Header image with Photo of Supervisor Pat Bates. Followed by office information
June 14, 2013

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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

Sabrina Ross:
Deputy Chief of Staff

Sergio Prince:
Policy Advisor

Erik Weigand:
Policy Advisor

Emily Osterberg:
Policy Advisor

Veronica Yniguez:
Policy Advisor

Ruth Strachan:
Office Manager

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Volume 7 Issue 23

FY 2013-14 Annual Budget for County of Orange

The Board held a public hearing to consider the proposed FY 2013-14 Annual Budget for the County of Orange. The major challenge to the County this year is mitigating the impact of the Vehicle License Fee loss to the State of California. This year’s proposed budget stabilizes the County’s finances, limits impacts on staffing and services, defers significant reductions and responsibly manages the County’s reserve levels.

At the public hearing, the Board made a series of straw votes on the individual department budgets and authorized spending reductions of at least 5% in the County’s General Fund spending to account for the Vehicle License Fee loss.

It was brought up during the hearing whether the Board offices will be participating in the 5% reduction that other County Departments are implementing. The Board voted 3-2 against a mandate of a 5% reduction but will support a voluntary participation in the reduction.

I voted against a mandated 5% cut, as voluntary reductions in our Board’s budgets over the last several years have been equal to and at times exceeded 5%, which I believe will continue to be our collective goal going forward as we deal with the loss of Vehicle License Fee revenue.

The total budgets of the five Board offices in FY 11-12 totaled $4.8 million and total savings returned to the General Fund was $277,112. This equates to a savings of 5.8%. While the Board does not mandate a 5% cut on itself, it is clear that the offices have been responsible with their own budgets. For more information, please click here.

The Final Budget adoption is scheduled June 25. To learn more about the County’s proposed budget and to view the staff presentation, please click here.


“Make it Your Mission” Campaign a Success

A horse-drawn carriage traveled around downtown San Juan Capistrano on Saturday, June 8, when the historic area overflowed with visitors because of a special Metrolink promotion urging riders to “Make it Your Mission to Experience San Juan.”

More than 300 Metrolink riders enjoyed a day in San Juan Capistrano, boosting business at restaurants, gift shops, and even the local movie theater.

The Metrolink promotion started with a kick-off party at the Santa Ana station at 8:30 a.m., where riders were greeted by Tustin Mayor Al Murray, who is also an Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) Director, San Juan Capistrano Mayor John Taylor and Mayor Pro-tem Sam Allevato.

After music, free food and raffles, visitors boarded the Metrolink train for San Juan Capistrano, arriving just after 10:30 a.m. They were greeted at the Capistrano station by members of the Spurs & Satin western re-enactment group.

The “Make it Your Mission” campaign evolved out of a partnership between the City, San Juan Capistrano merchants, OCTA and my office.

For more information, please click here. To view photos, please click here.

OCTA Board of Directors Approves Balanced Budget

The Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) Board of Directors approved a $1.26 billion budget for the coming year. The fiscal year 2013-14 budget encompasses all services, project and programs administered by OCTA and includes a 4 percent increase in bus service.

Highlights of the budget include:
  • $281 million for bus operations, an increase of $14 million over fiscal year 2012-13.
  • $153 million in Measure M funds, the half-cent sales tax for transportation improvements, for voter-approved freeway improvement projects along the SR-91, SR-57, I-5, I-405 and SR-55.
  • $322 million in Measure M funds for street and road improvements, including $150 million for the OC Bridges program, $140 million for city projects and $14 million for signal synchronization.
  • $200 million for rail improvements including construction of the Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center, Placentia Metrolink station and the State College Grade Separation project.
  • The budget also reflects a savings of $400,000 from a pension reform plan the board approved earlier this year in which administrative employees will begin paying a portion for their pension costs.
  • Beginning Jan. 1, 2014, administrative employees will contribute an average of 25 percent of the employee share to their pensions. That contribution will increase 25 percent each year until employees are paying 100 percent of their employee share by Jan. 1, 2017.
OCTA Focuses on County's Long-Range Transportation Plan

The Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) Board of Directors voted to approve the framework for a new long-term plan for freeways, roads, trains, buses, bicycle and pedestrians, with opportunities for public comment over the coming months.

The Long-Range Transportation Plan projects to 2035 and considers the County’s future transportation needs, based on housing, employment, population, financial and environmental factors. OCTA staff explained this plan plays a critical role in obtaining funds for large-scale transportation projects. Orange County’s long-range plan will be incorporated into the larger Regional Transportation Plan compiled by the Southern California Association of Governments.

