MOORLACH UPDATE — VLF Grab — August 12, 2013

Let me take you back to January 2012. In my State of the County Address, I identified numerous torpedoes aimed at Orange County’s Ship of State, my number one concern was the Vehicle License Fee (VLF) grab by the State of California. Regretfully, a Superior Court Judge recently ruled against the County. The $73.5 million per year concern has now grown to $76 million. The two slides below were from my presentation. The first slide provides the revenue sources of the 2011-12 net county costs. If the first slide were to instead show how every general purpose dollar is allocated across County functions, half of the pie chart would be for “Public Safety,” which includes the Sheriff, District Attorney and Probation. Therefore, using logic, one would naturally presume that if $76 million is grabbed by the State, half the impact would be on “Public Safety.” The next annual budget discussion by the Board of Supervisors will not occur until next June, but it is never too early to start working on the plan to deal with this latest blow. The County is now being covered by a new OC Register reporter and today we have his introductory piece, which is the first article below.

The OC Register’s The Current has a Letter to the Editor that wasted no time in assuming that I am going after public employee unions (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Joy of Competition — August 8, 2013), even though The Current has had no article on the subject of aircraft rescue and fire fighting at John Wayne Airport (JWA). What a shock. Even more shocking, the letter writer is a retired fire chief. Two clarifications to note, the Board of Supervisors has not voted on this matter, so referring to it in the past tense is incorrect, and it was a Board directive, not my directive, to consider alternatives to the current provider. To the Orange County Fire Authority’s (OCFA) credit, they have submitted a contract price that is lower than the current charges that JWA has been paying. So, some form of negotiations have occurred with OCFA, but it also suggests that JWA may have been overcharged in the past.

BONUS: This coming weekend, August 17-18, the San Diego Freeway (I-405) will be closed from 9 p.m. on Saturday to 5 p.m. on Sunday. If your travel plans during this time period includes traveling on this segment of the 405, please make alternate travel plans now. A copy of the Orange County Transportation Authority website is provided at the conclusion of this UPDATE below (see http://www.octa.net/Freeways-and-Streets/Garden-Grove-Freeway-(SR-22)/West-County-Connectors/Southbound-I-405-/-Eastbound-SR-22-Connector/).

COUNTY GIRDS FOR BUDGET HOLE

Jails and probation could suffer under across-the-board cuts, officials say.

By Mike Reicher

County law enforcement officials are warning of serious repercussions if the state permanently cuts about $76.5 million in annual disputed funds.

In the worst-case scenario, they say, thousands of probationers could go unmonitored, hundreds of jail beds could be lost, and prosecutors could struggle to win felony cases.

As the state and county wrestle over vehicle license fees and property taxes, administrators have avoided layoffs and major public safety cuts. But in May, the state prevailed in a lawsuit, and officials are planning for an ongoing budget hole. Layoffs are possible, a key labor leader and a supervisor say. Meanwhile, Sacramento legislators are scrambling to broker a deal.

Public-safety departments and others across the county submitted proposals this month: How would they cope with a 10 percent cut from the county general fund in fiscal year 2014-15? Across-the-board cuts would be bleak, law enforcement leaders say.

County executives responded to similar dire warnings this fiscal year by shifting funds and making other temporary fixes in the $5.4 billion county budget. That resulted in only three layoffs and the elimination of seven vacant positions across county agencies. But $52.4 million would have to be converted from one-time to ongoing savings if the loss became permanent.

Administrators again will look to prioritize public safety budgets, said Chief Financial Officer Frank Kim, who emphasized planning is in early stages.

For the Probation Department, a $9.9 million cut could mean shifting about 3,000 offenders from frequent supervision – unannounced home or workplace visits, for instance – to little or no monitoring, Chief Deputy Probation Officer Bryan Prieto said.

“We don’t know what not supervising 3,000 offenders would do,” he said.

Sherriff’s officials warn they could have to close 862 jail beds at the James A. Musick Facility in Irvine – essentially the same move they made during 2009 budget cuts. Prisoners would move to other beds in the same complex, Lt. Jeff Hallock said, or to the Theo Lacy Facility in Orange.

This funding uncertainty comes as the sheriff, district attorney and other officials are grappling with added demands of corrections realignment. Thousands of state felons have been transferred to the county’s responsibility.

