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September 28, 2012

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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

Ruth Strachan:
Office Manager

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Volume 6 Issue 38

Grand Jury Report on AB 109

The Board approved a response to the 2011-2012 Grand Jury Report on AB 109, legislation that resulted in the realignment of public safety responsibility from the state to local government.

To read a copy of the Grand Jury Report and the County’s response, please click here.


Vote Delayed on I-405 Locally Preferred Alternative

On Monday, the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) Board of Directors, heard two hours of testimony regarding the selection of a Locally Preferred Alternative for the I-405 Improvement Project and voted to continue the discussion and decision until its October 22 Board meeting.

As reported in my newsletter last week, the I-405 Improvement Project proposes the following four alternatives for consideration:
  1. Add a single general purpose lane in each direction of the I-405 freeway from Euclid Street to the I-605 interchange;
  2. Add one general purpose freeway lane in each direction on I-405 from Euclid Street to the I-605 interchange (as in Alternative 1), plus add a second general purpose lane in the northbound direction from Brookhurst Street to the SR-22/7th Street interchange and a second general purpose lane in the southbound direction from the Seal Beach Boulevard on-ramp to Brookhurst Street.
  3. Add a single general purpose lane in each direction of the I-405 freeway from Euclid Street to the I-605 interchange, as well as add one toll lane to the existing carpool lane to create a two lane Express Lanes facility (similar to the 91 Freeway Express Lanes) (carpools with three or more riders could drive free or at a reduced rate)
  4. No build.
At the September 19 OCTA Regional Planning and Highways Committee meeting, on which I serve, the Committee unanimously voted to recommend to the OCTA Board support of Alternative 1. In general, the Committee supported Alternative 1 because it delivers what Measure M2 (the half-cent local sales tax approved in 2006) promised to voters: one regular lane in each direction. In addition, there is available funding for Alternative 1, which would cost an estimated $1.3 billion.

By contrast, Alternative 2 would cost approximately $1.4 billion, of which there is an approximate $100 million funding shortfall.

Alternative 3, called the Toll Lanes option, is estimated to cost approximately $1.7 billion. The one general purpose lane would be funded with available M2 dollars, and the Express Lanes portion would be funded with bonding against toll revenue.

Since this concept of revenue generating express toll lanes (commonly referred to as “managed lanes”) and how any excess toll revenues would be used was not presented in the Measure M2 voter-approved ordinance, several Board members and public speakers raised concerns and questions regarding this option. I did not support the continuance, as I felt enough analysis and information had been presented to the Board and in public meetings upon which a decision could be made.

The Board is expected to reconsider the selection of a Locally Preferred Alternative on Monday, October 22. For more specific information on the various alternatives, please click here.

ARTIC Groundbreaking

Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) leaders joined federal, state and local officials to break ground last week at the Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center (ARTIC), signaling the start of construction for the $184-million project, which is expected to become Orange County’s iconic transportation gateway.

Developed from a partnership between the City of Anaheim and OCTA, project planners designed ARTIC to serve the entire Southern California region. The facility will seamlessly connect a variety of transit services, taking commuters from Anaheim and Orange County to Southern California's activity centers and business districts.

Upon its anticipated completion in late 2014, ARTIC will serve ten different transportation modes, including Metrolink, Amtrak, OCTA bus service, taxis, bicycles, and other bus services. These transit options will provide alternative modes of transportation for the more than 40 million annual visitors to Anaheim and Orange County in addition to Orange County’s 3 million residents.

ARTIC’s three-level terminal building also is designed for maximum energy efficiency. Its design uses steel framing, glass cladding and the same material in its roof system as the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games Water Cube Aquatics Center.

Planners also estimate ARTIC will create 5,000 jobs during and following construction. ARTIC project members will continue to provide information about the ongoing project on their website.

I-5/Ortega Highway Interchange Improvement Project

Caltrans will break ground in early 2013 on the I-5/Ortega Highway Interchange Improvement Project. To see a detailed map, please click here.

