Header image with Photo of Supervisor Pat Bates. Followed by office information
September 27, 2013

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 Camuglia:
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 38

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 2013, please click here.

Our next Board meeting will be held Tuesday, October 1. 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.


High-Occupancy Vehicle Degradation Study and Action Plan

The Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) Board of Directors received a presentation from representatives of the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) regarding the department’s recent High-Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) Degradation Study and Action Plan. The report and action plan were required as a federal mandate from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).

The report identifies a number of HOV lane segments within Orange County as “degraded.” An HOV lane is considered degraded if the average speed of traffic during morning or evening weekday peak hour periods is less than 45 miles per hour 10 percent or more of the time over a consecutive 180-day period.

The Action Plan provides detailed remedies for every freeway segment with degraded carpool lanes. These remedies include:
  1. Additional carpool lanes
  2. Carpool merging lanes
  3. Conversion of carpool lanes to toll lanes for single occupant vehicles
  4. Increased carpool lane occupancy requirements
  5. Conversion of limited access carpool lanes to continuous access
  6. New carpool direct access ramps at select locations
  7. New freeway-to-freeway carpool lane connectors
Caltrans has 180 days from the date of the release of the report (which was August 5) to determine remedies for addressing degradation throughout the state.

OCTA has a number of concerns with the report and action plan, as it is unclear how these concepts would be developed, funded, and implemented once approved. The proposed capital projects and other remedies are justified on six months of traffic data without the benefit of long-term travel forecasts. A system-wide study that includes long-term benefits and costs should be developed to address this issue. Unfortunately, lack of action could potentially jeopardize federal funding for the Orange County freeway program.

To view the 2011 California HOV Lane Degradation Determination Report, please click here. To view the HOV Lane Degradation Action Plan, please click here.

I-405 Improvement Project Update

Project development and environmental documentation are underway for improvements to the Interstate 405, between State Route 55 and Interstate 605. On October 22, 2012, the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) Board of Directors considered three different build alternatives and selected Alternative 1, which adds one general purpose lane in each direction, as the Locally Preferred Alternative.

Alternative 2 would add two general purpose lanes in each direction but would have a $100 million funding shortfall; and Alternative 3 would add one general purpose lane in each direction, as well as a toll lane in each direction, which would be added to the existing HOV lane to create a two-lane High-Occupancy Toll (HOT) Lane facility (similar to the 91 Express Lanes). The approximate $700 million shortfall for Alterative 3 would be funded through toll revenue bonds.

On April 22, 2013, the OCTA Board directed staff to screen two new concepts as possible alternatives for the project. Concept A would convert the existing single HOV lane to a single HOT lane in each direction and would add a general purpose lane in each direction. Concept B would add two second general purpose lanes in each direction, same as Alternative 2, but would truncate the second northbound general purpose lane at Valley View Street.

OCTA staff presented the results of the screenings for Concepts A and B. Concept A was determined to be feasible, though it presents many operational challenges. Concept B would create excessive bottlenecking and have a $130 million funding shortfall. Therefore, Concept B is not supported by Caltrans and the OCTA Board voted to remove it from further consideration.

In addition, the Board approved moving forward with Alternative 1 but also authorized OCTA staff to continue exploring the possibility of adding HOT lanes to the I-405. Because approved Alternative 1 does not address HOV lane degradation, this vote was taken to allow staff to examine a range of options for addressing HOV lane degradation that could be implemented in coordination with the I-405 Improvement Project, as required by Caltrans and the Federal Highway Administration.

OCTA staff will work with Caltrans and the Transportation Corridor Agencies and return to the Board within 60 days with information regarding governance, tolling policies and potential use of excess toll revenue.

Metrolink Train Service Disruption

Temporary schedule adjustments will be occurring three consecutive Saturdays, beginning September 28. On September 28 and October 5 and 12, service on Orange County (OC) and Inland Empire-Orange County (IEOC) Metrolink trains will be adjusted to accommodate work being performed at road crossings in the San Clemente area.

