Foothills Sentry August 2023

NEWS INSIDE A Monthly Community Newspaper AUGUST 2023 Letters Pages 4-5 Canyon Beat Page 6 Obituaries Page 14 Real Estate Page 14 Service Directory Pages 11-13 Prof. Directory Page 13 Community Sports will return next month The Best News In Town Since 1969 FOLLOW US at Foothills Sentry OUTTA GAS West Orange condo complex has been without vital utility for two months, with repairs and repiping repeatedly delayed. See Orange condo, page 9 ROCK AND RIDE Villa Park celebrates summer with 4th of July bikefest and 1980s retro concert. See Rockin’, page 16 PROUDLY WE HAIL The American and state flags have always rightly flown over school facilities: OUSD trustees ensure they are raised alone. See OUSD Board, page 6 DOWN ON THE DUMP Persistent citizens finally get government agencies to give illegal landfill the attention it deserves. See State, page 8 TAKIN’ IT TO THE STREET OPA’s Independence Day Parade attracts a cavalcading crew of cruisers, carts and equestrians. See Freedom rang, page 15 See "OUSD Board" continued on page 3 See "Serrano Water" continued on page 2 See "Street vending" continued on page 5 OUSD Board reconstitutes parent’s rights as "new" policy By Tina Richards The Orange Unified Board of Trustees voted unanimously to include a Parent’s Bill of Rights in district policy. This was de- spite dissension over the way the document was conceived and in- troduced, what rights were not in- cluded, and the fact that the rights identified already exist within OUSD. The Bill of Rights was drafted by Board President Rick Ledes- ma and Trustee Madison Miner. It came as a surprise to many OUSD constituents and other board members who saw it for the first time in the June 20 meeting agenda, published June 15. It was presented as a done deal at that meeting. The June 20 assembly was a special meeting, called specifi- cally to discuss the district budget and Local Control and Account- ability Plan (LCAP). LCAP is the state-mandated strategic planning process for school districts. At the previous meeting, the board had agreed to add funding options for the proposed Villa Park pool to the agenda. President Ledesma added several additional items, including the Parent’s Bill of Rights. Rules meant to be broken The OUSD Board of Educa- tion, as with every public agency, has procedures and processes to follow during public meetings, and when taking action or creat- ing policy. Those “rules of or- der” guide agency proceedings and let the public know how and why things are done. Typically, a policy, ordinance or resolu- tion is presented in draft form first. The public may make com- ments; board members discuss, make modifications or tweak the wording. The document is always brought back to a subsequent meeting for a second reading and final approval. Ledesma introduced the Par- ent’s Bill as “final,” noting that it was needed because it con- fined the concerns held by many district parents to one page. No one on the board or in the audi- ence objected to the bill of rights concept, but three board members (Andrea Yamasaki, Kris Erick- son, Ana Page) and many parents believed they had been ignored in the process. “You’ve bypassed board policies,” Andrea Yamasaki pointed out. “This meeting was supposed to be on the budget and LCAP. I’m not opposed to the substance of the Parent’s Bill of Rights, but how it got on the agenda. There was no Orange aims to bolster enforcement of illegal street vending The Orange City Council passed an urgency ordinance giv- ing code enforcement more clout when dealing with illegal street vendors. The ordinance, approved July 11, amends an April 11 addition to the city code intended to en- sure sidewalk vendors meet all county health requirements (for food sales); do not block pedes- trian access; remove all trash and debris; adhere to noise and oper- ating hours restrictions; and hold a valid city business license and seller’s permit. The original amendment was the city’s response to state legislation that decriminalized sidewalk vending, but allowed jurisdictions to enact their own laws to protect public health, safety and welfare. Orange Code Enforcement initiated an outreach program to notify vendors of the new legal requirements, and explain how to get a business license and sidewalk vending permit. Information was presented in English and Spanish. No cooperation Code Enforcement Supervisor Rafael Perez reports that since his department began its outreach program, no one has applied for a business license or permit, and he has received over 100 complaints from the public. Code Enforce- ment has contacted over 60 illegal vendors, including more than 30 repeat offenders, and given them notices regarding unlicensed activity, serving food without having a health permit, dump- ing grease and oil on the street, playing loud music and operating past midnight. The vendors, he says, refuse to provide identifica- tion and ignore the notices. The county health department has im- Serrano Water District plans dam restoration By Andie Mills The Serrano Water District (SWD), which services Villa Park and a slice of Orange, held a Townhall on July 6 to share in- formation and answer rate-payer questions about proposed sys- tem upgrades. You can find the recorded presentation on Ser- An excerpt from the informa- tive meeting: The Serrano Ditch Company was formed in 1876 by farmers to divert water from Santiago Creek and supply water to what is now Villa Park and a portion of the City of Orange. In 1931, the Serrano Irrigation District (now Serrano Water District), The Irvine Company and Carpenter Irrigation District built the Santiago reservoir dam. The parties continue to share ownership of the Santiago Reservoir and the land surrounding it. The water rights permits, some of the oldest in the county, allow SWD to meet its needs for many years, as well as the ability to store and sell water to other agencies. SWD is entitled to 25% of the yields and liabilities of the reservoir, while Irvine Ranch Water District takes on 75% of the yields and liabilities. Dam must be replaced Today, the Santiago reservoir spillway and outlet tower need modernization. Following the 2018 Lake Oroville spillway fail, the state mandated that all dams in California be inspected. The state mandated the replace- ment of the 90-year-old dam, restricting operating levels until it is replaced. That means SWD must purchase more expensive groundwater or import water, in- stead of using its native resource. The 2023 estimate to replace the dam ranges from a low of $180,960,514 to a high of $294,060,838, of which 25%, or approximately $75 million, would be the cost borne by SWD. That cost was a drastic in- crease since the 2020 estimate of $35 million, due to construction costs, changes in design, increase in scope, and a new alignment of the spillway hydraulic model. In addition, the costs for the re- placement of Smith reservoir and the booster pump station at Taft and Sycamore are estimated at $22 million. There, spauling con- crete and 1960s design standards are now considered to have seis- mic issues; also aging electrical and pumpstation equipment re- quire upgrading. The Serrano Water Board has researched all options and ex- plored cost reductions for the project, including: pursuing grants and long-term debt financ- ing; submitting an application for a WIFIA lower interest rate, long-term federal loan; worked with Congresswoman Young Kim, who has earmarked $750K for Smith reservoir (pending ap- proval); and investigating state Military veterans Chuck Wernle and Don Von Biela were Grand Marshals for this year’s Orange Park Acres 4th of July parade, themed “Let Freedom Ring.” See photos, page 15. Photo by Tony Richards