Header image with Photo of Supervisor Pat Bates. Followed by office information
August 1, 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

Brian Probolsky:
Interim Chief of Staff

Sergio Prince:
Policy Advisor

Erik Weigand:
Deputy Chief of Staff

Veronica Carpenter:
Policy Advisor

James Dinwiddie:
Policy Advisor

Ruth Strachan:
Office Manager

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Volume 8 Issue 30

Proposed Amendment to the Charter of Orange County

Last week’s Board agenda included a proposed ballot measure, which would have broadly altered the County’s ability to outsource projects and services to independent private sector contractors.

Orange County sits at the bottom of all 58 counties, receiving back only $.06 of each property tax dollar. As such, the Board historically has been innovative in competitively bidding work to the private sector, more so than any other county in the state. Recently, we entered into a private sector contact worth $200,000,000 for IT Managed Services.

We also regularly contract with architects, engineers, public works construction, and construction management services. Where possible, we also use private firms for items such as street sweeping, landscape maintenance, tree trimming, and social workers contracted through private agencies.

Altering our Charter, which is the Constitution of the County, is not something I approach lightly. I am certainly supportive of the theme of this amendment; however, it needs to be fully formed first. As a result, this item was not approved by the board.

The proposal as amended lacked specificity and analysis on what services, programs and projects would be the focus of the expanded contracting authority. That information needs to be included in the discussion before such a charter amendment is presented to the voters.

For more information on this item, please click here.

Another charter amendment related to when a successful candidate for a seat on the Board of Supervisors is eligible to be officially seated following the November General Election was approved by the Board to be placed on the November 2014 ballot.

For more information, please click here.

Juvenile Offenders & Recidivism: Orange County Solutions

The Board last week responded to an Orange County Grand Jury report titled “Juvenile Offenders and Recidivism: Orange County Solutions.” Overall the County received very high marks in the report. The Grand Jury was impressed with the dedication of the County’s Probation Department and especially the leadership in the Juvenile Division.

The report also expressed a need for the County to reconstitute a research department to collect and analyze the cost effectiveness of our programs and further monitor recidivism rates. While this action is not currently feasible due to current budgetary constraints, I feel the recommendation is good and the State of California should provide local grants for this kind of research. This would provide big dividends in the end.

For more information, please click here and here.

Soliciting Nomination Signatures from County Employees

The Board last week approved an ordinance for County employees, which explicitly states that “No person may solicit for the nomination paper for any local, state or federal office the signature of any County employee at his or her workplace.”

As your elected representative for the 5th District, I feel this is a good ordinance to have in place at the County. By initiating this ordinance, employees of the County can no longer use taxpayer funded work hours to actively collect signatures from another County employee for nomination to any elected office.

For more information, please click here.


OCTA Strategic Plan Status Report

The Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) Board of Directors received a mid-year status report on the Strategic Plan set forth at the beginning of year.

The Plan provides a general framework (values, vision, mission and goals) for implementation of OCTA’s projects and services for a five-year period.

To keep Plan goals on-target for the year, the OCTA Board endorsed eight key strategic initiatives for 2014, which link to the five Plan goals of mobility, public service, fiscal sustainability, stewardship, and organizational excellence.

The eight key strategic initiatives are as follows:
  • Deliver freeway improvements
  • Provide efficient, customer-friendly bus service
  • Optimize the bus system
  • Enhance rail transportation
  • Advance active transportation
  • Maximize funding and regional opportunities
  • Develop sustainable transportation plans
  • Cultivate organizational excellence
Between January and June 2014, OCTA made significant progress in advancing these initiatives through a multi-modal program of projects and services, including delivering freeway improvements in South County.

On January 29, 2014, construction began on segment 3, from Camino de Estrella to San Juan Creek Road. Funded by Measure M2 (M2), this project will add a total of eight miles (four miles in each direction) of new carpool lanes between the cities of San Clemente and San Juan Capistrano to relieve congestion.

To read more about the Board’s strategic plan for the rest of 2014, please click here.

Preferred Alternative for I-405 Improvement Project

The Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) Board of Directors has been discussing the fate of this project for over two years and has vetted several build alternatives aimed at reducing congestion along Interstate 405 (I-405) freeway, from Interstate 605 (I-605) to State Route 73 (SR-73).

The three build alternatives considered included:
  • Alternative 1 – Adds one general purpose lane in each direction between the I-605 and Euclid Street at a cost of $1.3 billion.
  • Alternative 2 – Adds two general purpose lanes in each direction between the I-605 and Euclid Street, but would have a $100 million funding shortfall at a cost of $1.4 billion.
  • Alternative 3 – Adds 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) at a cost of $1.7 billion. The approximate $400 million shortfall for Alterative 3 would be funded through toll revenue bonds.
The OCTA Board reaffirmed Alternative 1, as the Locally Preferred Alternative, last fall.

