Header image with Photo of Supervisor Pat Bates. Followed by office information
February 11, 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 5
Important Note: Due to technical difficulties with email delivery last week, “cox.net” email subscribers were not able to receive my February 4 newsletter, which included several important news items. I apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused. To see last week’s Fifth District Report, please click here.


Pension Lawsuit

Recently, an appellate court ruled against the County in our lawsuit to overturn the retroactive pension benefit granted in 2002 to members of the Association of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs. As a result, the Board of Supervisors had to consider whether or not to continue our lawsuit by appealing to the State Supreme Court.

Upon legal counsel’s review of the ruling by the appellate judge, it was determined the County has grounds to appeal the ruling to the State Supreme Court. Based on this recommendation, I joined three of my Board colleagues in voting to continue advancing the lawsuit through the legal process, as I believe it is to the benefit of all parties to bring the process to this final step.

While there are some additional costs to pursuing this legal action, I believe on balance these are reasonable in light of the growing costs of the County’s pension system, which puts the County’s financial health along with the pension system at risk. If we prevail in our lawsuit, it has been estimated the County will save well over $200 million.

Lobbying Ordinance

The Board unanimously approved the second reading and final adoption of a County Lobbying Ordinance. The ordinance requires registration and reporting by lobbyists, government affairs directors of for-profit companies, and union leaders that meet with any of the five Supervisors regarding matters before the Board.

Registration and reporting is required by those who are paid $500 or more in a calendar month for lobbying activities. Anyone paid less than $500, or those representing themselves or their own businesses, will not be required to register or report.

In addition, the issue of requiring registration by representatives of nonprofit organizations remains under review by County staff. They will return with a recommendation to the Board at a later date.

To that end, registration and subsequent reporting will provide the public with information regarding the name of the lobbyist, their contact information, and their employer(s). The ordinance takes effect July 1.

Fiscal Year 2010-11 Second Quarter Budget Report

The Board received a presentation Tuesday on the Fiscal Year 2010-11 Second Quarter Budget Report. We are closely monitoring the States’ $26 billion shortfall to predict and prepare for large program cuts and realignments, as current estimates show a $61 million loss of revenue for the County of Orange.

We will manage our budget to live within our means. Overall, County cash balances are 6.1% above the level 12 months ago and reserves are holding at $197 million. We have also set aside $4.5 million to fund a statewide special election, in the event the Governor’s proposal to extend expiring taxes is approved for the ballot by the State legislature.

To view the FY 2010-2011 Second Quarter Budget Report, please click here. To view the PowerPoint presentation received by the Board, please click here.

Senior Citizens Advisory Council

The Senior Citizens Advisory Council advises the Area Agency on Aging and the Board of Supervisors on issues impacting Orange County Seniors. To that end, the Board supported my nomination of Elizabeth Busick, a resident of Mission Viejo, to serve as my 5th District representative on the Senior Citizens Advisory Council.

For more information, please click here.


Pacific Surfliner Express Service

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) announced the launch of its new Pacific Surfliner Express Service between San Diego and Los Angeles, slated to begin Tuesday, February 15. The Monday through Friday Express Service is anticipated to save approximately 18 minutes of travel time for its weekday riders. As such, the Express Service is designed to serve northbound business passengers interested in reaching Los Angeles before 10:00 AM.

As part of this new service, Pacific Surfliner Train 563 will replace Train 565, and will feature four stops between San Diego and Los Angeles, including Solana Beach, Oceanside, Irvine and Anaheim. The cities of San Juan Capistrano, Laguna Niguel – Mission Viejo, Santa Ana, Fullerton and Orange will see the elimination of one stop; however, Metrolink will continue to provide service along the route and will serve those stations within 10 minutes of the Pacific Surfliner Train 565 departure time.

The Express Service is a pilot project aligned to meet the goals set by the Los Angeles – San Diego Rail Corridor, a Joint Powers Authority, to provide new enhancements to the rail corridor. For more information, please click here.


