Header image with Photo of Supervisor Pat Bates. Followed by office information
February 3, 2012

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 6 Issue 4

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, February 7. 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.


Rental Assistance Waiting List to Open Soon

The Orange County Housing Authority (OCHA) will open its Waiting List to accept pre-applications for housing assistance from February 15 through February 29.

Beginning February 15, applications for the Waiting List will be available online or at participating cities as well as branches of Orange County Public Libraries. Applicants are encouraged to apply online, which will provide immediate confirmation.

Note: No applications will be accepted at cities, libraries, or the OCHA office.

Applications can be submitted three ways, including:
  • Online at www.ochousing.org, beginning 12:01 AM on February 15 through 11:59 PM on February 29; or
  • Fax to (714) 667-6544, beginning 12:01 AM on February 15 through 11:59 PM on February 29; or
  • Mail to OCHA, P.O. Box 22005, Santa Ana, CA 92702 and postmarked from February 15 through February 29.
For more information, please click here, here and here or call the OCHA Waiting List Information Line at (714) 480-2740.


Federal Transportation Bill Released

The U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee this week released the federal transportation reauthorization bill, laying the groundwork for America’s transportation future.

The bill outlines $260 billion in funding over the next four and half years for transportation projects along with changes to current programs and processes.

Key provisions in the bill include breaking down bureaucratic barriers to help expedite project delivery by making the environmental review process more efficient, integrating planning and programming approaches, and delegating responsibility for environmental review to states.

Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) officials thanked Chairman Mica for including elements in the bill that are identified in OCTA’s Breaking Down Barriers Initiative, which is a national initiative led by OCTA to expedite project delivery without sacrificing the environment, and to accelerate the creation of more than 800,000 jobs in the U.S.

In addition, the reauthorization bill includes language which directs State Departments of Transportation to give consideration to the condition and effectiveness of local evacuation routes when dispersing funds received from the measure. Last November, I travelled to Washington D.C. with San Clemente Councilwoman Lori Donchak to advocate for this specific language inclusion. If approved, it could position the County’s La Pata Avenue Gap Closure Project to receive federal dollars, as it will provide a critical evacuation route for our region.

I will continue to work to get this important project fully funded so construction can begin as expected in 2013.

El Camino Real Sound Wall Update

After receiving numerous comments from the public with varying opinions about the newly constructed $5.3 million sound wall at El Camino Real and the I-5 Freeway (adjacent to Avenida Del Presidente), the San Clemente City Council directed staff to send a letter to Caltrans, requesting they reinitiate the environmental review process (CEQA) on the project and conduct additional sound studies in the area.

I have long supported this sound wall project for its ability to address both sound and safety concerns for nearby residents. Since its construction, I have received correspondence from residents adjacent to the wall who said the reduction in freeway noise has significantly improved their quality of life and provided them piece of mind from safety concerns.

However, I have also received correspondence from residents concerned that noise to the inland side of the freeway may have increased since its construction. In addition, residents south of the wall have contacted me requesting an explanation as to why the wall wasn’t extended further south, as they had originally thought, so more residents could experience its benefits. They, too, suggest noise for them has increased since the wall’s construction.

To that end, I sent a letter to Caltrans in support of the City of San Clemente’s request for an additional sound study to more fully understand the noise levels that are experienced in this area.

This week, Caltrans responded to the City, indicating the environmental review process completed in 2004 complied with CEQA requirements. However, Caltrans has agreed to conduct a new sound study and work with City staff to determine the study area.

Upon completion of the study, if noise level readings meet the threshold for additional mitigation, I have requested that Caltrans work with the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) to identify appropriate noise mitigation projects that would be eligible for OCTA’s Freeway Retrofit Sound Wall Program.

Alton Parkway Extension Project Update

The Alton Parkway Roadway Extension project currently underway will provide the motoring public with a six-lane divided roadway from Irvine Boulevard in the City of Irvine to Commercentre Drive in the City of Lake Forest. Roadway drainage facilities and flood-control improvements, a new on-road bikeway and a wildlife corridor are also being incorporated.

This collaborative effort between the City of Lake Forest and the County of Orange will create a vital linkage in South County, connecting communities and improving overall regional mobility.

The 2.1 mile segment of roadway is a component of the 1988 Foothill Circulation Phase Plan (FCPP). The FCPP was developed by the County in partnership with major landowners in South County to ensure the timely completion of regional transportation improvements.

Features of this project that were completed and advanced during January include activation of new traffic signals at the intersection of Irvine Blvd and Allred Centre; the opening to the public of the north driveway at Allred Centre; and work on an additional new traffic signal began at the intersection of Irvine Blvd and Alton Parkway.

In addition, the Commercentre and Fairbanks masonry walls are already constructed; and irrigation work for the new wildlife corridor began, as final grading for the wildlife corridor was also completed.

All roadway improvements are anticipated to be complete by March.

