On the heels of a federal audit that found a “serious threat” to the safety of elderly patients, county supervisors are considering whether to dilute Supervisor Janet Nguyen’s influence over the county health plan.
A series of options includes having all five supervisors serve on CalOptima’s board, increasing the representation to two supervisors or keeping the status quo of just one supervisor.
Ironically, supervisors rejected a grand jury recommendation last year to put more supervisors on CalOptima’s board.
The supervisors meeting starts Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. Click here for the agenda.
Anaheim’s Next City Manager
With City Manager Marcie Edwards heading to Los Angeles to take the top job at the Department of Water and Power, Anaheim leaders are having to decide who will now manage their city government.
City Council members plan to go into closed session Tuesday to discuss Edwards’ resignation and appoint an interim city manager.
The open meeting starts Tuesday at 5 p.m.
Expanding Angel Stadium Appraisal
Anaheim city leaders are set to vote on expanding their appraisal of Angel Stadium to include the cost of destroying and replacing the stadium.
The appraiser has already been tasked with determining the property’s value should the Angels’ lease be renewed or the team relocates.
The total sole-source contract with Waronzof Associates would be capped at $150,000.
Final reports are expected by March 31.
The meeting starts Tuesday at 5 p.m. Click here for the staff report.
Holding Off on Faster Bus Service
While the Orange County Transportation Authority says its new rapid bus service on Harbor Boulevard is a major success, board members are being asked to delay plans to implement two new “freeway express” rapid bus routes.
The first would connect the Laguna Niguel-Mission Viejo Metrolink station to the Irvine Business Complex and South Coast Metro employment centers.
In between, there would be stops at the Aliso Viejo Town Center and UC Irvine.
“Staff now recommends deferring implementation of this route due to a potential reduction in transit funding to sustain long-term operating costs,” according to the staff report.
The second route would connect the Santa Ana train station with Long Beach via the Route 22 freeway and feature stops at Harbor Boulevard, Beach Boulevard and the Santa Ana Civic Center.
Staff is citing a “lack of future revenues to pay for the service” in recommending that the board delay implementing it.
Meanwhile, Transportation Authority officials say the one existing rapid line on Harbor Boulevard has been popular with riders and has reduced travel times.
“Feedback from Route 543 customers has been very positive, and the overall service is a success from the customer perspective,” a staff report states. “Initial results from an on-board survey demonstrate that most customers are saving more than 15 minutes per trip when using the new service.”
The Transportation Authority board meeting starts Monday at 9 a.m.
Anaheim’s city manager is creating a pilot “public safety board” that will review police shootings and in-custody deaths, among other duties, according to an update for City Council members on this week’s agenda.
The panel would comprise nine residents picked by lottery.
Two mothers, whose sons were shot and killed by Anaheim police, are already taking issue with the proposal.
Theresa Smith and Donna Acevedo sent out a news release over the weekend that calls the plan “Fake Police Oversight.” They asserted that the proposal “falls short of having subpoena powers to look into allegations of police misconduct.”
A city staff report, meanwhile, concludes that such subpoena power wouldn’t be effective.
“If the person subpoenaed does not voluntarily comply, there is no practical means of enforcement,” the staff report states. “The board would have to petition a court to secure compliance, which is costly, time consuming, and likely to be ineffective.”
But the mothers insisted subpoena power is needed to help rebuild trust with the community.
“We don’t need more bureaucracy. We don’t need more red tape,” Acevedo stgated in the news release. “What we need is true oversight of the police and this cannot be done without the power to review the police’s actions and practices.”
Also on the agenda are closed sessions about Angel Stadium negotiations and a lawsuit filed by relatives of Manuel Diaz, whose July 2012 police shooting death helped prompt riots downtown.
The meeting starts Tuesday at 5 p.m. Click here for the staff report.
County Supervisors Meet in Sacramento
Orange County’s top elected officials plan to hold a public workshop in Sacramento this week with their counterparts in the state Legislature.
A special meeting has been called for Wednesday morning, with “proposed and pending legislation and the State budget’s impacts to the County of Orange” as the sole topic for discussion.
The meeting is expected to include Orange County’s representatives in the Legislature.
It’s scheduled for Wednesday at 9 a.m. in the Capitol’s Room 3162, the Assembly Rules Committee room. The agenda doesn’t state where locals can watch the meeting or participate from. Click here for the agenda.
CalOptima Committees Meet After Audit
As officials at the county health plan try to avoid losing their authority to oversee federal health insurance, two key committees are set to meet this week.
CalOptima’s Finance and Audit Committee is set to meet Tuesday at 2 p.m., and the Quality Assurance Committee plans to meet Wednesday at 5:30 p.m.
A recent federal audit found a “serious threat” to the health and safety of low-income elderly people who are in the Cal Optima’s OneCare program.
