Header image with Photo of Supervisor Pat Bates. Followed by office information
January 10, 2014

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 8 Issue 1

No Board Meeting This Week

There was not a regularly scheduled meeting of the Board of Supervisors this week. To view the 2014 Board meeting schedule, please click here.

Our next Board meeting will be held Tuesday, January 14. 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.


OCTA Purchases Additional Open Space Property

OCTA has purchased its sixth open space property as part of the Measure M2 Freeway Environmental Mitigation Program. The voter-approved M2 Freeway Mitigation Program is designed for programmatic mitigation to off-set impacts of the M2 freeway projects.

To date, OCTA has acquired approximately 1,150 acres of open space property that will be permanently designated as wilderness preserves. The 204-acre MacPherson property was purchased for approximately $2.5 million and is located northwest of Rancho Santa Margarita in the Silverado-Modjeska area.

The MacPherson property was identified as a priority conservation area because of the diversity of habitat types found on the property, including chaparral, coastal sage scrub, oak woodland, and native grassland. This property is adjacent to Orange County Parks open space properties as well as Irvine Ranch Conservancy wildlands, enabling linkage to other key protected wildlands.

In fall 2010, the OCTA Board of Directors allocated a total of $42 million to purchase open space in Orange County during the first round of funding. The other four acquired properties are located in the Trabuco Canyon area and the sixth one is in Brea. Approximately $4.5 million remains for additional acquisitions.

The Environmental Oversight Committee (EOC), on which I serve as Chair, is responsible for making recommendations to the OCTA Board on funding allocations for property acquisitions and restoration projects as part of the Environmental Mitigation Program. The EOC is comprised of representatives from OCTA, state and federal resource agencies, environmental organizations, Caltrans and the general public.


Orange County Reports Season's First Influenza Death

A 28 year-old Orange County woman died recently from influenza A (pH1N1)-related disease. This is the first influenza-related death reported in the County in a person under 65 this season.

Reports of influenza disease have increased in Orange County in the last few weeks. The vast majority of reported cases have been Influenza A and most of those have been due to a strain called pH1N1, the same strain that has been circulating since the 2009 pandemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently issued an alert discussing reports from several states of severe illness in young and middle-aged adults due to pH1N1 virus.

Getting vaccinated is the first and most important step in protecting against influenza. CDC recommends an annual influenza vaccination for everyone 6 months and older. Anyone who has not yet been vaccinated this season should still obtain a vaccination now; particularly persons at higher risk for severe influenza illness, such as people with chronic medical conditions (like heart disease, lung disease or diabetes), young children, pregnant women and obese persons.

For more information, please click here.


New Public Service Announcements Available On AlertOC

Recent history reminds us that disasters can happen anytime, anywhere. Where will you go to get important information during an emergency? The Orange County Sheriff’s Department Emergency Management Division is pleased to announce new Public Service Announcements are now available on www.AlertOC.com.

The Public Service Announcements are designed to encourage Orange County residents to register their contact information in order to receive important, time sensitive voice messages from the County or City in which they live or work. These important Public Service Announcements were made possible by a partnership between the County of Orange and Southern California Edison.

AlertOC is Orange County’s mass notification system. Messages may be sent to home, cell, or business phones. Visit the AlertOC website at www.AlertOC.com to view the Public Service Announcements, which can be found in the “Videos” section of the website. If you haven’t done so already, please register your contact information with AlertOC to ensure you receive important emergency information.


County’s Credit Rating Upgraded

A recovering local economy and “very strong” management practices led to a recent upgrade to the County’s creditworthiness by national rating agency Standard & Poor’s. The County’s issuer credit rating went to ‘AA’ from ‘AA-,’ while its rating on outstanding general obligation debt went to ‘AA-‘ from ‘A+’ in action taken late last month. The new ratings are within S&P’s “high quality” range. Additionally, the agency noted that the County has no variable-rate debt.

The upgrades came despite continued concern about the County’s budget flexibility and large pension obligation. The County must begin repaying $150 million in vehicle license fee revenues to the State beginning next fiscal year. The Orange County Employee Retirement System currently is 62.5% funded.