In addition to the City of Lake Forest and the County of Orange, other agencies involved in the project include the City of Irvine, Shea Baker Ranch Associates, the United States Navy, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, and Irvine Ranch Water District.

When completed, the roadway in its entirety will serve as a connection between SR-241 and Interstate 5, significantly improving traffic conditions in these well-traveled areas.


FREE Smoke Alarm Devices for Hearing Impaired

Any person living in a home without working smoke alarms risks death or injury during a fire. Persons who are deaf or hard of hearing may have limited ability to escape during a fire.

The Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA) is seeking deaf and hard of hearing individuals living in multi-family occupancies, such as apartments, condominiums, or other multi-family units, to receive FREE fire alerting devices designed to warn residents when their smoke alarm sounds.

When a smoke alarm sounds, the alerting device immediately initiates three methods to wake the resident immediately: a deep tone alarm, a visual sign, and a physical vibration that shakes the bed.

While supplies last, OCFA will distribute the fire alerting devices to multi-family homes with deaf and hard of hearing residents. Installations will be done by volunteers and OCFA staff and will include a smoke alarm inspection at time of delivery or in a follow up visit.

To be added to the list to receive these devices, please call (714) 573-6153 or (714) 573-6200. For more information, please click here.


Healthier Living for Older Adults

Most older adults know that eating a balanced diet, being physically active, not smoking, and maintaining a healthy weight are ways to prevent many diseases and live a longer and higher quality of life. But how often do you think about getting regular health screenings?

The Orange County Office on Aging has FREE health screening charts and pocket-sized booklets available to record your health history, including screenings and immunizations. Additionally, recent changes to Medicare will provide for FREE prevention screenings.

Healthier Living workshops are also being offered through the Office on Aging and Health Care Agency. These free 6-week classes are for people with chronic conditions and/or their caregivers. Benefits include increased energy and physical activity, reduced pain and anxiety, better communication with others, and fewer doctor visits and hospitalizations.

The Office on Aging Information and Assistance can assist you with your efforts. Please call 1-800-510-2020 or 1-714-567-7500 and request the following:
  • Health Guide Books
  • Screening & Medicare Services chart (also available in Spanish & Vietnamese)
  • Schedule and locations for Healthier Living workshops (classes also offered in Spanish & Chinese)
For more information, please click here and here.

Overdrive Digital Bookmobile Coming to Laguna Woods

The Overdrive Digital Bookmobile will be at the Laguna Woods Branch Library on Saturday, February 4 from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM. The large semi-truck type vehicle will provide patrons with an opportunity to have “hands on” experience with multiple e-reader devices.

This is an excellent opportunity for residents who may have a new e-reader device but aren’t sure how to effectively download e-books. Additionally, for those who may want to purchase an e-reader but aren’t sure which, they can come and try each of them out. OC Public Libraries staff will also be on hand to assist.

This event is FREE of charge and open to the public. For more information, please click here. For information on upcoming eReader Open House events, please click here.


Orange County Coastal Coalition

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

Our January 26 meeting provided a forum to hear from Ray Heimstra of Orange County Coastkeeper, as well as Harry Helling of Crystal Cove Alliance, presenting OC’s Hidden Treasure: Crystal Cove’s Historic District Beach Park Restoration and Coastal Restoration of Kelp, Eelgrass, and Abalone.

Ray Heimstra, Associate Director of Orange County Coastkeeper, shared his presentation reviewing their restoration projects along the Newport Coast, which started in 2000 and continues as a work in progress. They are water monitoring to identify potential pollutants and the source, and educating the public to raise awareness in the community, while encouraging the use of best management practices to reduce environmental impacts.

They also are working on an Abalone Restoration Project to establish a stable population of Green Abalone in Orange County. In 2004, Green Abalones were listed as a “Species of Concern” due to overfishing, parasites, predation, environmental factors including water quality, and a bacterial disease known as Withering Syndrome.

To view Mr. Heimstra’s presentation, “The Newport Coast: A Work in Progress,” please click here. Please visit their website for more information.

Harry Helling, President/CEO of Crystal Cove Alliance, shared his presentation reviewing their partnership with State Parks for research and education. Their non-profit changed from advocacy to education to help State Parks and support their conservation efforts to save them from having to close.

They created a partnership for sustainability and restoration, which is supported by 12% of their beach cottage rentals and their two eateries revenues: The Beachcomber Restaurant and The Shake Shack. They’ve also established a partnership for conservation by turning Cottage 22 into a field station that is used as a research laboratory for students from local schools, colleges, and universities.

The partnership between Crystal Cove Alliance and Crystal Cove State Beach Park serves to make Crystal Cove Historic District Beach Park truly one of Orange County’s hidden treasures to visit.

To view Mr. Helling’s presentation, “Protecting Orange County’s Hidden Treasures,” please click here. Please visit their website for more information.

