Header image with Photo of Supervisor Pat Bates. Followed by office information
July 29, 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 29

Rancho Mission Viejo – Property Dedication

This week, I was honored to vote in favor of accepting a tremendous gift of open space in the 5th District. To that end, we added over 400 acres of open space to the Arroyo Trabuco and O’Neil Regional Park, extending from the Cleveland National Forest to San Juan Creek in the City of San Juan Capistrano.

Orange County residents will now be able to explore and enjoy this vast wilderness area, which includes hiking, equestrian and bike trails. The property, dedicated by Rancho Mission Viejo, is part of the County’s master plan of regional recreation facilities.

A public ceremony to officially recognize this wonderful addition to the County’s open space and regional trails will be held in their near future.

For more information, please click here.

Board Appoints New Public Guardian

After a formal recruitment and 10 interviewed candidates, the CEO’s office recommended and the Board approved the appointment of Ms. Lucille Castillo Lyon as the new Public Guardian effective July 29.

Ms. Lyon returns to the County of Orange after most recently serving as the Deputy Director and Division Chief with the County of Los Angeles; and prior to that as the Chief Deputy Public Guardian with the County of Riverside.

In addition to serving as the Public Guardian, Ms. Lyon’s duties also include acting as the Assistant Public Administrator. I had the pleasure of meeting Ms. Lyon and am looking forward to her bringing a fresh perspective to this position.

For more information, please click here.

Board Reaffirms Support for Phoenix House

The Board renewed a contract with Phoenix House for their New Start Alcohol and Drug treatment program.

New Start was originally at risk of being defunded due to a reduction in Tobacco Settlement Revenues funds during the 2011-12 budget cycle. However, in June, the Board approved a one-time budget augmentation of $450,000 to continue supporting this program through the end of the year. The Board approved the funding and reasserted our continued support for this valuable program.

An independent research study evaluated the impact of the New Start program on re-arrests. The study indicates that through the New Start program, re-arrest rates statistically were significantly lower than those of the Comparison Group. By maintaining the funding for this program, the County anticipates significant savings from individuals who will not be re-incarcerated, as it only costs $28 dollars a day for individuals to receive treatment compared to $133 dollars a day to keep an individual incarcerated.

For more information, please click here.

Board Appointments

The Orange County Housing Authority (OCHA) is a division of the County's OC Community Services Department that administers rental assistance programs throughout Orange County. To that end, the Board reappointed Bruce Sonnenberg of Lake Forest to represent the Fifth District on OCHA. For more information, please click here.

In partnership with the Board of Supervisors, the Orange County Workforce Investment Board (OCWIB) oversees workforce development activities and establishes programs in response to the workforce needs of Orange County. To that end, the Board appointed Ernesto Medrano of Orange and Tod Sword of Santa Ana to serve on OCWIB. For more information, please click here.

The Emergency Medical Care Committee advises the Board of Supervisors on the operation of Emergency Medical Services in the County. This committee is comprised of physicians, nurses, public safety officials, and public members. On Tuesday, the Board appointed Laguna Beach Fire Chief Kris Head, Monica Ruzich, and Dr. Michelle Tom; and reappointed Mary Botticella R.N. and Julian Wanstreet R.N. to the Emergency Medical Care Committee. For more information, please click here and here.


OCTA Transit System Study

Orange County’s transit system was last studied in detail over a decade ago. While continuous route-level improvements have been made over the years, the recent economic downturn required the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) to significantly reduce bus service to balance costs with ongoing revenues.

As a result, the OCTA Board retained professional consultants last year to conduct a Transit System Study. The goal of the study was to consider a number of service alternatives and strategies to promote more efficient and cost-effective solutions to provide transit services consistent with revenue forecasts in the OCTA Comprehensive Business Plan.

To that end, the Board will receive a presentation next week on the consultant’s preliminary draft of the 10-Year Bus Service Plan; however, no vote will be taken. The draft plan has been presented to city councils throughout South County as well as the public at community meetings.

Several cities I represent, including members of the public, have contacted me to express concerns over the draft plan, as it drastically reduces fixed-route service in South County.

OCTA staff is continuing to evaluate the consultants’ recommendations in light of the comments and concerns received from stakeholders, cities, and members of the public. A recommended strategy will be presented to the OCTA Board for our consideration late this summer.

The intention of the Transit System Study recommendations is not to phase out all bus service in South County, but instead consider replacing certain underperforming fixed routes with a service model that better represents the needs of South County customers. Examples of alternative service models being analyzed and considered include deviated routes (deviating off a fixed route to pick up customers), station vans, community circulator shuttles, same-day taxis, etc.

Please be assured that any significant changes made to OCTA bus service will be phased in over time, following successful pilot programs and extensive public input.

Realizing that changes to bus service can affect people’s lives, the OCTA Board is sensitive to the special transportation challenges faced by students, lower income passengers, and passengers with disabilities. The goal is to develop a transit system plan that meets customer needs but is also sustainable now and in the future.

At this time, OCTA staff is continuing to gather and analyze feedback. I encourage you to send me your comments so I can pass them on to OCTA to incorporate in the planning process and help shape staff's recommendation to the Board of Directors.

