Among this week’s top items in local government are proposed toll lanes on the Interstate 405 freeway and possible criminal penalties for adults who allow underage drinking in their homes.
The hotly debated proposal for toll lanes on I-405 is set to come to a head this week, with two key Orange County Transportation Authority meetings.
The issue has sparked a forceful reaction from local residents, officials and business owners, who call it a “double tax” that would create “Lexus lanes” for the wealthy while working-class people wait in traffic.
Meanwhile, proponents say the toll lanes would in fact help reduce traffic congestion and that action is needed now in order to prevent state officials from installing them anyway and keeping the tolls.
Leading off this week, the OCTA’s Regional Planning and Highways Committee is meeting Monday to decide on a staff recommendation that the toll lanes move forward.
Then on Friday, the full OCTA board plans to vote on the proposal, which is expected to draw a large turnout.
Both meetings are at OCTA’s headquarters, 600 S. Main St., Orange.
Also this week, county supervisors, at the suggestion of Supervisor Todd Spitzer, are set to vote on a “social host” ordinance that would levy a $750 fine on adults who knowingly allow minors to drink alcohol in their homes in unincorporated areas. A second offense would be prosecuted as misdemeanor.
At their Tuesday meeting, supervisors are also set to end county “pick-ups” of their employee pension contributions and put an initiative on the June 2014 ballot to end pick-ups of employee pension contributions for county supervisors whose terms start in 2015.
Additionally, some cities are taking action on bicycle infrastructure this week.
Dana Point council members are scheduled to seek a bicycle and pedestrian improvement grant, while Huntington Beach council members are set to pave the way for creating a bike boulevard on Utica Avenue at a total cost of $1.2 million.
Here’s a rundown of what’s up for debate this week across Orange County:
Monday, Nov. 4
OCTA Executive Committee – 9 a.m.
- Closed session discussion of property negotiations with the unspecified owner of 1750 E. 4th St., Santa Ana.
OCTA Regional Planning and Highways Committee – 10:30 a.m.
- Recommending that the full board pursue installing toll lanes on Interstate 405 as part of a freeway widening project.
- Approving a $400,000 cost increase for HDR Engineering Inc. for design and environmental services on the state Route 55 widening project between Interstate 405 and Interstate 5.
Santa Ana City Council – 5:45 p.m.
- Directing the city attorney to prepare a city charter amendment that would require a primary election for the mayor's seat.
- Agreement with Vineyards Development for a new multifamily housing development.
- Updating the city's building and fire codes.
- Conditional use permit to sell alcohol at Ritters Steam Kettle Cooking Restaurant at 1421 W. MacArthur Blvd.
Huntington Beach City Council – 6 p.m.
- Reaffirming the city’s funding commitment for creating a 0.7-mile bike boulevard on Utica Avenue between Beach Boulevard to Main Street for a total cost of $1.2 million.
- Formally opposing efforts to increase the state’s $250,000 cap on noneconomic damages in medical malpractice lawsuits.
- Approving an employment agreement with the new police chief, Robert Handy.
- Appointing Janeen T. Laudenback as director of community services.
Mission Viejo City Council – 6 p.m.
- Receiving a budget report on the Mission Viejo Dog Park.
- Considering a proposal from Rams, Anderson, Malody & Scott LLP to audit the city’s CAL-Card program.
Tuesday, Nov. 5
- Update on Orange County’s long-range transportation plan.
- Discussing the Orange County bikeways project.
- Approving an ordinance that would levy a $750 fine on adults who knowingly allow minors to drink alcohol in their homes, with a second offense prosecuted as a misdemeanor.
- Changing the definition of “potentially dangerous” dogs that would be seized by the county and create a website listing dogs that have been declared “potentially dangerous” or “vicious.”
- Extending a computer network contract with TW Telecom Holdings Inc., which originally expired in 2009, until November 2014 at a cost of $422,000.
- Eliminating county “pick-ups” of county supervisors’ employee pension contributions.
- Putting an initiative on the June 2014 ballot to end county “pick-ups” of employee pension contributions for county supervisors whose terms start in 2015.
- Approving $10.5 million in on-call architect-engineer contracts with HR Green California, Atkins North America, Bureau Veritas North America, Tait and Associates and Willdan Engineering.
- Receiving $40,000 each from the cities of Anaheim and Fullerton to keep the emergency homeless shelter in Fullerton open an extra 18 days earlier this month.
- Receiving reports on developer fees, of which the county had a balance of $1 million in June.
- Appointing former Anaheim City Council candidate Steve Lodge to the county’s Waste Management Commission.
- Workshop on a changed “quality rental housing program.”
- Update on the value of city land around Angel Stadium and a community outreach campaign on renegotiating the stadium lease.
Fullerton City Council – 5 p.m.
- Considering a suggestion by Mayor Bruce Whitaker about establishing a labor negotiations ordinance like Costa Mesa’s Openness in Negotiations (COIN).
Dana Point City Council – 5 p.m.
- Submitting a grant application to Orange County Transportation Authority for bicycle-pedestrian corridor improvements.
- Receiving an annual report and renewal on the Dana Point Tourism Business Improvement District.
Costa Mesa City Council – 6 p.m.
- Approving new restrictions on hookah bars.
- Awarding a $2.7-million contract to All American Asphalt for improving the intersection of Harbor Boulevard and Adams Avenue.
- Increasing city staff’s authority to issue refunds from $5,000 to $15,000.
- Requesting that the 50-home unincorporated “Santa Ana-Colleen Island” be annexed into the city.
Laguna Beach City Council – 6 p.m.
- Rejecting legal claims by Silvia Bautista for vehicle damage allegedly caused by a street sweeper and by Robin Ballon for vehicle damage caused by an electrical pole.
- Approving a two-year contract with Bank of America to provide banking services.
Lake Forest City Council – 7 p.m.
- Approving an ordinance to ban medical marijuana dispensaries.
- Discussion on prohibiting the use of electronic devices by members of the City Council or commissions during public meetings.
- Finalizing the application process for replacing longtime Councilman Peter Herzog, who recently resigned.
Wednesday, Nov. 6
- Discussing water supply and cost issues concerning the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.
- Study session on facilities.
- Discussion of unspecified case of anticipated litigation.
- Closed session with unspecified agenda items.
Orange County Water District Board of Directors – 5:30 p.m.
- Approving district support for development of the Poseidon Resources desalination plant in Huntington Beach.
- Approving the sale of South Street properties to Family Development Group Inc. for $1 million.
- Discussing important regional issues such as the Bay Delta conservation plan, drought conditions, water reliability issues “and other key Orange County issues.”
Aliso Viejo City Council – 6 p.m.
- Approving an agreement with Fieldman, Rolap & Associates for financial advisory services.
- Approving new city logo branding to be produced on city items such as business cards, letterheads and signs.
- Closed session discussion of arbitration in the lawsuit Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority v. Orange County Sanitation District.
- Open meeting at Oak Knoll Village Clubhouse (28192 O'Neill Drive).
Thursday, Nov. 7
- Discussing how to facilitate transit-oriented development in Southern California in light of a new state law (Senate Bill 743) that streamlines approvals.
SCAG Regional Council – 12:15 p.m.
- Monthly board meeting at REI Tustin (2962 El Camino Real).
Friday, Nov. 8
- Deciding whether to pursue installing toll lanes on Interstate 405 as part of a freeway widening project.
Saturday, Nov. 9
- General membership meeting, open to the public.
Adam Elmahrek and Brendan Wiles contributed to this report.