In its $3.9 million contingency plan, the District Attorney’s Office would cut attorneys, peace officers and other positions. Susan Schroeder, chief of staff for District Attorney Tony Rackauckas, said that cut may be accomplished through attrition, but “what’s the difference between layoffs and not being able to hire?”

“At some point, you’re just ripping at the seams,” Schroeder said.

Ultimately, the Board of Supervisors would prioritize funding among departments. It could vote to lower tuberculosis-prevention funding next year, for instance. Social Services and other agencies are facing the same potential cuts.

“It would be very easy to say, ‘Public safety is first, above all,’” Supervisor John ‍Moorlach said in an interview last week, but he said the Sheriff’s Department and other public-safety labor costs were “pushing everything else.”

“When you have to find $76 million, it translates to a lot of bodies,” he said.

While some county administrators say it is too early to predict layoffs or the severity of cuts, labor leaders are sounding alarms. They hope to grab the attention of legislators in Sacramento, where union and county representatives are lobbying hard.

“It could mean hundreds of jobs,” said Nick Berardino, general manager of the Orange County Employees Association. “The situation, at this point, is very critical.”

The county’s funding shortfall stems from the refinancing of its bankruptcy debt in 2005, when an apparent clerical oversight failed to protect vehicle license fee revenue. Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration seized on the anomaly in 2011 and cut off the funding.

One alternative county leaders are floating in Sacramento would leverage $50 million in special annual property tax revenue state Sen. Lou Correa secured in 2009. Potentially, those funds could grow close to a $76.5 million annual stream, although the net county loss would still be about $76.5 million.

Unless funding is restored, Supervisor Janet Nguyen said the county likely would rely on reserves. She appeared more willing to protect public safety funds than ‍Moorlach, and was more circumspect about layoffs.

“You can’t triple someone’s workload and expect quality,” Nguyen said.

CONTACT THE WRITER: 714-796-2254 or mreicher

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

PRIVATIZING EMERGENCY SERVICE NOT WISE

So a private, for-profit vendor will take over the crash/fire/rescue contract at John Wayne Airport at a reduced cost.

The business plan seems to be that since there has not been a major incident since 1981, the flying public won’t notice the difference. The private company representative, Mr. Thiem, says about OC Fire Authority: “They are legally bound to provide mutual aid and they would have to respond. Nothing would change. … We will still draw upon those resources.”

So, let’s see how this might work: Pro-tec Fire Services Ltd. gets the contract on the cheap, and if an incident occurs, the private vendor will rely on the surrounding public agency it underbid, and other public agencies under agreement with them, to actually handle the incident! I wonder how that would have worked in San Francisco.

This is not in the interest of the O.C. population or visitors who utilize John Wayne Airport. It is in the interest of Supervisor John ‍Moorlach, who may be looking at future political ambitions. Instead, Mr. ‍Moor‍‍lach, use your influence … to negotiate with the OCFA union if you don’t like the cost – but don’t put us, the flying public, in the crosshairs of your obvious antipublic-employee scheme.

Vincent Bonacker

Cowan Heights

FIVE-YEAR LOOK BACKS

August 9

1998

OC Register political cartoonist Mike Shelton was given the front page of the Sunday Commentary section. It would be his third Commentary cover illustration for the year. It was titled “Bob Citron’s Wheel of Fortune – The Orange County bankruptcy as seen by Mike Shelton.” “Citron’s testimony about using a star chart and astrological information to guide the investment pool gave me a theme and a way to take all the different parts of the testimony and visually wrap it into one encompassing vehicle,” Shelton says. The cartoon was round, with three illustrations of Bob Citron in the center dressed as a wizard, with one showing him holding a crystal ball. A fourth caricature of Citron shows him turning into a frog/toad. It was surrounded by twelve boxes which were surrounded by the twelve signs of the Zodiac. Here are the narratives for each box:

July 1991 – EGO RISING – Time to experiment egos; take a backseat to nobody. Uranus is in the bull’s investment house. Use your leverage.

Feb-Nov 1992 – WATER RISING – Hold a pool party. Bulls will caution you, but it’s just bull. Big returns in store.

1993 – AGE OF AQUARIUS – C’mon in, the water’s fine! Get a bigger pool. Invite the whole county! You have the golden touch.

Mar 31, 1993 – TAURUS ASCENDANT – The bull wants to buy back your magic touch. A master of the universe never gives in to envy! Moon them.

April 1993 – FOOLS ASCENDING – Supervisors bungle budget. Bail them out with sleight of hand . . .play down your wizardry. Avoid star sign [of the] law.