To that end, a stakeholder working group will facilitate a discussion and information briefing on Thursday, October 11 from 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM at Sarducci's Restaurant, 26701 Verdugo Street in San Juan Capistrano. The group will continue to meet on a quarterly basis on the second Thursday of the month to discuss construction updates and other project related information.

During the process, questions may be directed to Madison Chetwood, Community Liaison, at (949) 337-4288 or mchetwood@caltrop.com.


Office of Performance Auditor Wins Prestigious Award

The County’s Office of the Performance Audit Director was recognized as an innovative government initiative by the Bright Ideas program of the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.

My Board colleagues and I established the Performance Audit Department in 2008. It is designed to assess the efficiency and effectiveness of County operations. This innovation has resulted in the provision of reliable and insightful information to elected officials, increased accountability, as well as significant cost savings and enhanced public transparency.

Past audits of the County Planning Department, Human Resources, and Sheriff’s Department overtime have resulted in millions of dollars in savings for taxpayers. Congratulations to Performance Audit Director Steve Danley and his team for their hard work in the development of this valuable resource to ensure transparency and accountability in government!

For information on the Bright Ideas program and the other 2012 honorees, please click here. For more information, please click here.


County Planning Commission Unanimously Supports SEIR

OC Dana Point Harbor presented the Subsequent Environmental Impact Report (SEIR) for the waterside improvement project to the Orange County Planning Commission on September 26. The SEIR is a necessary step in the construction of new slips and gangways, which is among the elements of the Dana Point Harbor Revitalization.

To that end, OC Dana Point Harbor received unanimous support from the Commission to proceed in presenting this to the Board of Supervisors with a recommendation to certify the SEIR. For more information, please click here.


San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station Public Meeting

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) will hold a public meeting Tuesday, October 9 to discuss the status of its oversight of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) and respond to questions about current plant issues.

The two-part meeting will be held from 6:00 PM to 9:30 PM at the St. Regis Monarch Beach Hotel, One Monarch Beach Resort, in Dana Point. There is a nominal parking fee.

The first part of the meeting will be a facilitated roundtable discussion on topics of significant public interest. The second part of the meeting will be a question and answer session between the NRC and the public on topics related to SONGS and the NRC’s regulatory process.

For more information, please click here.

End of Summer Beach Report Card 2012

Heal the Bay’s End of Summer Beach Report Card 2012 released this week provides “A-F” grading for California’s coastal county beaches based on water quality data collected from Memorial Day through Labor Day, 2012.

The report is intended to provide beachgoers with an overview of the summer's beach water quality for each coastal county. Heal the Bay emphasizes that the better the grade a beach receives, the lower the risk of illness to the beach users.

This year’s End of Summer Beach Report Card includes the following information regarding California and Orange County beaches:
  • California beaches “earned excellent water quality grades” statewide, with 96% of the state’s beach sites receiving “A” or “B” grades, which is a 4% increase over last year.
  • Water quality at beaches in Orange County this summer was “excellent overall,” with 93% of beaches receiving an “A” grade.
  • A total of 102 beach locations in Orange County were graded and 95 of these beaches received an “A” grade and 5 received a “B” grade.
  • Only 2 beaches in Orange County earned “C - F” grades:
    • Poche Beach in San Clemente continues to have poor water quality and received an “F” grade this summer.
    • Newport Bay’s Garnet Ave. beach on Balboa Island received a “C” grade.
  • The historically poor water quality at Doheny State Beach’s North Beach continues to show improvement, receiving an “A” grade for the second consecutive summer.
  • Two locations at Baby Beach in Dana Point Harbor showed a marked improvement over last year by jumping from a “C” grade up to an “A” grade this summer.
  • There were five sewage spill beach closures events in Orange County during the summer of 2012, compared with three sewage spill closures during the 2011 summer season.
To view the Heal the Bay's End of Summer Beach Report Card 2012, please click here.


High Temperatures Bring Risk of Heat Related Illness

The National Weather Service is predicting temperatures above 105°F in many Orange County cities, increasing the risk of heat related illnesses like heat exhaustion and heat stroke for those who are more sensitive to the heat.

For more information, including recommended precautions to prevent heat related illnesses, please click here.

