Header image with Photo of Supervisor Pat Bates. Followed by office information
September 19, 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

Erik Weigand:
Deputy Chief of Staff

Veronica Carpenter:
Policy Advisor

James Dinwiddie:
Policy Advisor

Ruth Strachan:
Office Manager

Click here to subscribe.

Click here to unsubscribe

Volume 8 Issue 37

Grand Jury Report Response-Ethics and Campaign Reporting

On June 24, 2014, the Orange County Grand Jury released a report entitled "Ethics and Campaign Reporting: Why and How to Implement Stronger Oversight, Transparency, and Enforcement."

At the Orange County Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, the Board voted to approve the proposed response to the Grand Jury's findings and recommendations.

Following the FY 12-13 Grand Jury report titled, "A Call for Ethical Standards: Corruption in Orange County" the Board of Supervisors created a sub-committee, which includes Chairman Shawn Nelson and Supervisor Todd Spitzer, to address the issues raised in the report. The sub-committee developed the proposal to authorize the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) to prosecute violations of the County's campaign finance ordinances (SB 1226), which I support. Given the sub-committee’s work on the subject, the CEO worked through the sub-committee on developing the responses and presents it for the Board’s consideration.

I supported the Staff Report’s recommendation not to initiate an Ethics Commission as proposed by the Grand Jury. I believe there are already existing agencies, mechanisms, and third parties in place that are responsible for unbiased ethics oversight. These include fraud hotlines, the District Attorney’s Political Corruption Unit that was created this year, and currently the FPPC which enforces conflict-of-interest codes and the Levine Act requirement for all elected officials. Not only are these transparency tools in place, they are not staffed with political appointments that have unfettered subpoena authority.

Existing enforcement agencies have subpoena authority granted through state law as law enforcement agencies in contrast to a “politically appointed ethics commission” as proposed. Fundamental to our government is protecting innocence until guilt is proven. Citizen appointed commissions, as proposed, may initiate investigations sometimes merely initiated based on an anonymous complaint and by virtue of an individual being investigated are “guilty first.”

Much more study of this issue to ensure fairness, objectivity, and confidentiality is necessary before we hastily add another level of ethics, oversight, and enforcement which can unjustly damage an individual’s credibility.

To view the report and responses please click here.

Grand Jury Report Response-Dana Point Harbor Revitalization

On June 27, 2014, the Orange County Grand Jury released a report entitled "Dana Point Harbor Revitalization - 15 Years of Planning: What Has been Learned?"

The report directed findings and recommendations to the Board of Supervisors, County Executive Officer, and OC Dana Point Harbor Director.

The Board approved the proposed response to the Grand Jury's findings and recommendations.

I asked County Staff that we revisit the process for permitting of the Dana Point Harbor before the end of the year.

Click here for more information.


Ortega Highway Ramp Closures Beginning September 22

The Ortega Highway project is entering its last phase of construction, which requires closures and detours that will impact your drive.

Alternate routes will be required to access downtown, nearby schools, and local shops and restaurants in and around the project area.

Beginning on Monday, Sept. 22, 2014 at 12:01 a.m., crews will close the southbound I-5 on-ramp from Ortega Highway for approximately six weeks. The closure is required to realign and reconstruct this on-ramp to tie-in with the new south-half of the Ortega Highway bridge.

Alternate routes will be required to access downtown, nearby schools, and local shops and restaurants in and around the project area. For more information, or to sign-up to receive weekly emails, please visit www.octa.net/ORTEGA.

Take Metrolink to San Juan Capistrano’s Greek Festival

Get ready to eat and dance Saturday, September 27 and Sunday, September 28 at the annual San Juan Capistrano Greek Festival. The FREE event, which is sponsored by Saint Basil Greek Orthodox Church, will feature dancing lessons, live music, Greek food, art and more.

On your way to the Greek Festival, join OCTA for a festive pre-event on Saturday, September 27 at the Tustin Metrolink Station on September 27 at 9:30 AM. The first 50 event attendees will receive a FREE round-trip Metrolink ticket. Tickets are valid September 27 only and will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.

