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July 1, 2011

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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 5 Issue 25

Celebrating our Independence Day

This weekend, we look forward to celebrating Independence Day with family and friends.

The dictators and rulers of some countries force their citizens to observe national holidays by requiring they march in parades and wave flags in homage to their government.

Gratefully, we in this country celebrate our nation’s founding by our own choice. In doing so, it is not a government or a singular person we honor, but rather a set of ideals.

In signing the Declaration of Independence, our forefathers set this nation on a course never before seen in human history. As Ronald Reagan said, “July 4, 1776 was the first time it was decided that man is born with certain God-given rights; that government is only a convenience created and managed by the people, with no powers of its own, except those voluntarily granted to it by the people.”

In our 235 year history, our country has enjoyed periods of great prosperity and endured times of extreme hardship. Still, as in all times, we have worked steadfastly to keep and expand the precious freedoms secured in our nation’s infancy and served as a shining beacon of liberty for the rest of the world. That is truly something to be celebrated!

Wishing you and yours a safe and happy Independence Day!


2011-2012 Budget Update

On Tuesday, the Board approved the County’s 2011-2012 Budget. The $5.6 billion budget is balanced and lives within our means.

Achieving this balanced budget was no easy task, as this is the fourth consecutive year in which County Departments have been asked to reduce their net county cost by 5%. In addition to spending reductions over the past few years, the Board has instituted important reforms, such as requiring public safety employees to increase contributions to their pension plans, which has assisted in eliminating deficits.

Unfortunately, not long after the Board approved a fiscally responsible budget, the majority party in the state legislature targeted our County with a $48 million raid of local funds.

Over the last several years, Orange County has received an annual allotment of Vehicle License Fee (VLF) funds that are dedicated to paying off our 1994 bankruptcy debt. Orange County receives these funds in lieu of receiving the same type of property tax allocation that the other 57 counties receive.

The state budget bills passed in Sacramento earlier this week included a provision that takes away Orange County’s VLF funds in order to fill the State budget deficit. Although these funds are passed to the County through the State of California, they are indeed local dollars intended for local use.

The state is making up for its fiscal irresponsibility by punishing a local entity that has done the work necessary to remain fiscally strong. This is Aesop’s “Ant and the Grasshopper” fable in reverse.

The County is considering all options available for reclaiming these funds. If we are unsuccessful in our attempts to keep these local tax dollars where they belong, the County will likely have to institute a round of painful cuts, as the $48 million loss in funds will severely impact our ability to deliver critical services in the areas of public safety, health care and social services.

The Board and County staff will be working diligently over the summer months to address this problem. My Board colleagues and I remain prepared to make the difficult decisions necessary to restore our fiscal health. In the interim, you can help us by contacting your state legislator and ask that they assist in finding a solution to restore the necessary funds.

Law Enforcement Services Agreements

Nearly every city in the Fifth District individually contracts with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department for law enforcement services. This week, the Board approved Fiscal Year 2010-2011 law enforcement contracts between the Sheriff’s Department and the Fifth District cities of Aliso Viejo, Dana Point, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Woods, Lake Forest, Mission Viejo, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente and San Juan Capistrano.

The Sheriff’s Department provides each of these cities with outstanding law enforcement services, which contributes to the high level of public safety we enjoy in South County. At this time, contracting with the Sheriff’s Department is a cost efficient use of taxpayer dollars, as cities are able to save on the large overhead costs that would be needed to operate their own individual departments.

Each year, the costs of these contracts increase while the services provided either remain level or are reduced. This year, however, the average increase in costs is less than in previous years. One reason for the smaller increase is the fact that sworn law enforcement officers now contribute to a portion of their pensions.

This reform has helped slow ever-rising retirement and benefit costs. More work clearly needs to be done in this area; however, we continue to make considerable progress in beating back the rising cost of government.

Caspers Park: Riverside County Communications Tower

This week, the Board approved a lease allowing Riverside County to place a communications tower in a remote area of Caspers Wilderness Park.

Over the past couple of years, the County of Riverside has been building out a $148 million upgrade to their voice and data emergency communications network. To achieve the greatest radio coverage for the region, the communications tower will be placed in Caspers Wilderness Park, east of Ortega Highway, in an area not open to public use.

