Presented by the Honorable Bill Campbell
Chairman of the Board of Supervisors
County of Orange, California
February 1, 2005
Colleagues, Mr. CEO, Department Heads, members of the
County family, ladies and gentlemen:
Last week I listed the goals for the County for this
year. This week in the State of the County address,
I will be highlighting the achievements of this past
year. I intend to ask my colleagues to describe the
state of his district – major public works projects,
watershed issues, the fulfillment of service needs unique
to each supervisorial district. So we will pause later
for brief State of the First, Second, Third, Fourth
and Fifth District speeches.
2004 presented daunting challenges to local government,
and this great county of ours was no exception. The
County of Orange remains on solid ground, ready to meet
the challenges sure to come in 2005. From the state’s
perennial raid on county coffers, to conducting elections
under intense scrutiny, to public works projects requiring
significant deployments of personnel and resources,
this organization, with the help of its 18,000 members,
faced its share of difficulties and achieved many significant
As we all know, 2004 was the 10th anniversary of the
largest municipal bankruptcy in American history –
our own. Fiscal responsibility and efficiency have become
the watchwords of this County, and with good reason.
The recovery and rebuilding process has been a long
time coming, but thanks to a sober and unflinching look
at the way we do business, we are a long way from where
we were 10 years ago.
We said goodbye to former CEO Jim Ruth, who helped
to steer the County back on track with major departmental
reorganization and who put into place tighter fiscal
controls to avoid the kinds of problems that led to
the bankruptcy. And, in a seamless transition from Mr.
Ruth’s administration, we welcomed our new CEO,
Tom Mauk, who is continuing the fine analytical work
of Mr. Ruth.
A Strategic Financial Planning process guides our annual
budget in light of long-range goals and revenue projections.
We have a sound investment policy that is protected
by vital checks and balances. We focus our attention
and resources on our core business, shifting away from
the municipal service business through the annexation
of county islands. But we move forward cautiously, unsure
of what the state may try to take from us or require
us to do.
We are all familiar enough with the challenges this
County faced last year. For the most part, we continue
to face them each day. I’d like to turn now to
our many accomplishments.
In 2004, the ill-fated notion of a commercial airport
at the former MCAS, El Toro was finally put to rest
with the negotiated settlement of the remaining litigation
and the annexation of the El Toro property to the City
of Irvine. We now look forward to the planning and development
of the Orange County Great Park. The Navy is accepting
bids on the property as I speak to you today, and I
have every confidence that the Great Park will become
a reality. But the ongoing efforts of the City of Los
Angeles to insert itself into policy decisions affecting
Orange Countians illustrate the need for our continued
vigilance on the El Toro front; we must not let down
our guard until the sale is final and the runways have
Under Clerk-Recorder Tom Daly’s leadership, the
County converted over 10 million official and vital
records and indices to a digital format, dramatically
increasing efficiency and reducing citizens’ wait-time
for birth, marriage and death certificates to mere minutes.
The Clerk-Recorder also launched a County Archives Web
site, providing the public with access to information
on Orange County’s rich history. After successfully
applying to the State Department to accept passport
applications, the Clerk-Recorder processed over 600
of them, making the difficulties of international travel
in today’s world a bit easier for Orange County
The Clerk of the Board implemented the Countywide e-Agenda
system that provides the public with full access to
the weekly Board agenda, staff reports and attachments
via the Internet, and allows for the timely and orderly
submission of staff reports.
Last year, the County gave its final approval to the
“Ranch Plan”: a General Plan amendment,
a zoning change, and a Development Agreement that, together,
will allow for the development of 14,000 residences,
half-a-million square feet of employment uses and over
15,000 acres of dedicated open space – plus 60
acres dedicated to the County for affordable housing.
Supervisor Wilson, RDMD Director Bryan Speegle, and
Tim Neely and his team in the Planning Division deserve
special recognition for their fine work in seeing the
Ranch Plan through. In a few minutes, I will defer to
my colleague, Vice Chairman Tom Wilson, to elaborate
on the historic Rancho Mission Viejo project.
November’s election was conducted almost flawlessly
because of the successful implementation of the County’s
$26 million electronic voting system. The success of
that project hinged on tremendous voter education and
outreach to thousands of Orange County voters prior
to the elections. The success was also due to a vigorous
and comprehensive poll-worker recruitment and training
program, for our 7,500 volunteers who handled the record
1,094,405 voter-turnout in the November election. All
of this because of the intense scrutiny, and the learning
that was gleaned after the March primary.
Last summer, John Wayne Airport opened eight new security
screening lanes, doubling our airport’s total
screening capacity. As a result, what was once a 45-minute
wait for security screening is now about ten minutes
on average…just in time for JWA’s busiest
month on record – August 2004 – with 872,271
Also, my colleagues and I certified the final EIR that
will allow the airport to make facilities improvements
that will support an increase in its annual passenger
capacity from 8.4 million to 10.8 million per year.