The kickoff event will feature FREE food courtesy of Daphne’s and music. Attendees will also be able to bring a non-perishable donation for Second Harvest Food Bank to spin OCTA’s prize wheel. Then, attendees can take the train to the San Juan Capistrano Metrolink Station and jump aboard the free festival shuttle. Once there, show your Metrolink ticket and get a FREE Greek pastry at the Greek Pastry Booth. Opa!!

With Caltrans’ I-5/Ortega Highway Interchange Improvement Project under way, Metrolink is the most convenient way to get to the festival. Riders can take Metrolink to San Juan Capistrano from as far away as L.A. Union Station or San Bernardino. Plus, it will cost only $10 with the Metrolink Weekend Day Pass, which is valid for system-wide travel on either Saturday or Sunday.

For more information, please click here.

Transition Program Remains in Place to Ease Driver Conversion to All-Electronic Toll Collection

After cash toll collection ended on Orange County's toll roads on May 14, a program was implemented to ease drivers’ transition to the new all-electronic toll collection system. The transition program -- originally put in place through the long Labor Day weekend -- has been extended as The Toll Roads continue to evaluate data about usage, payments, feedback from customers and reports from customer service representatives.

As part of the transition program:
  • Penalty fees for first-time violations are waived if the tolls incurred are paid within 30 days of receiving a notice of toll evasion. Approximately 40 percent of violation notices are sent to people who have never before received a violation notice.
  • Drivers without a pre-established tolling account can pay tolls online within seven days after driving the roads using the One-Time-Toll™ payment option. One-Time-Toll was developed to be used within 48 hours of driving the roads. Data is being reviewed to determine if the One-Time-Toll payment timeframe will be extended permanently.
The following improvements have been (or are being) implemented:
  • Additional road signs have been installed. There are now 414 signs on the roadway informing drivers that they are on a tolled road; that cash is not accepted; that tolls can be paid electronically via a pre-established account or online using the One-Time-Toll payment option; and that a violation will be issued if tolls are not paid.
  • Information about the closure of cash booths and how to pay online has been added to changeable message signs located on freeways leading to The Toll Roads.
  • Information about the penalty relief for first-time violations is inserted into first-time violation notices. The notice also includes information about how to sign up for a FasTrak® or ExpressAccount® for future trips.
  • To support the conversion, 14 employees were added to the customer service department. Six additional temporary customer service representatives have been added and 20 more are in the process of being added.
  • Forty-six additional phone lines are being added to the customer call center. To accommodate callers.
  • Adjustments have been made to information on the website to address common questions.
  • Outreach programs to the general public; Spanish-speaking community; tourism industry; rental car agencies; seniors; college campuses; and military are being expanded and revamped as needed.


Orange County Photographer's Unique Photos On Display at John Wayne Airport

A gallery of photos taken with an antique wooden camera are on display in the Thomas F. Riley Terminal as part of John Wayne Airport’s Community Focus Space Program. Joel Brown’s photography can be seen on the Departure (upper) Level near the security screening areas in Terminals A, B and C and on the Arrival (lower) Level adjacent to Baggage Carousels 1 and 4 from September 19, 2014 through October 15, 2014.

Brown discovered his photographic muse for this exhibit in his recent return to surfing in 2009. Upon purchasing a 60-year-old wooden camera and standard 8 x 10 film, he chose to photograph his new friends and the occasional stranger at his routine surfing spot, San Onofre State Beach. While many surfers are photographed surfing, Brown preferred to capture formal portraits out of the water. As a thank you to participants, Brown presented them each with a print.

Click here for more information.


CalOptima Ranked Top Medi-Cal Plan in California

CalOptima is California’s top-ranked Medi-Cal health plan, according to the NCQA’s Medicaid Health Insurance Plan Rankings 2014–2015, released September 18. Serving more than 600,000 low-income residents in Orange County, CalOptima is 1st in the state and 29th nationwide among the 136 Medicaid plans that were ranked. The NCQA rankings are based on standardized, third-party-audited data regarding health care quality and customer satisfaction, as well as NCQA accreditation scores.

