How to Get Something Done as a Community Volunteer

One of the strongest traits of a community volunteer is the willingness to stay the course once asked to participate in a project. In other words, not to be discouraged or dissuaded by obstacles and initial lack of progress.

Start with the attitude that you as an individual can and will make a difference by your actions and that you also will derive satisfaction and enjoyment by the results obtained.

To reach the objective of a completed project, you can follow the time-honored evaluation and analysis system:

  1. Clearly identify what the problem is so you will focus your efforts.
  2. Identify related areas which impact on the problem.
  3. Determine as many factors as you can which affect the solution and list them for further study.
  4. Subject each of the issues and concerns to evaluation and analysis as well as comparison.
  5. Come to a conclusion as to an option or options which will solve the problem.
  6. Focus on to a doable solution and then cost out any additional factors like funding.

Now go for it! Most elected officials and members of the city and county bureaucracy are deluged with requests for services and special treatment. They usually cannot meet all such requests so they welcome well thought out solutions that are within proper economic support.

Also, contact the individual who can do the job, usually at a lower level than you would expect. In other words, the man or woman who has the crews and funding to do the job rather that the mayor. For example, “Good morning John; this is Bob Dingeman of Scripps Ranch. Happy to talk to you again. I need your help in solving a community problem.” Then state your problem and its doable solution. It generally will result in favorable actions.

Be patient. Do your homework. Ask for comments and other issues. Coordinate with other residents on your proposed solution. Once a consensus is reached go for it!

As you may be dealing with implementers rather than decision makers, it may take a bit of time for results. But you can prevail in the end. I personally have out-waited traffic engineers for five years to get a job done right and finally secured what the Ranch needed.

The Viejas Wild Fires — a Wakeup Call for Helo Support

In the wake of the Viejas wildfires, a horrible thought comes to mind. What would happen if our beautiful Scripps Ranch community falls victim to wildfires?

Did you know that putting a tile roof over shake shingles creates an immediate combustible source for fire? Did you know that when Eucalyptus trees burn they generate aerial ignition and radiant heat that would quickly spread a fire in Scripps Ranch from rooftop to rooftop? Did you know that these conditions put our firefighters in “extreme danger” and that they probably would not be able to control such a fire? This puts our whole community at great risk!

The new fire brush rig for station 37, described in the News section on page 13, is equipped to provide extensive water coverage on the ground, but that is not enough. What would it take to control a wild fire if Scripps Ranch were in its path? Answer: the Bell 412 Fire Rescue helicopter.

It can accommodate 2 pilots and 12 firefighters, and is versatile. It has a long distance capability and is equipped for water dropping, chemical drops, and swift water rescue. This crucial piece of fire-fighting equipment was extremely effective during the Viejas wildfires and would be invaluable during a fire in Scripps Ranch. With Montgomery Field just a short 10-minute flight from Scripps Ranch, the helicopter could be made readily available county wide.

So what’s the problem? This helicopter, like the one demonstrated at the Miramar Ranch Elementary School Halloween Carnival in October 1999, is only on temporary loan to the City. In February, securing the permanent use of this helicopter comes before the City Council for final consideration. Will they vote to keep this capability in the City?

You may be asking, Is this expensive? Yes, approximately $1.8 million a year. The costs include the helicopter lease, pilots and mechanics, and maintenance. But compare this cost to the benefit, especially during the next big wildfire. Just last year we had a major fire immediately southeast of Scripps Ranch. Fortunately, the winds did not cause major problems controlling that fire. But what would the City have done without immediately available air support?

Are you as concerned as I am? Do you want to get involved? Do you know anyone from the private sector who is willing to donate funds? Please contact Captain Geiske at the Scripps Ranch Fire Station 37 (538-8137) with any questions you may have, and then write and call Councilperson Brian Maienschein (619-236-6655) and ask him to support retaining the fire fighting helicopter.