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September 16, 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 36

Constitution Day

This Saturday, September 17, marks the anniversary of the signing of the United States Constitution. On September 17, 1787, the 38 delegates to the Constitutional Convention affixed their signatures to the document that, to this day, provides the foundation and framework of our government.

Prior to the approval of our Constitution, the new United States of America was governed by the Articles of Confederation. Approved by the Continental Congress shortly after declaring independence, the Articles set up a weak system that did not adequately provide for the governance of the new nation.

With the state of the new Union at risk, it was clear that something needed to be done. Largely at the urging of General George Washington, 55 delegates from the thirteen states met in Philadelphia to come up with a new form for the American government. After much debate, argument and negotiation, the delegates concluded the summer of 1787 by approving a system of government that met the principles of the revolution.

At the conclusion of the convention, Benjamin Franklin pointed to George Washington’s chair, which had a picture of a sun on the horizon etched into it. Franklin said, “I have often in the course of this session looked at that (picture) without being able to tell whether it was a rising or setting sun. But now at length I have the happiness to know that it is a rising and not a setting sun.”

254 years later, the sun continues to rise over America. So long as we continue to adhere to the principles of that document, the sun will continue to rise and we will forever “secure the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our posterity.”


County of Orange Takes $48 Million Hit from State

The State Legislature has concluded its work for the year without restoring a County of Orange specific cut of $48 million. You may recall that not long after the Board of Supervisors approved a balanced County budget for FY 2011-12, the State Legislature targeted our County with an unexpected $48 million raid of our local funds. No other county in the state was subject to such a drastic cut in revenue.

By way of background, in 2004, the Legislature approved a change in how counties would be funded – swapping Vehicle License Fee (VLF) funds for property tax funds. However, as County of Orange bond documents to pay off our 1994 bankruptcy debt specifically referenced VLF funds, the County was exempt from the swap. We have continued to receive VLF funds in lieu of the property tax allocations the other 57 counties received as a result of the 2004 swap.

When the State approved its FY 2011-12 budget in July, there was a provision to redirect VLF funds, including Orange County’s share, to backfill the State’s budget deficit without replacing Orange County’s VLF with a property tax allocation. Since that time, the County of Orange has made every effort to meet with the Governor’s office, the State Department of Finance, and members of the Legislature to address the oversight and explain that our $48 million VLF revenues were indeed local dollars intended for the provision of local municipal services.

Despite our best efforts, including support from Assemblywoman Diane Harkey, there was insufficient political will in Sacramento to restore the $48 million.

The County must now address this significant revenue shortfall. One approach could be draconian cuts to vital services and employee layoffs. However, in my opinion, this approach would be irresponsible, as there are other cost-saving measures available to us.

Rather than simply eliminating services, we should look for ways to make our services cost less. Reducing merit increases, discontinuing performance incentive pay, and reforming annual leave payouts are examples of ideas that could be implemented to save millions of dollars. These reforms were recommended as part of the Human Resources audit I commissioned earlier this year.

As we move forward in addressing how the County will handle the loss of the $48 million, I will advocate for implementing these reforms with the hope that we can prevent further layoffs and service reductions. I will continue to provide updates via my newsletter as the County grapples with this devastating blow.

Orange County Investment Policy Statement

Due to Standard & Poor’s recent downgrade of the long-term US Government Debt from “AAA” to “AA+”, the Board amended the County Investment Policy Statement (IPS), which had limited investing in “AA” rated securities to no more than 50% of our portfolio.

On August 5, 77% of funds were invested in US Government Debt. This downgrade caused the fund to be out of compliance with the approved policy. We were able to hold existing positions; although the downgrade precluded any further purchases of US Government Debt unless the IPS is revised to either increase the percentage allowed for “AA” credits or exempt the US Government Debt from this credit rating restriction.

Based on recommendations from our Treasurer-Tax Collector, the Board voted to exempt US Government Debt. A complete copy of the IPS can be read here.

Speed Increase on Crown Valley Parkway

On Tuesday, Board of Supervisors established a 55 miles per hour "Radar Enforced" speed limit on Crown Valley Parkway within the unincorporated County area between Antonio Parkway and Mission Viejo City limits. This resulted in a five mile per hour increase from what previously existed in this location.

As required by the California Vehicle Code (CVC), a new Engineering and Traffic Survey (E&TS) is conducted every ten years. State law requires the posted speed limit to be established at the nearest 5 mph increment to the measured 85th percentile speed. The 85th percentile speed is defined as the speed at which 85 percent of the traffic is traveling.

