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August 12, 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 31

Human Resources Department Audit

At our June 7 Board meeting, Chairman Campbell appointed me and Supervisor Nelson to serve on an ad-hoc committee to review the findings and recommendations of the performance audit of the Human Resources (HR) Department and make recommendations for a plan of action. At Tuesday’s Board meeting, we presented our report and the Board unanimously approved all of our recommendations.

In a County government of nearly 17,000 employees, a well-run HR Department is essential to providing adequate oversight over actions that impact the cost of that government. Clearly our HR Department needs to do better.

Without change, our County will continue to experience unnecessary long term costs, indefensible classification and compensation actions, and an underdeveloped bench of future County managers. In the opinion of the ad-hoc committee, the lack of a coherent HR Department strategy for current HR systems and practices has inadvertently contributed to a “salary arms race.”

The public expects their elected officials to be engaged and involved in public employment issues now more than ever. Accordingly, the ad-hoc committee has developed recommendations that enhance accountability for employee compensation/classification decisions and will reinforce public confidence that County employees will be paid the type of salary warranted of a public servant and is commensurate with their responsibilities.

While much attention has been given regarding the salaries of some Executive Managers, which we addressed in our recommendations, it is important to note that these salaries are symptom of a much larger problem, as real systemic change is needed at the County’s Human Resources Department.

Our reforms are designed to increase central HR’s oversight, place more scrutiny on decisions that could have long term cost implications, improve succession planning, and strengthen the hand of the taxpayer at the bargaining table. If successfully implemented, I believe these reforms will help stem the tide of the rising cost of government.

To read our ad-hoc committee report and recommendations, please click here.

Alternatives to Armory Emergency Shelter Program

Since 1995, OC Community Services has been responsible for oversight and funding of the Armory Emergency Shelter Program. In response to a previous Board directive, OC Community Services, in partnership with HomeAid Orange County, provided the Board of Supervisors a report on alternatives for the County’s Armory Emergency Shelter Program.

Currently, the Armory Emergency Shelter Program has sites located in Fullerton and Santa Ana. The Program operates seasonally (generally December through March or April) based on available funding resources. The Armory Shelter Program provides emergency shelter, hot meals, and a wide variety of on-site supportive services. In FY 2010-11, the program provided over 25,500 shelter bed nights to over 1,300 unduplicated homeless individuals.

The possible alternatives presented in the staff report include a multi-service center with emergency shelter, housing and services on-site and/or a stand-alone emergency shelter. The Ending Homelessness 2020 Board is currently conducting community forums to solicit feedback on alternatives and options for Orange County.

The challenges of a year-round shelter include funding, site identification, entitlements and zoning, available land, and a NIMBY (not in my back yard) perspective. Opportunities for a year-round emergency shelter include provision of consistent service, better case management, and more flexibility to meet the needs of homeless clients. In addition, a permanent, year-round site would likely be more cost effective and would facilitate accomplishment of one the goals of Orange County's Ten-Year Plan to End Homelessness.

To view the report received by the Board regarding alternatives for the County’s Armory Emergency Shelter Program, please click here. To view the County’s Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness, please click here. For more information on the Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness, please email OC Community Services at 10yearplan@occr.ocgov.com.


San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station Open House

Parents of students who attend school in San Clemente, Dana Point and San Juan Capistrano are invited to attend a South County community open house, hosted by San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) on Monday, August 15, from 4:30 PM to 7:30 PM at the San Clemente Community Center.

This event is designed to engage the community and respond to inquiries about the plant. There will also be information booths and exhibits focusing on various areas of the plant, including emergency planning, safety, and community partnerships. The event is FREE and open to the public. Refreshments will be also served.

For more information, please click here and here.


M2 Funds nearly $3 million for water quality programs

Nearly $3 million was awarded Monday to provide funding for projects that will improve the quality of Orange County’s waterways and beaches.

As part of the Measure M2 environmental program, 2 percent of the half-cent sales tax will be used to protect county waterways and beaches from transportation-generated pollution. The program is estimated to provide approximately $300 million during the next 30 years to help minimize urban runoff.