Prescription Drug Abuse in Orange County Teens

Parents and caregivers are urged to see an eye-opening movie Thursday, October 4 about prescription drug abuse in Orange County. The presentation “Pills are Killing our Kids” will feature the movie “Behind the Orange Curtain” – the true story of what’s happening throughout Orange County.

This “must-see” movie for parents, which won “Best Documentary Feature” at the Metropolitan Film Festival of New York City 2012, starts at 7:00 PM at the Norman P. Murray Community Center, 24932 Veterans Way, in Mission Viejo.

Additionally, on October 10, parents and teens (age 12 and older) are invited to the presentation “Prescription & Over-the-Counter Drug Abuse: What Parents and Teens Should Know” from 6:30 PM to 9:00 PM at the Norman P. Murray Community Center. FREE pizza will be served from 6:30 PM to 7:00 PM.

For more information about “Behind the Orange Curtain” and to see a trailer of the film, please click here. For more information, please click here.

National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

On Saturday, September 29 from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration will give the public an opportunity to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs.

The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked. Please bring your medications for disposal to the following collection sites:

Collection Site Street Address
OCSD South Sub-Station 11 Journey, Aliso Viejo
Laguna Hills City Hall 24035 El Toro, Laguna Hills
Laguna Niguel City Hall 30111 Crown Valley Parkway, Laguna Niguel
Mission Viejo City Hall 200 Civic Center, Mission Viejo
San Clemente Police Services 100 Ave. Presidio, San Clemente
San Juan Capistrano City Hall 32400 Paseo Adelanto, San Juan Capistrano

This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue, as more than 7 million people age 12 and older abused prescription drugs in 2010, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

The Partnership at DrugFree.org reports that nearly one in five teens has taken a prescription medication to get high, without having his or her own prescription. In fact, every day 2500 teenagers use a prescription drug to get high for the first time.

For more information, please click here, here and here.


Living with Coyotes in South County

Recently, many South County residents have expressed concern about coyote sightings in their neighborhood, as it relates to the safety of their pets and children.

Coyotes are found throughout Orange County and interactions between humans and coyotes have become more commonplace in expanding cities and suburbs. The coyote is drawn to urban and suburban neighborhoods for two reasons: human encroachment into the coyotes’ habitat and the availability of food and water.

The following are steps you can take to help prevent coyotes and other wildlife from being attracted to your home:
  • Fence off animal enclosures (fully enclose if possible).
  • Keep cats and small dogs indoors or in the close presence of an adult.
  • Keep yards free from potential shelter, such as overgrown shrubs, brush and weeds.
  • Eliminate food and water sources, such as fallen fruit or standing water.
  • Feed pets indoors – do not leave pet food outside.
  • DO NOT feed coyotes or any wildlife.
Taking these preventive measures should help in deterring wildlife from visiting your property. Please remember that if the three life sustaining elements are available (food, water and shelter), you are likely to encounter some wildlife in your area.

Coyotes are usually wary of humans and avoid people whenever possible. If you encounter a coyote, please remember the following:
  • Do not turn your back on or run from a coyote.
  • Attempt to leave the area calmly.
  • If you feel threatened, make loud noises and make yourself look big by raising your hands above your head.
  • If this fails, throw a rock or a stick at the coyote.
  • Always keep yourself between a coyote and small children or companion animals
  • If walking on trails frequented by coyotes, carry a deterrent such as an air horn, whistle, walking stick or cane.
OC Animal Care will respond to situations regarding any wildlife that is sick, injured, dead, or has had physical contact with a human or domestic animal. For information on laws pertaining to urban wildlife and their protection, please visit the Department of Fish and Game website.

For more information, please contact the animal care provider for your area or click here.


State Water Safety Poster Contest

The California Department of Boating and Waterways is pleased to announce the 20th annual Safe & Wise Water Ways poster contest. This contest focuses on the importance of water safety when in or near the water. The deadline to enter is October 19.

All California students in kindergarten through eighth grade are eligible and one winner from each grade level will be selected. Winning students will be rewarded with a Coast Guard-approved life jacket and their poster will be featured on the 2013 boating safety calendar.

