the recent reopening of Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park, park visitors now have another reason to enjoy the sunny weather expected this weekend. Like most other OC Parks, Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park sustained significant damage during the serious storms in December.

Trails at Limestone Canyon, Whiting Ranch, Laguna Coast, and Caspers Wilderness Parks continue to remain closed until further notice. O’Neill Regional Park is also closed. Park Rangers and volunteers are working hard to reopen the trails at these parks and appreciate your patience during this process, as hiking while trails are wet (even on sunny days) can cause significant damage.

Please help inform those considering hiking illegally that these and other parks are closed for their safety and to prevent further trail erosion and damage. For more information, please click here and here.


3% @ 50 Retroactive Pension Challenge Update

In 2008, the County of Orange initiated a legal challenge to a prior Board of Supervisors’ decision granting a retroactive pension benefit to Orange County Deputy Sheriffs. If we prevail in this challenge, the resulting savings to the County could amount to well over $100 million.

The appeal of this case was heard in the California Court of Appeals, Second District (in Los Angeles) on January 19. The County appealed the ruling of the trial court, which entered judgment for the defendants, the Association of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs (AOCDS) and the Orange County Employees Retirement System (OCERS).

The County argued that the retroactive pension benefit granted to Deputy Sheriffs by a prior Board violated the debt limitation provision of the California Constitution. With certain exceptions, this provision prohibits local governments from incurring debt into future fiscal years.

Rob Gasaway of Kirkland and Ellis argued the case on behalf of the County of Orange, with spirited questions from the judges. A decision is expected by early this summer.

OC Citizens' Report - Popular Annual Financial Report

The OC Citizens' Report is now available for viewing online. This report presents financial highlights for the County of Orange for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2010 and provides a high-level summary of information contained in the County's Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.

To view the 2010 OC Citizens' Report, please click here. For more information, please click here.


Dana Point Harbor Revitalization Update

On January 12, the California Coastal Commission unanimously approved the Local Coastal Program Amendment – Implementation Plan for the Dana Point Harbor Revitalization.

The Commission provided several amendments to the Plan that will require further study and design work. However, OC Dana Point Harbor is pleased with the outcome and is looking forward to continuing with conceptual designs for the Revitalization Plan.

Next steps include final certification of the Implementation Plan by the City of Dana Point and the California Coastal Commission, followed by final design development and preparation of a Coastal Development Permit application for a parking deck, new buildings and enhanced boater service area.

Details of the conceptual design can be found on the OC Dana Point Harbor website. For more information, please click here and here.


Orange County Health Needs Assessment Newsletter

The Orange County Health Needs Assessment (OCHNA) has released its first newsletter for 2011, Stone Soup Gazette, which provides the public an opportunity to learn about current health events happening in Orange County.

To view the January/February edition of Stone Soup Gazette, please click here. For more information on OCHNA, please click here.


Fireplace Safety

Many of us like to use our fireplaces to help keep our homes warm during cold winter evenings. To assist in keeping residents safe, the Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA) offers important safety tips to help ensure your fireplace is working properly and minimize potential risks to your family.

To view OCFA’s Fireplace Safety Tips, please click here.


Coyote Encounters in Orange County

Many residents throughout Orange County have expressed concerns about coyote sightings and the consequences of these predatory animals within the urban environment. A number of residents have even lost pets to these skilled hunters because they were not aware of coyote activity in the area.

OC Animal Care takes very seriously its obligation to protect the public from sick, injured and aggressive animals, as it routinely receive calls and inquiries regarding coyotes and other indigenous wildlife from the 17 cities and unincorporated areas the agency serves.

Coyotes are found in ALL areas of Orange County. Contrary to popular belief, these animals do not require open space or “wild areas” to survive. In fact, most coyotes within the urban setting are the offspring of generations of coyotes that have lived and flourished in Orange County’s urban areas.

OC Animal Care does not provide relocation or eradication services for wildlife, as stated in the contract with the cities to which they provide services. It is also against state law to relocate native wildlife. However, OC Animal Care will respond to situations regarding any wildlife that is sick, injured, dead, or has had physical contact with a human or domestic animal.

