Header image with Photo of Supervisor Pat Bates. Followed by office information
December 16, 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 49

Performance Audit on Human Resources Department

As previously reported in my newsletter, Supervisor Nelson and I were appointed to serve on a subcommittee earlier this year to review and make recommendations on the Performance Audit of the Human Resources Department (HRD). The audit uncovered significant problems in HRD, specifically, failure to follow County policy regarding position classifications and salaries.

On August 9, Supervisor Nelson and I reported back to the Board with 35 recommendations, all of which were approved unanimously.

On November 8, Supervisor Nelson and I gave our second report to the Board. Subcommittee recommendations approved by the Board at that time included improvements to the management of employee benefits, more specific classifications for executive management positions, and agreement to discuss priorities for labor negotiations.

The Subcommittee also recommended recruiting a new HR Director and called for pay cuts and classification changes for executive managers who received raises and/or classifications without the required documentation and justification.

Our Board colleagues requested more time for the CEO to review these recommendations and respond. As a result, we continued action on those items. After providing the CEO with time to respond, the Board took action Tuesday and approved the remaining Subcommittee recommendations.

To read a copy of our report and recommendations, please click here.

Khalda Development in Coto De Caza

The Board approved the planning application for the Khalda Development within Planning Area 10 in Coto De Caza. The project will contain seven residential lots designed to be compatible with the surrounding developments and brings a less intense use of the land, which included hunting-related uses that previously existed on the property.

In addition to the seven residential lots, the project will enroll approximately 126.5 acres of open space into the Habitat Reserve. This dedication is consistent with County, State, and Federal goals for long term preservation under the Habitat Conservation Plan adopted for South Orange County. When fully constructed, the Khalda Development will provide a balance of responsible development and open space protection.

For more information, please click here.

Third Party Labor Negotiator

The Board approved moving forward with developing a contract with Liebert, Cassidy, Whitmore to provide labor negotiation services for the County. Liebert, Cassidy, Whitmore was ranked the highest of six firms responding to the Request for Proposals for labor negotiator services.

Hiring a third-party private firm to negotiate our labor contracts is a significant reform, as negotiators supplied by the private firm will provide taxpayers with a skilled and experienced advocate representing them at the bargaining table.


San Clemente Quiet Zone

Members of the public are invited to a ceremony on Wednesday, December 21 at 9:30 AM at the North Beach Metrolink Station pedestrian crossing in San Clemente to unveil signage designating the first and long-awaited Quiet Zone area established in San Clemente.

The Orange County Transportation Authority, San Clemente City Council, City staff and community members have worked tirelessly to obtain this designation at North Beach, which silences train horns at the Avenida Estacion pedestrian crossing and the Senda De La Playa vehicular crossing.

For years, I have worked with the City to find a solution to the loud train noise that impacts the community’s quality of life. Efforts have entailed a multi-pronged strategy that includes administrative approaches with the Federal Railroad Administration and California Public Utilities Commission; legislative approaches with the federal and state governments; and infrastructure improvements though local efforts.

For more information, please click here.

OCTA Sends Letter of Concerns to High-Speed Rail Authority

On Monday, the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) Board of Directors engaged in a lengthy discussion regarding the California High Speed Rail Authority’s (CHRA) Draft 2011 Business Plan. The discussion centered on proposed language to be included in a letter to CHRA, spelling out OCTA’s concerns as part of the public comment period on the draft plan, which closes on December 31.

The proposed letter addresses a number of OCTA’s concerns. These include the fact that the funding plan is largely speculative and lacks any firm commitment of funding beyond the initial construction. Additionally, the plan relies heavily on scarce public funds that will place CHRA in direct competition for funding with existing rail service providers, including OCTA.

The letter also urges the state to withhold funds from the project until CHRA addresses concerns raised by the State’s Legislative Analyst Office and has firmly identified where it will get all of the federal and private funds needed to complete a fully-operational first stage.