As a result, Metrolink trains will only operate to and from San Juan Capistrano on September 28 and October 5. On October 12, service will originate and terminate at Laguna Niguel/Mission Viejo. There will be no alternate bus or transportation services provided on these days.

For more information, please click here.


Wilderness Preserve Hike & Equestrian Ride

Join the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) Saturday, October 5 for a special hiking tour or horse ride on OCTA's wilderness preserve in Trabuco Canyon. During this interpretive excursion, learn how OCTA is contributing to wildlife and habitat preservation in Orange County.

The guided two-mile tour is taking place on the 399-acre Ferber Ranch property. OCTA's acquisition of this property protects several vital wildlife movement corridors, ensures the preservation of high quality habitat, and allows this core segment of Trabuco Canyon to be permanently protected.

This tour is intended to be a show of goodwill by OCTA that the Ferber Ranch property will eventually be open to public access. The property has been closed to public access while OCTA works with various resource agencies in the development of a Natural Community Conservation Plan (NCCP) and a Resource Management Plan, which will ultimately include a plan for managed public access.

There has been increasing concern regarding unauthorized trespassing on this property. This trespassing (including the cutting of new trails) could jeopardize OCTA’s permits for upcoming freeway projects, as this property is part of OCTA’s Freeway Mitigation Program. While the intent is to open the property for public access in the future, it is important in the interim that OCTA ensures the integrity of the habitat while the plans are being developed.

For more information, please click here.


Mission Viejo Offers 10-Week Parenting Program

Parents are invited to take part in Parent Project, a program designed to help children grow into safe and capable adults. The program takes place October 1 through December 10. The City of Mission Viejo offers the 10-week program, which was created for parents with difficult or out-of-control adolescent children.

Developed over a 20-year period, the curriculum helps parents learn and practice specific prevention and intervention strategies for defiant actions or destructive behaviors, such as truancy, alcohol and drug use, gangs, running away, violence and other issues. Parents will learn proven tools and tactics to deal with poor grades, teen social trends, and understand teen use of technology.

The first six classes of the 10-week program take place Tuesdays from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., with the rest ending an hour earlier at the Norman P. Murray Community and Senior Center, 24932 Veterans Way. Space is limited, so register today by calling (949) 470-8433.

For more information about this beneficial program, please click here.

RSM Cyber Safety and Bullying Class for Parents

The American Academy of Pediatrics calls cyber bullying the "most common online risk for all teens." Younger children are also affected by this new form of bullying.

The Cyber Safety and Bullying Class on October 7 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Bell Tower Regional Community Center in Rancho Santa Margarita will provide parents with the knowledge and tools needed to effectively supervise their children in the online world of social networks.

This FREE parents-only class will be discussing graphic examples of bullying and the emotional impact on young children. This class is not appropriate for young people under 18 years of age. Pre-registration is required. For more information, please click here and here.

Drug Awareness Summit in Laguna Niguel

What parents don't know could result in tragedy! On Wednesday, October 16, please attend a FREE Drug Awareness Summit titled “Drugs Don’t Discriminate” from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM at the Laguna Niguel City Council Chambers to learn about the different types of drugs available and the dangers facing our youth today, as well as what to look for, the signs of drug abuse, and available treatments.

For more information, please click here.


National Preparedness Month: Pets

Pets completely depend on us for care but often are last on our list when we plan on emergencies. It is important that we prepare for them as we would for our families. Below are some steps you can take to ensure their safety:
  • First, assemble an animal emergency supply kit with food, medicine, treats, sanitation supplies, toys and other equipment. Keep this kit stored in each vehicle.
  • Plan to take your pets with you if you must evacuate. If you leave, you may not be allowed to return home for days and your pets will not be able to fend for themselves against exposure, starvation, predators, contaminated food or water or accidents.
  • Most evacuation shelters will not accept pets, except for service animals, and animal boarding facilities will fill up fast during disaster. Make prior arrangements to ensure your pet has a safe place to stay.
  • Your pet should always wear current identification tags, and ask your veterinarian to have your pet micro-chipped.
  • Disasters may occur if you aren’t home, so develop a pet care buddy system with neighbors, friends or family to evacuate your pets. Meet at a designated location and make sure they have all of your phone numbers.
For more information and resources, please click here.