Contest rules, guidelines, previous winning artwork and more information can be found on the poster contest website. Don't miss out on your opportunity to save lives and allow students to creatively show others how to stay safe when in or near waterways!


John Wayne Airport 23rd Annual Student Art Contest

John Wayne Airport's 23rd Annual Student Art Contest is now underway. Orange County students in grades K-12 are encouraged to submit artwork inspired by this year's theme: "My Favorite Airsports."

Entries should be submitted to the Orange County Department of Education, any Orange County Public Library Branch or participating city libraries no later than 4:00 PM, Thursday, November 1.

For more information, please click here.


South County Coach Receives Highest Honor

Mission Viejo wheelchair tennis coach Jason Harnett received the Order of Ikkos medal – the most prestigious award a coach can receive at the Olympic or Paralympic Games. The award came from two players who were recently named “USA Paralympic Team of the Year.”

The Order of the Ikkos medal was established in early 2008 to recognized coaches for their integral part in the success of their Olympians. It is not tradition for the International Olympic Committee to recognize or reward the coaches of medal-winning athletes. As such, The USOC Coaching Education Department decided that the Ikkos medal would be the perfect way to recognize American coaches who contribute to the success of their athletes.

Jason has been one of the two National Team coaches since wheelchair tennis came under the auspicious of the United States Tennis Association in 1998. Jason serves as head coach for the Quadriplegic and has been a tennis instructor at City of Mission Viejo Tennis Centers since 1996.

“It is an unbelievable honor for us coaches,” Jason said. “It’s pretty cool, since Coach K (Mike Krzyzewski) received one from the U.S. Basketball team.”

For more information, please click here.

Young South County Author Achieves Literary Success

Tahereh Mafi, 24, the daughter of Iranian immigrants, started reading and writing “for fun” after graduating from Soka University in Aliso Viejo. Her book “Shatter Me,” an action-packed dystopian thriller, is the first novel in a trilogy. Foreign rights for the book have sold in 22 territories. The film rights were bought by 20th Century Fox before “Shatter Me” was even published!

On Sunday, October 14, the young adult author will join several celebrity and bestselling authors, including Molly Ringwald, Jim Abbot, Marcia Clark, David Shannon, Steven Raichlen, T. Jefferson Parker and others at the Mission Viejo Readers’ Festival in the Norman P. Murray Community Center, 24932 Veterans Way.

For more information, please click here.


Laguna Beach: Sunset Serenades

The City of Laguna Beach will present its final “Sunset Serenade” – FREE live music at Heisler Park Amphitheater on Friday, September 28 at 5:30 PM. For more information, please click here.

Dana Point: Battle of the Paddle

Come join the anniversary of the stand-up paddle competition known as “Battle of the Paddle”. This year’s event is set for Saturday & Sunday, September 29 & 30 at Doheny State Beach in Dana Point. For more information, please click here.

San Juan Capistrano: Open Space Ridge Event

Registration is available for the San Juan Capistrano Rotary Club’s 5K and 10K Trail Run and Mountain Bike Poker Ride on Saturday, October 6. Each event occurs in succession at the Las Ramblas trailhead at the east end of the Camino Las Ramblas exit. For more information, please click here and here.

Aliso Viejo: Founder's Day Fair & “Lip Dub” Grand Premiere

The grand premiere of Aliso Viejo's “Lip Dub” will take place Saturday, October 13, during the City's annual Founder's Day Fair and after the FREE community barbecue at Aliso Viejo Ranch, 100 Park Avenue. For a preview of the “Lip Dub,” please click here. For more information, please click here.


In addition to my many meetings, briefings, and other supervisorial activities, I also:
  • Attended Miocean’s 10-year anniversary celebration.
  • Chaired the Orange County Coastal Coalition meeting. More on this in next week’s newsletter.
  • Participated in a Special Closed Session Meeting of the Board of Supervisors to interview prospective candidates for the position of Performance Audit Director.
My office also:
  • Presented a certificate of recognition in honor of Camino Health Center’s 30-year anniversary and open house.
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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