Header image with Photo of Supervisor Pat Bates. Followed by office information
January 31, 2014

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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 4

CalOptima CMS Audit

In November 2013, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) conducted an audit of CalOptima’s OneCare program. The OneCare program is a Medicare Advantage Special Needs Plan, which currently serves about 16,000 Orange County residents eligible for Medicare and Medi-Cal.

After nearly three months since the audit’s completion, CMS released the audit findings to the Board of Supervisors and CalOptima Board of Directors for review.

The scope of this first-ever comprehensive audit included CalOptima’s health networks and its contracted pharmacy benefits manager. CalOptima is the first public plan in California to be audited.

The audit recommends that CalOptima’s internal care management processes and oversight of delegated health networks need improvement. Based on the audit findings, CMS has directed CalOptima to suspend marketing and enrollment of patients into the OneCare program. This action does not affect the services currently provided to existing OneCare members.

While the audit findings are troubling, I am equally concerned by the process, which resulted in delay and lack transparency. CalOptima was told in November that the audit included serious and significant findings but were not given any further details. Despite requests to receive the full audit, no information was provided to me until this week, when CMS first released an Executive Summary of the findings and then days later released the full audit for review.

In accordance with the audit requirements, CalOptima has submitted its corrective action plan to CMS which addresses each of the findings. However, I have not seen that plan yet because according to CMS protocol, the Board of Supervisors and CalOptima Board of Directors cannot view the corrective action plan until CMS has approved it first.

Though disappointed by the handling of this audit by CMS, I am committed to proactively working with my Board colleagues to ensure that CalOptima does everything necessary to properly address the audit findings, promptly correct deficiencies and improve oversight. The Board of Supervisors has requested a presentation by CalOptima of the audit and its findings during our next public Board meeting on Tuesday, February, 4.


Election of Officers

I’m pleased to report that Board Chairman Shawn Nelson and I, as Vice Chair, will remain in our leadership posts for another year.

For more information, please click here.

County Names Partner to Develop El Toro Property

The Board approved a comprehensive agreement with Lowe Enterprises to entitle and develop the County’s 100+ acres of land at the former Marine Corps Air Station El Toro in Irvine.

The agreement outlines a three-phased approach to developing the property. The Board approved funding for the first phase and the business plan. Included will be a determination of which types of development will be allowed on the property and completion of the required environmental reviews.

The first phase is estimated to take 24 months to complete, including creation of a corresponding master plan to maximize development flexibility and revenue potential.

For more information, please click here.

Maintenance of OC Parks

The Board approved a contract agreement between OC Parks, the California Conservation Corps and the Orange County Conservation Corps. The Conservation Corps are great organizations that provide training for young men and women to develop their job skills. Examples of their work include storm and fire preparation and recovery, trail repair, habitat restoration and the removal of weeds and exotic plants.

They will be responsible for crew training, transportation and supervision, as well as provision of most of the equipment. It is important to note that crews will be available throughout the County during a statewide storm or fire emergencies.

For more information, please click here.

Management of Roads, Trails and Fire Barriers

The Board authorized a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the management of Roads, Trails and Fire Barriers between the following land owners and agencies:
  • County of Orange
  • City of Irvine
  • California Department of Parks and Recreation
  • The Irvine Company
  • Orange County Fire Authority
  • Southern California Edison
This MOU provides continuity, which will minimize redundancies, confusion and conflicts between landowners, contractors and land managers.

For more information, please click here.

Antonio Parkway to Get Synchronized Signals

The Board approved a Cooperative Agreement between the County, the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) and the City of Rancho Santa Margarita for the Antonio Parkway Corridor Traffic Signal Synchronization Project.

The project, which is being funded by the M2 Regional Traffic Signal Synchronization Program (RTSSP), with a 20% local match from participating agencies, will synchronize traffic signals along Antonio Parkway from Ortega Highway to Santa Margarita Parkway.

In all, 25 traffic signals spanning approximately 10 miles will be synchronized, with 12 of the traffic signals located within the County's jurisdictional boundary. In addition to signal coordination, the project includes traffic signal upgrades as needed, including an emergency vehicle preemption system, closed circuit television cameras and new central monitoring system software.

The total project cost is $1,446,150. The County’s local match contribution is $207,594. The project is funded for a grant period of three years.

For more information, please click here.

