6 Hot Debates to Watch This Week

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Here’s a rundown of the main issues to track this week throughout Orange County.

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

1. Animals Become Hot Issue in County Budget Talks

County supervisors will likely make a series of changes this week to the upcoming county government budget.

While it’s a stable budget with few major changes from the current year, one debate that’s expected to generate a passionate discussion is animal care.

In response to significant potential cuts to animal services, most supervisors have supported fee increases to cover a $626,000 funding gap.

The decision not to make cuts followed back-to-back pleas from nearly a dozen animal activists, shelter volunteers and members of the public.

On Tuesday, supervisors will decide on fee increases that would raise a little more than $800,000 this coming year. County staff also are expected to start planning a new animal shelter in Tustin and study the feasibility of creating smaller “satellite” shelters across the county.

The animal care decision is scheduled just before the county budget hearing at Tuesday’s meeting, which starts at 9:30 a.m.

2. Decision Expected in Controversial Orange Project

Orange City Council members are scheduled to vote on whether to approve the controversial Rio Santiago housing project, which was rejected by city planning commissioners in March amid concerns about fires, flooding and other issues.

The project would convert a former mine, Sully Miller, into 130 homes and up to 265 senior living units. Developers Milan Capital Management and JMI Real Estate would set aside most of the land for open space, recreation facilities and trails.

But the planning commission rejected the project in March, saying it would have more “significant and unavoidable impacts” than any other project known to have been approved by the city.

The meeting begins Tuesday at 6 p.m. To view the agenda, click here.

3. Millions in Santa Ana School Funding Up for Approval

A new funding plan for Santa Ana schools, which has lacked key details on how the money would be spent, is up for public testimony and adoption this week.

Under California’s new school funding system, known as the Local Control Funding Formula, school districts are supposed to proactively work with the public on how to spend millions in extra funds for high-needs students. Among other things, they must establish local accountability plans.

But when Santa Ana Unified’s draft plan was introduced last month, a top official noted that key elements of document were missing, such as projected price tags and actions to achieve its goals.

Similar concerns have been expressed about accountability plans across the state, with many of the documents being filled with technical language and a lack of details for how the funds will be used.

At Tuesday’s school board meeting, members of the public can give testimony before board members refine and adopt the plan.

The district’s new budget for fiscal year 2015 is also up for adoption. The meeting starts at 6 p.m.

A copy of the latest proposed plan was not available on the district’s website this weekend.

4. Criminal Conviction Leads to New Buena Park Mayor

Buena Park’s four remaining city council members will select a new mayor Tuesday following the recent conviction of Mayor Sangjin Miller Oh.

A jury found Oh guilty of five counts of perjury for falsifying Department of Motor Vehicles documents to avoid making child-support payments.

The Orange County Register reported that Oh, 50, faces a maximum of six years, four months in state prison when he is sentenced Aug. 22.

City Manager Jim Vanderpool told the Register all of the crimes occurred before Oh became a city council member in 2010 and had nothing to do with city business. State law requires his removal from office following the conviction.

The meeting begins Tuesday at 5 p.m. Click here to view the agenda.

5. Santa Ana Delves Into Homeless Issues

With their city being one of the main hubs for homeless people in Orange County, Santa Ana officials are scheduled to hold an in-depth discussion on the issue this week.

At a special study session, council members will explore the history, polices and future opportunities when it comes to homelessness.

Dozens of homeless people live in the Santa Ana’s civic center. Occasionally, homeless families with young children are seen in the area.

The study session starts Thursday at 4 p.m.

6. Anaheim Could Prioritize Police Funding

Anaheim council members are set to vote on whether to prioritize city funding to hire 10 new police officers every year for the next four years.

A proposed policy is up for approval at Tuesday’s meeting, which starts at 5 p.m.

Major Meetings This Week:

Monday

Orange County Transportation Authority Board 

Cypress City Council 

Los Alamitos City Council (Special Meeting) 

Stanton City Council (Special Meeting) 

Villa Park City Council (Budget Study Session) 

Tuesday

Orange County Board of Supervisors 

Anaheim City Council 

Brea City City Council 

Buena Park City Council 

Costa Mesa City Council 

Garden Grove City Council 

Irvine City Council 

Laguna Woods City Council 

Newport Beach City Council 

Orange City Council 

Placentia City Council 

Stanton City Council 

Wednesday

OCTA Finance and Administration Committee 

Rancho Santa Margarita City Council 

Westminster City Council 

Thursday

Santa Ana City Council (Study Session on Homelessness) 

Transportation Corridor Agencies Boards 

Friday

Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board 

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

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