The OCTA Board also approved a trip to Washington for Board member Jerry Amante, a Tustin city councilman, to testify at a hearing by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on the High-Speed Rail project and to relay the sentiments of OCTA’s letter to CHRA.

SR-57 Full Freeway Closure Planned for Saturday

The Orange Freeway (SR-57) will close in both directions Saturday night as part of the SR-57 northbound improvement project.

The nighttime closure will take place Saturday, December 17 between 11 p.m. and 5:30 a.m. so Anaheim Public Utilities crews can relocate electrical power lines. All northbound and southbound lanes on the SR-57 will be closed between Katella Avenue and Ball Road. In addition, the northbound Santa Ana Freeway (I-5) to northbound SR-57 connector and carpool connector will be closed during that time.

The $45 million project is the second segment in a series of improvements along the SR-57 and will add a 3-mile northbound lane from Katella Avenue to Lincoln Avenue in Anaheim. Construction on the first segment between Orangethorpe Avenue and Lambert Road began in January 2011 and is currently more than 30 percent completed.

Both projects are anticipated to wrap up construction in 2014 and ease traffic for the nearly 160,000 vehicles that travel this section of the freeway every day.

For more information, please click here.

Trabuco Canyon Property Becomes OCTA’s Fifth Acquisition

The Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) has purchased its fifth open space property as part of the Measure M2 Freeway Environmental Mitigation Program. The 48-acre Hafen property cost $1.7 million and is located northwest of Rancho Santa Margarita in Trabuco Canyon.

The agency has acquired more than 900 acres of open space property in Trabuco Canyon and in Brea. The funds have been allocated through OCTA’s innovative environmental program, which provides comprehensive mitigation of the environmental impacts of the 13 freeway improvement projects under Orange County's half-cent sales tax measure.

Using a proactive approach, the master agreement negotiated between OCTA, Caltrans, and state and federal wildlife agencies provides higher value environmental benefits, such as habitat protection, wildlife corridors and resource preservation in exchange for accelerated project approvals for the M2 freeway program as a whole.

The OCTA Board of Directors allocated a total of $42 million to purchase open space in Orange County during the first round of funding. Approximately $8.5 million remains for additional acquisitions and the funds are expected to be allocated within the next several months.


Laguna Hills Celebrates 20 Years of Incorporation

This week, I was pleased to present a proclamation to the City of Laguna Hills in honor of its 20-year anniversary of incorporation. Incorporation efforts began in 1987 and on March 5, 1991, the goal of incorporation was finally achieved with 86% of residents voting in favor of forming the City of Laguna Hills. As a result, on December 20, 1991, Laguna Hills officially became a City.

In celebration of this milestone, the City hosted a 20th Anniversary Reception on December 13 at the Laguna Hills Civic Center prior to the City Council Meeting.

For more information, please click here and here.


John Wayne Airport: Holiday Season Travel Tips

John Wayne Airport (JWA) anticipates a busier-than-normal travel period between December 16 and January 3. To ensure a smooth visit to JWA, passengers are encouraged to plan ahead and arrive at least 90 minutes prior to their flight departure time. For more information, please click here and here.

Anaheim Ducks Breakaway Bar & Grill Opens at JWA

Travelers at John Wayne Airport in Orange County this week enjoyed the grand opening of the new Anaheim Ducks Breakaway Bar & Grill.

Located post-security in the newly-opened Terminal C near Gate 18, the new restaurant is a joint effort between HMSHost, a world leader in travel dining and shopping, and the Anaheim Ducks. The restaurant pays homage to the first hockey team to bring the Stanley Cup - hockey's ultimate prize - to California.

The restaurant will attract sports fans and families looking for a comfortable place to watch the game and enjoy a great meal. The surroundings are familiar, with comfortable, inviting seating areas decked out in the team's colors of gold and black with orange accents.

The design of the restaurant evokes a feeling of enjoying a hockey game: a glass-surrounded seating area with genuine NHL hockey sticks, together with walls adorned in Ducks' hockey memorabilia. Flat screen TVs highlight great moments in the Ducks' history.