Apr 26 – Jun 30, 1993 – EGO CONJOINS WITH URANUS – Take the bull by the horns. Don’t give up your power! You da Man!!

Jan 31, 1994 – DEATH THE SPIRAL – Your leverage causes “lever envy” among so-called experts in magazines. Supervisors kiss you moon in election year.

Feb 4, 1994 – INTEREST RISING – Greenspan the Fed is a bad sign. Uranus is in a sling.

Feb-Apr. 1994 – MERCURY RISING – Dealing with Merrill the Bull, SEC the Archer, S&P the Fish, and Moody the Crab are critical. Your earth sign paper trumps their stone.

May 31, 1994 – CHALLENGER RISING – Supervisors still think your earth sign doesn’t stink. Explain Moorlach in political terms to keep their heads in the sand.

Sep-Nov 1994 – CANCER GROWING – Fed’s scissors trump your paper loss. Seek Raabe the Goat to explain all the bodies floating in the pool.

Dec. 6, 1994 – Ego collides with earth drool. Think of a euphemism for stupid . . . like “cognitive deficit.” Blame Raabe the Goat. Light sentence and fat pension in your future.

Steve Burgard, editor of the LA Times Editorial section, invited me to submit a column, which was titled “Lessons Learned the Hard Way – A lot has changed since December 1994 – a bankruptcy like O.C.’s isn’t likely to happen in the country again.” Fifteen years later, and this claim still stands. We’ve seen municipal bankruptcies, but not because of the factors that caused this county’s Chapter 9. If you’re looking for a quick recap of policies, procedures and oversight that were implemented in the first three years after the bankruptcy, both at the county and nationally, this would be a concise primer.

The recent release of transcripts reminds us that Orange County’s financial fiasco resulted from a colossal accumulation of unnecessary errors by individuals. The losses did not result from some grand conspiracy, but from a lack of diligence.

The repercussions of the December 1994 implosion of the Orange County Investment Pool, constructed by former Treasurer-Tax Collector Robert L. Citron and his numerous cohorts, will touch just about everyone in the financial world.

The issues I raised during my candidacy against Citron in early 1994 included oversight, marking to market, leverage, complex derivatives and full disclosure. There were major gaps in state investment codes, in Security and Exchange Commission disclosure requirements and in accounting promulgations.

Subsequently, many new laws, regulations and pronouncements affecting financial professionals have been implemented. The successful lawsuits by the county against many of its former professional financial firms have shown that malpractice is ugly and expensive and must be avoided. Also, municipal employees have been reminded that jail time and substantial financial penalties result from gross negligence, willful misconduct or both.

Let’s review what we’ve learned about the responsibilities of municipal stewardship:

Investment policy statements: If you don’t have an investment policy, then write one, and fast. State law now requires governing bodies to review it every year. Our policy has received an award from the Municipal Treasurers Assn. of the United States and Canada.

Oversight: Oversight committees are now required by state law. We have a four-member committee, approved by the Board of Supervisors, that meets on a quarterly basis.

Investments: Investments must be in compliance with the investment policy statement. The oversight committee must perform an annual compliance audit. Orange County does this daily (internally), quarterly and annually.

Leverage: The days of infinite reverse-repurchase agreements are gone. The limit in California now is 20% of the portfolio. Borrowing is prohibited by our policy.

Derivatives: The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) recently issued Standard 133, which becomes effective in mid-1999, requiring companies and municipalities to record derivatives on their financial statements at fair market value. Our policy prohibits the use of complex derivatives.

Reporting: Quarterly reports are required by state law. We issue ours monthly.

Values: Investments must be marked to market at the end of every reporting period. This has been made mandatory by the accounting profession’s Government Accounting Standards Board (GASB).

Auditors: Internal auditors will find it much easier to shout when irregularities are found, instead of burying the discoveries in a lengthy report. External auditors will find GASB 31 and FASB 133 exposing any Citron-type pool early in the game.

Elected officials: The voters want supervisors to supervise. The excuses of "trusting staff" and being caught up in the "herd mentality" do not cut it anymore. You are respected for your willingness to be a public servant, but be a "wanna-do" and not a wannabe, please. Understand your job and its responsibilities, and do it.