Island Way Roadway and Bridge Rehabilitation Project

The Board awarded a contract to John S. Meek Company, Inc. in the amount of $1,422,051 for the construction of the Island Way Roadway and Bridge Rehabilitation Project.

The Project, located in Dana Point Harbor, will remove and replace the deteriorating pavement to enhance traffic movement; resurface the bridge deck to repair the concrete; construct new curb ramps at existing crosswalk to improve pedestrian access and comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act standards; and repair and install protection on the bridge piers to suppress future corrosion.

The project will entail a construction period of 45 days and specialized work needed to dewater in preparation for the work on bridge piers. The short construction duration is related to regulatory permit requirements and coordination with planned Harbor activities at the marina in March 2014.

For more information, please click here.

Social Services Agency Director Appointment

The Board unanimously selected Mike Ryan, Chief Deputy Director of the Social Services Agency (SSA) to replace Dr. Michael Riley as SSA’s new director. The decision came after Dr. Riley announced his surprise retirement in January after more than four decades of public service.

Ryan has been SSA’s Interim Director and was chosen from among 31 applicants in a national search. Ryan has more than 30 years of experience in the social services field, including 24 years in SSA.

He has served as Director of the Orangewood Children and Families Center, as well as Deputy Director and Director of Children and Family Services for the County of Orange. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in psychology from the University of Washington and his Master of Science degree in counseling psychology from Cal State University, San Bernardino.

For more information, please click here.


Measure M2 Environmental Mitigation Program

The Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) Board of Directors approved circulating for a 90-day public review the Natural Community Conservation Plan/Habitat Conservation Plan and Draft Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement on the Measure M2 Environmental Mitigation Program.

The draft plans were developed and completed by OCTA as a comprehensive way to offset the impacts from the 13 freeway improvement projects as part of the M2 half-cent sales tax program, which voters approved in 2006.

The drafts outline the long-term management requirements of the acquisition properties and identify conservation and mitigation measures. Within the next year, a long-term expenditure plan will be developed for funds in the Environmental Mitigation Program. The plan will be reviewed by the Environmental Oversight Committee and the Finance and Administration Committee before going to the OCTA Board.

The M2 Environmental Mitigation Program will provide approximately $300 million over the next 30 years to preserve and restore land throughout Orange County.

For more information regarding OCTA's environmental program, please click here.

Update on the 241/91 Express Lanes Connector

Constructing a toll-to-toll connector between the Foothill Transportation Corridor (SR-241) and the 91 Express Lanes is currently being explored by the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) and the Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA) to reduce congestion and improve mobility in the region.

The connector is estimated to cost approximately $180 million and would provide one lane in each direction from SR-241 north to the 91 Express Lanes eastbound and the reverse direction.

OCTA's initial analysis of the project has determined:
  • The connector would serve central and south Orange County in the morning westbound market, similar to the 91 Express Lanes.
  • A toll policy would be critical to the success of the connector, as well as minimizing impacts to the SR-91 corridor and the 91 Express Lanes.
  • The project could not be funded entirely from toll revenue and additional resources from the TCA and OCTA would need to be found.
The new connector would capture demand from the existing SR-241/SR-91 interchange connector ramps, the 91 Express Lanes, and portions of SR-91.

OCTA CEO End-of-Year Report

Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) CEO Darrell Johnson presented an update to the OCTA Board on the 2013 CEO Initiatives and Action Plan, which highlighted notable accomplishments from 2013. Major accomplishments for the year include:
  • New Riverside Freeway (SR-91) lanes opened in February, adding a six-mile general purpose lane in each direction between the Orange Freeway (SR-55) and Foothill Transportation Corridor (SR-241).
  • In March, a contract was awarded to MV Transportation to operate OCTA’s ACCESS paratransit service.
  • In June, BRAVO!, a limited-stop service on Route 543, was launched between the Fullerton Transportation Center and MacArthur Boulevard.
  • Construction contracts were awarded to four OC Bridges projects, which are separating roads from the train tracks in Fullerton, Anaheim and Placentia.
  • A Bikeways Strategy was released in July that identifies 11 potential regional bikeways corridors that connect to major activity centers throughout Orange County.

The Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA) has released its latest edition of The Toll Roads VIEWSLETTER. To view the TCA publication, please click here.