Record Numbers Ride Bus to OC Fair

Record numbers of riders hopped on the Orange County Transportation Authority’s (OCTA) OC Fair Express during the first two weekends of the special bus service to the fair.

The OC Fair Express provides non-stop direct service from six park and ride lots to the OC Fair through August 14. Buses run hourly between 3:00 PM and midnight Fridays, and 10:00 AM to midnight Saturdays & Sundays.

In 2008, the last year OCTA offered a direct service to the fair, ridership totaled 6,161 during the course of the entire OC Fair season. This year, that number was eclipsed with 3,083 riders during the first weekend and 4,722 riders the second weekend in operation.

Riders can board the OC Express for a regular one-way fare of $1.50, where passengers also will receive a coupon good for $2 admission to the fair. That means for just $5, the public can get to and from the fair avoiding regular admissions and parking fees.

The OC Fair Express was made possible this year in part by a $211,000 grant provided by the Mobile Source Air Pollution Reduction Review Committee (MSRC). MSRC provides subsidies for cleaner transportation alternatives. In addition to the OC Fair Express, MSRC has also provided grant money for the Angels Express, which is a direct Metrolink service to Angels baseball games in Anaheim.

Riders can catch the OC Fair Express service at the Fullerton Park and Ride, Santa Ana Depot, Golden West Transportation Center in Huntington Beach, Anaheim Canyon Metrolink station, Tustin/Lincoln Park and Ride, and Junipero Serra Park and Ride in San Juan Capistrano. All prepaid OCTA passes and exact cash payments will be accepted.

For more information about the OC Fair Express, please click here.

Freeway Pile-Driving Operation

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has a construction project under way that will require driving piles to build a retaining wall and widen San Juan Creek Bridge and San Juan Creek Road Bridge. The work begins Monday, August 1 and will take place from 7:00 AM to 4:00 PM weekdays for 10 weeks, according to Caltrans. It will accommodate construction of an auxiliary lane for the southbound I-5 Camino Capistrano off-ramp. The work will take place on the southbound I-5 between the SR-74 (Ortega Highway) on-ramp to the Camino Capistrano off-ramp.

Residents and businesses are advised that the pile driving operation and the use of heavy construction equipment could be noisy and cause vibrations.

For more information, please contact Caltrans at (949) 724-2000 or click here.


Debut of New Whale Tail® Specialty License Plate

The California Coastal Commission and the Department of Motor Vehicles will officially launch the new Whale Tail® Specialty License Plate at a press conference at the OC Dana Point Harbor Sailing and Event Center on Tuesday, August 2 at 10:00 AM.

At the press conferences, the Coastal Commission will introduce a “whale of a deal” for the public, with details on special incentives to encourage purchase of the new license plate, and announce the names of the design contest winners.

First produced in 1997, the iconic Whale Tail® plate is among the most popular specialty license plates ever sold. Nearly 200,000 plates have been purchased to date, raising $60.2 million for coastal conservation efforts and education, and other environmental conservation projects throughout the state.

Marine life artist Wyland of Laguna Beach designed the artwork for the first Whale Tail® license plate. On July 12, the Coastal Commission issued a Declaration of Appreciation to Wyland, thanking him for his generous contribution.

As part of the rollout, the California Coastal Commission will kick off Stewards of the Coast, a summer campaign culminating in the 27th Annual California Coastal Cleanup Day on Saturday, September 17. Stewards of the Coast sponsors include the City of Dana Point as well as the County of Orange, Dana Point Harbor Association, and Dana Point Chamber of Commerce.

For more information, please click here and here.


OC Public Libraries Turns 90!

On August 1, 1921, County Librarian Margaret Livingston and two assistants began library operations in a downtown Santa Ana office shared with the County Farm Advisor. 90 years later, OC Public Libraries (OCPL) is the third largest library jurisdiction in California, maintaining and operating 34 branch libraries throughout Orange County.

Patrons are invited to participate in OCPL’s 90th birthday celebration by donating a new children’s or adult book to the library. Donated Birthday Books will feature a specially designed Birthday Bookplate honoring the donor.

For more information, please click here.

Library Overdue Fines – No Worries!

OC Public Libraries (OCPL) is encouraging its borrowers to participate in the library’s Overdue Fines Amnesty Program, which was approved by the Board at Tuesday’s meeting. The program gives library borrowers a chance to return overdue library material and clear their accounts during the Libraries’ Amnesty Week scheduled September 12 through 18.

For more information, please click here.

Monthly Teen Contest: OC Voices & Visions

Orange County teens (ages 12 to 18) are invited to enter their creative works in a contest sponsored by OC Public Libraries (OCPL). OC Voices & Visions showcases works of prose, poetry, art and film. A new theme is announced at the beginning of each month, with entries due by the last day of the month.

The theme for the month of August is “Uncharted Territories.” All entries must relate to the theme and will be judged in part on the teen’s interpretation. Entries will be reviewed by a panel of librarians.

Teens may enter only one work per category each month but can enter in more than one category. Entries must be the teen’s original work, using only non-copyrighted materials in their production. They must also have a valid OCPL card to enter.

