Header image with Photo of Supervisor Pat Bates. Followed by office information
February 25, 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 7

Orange County Wants Fair Program Realignment!

“We’re broke.” These words recently uttered by Speaker of the House John Boehner regarding the federal government also apply to states, counties and cities across the country. With a decline in revenues resulting from the poor economy, coupled with spending commitments we cannot afford and unsustainable public employee pensions, the perfect financial storm has hit.

In recent weeks, we have seen some states take the hard steps necessary to deal with this crisis. Wisconsin, Ohio, New Jersey and others have made recent news for their initiatives to reduce expenditures and tackle the root of the government spending problem – rapidly rising salary and benefit costs. However, California is not yet one of those states.

At the County of Orange, we have worked over the course of this economic downturn to address our structural deficit through a combination of cost reductions and negotiated pension reforms. We have made ongoing year-to-year cuts, with many County departments reducing their budgets by 20% over the past three years. Other steps taken include reducing the number of County positions by over 1300, implementing a hiring freeze, and increasing employee pension contributions.

Additionally, recognizing we cannot balance the County’s budget by shifting the burden, we have taken care not to increase fees, taxes and regulations on our residents and businesses. The work to balance the County budget has been difficult, painful at times, and will be ongoing for the foreseeable future. However, we are on the right track and doing what is necessary to leave our government in good fiscal condition for future generations.

Your Orange County Board of Supervisors has been successful in preserving the primary tasks of government - fully funding public safety, maintaining our infrastructure, and providing a safety net for our society’s most vulnerable. However, a big wrench is about to be thrown into the County’s effort to restore our fiscal health while maintaining core functions. The wrench is being hurled by our state government in the form of program realignment and tax increase extensions.

While other states, and the County of Orange, have made the necessary tough decisions, the State of California continues to avoid the most difficult choices in favor of shifting the burden to the taxpayers and their local governments. Simply defined, realignment changes the responsibility for the management and delivery of state mandated programs to the counties.

On the surface, this may sound like a good idea, as it would give more local control to counties. Don’t be fooled! Under the Governor’s realignment plan, counties face the prospect of running state programs and only receiving a fraction of the funds needed to do so. Even more troublesome is the fact that we will inherit significant liability if we fail to carry out the programs, even if they are underfunded.

Traditionally, Orange County has been a donor county, meaning we receive proportionally less money from the State than every other county, as part of our share goes to help other counties. Currently, Orange County’s base property tax allocation is 6 cents for every dollar of property taxes that are collected to support county services.

By comparison, Los Angeles County receives 21 cents and the statewide average is 17 cents for each property tax dollar. The bottom line is that in Orange County, we receive approximately 1/3 the amount of money per capita to provide county services, such as public protection, social services, and park services.

The Governor is proposing to shift the responsibility of $5.9 billion worth of services to counties. As Orange County represents approximately 10% of the state’s population, we could be expected to administer our share of that. However, if the State follows traditional funding allocation formulas developed when Orange County was still considered a rural county, we could receive significantly less funding than what is needed to run the programs. This could put the delivery of these services at risk and leave the County vulnerable to lawsuits, as we would still be required to provide the services at mandated levels.

Our County team is working diligently to see that Orange County is not left carrying the burden of our state budget deficit. Working with other donor counties, we will be asking for funding to be based on a new formula that takes into account the percentage of the population we must serve, rather than outdated formulas that leave us shortchanged. Additionally, in order for realignment to be acceptable, the State must share or take all of the liability for underfunded programs. With these conditions met, realignment may result in a positive outcome for Orange County, as more of our tax dollars could potentially stay within our county.

You can help in our efforts by letting your state legislators know the importance of a fair realignment process, as restoring fiscal responsibility while maintaining core services must remain a top priority. Voters must not allow the State to continue to pass the burden of its irresponsible spending levels and unfunded liabilities to local governments and taxpayers.

Please rest assured that while the State may make our task in Orange County more difficult, we will continue our commitment to providing a responsible and accountable government.


No Board Meeting This Week

There was no regularly scheduled meeting of the Board of Supervisors this week. To view the Board meeting schedule for 2011, please click here.

Our next Board meeting will be held Tuesday, March 1. For Agenda & Meeting Information, please click here.

Live Internet broadcasts of Board of Supervisors meetings are available and archived as video-on-demand. To view live and/or past Board meetings, please click here.


