March 16, 2012
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.
IN THIS ISSUE...
1. PAT’S PERSPECTIVE
2. SOUTH COUNTY NEWS
3. BOARD BULLETIN BOARD
4. TRANSPORTATION INFORMATION
5. SAFETY SENTRY
6. ENVIRONMENTAL MEMOS
7. NOTES FROM THE FIELD
8. CRITTER CHRONICLES
9. FIFTH DISTRICT SPOTLIGHT
10. SOUTH COUNTY CALENDAR
11. FIFTH DISTRICT WRAP-UP
Chief of Staff
Deputy Chief of Staff
Deputy Chief of Staff
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Federal Affordable Care Act
My office has received inquiries regarding recent votes by the Board of Supervisors to reject federal healthcare grants. Last month, the Board rejected a grant application of $40,000 for a workplace-wellness program. In June 2011, the Board rejected $2 million in annual funding over a five-year period to provide education on obesity and tobacco cessation. Both of these grants are funded through the Federal Affordable Care Act, which is also known by some as “Obamacare.”
I voted with the majority of my colleagues to reject the funding. Unfortunately, some have characterized our vote as pure politics, because we don’t agree with the President or his healthcare initiative. While it is true I am opposed to the federal healthcare legislation, my vote against these grants was not based in politics but instead concern for good public policy. In my view, these grants are bad health care and fiscal policy.
The budget for the Orange County Health Care Agency for FY 2011-2012 is over $600 million, much of which goes to direct healthcare services. A majority of the funding is passed-through from the state and federal government. Even with all this spending, there continues to be those who do not have health insurance. On that note, the Board of Supervisors has gone to great effort to assist those without insurance. The County’s base contribution for the Medical Services for Indigents (MSI) program has increased 67% since I took office, which translates to $59.9 million per fiscal year.
Spending more of taxpayer $ on government education programs that do not have true performance metrics to indicate a program’s effectiveness is wasteful. Despite what some critics of the Board have asserted, neither of the programs we rejected do anything to provide insurance to those without healthcare. In fact, the $40,000 grant rejected by the Board was a wellness education program for County employees. All County employees receive health insurance, and many plans include wellness programs.
It is also important to note the County already has programs in place regarding nutrition and obesity. This year, we are spending $6.1 million on the ‘Women, Infants and Children Program,’ which provides nutrition education and enrolls and supports the supplemental food voucher program for low income women, infants and children.
Additionally, we are spending $1 million on the Nutrition Network campaign that offers nutrition education and physical activity interventions targeting low income Orange County residents. Spending an additional $2 million per year of federal tax dollars on similar education is a redundant and wasteful use of those dollars that should be better spent on more essential and direct services, including reimbursement for the services from doctors, hospitals and other healthcare providers
In the last four fiscal years, the Board has approved an additional $5 million in general fund dollars to improve reimbursement rates to our providers – hospitals and physicians. This augmentation is meant to help with rising healthcare costs and insure that our Orange County healthcare system remains financially strong.
As a steward of your taxpayer dollars, I believe I’m duty bound to ensure we do not amass additional debt.
When signed into law, the President’s healthcare initiative was estimated to cost $900 billion over ten years. The Congressional Budget Office released new numbers this week that estimate the cost to actually be $1.76 trillion. As costs for this initiatives continue to balloon, I believe it is important for our federal lawmakers to reduce spending on the less essential elements of the initiative and focus efforts on provision of direct healthcare services.
Spending scarce tax dollars on redundant programs promoting healthy lifestyles while placing our healthcare providers, doctors and hospitals at risk of cuts in reimbursements for their services, and thus their existence, is unacceptable.
As we face a real fiscal crisis at every level of government, we policymakers have an obligation to say “no” to non-essential spending or we risk losing our vital healthcare delivery system and burying future generations in mountains of debt. I will continue to do my part by refusing to spend money on programs that are redundant or an unwarranted expansion of government.
|SOUTH COUNTY NEWS
RSVP for the Fifth Annual South County Senior Summit!
