Header image with Photo of Supervisor Pat Bates. Followed by office information
March 9, 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 9

Daylight Saving Time Returns

Daylight Saving Time begins at 2:00 AM this Sunday, March 11, so don't forget to “spring forward” and set your clocks ahead one hour Saturday night!

When changing your clocks due to Daylight Saving Time, use it as a reminder to check your preparedness kit to make sure your emergency stockpile isn’t missing any items and that the food hasn’t expired. For more information, please click here.

The Orange County Fire Authority also reminds us to check our smoke alarms when we change our clocks. A smoke alarm cannot alert you to the dangers of smoke and fire if its batteries are dead, disconnected, or missing. So, when you change your clocks forward this weekend, please check your smoke alarms and, if necessary, change the batteries.


Weed Abatement Program

The Board adopted a resolution to initiate the annual Weed Abatement Program. Pursuant to State and local law, the Board of Supervisors authorizes OC Public Works to send written notices in March each year to all affected owners of property in the unincorporated areas of the County, instructing them to remove weeds and combustible vegetation identified as a public nuisance.

Typically, 90% of the approximately 2,000 affected property owners voluntarily remove weeds and fire hazards from their properties, demonstrating a consistently high level of community involvement in the Weed Abatement Program.

If necessary, an owner can request a reasonable postponement to the April 17 deadline for their property. Owners are advised that if work is not accomplished by a specified date, the County or contracted crews will abate these properties and all costs will be added to the property owner's tax bill, as directed by the Board Resolution.

All affected property owners have the right to appeal decisions. Instructions on how to appeal are included in the written notice. For more information and to view a copy of the written notice that will be mailed to affected property owners, please click here.

Conservation Easement at Prima Desheca Landfill

The Southern Sub-Region Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) is the multi-habitat species conservation plan for a large portion of South County. The Plan encompasses 132,000 acres, including 40,000 acres in the Cleveland National Forest. The Southern Sub-Region HCP has three participating landowners: County of Orange, Rancho Mission Viejo, and Santa Margarita Water District.

The County enrolled O’Neill Regional Park, Riley Wilderness Park and Caspers Wilderness Park into the Habitat Reserve in 2011, and OC Waste & Recycling is now required to record a 475-acre Conservation Easement at the Prima Deshecha Landfill site. The easement will encompass portions of the landfill property that will not be needed for either future landfill operations or the La Pata Avenue Gap Closure Project and will be used for biological mitigation projects to compensate for future impacts of landfill operations.

The Conservation Easement will be held by the Reserve at Rancho Mission Viejo, the administrative entity for the Southern Sub-Region HCP.

For more information, please click here.

Orange County Historical Commission

The Orange County Historical Commission is a citizen advisory group with fifteen members, including three members appointed from each of the five Supervisorial Districts. The Commission reviews items related to historic places, archeological and paleontological sites, archives/historic records, publications, special events, etc., and advises the Board regarding these matters.

To that end, the Board unanimously supported my nomination of Ronald Langer of Laguna Niguel to serve as one of my three Fifth District representatives on the Orange County Historical Commission. I commend Ronald for his commitment to public service.

For more information, please click here.


RSVP Now for the Fifth Annual South County Senior Summit!

Reserve your seat 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 seats are going fast, so don’t delay, reserve your place today! For authorized entry into Laguna Woods Village, RSVPs must be received by March 16. For more information and to RSVP, please call the Office on Aging at (800) 510-2020.

To download the invitation, please click here.


91 Freeway to Close Overnight During Next Two Weekends

The Riverside Freeway (SR-91) will be closed between the Eastern Toll Road (SR-241) and Weir Canyon Road for the next two weekends during the overnight hours.

The closure allows construction crews to safely and efficiently remove gantries spanning each side of the freeway.

The westbound side of the freeway will close:
  • 11:00 PM Saturday, March 10 to 6:00 AM Sunday, March 11
  • 11:00 PM Sunday, March 11 to 4:00 AM Monday, March 12
The eastbound side will close:
  • 11:00 PM Saturday, March 17 to 6:00 AM Sunday, March 18
  • 11:00 PM Sunday, March 18 to 4:00 AM Monday, March 19
Crews also will close the 91 Express Lanes:

Westbound 91 Express Lanes
  • 11:00 PM Thursday, March 8 to 4:00 AM Friday, March 9 and the westbound No 1. lane of the freeway if necessary
  • 11:00 PM Friday, March 9 to 6:00 AM Saturday, March 10 and the westbound No 1. lane of the freeway
Eastbound 91 Express Lanes
  • 11:00 PM Thursday, March 15 to 4:00 AM Friday, March 16 and the eastbound No. 1 lane of the freeway if necessary
  • 11:00 PM Friday, March 16 to 6:00 AM Saturday, March 17 and the eastbound No. 1 lane of the freeway
  • 11:00 PM Sunday, March 18 to 4:00 AM Monday, March 19 and the eastbound No. 1 lane of the freeway
As part of this operation, the connectors from northbound SR-241 to westbound SR-91 and from the eastbound SR-91 to southbound SR-241 also are planned to shut down nightly.

Detours will be in place throughout the closure for both general purpose lane and 91 Express Lanes commuters.

As part of the 91 Westbound and Eastbound Lane Widening project, crews are adding a new, six-mile general purpose lane in each direction of the freeway from the Costa Mesa Freeway (SR-55) to SR-241.

