Header image with Photo of Supervisor Pat Bates. Followed by office information
August 26, 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 33

Orange County Redistricting Update

The process for redrawing electoral district boundaries has come a long way since 1812, when Massachusetts Governor Elbridge Gerry drew a state senatorial district that some said resembled the shape of a salamander. Governor Gerry designed this district solely for his own political interest, thus giving rise to the term “Gerrymander.” While politicians are not immune from following Governor Gerry’s example, the laws and systems we have in place make for a much fairer and open redistricting process.

On Tuesday, the Board voted to approve a final redistricting map, which sets the boundaries of the Supervisorial Districts for the next ten years. When we began the redistricting process several months ago, the Board and our appointed-Redistricting Committee received extensive information on the regulations governing redistricting, most notably the Voting Rights Act, and case law that sets expectations for the process and outcome.

When putting a line to a map, there are several things to consider, such as communities of interest, population deviation, and maintaining the current districts’ basic continuity. Of course, as in all decisions the Board makes, it is also paramount that we listen to what the public has to say and be responsive to their concerns and desires. Not every member of the public will be satisfied, but all should know their thoughts were considered.

The final map approved by the Board best reflected the work of the redistricting committee, while also taking into account public comment the Board received July 19 and comment received by the redistricting committee at their July 22 meeting.

Fifth District boundaries will remain essentially the same, with two slight changes: Newport Coast area of Newport Beach will now be in Second District, and a small portion of the City of Irvine (south of I-405) will be in the Fifth District. A final vote on this plan will be taken at the September 6 Special Meeting of the Board of Supervisors.

At the outset of this process, it was my priority to keep our South County communities together, and I am pleased this goal was accomplished.

To view the new Board-approved redistricting map, please click here.

Grand Jury: County of Orange Compensation Disclosure

The Board approved a response to the FY 2010-2011 Grand Jury Report titled “County of Orange Compensation Disclosure.” In their report, the Grand Jury examined the extent and effectiveness of the disclosure of compensation levels for elected officials and department heads.

The Grand Jury found that at the County and the cities’ level of disclosure and accessibility was inadequate. The Grand Jury also recommended a format for placing these salaries on the internet. The County has implemented this recommendation.

I applaud the Grand Jury for taking up this issue. The public has the right to know and easily access information on how much they are paying their government officials; and transparency is the best safeguard against abuse.

To read the report and the County’s response, please click here. To see the posted salaries, please click here.

Grand Jury: Prescription Medication & the Senior Population

The Board reviewed the 2010-11 Grand Jury Report titled “Addictive Prescription Drugs and Orange County Seniors.” This report expresses concern over rising legal use and abuse of prescription drugs prescribed to seniors.

The Grand Jury’s findings concluded that addictive medications and narcotics are being prescribed at a higher rate than the senior population is growing and, as a result, in limited geographic area, there is an increase in senior prescription medicine overdoses.

The Grand Jury presented five recommendations requesting the County seek funding to study this issue within the senior population. To that end, I have directed Health Care Agency staff to work with community partners to identify potential funding sources that will provide opportunities to study this issue in more depth and provide recommendations that address these concerns.

To view the report, please click here.

Third Party Labor Negotiator

The Board approved issuing a Request for Proposals (RFP) for a third party labor negotiator. One of the key reforms recommended in the recent Human Resources Department (HR) Audit was hiring an outside private party to negotiate our labor contracts to ensure against conflicts of interest and provide objectivity.

Taxpayers deserve the best and the brightest representing them at the bargaining table. As such, a skilled professional negotiator is needed as we enter the 2012 labor negotiations. This is important because employee compensation and benefits account for a significant percentage of the County budget.

The recent HR Audit identified several cost saving measures that total $150 million. None of these options require layoffs or cuts to services. However, implementation of the options hinge on successful contract negotiations; and hiring a third party negotiator is essential to securing these structural cost savings.

Ensuring Animals Receive Appropriate Medical Care

OC Animal Care provides essential medical, behavioral, and other support services to animals that arrive at the County shelter. OC Animal Care has historically contracted with veterinarians to augment essential services provided to abandoned/injured pets and sick/injured wildlife from our unincorporated areas and contract cities.

Additionally, contract veterinarians are responsible for OC Animal Care's high volume of spay/neuter surgeries. Contracting for these services provides the flexibility needed to maintain levels of services required by the State of California and to comply with guidelines issued by the Association of Shelter Veterinarians.

To that end, the Board approved a Master Agreement for the provision of veterinary services that will continue access to resources ensuring the animals at the OC Animal Care shelter receive appropriate medical care in accordance with State requirements.

For more information, please click here.

Assessment Appeals Board Appointments

This week, the Board appointed five members to the Orange County Assessment Appeals Board (AAB), including Janine Heft of the 5th District.

25 (AAB) members – each with expertise in the fields of law, accounting or real estate – are grouped into five unique panels, which annually hear thousands of assessment appeals. Although the County Assessor does his best to value millions of taxable secured and unsecured assets, laws are in place to provide a specific appeal process if you believe a mistake may have been made.

The annual assessment appeal filing period is from July 2 to September 15. Please keep in mind that due to the complexity and volume of appeals, the process can often take a year or more to complete. To avoid interest and penalties pending the outcome of your case, you should always pay your tax bill in full. If your appeal is successful, you will receive a refund.

To learn more about the process, please click here and here.

The Friends of the El Toro Library

The Friends of the El Toro Library in the City of Lake Forest operate a bookstore, hold fundraisers, and solicit donations to provide financial support for building improvements, reading materials, and programs for the library.

To that end, the Board was pleased to accept a donation of $10,500 from the Friends of the El Toro Library for the purchase of library books and other lending materials. This generous donation will help enrich the programs and materials collection at the El Toro Library.