Applications for 47 projects were received and 34 of those projects will receive money under this first award of M2 water quality funds. Projects were selected through a competitive process using a predetermined set of criteria.

The funds awarded will be used to eliminate litter and debris from oceans and waterways. Examples of projects include providing catch basins to prevent trash from entering drainage systems, screens that capture smaller debris, and irrigation system improvements to decrease oil runoff from streets.

Everyday, more than 70 million gallons of pollution from streets flows into Orange County waterways and beaches. As a result, Orange County has seen an increase in the number of closures and environmental hazards along the coast in recent years. The water quality program in M2 will help address some of these concerns.

M2 was approved by 70 percent of voters in 2006. Sales tax collection began April 1 and is expected to bring in approximately $15 billion during the next 30 years.

For more information, please click here.

Breaking Down Barriers Act of 2011

Rep. Gary Miller, R-Calif., has introduced the Breaking Down Barriers Act of 2011, legislation that is intended to speed up the delivery of transportation projects and put hundreds of thousands of Americans to work.

The bill is based on OCTA’s Breaking Down Barriers initiative, launched two years ago to bring together local and national leaders in the transportation industry to identify opportunities for advancing transportation projects.

The national initiative identified more than two dozen changes to existing federal law that will expedite the project delivery process without sacrificing the environment and help create more than 800,000 jobs in the U.S. Key provisions in the Breaking Down Barriers Act of 2011 include:
  • Delegating the responsibility of environmental review to states
  • Allowing agencies to move forward with construction activities prior to receiving grant funds
  • Making the environmental review process more efficient
  • Establishing deadlines for project approvals
  • Current transportation authorizing legislation expired in September 2009 and is being continued through a series of short-term extensions.
Congress intends to act on a new permanent transportation authorization bill within the next few months and OCTA hopes the provisions contained in Millerís bill will be considered as a part of that legislation.

Infrastructure projects are among the best ways to create jobs and keep America moving, but unnecessary process delays have been preventing work from getting underway. I thank Congressman Miller for introducing this legislation that will help break through the barriers and move critical projects forward.


Keep Your Home California

Keep Your Home California” is a $2 billion federally funded effort to help California families struggling to pay their mortgages through four different programs. Each program is designed specifically for low to moderate income homeowners who are either unemployed, facing financial hardship, or have fallen behind on their mortgages and owe significantly more than the value of their homes.

For more information on these programs, please click here.


New Tdap Requirement for Students

A new California law (AB 354) requires a pertussis (Tdap) booster for all entering 7th through 12th grade students before the start of the 2011-12 school year. An additional law passed in July allows individual schools to voluntarily extend the deadline to 30 days. Tdap is a vaccination against pertussis (whooping cough) and is used as a booster for teens and adults.

One of the factors believed to have influenced the 2010 outbreak of pertussis in California, which claimed the lives of ten infants and sickened many others, was the waning effectiveness of childhood pertussis vaccinations. Obtaining a booster vaccination is important to protect students and reduce transmission of pertussis in the community.

The Tdap vaccine is widely available from medical providers, including community clinics and pharmacies, for a fee throughout Orange County; and no shortage is anticipated. If children do not have a medical provider that has the vaccine or medical insurance that covers Tdap, they may obtain the vaccine FREE of charge from the Public Health Tdap clinics at 1725 W. 17th Street, Santa Ana, CA 92706, on Thursdays through September 8 from 8:30 AM to 11:30 AM and 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM; and Saturdays (August 13 – 27) from 8:30 AM to 1:00 PM.

With as many as 280,000 Orange County students needing vaccination, we encourage parents to have their teens vaccinated as soon as possible. The Orange County Health Care Agency’s (HCA) website provides lists of approximately 250 clinics and pharmacies in the County that offer Tdap at low or no cost.

For more information, please call HCA’s Health Referral Line at (800) 564-8448 or click here.


Parents: Please Watch The Water!

Drowning accidents are the leading cause of injury and death among children under five. It can happen quickly, without warning, without a splash, and without a cry for help. In Southern California, drowning prevention and water safety should be practiced on a year-round basis with special emphasis during the summer months.

For information on steps you can take to help keep you and your family safe this summer, please click here.