The S&P ratings analysis said the County’s outlook is stable and not expected to be revised within the next two years. “The stable outlook reflects our view of the County's very strong economy and adequate budgetary flexibility, which is supported by very strong management conditions,” the S&P ratings report said. “We believe the county will maintain reserves that include a set-aside of amounts due to the state… and very strong liquidity.”

For more information, please click here.


John Wayne Airport Releases Passenger Survey Results

John Wayne Airport (JWA) is pleased to announce the results of its 2013 Passenger Survey. The biannual survey, conducted to measure traveler preferences and satisfaction, found that JWA continues to earn very high approval ratings from visitors and Orange County residents. Survey respondents gave the highest marks in the areas of safety, customer service and cleanliness of the Airport.

The 2013 Passenger Survey included feedback from visitors and residents through telephone and intercept (in-Terminal) surveys. Some key findings include:
  • Both telephone and intercept respondents gave JWA an "A" grade for overall customer service, feeling safe and secure and cleanliness.
  • Ninety-five percent of telephone survey respondents and 98% of intercept respondents gave an "A" or a "B" when asked to rate their overall satisfaction with the Airport.
  • Ninety-two percent of telephone survey respondents and 84% of intercept respondents cited convenient location as their top reason for using JWA.
  • Thirty-one percent of passengers print their boarding passes at the new Common Use Passenger Processing System kiosks, installed throughout the Riley Terminal in 2011, and gave the new system an "A" grade for ease of use.
As in prior surveys, the internet (airport, airline and travel websites) was their main source of information about JWA. To view the survey in its entirety, please click here. To learn more about John Wayne Airport, log on to www.ocair.com.


Community Wetland Restoration Grant Program

The Wetland Recovery Project (WRP) is distributing a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the 2014-2015 Community Wetland Restoration Grant Program. 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.

The purpose of the Program is to further the goals of the WRP Regional Strategy; build local capacity to plan and implement wetland restoration projects; promote community involvement in wetland restoration activities; and foster education about wetland ecosystems.

The Program information, application guidelines, and supporting materials are posted on the WRP's website, www.scwrp.org, under "What's New", with supporting materials under “Projects and Planning”, then “Community Wetland Restoration Grants Program”.

Supporting materials include program information, application guidelines, and a proposal template. Proposals should represent projects that are ready to implement. A proposed project should have clearly defined goals and outcomes that can be achieved on the order of a year. 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.

Projects funded in past cycles of the Program can be found on the WRP website under the pull down menu “Projects and Planning”, then the sub-menu “Community Wetland Restoration Grants Program”.

Moreover, documentation from a number of highlighted Community Wetland Restoration Grant Program projects, including proposals, progress reports, photographs, and a short video about the Program, can be found on the Community Wetland Restoration Grant Program section of the WRP website. These materials may be helpful references for the applicant.

The proposal due date for the 2014 Community Wetland Restoration Grant Program is January 21. Please contact Shawn Kelly at 805-984-9531 or skelly@scwrp.org if you have any questions about the Program or application process.

Birds of Prey Help Keep Gulls Away at OC Landfills

A falconer arrives at an Orange County landfill each morning with his predator companions, ready to go to work. Some of the falcons and hawks will spend time in their shaded, net-enclosed break area, while a few others are selected to work the first shift. With the birds in the back of the truck, the falconer approaches the active waste disposal area. Suddenly, seagulls rise from their perch on the waste – they are smart animals and recognize the vehicle as it approaches.

Once in place in the active waste area, the falconer launches the first bird from his tethered grip. The predator zooms toward the gulls, which scatter quickly at the sight of the raptor. After a few passes, the gulls disappear and the bird returns to the falconer for a tasty tidbit of meat from his hand.

Keeping gulls at bay used to call for constant attention at Orange County’s three landfills. In recent years, the gulls affected more than daily operations. As more neighborhoods were constructed closer to the sites, residents were greeted by the gulls as they passed over homes en route to their feast at the landfills.

Bird abatement efforts have run the gamut, from firing cracker shells to using bird whistles (that sound like the falcons and hawks). Although somewhat successful, such actions were also audible in neighboring communities. Enter the falcons and hawks. After a trial period of several months at the Olinda Alpha and Prima Deshecha landfills, falconry showed itself to be the most effective method for keeping nuisance birds away.