“CalOptima’s commitment to quality for our members is reflected in the NCQA recognition,” said Mark Refowitz, Chairman of the CalOptima Board of Directors. “Our ranking is confirmation that Orange County’s most vulnerable residents are healthier because of CalOptima and our provider partners.” CalOptima CEO Michael Schrader said that the 2014–2015 NCQA rankings of Medicaid plans come at an important time of expanded access to such plans. In Orange County and through CalOptima, nearly 200,000 people have gained health coverage since January 2014, he said. “Our new members can rely on CalOptima and feel confident that the care they receive is among the best in the state,” Schrader said.

To view the NCQA Medicaid plan rankings, click here and select “Medicaid” at the top of the page.

National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day

September 27, 2014
10AM to 2PM
The National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day aims to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the general public about the potential for abuse of medications.

Locate a site near you.

National Emergency Preparedness Month

September is National Emergency Preparedness Month and the Orange County Sheriff’s Department’s Emergency Management Division would like to encourage County residents to prepare and plan for emergency and disaster events. The time is NOW to make a commitment to be the survivor.

September marks National Preparedness Month, which was founded after 9/11 to increase preparedness in the U.S. First responders and emergency managers understand that there will be an overwhelming demand to reach people in distress following a disaster. Getting to every person quickly following an emergency will simply not be possible – especially if trees and power lines are down. It’s imperative that community members take the necessary steps to prepare for emergencies. The more people who are prepared for a disaster, the quicker the community will recover afterwards. Find out more about National Preparedness Month at http://www.ready.gov/september.

It is a time to prepare yourself, your family and your loved ones for any emergency. Follow these three steps:
  1. Get a Kit: Keep enough emergency supplies on hand for you and those in your care, including water, non-perishable food, first aid, prescriptions, flashlights and a battery-powered radio. For a complete checklist of supplies, visit www.ReadyOC.org.
  2. Make a Plan: Discuss, agree on, and document an emergency plan with those in your care. For sample plans, see www.ReadyOC.org. Work with your neighbors, colleagues and others to build a community network of resilience.
  3. Be Informed: Information is available to assist you from federal, state and local resources. You can find preparedness information by:
    1. Signing up for emergency alerts and notifications at www.AlertOC.com.
    2. Accessing www.ReadyOC.org to learn what to do before, during, and after an emergency.
    3. Contacting your local emergency management department and ask for a tour and information about preparedness.
For more information please click here.


84 Pets Adopted at M.V.P Adoption Event

On Saturday, September 13th OC Animal Care hosted our M.V.P. adoption event in celebration of our Many Varieties of Pets at the shelter. It was quite the celebration with a line starting before the shelter even opened and it ended with 84 pets (23 cats, 58 dogs and 2 rabbits) finding their forever home.

OC Animal Care offered free Spay/neuter and Microchip to all pets adopted that day. It was amazing to see the community come out on an incredibly hot day in search for their new forever friend!

I want to thank OC Animal Care Staff and Volunteers and wish all of the new adoptees all of the joy and happiness their new furry friend can bring them!


DUI Enforcement Operations Planned this Weekend

Deputies from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department DUI Task Force will be deploying 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, September 19, 2014 at 7:00 pm until Saturday, September 20, 2014 at 3:00 am in the cities of Aliso Viejo, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel and Laguna Woods. These patrols will be targeting areas with high frequencies of DUI collisions and/or arrests.

“Don’t drink and drive or you will be arrested for DUI,” said Deputy Shane Stewart of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department Traffic Bureau. “This is a ‘Zero Tolerance’ crackdown so Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over!”

The goal of the program is to reduce the rate at which the citizens of Orange County are killed or injured in DUI related collisions. Through implementation of these events, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department hopes to significantly reduce deaths, injuries and property damage in each of our contract cities.

After falling dramatically for five straight years, figures for 2012 show an increase to 802 deaths because someone failed to designate a sober driver. Over the course of the past three years, DUI collisions have claimed 21 lives and resulted in 500 injuries within Sheriff’s Department contract areas.

In addition to the pain and suffering of those immediately affected, a fatality collision has a $1.4 million impact, an injury collision $70,000, and a crash that only damages property averages nearly $9,000.

Funding for this program is from a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Report Drunk Drivers, Call 911!