Rating agencies: If you charge a municipality to issue a severely deficient rating, then you cannot hide behind the 1st Amendment’s protection of free speech. Our Constitution is much too precious to be abused for financial gain. Standard & Poor’s is becoming a better reviewer of local government investment pools. Our investment pools have received the highest possible ratings, "AAA/V-1+," from Fitch IBCA.

Journalists: Since we’ve touched on the 1st Amendment, the days of gullible and lazy reporters are over (I wish). The necessity for doing the "heavy lifting" has been reaffirmed. Failing to drill down to the truth of a story of such large proportions will haunt reporters for the rest of their careers.

Voters: Your job is that of a business owner hiring a manager. Those holding public offices work for you. Please interview them. Get involved in the electoral process and vote intelligently. Tragically, in the final analysis, the blame for Orange County’s bankruptcy will be laid at the feet of its voters.

We can never stop the complacency, greed and deceit that Orange County incurred. However, I believe that it is highly unlikely another "Orange County" municipal meltdown will happen again in this country.

We have all learned and we are smarter now. The chairman of any municipality, such as former Supervisor Tom Riley (April 2, 1994), should not be caught saying, "I don’t know how the hell he does it." Because, as one local investment expert, Grant Bettingen, observed (Dec. 2, 1994), "there will be hell to pay." And we did.

Fortunately, the past is the past. Let’s now enjoy a more competent and accountable future.

August 10

1993

I served on the Board of the Costa Mesa Historical Society and finished my term in 1993. The assignment gave me the opportunity to submit articles to the Daily Pilot, including the one below, titled “Group presenting historical tidbits from the CMPD.” The theme then was a commemoration of the city’s fortieth year anniversary. This year the city of Costa Mesa is celebrating its 60th anniversary. And the newest “top cop” is a dear friend, Police Chief Tom Gazsi, who will be joining the Orange County Commission to End Homelessness. My resource was “A Slice of Orange: The History of Costa Mesa” by Edrick J. Miller, Hendricks Printing Co., Inc., Irvine, California, Copyright 1970 and 1976.

According to my sources, the very first “cop” that Costa Mesa had was Frank Vaughn. He was hired in 1925 and “The Newport News” reported the event in its Oct. 30 edition as follows:

“HURRAH! AT LAST MESA GETS A COP. Costa Mesa is again getting into her stride. Like certain other towns in southern California she will soon post a sign: ‘Traffic Officer on Duty.’

“Since the bustling community overlooking Orange County’s best asset – Newport Harbor – installed its street lights, the Mesa has received more favorable comment than any other city in the country.

“The Costa Mesa Chamber of Commerce has been working for several months in an effort to secure an officer. When the supervisors turned the chamber down, it did not deter these indomitable workers. With a promise of $75 from the state a committee went to bat to raise a like amount among local citizens with the result that at noon Thursday the report was made that $75 had been subscribed for a period of six months.

“’Big Boy’ Frank Vaughn will be the top cop. He claims to have a stripped down car that will outrun any of the high-powered machines that flit the Mesa.”

Now there’s a historical tidbit to confirm with Judge Robert Gardner! I’m sure he has plenty of Frank Vaughn stories.

At the time of the incorporation of Costa Mesa in 1953, it still only had one police officer.

Arthur R. McKenzie served as our city’s Police Chief from 1953 to 1964, he went on to serve as City Manager from 1965 to 1970. The first police officer Art hired was Roger Neth, who went on to make the first arrest for the newly incorporated city.

On Aug. 11, Roger Neth will be the Costa Mesa Historical Society’s guest speaker. You can hear Roger’s first-hand account of early historical tidbits of the Costa Mesa Police Department at 7:30 p.m. at the Historical Society, 1870 Anaheim Ave. For more information, please call 631-5918.

August 11

1998

Andrea Figler of The Bond Buyer addressed another interesting story of the bankruptcy, the one about Ken Ough, in “District Judge Ready to Hear Sides In Banker’s Orange County Case.” Ken Ough was instrumental in creating what would later be called the school district “casino bonds.” Borrowing to invest would create massive losses for a number of school districts, including Newport-Mesa Unified School District. The finger-pointing, deflection and blame-game strategies are quite a sight to behold. The Bond Buyer article referred to below was mentioned in MOORLACH UPDATE–OC Register–April 23, 2009 and was written by Brad Altman. It was probably the most prescient piece of reporting work during the 1994 campaign and worthy of circulation. Here is the piece in full:

A U.S. District Court judge in Santa Ana, Calif., may decide next week if Ken Ough, a banker with Dain Rauscher Inc., acted fraudulently in connection with $860 million in short-term debt that the firm underwrote in 1993 and 1994 for a handful of Orange County issuers.