At a recent CalOptima board meeting, a board member questioned how the agency’s own audit division failed to catch the serious violations found by federal auditors.
In his response, CEO Mike Schrader said CalOptima’s audit staff only examined CalOptima itself and not the contractors who the agency heavily relies on. He also said CalOptima staff didn’t expect to be held accountable for their contractors’ actions.
Monday’s status as a federal holiday isn’t stopping the Mission Viejo City Council from holding its meeting.
Other cities that normally meet on Mondays, such as Huntington Beach, instead hold their meetings on Tuesday when Monday is a holiday.
Among the items on the agenda is choosing contract specifications for replacing the city’s second-largest playground and releasing a request for bids. The project is expected to cost $1.3 million.
The meeting starts Monday at 6 p.m. Click here for the agenda.
Guns and Light Bulbs in Santa Ana
The Santa Ana City Council is set to decide on whether to buy $141,000 worth of bullets and $22,000 in new, energy-efficient street lights.
A staff report explains that the ammunition would be bought from four vendors: Adamson Police Products, Dooley Enterprises, Proforce Marketing and San Diego Police Equipment. But it doesn’t state how much the city’s getting for that price. The City Council is expected to decide on the purchase.
City leaders are expected to buy 60 more LED street lights this week, potentially saving the city on its electricity bill and carbon footprint.
At a price of $22,000, the city expects to reduce its power usage by 31,734 kilowatt-hours per year.
With electricity rates for outdoor lighting ranging between $0.19 and $0.27 per killowatt-hour, the city could save between about $6,000 and $8,500 per year on electricity costs.
Under that estimate, taxpayers would break even on the investment in two and a half to four years. The carbon footprint reduction is equivalent to removing just under 5 cars from the road, according to the staff report.
The new lights would be bought from Powerlux Corp. in addition to the 354 already purchased.
The meeting starts Tuesday at 5:45 p.m. Click here for the staff report.
Huntington Beach Expanding to Bolsa Chica Wetlands
City leaders are set to start the process of annexing the protected wetlands into its city limits.
The city plans to spend $185,000 to annex the land from the county.
After that, the city expects to have ongoing revenue of $136,000 — the large majority from oil extraction taxes — and expenses of at least $25,000. City staff are citing unknown extra costs for fire, police, code enforcement, animal control and public works.
The shift is ultimately subject to approval by the Huntington Beach City Council, Local Agency Formation Commission and Orange County Board of Supervisors.
The meeting starts Tuesday at 6 p.m. Click here for the staff report.
As Irvine school board members gear up to build a high school near a toxic landfill, Councilman Larry Agran is calling for more public disclosure of health risks and traffic impacts.
The proposed location, known as Site A, will cost nearly $300 million to build and lies less than 1,000 feet from a World War II-era toxic waste dump, according to a memo Agran wrote requesting the release of information.
Agran is also asking his council colleagues to waive attorney-client privilege and make public a memo from Robert Thornton, a special counsel to the city, about the high school site.
The memo, Agran wrote, addresses “the nature and extent of publicly documented toxic contamination” at nearby landfills. “And potential City liability in the event that Irvine’s new high school is located at Site A and adverse health effects (possibly even ‘cancer clusters’) are later associated with toxins and carcinogens emanating from” the nearby landfill sites.
The meeting starts Tuesday at 4 p.m.
Ballot Measure for School Site?
Also at Agran’s request, council members are set to decide on placing an “advisory measure” on the June 3 ballot for voters to weigh in on the school site.
“The location of a nearly $300 million new high school is a major land-use decision with health, safety, and quality of life implications for generations to come,” Agran wrote in a memo.
“Citizen engagement, citizen debate, and a citizen advisory vote on these matters could prove to be valuable in building genuine consensus regarding the best location for Irvine’s next high school.”
The high school measure would coincide with a special election to replace Gavin Huntley-Fenner, an Irvine Unified School District board member who recently resigned.
New Great Park Environmental Analysis
With a new vision for the Great Park approved by Irvine City Council members, the city is now set to start the process of determining the environmental impacts of the new plan.
The changes include adding a massive sports park and an 18-hole golf course, along with a smaller canyon than envisioned in the original master plan.
Up for approval on Tuesday is about $360,000 for consultants to conduct environmental and traffic analyses for the new master plan.
The construction giant AECOM would prepare the environmental analysis at a cost of $135,000. LSA Associates would handle the traffic analysis for $225,510.
After an outcry from the Garden Grove Neighborhood Association, city management is suggesting that a public outreach process take place before deciding what to do with a city-owned parking lot.
The lot, which is owned by the city’s housing authority, is located at the corner of Grove Avenue and Acacia Parkway.
A development company run by Steve Sheldon recently announced that it had an exclusive deal to develop the property into housing, prompting the neighborhood association to cry foul.
“In light of where we are at in the Re:Imagine [public engagement] visioning process, it would be prudent for the city to cease further discussions regarding the Grove Avenue parking lot until completion of this process,” a city staff report states.