Some issues identified were inter-county connections to Los Angeles International Airport, along with connections between Orange County and Los Angeles, Riverside and San Diego counties; improving public transit, freeways and tollways; and involving the South Orange County toll road agencies more in the planning process.

The OCTA Board will identify key policy issues in July, create the strategy in the fall, and release a draft plan next summer.

F/ETCA Board of Directors Approves Refinancing of Bonds

The Foothill/Eastern Transportation Corridor Agency (F/ETCA) Board of Directors, which manages and operates the 133, 241 and 261 Toll Roads in Orange County, approved refinancing the Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA).

The proposed refinancing allows TCA to take advantage of historically low interest rates to lower its debt payments and provides the additional financial benefits, as follows:

  • Lower the average rate at which annual debt service increases from 4.4% to 3.5% or less.
  • Improve margin of coverage of toll revenues over debt service, thereby providing cushion in the event of future recessions.
  • Provide greater latitude in managing toll rates to reflect economic conditions, traffic patterns and toll elasticity.
  • Eliminate the reliance on funding the escrow defeasance fund to meet debt service coverage.
  • Preserve credit ratings.
  • Reduce maximum annual debt service significantly.
  • Create a flexible financing structure that can be used to either pay down debt early or fund additional capital projects, such as the 241/91 Connector and other improvements to the state highway system.
The $2.4 billion refinance plan will extend the debt from 2040 to 2053 by replacing existing bonds with new, lower interest rate bonds, lower annual payments and carry a lower annual debt service growth rate than the current debt structure.

The difference in payments is expected to result in a positive present value savings because of lower interest rates and the new lower debt payment schedule, which equate to lower required toll rate increases, resulting in more people using The Toll Roads, more relief of traffic on free routes, improved regional mobility, less congestion and a better local economy.

The refinancing strengthens the agency's financial situation, provides flexibility to weather future economic downturns and improves cash flow.

SJHTCA and F/ETCA Boards Adopt Fiscal Year 2014 Budget

The Board of Directors of both the San Joaquin Hills (SJHTCA) and Foothill/Eastern (F/ETCA) Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA) approved the proposed Fiscal Year 2014 budgets for their respective agencies.

The F/ETCA expenditure budget is $179.9 million, $18.2 million higher than the Fiscal Year 13 amended budget expenditures due to an increase in debt services payments, costs associated with the State Route 241 Tesoro Extension, implementation of all electronic tolling (AET), and environmental projects.

Actual revenue for Fiscal Year 2014 is anticipated to be $150.4 million, which is a 3.4% more than projected. The Fiscal Year 2014 revenues are budgeted at $154 million.

The SJHTCA expenditure budget is $112.5 million, $1.3 million higher than the Fiscal Year 2013 amended budget expenditures, primarily due to an increase in debt service payments. In Fiscal Year 2013, toll revenue was up 8.1% compared to 2012, and Fiscal Year 2014 revenues are expected to be $121.9 million.

For more information, please click here.


Orange County Crime Victims Memorial

As reported in my newsletter last week, the Board of Supervisors recently approved the designation of the Orange County Crime Victims Memorial to be built within William R. Mason Park in Irvine. The memorial will pay tribute to victims of crime; promote hope, healing and remembrance; give voice to those who cannot speak for themselves; and provide an opportunity for individuals to contribute to the site with inscriptions of names, plaques or prayers.

The County is currently looking for members of the public who may be interested in sitting on a judging panel that will determine the winner of the design competition for the memorial. Appointees should have some connection to the memorial, either personally or professionally. Backgrounds in aesthetics, planning, design or architecture would also be very helpful.

Those interested should contact my office by Friday, June 21 at (714) 834-3550 or Pat.Bates@ocgov.com. Please include your biography and/or explain why you would be a great judge and include your contact information as well.

For more information, please click here.

Emergency Medical Care Committee Appointee Sought

My office is currently accepting resumes from individuals interested in serving as my Fifth District representative on the Orange County Emergency Medical Care Committee (EMCC).

The EMCC is an advisory committee to the Board of Supervisors and the Health Care Agency Emergency Medical Services Department. It is comprised of 17 categorical members, five of which are Board of Supervisors’ representatives.

The EMCC meets at least quarterly for 1-2 hours. Typical agenda items include annual Ambulance Rate recommendations to Board, endorsement of EMS program polices, endorsement of EMS facility designations (Emergency Receiving, Cardiac, Stroke) and other related matters.

If you are interested, please forward your resume and contact information to Sabrina Noah at Sabrina.Noah@ocgov.com.