The tower is not only vital to enhance public safety in Riverside County; it will also provide a valuable communications bridge for regional emergency disaster coordination and communications, as we reserved the right to add our own communications for park and law enforcement purposes.

For more information, please click here.



The Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA) has released its latest newsletter, which includes important information about TCA’s successful and historic $430 million bond restructuring for the 73 Toll Road and the upcoming restoration of the Strawberry Farms Native Habitat Site.

To view the June edition of The Toll Roads VIEWSLETTER, please click here.

Orange County Sustainable Communities Strategy Approved

The Orange County Transportation Authority and the Orange County Council of Governments approved a countywide strategy to respond to the state’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The plan, known as the Orange County Sustainable Communities Strategy (OC SCS), is one of the first in California to be completed and was developed with the involvement of more than 40 public agencies as well as broad stakeholder and community input.

The OC SCS contains transportation, land use and sustainability strategies that will help the sub-region meet state-mandated emission reduction targets that were passed by the State Legislature in 2008 (SB 375).

Orange County’s plan will be sent to the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) for incorporation into the broader regional strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

To learn more about SB 375 and to view the OC SCS, please click

OCTA Acquisition and Restoration Milestones

Last weekend, I was honored to participate in a conservation celebration hosted by the Measure M2 Environmental Coalition at Chino Hills State Park Discovery Center in Brea. The ceremony commemorated the Orange county Transportation Authority’s (OCTA) recent open space property purchases and five restoration projects, as well as the collective efforts of the environmental community, OCTA and its partners.

Since 2005, a coalition of conservation and community groups have actively collaborated with OCTA to deliver M2 freeway mitigations that include acquisition and restoration of open space.

To view a video from the event, click here.

2010 Regional Capacity Call For Projects Awarded

Orange County streets will see an influx of $56 million after the Orange County Transportation Authority Board of Directors approved dozens of improvement projects for funding through voter-approved Measure M2.

The funds are going toward widening major streets, adding turning lanes, improving intersections, enhancing freeway on-ramps and off-ramps and increasing bike lanes. Combined with the local agency matching funds, the total investment will result in more than $107 million in improvements.

Through Measure M2, the competitive Comprehensive Transportation Funding Program will facilitate 46 projects throughout the County. Applications were reviewed for eligibility, consistency and adherence to guidelines and program objectives. There were 64 applications received from 22 different agencies.

To view a video about this, please click here.

Mission Viejo Receives Funding for Oso and La Paz Projects

The City of Mission Viejo was approved to receive more than $6.6 million in competitive grant funding from the Orange County Transportation Authority for two traffic-easing projects: the widening of Oso Parkway from the I-5 freeway to Country Club Drive, and the widening of La Paz Road from Chrisanta Drive to Muirlands.

The Oso Parkway widening project will receive about $3.9 million to add a fourth travel lane in each direction from the I-5 freeway to Country Club Drive. La Paz Road will receive approximately $2.7 million to widen the road from four to six lanes between Chrisanta Drive and Muirlands Blvd.

Construction on La Paz Road is expected to begin in early 2012, with construction on Oso Parkway slated to start in late 2012 or early 2013.

For more information, please click here.

Crown Valley Widening Project to Begin

Mission Viejo and Laguna Niguel are joining forces on an $11 million traffic-easing project to widen eastbound Crown Valley Parkway between Forbes Road and the northbound Interstate 5 on-ramp. Construction is expected to begin July 5 and be completed by the end of 2012.

The project will add a thru-lane and a "freeway only" right-turn lane from just east of Forbes to the I-5 southbound on-ramp.

Most work will take place during the day, but work involving significant traffic impacts will be performed at night. The first week of work entails crews shifting lanes on Interstate 5 and placing K-rail on Crown Valley to establish construction zones.

Del Obispo Street Widening Project to Begin

The City of San Juan Capistrano is expected to begin construction on the Del Obispo Street Widening project from Alipaz Street to Paseo Adelanto the first week of July. The traffic-improvement project will take about 10 months to complete.

The project will widen Del Obispo Street between Paseo Adelanto and Alipaz Street. It also includes improvements at the intersections of Del Obispo Street & Alipaz Street, and Del Obispo Street & Paseo Adelanto.

