Header image with Photo of Supervisor Pat Bates. Followed by office information
August 15, 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 32

Holiday Lights After Action Report

The Board discussed an OC Public Works future action plan for addressing holiday light decorations in the unincorporated areas of Orange County.

As you may have seen in the news last Christmas, residents in in some South County neighborhoods were displaying strands of lights above public roadways, interconnecting adjacent homes. This posed a potential safety hazard and violation of public code; however, OC Public Works and the County provided a temporary solution, and the lights were left up for the remainder of the season.

In order to prevent misunderstandings and unnecessary conflict, OC Public Works presented the Board a plan for the future. While no official vote took place, OC Public Works staff was directed to prepare letters for Home Owners Associations (HOAs) in the unincorporated communities, explaining in detail the process for pulling permits. The letter is to properly inform residents and their HOAs that permits will be required and can be obtained individually or collectively with their HOA.

Additionally, the letter will address the type of insurance that will be required. It is important that these notifications be delivered in a timely manner and not at the last minute. To that end, the Board directed OC Public Works staff to send these notifications out as soon as possible.

Hopefully, with this information campaign, the holiday season that has been enhanced by neighborhood lighting projects will continue without any public safety impacts.

To see the After Action Report, please click here.


OC’s 125th Birthday Chronicled in Exhibits and Online

The Old Orange County Courthouse is pleased to present “Orange County Circa 1889,” a collection of historic photographic work taken 125 years ago, documenting the founding year of Orange County’s birth. The exhibit will run through October 10.

Also at the Old Courthouse is “Celebrate OC,” describing the County’s separation from Los Angeles County and many of the milestone anniversaries celebrated over the years. The exhibit features photographs, documents, maps, newspapers and artifacts from the Orange County Archives. It will run through the end of the year.

Prior to 1889, the region was part of Los Angeles County. The county seat at that time was seven hours distance by horse buggy on rutted dirt roads, and local residents felt overtaxed and unrepresented.

Attempts to form a separate county began in 1870. The Legislature finally approved a county formation vote, which was held June 4, 1889. Support for the new county was overwhelming: 2,505 to 499. The county officially formed August 1 that year, and the rest is history.

For more information on the County’s 125th birthday year, including a list of the 125 iconic people, places and things in Orange County plus a “This Day in History” Calendar and a slide show of historical photos, please click here.

To see a special photo album of historical photos compiled by the OC Public Library, please click here. For more information, please click here.


South County I-5 Improvement Project Update

The I-5 project is a 5.7-mile project that extends from Avenida Pico in San Clemente to San Juan Creek Road in San Juan Capistrano. The project will add a carpool lane in both directions; reconstruct the interchange at Avenida Pico, which includes widening the ramp to three lanes; adding soundwalls where needed; and more.

As the project continues to develop, there will be nightly closures, all of which can be viewed in real time by clicking here.

Additionally, you can receive text message alerts from the South County I-5 Improvement Project by texting SOUTHOC5INFO to 67076. After signing up, you will receive a weekly text with important closure and detour information.

For more information, please click here.


OC Parks Wins State and National Honors

OC Parks recently won five awards from state and national organizations – two awards for new parks facilities and three for public outreach.

In July, the National Association of County Park and Recreation Officials (NACPRO) gave top honors to OC Parks for the Irvine Regional Park Maintenance Yard and Haster Basin Recreation Park.

The Irvine Regional Park Maintenance Yard won for Class II Operational Facility (population greater than 500,000). This project replaced five buildings in the existing maintenance yard with three new buildings: a 6,500 square foot shop/maintenance building, a 2,400 square foot storage building and a 3,500 square foot office building. This project is the first LEED-Certified building in the OC Parks system and will serve as a model for future projects.

Haster Basin Recreation Park won in the Class II Environmental/Conservation category. This was a joint collaboration between OC Public Works and OC Parks that added additional park space and amenities to an existing park as part of a flood-control project. Half of the project cost was funded by a State of California Department of Water Resources grant.

The California Association of Public Information Officials (CAPIO) also recognized OC Parks at its annual awards in April. The OC Parks Summer Concert Series won the Award of Excellence for Graphics. The 2011-12 OC Parks Annual Report won the Award of Distinction for Graphics Photography. And the Whiting Ranch Poker Ride, a popular annual event, won the Award of Distinction for Special Events.

2014 OC Parks Annual Passes Half Off

OC Parks 2014 annual parking passes are now available for 50% off the full price.

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.


Aliso Viejo Wetland Project Recognized

For reducing pollutants in urban runoff, the Aliso Viejo Wood Canyon Wetland Project has been selected to receive the 2014 Outstanding Stormwater Quality Project from the California Stormwater Quality Association (CASQA).