Are you up-to-date on your screenings?

Medicare now offers many preventive screenings with no out-of-pocket cost. Getting regular tests can alert you and your doctor to possible health problems, such as diabetes, cancer, or heart disease, as it is easier to treat a disease early-on than to wait until there is nothing you can do to slow down the progression.

Do you know what preventive services Medicare covers? If you have Medicare Part B, you are entitled to these tests. However, always ask your doctor which tests are appropriate for you. A good way to keep track of when you last had a screening is to write the information in a chart or journal.

For your convenience, screening tools are available at the links below. Take this record with you each time you visit the doctor so you have all your information with you.

South County Pet Owners Warned to Beware of Coyotes

Many South County residents have expressed concerns about recent coyote sightings and several have even lost pets to these skilled hunters, as they were unaware of the coyote activity in their area.

Though these animals are far from domesticated, they are very comfortable living within close proximity to human beings. As a result, they have little fear of humans and are frequently seen trotting along within a few feet of joggers, bikers and horseback riders.

Though coyotes generally hunt between sunset and sunrise, they can be observed at all hours of the day and will not pass up the opportunity for an easy meal. A dog or cat left in a backyard or unattended can be taken in a matter of moments. As such, cats and small dogs should not be allowed outside alone, even in a fenced yard.

For information on defensive measures to minimize the nuisance and losses caused by urban coyotes, please click here.


Annual Park Passes Now Half Price

OC Parks annual day-use passes for regional and wilderness parks and beaches are now available to purchase at half off the regular price and will remain valid through December 31. In addition, OC Parks annual parking passes may be purchased at most OC Parks facilities.

For a list of purchase locations and more information about annual passes and park fees, please click here and here.

Doheny State Beach: The South Swell

The 2011 summer edition of The South Swell newsletter, created by Doheny State Park rangers, has now been released. Among other things, this edition includes important information about sting rays and how to protect ourselves when entering the water.

To view the latest issue of The South Swell, please click here.


South County School Named OC’s Best Middle School

In the first-ever Los Angeles Times Readers’ Choice awards, Newhart Middle School in the City of Mission Viejo was voted the Orange County Regional Winner for middle schools. Over 400,000 votes were cast by readers of the Los Angeles Times in different categories, including education.

For more information, please click here.


Lake Forest: Symphony in the Cities

On Sunday, August 14, Lake Forest will host a performance by the Pacific Symphony, themed "Celebration of Youth." The concert in Pittsford Park begins at 7:00 PM, with a "musical playground" for children beginning at 5:30 PM. Children participating in the conducting clinic will have the opportunity to assist Maestro Carl St. Clair during the concert. For more information, please click here.

San Clemente Fiesta Street Festival

The exciting San Clemente Fiesta Street Festival on Sunday, August 14 features fun and activities for the whole family and FREE admission! For more information, please click here.

San Juan Summer Nites

San Juan Summer Nites, featuring Ronnie & The Classics on Wednesday, August 17, offers the perfect night on the town for visitors of all ages. The FREE concert is from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM at Historic Town Center Park. For more information, please click here.

Mission Viejo: The Jackie Robinson Story

Make plans to see “The Jackie Robinson Story” at 2:00 PM on Sunday, August 21 at Mission Viejo City Hall as part of a FREE movie series sponsored by the City’s Community of Character Committee. The movie, which has been described as a “neglected gem,” stars the actual baseball legend Jackie Robinson. 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. 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:
  • Participated in the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) Transit System Study Meeting.
  • Participated in the annual Orange County Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) Strategic Planning Session.
  • Was interviewed by Ladera Times Editor Jim Schmitt on a weekly radio talk show called "Open Mic."
  • Received a briefing on the La Pata Fish & Game Financial Assurance.
  • Adjourned the Board of Supervisors meeting in memory of Dorothy Frances Huber of Mission Viejo.
My office also:
  • Provided certificates of recognition in honor of the ribbon cutting ceremonies for Edible Arrangements in Laguna Hills; Vito’s Pizza & Italian Ristorante in San Juan Capistrano; Orange Coast Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge in San Juan Capistrano; and Taryn Michelle in 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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