Traffic and pedestrian control will be in place for public safety. Lane closure may be required. Motorists should expect some delays. A bike detour will also be in place.

For more information, please click here.


El Toro Water District Recognized for Emergency Response

The El Toro Water District (ETWD), which serves the South County communities of Aliso Viejo, Lake Forest, Laguna Hills, Laguna Woods, and Mission Viejo, has long been an advocate for emergency preparedness within the Orange County water community and among local special districts.

To that end, ETWD was recently recognized by the Municipal Water District of Orange County and the Water Emergency Response Organization of Orange County (WEROC) for the valuable role it played as an emergency responder during the winter storms that deluged our region last December.

ETWD was also recognized for assistance it provided in the repair and restoration of WEROC's Emergency Operations Center (EOC) in South County after flood and related damage from the December storms was discovered. For more information, please click here.


New County Lobbying Ordinance in Effect

A new County Lobbying Ordinance approved by the Board earlier this year went into effect today.

As such, individuals are now required to register with the Clerk of the Board office within ten days of becoming a County Lobbyist, and annually thereafter. In addition, County Lobbyists will be required to complete an amendment to their registration form within ten days of any change.

To that end, lobbyists can register online and the public will be able to view the registry on the County Lobbyist Registration website. For more information, please click here.

County Redistricting Committee Update

The Orange County Redistricting Committee, which is tasked with making recommendations on new Supervisorial District boundaries, held its final meeting this week. As the Committee is scheduled to report to the Board of Supervisors at the end of July, three maps were recommended for Board consideration.

Map 21 was ranked first by the Committee. Maps 20A (submitted by my office) and 16A were recommended as alternates, with both being equally ranked. In addition, the Board will be provided information on all 24 maps submitted to the Committee, public comments received at each Committee meeting, and the criteria used to evaluate the proposed maps.

To view Proposal 21, please click here. Please click here to view Proposal 16A; and here for Proposal 20A.


John Wayne Airport Fourth of July Travel Tips

John Wayne Airport (JWA) anticipates a busier-than-normal travel period from Friday, July 1 through Tuesday, July 5. Visitors to JWA during the Fourth of July weekend should be aware of ongoing construction at the JWA and adhere to all posted speed limits to ensure a safe holiday.

To that end, passengers are encouraged to plan ahead, giving themselves at least 90 minutes to find parking, check their luggage and go through the security checkpoint to reach their gates in time for their flights. As a reminder, fireworks are prohibited and should be left at home.

For more information, please click here and here.


Orange County Heats Up for Fourth of July Weekend

The National Weather Service is predicting very high temperatures in Orange County during the Fourth of July holiday weekend. As such, the public is urged to take the necessary safety measures to prevent heat related illnesses.

Extra precautions are especially needed for older adults, people with preexisting medical conditions or disabilities, children, and those working outdoors. Do not leave a person or animal unattended in a closed vehicle, as it only takes a few minutes for the temperature inside to reach over 160 degrees. Please remember pets will also need extra water and shade during the hot weekend.

Recommended precautions to prevent heat related illness include:

  • Staying cool indoors.
  • Drinking more fluids, especially water.
  • Checking often on those at high risk.
For more information, please click here and here.

Bat Tests Positive for Rabies at Laguna Niguel Regional Park

A bat at Laguna Niguel Regional Park tested positive for rabies last week. The Orange County Health Care Agency (HCA) was subsequently informed that multiple dead bats have been found at the park within the past month.

Once a person begins showing symptoms of rabies, the disease is nearly always fatal. As such, anyone having contact with a bat is asked to call HCA Epidemiology at (714) 834-8180 so a nurse can evaluate the risk. To report a bat in your home, an animal bite, or a stray animal, please contact OC Animal Care at (714) 935-6848.

For more information, please click here.


Fireworks and Summer Safety Tips

Each year in the United States, more than 10,000 people suffer eye injuries and burns from fireworks. Most of these incidents are related to the use of illegal fireworks, as well as state-approved fireworks that are lit by amateurs.

For tips to help keep you and your family stay safe this Fourth of July, please click here. For more information, please click here.