SBA to Discuss Disaster Assistance in Laguna Beach

As reported in my newsletter last week, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced low-interest federal disaster loans are available to Orange County residents, business owners and others impacted by the severe winter storms, flooding, debris and mud flows that occurred December 17 through January 4.

To that end, an SBA Public Information Officer will be hand for a community-wide presentation in the Laguna Beach City Council Chamber on Saturday, February 12 at 10:00 AM to discuss disaster assistance for victims of December’s floods. The Laguna Beach Council Chamber is located in Laguna Beach City Hall, 505 Forest Avenue, Laguna Beach, CA 92651.

SBA will also be in Laguna Beach until further notice on Thursdays and Fridays from 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM at the Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce, which is located at 357 Glenneyre, below the Laguna Beach Library. No appointment necessary. For more information, please click here and here.


New LAFCO Commission Assignments

This week, I was sworn-in to serve as one of the two County Members on the Orange County Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO). Previously, I had served as the Alternate County Member on LAFCO.

In addition, the Commission selected Charlie Wilson to serve as LAFCO Vice Chair for 2011. Charlie, one of two Special District Members who serve on the Commission, is a resident of Coto de Caza and also serves on the Santa Margarita Water District Board of Directors.

For more information about OC LAFCO, please click here.


Homelessness 2020 Board Executive Director Recruitment

The Children and Families Commission of Orange County is seeking statements of qualifications from interested individuals to serve as a contract Executive Director for the Orange County Ending Homelessness 2020 Board.

Cover letters and resumes must be submitted in PDF format no later than 5:00 PM on Monday, February 28, as the Ending Homelessness 2020 Board is interested in engaging the Executive Director no later than April 1. Interested proposers should submit their cover letter and resume electronically to: ChildrenandFamilies@cfcoc.ocgov.com.

For more information, please click here.


Do you qualify for Earned Income Tax Credit?

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a refundable federal income tax credit for low to moderate income individuals and families. A tax credit means more money in your pocket by reducing the amount of tax you owe, as EITC amounts can range anywhere from $1 to $5,666.

To claim EITC on your tax return, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a U.S. Citizen or Legal Permanent Resident
  • Have a valid social security number
  • Earned income during 2010
  • Earned less than $48,362 (total household) in 2010
To that end, 2-1-1 OC has partnered with Orange County United Way to provide free tax referrals and assistance to the community. When you dial 2-1-1, trained Information & Referral Specialists will connect you to community agencies near you that will help determine your eligibility and fill out your tax return. If you’re not eligible for the EITC, you may still obtain free income tax assistance if your income did not exceed $50,000 in 2010.

To kick-off tax season, many community agencies are offering free tax preparation assistance and financial education to eligible households. To find a location near you, simply dial 2-1-1 (toll free) or send an email by clicking here.


“Wild and Beautiful” at Nix Nature Center

Laguna Canyon Foundation invites you to celebrate Dr. Allan Schoenherr's latest book, “Wild and Beautiful: A Natural History of the Open Spaces in Orange County,” which includes illuminating information about the creatures, plants, habitats and landscapes that make up Orange County’s open spaces.

In addition to a book signing, Dr. Schoenherr will give a FREE thirty minute presentation about his latest work. Thursday, February 17 at the Nix Nature Center, 18751 Laguna Canyon Road, in Laguna Beach. Parking: $3.00. RSVP required: (949) 497-8324.

For more information, please click here.


Urban Search and Rescue Dogs Receive Special Citation

The Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA) last week awarded its Special Operations Citation to Jester and Wylie (canine members) for their heroic efforts in finding a lost elderly man in the Laguna Canyon / Woods Canyon area.

OCFA’s Urban Search and Rescue (US&R) team was requested to assist Laguna Beach Fire Department and the Orange County Sheriff’s Department in searching for the elderly man. Two canine search teams that included Jester and Wylie arrived on scene to search two major drainages.

The teams encountered heavy brush, steep terrain, and drainages with vertical drops as deep at 750 feet, but stayed on task searching for the victim, who was later found extremely dehydrated and unable to walk out. For their part in the rescue, Jester and Wylie received the Special Operations Citation, along with the rest of the US&R Team.