DUI Saturation Patrols Planned for Super Bowl Sunday

As the Super Bowl approaches and football fans across the country prepare for the game, the National Football League (NFL), the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have joined forces with the Orange County “Avoid the 38” DUI Task Force to spread the message about designating a sober driver on Super Bowl Sunday, because Fans Don’t Let Fans Drive Drunk.

The DUI taskforce will deploy special saturation patrols in communities around the County; and every regularly scheduled patrol officer will be watching for the tell-tale signs of impaired driving before, during and after the game.

For more information, including game day safety tips, please click here.


Orange County Coastal Coalition

The Orange County Coastal Coalition, which I am pleased to Chair, provides an opportunity to learn about and collaborate on current topics affecting not only our coastal cities, but those inland as well.

Our January 23 meeting provided a forum to hear from Dr. Karen McLaughlin, a biogeochemist specializing in nutrient cycling and source tracking in streams, estuaries, and coastal waters for Southern California Coastal Water Research Project (SCCWRP); and Ms. Amanda Bird, marine restoration coordinator managing eelgrass restoration, presented on the native Olympia oyster restoration, green abalone recovery, and the citizen-science dive program for Orange County Coastkeeper.

Dr. McLaughlin shared about the researched causes and implications of ocean acidification. Studies show that since the industrial revolution, the concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere has been on the rise. The ocean absorbs about 25 percent of the CO2 released in the atmosphere; and as levels of atmospheric CO2 increase, so do the levels in the ocean.

When CO2 dissolves in the ocean, carbonic acid is formed, decreasing the ocean’s pH. These changes in the ocean’s chemistry can affect the behavior of shell-forming animals, including corals, oysters, shrimp, lobster, and many planktonic organisms; and certain fish’s ability to detect predators can become decreased in more acidic waters.

When these organisms are at risk, the entire food web may also be at risk. These signs indicate that, unless humans are able to control and eventually develop new sources of energy that are clean, reliable, efficient and safe, ocean organisms will find themselves under increasing pressure to adapt to their habitat's changing chemistry or perish.

On a local level, California’s coastal cities are required to manage nutrients being discharged in effort to allow ecosystems time to adapt. Federally, quality standards established in the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act regulate pollutants being discharged into the air and into water. The EPA requires States to list waters not meeting standards, as well as greenhouse gas emissions, in effort to slow climate change effects.

In addition, collaborative efforts between scientists, resource managers, industry and others from local, state, federal, and tribal levels emerged to form California Current Acidification Network (C-CAN). C-CAN is committed to being a source for reliable, vetted scientific information.

C-CAN’s mission is to identify and disseminate answers to pertinent questions, support ongoing and emerging efforts, and provide leveraged in-kind support toward the goal of adequately understanding the complexity of the emerging issue of ocean acidification and in recognition that growing our understanding of potential impacts will require a concerted community effort.

For more information please email Dr. McLaughlin at karenm@sccwrp.org.

Ms. Bird shared about the restoration and conservation of the green abalone. Historically, seven species of abalone were abundant along the west coast of California and supported viable commercial and recreational fisheries. However, stock collapsed due primarily to overharvest, leading to closures of fisheries in central and southern California in 1997.

The white and black abalone are currently listed as federally endangered under the Endangered Species Act; and three other species – green, pink, and pinto abalone – are listed as NOAA Species of Concern.

In southern California, successful recovery and management strategies are not currently available due to the lack of basic knowledge concerning abalone species.

To address this, Orange County Coastkeeper, in partnership with other nonprofit organizations, academic institutions, and cooperating state and federal agencies began assessments of green abalone (Haliotis fulgens) throughout the southern California Bight, the only species currently being considered for stock restoration, other than the white abalone.

Since 2010, the goal has been to provide information to NOAA Fisheries and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife on green abalone genetic and population structure, habitat associations, and reproductive potential in Orange County through regular scuba surveys in near-shore kelp forest habitats.

An assessment of the population genetic structure has been completed; and a citizen-science monitoring program is being developed to address the lack of understanding in the community of the importance of abalone, as well as the need to develop long-term strategies to measure the success of recovery efforts for green abalone. These methods and procedures developed will also be relevant to other ongoing abalone species recovery efforts throughout southern California.

For more information please email Ms. Bird at amanda@coastkeeper.org.

To view Orange County Coastal Coalition meeting information and presentations, please click here. To be placed on the email distribution list for Orange County Coastal Coalition meetings, please send your email address to: andrea.toscano@ocpw.ocgov.com.