Laguna Beach Pedestrian Safety Day June 26

On Wednesday, June 26, Laguna Beach Officers will be conducting a Pedestrian Safety Day to bring awareness to pedestrians crossing busier roadways during all times of day.

Police officers often respond to incidents where an errant motorist has either failed to see a pedestrian or a pedestrian entered a crosswalk without pausing to see if the roadway was clear. As such, decoy Police Department employees will be dressed in street clothing and looking for both types of violators as they cross various intersections along Coast Highway, Laguna Canyon Road and Glenneyre Street.

For more information, please click here.

CHP Start Smart Class in South County

The California Highway Patrol's (CHP) Start Smart program is a FREE driver safety education class which targets new and future licensed teenage drivers between ages 15 – 20 and their parents/guardians.

On Wednesday, June 26, CHP officers will discuss traffic collision avoidance techniques, collision causing factors, driver/parent responsibilities, and seatbelt usage. The CHP Start Smart Class will be held at Cox Communications, Rio Grande Room, 29947 Avenida de las Banderas, Rancho Santa Margarita, 92688.

RSVP by June 24 to coxcacommunity@cox.com. For more information, please click here.


Forever Friends for Free

OC Animal Care, the Angel's Baseball Foundation, and Paws for a Cause are teaming up again for their annual Forever Friends for Free adoption event. All dogs, cats and bunnies are FREE during this special event Saturday, June 15 from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM.

Please note that the free adoption does not include the cost of the dog license or microchip. Limit two animals per household. For more information, please click here.

SCVMA Donates 400 Microchips to Feral FREE Program

OC Animal Care recently was the lucky recipient of 400 Home Again microchips to be used for the Feral FREE program. The microchips were donated by Southern California Veterinary Medical Association (SCVMA).

These donated microchips will not only provide a valuable resource for a new shelter program, but will help OC Animal Care identify cats that have participated in the Feral FREE program. Thank You SCVMA!

For more information, please click here.

Pets and Wildfires

The potential for disasters in California is very real. This year, Californians can expect a dangerous summer wildfire season due to a dry winter that has left the normally green hills of spring parched and tinder-dry.

Families need to be prepared for all emergencies and pets need to be included in your plan. Tips for preparing a Pet Emergency Kit to keep your pets safe during an emergency include:

  • Food – Several days’ worth of your pet’s food will help bridge the gap before you are able to purchase more. Your pet will already be in a stressful state, so keeping his diet as consistent as possible will be important.
  • Water – During a natural disaster, clean water may be at a premium, so stock up on bottled water.
  • Collar with ID Tag & Leash – Be sure your pet has an ID tag. It is best to list at least two phone numbers (with area code) on the tags. Be sure to use a snug fitting collar. Have your pet micro-chipped. A microchip will stay with your pet even if the collar falls off. It is important that both ID tags and microchips be kept current with any address and/or phone number changes.
  • Medicines – If your pet is on any medication for existing medical problems, it’s important to have up to a week’s worth in your emergency kit to cover you until you are able to get to a veterinarian. Make sure to consistently rotate these medications out of your emergency kit so the medication is never past its expiration date.
  • Medical Records & Other Important Documents – Keeping a copy of all medical records and other important documents (like purebred papers or registration documents) in an emergency kit will ensure that any veterinarian you need to see will have a detailed history of your pet and you are able to clearly prove ownership in case there is a question.
  • Favorite Things – Pets can sense stress, so to keep them as comfortable as possible, include items that are familiar to them, such as toys, treats, or blankets and smell like home.

The Grunions Are Back

Grunions are expected to spawn on local beaches Saturday, June 15 through Tuesday, June 18. On certain summer nights following high tides, grunions ride the waves onto shore for a remarkable mating ritual, which happens only in Southern California and Baja California.

While on the beach, female grunions bury themselves halfway in the sand to lay eggs, while males wrap themselves protectively around the females to fertilize their eggs. Both catch a wave to return to sea. The grunions spawn during the highest tide of the month from as early as March and as late as August, but April through June tends to be their most active period.

When they spawn, the female fish will lay about 3,000 eggs a few inches deep in the sand. Roughly 10 to 14 days later, the eggs will hatch, allowing the next generation to swim off with the tide. The grunion spawn at age 1 and have a life span that ranges from two to four years.

The official 2013 fishing season started March 11 and peaks this weekend.

During the open fishing season people are free to grab a certain amount of the fish. Researchers at the nonprofit Grunion.org are looking for volunteers to help record grunion sightings for research. To volunteer, please click here.