Based on the E&TS results and per the requirements of the law, a 55 mph speed limit is required for radar enforcement to continue in this location.

On June 16, 2011 the Orange County Traffic Committee voted to support the recommendation and on August 22, the Ladera Ranch Civic Council also voted unanimously to support the increased speed limit.


Implications of Japan Nuclear Disaster for SONGS

A San Clemente City Council meeting regarding the implications of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Disaster for the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) is scheduled for Tuesday, September 27 at 6:30 PM at the Community Center Auditorium at 100 Calle Seville in San Clemente.

The meeting will consist of presentations by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), the Inter-jurisdictional Planning Committee (IPC), and SONGS. The public will have an opportunity to speak at the meeting and each of the three presentations will be followed by a question and answer session.

For more information, please click here.


Economic Benefits Analysis of the 241 Completion

This week, the Foothill/Eastern Transportation Corridor Agency released a study which illustrates the positive economic impact that would occur with completion of the 241 Toll Road.

The economic benefits analysis conducted by Beacon Economics found that designing and constructing the planned 16-mile completion of the 241 Toll Road will create 13,663 jobs in Orange County and an additional 3,800 jobs statewide. The analysis also shows that the project would generate $3.1 billion in economic output throughout the state, with $2.3 billion accruing in Orange County.

To read a copy of the report, please click here. For more information, please click here.

Funding Awarded for Alternative Transportation Programs

On Monday, the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) Board of Directors voted to continue funding for programs that provide alternative transportation services and training workshops for people with low-income and disabilities, and seniors throughout the community. More than $4.3 million was awarded to 12 agencies to fund the services through September 2013.

The funding is provided through the Federal Job Access Reverse Commute and New Freedom programs. The programs expand transportation options available and ensure quality service to people with disabilities and low-income communities.

The programs offer travel training and trip coordination lessons in addition to buddy travel and same-day medical transportation trips. Since the programs began in October 2009, approximately 3,500 clients have participated in one-on-one travel training and the agencies have collectively provided 64,000 trips.

An additional $6.4 million from the Job Access Reverse Commute program is anticipated to be awarded to projects in October.

Bike Sharing Program May Come to Orange County

A plan to start a new “bike sharing” program for Orange County residents and commuters was discussed at Monday’s Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) Board of Directors meeting.

The program would provide commuters the last-mile connection from train stations and major transit stops to their final destinations by allowing riders to rent bicycles from various bike stations placed near transit hubs, colleges, universities, Metrolink stations and employment centers.

The pilot program, which could roll out as early as spring 2012, is anticipated to consist of eight stations, containing a total of 80 bikes. Riders would be able to rent bicycles through an annual membership or a daily usage option.

An update on the status of the program will be presented to the OCTA Board in the coming months. For more information, please click here and here.


Endemic Typhus Cases Reported in Orange County

Endemic (flea-borne) typhus – an illness that prior to 2006 was considered rare in Orange County – continues to occur with five confirmed or probable endemic typhus cases reported to the Orange County Health Care Agency in the past three months, with eight cases reported in Orange County for 2011 to date.

Endemic typhus is transmitted by the bite of infected fleas, in particular those from cats, opossums and rodents, although other animals may carry the fleas. Controlling fleas in and around your home is the key to preventing typhus. Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle ache and rash.

For more information, please click here.


California Coastal Cleanup Day

Once again, OC Dana Point Harbor will be joining more than 800 other locations throughout the State in the 27th annual California Coastal Cleanup Day. The State’s largest volunteer event will be held Saturday, September 17 from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM.

Those interested in volunteering can obtain more information by contacting OC Dana Point Harbor at (949) 923-2236, or simply check-in during the event next to Jolly Roger restaurant on the Wharf.

In addition, OC Dana Point Harbor is also organizing the 6th annual Underwater Cleanup Event the same day from 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM. This is part of OC Dana Point Harbor’s continuing efforts to improve water quality in the Harbor.

For more information, please click here, here and here. For Coastal Cleanup Day activities taking place at OC Parks facilities throughout Orange County, please click here.

2010 Annual Ocean, Harbor and Bay Water Quality Report

The Orange County 2010 Annual Ocean, Harbor and Bay Water Quality Report is now available on-line at www.ocbeachinfo.com.

This year's edition is the tenth annual report published by Environmental Health’s Ocean Water Protection Program. The 2010 annual report is built on the success of prior editions by continuing to track sewage spills and the resulting ocean, harbor and bay water closures in Orange County.