Fourth of July Harbor Traffic Control Measures

During the Fourth of July holiday and festivities, the popularity of Dana Point Harbor brings serious parking and traffic management problems. As such, beginning the early afternoon of July 4, Dana Point Police Services will begin checking the parking lots on the island.

As heavy traffic congestion can block emergency vehicle access to various locations within the Harbor, Police Services will close the bridge if parking lots become full, barricading Island Way at Dana Point Harbor Drive. Please remember that slip rental does not guarantee a place to park your vehicle, only your vessel.

Around 7:30 PM, Police Services will close ALL entrances to Dana Point Harbor along Del Prado and PCH, at which time NO vehicles will be allowed into the Harbor, except for public transportation and emergency vehicles. The closure will remain in effect until the Harbor is emptied following the fireworks show.

To avoid problems, please plan to arrive early and allow extra time. For important Fourth of July parking and shuttle service information, please click here and here.


Helping Homeless Animals Find Forever Homes

This week, the Board was pleased to recognize the Angels Baseball Foundation and Jody Kendrick for their incredible dedication and efforts on behalf of OC Animal Care and other local animal shelters and non-profit rescues, as their combined efforts have contributed to the adoption of hundreds of homeless animals in Orange County.

Being a fellow animal lover, I fully support and highly commend the outstanding work the Angels Baseball Foundation and Jody Kendrick have done in helping OC Animal Care find loving homes for unwanted pets.

In recent weeks, my office has been contacted by members of local dog rescue groups regarding kennel fees they had been charged by OC Animal Care for kenneling their animals at various PetSmart and Petco stores in the County.

I believe these rescue groups perform an invaluable service. As such, at my direction, OC Animal Care will be contacting all the parties involved and has made great strides to ensure our partnership with the non-profit animal rescue community remains strong.

In this effort, the agency is nearing a resolution on the kennel permit fee as it relates specifically to non-profit animal rescues using PetSmart and Petco stores to kennel their animals.

Additionally, OC Animal Care will be finishing a fee study in the coming months, which will address the permit costs to non-profit animal rescues that house larger numbers of animals anywhere within OC Animal Care’s jurisdiction.

Another issue that has been brought to my attention concerns Dog Licensing fees for the non-profit rescues and foster families for dogs.

I understand the costs for a non-profit rescue associated with rescuing a dog can be significant. The many individuals and families that provide foster care and housing to unwanted pets do incredible work assisting local shelters, and we certainly do not want to discourage them from keeping a rescue dog at their home.

However, it is also important to understand that the State of California has declared Orange County a rabies area, which is evident by the many wild animals, primarily bats, that still test positive for the disease. As such, the dog license was established to ensure ALL dogs in Orange County over 4 months of age are vaccinated against rabies to ensure their health and safety.

While we must be vigilant in our regulations regarding rabies vaccinations, I am working with OC Animal Care to find a balance that ensures animal rescue groups and foster homes are not financially impacted in their efforts to find homes for unwanted pets. To that end, establishing a new non-profit dog license fee is something we are working on to address.

OC Animal Care places over 2,000 animals per year with non-profit animal rescue groups and I expect those numbers to continue improving as more of these groups are established. In the meantime, please be assured that I will continue to monitor ways to improve our programs and services and align them to the needs of both non-profit animal rescues and the entire Orange County community.

Fourth of July Pet Safety Tips

For many of us, nothing beats lounging in the backyard during the Fourth of July holiday with family and good friends, including the four-legged members of our household. While it might seem like a good idea to reward our pets with scraps from the grill or bring them along to watch the fireworks, in reality, some festive foods and situations can be potentially hazardous to our furry companions.

Never use fireworks around pets, as exposure to lit fireworks can result in severe burns or trauma to the face and paws of curious pets. In addition, loud and crowded fireworks displays are not fun for pets, so please resist the urge to take them to Independence Day festivities. Instead, keep your little guys safe from the noise in a quiet, sheltered and escape-proof area at home.

For more information, please click here and here.


South County Schools Ranked among Nation’s Best

Two South County high schools were recognized among the nation’s 500 best in the annual Newsweek high school rankings.

Aliso Niguel High School (#217) was recognized for a 98 percent graduation rate, a college acceptance rate of 94 percent, and high SAT/ACT scores.

