Here’s a rundown of the main issues we’ll be tracking this week throughout Orange County.
Overload of Concealed Gun Permit Requests
County supervisors are set to decide this week on a request to temporarily hire 15 retired sheriff’s employees to handle an overwhelming number of concealed weapons permit applications.
Sheriff Sandra Hutchens has eased restrictions on the permits in light of a recent federal court ruling.
Officials are expecting a backlog of 600 or more applications, which they say would take an entire year to process with their current staff.
By bringing in the retirees, the permits would be processed in about three months, officials say.
However, the staff report doesn’t give an estimated cost for the hiring.
Angel Stadium Negotiations
As they work toward a new lease deal with the Angels, Anaheim City Council members are set to receive a presentation this week about Major League Baseball stadium issues.
The “due diligence” presentation by city consultant Daniel Barrett will include “a review of MLB stadium developments, stadium leases, stadium source and uses of funds, public-private investment summaries and other material related to MLB markets and economic structure,” a city staff report states.
The council meeting starts Tuesday at 5 p.m. Click here for the staff report.
OCTA Figures Out What to Do About Lobbyist’s Fine
In the wake of a record fine against its state lobbying firm, board members at the Orange County Transportation Authority are set to decide how to react.
Kevin Sloat of Sloat, Higgins, Jensen & Associates was recently fined $133,500 by the state Fair Political Practices Commission for giving illegal gifts and campaign contributions to state lawmakers.
OCTA board director and county Supervisor Todd Spitzer told Voice of OC that he’s “very upset” about the lobbyist’s conduct.
“Could you imagine if we put out bids for lobbyists, and we put out the question, ‘Hey, could you make sure to entertain legislators with whiskeys and cigars but make sure you don’t declare it?” Spitzer said. “It puts OCTA in a very uncomfortable position.”
OCTA staff, meanwhile, isn’t calling for Sloat’s contract to be canceled before its Nov. 30 expiration.
Instead, they want board approval to start conducting a competitive bid for Sloat’s replacement when next year’s legislative session starts.
OCTA could require bidders to disclose any “past enforcement or pending actions by the FPPC,” according to a staff report.
Sloat’s firm has held OCTA’s lobbying contract since 2002.
This week’s decision is before OCTA’s executive committee, which meets Monday at 9 a.m. Click here for the staff report.
New CalOptima Board Member
County supervisors are set to make their formal decision this week on appointing an additional supervisor, likely Supervisor Todd Spitzer, to the health plan’s board.
It comes after a federal audit found that the safety of elderly patients was put at risk by mismanagement at the agency.
The supervisors meeting starts Tuesday at 9:30 a.m.
CalOptima’s board is also meeting this week on Thursday.
Ambulance Fee Collection
As county officials gear up to take over ambulance contracting in 19 cities from the county Fire Authority, county supervisors are set to decide Tuesday how they’ll handle certain fees.
The advanced life support rate is charged for Fire Authority paramedic assessment and ambulance escort services.
Supervisors plan to decide this week whether to continue having that fee be collected by ambulance companies or instead have it billed separately by the Fire Authority.
It comes after state officials determined that the county had improperly allowed the Fire Authority to oversee the contracting process for ambulance providers in the 19 cities it serves.
The county will be running its request for proposals language by state officials in April.
Click here for the staff report.
Anaheim Enterprise Zone Audit
A long-awaited audit of the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce’s contract for running the city’s enterprise zone is set to be discussed by Anaheim City Council members on Tuesday.
The audit found that the chamber had “inconsistent record keeping, particularly as it relates to timekeeping, and has resulted in the inability of the City to ascertain with reasonable assurance that all Enterprise Zone expenses were utilized in an effective manner.”
At the same time, the audit found that the chamber “substantially complied” with its core requirements under the city contract and was effective overall.
Prescription Drug Abuse Awareness Month
As the issue gains attention across the county and nation, March is set to be declared as Prescription Drug Abuse Awareness Month in Orange County by county supervisors.
The problem has exploded in recent years, now surpassing some of the other leading causes of death for adults.
Nationwide about 22,000 people ages 25 to 64 died from prescription drug overdoses in 2010, according to a resolution set for approval by Orange County supervisors this week.
That’s more deaths than from heroin and cocaine combined.
Misuse or abuse of pharmaceuticals led to 1.2 million emergency room visits in 2009, the resolution adds.
Supervisors are on track this week to designate the month for prescription drug abuse awareness. It’s unclear whether they will also be ramping up on-the-ground efforts to address the issue.
Costa Mesa Repealing Sex Offender Park Ban
In light of a recent federal appeals court ruling tossing out such bans, Costa Mesa is set to repeal its ban on sex offenders in city parks and sports facilities.
The issue is up for a decision at Tuesday’s meeting. Click here for the agenda.
Major Meetings This Week:
- Huntington Beach City Council
- Orange Planning Commission
- Mission Viejo City Council
- La Habra City Council
- Anaheim Union High School District Board (special seeting)
- Orange County Board of Supervisors
- Anaheim City Council
- Santa Ana City Council
- Costa Mesa City Council
- Fullerton City Council
- Lake Forest City Council
- Tustin City Council
- Yorba Linda City Council
- San Clemente City Council
- Laguna Niguel City Council
- Fountain Valley City Council
- Placentia City Council
- San Juan Capistrano City Council (special meeting)
- Brea City Council
- Laguna Beach City Council
- La Palma City Council
- Garden Grove Unified School District Board
- Saddleback Unified School District Board
- Irvine Unified School District
- Children and Families Commission of Orange County
- Laguna Niguel City Council (special meeting)
- Rancho Santa Margarita City Council
- Aliso Viejo City Council
- South Coast Air Quality Management District Board
- Capistrano Unified School District Board (special meeting)
See something interesting in the agendas? Let us know!
Clarification: This story has been updated to reflect that the county was found to have improperly delegated its contract oversight to the Fire Authority. We regret any confusion.
Adam Elmahrek contributed to this post.