RSVP today for my fifth annual South County Senior Summit, being held Friday, March 23 in Laguna Woods Village, Clubhouse 3. Joining me in presenting this enormously popular annual event is the Orange County Office on Aging, Laguna Woods Village, and Age Well Senior Services. The theme for the 2012 Senior Summit is “Mind, Body, and Spirit: Embracing the Positive in Aging.”
Back by popular demand is Dr. Laura Mosqueda, Director of Geriatrics, UCI School of Medicine. Our other distinguished speakers include Dr. Debra Rose, Director, Center for Successful Aging, Cal State Fullerton; Dr. Kerry Burnight, Director, Elder Abuse Forensic Center, UCI School of Medicine; Dr. Marilyn Ditty, Chief Executive Officer, Age Well Senior Services; Karen Roper, Director, OC Community Services; and Dr. Trudi Carter, Medical Director, CalOptima.
The event will begin at 8:00 AM with a complimentary continental breakfast for all attendees. While at the Summit, guests will be treated to an array of vendor booths, featuring important information and many free giveaways. In addition, audience members will have the opportunity to win a number of fabulous prizes during the program, as well as a complimentary lunch to be served at the conclusion of the event.
As always, the South County Senior Summit is an outstanding opportunity for older adults to become better acquainted with the many programs and services available to them through the County of Orange. To that end, I’d like to thank our generous title sponsor – CalOptima.
This year’s Senior Summit is sure to be the best yet and very few seats remain, so don’t delay, reserve your place today! For more information and to RSVP, please call the Office on Aging at (800) 510-2020. To download the invitation, please click here.
|BOARD BULLETIN BOARD
No Board Meeting This Week
There was not a regularly scheduled meeting of the Board of Supervisors this week. To view the Board meeting schedule for 2012, please click here.
Our next Board meeting will be held Tuesday, March 20. Regular Board meetings begin at 9:30 AM in the Hall of Administration. For Agenda & Meeting Information, please click here.
Live Internet broadcasts of Board of Supervisors meetings can be viewed online and are archived as video-on-demand. To view live and/or past Board meetings, please click here.
Interstate 5 HOV Improvement Project
The Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) is implementing the I-5 High-Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) Improvement Project between Avenida Pico and San Juan Creek Road. The construction phase of the project is expected to start in late 2013.
The project requires acquisition of property rights from public and private parties adjacent to the existing freeway and city streets. This week, the OCTA Board of Directors authorized the CEO to execute agreements with property owners for acquisition of the specified interests in real property associated with the project.
In addition, the OCTA Board approved an amendment to a cooperative agreement with the California Department of Transportation to prepare the final contract documents, advertise, award, and approve the construction contracts.
To view the full staff report, please click here.
Taxpayer Oversight Committee Seeks Volunteers
The Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) is seeking qualified volunteers to serve on the Measure M Taxpayers Oversight Committee (TOC).
The eleven-member committee monitors OCTA’s use of Measure M funds and ensures that all revenue collected from both Measure M1 (M1) and the Renewed Measure M2 (M2) is spent on voter-approved transportation projects.
The independent committee was formed after the passage in 1990 of Measure M, a half-cent sales tax to fund transportation improvements in Orange County.
Applications for the 2012-2015 term will be accepted through April 23 to fill four positions: one each for the First, Second, Fourth and Fifth Supervisorial Districts. Orange County citizens residing in these areas are eligible to apply.
Candidates must be 18 years of age, reside in one of the districts named above and be willing to participate for a three-year term. Potential committee members should also demonstrate a history of participating in community activities and knowledge of public transportation.
The Grand Jurors Association of Orange County is conducting the recruitment program and will recommend qualified candidates for membership. For additional information or to request an application, please call the selection panel at (714) 970-9329 or visit the OCTA website.
Metrolink Ridership and Revenue Quarterly Report
This week, the OCTA Board of Directors was presented a report on Metrolink ridership and revenue for service in Orange County, covering the second quarter of fiscal year 2011-12.
To view the report, please click here.