As in past editions, this report continues to provide bacteriological water quality information, including year-to-year variability and trends, which is used to assess Orange County's recreational waters.

I hope you will find the report useful and informative. Please feel free to share this report with others interested in promoting and ensuring healthy ocean recreational water quality for Orange County residents and visitors.

Each year, the annual report benefits from stakeholder and community input and feedback. Please feel free to direct any comments to Ocean Water Protection Program Supervisor Mike Fennessy at mfennessy@ochca.com or (714) 433-6280.

Orange County Coastal Coalition

Please join me at the Newport Beach Library on Thursday, September 22 at 9:00 AM for the next regular meeting of the Orange County Coastal Coalition, where I have the pleasure of serving as Chair.

Presenting will be Larry Honeybourne of the County of Orange Health Care Agency, Ted von Bitner of OC Watersheds, and Donna Ferguson of Southern California Coastal Water Research Project. The presentations will be followed by a question and answer session.

For more information, please click here.


South County Pet and Vet Clinic

The Aliso Viejo Family Resource Center and Mission Viejo Animal Services Center are teaming up to host a low-cost Pet and Vet Clinic on Saturday, September 24 at Iglesia Park Community Center, 24671 Via Iglesia, in Aliso Viejo.

The cash-only clinic will offer vaccinations and micro-chipping at discounted rates along with dog licensing from 9:30 AM to 11:00 AM. Vaccines for cats and dogs will range from $7 to $28. Dogs must be on leashes and cats in carriers.

For more information, please email gduran@cityofalisoviejo.com or call (949) 425-2519. Detailed vaccination information is also available by clicking here.


South County Man inducted to National Sailing Hall of Fame

The National Sailing Center and Hall of Fame recently announced Laguna Beach’s Hobie Alter as one of 15 inductees to the inaugural class of the National Sailing Hall of Fame.

The inductees are U.S. citizens 45 and older who have made a significant impact on the growth and development of the sport in the United States, in the categories of Sailing, Technical and Contributor.

Hobie Alter, who is also an inductee to the Huntington Beach Walk of Fame, is one of five inductees from California. This first group of inductees will be honored October 23 during an invitation-only ceremony at the San Diego Yacht Club.

Alter is widely remembered as the man behind the development of the foam-and-fiberglass surfboard. His label, “Hobie,” remains one of the top-selling surfboard brands of all time. He is also the creator of the Hobie Cat, the Hobie 33 ultralight-displacement sailboat, and one of the finest mass-produced radio-controlled gliders, the Hobie Hawk.

Alter opened up Southern California’s first surf shop in Dana Point in the 1950s. Then in 1958, he and his buddy Gordon “Grubby” Clark (as in Clark Foam) began experiments making surfboards out of foam and fiber-glass.


Laguna Niguel: NFL Pepsi Punt, Pass & Kick Competition

The City of Laguna Niguel invites boys and girls to show off their football skills at the NFL Pepsi Punt, Pass & Kick local competition Sunday, September 18 from noon to 2:00 PM at Marina Hills Park. The top finishers in each of the boys and girls divisions will advance to the Sectional Competition. For more information, please click here.

Mission Viejo: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

The public is invited to enjoy “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” on Sunday, September 18 at Mission Viejo City Hall, as part of a FREE movie series sponsored by the City’s Community of Character Committee. The beloved classic, the first animated feature film in motion picture history and on the American Film Institute’s list of the 100 greatest films of all time, starts at 2:00 PM. For more information, please click here.

Dana Point: World Class BBQ Championship

The City of Dana Point is partnering with the Kansas City Barbeque Society to bring a world class barbeque championship to Dana Point. The two-day event will be held in beautiful Sea Terrace Park on Friday, September 23 and Saturday, September 24. For more information, please click here.


In addition to my many meetings, briefings, and other supervisorial activities, I also:
  • Joined the Laguna Beach City Council and local community members in a public art dedication and ceremony commemorating the 10th anniversary of 9/11. To view photos of the event, please click here.
My office also:
  • Attended the Orange County Local Agency Commission (LAFCO) meeting.
  • Attended the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) Board of Directors meeting.
  • Attended the South Orange County Regional Chamber of Commerce “State of the Chamber” annual meeting to present a proclamation in honor of Jim Leach of Cox Communications.
  • Provided a certificate of recognition in honor of the ribbon cutting ceremony for Surterre Properties in Monarch 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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