Now, OC Waste & Recycling has contracts in place with professional falconers to control the gull population at all three landfills. The falcons and hawks offer an effective and sustainable approach to the regulatory-driven bird abatement program, using nature’s natural pecking order.


Doheny State Beach Interpretive Association

The Doheny State Beach Interpretive Association (DSBIA) recently released its winter edition of SOUTH SWELL. To view the DSBIA e-magazine, please click here.

The Doheny State Beach Interpretive Association has also issued its latest edition of DOHENY UPDATE to better inform the public about events and conditions in the State Park. To view the DSBIA January e-newsletter, please click here.


OCPL Data Migration

OC Public Libraries (OCPL) will be migrating data to a new server from January 19 to 21 in order to serve our community better. During this period, the public will have limited access to databases. Public services will be limited to staff assistance and basic check-in and check-out capabilities on the integrated library system. These dates were selected due to the Martin Luther King Holiday, which will lessen the impact to approximately one and half days.


South County Students Visit Ford as Reward for Behavior

Ford Motor Company invited students from five South County schools to visit its Irvine design facilities recently, as an incentive for positive behavior, perfect attendance, and staying out of gangs.

Students from Bernice Ayer and Shorecliffs middle schools and Kinoshita, San Juan, and Viejo elementary schools met special VIP guest speaker, professional skateboarder Ryan Sheckler, and Henry Ford III, great-great grandson of Ford Motor Company founder Henry Ford. Law enforcement officers and prosecutors talked to students about positive life choices and the negative effects of criminal street gangs.

To earn this reward, the students met a challenge to have no unexcused absences, criminal activity or arrests, violence or weapons on campus, and gang-related clothing, writing, or behavior.

During their visit to the Ford Irvine headquarters, students were among the first to see the all-new Ford Mustang. They also spent time with Ford's design team, learning about the studio design process of concept cars, including the Shelby Cobra Concept, Bronco Concept, Start Concept, Bullitt Mustang, and the Hot Wheels Transit Connect.

To view a photo, please click here.

South County School Dedicates Library to Benefactors

Las Palmas Elementary School recently honored two of its longtime benefactors by dedicating its newly refurbished library and learning center in their honor. Bill and Judi Leonard have donated nearly $1.9 million to the school for a variety of purposes over the last 10 years.

The Leonards, who have a family foundation, began contributing to the school because their grandchildren attended the Spanish Two-Way Immersion program at Las Palmas. When their grandchildren left the school, the Leonards continued to support the Las Palmas community.

To view a photo, please click here.

South County Students Help Set Reading World Record

Students at Don Juan Avila Elementary School (DJAES) were part of a new world record set for summer reading. As part of the Scholastic Summer Challenge, DJAES students logged in more than 417,000 minutes, the most of any school in California. Recently, Scholastic presented DJAES a plaque honoring this achievement.

DJAES students were challenged by their teachers to read a certain amount of minutes over the summer. During the challenge, students representing all 50 states and 30 countries read and logged an impressive 176,438,473 minutes, breaking last year's world record of 95,859,491 minutes.

To view a photo, please click here.


Lake Forest: SnowFest

Bring your family and friends to the City of Lake Forest’s annual SnowFest on Saturday, January 25 at Pittsford Park from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM. For more information, please visit facebook.com/LakeForestEvents, or call the SnowFest hotline at (949) 461-3459.

Laguna Niguel: FREE Business Training Workshop

The City of Laguna Niguel has partnered with SCORE, a nationwide nonprofit organization dedicated to the formation, growth and success of small business, to provide FREE business training workshops on a variety of topics to help local businesses be successful. The next workshop will be Thursday, February 6 from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM at the Laguna Niguel City Hall Community Room, 30111 Crown Valley Parkway. For more information, please click here.


In addition to my many meetings, briefings, and other supervisorial activities, I also:
  • Participated in a Special Meeting of the Board of Supervisors.
  • Participated in a meeting of the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) Board of Directors.
  • Participated in a meeting of the Orange County Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) and was elected to serve as LAFCO Vice Chair for 2014.
  • Attended the Aliso Viejo City Council meeting to present a proclamation to outgoing Mayor Carmen Cave and administer the oath of office to 2014 Mayor Phil Tsunoda.
  • Hosted a Community Forum on the Conditions of Children in Orange County Report at the Mission Hospital Conference Center.

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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