To view photos of the grand opening event, please click here.


No Holiday Festivities in Jail!

As you celebrate the holiday season, please be reminded that sheriff, police and CHP officers will be out in force during the holiday season from December 16 to January 2 to arrest anyone caught driving drunk behind the wheel.

DUI patrols are scheduled locally in partnership with law enforcement statewide and around the County during the Winter Holiday Anti-DUI Campaign. DUI Checkpoints are placed in locations that have some of the highest DUI arrest or DUI accident rates.

For more information, please click here and here.

12 Days of Holiday Tips

Get your holidays off to a great start! For a list of daily tips to help make your planning, shopping, and celebrating more fun, safe, and efficient this holiday season, please click here.


Assisting the Needy this Holiday Season

Adding one more gift to your shopping list can make holiday dreams come true for a needy child or teen, an impoverished senior citizen or a low-income family.

Make your holiday one of giving back to the community. To see holiday season volunteer and donor opportunities, please click here and here.


Annual Passes Make Great Gifts

Looking for a last-minute holiday gift? Give the gift of nature and join OC Parks in the New Year, as 2012 OC Parks annual passes are now available for purchase! An OC Parks Pass is the perfect gift for adventurous friends and family members to enjoy the outdoors.

For more information, please click here.


Photo with Santa!

Bring your pet to OC Animal Care on Saturday, December 17 and Sunday, December 18 from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM for a photo with Santa! Participants will receive a festive holiday frame with their pet’s photo along with a digital copy to share with friends and family. All donations will benefit the animals at OC Animal Care. For more information, please click here.

Don’t have a pet to take a photo with Santa? Just come to OC Animal Care’s Pawliday Adoption Event on Saturday, December 17 from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM and your problem will be solved! For more information, please click here.


Orange County Coastal Coalition

The Orange County Coastal Coalition, which I am pleased to Chair, provides an opportunity to learn about and collaborate on current topics affecting not only our coastal cities, but those inland as well.

Our December meeting provided a forum to hear from Patricia Pendleton and Shane Western of California State University, Northridge, as well as Paul Herzog and Pamela Berstler of Surfrider Foundation’s Ocean Friendly Gardens Program, presenting on the impact of land management activities using regional conservation and restoration planning and mapping.

Ms. Patricia Pendleton and Mr. Shane Western shared their presentation reviewing the mapping effort, associated methodology, and final products produced from the project. Fragmentation and loss of Southern California’s wetlands and associated riparian habitat has resulted in the threatened extinction of numerous wetland-dependent species and loss of biodiversity, contributing to a decline in water quality.

Their project goal at this time is to elicit stakeholder feedback for the draft wetland habitat maps that have been created for Orange County and surrounding areas. Please visit their website if you would like to provide input or ask questions.

Mr. Paul Herzog and Pamela Berstler shared the benefits of Surfrider Foundation’s Ocean Friendly Gardens (OFG) Program and its challenges. Current challenges include:
  1. Engaging volunteers and homeowners in an economic downturn;
  2. Coordinating the group of interested stakeholders; and
  3. Tracking progress.
These challenges are counterbalanced by the program’s success in changing community behavior, empowering volunteers, public employees, homeowners, and providing green jobs. Surfrider Foundation’s OFG Program connects local volunteers and trained landscape professionals through a series of hands-on peer-to-peer neighborhood-based experiences, designed to bridge the gap between conservation policy and the people affected by such policies.

In 2010-11, ten water agencies, including West Basin and San Diego County Water Authority (SDCWA), as well as cities covering territory from Santa Barbara to San Diego, participated in this program.

The OFG message is to "apply CPR to the landscape to revive our watersheds and oceans” through:
  • Conservation of water, energy, air, soil, and habitat;
  • Permeability of landscape (turning urban soil into a sponge) allows water to slow down and sink; and
  • Retention and prevention of wet-weather runoff.
Those assisted in creating an OFG pass their knowledge onto friends and neighbors through a Yard Sign, social networking, and by teaching others. OFG-trained local landscape professionals are paid to provide expert services supporting this new social ethos in landscaping. Even non-landscape local businesses support conservation efforts made by community members.