OCTA Pays Off Measure M1 Debt

Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) officials this week announced the final debt payment has been made for the Measure M1 program. Since the start of the program in 1991, OCTA issued more than $1.3 billion in bonds to advance various freeway, transit, and streets and roads projects. Measure M1 sales tax receipts and bond reserve funds helped OCTA pay off the $85 million bond debt balance that was still outstanding.

OCTA Named One of Top 6 Companies for 2011

The online publication Engineering News Record (ENR) California named the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) as one of the top six companies in the state, public and private, that will lead the way toward economic recovery in the state this year. ENR California praised OCTA for effectively managing local, state and federal funds to sustain economic growth and create jobs in Orange County.

In 2010, OCTA began work on or completed construction projects totaling $525 million and created 9,500 jobs in the process. In addition, OCTA properly leveraged $600 million in funds received from the state and federal government to help make countywide Measure M revenues go even further.

La Paz Road/I-5 Improvement Project Coming Soon

Work is expected to begin in March on the La Paz Road/I-5 Improvement Project, which is designed to improve traffic flow along La Paz Road and improve access on and off the I-5 Freeway. The City of Laguna Hills is the lead agency on the project that includes Caltrans and the City of Mission Viejo as project partners.

La Paz Road is a major roadway in the cities of Laguna Hills and Mission Viejo, with high volumes of traffic most times of day. The project, which is expected to be completed in April 2012, will be done in four stages to minimize traffic impacts on the area, and most construction will take place during off-peak hours at night.

For more information, please click here and here.


Public Urged to Conserve During Imported Water Shutdown

The Diemer Filtration Plant, a Yorba Linda-based water treatment plant that serves South County, is expected to perform necessary maintenance and upgrades from February 27 through March 6. The facility provides much of South County's imported potable water needs through two regional water pipelines.

The City of San Juan Capistrano’s groundwater recovery plant will help offset some of the impacts of the waterline shutdown that will leave much of South County with little or no imported water. However, with the imported water supplier set to shut down its plant for a week, the City is urging residents to conserve water by ceasing landscape watering and car washing and utilizing other conservation methods.

In the event the shortage condition becomes critical or demand exceeds the City's local resource, a Stage 4 water emergency could be declared with residents notified through the "AlertOC" (reverse-911) calling system. For more information, please click here and here.

South County Foreclosure Prevention Workshop

The Orange County Home Ownership Preservation Collaborative invites you to attend a FREE Home Preservation Clinic on Saturday, February 26 from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM at Ladera Ranch Middle School, 29551 Sienna Parkway, Ladera Ranch, to meet with counselors and bank representatives about what can be done to assist you.

For more information, please click here.


Rain Advisory

The Health Care Agency reminds swimmers that levels of bacteria can increase significantly in ocean and bay waters close to storm drains and the outlets of creeks and rivers during and after rainstorms.

Elevated bacterial levels in coastal ocean waters may continue for a period of at least 3 days, depending on the intensity of rain and volume of runoff. As such, swimmers should avoid Orange County coastal waters during this time, and beach users should avoid contact with any runoff on the beach.

For more information, please click here and here.


Environmental Cleanup Program Tier 1 Call for Projects

The Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) has issued the Measure M2 Environmental Cleanup Allocation Program (ECP), Tier 1 Grant Program 2011 Call for Projects. OCTA's first Call for Projects opened February 18. An estimated $2.8 million in Measure M2 funds will be available to eligible applicants.

The Tier 1 Grant Program is designed to mitigate more visible forms of pollutants, such as litter and debris that collects on roadways and in catch basins prior to being deposited in waterways and the ocean. For more information on the Program, including how to submit an application, please click here.


Programs That Could Save You Money

Did you know the Orange County Assessor Department offers various programs that could help save you money? These include:


Save the Dates for 2011 Spring Tour Series

Each spring, the Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA) offers guided tours through the conservation areas that were preserved or restored with construction of The Toll Roads. Led by a restoration ecologist, the tours offer a glimpse into areas of Orange County that few people have ever seen.

To learn about restoration techniques and see native habitat and wildlife firsthand, as you hike through some of the more than 2,100 acres of native habitat protected by TCA, please save the following dates:

March 26, 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM
Upper Chiquita Canyon - moderate six-mile hike.

April 2, 8:30 AM to 12:30 PM
Bonita Creek - easy hike on paved paths.

April 30, 8:30 AM – 12:30 PM
Upper Laurel Canyon - rigorous six-mile hike.
Space is limited. Please call (949) 754-3405 to reserve a space on one of these tours.