The Integrated Waste Management Department handled
the safe disposal of nearly four million tons of solid
waste last year. And the County’s four Household
Hazardous Waste Collection Centers disposed of a much
greater volume of household hazardous waste than the
prior year. Participation in the program is up 19% over
the prior year, and volume increased by 30% as a result
of successful public outreach.
We are fortunate to have the finest law enforcement
officials in the nation who are at the forefront of
law enforcement innovation in the state of California
and the nation.
The District Attorney, whose deputies operated with
caseloads twice the size of their counterparts in San
Diego, filed charges against 71,000 defendants last
year and managed to convict 90 percent of them. The
DA also initiated prosecution on eight cold-case murders,
including one dating back to 1969.
Early on, District Attorney Tony Rackauckas recognized
the need for law enforcement tools to catch up with
today’s technology; in fact, he played a key role
in Proposition 69, the initiative requiring the collection
and cataloging of DNA samples of those arrested for
violent felonies. Orange County is recognized statewide
for setting in place a standard for DNA collection and
advises other counties on establishing their protocols
in response to the November passage of Prop. 69.
Sheriff-Coroner Mike Carona leads the entire county
in dealing with terrorist threats and potential attacks.
His agency played a lead role in last year’s Operation
Orange Shield, a major terrorism-response drill involving
hundreds of participants from dozens of local, state
and federal agencies to simulate response and reaction
to a potential attack here in Orange County.
We recently celebrated the opening of the new, statewide
Coroner’s Training Facility, where our nationallyrecognized
forensics team solves crimes and provides instruction
to deputy coroners from up and down the state.
Sheriff Carona runs the finest law enforcement agency
in the nation because of his refusal to compromise public
safety. He recognized that the County’s financial
situation was not likely to improve any time soon and
so called on his team to convene a blue ribbon task
force to review all aspects of the department and recommend
a series of costsaving measures that resulted in significant
cuts in his department’s various budgets without
affecting vital services.
The Probation Department broke ground on two, major
facilities projects last year: the expansion of Juvenile
Hall and the new Youth Leadership Academy, both in the
city of Orange. These projects will result in a net
gain of 120 beds for juvenile offenders committed to
the County’s correctional institutions.
Recognizing that rehabilitation is key to curtailing
recidivism among these juveniles – and key to
alleviating future bed-space needs – the Probation
Department partnered with the Orange County Department
of Education and non-profit, community-based organizations
to provide alternative avenues to incarcerated or otherwise
committed juveniles in order to prevent them from returning
to the criminal justice system. Last year, 227 incarcerated
youth received GEDs and 109 received high school diplomas.
The Public Defender’s Office participated in
the development of the DUI Court pilot program, which
began in October in the Harbor Justice Center in Newport
Beach. The DUI Court is widely regarded as being effective
at keeping chronic drunk drivers at bay and preventing
firsttime offenders from becoming repeat offenders.
Turning to the County’s community services, we
look first at the Health Care Agency.
The public health community experienced numerous challenges
in 2004. Our Health Care Agency, along with the Orange
County Vector Control District, faced the arrival of
the West Nile Virus head-on, working with the community
to educate health care providers and the public about
the symptoms of the virus, coordinating disease surveillance
and testing with state health officials, and providing
information to the public about West Nile Virus prevention.
HCA responded decisively to the shortage of flu vaccine
by partnering with the community for the effective distribution
of influenza vaccine as it became available –
slowly, but in time to reach the most vulnerable among
The Health Care Agency demonstrated its readiness to
respond to bioterrorism by orchestrating response drills
and mass vaccination clinics and training all HCA employees
on emergency management procedures.
The Housing and Community Services Department implemented
a Senior Non-Emergency Medical Transportation program
plan to develop, test and monitor pilot models throughout
the county. By the end of the year, the program had
provided nearly 88,000 medical trips, had 7,600 older
adults enrolled, and was growing at a pace of 600 additional
clients per month.
HCS also opened four County-financed affordable housing
developments, and broke ground on one more, representing
a total of 381 new rental housing units for low-and
very low-income residents throughout the county.
The Social Services Agency completed its first year
of the “First Step Assessment Center” at
Orangewood Children’s Home. The goal of the First
Step Center is to divert children from Orangewood’s
front door to familycentered or foster placements. Last
year, hundreds of children were placed rather than admitted
Now, I’d like to turn to my colleague, Vice Chairman
Tom Wilson for a look back on 2004 in the Fifth District.
My new colleague, Supervisor Correa, will now discuss
issues affecting the First District.