Open season resumes Saturday and continues through August, allowing people to catch the fish. The best times to see the grunion run are:
  • Saturday – 9:35 p.m. to 11:35 p.m.
  • Sunday – 10:05 p.m. to 12:05 a.m.
  • Monday – 10:40 p.m. to 12:40 p.m.
  • Tuesday – 11:10 p.m. to 1:10 a.m.
The grunions are expected to run again at the end of the month, June 23-26. For more information, please click here and here.


Clerk-Recorder Plans Special Saturday Hours June 22

The public is encouraged to take advantage of special Saturday hours available at the Orange County Clerk-Recorder Department on Saturday, June 22 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Old County Courthouse in Santa Ana and the department’s branch offices in Laguna Hills and Fullerton.

The Old County Courthouse will be offering marriage licenses, civil wedding ceremonies and passport application services only. Copies of property records and birth, death and marriage certificates will be available at the Laguna Hills and Fullerton branch offices, as well as obtaining marriage licenses and performing civil wedding ceremonies.

The special Saturday hours will make it easier for families and those who work during the week to obtain services usually offered just on weekdays. FREE parking will be available at all three locations.

For more information, please click here.


South County Sophomore Soars to State Title

A season of historic clearances and big victories ended with Santa Margarita High School sophomore Kaitlyn Merritt vaulting to the top of the podium at California’s biggest track & field meet of the season.

Kaitlyn finished off her historic season by winning the pole vault state title at the CIF State Track and Field Championships at Buchanan High School in Clovis, clearing 13 feet, 3¾ inches on her second attempt at the height.

The state title caps a season that saw Kaitlyn become the No. 1 pole vaulter in high school federation history among all sophomores as well as Orange County’s all-time leader in the event.

For more information, please click here.

South County Singers Win Reality TV Show Cash

Two brothers, one from San Clemente and one from San Juan Capistrano, took home $50,000 Monday night. The Kalama Brothers, a Hawaiian fusion band local to South County was featured Monday night on a new singing reality TV show, NBC's "The Winner Is."

Kai, who lives in San Juan Capistrano, had some experience on the national stage with his run on Season 8 of "American Idol." However, Ryan of San Clemente is new to the spotlight despite being the older brother.

Taught by their parents, the brothers received both casual and professional music lessons. Their mother, a former choir director, would teach her sons the technical terms and practices of singing while their father guided them by always carrying a tune.

Ryan and Kai are not the original Kalama Brothers. Their father and uncle were the creators of the band and Kai and Ryan kept it alive.

Although they played their first show at the ages of 8 and 5, Ryan and Kai didn’t begin to take their music seriously until their early 20s. The brothers have both mastered the ukulele and have trained their voices for all styles of music.

Now that they've won $50,000, the Kalama Brothers plan to put the money toward getting out of debt and making a more comfortable life for their families.

For more information, please click here.


San Juan Capistrano: Summer Nites Concert Series

Be sure to attend the first San Juan Summer Nites Concert of the year Wednesday, June 19 with Country Western band “Aces Up” sponsored by SDG&E. The FREE concert is held at Historic Town Center Park, 31852 El Camino Real, and starts at 6:00 PM. For more information, please click here.

Aliso Viejo: Library Summer Celebration

The Friends of the Aliso Viejo Library's FREE Summer Celebration will take place Saturday, June 22 from 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. in the outdoor area of the library at 1 Journey Drive. For more information about this fun-filled family event, please click here.

Lake Forest: Summer Concert Series

Kina Grannis returns to the Lake Forest Summer Concert Series on Sunday, June 23 from 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM at Pittsford Park, 21701 Pittsford Dr., with Season 9 American Idol finalist Didi Benami opening the show.

Dana Point: Doheny Surf Festival

Head down to Doheny State Park on June 29 & 30 for the 2nd annual Doheny Surf Festival, featuring Surfer Village vendors and educational booths, water events and demonstrations, great food and drinks and plenty of music! For more information, please click here.


In addition to my many meetings, briefings, and other supervisorial activities, I also:
  • Presented a proclamation to the Laguna Niguel 2012 Citizen of the Year, Nancy Kurtz.
  • Attended an Aliso Viejo Chamber of Commerce Appreciation Luncheon in honor of Microsemi Corporation and presented a certificate of recognition to its CEO, James Peterson.
  • Served as master of ceremonies and delivered a County Update in Dana Point at the “State of South County” event hosted by the Coastal Chambers Legislative Coalition.
  • Adjourned the Board of Supervisors meeting in memory of Ron Langer of Laguna Niguel.
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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