Judge Gary L. Taylor next week is scheduled to hear arguments by lawyers from the Securities and Exchange Commission accusing Ough of failing to disclose material information on 10 taxable note offerings, as well as a tax-exempt pooled tax and revenue anticipation note sale for school districts within the county.

If Taylor agrees with the SEC allegations, Ough could be permanently prohibited from committing further violations of securities laws and forced to pay up to $250,000 in civil penalties.

The SEC sued Ough last year, claiming that he failed to properly disclose to investors that proceeds of the issues would be invested in the Orange County Investment Pool to earn income for his clients. Nor did Ough disclose the risks of investing in the pool, which lost $1.8 billion after interest rates rose and caused the county to file for bankruptcy protection in December 1994, the suit states.

Ough also allegedly failed to disclose that he advised his school district clients to set aside or “restrict” funds so they could borrow more through the transactions.

Lawyers for Ough, however, seek to dismiss the SEC charges, arguing that the commission cannot prove that Ough acted fraudulently or outside the normal behavior of any underwriter or financial adviser in his position at that time.

“If Mr. Ough and the others involved had known then what they know now, they could have drafted different and better official statements . . . But that alone does not make Mr. Ough reckless or even negligent when his disclosure judgments were never questioned at the time, and even in trtrospect, were consistent with the existing professional standards,” states the legal brief by Ough’s lawyers from the [sic] Shartsis, Friese & Ginsburg.

Ough’s lawyers will argue that Ough relied on bond counsel and underwriting counsel to approve disclosure and on former Orange County treasurer Robert Citron to honestly represent the investment pool. And any reasonable investor would know that note proceeds were intended for arbitrage even if some of the official statements did not explicitly disclose the fact, their argument claims.

As for the investment pool, Ough could not conceal the risks because he was unaware of them, due to a lack of public information, his lawyers contend. Both county staff and rating agencies backed the pool’s success and security, the brief states.

When current county Treasurer John Moorlach began to expose the risks during his 1994 election campaign, Ough sent an article written by The Bond Buyer addressing these concerns to all his clients. Therefore, he did not conceal information from them, the legal brief states.

While Ough admitted that he advised the school districts to restrict funds to provide a financial cushion, his lawyers will argue that it was reasonable and unchallenged advice at the time.

“Mr. Ough was aware that Orange County itself and many Orange County school districts had passed restricting resolutions for a period of several years without any criticism, much less challenge, by the IRS,” the brief states. “To this day, the IRS has still not taken any action to challenge the tax exemption of the school pool TRANs.”

These facts, among others, should convince the court to dismiss the charges altogether, the brief states.

August 12

2003

Foothills Sentry columnist Bob Fauteux took a stab at “Search for County CEO.” Bob served on the “bankruptcy” Grand Jury in 1994-1995 and on my Treasury Oversight Committee. So he had a front-row seat to the County’s activities for the past eight years. Bob earned his MBA from the Harvard Business School and was a great servant to the residents of Orange County. We lost Bob in the Spring of 2012. In his honor, I’m providing his piece in full.

The County’s Supervisors continue their search for the “perfect fit” Chief Executive Officer (CEO), looking at candidates brought to them by head-hunter-recruiter Heidrich & Struggles. However, a late entry into the seven-month long search, John Moorlach, County Treasurer and Tax Collector, now has complicated matters. Since the county’s bankruptcy in 1994, three CEOs have been summarily relieved of their duties for conflicts or shortcomings in the eyes of the county supervisors.

It’s a tough job to take on. For example, the 2002-03 Grand Jury Final Report contains three highly critical reports concerning the costs from poor contract administration, job harassment and overly generous labor contract benefits. Ideally, the new CEO should hit the ground running in reforming and controlling the County’s business operations, including a number of sloppily run departments identified in the Grand Jury reports.

Another GJ report, aptly titled “Who Represents Orange County Taxpayers?,” pointed out the huge costs of recently granted employee fringe benefits – retirement and leave pay, educational reimbursement and an improperly installed Performance Incentive Plan, the report states: “In fact, unionization has recently expanded to 99% of the entire Orange County work force.” The demands from the muscle of 17,000 highly organized employees, out of a total work force of 18,000, is indeed formidable for county managers when it comes to contract time.