We had some notable public works projects in the Third
District aimed at improving the quality of life there
and in the county as whole.
In late 2003, the Board of Supervisors declared an
emergency in the Third District in response to a problem
in San Diego Creek that would have resulted in a public
health disaster. RDMD crews commenced work early last
year and worked tirelessly to remove overgrown vegetation
to restore the flood control capacity of a portion of
San Diego Creek adjacent to a sewer treatment facility.
Had there been a major flood, untreated sewage would
have flowed into the Upper Newport Bay through the San
A new, $4 million sewer system was installed at Irvine
Regional Park, and we’ve begun work on replacing
the old septic system at O’Neill Park with a sanitary
sewer system. I’ve heard of youth groups being
turned away from O’Neill Park because the park’s
septic system couldn’t support their stay. We
should never turn away respectful park visitors, and
I hope we never have to again.
Our Board also approved the Outdoor Education Camp,
which will be adjacent to Irvine Park on private land
deeded to the Boy Scouts from the Irvine Company. With
involvement from a variety of youth organizations, including
the Orange County Department of Education’s “Inside
the Outdoors” program, this camp will educate
Orange County’s youth on the outdoors here in
Orange County, rather than having them go outside the
County for camping and other activities.
The question of what to do with the County’s
blimp hangar at the former MCAS, Tustin is one that
was brought to my attention when I first joined this
Board. Throughout 2004, the County solicited and received
proposals for economically viable, park-related re-uses
for the hangar.
We will likely move forward with the disposition of
the County’s 85-acre parcel that includes the
north hangar in 2005.
Another important milestone in the Third District that
will benefit the entire County is the approval by the
Planning Commission of the Environmental Impact Report
for the extension of the Olinda Alpha Landfill operating
permit above Brea.
Staff is now completing negotiations with the City
of Brea and will come to the Board for approval of the
EIR and a Memorandum of Understanding with Brea. The
Katie Wheeler Branch Library will soon be built in the
County Historic Park at Jamboree and Irvine Boulevard
in Irvine. The new library will provide an educational
experience for County residents on both the inside and
the outside of the building. The library will honor
the memory of its namesake’s family, showing exactly
what the Irvine family ranch house looked like at the
peak of its use in the early twentieth century. The
new library will also include some of the home's internal
architectural features. It’s being built with
funding provided by developer fees and a grant from
the James T. Irvine Foundation, on a site provided by
the County's Harbors, Beaches and Parks Department.
The Katie Wheeler Library is scheduled to open in 2006.
My office has been working with the El Modena Community
Group to better understand and be responsive to the
needs of that unincorporated community. Since the Board
approved outsourcing a portion of the county’s
code enforcement operation, we have been able to aggressively
pursue code enforcement violations in the area that
depress the quality of life of the people we serve.
Additionally, I have asked the Sheriff to continue the
working relationship his deputies have with community
leaders there to ensure consistent and adequate policing.
For Orange Park Acres, the issue has been to balance
the number of horses allowed per acre with the community’s
desire to protect its equestrian theme. I believe a
good compromise can be reached and will be before this
Board for approval soon.
The County acquired two parcels last year within the
boundaries of the Cleveland National Forest, one in
Fremont Canyon and the other in Modjeska Canyon, that
will be dedicated as open space in perpetuity. The one
in Fremont Canyon includes the largest natural spring
in the northern region of the forest, and the Modjeska
Canyon parcel will extend the Modjeska Canyon Nature
Last spring, some constituents – among them,
a noted biologist – made me aware of a bat maternity
roost under the haul bridge that crosses over Santiago
Canyon Road, east of Irvine Lake. Hick’s Haul
Road, which the bridge connects to, was used to transport
sand and gravel mined at Irvine Lake to a finishing
plant on Irvine Company land in the hills between Santiago
Canyon Road and the city of Irvine. The agreement that
allowed for the bridge’s construction required
that it be demolished June 1 last year. We managed to
spare the bridge and avoid disturbing the bats. But
in the process, I discovered that the bridge could be
an invaluable public asset because of its potential
as a connector in the “mountains-to-the-sea”
trails network. County staff and I are working with
the Irvine Company and other stakeholders to acquire
the bridge and to provide various access plans.
2004 was a year of accomplishments because of the department
heads, managers and dedicated employees serving this
great county at all levels. It will be these public
spirited individuals’ accomplishments that we
will note in 2006, when we reconvene to reflect on the
year before us.
I look forward to working to achieve the goals for
2005 I laid out last week: preserving financial integrity,
accelerating management action, and improving the quality
of life here in Orange County. We will undoubtedly encounter
bumps along way, but with these goals guiding the day-to-day
work of our exceptional employees, we can make this
year our best yet.
Thank you very much.