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


The Toll Roads: 2012 Spring Native Habitat Tours

Join The Toll Roads for the 12th annual Native Habitat Tour series. Don’t miss your opportunity to hike through the significant areas of open space protected through regional open space planning efforts, including Orange County’s public toll road system.

This year’s tour series will focus on The Toll Roads’ sustainability efforts that come from extensive long-term environmental planning and restoration over time. These guided hikes offer a glimpse into Orange County’s habitat areas that few people have ever seen. Reserve your spot now!

For more information, please click here.

Doheny State Beach Update

The Doheny State Beach Interpretive Association (DSBIA) has released its latest edition of DOHENY UPDATE to better inform the public about special events and current conditions at the State Park.

To view the DSBIA February newsletter, please click here.


Wild Cat Encounters

In our area, two species of wild cats roam: the bobcat and the mountain lion. By simple probability, if you encounter a wild cat out on the trails, it will most likely be a bobcat. Bobcats are much more common than mountain lions and can be found in more areas. However, in eastern parts of Orange County, the ranges of these cats overlap.

It is important to know the differences between these creatures, as sighting a mountain lion should elicit a much different response in a hiker or biker than sighting a bobcat.

For more information, please click here.

Celebrate Spay Day USA with OC Animal Care

Please join OC Animal Care in celebrating Spay Day USA on Saturday, February 25. Come to the shelter from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM to see the wonderful animals available for adoption. All adopters who find their forever friend will receive a free spay or neuter for their new pet.

For more information, please click here.


Time for Superior Court Judge Candidates to File

The Registrar of Voters is advising potential candidates for Superior Court Judge that they must file a Declaration of Intention to become a candidate. Papers are issued and must be filed with the Registrar of Voters no later than 5:00 PM, Wednesday, February 8. For more information, please click here.

There are 37 Superior Court Judge seats up for election during the June 2012 Primary Election. For more information about candidate filing, please click here.

Are You Registered to Vote? Do You Need to Re-Register?

Registered voters will have the opportunity to vote in the June 5, 2012 Statewide Direct Primary Election. If you are currently NOT a registered voter, you have until May 21 to register.

Will you be turning 18 on or before Election Day? Have you moved since the last election? Do you want to change your party affiliation? These require either registering or re-registering to vote.

Registering to vote is now simpler than ever. Go to the Secretary of State's voter registration webpage, where you can easily fill out a registration form, print, sign and make sure it is postmarked by the date due.


South Orange County Reliability Enhancement Project

To improve safety and reliability for South County’s electric utility customers, SDG&E plans to upgrade the decades-old lines, poles and substations within the cities of San Juan Capistrano, San Clemente and unincorporated areas of Orange County.

To that end, SDG&E will host an open house at Mission San Juan Capistrano on Wednesday, February 8 from 3:00 PM to 7:00 PM, as their staff will be on hand to discuss the South Orange County Reliability Enhancement.

For more information, please click here.


VFW Selects South County Educator as Top Teacher

Aliso Viejo’s Don Juan Avila Elementary School first grade teacher Mary Wilson was recently named California’s top K-5 teacher by the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Department of California. Mary will now compete for the National Citizenship Education Award through the VFW National Headquarters.

The VFW launched the National Citizenship Education Teacher Award in 1999 to recognize classroom teachers for promoting citizenship education with their students. Three awards were given out: kindergarten through fifth grade; sixth through eighth grade; and ninth through twelfth grade.


Laguna Beach: Friday Flicks at the Forum

On Friday, February 3 at 7:00 PM, enjoy a free film screening at the Festival of Arts Forum Theatre, as the Laguna Beach Arts Commission will be screening the film “Bill Cunningham New York.” For more information, please click here.

Laguna Niguel: Magical Parlor Show & Family Fun Night

Bring the whole family Friday, February 10 to an amazing show filled with magical fun and audience participation, right under your nose. This incredible performance from 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM at Crown Valley Community Park is filled with jaw-dropping tricks that will blow you away. For more information, please click here.

San Clemente: The White House Garden

San Clemente’s Casa Romantica presents the only west coast showing of The White House Garden, a Smithsonian travelling exhibition capturing the history and beauty of one of the oldest continuously maintained landscaped gardens in America, on display through February 26. For more information, please click here.

Dana Point: World Class Music

Dana Point Symphony's inaugural 2012 season begins Friday, February 10, with works by Mozart and Brahms. Each performance will showcase a 50-piece orchestra, international soloists, and exhibits by visual artists from Dana Point and the surrounding area. For more information, please click here.


In addition to my many meetings, briefings, and other supervisorial activities, I also:
  • Met with representatives of Trout Unlimited for an update on a South County fish ladder project.
  • Met with Saddleback Community College representatives for an update on their capital improvements program.
My office also:
  • Attended the Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce “Spirit of Laguna” Awards Ceremony to present certificates of recognition to the Chamber’s honorees for 2011.
  • Attended the Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs Committee 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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