On the Agenda

Here’s a rundown of the main issues we’ll be tracking this week throughout Orange County.

Is there something happening in your city we should know about? Let us know!

Anaheim to Pay $1.3 Million in Voting Districts Settlement

Anaheim City Council members are set to approve the payout Tuesday as part of an agreement to end a lawsuit that argued the city’s at large voting system disenfranchises Latinos.

The suit by the American Civil Liberties Union and Latino activists was officially settled in January with the city agreeing to pay the plaintiff’s full legal costs.

The plaintiffs originally asked for $1.32 million, which the city negotiated down about 10 percent to $1.26 million, according to a city staff report.

As part of the settlement, Anaheim voters will decide in November whether to transform the city’s voting into a district-based system and add two additional council members.

Factoring in the city’s costs, fighting the suit is expected to have ultimately cost the city $2.4 million.

Measles Outbreak Gets the Attention of County Officials

With Orange County leading the state in measles cases this year, the county’s Children and Families Commission is set to hear the latest on what’s being done to reduce further spreading.

Orange County has had 21 confirmed cases of measles this year, with local health officials attributing a lack of immunization to at least some of those cases.

According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, measles causes fever, runny nose, coughing and a body-wide rash. It can also lead to ear infections, pneumonia and in extremely rare cases, brain inflammation and death.

The disease can be prevented by the MMR vaccine, and officials say the rise in measles cases coincides with an increase in the number of parents who sign waivers to opt out of vaccinating their children.

A quick review of data suggests that children in higher-income districts in south and coastal Orange County are the least likely to be immunized countywide.

Local school districts with the lowest immunization rates for kindergarteners are Capistrano Unified (75.2 percent), Laguna Beach Unified (75.6 percent) and Newport-Mesa Unified (86.1 percent).

Districts with the highest immunization rates are Anaheim City (98.1 percent), Garden Grove Unified (96.7 percent) and Magnolia Elementary (96.5 percent).

The commission meets 9 a.m. Wednesday at 1505 E. 17th St., Santa Ana.

Ambulance Contracts Up for County Debate

County supervisors are set Tuesday to review proposed contract specifications for ambulance service in most Orange County cities and to recommend any changes.

The draft request for proposals or RFPs starts on page 11 of this document.

After giving direction on the draft RFP this week, supervisors are set to review it again next week before sending it off to the state for approval.

Check our site later Monday for a detailed rundown of the issue.

The ambulance discussion is scheduled toward the end of Tuesday’s meeting, which starts at 9:30 a.m.

Update on Anaheim’s Streetcar Project

Anaheim city leaders are set to get an update this week on the city’s controversial $319-million streetcar project.

Policy issues up for debate this year include which agency will be head up final design and construction, what types of federal grants should be sought, how operations and maintenance would be funded and which agency will be in charge of owning, operating and maintaining the transit line.

Supporters have said the streetcar will increase connectivity and spur economic investment. Critics, meanwhile, have said that the project will benefit only a select few in the business community and that an enhanced bus alternative would cost $260 million less.

The latest controversy has centered on taking control of private property for the project.

Property that includes the 52-year-old, family-owned Park Vue Inn could be taken over, prompting an outcry from the owners.

An environmental impact report, scheduled to be released in December, is supposed to identify the preferred route and clarify which properties would be taken.

Public hearings on the project’s environmental effects would be held in early 2015.

The studies will consider impacts such as aesthetics, biological resources, air quality, cultural and historic resources, energy, geology and soils, greenhouse gas emissions, hazardous materials, hydrology and water quality, land use and planning, noise and vibration, utilities and service systems, transportation, traffic, land acquisitions, displacement and relocation, community and neighborhoods, parks and recreation areas, safety and security, environmental justice, construction impacts, cumulative impacts and economic and fiscal impacts.

The city expects construction to start in 2015, with the light rail line opening in 2018.

Tuesday’s discussion is set for the end of the council meeting, which starts at 5 p.m. Click here for the staff report.

Santa Ana to Get Update on Sunshine Ordinance

Santa Ana’s open-government law is now a year and a half old, and city leaders are set to review this week how its implementation has panned out so far.

The ordinance was passed in October 2012 after months of lobbying from a coalition of activists, the Santa Ana Collaborative for Responsible Development (SACReD).

Under the sunshine ordinance, the city now posts agendas at least 96 hours before council meetings, meaning that residents find out on Thursdays what’s coming up at the following Tuesday’s meeting.

According to the city, community meetings during the early planning phase have been held for six development projects so far, with community input boosted by a requirement that nearby renters and office tenants be notified about meetings instead of just property owners. So far no projects have been delayed because of the required meetings, officials say.

The other provisions of the sunshine ordinance have been implemented, according to staff, including a requirement that City Council members’ calendars be posted online. Staff isn’t recommending any changes to the law.

The update is scheduled toward the end of Tuesday’s council meeting, which starts at 5:45 p.m. Click here for the staff report.

Major Meetings This Week:

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Adam Elmahrek contributed to this post.

You can reach Nick Gerda at ngerda@gmail.com, and follow him on Twitter: @nicholasgerda.

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