Please visit their website if you would like to provide input or ask questions.

To be placed on the email distribution list for Orange County Coastal Coalition meetings, please send your email address to andrea.toscano@ocpw.ocgov.com.


2012 Senior Guide OC

Senior Guide OC is the most comprehensive guide to Orange County senior living, estate management, elder residential resources and caregiving issues, courtesy of the Council on Aging Orange County and supported by the County of Orange. This terrific resource directory will help older adults navigate the ‘Golden Years’ and manage the realities of aging into the 21st century.

To view the 2012 Senior Guide OC, please click here.


WANTED: Orange County Grand Jurors

Interested in serving your community as an Orange County Grand Juror? Apply now for the July 2012 through June 2013 term!

The Orange County Grand Jury provides an oversight role for local government agencies and districts and participates in the criminal indictment process. Applications are currently being accepted for the 2012-2013 Grand Jury.

Completed applications must be received no later than Friday, January 13, 2012. To be eligible, applicants must be 18 or older, a U.S. Citizen, a resident of Orange County for at least a year, able to communicate in the English language, and of sound judgment and character.

For more information and an application, please visit the Grand Jury website or call the Grand Jury hotline at (714) 834-6747 to have an application packet mailed to you. For more information, please click here and here.


South County Girls Claim State Cross Country Title

The San Clemente High School girls’ cross country team recently won its first state championship, just days after capturing its first sectional title. All five Tritons placed in the Top 30, as the team won its first Division I title at the CIF State Cross Country Championships at Woodward Park in Fresno.

For more information, please click here.

South County Girls’ Tennis Team Captures CIF-SS Title

The Dana Hills High School girls’ tennis team recently captured its third Sectional title in five years. The Dolphins were appearing in their fifth consecutive CIF-SS Title contest. The sectional title came after the Dolphins captured the South Coast League Title. The Dolphins also won titles in 2007 and 2008 before finishing second in 2009 and 2010.


Dana Point Harbor: 2011 Boat Parade of Lights

Don’t miss the 2011 Boat Parade of Lights in beautiful Dana Point Harbor this weekend! For more information, please click here and here.

Laguna Niguel: Chanukah Celebration

The City of Laguna Niguel will host a Chanukah Celebration and Menorah lighting on Tuesday, December 20, featuring live entertainment and Chanukah fun and food for the whole family. For more information, please click here.

Rancho Santa Margarita: New Year’s Eve Event

Live music, youth dance performances, food and the excitement of children playing games will fill Central Park when the City of Rancho Santa Margarita hosts the 11th Annual Celebrating Family and Friends New Year’s Eve Event on Saturday, December 31. For more information, please click here.


In addition to my many meetings, briefings, and other supervisorial activities, I also:
  • Presented a proclamation to Eagle Scout Ryan P. Pugh of Laguna Niguel in honor of being one of four Eagle Scouts in the 101-year history of the Boy Scouts of America to receive 131 merit badges. To see a photo, please click here. To see an interview with Ryan Pugh by NBC’s Colleen Williams, please click here.
  • Presented a proclamation to the City of Laguna Hills in honor of its 20-year anniversary of incorporation.
  • Presented a proclamation in honor of the 15th anniversary of the Nature Reserve of Orange County (NROC). To see a photo, please click here. For information about NROC, please click here.
  • Met with Congressman Dana Rohrabacher’s office to discuss stairwell lighting technology.
  • Participated in the Orange County Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) meeting.
  • Hosted my annual Holiday Open House.
  • Adjourned the Board of Supervisors meeting in memory of Rick Reavis of Mission Viejo.
My office also:
  • Presented certificates of recognition to the honorees for 2011 at the Laguna Niguel Chamber of Commerce Annual Membership Meeting & Awards Breakfast.
  • Provided a proclamation in honor of Steve Hayman, retiring City Manager of the City of Rancho Santa Margarita.
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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