However, as the ultimate owner and operator of the state highway system, Caltrans has the final decision on the Preferred Alternative.

As such, late last week, the OCTA Board learned that Caltrans recommended the I-405 Improvement Project should include the Measure M commitment of one regular lane in each direction (Alternative 1) and add high-occupancy toll lanes at a later date.

In other words, OCTA will move forward with building the one general purpose lane using voter-approved Measure M half-cent sales tax revenue, and Caltrans will be pursuing the high-occupancy toll express lanes as a separate project using another funding source.

This announcement raises many questions that remain to be answered, including how Caltrans will fund the toll lanes, when construction will occur, and how the high-occupancy toll lanes (HOT) will be operated, as compared to the current occupancy (HOV) lanes, which are free to care carrying two riders (2+).

At the OCTA Board meeting, I directed staff to begin a fact-finding mission to better understand these unanswered questions.

When trying to find a solution, I believe we must first understand what we are trying to accomplish. in this case, it is how to deliver an improved transportation system to the public, without changing the traditional free HOV lanes for 2+ riders. Please be assured that I will continue to keep you updated on this issue.

To view the press release on the Preferred Alternative, please click here. To learn more about the project, please click here.

La Pata Update

The construction of the La Pata Extension Project continues on the La Pata Gap Connector Phase, which will extend the existing La Pata Avenue just south of Vista Montana to Calle Saluda with four new travel lanes for approximately 2.27 miles.

Clearing and grubbing has been completed for approximately 50% of the refuse removal at Prima Deshecha Landfill. Construction activities for the next six months will include earthwork, drainage improvements, refuse removal, utility relocations, and bridge construction.

Fun fact: Several artifacts up to 10 million years old have been discovered during earth excavation, such as fossilized feces, cetacean vertebra fragment, dolphin ribs, a pinniped pelvis, and a whale jaw. I will continue to work with OC Public Works to ensure these artifacts are preserved and handled with extreme care.

The La Pata Gap Connector Phase is expected to be completed in fall 2016.

For more information, please click here.


DUI Enforcement Operations Planned in South County

Deputies from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department DUI Task Force will be deploying in South County this weekend to stop and arrest alcohol and drug-impaired drivers in the Department’s ongoing traffic safety campaign.

DUI Saturation Patrols will deploy on Friday, August 1 at 7:00 PM until Saturday, August 2 at 3:00 AM in the cities of Dana Point, San Clemente and San Juan Capistrano. These patrols will be targeting areas with high frequencies of DUI collisions and/or arrests.

For more information, please click here.


Property Assessment Appeals Accepted Through Sept. 15

Property owners may file appeals to their annual property assessments now through September 15 with the office of the Orange County Clerk of the Board.

Assessment appeals are available to those who believe the value of their property was less than the assessed value established by the Assessor for the January 1, 2014, lien date. The assessed value of a property is used to calculate annual property taxes due.

Property owners should be aware that they may file an appeal themselves. There is no requirement to use a tax agent to file an appeal, nor does the County of Orange charge a processing fee to file an appeal.

The Clerk of the Board encourages those filing an appeal to use the online e-file program that provides step-by-step assistance in completing the appeal form. The online Application for Changed Assessment can be located here.

Workshops are held at various locations throughout the County to provide the public with information on the appeal process and how to prepare for their hearing. Workshop schedules can be found here.

For questions regarding the appeal process, please call the Clerk of the Board at (714) 834-2331, Ext. 1. For more information, please click here.


OC Senior Living Needs Survey

The Orange County Office on Aging is a part of the Orange County Aging Services Collaborative, a group of non-profit organizations and government agencies serving seniors and their families in Orange County.

To help them better understand your needs and wants as a resident of Orange County, please click here to complete an online survey. For more information, please click here.


Wildlife Awareness: Tips to Keep You Safe

South County enjoys a large amount of open space; however, rural open space areas are also habitats for a number of wild animals, including coyotes and mountain lions. These wild animals often hunt between sunset and sunrise but can be seen at all hours of the day and night, especially if your home is located close to the foothills or an open space.

For simple tips to help prevent coyotes and mountain lions from visiting your neighborhood and what to do should you encounter one of these animals, please click here. For more wildlife information, please click here.

Bark & Meow Foundation: Kitten Shower

On July 19, the Bark & Meow Foundation hosted a very special "Kitten Shower" to benefit the many underage kittens that OC Animal Care provides care for each year.

During the event, donations for the shelter's kittens were collected. As a result, dozens of beds, toys, treats, and cans of food have already been given out to the needy shelter pets. Thank you to the Bark & Meow Foundation and the community for their generosity and support!