High-Speed Rail Update
On November 1, 2011, the California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) released its Draft 2012 Business Plan for review and comment. The plan proposes to incrementally develop the statewide High-Speed Rail (HSR) project utilizing a blended approach, which will coordinate with existing passenger rail systems to provide coordinated and “blended” operations.
The blended approach will allow for early investment in locations other than the Central Valley to connect the proposed HSR system to existing passenger rail systems in advance of the a full HSR system being complete.
On December 22, 2011, the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) sent a letter to the CHSRA, outlining numerous specific areas of concern with the plan. In response to the letter and similar letters sent by other agencies, the CHSRA has bolstered its efforts to meet with local agencies to address some of these concerns, specifically, investment in what is referred to as the “book ends” of the system (Anaheim to San Fernando Valley, and San Jose to San Francisco). To view letter, please click here.
In direct response to the concerns raised about phased implementation, the CHSRA sought support from the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), Southern California Regional Rail Authority (SCRRA), and Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) and its member agencies for a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to define working relationships and identify early investment projects to advance the blended approach in Southern California. The MOU includes a commitment by CHSRA to fund an additional $1 billion in unallocated Proposition 1A funds and other sources for those early investment projects located within the book ends.
On February 13, 2011, the OCTA Board rejected the language of the proposed MOU and did not approve becoming a signatory because the MOU required active support for HSR in Southern California in advance of providing a revised business plan addressing the significant funding issues for the project.
However, in order to allow OCTA to continue to negotiate and participate in the discussions and planning of the blended approach and guide OCTA interests in the early investment opportunities for our local rail systems, the OCTA Board adopted a resolution that provides OCTA a continued role in these or any other HSR system discussions and affirms OCTA’s desire to pursue the blended approach consistent with OCTA’s comments contained in the December 2011 letter to the CHSRA.
The final Business Plan is anticipated to be released in approximately four to eight weeks. Following the release of the plan, the Board could determine if OCTA’s previous concerns have been addressed and consider entering into the Southern California region MOU at that time.
To view the approved resolution, click here.
Take the Train to the Swallows Day Parade!
The Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) and Metrolink are teaming up to get you to the Swallows Day Parade and Mercado on Saturday, March 24. Join the fun at the kick-off event taking place at the Orange Metrolink Station.
The event starts at 8:30 AM and the first 100 people will receive FREE Metrolink tickets to the Swallows Day Parade and Mercado in San Juan Capistrano. FREE food will be provided by Ruby’s Diner and Streamliner Lounge and there will be live music, prizes and giveaways.
If you can’t make the event in Orange, you can still beat the traffic and avoid the parking headache by taking a Metrolink train from any of the Orange County stations to San Juan Capistrano for the Swallows Day Parade and Mercado. For more information, including train schedules, click here.
High Surf Advisory in Effect
The National Weather Service has issued a High Surf Advisory in effect Saturday through Monday in coastal Orange County areas. For more information, please click here.
San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station Update
Southern California Edison's (SCE) San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS), which is safely shut down for inspections and testing, had three Unit 3 steam generator tubes fail during a pressure stress test, known as "in-situ testing." SCE has indicated that they are committed to the safe operation of SONGS and will not return the plant's generating units to service until the company is satisfied it is safe to do so.
For more information, please click here.
Orange County Coastal Coalition Meeting
Please join me Thursday, March 22 at Newport Beach Public Library for the Orange County Coastal Coalition meeting. The 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 meeting will begin at 9:00 AM, featuring a panel discussion on State Water Board proposed amendments to the Water Quality Control Plan for Ocean Waters of California.
For agenda and meeting information, please click here.
Community Wetland Restoration Grant Program
As reported in my newsletter last week, the Request for Proposals (RFP) due date for this year’s Community Wetland Restoration Grant Program is Monday, March 26. The Wetland Recovery Project's (WRP) RFP for the 2012-2013 Community Wetland Restoration Grant Program is posted on the WRP website.
The Program provides grants of $1,000 to $30,000 for community-based restoration projects in coastal wetlands and watersheds in the southern California region. Contained in the application guidelines are the criteria that will be used to evaluate proposals, as well as the schedule for review and approval of potential projects.