Register Now For the 5th Annual AlertOC Regional Test

On September 23, 2014 over two million Orange County residents will receive a call to test AlertOC. This is the fifth annual regional test of the system and will include 25 participating cities and the County’s unincorporated areas.

Residents are encouraged to self-register their email addresses, cell phone numbers and other alternate numbers to be a part of the regional test. The key feature of AlertOC is the ability for residents to register more than one contact method at a specific address. Registrations of cell phone and alternate numbers increase the potential of reaching the greatest number of community members as rapidly as possible. This enables landlines, cell phones and e-mail addresses to be incorporated into a single notification system.

The AlertOC drill on September 23, 2014 will replicate a large scale, multi-jurisdictional emergency requiring thousands of numbers to be called simultaneously across Orange County’s entire region. The phone message will urge all residents to prepare for real-life emergencies by registering their cell numbers, text numbers and e-mail addresses at AlertOC.com for the best chance to receive vital, timely information when away from home.

AlertOC smartphone apps are also available for iPhone and Android smartphones. These apps will allow users to receive push notifications, review past messages, update contact information, and set device and language preferences. Smartphone users can find the app by searching “Blackboard MyConnect” in the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.

Emergencies can happen at any time. AlertOC is a critical link for residents to immediately learn of any required actions. For more information or to register alternate phone numbers or email addresses, visit AlertOC.com.

Commuters are reminded to be safe and use hands-free devices when talking on the phone and driving.

Click here for more information.


XTERRA SoCal Trail Running Series

Inagural XTERRA Trail Run at Aliso and Wood includes a 16k and 11K.

The race starts at the ranger station, continues down Aliso Creek and then up Wood Canyon for some amazing climbs and descents! All participants get a race t-shirt, finisher medal, hot breakfast, coffee and raffle entry. The event field is limited, so enter early! Please note that the course closes at 11 a.m.
  • 16K Start Time: 7:45 a.m.
  • 11K Start Time: 8 a.m.
  • Click link for registration and details.
Morning Walk Around the Lake

Come enjoy a wonderful morning walk around the lake and learn about the native plants and critters in the park. This is an easy 2.5 mile walk (both paved and dirt trail) with no elevation gain. Led by Laguna Canyon Foundation Volunteer Naturalists. Dogs on leashes welcome.
  • Laguna Niguel Regional Park, 28241 La Paz Road, Laguna Niguel. Meet at the parking lot closest to Shelter 3.
  • For questions, call (949) 497-8324
  • Donation: $2 per person
  • Parking: $5 per vehicle
  • Ages 8 and up
  • Reservations Required Online (link below)
Click here more information.


Orange County Clerk-Recorder Receives Merit AwardFor Saturday Office Hours

The California State Association of Counties (CSAC) has honored the Orange County Clerk-Recorder Department with a Merit Award through its 2014 Challenge Awards program. The department received recognition for its efforts in making its offices more accessible to working families by opening one Saturday per month during which customers can obtain marriage and passport services as well as vital records and official records.

Annually, CSAC honors innovation and cost-effectiveness in county government statewide. The Clerk-Recorder Department was one of six Orange County programs that were honored this year out of the more than 200 entries.

During the department’s first full year of special Saturday hours, the department issued 1,722 marriage licenses, performed 1,071 marriage ceremonies, and issued 682 vital records. The department has also processed 201 passport applications. In addition, more than 10,700 customers and guests were served. More importantly, guests were able to witness their family members or friends tie the knot at the department’s marriage facilities.

The department will continue to offer Saturday hours through 2014. The next Saturday office hours will be on September 20th.

For more information regarding the Clerk-Recorder’s Saturday hours or about the services offered by the department’s convenient locations, please visit www.ocrecorder.com


OC Dana Point Harbor: Coastal Cleanup

Please join the Dana Point Harbor for California Coastal Cleanup Day, the state’s largest volunteer event. When combined with the International Coastal Cleanup, this event becomes part of one of the largest volunteer events in the world and you can play a major role!

OC Dana Point Harbor will host the following cleanup events:

Underwater Cleanup 8:00 AM to Noon - certified divers, kayakers and volunteers can register and obtain more information by contacting the Dana West Marin office at (949) 493-6222 or visit www.DPHunderwatercleanup.com. Free parking will be provided.