Eco Challenge Day

OC Waste & Recycling, in collaboration with the Anaheim Ducks, is sponsoring an Eco Challenge Day on Saturday, February 1 from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. in the parking lot of the Honda Center, 2695 E Katella Ave, Anaheim, CA 92806.

Arrive early with e-waste, gently-used clothing, or household hazardous material to earn the best giveaways.

Bring the whole family and enjoy the Ducks hockey spot, live music from 93.1 Jack FM, and other fun activities!

For more information, please click here.


2014 Salt Creek Beach Adult Surf Contest Schedule
  • Jan. 25-26: NSSA
  • March 29–30: WSA
  • June 14-16: NSSA Championships
  • Sept. 27: Cosmic Creek
  • Oct. 4–5: Battle of the Paddle
  • Nov. 14: Ritz – Surfing Santa
  • Dec. 13-14: Surfing America
For more information, please click here.


Clerk-Recorder Extends Hours

Effective Monday, February 3, the Orange County Clerk-Recorder will be extending the hours at the department’s branch offices in downtown Fullerton and at the Laguna Hills Civic Center. The branch offices will now be open to the public from 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM. The branch offices previously were open until 4:00 PM, while the department’s main offices in Santa Ana stayed open until 4:30 PM. For more information, please click here.

The Orange County Clerk-Recorder will also be offering extended hours and is now accepting reservations for couples who wish to be married on Valentine’s Day at the department’s three marriage offices.

Ceremony rooms and marriage services will be available at the Old County Courthouse in Santa Ana from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Ceremony rooms and marriage services will be available at the department’s branch offices in Laguna Hills and Fullerton from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. In addition, the branch office locations offer free parking.

Appointments are highly recommended for those wishing to have a ceremony on Valentine’s Day since this day continues to be one of the most popular days to “tie the knot.” You can make an appointment by visiting their website at www.ocrecorder.com and use the online application and appointment system. Walk-ins will be assisted based on availability of ceremony rooms.

Valentine’s Day has consistently been one of the busiest days for civil marriages at the Clerk-Recorder. Last year, the department married 170 couples. The all-time record for the department is 173 ceremonies performed on Valentine’s Day in 1997. The department also issued 224 marriage licenses last year on Valentine’s Day.

For more information, please click here.


Aliso Viejo: SCORE Workshop

The City of Aliso Viejo is teaming up with SCORE to host the "Does Your Thinking Limit Your Success?" workshop Tuesday, February 4. The FREE workshop will take place from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the Aliso Viejo Conference Center, 31 Santa Barbara Drive. For more information, please click here.

Laguna Niguel: FREE Business Training Workshop

The City of Laguna Niguel will 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 Laguna Niguel City Hall. For more information, please click here.

Laguna Beach: First Friday Flicks at the Forum

First Friday Flicks at the Forum will be held Friday, February 7 at the Forum Theatre on the Festival of Arts grounds at 650 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach. The Oscar nominated film titled “20 Feet from Stardom” will be screened at 7:00 PM. For more information, please click here.

San Clemente: Coffee With A Cop

San Clemente Police Services invites residents to enjoy “Coffee With A Cop” on Wednesday, February 12 from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. at Ellie’s Table, located in North Beach at 120 West Avenida Pico. For more information, please click here.

Mission Viejo: “Communication: Face to Face” Workshop

Teens and adults are invited to take part in a special workshop Wednesday, February 12 from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the Norman Murray Community and Senior Center. The program will focus on opening and maintaining lines of communication within the family and common daily interactions. For more information, please click here.


In addition to my many meetings, briefings, and other supervisorial activities, I also:
  • Participated in a meeting of the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) Board of Directors.
  • Participated in a groundbreaking ceremony in San Juan Capistrano for San Juan Creek to PCH.
  • Hosted a Fifth District Mayors Roundtable to discuss important issues affecting services for our older adult community in South County and what we, as elected officials, can do to help address these concerns.
  • Presented certificates of recognition to honorees at the Dana Point Chamber of Commerce Board Installation Dinner.
  • Presented certificates of recognition to honorees at the Laguna Niguel Chamber of Commerce Board Installation Breakfast.
  • Adjourned the Board of Supervisors meeting in memory of Orange County Firefighter here of Trabuco Canyon.

My office also:
  • Presented certificates of recognition to honorees at the Orange County Fire Authority’s “Best and Bravest” Awards Ceremony.

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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