In 2005, the City of Aliso Viejo, with funding from the California Habitat Restoration Program and US Fish and Wildlife Program, constructed this wetland at the flood-control basin situated south of Canyon Vista Park.

The wetland is designed to restore the natural habitat and improve the quality of urban runoff from about 300 acres of residential area before draining into Wood Canyon Creek and Aliso Creek.

A five-year monitoring program consisting of field observations and analytical data has confirmed the wetland is restoring natural habitat and significantly improving the quality of urban runoff.

The City is also working to build a wetland project that will treat urban runoff from four cities before it enters Aliso Creek. The Dairy Fork Wetland and Habitat Restoration Project will be built on OC Parks land situated at the southwest corner of Aliso Viejo Parkway and Moulton Parkway.

The Dairy Fork Wetland Project will naturally treat, with a biological treatment containing no added chemicals, urban runoff from about 1,500 acres of mixed residential and commercial areas within Aliso Viejo, Lake Forest, Laguna Hills and Laguna Woods before it merges with Aliso Creek.

In April, the Orange County Transportation Authority approved funding for this project through its Measure M2 - Environmental Cleanup Program, which requires a 35 percent local match from the participating cities.

To move forward and complete the Dairy Fork Wetland Project by December 2015, the City needs approval from Southern California Edison, which has an easement on the property.

For more information, please click here.

SMWD Approves Conservation Measures

While commending customers for dramatically cutting their water use during California’s historic drought, Santa Margarita Water District (SMWD) Board of Directors recently enacted irrigation limits and other reductions in outdoor water use.

Residential lawn watering is limited to three days a week and new swimming pools cannot be filled under the second-stage conservation measures unanimously enacted by directors of SMWD, the second-largest water district in Orange County. Existing swimming pools can be filled up to a foot for maintenance, the regulations say.

The State Water Resources Control Board ordered the additional restrictions and also gave water districts the authority to fine residents who waste water. SMWD will focus on public outreach and helping customers use water more efficiently, General Manager Dan Ferons said. SMWD customers have reduced their water use by 20 percent since the drought began three years ago.

Even in the regulations mandated by the state, there are exceptions in the SMWD regulations. HOAs, for example, can submit a plan to the district that allows frequent water of some areas while cutting back in others, as long as an overall water savings is achieved.

Homeowners with drip or other high-efficiency systems or weather-based irrigation timers are also exempt from the three-day watering restrictions.

Rebates are offered for drip and other efficient watering systems, as well as $2 per square foot for those who pull out their turf lawns altogether.

Commercially, restaurants are prohibited from serving water unless a customer asks for it. Not only does serving unwanted water waste what is in the glass, more water is needlessly lost when the glass is washed.

With 155,000 customers, SMWD serves Coto de Caza, Ladera, Rancho Santa Margarita, Talega and a portion of Mission Viejo. For the complete ordinance and information on rebates, please click here. For more information, please click here.


West Nile Virus Activity Alert

The Orange County Vector Control District (OCVCD) has identified several areas in Orange County that may have increased risk of West Nile virus transmission to humans. A map of the West Nile Virus activity can be viewed here.

The public can help

Overwatering lawns and washing vehicles keeps underground storm drain systems filled year-round. This constant artificial flooding maintains an ideal habitat that mosquitoes need for development. By preventing runoff, residents will conserve and reduce the amount of water held in storm drains that mosquitoes use for development.

While conducting mosquito surveillance and collecting dead birds is a good way to track the virus in the County, finding mosquito-breeding sources is much more important. OCVCD urges the public to conduct routine property inspections for mosquito-breeding sources. Look for any standing water around the house or neighborhood and either remove the water source or contact OCVCD for help.

Remember, mosquitoes can complete their life cycle in just one week in a water source as small as a bottle cap. If you find a dead bird, call OCVCD as soon as possible. Mosquitoes and recently-deceased birds are tested for West Nile virus at the District's laboratory and the results are posted on the District's website. Humans are tested by their physicians and cases of human infection are reported to the public by the Orange County Health Care Agency.

Orange County Vector Control District makes the following recommendations to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes:
  • Eliminate any standing water around your house.
  • Avoid runoff from overwatering lawns and washing vehicles.
  • Make sure all of the window and door screens on your house are in good repair.
  • Wear a repellent containing DEET®, Picaridin, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus, or IR 3535.
  • Avoid spending time outdoors at dawn and dusk.
  • Report locations of biting mosquitoes to the District.
  • Contact the Orange County Vector Control District to report dead birds or neglected pools and fountains at 714-971-2421 or 949-654-2421 or click here.
Suicide Deaths in Orange County (2009 - 2011)

Every year in Orange County about 3,000 people intentionally harm themselves, and about 278 end their lives by suicide. A new study by the Orange County Health Care Agency examines the incidence of suicide in Orange County, and identifies risk factors for suicidal behavior.