To make room for the new lane, crews are removing existing toll collection devices or gantries that span the entire freeway and replacing them with new compactly designed structures that will house the tolling technology directly above the 91 Express Lanes.

When completed in early 2013, the project will deliver a new lane in each direction, an additional eastbound exit lane at Lakeview Avenue, Imperial Highway and Yorba Linda Boulevard / Weir Canyon Road exits as well as other operational enhancements.

For more information on the freeway closure and detour routes, visit the project website, follow the project on Twitter @91fwy or become a fan on Facebook.

OCTA Earns Prestigious Award

The American Society of Civil Engineers awarded the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) with the Outstanding Construction Award last week, highlighting the excellence in engineering for the Santa Ana Freeway (I-5) Gateway Project. Completed in September 2010, the $335-million project provides additional lanes on the I-5 near the Orange/Los Angeles county border.

The Toll Roads: Electronic Tolling

Both the San Juan Hills and Foothill/Eastern Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA) Boards of Directors received a presentation on all electronic tolling. The goal of all electronic tolling is to reduce costs and provide improved accessibility to The Toll Roads.

To view the presentation, please click here.


San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station Update

Southern California Edison (SCE) continues to perform extensive testing and inspections of the steam generators at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS), according to a recent statement from SCE. This is a thoughtful process that requires deliberate and meticulous analysis. Based on that analysis, SCE will identify other tests or decisions that may be necessary as a result.

For more information, please click here.


Special Saturday Passport Day

The Orange County Clerk-Recorder Department will host a special Saturday “Passport Day” on Saturday, March 10, 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM, to accommodate travelers who must present passports to enter or re-enter the United States.

Reservations are recommended due to limited space. To save time, passport applications can be completed in advance online. As an added convenience, passport photos are available on the spot for $15.

For more information, please call (714) 834-2588 or click here.


Free Tax Assistance for Seniors

As reported in my newsletter last week, many sites in Orange County offer FREE tax preparation services for those over 60 years of age, with low to middle incomes. The Office on Aging has a comprehensive listing of these sites, including dates and times of operation. Most services will continue until April 15.

Please call the Information and Assistance Line at (800) 510-2020 or (714) 567-7500 and the friendly and caring specialists will connect you to the nearest location to meet your specific needs. 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.


Community Wetland Restoration Grant Program

The Wetland Recovery Project's (WRP) Request for Proposals (RFP) for the 2012-2013 Community Wetland Restoration Grant Program is now posted on WRP's 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, and the schedule for review and approval of potential projects. The proposal due date for this year’s Community Wetland Restoration Grant Program is Monday, March 26.

Please contact Shawn Kelly at (805) 984-9531 or skelly@scwrp.org if you have any questions about the Program or application process. For more information, please click here and here.


OC Parks: Spring-Summer Operating Hours to Begin

Starting Sunday, March 11, the spring-summer hours for Orange County regional parks will change to 7:00 AM to 9:00 PM, with Laguna Niguel Regional Park opening at 6:00 AM.

Santiago Oaks, Peters Canyon and O’Neill regional parks operate on wilderness park hours. Wilderness parks open at 7:00 AM and close at sunset year round, including Aliso and Wood Canyons, Caspers, Laguna Coast, Limestone Canyon and Whiting Ranch Wilderness Parks.

Hours for County beaches vary, but are generally between 6:00 AM and 10:00 PM.

OC Parks facilities will remain on these operating hours until Daylight Saving Time ends in November. For more information, please click here.

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.

Native Habitat Tours: Sustainability for a Greener Future

Join The Toll Roads for the 12th annual Native Habitat Tour series. Don't miss your opportunity to hike through significant areas of open space protected through regional open space planning efforts.

This year's tour will focus on The Toll Roads’ sustainability efforts that come from extensive long-term environmental planning and restoration. Reserve your spot quickly, as these guided hikes offer a glimpse into Orange County's habitat areas that few people have ever seen.

For more information, click here.


South County Youth Water Polo Club Wins Winterfest

The Aliso Water Polo Club's 12-under coed team, consisting of players from Laguna Niguel and Aliso Viejo, won all five of its games to capture the 2012 Winterfest Water Polo Tournament last month. In doing so, Aliso defeated South Bay (12 to 11) in the championship game.

Winterfest is the largest youth water polo tournament in the nation. The tournament featured 28 divisions and over 400 teams competing in over 25 pools in Orange County and Los Angeles County.

For more information, please click here.


Dana Point: 41st Annual Festival of Whales

On Saturday & Sunday, March 10 & 11, hundreds of California Gray Whales on their annual migration to Mexico will splash by the seaside community of Dana Point during the final weekend of the 41st annual Dana Point Festival of Whales. For more information, please click here, here, here and here.

Irvine: Mason Park Arts Festival

Please join OC Parks and Mason Regional Park to celebrate the first-ever community Art Festival at the park on Saturday, March 10 from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM. The event and parking are FREE and open to the public. For more information, please click here.

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 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.


In addition to my many meetings, briefings, and other supervisorial activities, I also:
  • Was recognized by Age Well Senior Services at their 2012 Captain’s Ball and Fundraiser for my advocacy on behalf of older adults.
  • Adjourned the Board of Supervisors meeting in memory of Virginia Kincaid of Laguna Woods.
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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