- Category: December 2003
Scripps Ranch is on the map for its cohesive and responsive community action. We have been through a crucible of fire and have not been found wanting. We have seen countless acts of compassion, kindness, assistance, and support, for which we are truly grateful. All who lost your homes are our heroes. Our community is proud of how you, individually and collectively, responded. You are an inspiration to all of us.
One Saturday, nearly two weeks after the fire, more than 100 people gathered with many trucks at Jerabek Park to fill sandbags and move them to critical areas for erosion control. It was inspiring to see such diligence, and it was made even more remarkable as on the adjacent playing fields, our youth soccer leagues were back in full swing. Also at our Community Park--and the location of the Assistance Center--the city soccer leagues were playing. What resiliency of spirit and a desire to return to our normal quality of life, while preparing for the future.
Many homes already are clearing their destroyed home sites. The SRCA and city continue to provide aid and services, so be sure and ask if you need it. Your Landscape Maintenance Assessment District (MAD) has concentrated on clearing the downed trees and debris from the Pomerado Road areas and will move into other areas.
We will restart the system of checking on potentially dangerous situations and trees while we clean out the brow ditches. Call Layton Galloway or me at 566-6083. We will get to it--maybe not immediately, as the requests overwhelm us--but we will get to them.
Despite some dire articles in the paper, our signature trees--the eucalyptus--did not torch and burn us out. Many were singed and will come back, we are sure. Please do not conclude that all must be cut down--they cannot.
Please do not go into the open space and cut down a tree, as this is city property and requires a permit. Also, the city can and will sue for destruction of city property. If you feel there is a danger, call me and I assure you we will do what we can and what is needed to help.
The disastrous fire provides us with the opportunity to work directly with the city on a much needed review and modification of the city directives for clearing back the brush and other material behind your houses bordering the open space. The present rules encourage brush to be cleared back 50-100 feet, yet a permit is required to clear it. This was designed to protect the city from liability claims from injuries. However, we hope to join with others and provide the city with some workable solutions.
After every major event like this it seems we have many so-called or appointed experts or pundits decrying what was not done properly. What we as a community can do is to take our active role and determine what can be done better and assemble from everyone doable solutions to perceived problems.
In other words concentrate on what can be done so we are better prepared. We do not want to point fingers at people or agencies, but maybe look closer at written instructions to clarify them and make them easier to comply.
The Laguna Beach organization that managed the reconstruction of their community after their disastrous fire has contacted us and provided some very useful information about their experiences, which we can learn from. This includes securing from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) a grant to establish, maintain, and staff an assistance office to remain onsite, preferable in a central location such as the Information Center, for at least a year and a half to help our displaced residents.
I am sure we all share in sending a tremendous "thank you" to Councilmember Brian Maienschein for all his devoted and untiring efforts on our behalf. Also, thanks to Lance Witmondt, chief of staff, Clint Carney, chief of policy and Scripps Ranch representative, and Christine Millay, Scripps Ranch representative.
Even Brian's father, Gene, his mother, Carol, and Lance's father, Bob, volunteered in our community. All staffed the desk and took on many other tasks for our assistance. They join the pantheon of wonderful people who, by their deeds, will be long remembered.
I made a short presentation on your behalf to the mayor and City Council, thanking them for their superlative support of our needs. I also reminded them of the need to continue a proper level of support for the future.
On November 10 the Business section of the San Diego Union-Tribune had a nice article and photograph of our SRCA webmaster, Greg Minter. It reflected his sterling performance for the community in organizing and running a fabulous website. It will have an honored place in the Community Scrapbook.
Greg has done a truly fabulous job of serving as our SRCA webmaster, and our website is now internationally famous. I am sure it will be expanded in use and effectiveness, as it has been found so useful to residents and others during this crisis. We are indebted to Greg for all his devoted work and very long hours.
I have also been contacted by a professional photographer and photojournalist who would like to prepare a pictorial history of our events and people. He plans to use his own photographs and those from others. So, if you have some pictures that you would like to share, write the time, place, event, and people on the back, and we can begin assembling them for potential inclusion in the history.
Steve Walker, retired Navy captain and airline pilot and a resident south of Pomerado Road, has volunteered to head up a group to see if Scripps Ranch can create its own Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). This will be a well-trained and equipped volunteer group, hopefully stationed at Fire Station 37, that can respond and assist in many community emergency services and augment the firefighters.
We will contact the deputy fire chief when they settle down a bit and see what we can do to expand our capability of response. We do not want to replace the firefighters or siphon off their funding, but to assist them. There are many areas in which this type of team could have been used in the last disaster. Hopefully, we will not be subjected to such a widespread disaster in the future.
As I was inspecting the Giant Grove area I noticed the small spring that flows through the Grove still had flowing water. Lo and behold, in the midst of all the fire destruction, because of the moisture, the green leaves of new plants were already appearing. With a rain or two, you will begin to see more green and the trees will survive.
I want to emphasize from Larry Gardner, the Water Department director, that our water supply in Scripps Ranch remains pure and uncontaminated. Although we have enough pure water for consumption, please do not waste water.
Since all gas, water, and power lines were specified to be buried in Scripps Ranch, our award-winning community plans made damage control and restoration of services much easier. We will continue the process, as announced in the September Newsletter, as SDG&E starts work on burying the remaining power lines in the vicinity of the Water Treatment Plant and the power lines leading to the Ranch behind Miramar Ranch Elementary School (MRE).
As I mention MRE, we want to thank all of the parents and friends who made the 30th Annual Halloween Carnival such a wonderful time--safe, sane, and fun. It required a fantastic effort by many people in the usual Ranch tradition.
We want to thank Andy Neshat, Claude Braunstein, Bill Bernard, Claudia Unhold, Clay Bingham, and Jay Wurtzler for their superlative efforts helping to clean up the Ranch on Fall Clean-Up Day. Also, thanks to the Kiwanis Club, which for years has helped make it possible.
We are starting work on the budget for the coming year. We expect, in fact know, that we will have to increase our assessment to enable us to remove killed trees, repair open space, replace brow ditches, and do other such things. We will continue our prudent financing and budgeting, but there will probably be a cost of living increase in your tax bill for the coming year. If you have a project for the Landscape Maintenance Assessment District (MAD) for consideration, send me a letter so we can address all ideas.
The Veterans Day celebration, with all of the combined choral groups, was presented in November to a standing room only crowd in the Scripps Ranch High School gym. The patriotism and resiliency of our Ranch spirit was evident.
Our thanks to the music directors and young people who spoke and sang. We are grateful that you remember the veterans. It is this love of country and home that all old veterans, and new ones being born in the Iraq conflict, need. God bless all veterans, and God bless America.
Be a advised that the old entrance to the Miramar Reservoir has been temporarily closed, and the exit near the library entrance is the only access point to the lake. The new parking lot will be finished, hopefully by the time you read this, with greatly expanded parking.