Among the key findings in the report, men aged 75 or older had the highest rate of suicide deaths; middle-aged men 45 to 54 years of age have the highest number of suicides each year; and the suicide rate among military veterans is three times higher than that of non-veterans.

The study also found that major risk factors for suicidal behavior include mental illness, substance abuse, and military service. Veterans accounted for 15% of all suicide deaths among Orange County residents (31.5 per 100,000), three times higher than non-veterans (10.8 per 100,000).

Among Orange County residents, nearly all suicides (88.8%) were caused by firearms (33.2%), hanging/strangulation (33.1%), or poisoning/overdose (22.5%).

Females are more likely to intentionally injure themselves, most often using poisoning/overdose. Males are more likely to employ fatal means such as firearms and strangulation and are almost three times more likely to result in a suicide death.

Orange County has a suicide rate of 9.0 suicide deaths per 100,000 people, which is lower than the rates for the state of California (9.9), and the nation (12.0).

Suicide prevention efforts in Orange County include the 24/7 Suicide Prevention Hotline (877) 727-4747, the Veterans Crisis Line (800) 273-8255, and the OC Links line (855) 625-4657 provides referrals to all Behavioral Services within the Health Care Agency.

To view the full report titled “Suicide Deaths in Orange County (2009 – 2011)” please click here. For more information, please click here.


Get a Jump on Fleas

If you have not begun flea treatments on your pets, you should start as soon as possible. Fleas are a very common problem in dogs and cats, especially during the summer months.

In addition to being an annoyance, flea bites can cause a condition known as flea allergy dermatitis, in which the saliva from the flea acts as an allergen and causes severe dermatitis, requiring medical treatment. In older pets and kittens, fleas can cause anemia. Fleas also act as vectors (carriers) of tapeworms, an intestinal parasite.

Fleas thrive in areas with high humidity (70% or higher) and moderate to warm temperatures (65 - 80 degrees). Consequently flea population explosions can occur almost overnight in the spring.

Flea and tick treatments for dogs can kill cats. Many are also unsafe for very small, young, or ill animals. Avoid those containing pyrethrins, pyrethroids, organophosphates, and carbamates.

There are many very good products available. It is best to apply after you have bathed your pet and their coat is dry. Make sure you get it on the skin at the base of the neck. Check with your veterinarian for the right products for your pet.


John Wayne Airport Giving Away Weekend Getaway

If you're a sports fan, this sweepstakes is for you. John Wayne Airport, along with Southwest Airlines, Visit Oakland, The Best Western Bayside Hotel, and AM830-KLAA want to send two lucky winners to see the Halos vs. A's and Chargers vs. 49er's in Oakland.

Don't wait, enter today by clicking here. For more information, please click here.


Mission Viejo All-Star Team Wins World Championship

The Mission Viejo PONY League Mustang (10U) Division All-Star team concluded an impressive season with an equally impressive performance recently at the Mustang World Series at Chisenhall Fields in Burleson, Texas.

Sparked by timely hitting, solid defense and superb pitching, Mission Viejo outscored its opponents, 49-11, in winning four consecutive games for the World Series championship. The triumph marked the third consecutive year Mission Viejo has won PONY League’s highest title. As 8- and 9-year-olds, the squad won the Western Zone championships in the Pinto and Mustang 9 divisions.

Mission Viejo capped off the World Series title by defeating a team from San Cristobal, Dominican Republic, 8-6, in Sunday’s final. The team advanced to the final by defeating Liga Villahermosa of Juarez, Mexico (11-3), a team from Manila, Philippines (19-1), and Liga Villahermosa again (11-1).

Mission Viejo finished the season winning 27 of its 28 games, including its last nine consecutively. The team won the Western Zone, Southern California District, and Regional and Super Regional championships.

For more information, please click here.


Dana Point: Summer Concert Series

The City of Dana Point invites you to enjoy The Derek Bourdeaux Group and AbbaFab (ABBA Tribute) at the Dana Point Summer Concert Series on Sunday, August 17 from 2:30 PM to 6:00 PM at Heritage Park. For more information, please click here.

San Juan Capistrano: Rancho Mission Viejo Rodeo

The Rancho Mission Viejo Rodeo, taking place August 23 & 24, is good old entertainment for the entire family, not to mention the richest 2-day rodeo in the nation, with a purse totaling over $200,000! 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:
  • Presented a certificate of recognition to Cameron Chevalier of Boy Scout Troop 773 at his Eagle Court of Honor award presentation.
  • Participated in the Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA) Special Board of Directors meeting.
  • Met with the OC Dana Point Harbor Director to be briefed on current programs and activities.
  • Adjourned the Board of Supervisors meeting in memory of Robert Aston of Laguna Niguel and Father Jack Shetler of Mission Viejo.

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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