On-the-Water Cleanup 8:00 AM to Noon - volunteers should contact Lisa Hazelton and Dana Point Yacht Club at (949) 463-7970. Registration and sign in will take place at the yacht club located at 24399 Dana Drive, Dana Point, CA 92629. Free parking will be provided.

Cigarette Butt Roundup - 9:00 AM to Noon
- volunteers should contact Penny Elia at (949) 499-4499. Registration and sign in will take place at the Dana West Marina, cove side parking lot at 24650 Dana Point Harbor Drive, Dana Point, CA 92629. Free parking will be provided.

For more information please click here.


California Coastal Cleanup Day September 20

Every year, on the third Saturday in September, people join together at sites all over California to take part in the State's largest volunteer event – California Coastal Cleanup Day.

For more information please click here.


San Juan Capistrano: Movies in the Park

Enjoy the next showing of "Movies in the Park" starting on Saturday, September 13th at the City-owned Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park at San Juan Capistrano. Presented by Blenheim Facility Management, this event is open and free to the public.

September 20 – The Horse in the Grey Flannel Suit

September 27 - Secretariat

Bring a blanket or beach chair and your picnic basket. The movie begins at dusk. No glass containers, alcohol or smoking is allowed. Parking is free. For more information contact (949) 234-1696. For a flyer, click here.

Laguna Niguel: Fall Flick

Bring the family out for a night of fun under the stars on Saturday, September 13. Seating is on a grassy hill. Bring a blanket or low chair so you dont obstruct viewing. Dress warm. Please no pets, smoking or alcohol allowed in the event area. Snacks/beverages will be available for purchase. Event will be canceled if it is raining. Click here


Give the gift of sight and receive a gift of See’s candy!

Monarch Bay Plaza is pleased to support the Lions Club of Laguna Niguel’s Eyeglass Recycling effort.

Please drop off your gently-used eyeglasses between Saturday, September 27th and Sunday, October 12th, and receive a FREE box of See’s Candy.*

Collection boxes will be conveniently located inside Monarch Bay Plaza’s participating retailers.

*One 4-piece box of candy per family, please. While supplies last.

Click here for more information.

Doheny Beach

30th Annual CA Coastal Clean Up Day

Join volunteers at Doheny Beach to participate in one of the largest volunteer events in the world as volunteers from up and down the coast join together to remove trash from our beaches and waterways.

Doheny’s event, lead by the park Naturalist, meets at the Lifeguard Headquarters building by San Juan Creek at 9 AM to rally up, then hit the beaches and San Juan Creek. Environmental displays and groups will be present, and goodies from local eateries are always available. Special thanks to the City of Dana Point for its support in this event.

California’s coast and waterways have historically been collecting spots for annual accumulations of trash and debris. This debris, if not removed, can be harmful and even fatal to all manners of marine wildlife, can damage our state’s economy, and can even become a human health hazard. Coastal Cleanup Day is a great way for families, students, service groups, and neighbors to join together, take care of our fragile marine environment, show community support for our shared natural resources, learn about the impacts of marine debris and how we can prevent them, and to have fun!

Click here for more details.


In addition to my many meetings, briefings, and other supervisorial activities, I also:
  • Participated in OCTA’s Regional Planning and Highways Committee meeting.
  • Met with the General Manager of the Santa Margarita Water District to discuss water saving measures due to the drought.
  • Attended the Transportation Corridor Agency and Orange County Transportation Authority Joint Leadership meeting.
  • Met with Orange County Automobile Dealers Association to receive a briefing on their issues.
  • Led the Pledge of Allegiance at the Laguna Niguel Crown Valley Park Groundbreaking in the city of Laguna Niguel

    Montgomery Photography/Mark Montgomery

  • Met with the Dana Point Harbor to discuss the upcoming milestones for the Revitalization project.

My office also:
  • Attended the OCTA 5th District Bicycle Workshop
  • Presented a certificate to the new South Orange County Toastmasters in the city of Dana Point

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.

For an ADA version of our newsletter, click here.

Follow me on Facebook!