For more information, please click here and here or contact Shawn Kelly at (805) 984-9531 or email@example.com.
|NOTES FROM THE FIELD
OC Parks Honored for Lake Improvements
Efforts to improve the quality of lakes at nine of the facilities operated by OC Parks have earned the department an Award of Excellence from the California Park and Recreation Society.
OC Parks received the award in the Park and Facility Maintenance Management category for a Lake Management Program instituted in 2010. Many of the lakes at nine regional parks were built decades ago before the development of best practices to improve water quality and maintain healthy bodies of water. In addition to their potential scenic beauty, the lakes provide fishing and other recreational opportunities and are important to the overall experience for park visitors.
Through a contract with a qualified specialty firm, OC Parks has actually reduced its maintenance expenses while achieving significant improvements. By taking a holistic approach to lake management, water quality has improved, lakes have been dredged to enhance boating opportunities and steps have been taken to improve habitat for the fish and waterfowl that call the lakes home. Park staff has also benefitted from the contractor’s knowledge and expertise and has received greater insight on what is necessary to sustain these improvements.
The end result has been a decrease in complaints from the public and a number of compliments on the improvements. By taking a regional view on the maintenance of lakes in the OC Parks system, the public’s enjoyment of the parks has increased, wildlife habitat has improved and an important award has been bestowed on OC Parks for their creative approach to solving a maintenance challenge.
Aliso and Wood Canyons: Under the Sycamores
Join OC Parks and Laguna Canyon Foundation on Saturday, March 24 from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM, as they kick-off a new educational series titled "Under the Sycamores" at Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park. Local snake researcher Steve Bledsoe will introduce live Rattlesnakes, Gopher Snakes, Rosy Boas, and California King Snakes.
This event will be fun for the entire family, as you learn to identify rattlesnakes and find out what to do in case you encounter one on the trails. All Under the Sycamores events are held outside at the sycamore grove in front of the Aliso and Wood Canyon Ranger Station. Space is limited. The event is FREE but parking is $3.00.
For more information, please click here.
Forever Friends for Free
Please visit OC Animal Care on Saturday, March 24 from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM for the Forever Friends for Free event, sponsored by the Angels Baseball Foundation, as hundreds of adorable animals will be available for adoption. The adoption price for all animals will be FREE, not including the cost of the dog license or microchip. Limit two animals per household.
For more information, please click here.
|FIFTH DISTRICT SPOTLIGHT
Two South County Girls Soccer Teams Battle for CIF Title
A second-half rally helped the Aliso Niguel High School Wolverines end an 11-year CIF title drought at the expense of their biggest rival, the San Clemente High School Tritons, during the 2012 CIF Southern Section Division 1 girls soccer championship game at Mission Viejo High School on March 2. In doing so, Aliso Niguel claimed its first CIF championship since 2001 while San Clemente was making its Orange County record fifth straight appearance in the championship final.
For more information, please click here and here.
|SOUTH COUNTY CALENDAR
Laguna Hills: Open House at the Community Center
The City of Laguna Hills is hosting an “Open House at the Community Center” event on Saturday, March 24 from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM, in celebration of ten years of offering classes and programs at the Center. For more information, please click here.
Mission Viejo: World-Famous Puppeteer and his Marionettes
World-famous puppeteer Scott Land will visit Mission Viejo on Saturday, March 24, delighting kids and adults alike with his musical variety show featuring hand-crafted marionettes. The fun starts at 3:00 PM in the Saddleback Room at City Hall, 200 Civic Center. For more information, please click here.
|FIFTH DISTRICT WRAP-UP
In addition to my many meetings, briefings, and other supervisorial activities, I also:
My staff and I look forward to continually providing you updated information in our Fifth District Newsletter and website.
- Met with Presiding Superior Court Judge Thomas Borris and CEO Allan Carlson.
- Participated with my staff in our annual meeting with County staff and Congressman Ken Calvert and his staff regarding issues of mutual concern.
- Attended a special event at Ladera Ranch Elementary School to present a proclamation in honor the 100-year anniversary of the Girls Scouts.
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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