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

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Volume 5 Issue 24

Seaside Learning Center at the Ocean Institute

The Board approved a lease amendment with the Ocean Institute in Dana Point Harbor, approving an extension to their lease 30 additional years through 2041. The Ocean Institute, founded as the Orange County Marine Institute, educates 350,000 visitors annually through over 40 marine science and maritime history programs.

More than 110,000 K-12 students and 8,000 teachers annually participate in the Ocean Institute's 61 award-winning, immersion style programs. Students voyage onto the ocean, study in labs and live aboard tall ships or in the chaparral to learn about ocean facts, sea creatures, oceanography, science, and California history. On weekends, the Ocean Institute is open to the public to explore ocean science, history, and literature.

On April 12, 2011, the Ocean Institute received a Nature Education Facilities Program grant award in the amount of $2,331,000 for its Seaside Learning Center Project to construct a fixed, floating teaching platform, with a Sustainable Seas/Local Reef Ecosystem exhibit, Climate Change exhibit, Biodiversity Aquarium/Science Lab and Population/Environmental Impact exhibit, along with renovation of the existing lobby and courtyard.

The grant was contingent on the Ocean Institute having a lease of 30 years or more, and the extension approved Tuesday ensures they will be able to construct the Seaside Learning Center and continue their mission of bringing marine education and awareness to children throughout the region.

For more information about the lease extension, please click here. For more information about the Ocean Institute, please click here.

Follow-up Report on OCERS: Pensionable Pay Items

As the Orange County Employees Retirement System (OCERS) is independent of the County, the Board heard a presentation from OCERS CEO Steve Delaney regarding errors in years 2004-2009 pension calculations.

Since County law enforcement OCERS members were previously granted premium pay, the County’s pension contribution for their portion of the premium pay should have been greater. The recalculated cost to the County is approximately $36 million, which will be amortized over the next 24 years.

Mr. Delaney assured the Board that OCERS has thoroughly vetted this issue, made significant corrections regarding staff changes, and implemented procedures to prevent a recurrence. For more information, please click here.

$12 Million for Employment and Training Services

The Board approved a State Agreement that will provide over $12 million for employment and training services in Orange County. The annual agreement allows the County to receive Federal Workforce Investment Act (WIA) funds to provide services to unemployed and laid-off individuals through the County’s One-Stop Centers.

For more information, please click here.

OC Animal Care Use of Donation Funds

Thanks to the generous donations of many Orange County residents, OC Animal Care has been able to provide many ‘creature’ comforts to the animals that come to the County shelter. Toys, treats, beds, and many other things our own pets enjoy have been purchased using donation funds, giving OC Animal Care staff and volunteers extra tools to provide quality animal care.

In addition, OC Animal Care has been given designated funds to use for adoption events to reduce the cost of adoption, which has led to very successful events. During the last fiscal year, the agency received approximately $60,000 in donations, including $10,000 from the Angels Baseball Foundation. In July 2010, OC Animal Care hosted its 3rd annual Angels for Animals Forever Friends for Free event and was able to adopt 147 animals in one day!

On Tuesday, the Board approved the use of donation funds received by OC Animal Care for the purpose of sponsoring these reduced fee events, which continues our commitment to see more animals adopted from the shelter and gives OC Animal Care the ability to host more of these successful adoption events.

For more information, please click here.

Federal Legislative Update

The Board received a report from the County’s federal legislative advocate, Jim McConnell, who provided an update on the federal budget, status of funding for transportation and public works projects, and new water regulations.

To view a copy of the report, please click here.


Bus Service Study Findings with Community Members

The Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) hosted community meetings last week in Laguna Hills, Anaheim and Santa Ana to discuss market research findings and service strategies from the ongoing Transit System Study.

Officials also presented service strategies based on sustaining existing and new bus services in the near- (one to three years), mid- (four to six years) and long-term (seven to 10 years) for each of the market regions identified in the analysis.

At the Laguna Hills meeting, 191 people participated, with 51 individuals voicing their comments on the strategies.

OCTA staff and the OCTA Transit Committee will evaluate the comments gathered from the community meetings. Transit officials and committee members will use the comments and other feedback received by mail and online to further refine the service strategies as the Transit System Study progresses.

For information on the Transit System Study research findings and strategies, as well as an opportunity to provide input, please click here.

OCTA Seeks New Public Board Member

The Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) Board of Directors approved a process to replace Director Peter Buffa, who resigned last month after serving since 2005 as one of two public members on the Board.