South County Pet and Vet Clinic

Aliso Viejo’s Family Resource Center and the Mission Viejo Animal Services Center are partnering to host a low-cost Pet and Vet Clinic on Saturday, February 26 at the Family Resource Center, 24671 Via Iglesia, in Aliso Viejo. The cash-only clinic will offer micro-chipping and vaccines for cats and dogs at a reduced price. Dog licensing will also be available. Dogs must be on leashes and cats in carriers.

For more information, please click here.


Dana Point Harbor: 2010 People’s Choice Lantern Awards

The Dana Point Times has released their Best of Dana Point 2010 People’s Choice Lantern Awards, and Dana Point Harbor is at the top of their list! Not only did the restaurants and businesses of Dana Point Harbor make up a majority of the nominees, they also won a majority of awards in 48 different categories.

For more information, please click here.


Laguna Niguel: The Lizard Wizard

Touch the scales of a python, tickle the feet of a giant millipede, tap the shell of a tortoise, or just enjoy these extraordinary creatures with your own eyes! Join the Lizard Wizard as they offer children of all ages a hands-on look into the fascinating world of reptiles, amphibians and arthropods at 7:00 PM on Friday, February 25 at Crown Valley Community Park in Laguna Niguel.

For more information, please click here.

San Juan Capistrano: The Kid's Pet Parade

The San Juan Capistrano Fiesta Association is hosting The Kid's Pet Parade on Sunday, February 27 at 1:00 PM, when children between ages 5 and 12 can show off their favorite animals in competition for:

  • The Cutest
  • Most Unusual
  • Best Team Costume (owner and pet)
  • Funniest
  • Most Obedient (pet, not child)
All pets must be leashed, haltered, or caged, and an adult (not necessarily leashed, haltered or caged) must accompany the children. Registration begins at 11:30 AM. For more information, please click here.

Laguna Beach: First Thursdays Art Walk

Join over 40 member galleries throughout Laguna Beach on Thursday, March 3 from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM for First Thursdays Art Walk – a FREE festive, cultural evening held the first Thursday of each month, featuring artist demonstrations, exhibition openings, music, dance, and much more!

For more information, please click here.

Dana Point: 40th Annual Festival of Whales

On the weekends of March 5-6 and 12-13, hundreds of California Gray Whales on their annual migration to Baja California will splash by the seaside community of Dana Point – the West Coast's premier location to meet and greet these incredible creatures during the 40th Annual Dana Point Festival of Whales.

Festival highlights include the opening day kick-off event, The 40 Years of Magical Migration Parade, as well as Whale of a Block Party, art exhibits, classic car exhibits, paddling events, sand sculpting, concerts on land and water, environmental activities, educational opportunities, interpretive crafts, kids activities and, of course, whale watching excursions on a variety of vessels or from Dana Point Headlands Conservation Park.

For more information, please click here and here. For information on OCTA bus and Metrolink transportation to the Festival, please click here.

Dana Point Harbor: 11th Annual Ocean Awareness Day

In addition to the Dana Point Festival of Whales, Ocean Awareness Day will bring the City, County and State, as well as public and non-profit groups, to beautiful OC Dana Point Harbor to educate the community on many issues affecting our oceans. This 11th annual fun-filled, family event will take place Sunday, March 6, from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

Ocean Awareness Day will also feature the dedication of the 2009 Community Art Project: Whale of a Tail. The Dana Point Harbor Association commissioned a 6' tall iconic sculpture of a whale tail, which has been beautifully adorned with mosaic tiles. I invite you to join me at the dedication of the Whale Tail at 1:00 PM, Sunday, March 6, at the OC Sailing & Events Center in Dana Point Harbor.

The Ocean Awareness Day event and parking are FREE. For more information, please click here and here.


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

  • Participated in the Orange County Transportation Authority’s (OCTA) annual delegation trip to Sacramento.
  • Met with Rancho Mission Viejo officials for an update on Ranch plans, activities and projects.
  • Attended Laguna Niguel Mayor Gary Capata’s “State of the City” presentation.
My office also:
  • Attended the San Juan Capistrano Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs Committee meeting.
  • Presented certificates of recognition at the San Clemente Chambers of Commerce Annual Installation & Awards Ceremony.
  • Attended the Orange County Taxpayers Association meeting.
  • Attended the South Orange County Regional Chamber of Commerce Legislative Alliance meeting.
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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