Moorlach’s tenure as the County’s elected chief Fiscal Manager has resulted in putting the county’s treasury house back together after the 1994 Bankruptcy debacle. As a professional money manager, he brought to the job an open management style while implementing new state-mandated money management constraints. His leadership, with a highly motivated and competent staff, made more efficient the day-to-day operations of tax collection and managing the fund in the county’s $4.7 billion investment pool. Along the post-bankruptcy nine-year road, he has acquired an insider’s knowledge of what is going on in the County’s management house. However, he has had a number of differences of opinion with the Board.

Three of the five supervisor seats are up for election in 2004, the incumbents being termed out. Messrs. Silva and Wilson have indicated interest in going to Assembly seats while Supervisor Smith may retire from the political scene. There may be some implicit political considerations voiced from a number of political campaign supporters about who gets the CEO job, particularly from the county’s employee unions.

The Grand Jury Report also included a report on the CEO governance issues titled: “Orange County Government-In Transition.” After reviewing the CEO’s place in the county, the report’s finding about the current CEO job search says it all: “The selection of a new Orange County CEO with proven executive leadership experience is key to successful management of the Orange County government.”

The CEO hiring process is underway. In the case of candidate Moorlach, it will be interesting to see how much politics and how much management skill goes into the CEO selection equation. At the least, Moorlach’s qualifications set one of the benchmarks for measuring the CEO candidates.

Bridge Demolition Scheduled Saturday, Aug. 17 to Sunday, Aug. 18, 2013

The southbound I-405 connector to the eastbound SR-22 freeway has been reconstructed in order to make room for the new carpool connector. Once construction on the new connector is complete, the old connector must be demolished. In order to demolish the old structure, portions of the eastbound SR-22, northbound I-405 and southbound I-405 freeways will be closed for approximately 20 hours, the weekend of August 17 to 18.

WHEN

9 p.m. on Saturday, August 17 to approximately 5 p.m. on Sunday, August 18, 2013

WHAT WILL BE CLOSED

1. Northbound I-405 freeway will be closed at Valley View St.

2. Southbound I-405 freeway will be closed between the I-605 freeway junction to the eastbound SR-22 connector (near Valley View Street)

3. 7th St. / Eastbound SR-22 will be closed at southbound I-405 freeway junction

CLOSURE & DETOUR MAP

Please click on the map to enlarge the image.

RECOMMENDED DETOURS

If you are heading north on the I-405 during the weekend of the bridge demolition, here are some recommended detours.

From Northbound I-405 use one of the following (outlined in ORANGE):

1. Exit Beach Blvd. and turn right;
Take westbound SR-22 on-ramp to reconnect with northbound I-405

2. Exit Westminster Ave. (EAST) and turn left;
Turn right on Bolsa Chica Rd.
Take the westbound SR-22 on-ramp to reconnect with the northbound I-405

3. Exit Valley View St. and turn left onto Garden Grove Blvd.
Turn right on Valley View St.
Take westbound SR-22 to reconnect with the northbound I-405

If you are heading south on the I-405 during the weekend of the bridge demolition, here are some recommended detours.
From Southbound I-405 use one of the following (outlined in GREEN):

1. Exit Studebaker Rd. and turn right
Turn Left on E. 2nd St. / Westminster Ave.
Continue on Westminster Ave. to access southbound I-405

2. Merge onto northbound I-605
Exit Katella Ave. and turn right
Turn right on Valley View St. to access southbound I-405

From Southbound I-605 use the following detour (outlined in GREEN):

3. Exit Willow St. and turn right
Turn left on Studebaker Rd.
Turn left on E. 2nd St. / Westminster Ave.
Continue on Westminster Ave. to access southbound I-405

From 7th St. / Eastbound SR-22 use the following (outlined in GREEN):

4. Merge onto northbound I-605
Exit Katella Ave. and turn right
Turn right on Valley View St. to access southbound I-405

Traffic Switch

After working around the clock for 55 hours, crews have successfully completed a major traffic switch to open the new southbound I-405 / eastbound SR-22 connector. The new connector opened to motorists at 4:47 a.m., Monday, July 29, marking a major milestone for the WCC project team.

Now that the new connector is open, the old southbound I-405 / eastbound SR-22 connector bridge will be demolished the weekend of August 17 to 18, requiring a 20-hour full closure of the I-405 freeway.

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