Capistrano Valley High School (#459) was also recognized for its high test scores, 87 percent graduation rate and 95 percent college acceptance rate.

To see the full list of America’s Best High Schools for 2011, please click here.


Aliso Viejo: 10th Birthday Bash, 4th of July Celebrations

The public is invited to celebrate Aliso Viejo’s 10th anniversary with a FREE pool party and birthday bash on Saturday, July 2 from noon to 4:00 PM at the Aliso Viejo Aquatic Center. For more information, please click here.

On July 4, the community is invited back to the Aquatic Center to celebrate Independence Day from 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM. A Fourth of July celebration with fireworks will also be held at Grand Park from 6:00 PM to 9:30 PM. For more information, please click here and here.

Dana Point: Fireworks Extravaganza

Dana Point will hold a Fourth of July fireworks display over Doheny State Beach and Dana Point Harbor at 9:00 PM. Tune to KSBR 88.5 FM for synchronized music and enjoy this patriotic extravaganza. For more information, please click here and here.

Ladera Ranch: July 4th Celebration

Ladera Ranch will present a fun-filled day of activities. In addition to a fireworks show in Founder’s Park, the celebration includes a community parade, live music, fun activities and food. For more information, please click here.

Laguna Beach: 4th of July Fireworks

Fireworks will light up the sky over Laguna Beach on the Fourth of July at 9:00 PM. The show will be centered near the newly renovated Monument Point in Heisler Park. For more information, please click here.

Laguna Hills: Fourth of July Celebration

Celebrate America’s birthday at Laguna Hills’ annual Fourth of July Celebration! Bring your family and friends to enjoy the fun, food and festivities beginning at 4:00 PM, with fireworks at 9:10 PM. For more information, please click here.

Laguna Niguel: 4th of July Festivities

Laguna Niguel will host an array of 4th of July events and activities from 6:00 AM to 9:00 PM, including an annual run, pancake breakfast, swimming, entertainment, and a fantastic fireworks display. For more information, please click here.

Lake Forest: 20th Annual Fourth of July Parade

Lake Forest celebrates 20 years of Fourth of July parades with this year’s theme: “Celebrating Independence on our 20th Birthday.” The 20th annual hometown parade begins at 10:00 AM. For more information, please click here.

Mission Viejo: Fourth of July Street Faire

Mission Viejo’s Fourth of July Street Faire and Fireworks Spectacular takes place from noon to 9:00 PM on Olympiad Road between Marguerite Parkway and Melinda Road. For more information, please click here and here.

Rancho Santa Margarita: Star Spangled Spectacular

Rancho Santa Margarita’s Star Spangled Spectacular takes place at Lago Santa Margarita Beach Club on July 4 beginning at 2:00 PM, with fireworks over the lake at 9:00 PM. For more information, please click here.

San Clemente: Independence Day Celebration

On July 4, San Clemente will host an Independence Day Celebration for the community, featuring a spectacular fireworks display from the Municipal Pier at 9:00 PM. For more information, please click here and here.

San Juan Capistrano: 4th of July Celebration

San Juan Capistrano will celebrate our nation's freedom on July 4 from 3:00 PM to 9:30 PM at San Juan Capistrano Sports Park, with a spectacular fireworks display taking place at 9:00 PM. For more information, please click here and here.


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

  • Presented 1st, 2nd & 3rd place medals to participants of the Fran Crippen Memorial Meet of Champions hosted by the Mission Viejo Nadadores at the Marguerite Aquatics Complex.
  • Hosted a joint Transportation Corridor Agencies and Orange County Transportation Authority orientation for new Board Members.
  • Participated in the Human Resources Department Audit Ad Hoc Subcommittee meeting.
  • Met with Caltrans officials to discuss I-5 traffic concerns in South County.
  • Met with Orange County Transportation Authority planning staff to discuss the ongoing transit system study.
  • Adjourned the Board of Supervisors meeting in memory of Ben Caskey of Mission Viejo.
My office also:
  • Chaired the Orange County Redistricting Committee meeting.
  • Provided a certificate of recognition in honor of the ribbon cutting ceremony for IHOP in Laguna Niguel.
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.

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