To see photos of Jester and Wylie with their handlers, please click here. For more information, please click here.

Low Cost Vaccination Clinic in Laguna Beach

The Laguna Beach Animal Clinic will hold its yearly Low Cost Vaccination Clinic, which will include microchip implanting, on Saturday, February 12 from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM at the City Parking Lot, 635 Laguna Canyon Road, across from Pageant of the Masters. All dogs must be kept on leash and all cats in carriers. For more information, please click here.

Love ‘Em and Leash ‘Em

OC Parks, Irvine Ranch Conservancy, OC Animal Care and OC Hiking Club proudly present “Love ‘Em and Leash ‘Em” – a special day for dogs and dog lovers at Irvine Regional Park on Saturday, February 19 from 9:00 AM to 12:00 noon.

OC Hiking Club will host a series of guided pooch-hikes, customized to accommodate every breed, size and age of dog. Additionally, OC Animal Care will have an adoption tent at the park, as staff will be onsite to talk about the animals currently available for adoption at the center. Three special dogs will be at the event and available for immediate adoption and same-day take-home!

Bring your pooch to Irvine Regional Park for a day of fun, or come to the Love ‘Em and Leash ‘Em event to adopt a special dog that needs a loving home. For more information, please click here.

Find Some Bunny To Love

Hop on down to OC Animal Care this month to celebrate Adopt a Shelter Rabbit Month and check out their bunnies, as these cuddly cuties will be at the shelter entrance looking for their forever families. All adopters who find their forever bunny will also receive a gift bag filled with rabbit goodies. For more information, please click here.

Valentine's Day Pet Dangers

As reported in my newsletter last week, Valentine's Day is a wonderful time to celebrate the ones we love, but it can also be a dangerous holiday for our pets. Please take extra steps to make sure your dog or cat is safe.

Valentine's Day pet dangers include:

  • Roses have thorns that could get caught in a paw or swallowed. Keep roses out of reach of your pet. Keep plenty of fresh water available to your dog or cat so the water that roses are kept in won't tempt them.
  • Lilies can be poisonous to your pet. Some lilies have a toxic chemical and can cause harm.
  • Chocolates can be very tempting to your pet but should be considered poisonous.
  • Gift-wrap may smell of sweets, candy and chocolate. The sweet smell might be inviting to your pet and cause them to eat the gift-wrap. Ribbon may also be ingested and cause big trouble for your dog or cat.
  • Candy Wrappers are another danger, as they may have the scent of sweet chocolate and smell like a treat to your dog or cat. Many wrappers have sharp edges (such as foil) and may also have chocolate left on the wrapper.
For more information, please click here.


One Hundred Pounds of Legos!

Kids love building with LEGOS, and libraries love having great programs. To that end, OC Public Libraries (OCPL) is planning LEGOS programs at several branches in 2011, but lots of LEGOS are needed to make it happen!

In addition to the joy of creating, it is believed LEGOS enable children to develop vital learning skills, as manipulating space, relationship and proportions helps improve math awareness skills, including fractions and division theory.

Please assist by donating new or used LEGOS and DUPLOS, and drop them off at any OC Public Libraries branch, as OCPL’s goal is to collect 100 pounds of LEGOS! Your LEGOS will have a good home, and your donation is tax deductible.

For more information, please click here.


San Clemente Students Win Technology Contest

San Clemente High School Auto Academy students Daniel Pollak and Luc Rojas placed first at the Orange County Automobile Dealers Association’s (OCADA) 18th Annual Automotive Technology Competition at Hyundai Motor America in Fountain Valley. In doing so, Daniel and Luc unseated defending National Champion Loara High School.

The students each took home a $15,000 scholarship and will now represent OCADA at the national competition in New York. Luc Rojas said the scholarship was the difference between going to a local community college and attending a technical school. “I’m going to a good school now,” said Rojas, who hopes to open his own repair shop some day.

For more information, please click here and here.

County of Orange Excellence in Volunteerism Award

Since January 2003, Peggy Schwartz has served as President of the Laguna Niguel Friends of the Library, contributing more than 2,500 volunteer hours. Over the years, she has provided outstanding leadership for the organization, working closely with the Friends of the Library in the volunteer-operated bookstore to raise funds that support the library and enhance library services and programs.