The new director will be appointed by the Board to a four-year term. A four-member ad hoc committee was formed to review applicants.

The committee, which I will chair, is expected to select candidates to be interviewed by the full board at its August 8 meeting.

Requirements for candidates include being a resident of Orange County and they cannot have served in the last four years as an elected official within the County. Resumes must also include prior experience with serving on a transportation board or other related experience.

For information on the vacancy and recruitment process, please click here.

San Juan Capistrano Road Closures

The Oso Road railroad crossing in San Juan Capistrano continued to be closed this week. Starting Monday, June 27, the La Zanja Street railroad is also scheduled to be closed for about one week. Pedestrian and bicycle access will remain available during construction at both crossings.

In addition, construction at the Verdugo Street crossing continues to require a partial road closure Monday through Friday. Night construction from 8:00 PM to 6:00 AM, Wednesday through Saturday, continues at the Avenida Aeropuerto and Del Obispo Street crossings.

The work is part of OCTA's rail safety enhancement program. OCTA is partnering with local cities on the first countywide effort to enhance rail safety at 50 railroad crossings in Orange County. Once upgraded, these crossings will meet the Federal Railroad Administration's requirements for a quiet zone, an area along the train tracks where locomotive horns are not routinely sounded unless an emergency exists.

For more information, call 888-855-RAIL.


Financial Rating Agencies Give Orange County "Thumbs Up"

Two nationally recognized rating agencies, Standard and Poor’s (S&P) and Moody’s Investor’s Service, have given the County of Orange high credit ratings that will save the County thousands of dollars in interest costs over the next year.

Both agencies gave the County the highest short term ratings available for an issuer. The bottom line for Orange County is that every dollar saved in interest can be used to support County programs and services. The favorable ratings also demonstrate Orange County has taken sound financial steps in recent years and that the County’s overall economic outlook remains strong.

Each year, the County presents information about its finances to the rating agencies as it prepares to issue Tax and Revenue Anticipation Notes (TRANs). The money gained from the sale of these short term notes is used to manage cash flow in the months between when the majority of property tax revenues are received.
A small difference in ratings can mean a lot when it comes to paying interest. Last year, the County borrowed $150 million and paid an interest rate of just 0.37%. On the other hand, two years ago, a neighboring county paid an interest rate over twice as high as Orange County’s, even though its rating was just one step lower.

In 2011, Orange County’s TRANs sold at an even better interest rate, just 0.27%, demonstrating the County’s solid financial status in the eyes of the financial community.


Grand Jury Commends Registrar of Voters

The 2010-11 Orange County Grand Jury commended the staff of the Registrar of Voters department in a report recently issued, reviewing the November 2010 General Election process.

The Grand Jury reviewed a number of operational areas related to the election, including poll workers training, poll site operations and ballot processing. The Grand Jury concluded their summary by saying “The election was well planned, operated smoothly and accurate results were posted very quickly.” The Grand Jury also stated it decided to study the election because “A General Election is one of the most critical aspects of representative government.”

Over 898,000 ballots were cast in the election, and Orange County was the first large county in California to post all precinct results on election night. Orange County was also the first large county in California to certify the election results.

The Grand Jury report states “The level of dedication displayed by all personnel was extremely impressive. Under the guidance of the Registrar, the office leads the State in accuracy, efficiency and cost saving measures. The citizens of Orange County are fortunate to be served by an organization as professional and competent as the Registrar of Voters.”

A formal response to the Grand Jury report will be considered by the Board of Supervisors in the coming weeks.


Navy Cross awarded to San Clemente Marine

A San Clemente resident and Marine who was killed by a roadside bomb in southern Afghanistan in 2009 will be awarded the Navy Cross for his courageous efforts that saved fellow Marines.

Lance Cpl. Donald Hogan, 20, was selected for the Navy Cross for extraordinary heroism while serving on a Marine expeditionary brigade in the Helmand province of Afghanistan, according to the Navy Cross citation.

The Navy Cross is the highest honor that can be bestowed on a service member by the Navy and the second-highest honor given to military service members, behind the Congressional Medal of Honor.

While on patrol August 26, 2009, Hogan's squad was attacked and an enemy fighter tried to detonate an improvised explosive device.
"Lance Cpl. Hogan observed a kite string leading onto the road from an adjacent cornfield being pulled taut in an attempt to activate the improvised explosive device," according to the citation. Hogan acted to protect his squad by throwing his body into another Marine and shouting at others to get away from the explosive.