Winners of the August contest will be posted on the Voices & Visions website in October. For more information, please click here.


Community Members Encouraged to Register for AlertOC

The AlertOC mass notification system was recently activated during a multi-acre brush fire in north Orange County. With peak fire season now upon us, people living or working in Orange County are urged to visit www.AlertOC.com and register their contact information to receive time-sensitive communications in the event of a major emergency. For more information, please click here.

AlertOC also recently helped locate a missing elderly man with Alzheimer’s who walked away from his home in Laguna Beach. After police searched for over an hour without any luck, an AlertOC message was sent to phone numbers in the area. Soon afterward, a resident receiving the message saw the man and he was quickly reunited with his wife. For more information, please click here.


OC Parks Wins Six National Awards

OC Parks recently won six national awards for county parks services, programs and marketing, as the National Association of County Park and Recreation Officials recognized OC Parks with three awards and the National Association of Counties awarded the department top honors in three categories.

For more information, please click here.

Doheny State Beach Update

The Doheny State Beach Interpretive Association (DSBIA) has released its monthly DOHENY UPDATE to inform the public about special events as well as current conditions at the State Park. To view the DSBIA August newsletter, please click here.


Summertime Safety for Dogs: Heat Stroke

When a dog is exposed to high temperatures, heat stroke or heat exhaustion can occur. It’s important for pet owners to understand that dogs are more susceptible to heat stroke than humans. Dogs do not sweat through their skin like humans, as they release heat primarily by panting.

If a dog cannot effectively expel heat, their internal body temperature begins to rise, and the damage to their cellular system and organs may become irreversible. Once signs of heat stroke are detected, there is precious little time before serious damage (or even death) occurs.

Additionally, some breeds are more susceptible than others, such as short-nosed breeds (pugs, pekingese, boxers, bulldogs, etc.). Unfortunately, too many dogs become victims of heat stroke, when it could have been avoided by their owners.

Major causes of heat stroke in dogs include:
  • Leaving your dog in a parked car. It only takes a few minutes for the temperature inside to reach 160 degrees. Parking in shade or even with the windows cracked offers little to no protection.
  • Exercising in hot weather. This is especially true with older dogs, dogs that are overweight, or dogs with medical conditions.
  • Dogs left outside without shade or proper access to water.
Also, please don’t ever leave your pet standing on hot pavement, concrete or metal, as this can burn their paws, causing extreme pain; and keep your walks to a minimum, as your pet is much closer to the hot surface area.

For more information, please click here
and here.


South County Students Win National Theater Awards

Student-thespians from the City of Aliso Viejo were recently honored for their work on stage, as three youngsters from Canyon Vista Elementary School were recognized in the Sixth Annual National Youth Arts Awards.

In the Junior Division, Hannah Smith won the award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical; Rachel Pollard won Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Musical; and the cast of the school’s production of “Mulan” won for Outstanding Ensemble.

For more information, please click here.


Laguna Niguel: Summer Concerts

As part of the City’s FREE Summer Concerts, the City of Laguna Niguel is pleased to present "Don’t Stop Believin’" performing a musical tribute to the band Journey on Friday, July 29 from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM at the Crown Valley Community Park Amphitheater. For more information, please click here.

Mission Viejo: Symphony in the Cities & Prelude in the Park
On Saturday, July 30, Mission Viejo presents the Target Symphony in the Cities and Prelude in the Park at Oso Viejo Community Park. Concert-goers can jumpstart the fun by attending the “Hometown Block Party” at 4:00 PM. An interactive “Musical Playground” follows at 5:30 PM; and the Pacific Symphony performs at 7:00 PM. For more information, please click here
and here.

Dana Point: Summer Concerts in the Park

As part of their FREE Summer Concerts in the Park, the City of Dana Point is pleased to present "The Amazing Wildcats” performing 50s music on Sunday, July 31 from 4:30 PM to 6:00 PM at Sea Terrace Park. For more information, please click here.

Rancho Santa Margarita: Summer Concert Series

The City of Rancho Santa Margarita’s Summer Concert Series continues Sunday, July 31 from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM with “The Kelly Fitzgerald Band” performing Rock-n-Roll. For more information, please click here.

Laguna Beach: World Famous Art Festivals

Art festival season is in full swing in Laguna Beach – daily through the end of August – featuring a wide array of outstanding art and entertainment. For information on the Festival of Arts / Pageant of the Masters, please click here. For information on the Sawdust Art Festival, please click here. For information on Art-A-Fair, please click here.


In addition to my many meetings, briefings, and other supervisorial activities, I also:
  • Met with the Orange County Sheriff to discuss the Office of Independent Review.
  • Participated in the Human Resources Department Ad Hoc Committee meeting.
  • Met with the Executive Director of the Orange County Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) to discuss current LAFCO issues.
  • Chaired the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) Board of Directors meeting.
  • Attended Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA) Board of Directors meeting.
  • Chaired the Orange County Coastal Coalition meeting. More on this in next week’s newsletter.
My office also:
  • Provided a certificate of recognition in honor of the ribbon cutting ceremony for Katsuya by Starck in the City of Laguna Beach.
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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