To help alleviate community concerns, OC Animal Care offers helpful tips to discourage wildlife activity in neighborhoods, as well as defensive measures to minimize nuisance and losses caused by urban coyotes. For this and other important wildlife information, please click here and here.


Tax Forms Now Available at OC Public Libraries

The IRS and the California Franchise Tax Board provide branches of OC Public Libraries with supplies of frequently-used individual tax forms for FREE distribution to the public. You may call your local library to find out what forms they have.

Additionally, you can download and print copies of other forms not supplied to libraries for 15 cents per page. Bring your library card to use the computer. You may also order tax forms to be mailed to your home for FREE by calling the IRS at (800) 829-3676 and the Franchise Tax Board at (800) 338-0505.

For more information, please click here.

Free Legal Advice at Laguna Hills Library

OC Public Libraries’ Laguna Hills Technology Branch will offer free legal consultations with attorneys once a month beginning in February as part of the "Lawyers in the Library" program.

Residents can meet with an attorney for 15 minutes of legal counseling the first Wednesday of each month from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM. The library is partnering with attorneys from Orange County's Public Law Center to provide the service.

Sign-ups are now available for the program, which begins February 2. To sign up, please visit the Laguna Hills Technology Branch Library at 25555 Alicia Parkway or call (949) 707-2699.


San Juan Capistrano Girl Wins JWA Student Art Contest

Two Orange County students were recently selected as the top winners in the 21st annual John Wayne Airport (JWA) Student Art Contest, themed "50 Years of Human Space Flight," including Karen Ahn, a sixth grade student at St. Margaret's Episcopal School in San Juan Capistrano, who won first place for the grades K-6 category.

JWA first implemented its Annual Student Art Contest in 1990 as part of the opening of the Thomas F. Riley Terminal. The contest is open to all Orange County public and private school students attending Kindergarten through grade twelve. For more information, please click here.

Laguna Beach Students to Perform at Carnegie Hall

Laguna Beach High School students Sarah Busic and Karina Parker have been selected to perform at Carnegie Hall for the 2011 American High School Honors Performance Series this February. The students auditioned in the fall and were accepted for the Honors Performance Series after review by the Selection Board Committee.

Both students are looking forward to the opportunity to work with finalists from across the nation and Canada for five days in New York City. In addition to their performance at the famous venue, these talented, dedicated students will have the opportunity to learn from master conductors.


“My Fair Lady”

The public is invited Sunday, January 23 to enjoy “My Fair Lady,” starring Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison in his Academy Award winning role. The G-rated film, which airs at 2:00 PM in the Mission Viejo Council Chamber at City Hall, is part of a FREE movie series sponsored by the City’s Community of Character Committee.

For more information, please click here.

Complementary Therapy Expo

The public is invited to attend a Complementary Therapy Expo, featuring a wealth of health, nutrition, relaxation and general wellness information. The Complementary Therapy Expo is from 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM on Tuesday, January 25 at the Norman P. Murray Community and Senior Center, 24932 Veterans Way in Mission Viejo.

Raffle prizes will be awarded and a light dinner will be served. For more information and to register, please call (949) 470-3062 or click here.

“State of the County” Breakfast

I will be the guest speaker at the “State of the County” breakfast hosted by the South Orange County Regional Chamber of Commerce. The event takes place Friday, January 28 from 7:30 AM to 9:00 AM at the Aliso Viejo Conference Center, 31 Santa Barbara Drive in Aliso Viejo. RSVP is required.

To RSVP or for more information, please click here and here.


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

  • Met with residents of Coto de Caza to discuss community law enforcement issues.
  • Attended the Inaugural Opening Ceremony for the National History Day California Program at the Lyon Air Museum. For more information, please click here.
My office also:
  • Attended a meeting of the Airport Commission to present a certificate of recognition in honor of outgoing Fifth District member Stephen Blythe.
  • Provided certificates of recognition to Laguna Beach Travel in honor of their grand opening in Laguna Beach; and Italian Cravings in honor of their grand opening in San Clemente.
  • Attended a meeting of the South Orange County Association of Mayors.
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.

For an ADA version of our newsletter, click here.

Follow me on Facebook!