"This desperate effort to warn the rest of the patrol bought the remaining Marines valuable seconds to begin moving away from the improvised explosive device before it detonated," the citation stated. The device detonated soon after Hogan's warnings, fatally wounding him and injuring others.

Hogan was a 2007 graduate of Tesoro High School in Las Flores, where he ran cross country. For more information, please click here.


San Juan Capistrano Groundwater Recovery Plant

Eight large filtering tanks have been installed at the City of San Juan Capistrano's Groundwater Recovery Plant to remove MtBE and other contaminants and improve the reliability and production capacity of the plant. The tanks are part of a treatment system that uses Granular Activated Carbon (GAC) to remove traces of MtBE found in the groundwater that supplies the City's Groundwater Recovery Plant.

The GAC system was designed with eight steel vessels, which are the size of large trucks, installed behind the plant at City Hall that will contain the GAC material. It is a project that the City, Chevron, California Regional Water Control Board and the Orange County Health Care Agency have been working on together in a joint effort. The project is expected to be finished around July 25.

For more information, please click here.


Caspers Wilderness Park: Great American Backyard Campout
Join OC Parks, REI and thousands of campers across the nation for the National Wildlife Federation's Great American Backyard Campout on Saturday, June 25, as Caspers Wilderness Park will be participating in this fun event.

A variety of activities will be offered at Caspers, including ranger-led hikes and campfire programs. Campsites are first come, first served and spots will fill up quickly. Register online by visiting www.ocparks.com. When you arrive at Caspers Wilderness Park, let them know you are participating in the Great American Backyard Campout.

For more information, please click here.

Adopt-A-Park Announcements

Volunteers are the heartbeat of OC Parks. To that end, OC Parks Volunteer Services has released its June newsletter. To read the latest issue of Adopt-A-Park Announcements, featuring important information about 2011 California Coastal Cleanup Day, please click here.


Vessel Safety Check Event

Dana Point Harbor boaters can benefit from a FREE Vessel Safety Check on Saturday, June 25 from 8:00 AM to 11:00 AM. For more information, please click here.


OC Animal Care: Under the Big Top

OC Animal Care invites you to a memorable day Under the Big Top at their annual Pet Fair on Saturday, June 25. The event is from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM and will feature hundreds of adorable animals available for adoption, as well as pet-friendly vendors and rescue organizations, a costume contest for your four-legged friends, and lots of food and fun!

For more information, please click here and here.


Laguna Beach: Sawdust Art Festival

Come to the Sawdust Art Festival and experience the creative wonders of nearly 200 Laguna Beach artists in an enchanting outdoor canyon paradise adorned with waterfalls and eucalyptus trees. Open daily from June 24 through August 28. For more information, please click here.

Dana Point: Summer Concerts in the Park

The City of Dana Point is pleased to present FREE Summer Concerts in the Park. On Sunday, June 26 from 4:30 PM to 6:00 PM, the public is invited to enjoy "Bella Donna" – a tribute to Stevie Nicks and Fleetwood Mac. For more information, please click here.

Mission Viejo: Movie of Character

The public is invited to enjoy Part I of the critically acclaimed miniseries “John Adams” at 2:00 PM on Sunday, June 26 at Mission Viejo City Hall. Attendees will also receive a pocket Constitution that includes the Declaration of Independence in modern English. Part II will be screened Sunday, July 17. For more information about this FREE event, please click here.


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

  • Participated in the Hayashi Purchase Celebration Event at the Chino Hills State Park Discovery Center.
  • Participated in the Human Resources Audit Ad Hoc Committee meeting.
  • Met with Laguna Hills city officials regarding the Aliso Creek Watershed.
  • Officiated at the marriage of Jason Bertola and Carole Romeike, a former Laguna Niguel resident.
  • Adjourned the Board of Supervisors meeting in memory of Lee J. Ames of Mission Viejo.
My office also:
  • Presented a proclamation in recognition of the Honorable Gary Thompson, who announced his retirement from the Rancho Santa Margarita City Council after more than 10 years of dedicated service.
  • Participated in the Orange County Redistricting Committee’s public meeting at Mission Viejo City Hall.
  • Provided a certificate of recognition in honor of the ribbon cutting ceremony for Costco Gasoline in San Juan Capistrano.
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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