CTC Awards Funds to OC Projects

The California Transportation Commission (CTC) approved the allocation of more than $74 million for transportation-related improvements throughout Orange County and Southern California.

A portion of the $74 million included $37.6 million in State Highway Operation and Protection Program (SHOPP) funds for Caltrans to provide maintenance, rehabilitation and improvements on the San Diego Freeway (I-5) near San Clemente; Ortega Highway (SR-74) in San Juan Capistrano; the Riverside Freeway (SR-91) in La Palma, Brea, Anaheim and Fullerton; and Carbon Canyon Road (SR-142) in Brea.

Other portions of the allocation included $29.4 million in Corridor Mobility Improvement Account (CMIA) funds for widening of the Orange Freeway (SR-57) from Katella Avenue to Lincoln Avenue.

Transportation commissioners also approved $3.2 million in State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) funds for Orange County Transportation Authority regional planning and programming activities, $2.59 million for a safety project on the I-5 in Mission Viejo, and an emergency project on the SR-74 near San Juan Capistrano.

The final portion of the allocation designated $286,000 for a STIP Transportation Enhancement bicycle trail project along Maple Street in Santa Ana.

Measure M Surplus Rolls Over To Measure M2

An estimated $150 million in remaining funds from Measure M (M1) has been allocated to projects under M2 with similar purposes. Projects include freeway improvements, streets and roads programs and transit operations.

M1 funding going to freeways totals an estimated $30 million and will be used toward the Orange Freeway (SR-57) widening, San Diego Freeway (I-5) carpool lane addition project between Avenida Pico and Pacific Coast Highway, and West County Connectors projects. Available streets and roads funding totals more than $6 million, while $113 million remains for Metrolink operations and service expansion.

With the current freeze in the sale of state bonds, the Orange County Transportation Authority, which administers Measure M and M2, may consider using portions of the surplus funding to avoid project delays. The OCTA Board set a public hearing for September 26 for this purpose.

Since voters approved Measure M in 1990, more than $4 billion in sales tax revenue for transportation projects has been delivered, fulfilling the promise of congestion relief during its 20-year span. M2, the half-cent sales tax for transportation improvements, was renewed by voters in 2006 and will continue through 2041.

Increase Shown In Projected M2 Revenues

Every year, the Orange County Transportation Authority contracts with Chapman University, California State University Fullerton, and University of California Los Angeles to provide a long-range forecast of taxable sales. These figures are then used to project future Measure M2 revenues through 2041.

Original projections in 2005 estimated total M2 sales tax dollars at $24.3 billion. Last year, those projections were decreased to only $13.7 billion, a decline of over $10 billion, as a result of the long term effects of the economic downturn.

This year’s analysis, however, has increased the projection to $15.4 billion after long-range forecasts were re-assessed. The projected increase is thought to be influenced by higher than expected sales tax receipts in 2010-2011.


High Temperatures Bring Risk of Heat-Related Illnesses

Temperatures in many inland Orange County communities are expected to reach high temperatures above 90 degrees this weekend, increasing the risk of heat related illnesses, such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke, for those who are more sensitive to the heat.

For more information and recommended precautions to prevent heat related illnesses, please click here.


Celebrate Cats at OC Animal Care!

Join OC Animal Care in celebrating the wonderful world of cats! Through September 10, all adopters who find their purrfect feline companion will receive a FREE goodie bag filled with cat supplies! For more information on OC Animal Care’s special adoption days, please click here.


Dana Point: Emergency Preparedness Expo

The City of Dana Point will present its Emergency Preparedness Expo on Saturday, August 27 from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM at Dana Hills High School. Learn how to protect yourself, your family, and your business in an emergency. For more information, please click here.

Laguna Niguel: Black & White in the Moonlight

Come to Crown Valley Park in Laguna Niguel for a FREE showing of the Academy Award winning classic, “Casablanca,” on Saturday, August 27 from 8:00 PM to 10:00 PM. Seating is on a grassy hill. Bring a blanket or low back chair so as not to obstruct viewing. Childcare is available. For more information, please click here.

San Juan Capistrano: Rancho Mission Viejo Rodeo

This Saturday & Sunday, August 27 & 28, World Champion Cowboys will compete in San Juan Capistrano at the 11th annual Rancho Mission Viejo Rodeo. Events include bareback riding, saddle bronc riding, bull riding, team roping, steer wrestling and tie-down roping, as well as music and entertainment for the whole family. For more information, please click here.

Laguna Beach: Final Weekend of Art Festival Season

This weekend is your last chance to enjoy the 2011 art festival season in Laguna Beach, so don’t miss out! For information on the Festival of Arts / Pageant of the Masters, please click here. For information on the Sawdust Art Festival, please click here. In addition, on August 27 & 28, Art-A-Fair will admit all visitors for FREE during their season ending Customer Appreciation Weekend. For more information on Art-A-Fair, please click here.


In addition to my many meetings, briefings, and other supervisorial activities, I also:
  • Met with members of the Laguna Beach Unit of the League of Women Voters to discuss issues concerning the homeless population in Laguna Beach.
  • Met with the Director of OC Community Resources and the Director of OC Animal Care to discuss the progress on resolving issues concerning kennel fees charged to animal rescue groups.
  • Attended U.S. Senator Diane Feinstein’s briefing on regional and local water sustainability projects at the Orange County Water District headquarters.
  • Adjourned the Board of Supervisors meeting in memory of Shirley Mayfield of Laguna Niguel.
My office also:
  • Provided a certificate of recognition in honor of the ribbon cutting ceremony for The Cottage Gallery 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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