2014 OC Parks Annual Passes Now Half Off

OC Parks is pleased to announce that 2014 annual parking passes will be available for 50% off of the full price beginning today, August 1.

Spend time in the outdoors with family and friends at a discounted rate! OC Parks’ annual parking passes and decals offer convenient parking at local, regional and wilderness parks, as well as all County beach parks. Experience hiking, mountain biking, exploring, surfing, or rest and relaxation in nature with convenient pre-paid parking at all locations.

For more information, please click here and here.

Doheny Update

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

To view the DSBIA August e-newsletter, please click here.


Please Save Water during the Drought

Fifth District residents have been doing a great job reducing their water use but recent mandates from the State Water Resources Control Board in Sacramento require even more stringent requirements on water users.

The State ordered water districts report the average gallons per day used by each residential customer and will be looking to see reductions in water use. Districts can face $10,000 fines for failing to comply with the order. The State also gave water agencies the authority to issue fines of up to $500 to water wasters.

Each agency is developing its own plan to meet the State mandate, so check the website of your water provider. An easy way to save water is to cut back on watering your lawn, or remove it altogether. Rebates are offered for efficient sprinkler systems and taking out your turf.

For more information, please click here and here.


South County Girls Win Volleyball World Championship

The U.S. beach team of Morgan Martin (Mission Viejo) and Kathryn Plummer (Aliso Viejo) defeated compatriots Joy Dennis and Haley Hallgren (20-22, 21-18, 15-13) Sunday to win the gold medal at the inaugural FIVB Under-17 Beach Volleyball World Championships in Acapulco, Mexico.

Plummer, a junior-to-be at Aliso Niguel High, was selected as the women’s Most Outstanding Player of the tournament.

The third and deciding set was titanic, as the two friendly rivals sparred back and forth.

In the semifinal, Martin and Plummer, seeded No. 29, came out strong but had to use grit and determination to hold off a comeback charge by Latvia’s team, eventually taking the three-set victory (21-15, 17-21, 15-12) in 51 minutes to earn a spot in the women’s final.

Martin and Plummer finished with an 8-0 record. They also won their pool with a 4-0 record before defeating teams from Mexico, Poland, and then Latvia in the elimination rounds to book their ticket to the gold medal match.

For more information, please click here.

Undefeated Mission Viejo Pony All Stars in World Series

The Mission Viejo Pony All Stars 10U players are competing in the International Pony World Series in Burleson, Texas.

The players won 22 of their last 23 games and will spend their third consecutive year competing for World Series Championships. The team clinched the Western Region Zone Championship 14-9 last weekend, coming behind from 5-1 in the second inning to score 9 straight runs for the victory.

The players are Jacob Tyler, Chase Christner, Conner Dietsch, Cole Dietsch, Tyler Damato, Braden Pegan, Mason Reick, Hunter Smith, Hunter Sablatura, Romen Christensen and Mike Laughlin.

For more information, please click here.


Dana Point: Summer Concert Series

Garratt Wilkin & The Parrotheads, "the ultimate Jimmy Buffett tribute band," will be performing live in Dana Point at the Orange County Seafood Festival on Saturday, August 9 in Lantern Bay Park, 25111 Park Lantern Drive. Then on Sunday, August 3, The Fabulous Ultra Tones and The Sam Morrision Band will perform at Sea Terrace Park from 2:30 PM to 6:00 PM. For more information about these FREE concerts, please click here.

Aliso Viejo: Pet and Vet Clinic

The City of Aliso Viejo’s Family Resource Center and Society for California Veterinary Vaccine Care are teaming up to host a low-cost Pet and Vet Clinic on Saturday, August 2 from 9:30 AM to 11:00 AM at the Iglesia Park Community Center, 24671 Via Iglesia, Aliso Viejo. For more information, please click here.

Rancho Santa Margarita: FREE Safety Event

TV network HLN will be at the Cox Solutions Store in Rancho Santa Margarita Saturday, August 9 from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM to offer FREE digital fingerprinting for children. The event also will feature FREE food, face painting, animal balloons, a visit from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department and Orange County Fire Authority, giveaways and an iPad raffle. For more information, please click here.

Laguna Beach: Art Festival Season

Laguna Beach’s world famous summer art festival season runs daily throughout the summer. For information on the Festival of Arts / Pageant of the Masters, please click here. For information on the Sawdust Art Festival, please click here. For information on Art-A-Fair, please click here.


In addition to my many meetings, briefings, and other supervisorial activities, I also:
  • Participated in the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) Board of Directors meeting.
  • Presented a certificate of recognition to Terry Wedel of KSBR Radio in honor of his retirement after 36 years with Saddleback College and the 1st Annual Terry Wedel Scholarship Gala.
  • Participated in the OC125 celebration held at the OC Fair in honor of the 125th birthday of the County of Orange.

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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