Meet Your Mature Match

Come to the Meet Your Mature Match adoption event hosted by OC Animal Care on Saturday, October 26 from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM for FREE adoptions on pets ages 4 and older! The free adoption does not include microchip and license.

For more information, please click here.


2013-2014 Secured Property Tax Bills

It’s that time of year again for the annual secured property tax bills to start showing up in your mailbox. The Office of the Treasurer-Tax Collector (TTC) will be mailing the 2013-14 Secured Property Tax Bills to taxpayers October 4–18. Once mailing starts, all secured tax bills for the current year will be available for viewing at ocgov.com/octaxbill.

The physical tax bill will now include a QR code on the front of the bill that, when scanned, will take you directly to your tax bill information online. The last day to make your payment without late penalties is December 10 for the first installment and April 10, 2014 for the second installment. Payments made after these dates will be assessed a 10% late penalty.

The TTC encourages you to “Go Green Electronically” and choose the ease and convenience of paying your bill electronically from their secure website. There is no cost to pay by eCheck through your checking or savings account. The tax bills for the previous three years will also be available. If you need to get a copy for your State or Federal income tax returns, just go online to view and print them.

For more information, please click here.


South County Home to Scottish Highland Dancing Champ

Kaylee Finnegan, a sophomore at Dana Hills High School, won the Juvenile World Championships in Scottish Highland Dancing in Dunoon, Scotland last month.

Kaylee wears a handmade kilt and dances over real swords. She has been dancing competitively since she was 6. Her competitions include at least four dances and sometimes as many as seven in the same day. Kaylee is the first Californian to win this prestigious title, and the first person in 14 years from the United States to win any world title in Scottish Highland Dancing.

To view a photo, please click here.


Laguna Beach: September Sunset Serenades

The City of Laguna Beach will be presenting a FREE concert Friday, September 27 at the amphitheater in Heisler Park starting at 5:30 PM. For more information, please click here.

Doheny State Beach: Battle of the Paddle

The sixth annual stand-up paddle phenomenon "Battle of the Paddle" is set for September 28 & 29 on the famous shores of Doheny State Beach. Racers will also be taking part in two new Guinness World Record attempts. For more information, please, click here.

Dana Point: State BBQ Championships

The largest BBQ Championship on the West Coast takes place Saturday, October 5 from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM at Sea Terrace Park in Dana Point. For more information, please click here.

San Clemente: Seafest

The San Clemente Chamber of Commerce is hosting the 26th Annual San Clemente Seafest on Sunday, October 6 from 9:30 AM to 3:00 PM at the historic San Clemente Pier area. For more information, please click here.

Aliso Viejo: Founder's Day Celebration

The public is invited to meet one of Orange County's founding families - the Moulton family - and learn about the history of Aliso Viejo during the City's Founder's Day celebration on Saturday, October 12 from 3:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the 7-acre City ranch, located at 100 Park Ave. For more information, please click here.


In addition to my many meetings, briefings, and other supervisorial activities, I also:
  • Attended the MiOcean Foundation Social.
  • Participated in a “Meet and Greet” with the 2013-2014 Grand Jury.
  • Participated in a meeting of the Laguna Niguel Historical Society.
  • Participated in the Emerging Drug Trends Workshop For Elected Officials.
  • Participated in a legislative summit hosted by the Building Owners and Managers Association of Orange County.

My office also:
  • Participated in the Orange County Coastal Coalition meeting. More on this in next week’s Newsletter.
  • Attended the Orange County Stand Down event for homeless veterans and their families. For more information, please click here.
  • Attended the memorial service for Laguna Beach Officer Jon Coutchie. For more information, please click here.

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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