Letter to the Community: Supervisor Katrina Foley Updates Laguna

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By OC Supervisor Katrina Foley

Supervisor Katrina Foley (second from right) and Laguna Beach Councilmember Alex Rounaghi (far left) at the Laguna Beach Firefighters Labor Day Annual Pancake Breakfast. Photo courtesy of Katrina Foley

In January 2023, I started serving as your Fifth District Supervisor, which includes Newport Beach as well as my hometown of Costa Mesa, a portion of Irvine, Dana Point, Laguna Beach, Aliso Viejo, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Woods, San Juan Capistrano and San Clemente, as well as the unincorporated areas of Coto de Caza, Emerald Bay, Ladera Ranch, Las Flores, Rancho Mission Viejo, Stonecliffe and Wagon Wheel.

So far this year, I advocated for funding for infrastructure projects, kept locals informed about county initiatives, and prioritized five areas of concern by our communities, including:

Public safety, from addressing international burglary rings to fentanyl poisonings to e-bike safety to wildfire prevention.

Reducing homelessness and creating housing opportunities for our workforce, families, and the next generation.

Climate resiliency planning and saving our beaches.

Supporting small businesses, reducing red tape, and helping create middle-class jobs.

Serving as a watchdog over County contracts and services by ensuring we get what we pay for from our contractors.

Fortunately, as the nation’s ninth largest economy, Orange County’s economy remains red hot. Orange County family-owned businesses represent 96% of businesses in Orange County, with many of them right here in Laguna Beach. I remain dedicated to working together with our small business community and our chambers of commerce to continue fostering this economic growth. Visit Doing Business with OC (bit.ly/BusinessOC) to partner with us to build your business.

Climate adaptation strategies remain a top priority for our office.

As your Supervisor, I am working closely with our county staff to develop Orange County’s first climate action plan. We recently held an investigative hearing, which you can watch here or on my website: d5.ocgov.com/pr-oc-climate-hearing.

My top priority for Laguna Beach emphasizes public safety and emergency preparedness.

The County oversees a 9.3-billion-dollar budget across 22 County departments, and my extensive experience informs my every decision in addressing your public safety needs.

Undergrounding the overhead electric utility lines along Laguna Canyon Road (LCR) remains a focus. LCR is one of only three routes of access for mutual aid should an emergency require response. I look forward to working closely with the LCR Undergrounding Ad Hoc Committee of Mayor Bob Whalen and Councilmember Alex Rounaghi to realize this vital public safety project.

I serve on the Orange County Transportation Authority Board, which will serve as the pass-through entity for millions of federal infrastructure dollars coming through in the years ahead. It’s crucial we leverage those dollars for such critical projects.

I also serve as Chair of the Orange County Fire Authority’s Legislative Committee. My successful addition of language to the Legislative Platform for both the Authority and the County prioritizes undergrounding utility lines. I plan to work with the City to build a regional coalition of stakeholders and put pressure Southern California Edison to commit a dollar amount. This will help us leverage outside grant funding opportunities. I will do everything in my power to closely collaborate with your council and city staff to make this happen as soon as possible.

Fire safety in Laguna Beach is another critical County-level issue, given the City’s extreme fire hazard and potential risks to nearby communities, especially Emerald Bay. With more than 90% of Laguna Beach in the state’s high fire severity zone, I recognize your concern about the ongoing insurance crisis, as homeowners face higher rates and cancellations. I intend to collaborate with Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara, our legislators, and our cities to find a solution that fixes this crisis to insure people’s homes. I will continue to advocate for wildfire threat mitigation.

I look forward to partnering on initiatives to make Laguna Beach—and the county—safer and more resilient.

Follow me on social media @SupervisorFoley and subscribe to my weekly newsletter: d5.ocgov.com/newsletter.

Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley was elected to the Board of Supervisors in 2022 to represent the newly established District 5, which includes the cities of Aliso Viejo, Costa Mesa, Dana Point, a large portion of Irvine, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Woods, Newport Beach, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, as well as the unincorporated areas of Coto de Caza, Emerald Bay, Ladera Ranch, Las Flores, Rancho Mission Viejo, Stonecliffe and Wagon Wheel. This is her second term on the Board of Supervisors, where she previously served District 2.  

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Does water stop wildfires? Why do we have fire hydrants?

    Without water a firefighter is just a spectator. Laguna Beach remains the only South County city without a perimeter recycled water system capable of maintaining safe hydration of the Greenbelt’s urban fringe areas to prevent and suppress wildfire events. OC County’s Fifth District should lead the way since everyone suffers from wildfires.

    Instead, fear campaigns use goats to strip hillsides of native plants to expose soil and actually increase wildfire conditions by raising ambient temperatures by as much as 20 degrees. Dry, brown gasses now cover barren “firebreaks” to create ember alleys accelerating the spread of wildfires driven by hot, dry winds. Until citizens speak up and demand an independent wildfire water system supplied by high purity recycled water, Laguna is just a spark from the next wildfire.

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