“It is important that the many creative thoughts and ideas for improving the City’s downtown be gathered and evaluated before considering new development projects that could affect the area.”
After a federal audit slammed the county’s health plan for poor, elderly and disabled residents, CalOptima’s overseers are set to get an update on what went wrong and how agency officials are responding.
County supervisors plan to receive the update at their board meeting on Tuesday.
The picture painted by the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services isn’t pretty.
According to the audit, mismanagement at CalOptima’s OneCare program presents a “serious threat” to the health and safety of 16,000 seniors.
Auditors found many instances in which seniors who had a legitimate right to have prescriptions filled were improperly denied, as well as improper denials of medical services and emergency room payments.
Tuesday’s update was requested by Supervisors Todd Spitzer and Shawn Nelson.
“The chairman and I are summoning [CalOptima] CEO [Mike] Schrader to come front and center and update the board on what the hell is going on at CalOptima and why we are jeopardizing medical services to the most needy members of the public,” Spitzer told Voice of OC last week.
The issue will come back again on Feb. 25, when supervisors plan to review their appointments to CalOptima’s board. Their options include adding other supervisors to the panel, removing Supervisor Janet Nguyen or maintaining the status quo.
Tuesday’s meeting starts at 9:30 a.m. at the county Hall of Administration.
Santa Ana Might Call for Ending Deportations
City leaders could call for an extension of the federal deferred action program to “all immigrant families who are not engaged in criminal activity” if a proposed directive to the city attorney is approved Tuesday.
A similar measure was rejected last week by Anaheim City Council members, who cited a lack of presidential authority to end deportations on his own.
In Santa Ana’s case, however, the resolution would call on both Congress and the president to extend the program.
The meeting starts sometime after 5:45 p.m. at Santa Ana City Hall.
Update on Angel Stadium Negotiations
Anaheim residents and city leaders are set to get an update Tuesday on the controversial lease negotiations for city-owned Angel Stadium.
City officials have said they don’t know how much the land is worth. An appraisal is expected to be finished on Feb. 24, though it’s unclear when the council will make its findings public.
Residents will have a chance to weigh in with their thoughts at Tuesday’s 5 p.m. meeting. Click here for the staff report.
Santa Ana Presents Draft Strategic Plan
Santa Ana residents will get another chance to speak up about where their city’s priorities should be for the next five years, when the city presents a draft strategic plan on Saturday.
Activists have raised concerns that the strategic planning process is producing skewed and unreliable results.
About 80 percent of Santa Ana residents are Latino and more than 80 percent of residents speak a language other than English at home.
But only 7 percent of the surveys were taken in Spanish as of mid-December.
And more than a third of the 1,408 survey results at that point were from city employees.
City officials, meanwhile, said that they’ve made numerous efforts to get responses from the community and that the surveys are just one part of an extensive outreach effort.
Citing rising fees from the state Board of Equalization, the county’s Children and Families Commission plans to advocate for a state law that would cap the state’s fees for early childhood education funds.
The funding comes from Proposition 10, which places a 50-cent tax on cigarettes and $1 tax on other tobacco products to pay for early childhood education. It was a constitutional amendment passed by voters in 1998.
The commission’s lobbyist, Curt Pringle, is expected to discuss the issue at Wednesday’s meeting, which starts at 9 a.m. at the county Hall of Administration. Click here for the staff report.
County Video Contract Up for Extension
County supervisors are set to extend a $250,000-per-year contract to broadcast their meetings online.
Network Television Time or GovTV is the original contractor from when the broadcasts started in 2000 and is set to get a three-year extension at Tuesday’s board meeting.
It’s unclear why the county pays so much more for the service than many local cities.
The city of Costa Mesa, for example, pays about $19,000 per year to broadcast and archive its council meetings.
Some of GovTV’s technology also appears to be out of date.
The board videos and audio are low quality by today’s standards and are usually not available until a few hours after the meeting ends.
Other services — such as YouTube, which is free — will broadcast video in high definition and make it available for viewing almost immediately after it ends.
The county’s meeting videos are viewed more than 40,000 times per year, according to GovTV.
Tuesday’s meeting starts at 9:30 a.m. at the county Hall of Administration. Click here for the staff report.
Costa Mesa Considers Increasing Pension Payments
Citing overall cost savings, the City Council will consider prepaying pension costs each year and paying an extra $1 million toward firefighter pensions this year and $500,000 per year extra going forward.
It’s the last action item at Tuesday’s council meeting, which starts at 6 p.m. Click here for the staff report.
Developing an All-Electric Bus
Local pollution officials plan to pay a company $857,000 to create and test an an all-electric transit bus that could be put into service across Southern California.
A $395,000 contract with Complete Coach Works is up for approval by the South Coast AQMD board on Friday.