With the recent closure of the Laguna Niguel Library for a year-long renovation, Peggy was instrumental in keeping the bookstore open in an alternate location to avoid disrupting any fundraising activities. In addition, Peggy worked with OC Public Libraries to ensure funding for the Laguna Niguel Interim Library, enabling the city to continue providing patrons with library services during the lengthy renovation.

To that end, OC Public Libraries this week presented Peggy Schwartz with the County of Orange Excellence in Volunteerism Award. For more information, please click here.


El Toro Library: Give the Gift of Life!

El Toro Library in Lake Forest will hold its semi-annual blood drive on Thursday, February 17. For more information, please click here.

Community Cinema at Soka University

Soka University in Aliso Viejo, in collabopration with the Independent Television Service (ITVS) and KOCE-TV (PBS), is pleased to present “Me Facing Life: Cyntoia's Story,” a documentary film by Daniel H. Birman, as part of the Community Cinema series, on Thursday, February 17 at 7:00 PM in Pauling Hall 216.

Community Cinema at Soka University features a sneak peek of nine documentaries set to broadcast on the award-winning PBS series Independent Lens. After the screenings, Community Cinema features panel discussions with community-based organizations, special guest speakers, information, resources, and other programming. For more information, please click here.

Fifth Annual Battle of the Badges Blood Drive

The fifth annual Battle of the Badges Blood Drive is an opportunity to positively impact our community by assisting badge carrying personnel who are engaged in a friendly competition to see who can donate the most blood and ultimately save the most lives.

To that end, the community is invited to participate in the Battle of the Badges Blood Drive hosted by the San Clemente Border Patrol Station on February 18 from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM. To schedule an appointment, please contact Ivan Cole at (760) 430-5300. For more information, please click here and here.

Dana Point Library: Foriegn Film Friday

Come to Dana Point Library the third Friday of every month at 7:00 PM for their FREE Foreign Film Friday! On Friday, February 18, Dana Point Library will feature the British comedy/drama “Bomber.” Doors open at 6:45 PM. For more information, please click here.

Rancho Santa Margarita Library: International Film Series

Come to Rancho Santa Margarita Library on Friday, February 18 at 7:00 PM to see “La Nana” [The Maid], part of the library’s FREE International Film Series. This film is rated PG-13. A brief discussion will follow the film. For more information, please click here.

Mission Viejo: Movie of Character

Award-winning Hollywood screenwriter Robert Eisele will be in Mission Viejo on February 20 for the screening of his film "The Great Debaters," airing at 2:00 PM in the City Council Chamber at City Hall.

This PG-rated film is part of the FREE movie series sponsored by the City’s Community of Character Committee and will be shown on a theater-size screen with theater-style seating and surround-sound at 200 Civic Center. For more information, please click here.

Aliso Viejo Library: Third Sunday Movie Matinee

Come to Aliso Viejo Library the third Sunday of the month at 2:00 PM for their FREE Movie Matinee, featuring a series of award winning independent and foreign films. On Sunday, February 20, Aliso Viejo Library will feature the British comedy/drama “Bomber.” The library is proud to offer these showings at no charge, plus refreshments are provided! For more information, please click here.


In addition to my many meetings, briefings, and other supervisorial activities, I also:

  • Attended Jury Duty.
  • Was sworn-in as the County Member of the Orange County Local Agency Formation Commission.
  • Attended a special reception in honor of The Honorable Neil Blais and presented a proclamation in recognition of his eleven years of distinguished service as Mayor and Councilman for the City of Rancho Santa Margarita.
  • Presented a Board Resolution to representatives of the American Heart Association, recognizing February as American Heart Month in the County of Orange.
  • Adjourned the Board of Supervisors meeting in memory of Joyce Elizabeth Townsend of Mission Viejo.
My office also:
  • Provided a certificate of recognition in honor of a ribbon cutting ceremony in Dana Point for Barrett Solutions and Cornerstone Wealth Advisors.
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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