If you are 50 years old, can drive a vehicle, and would like a most rewarding and needed volunteer activity, please consider volunteering for the Scripps/Mesa Retired Senior Volunteer Patrol (RSVP) program. You will perform a much needed service augmenting the San Diego Police Department (SDPD).
I am sure you all know about the financial issues and personnel shortages of the SDPD. The RSVP performs a vital support function. Please call the police storefront for information and application forms. You can speak with Community Relations Officer Steve Higuera or RSVP administrator and Scripps Ranch resident Dale Iwig at 538-8174.
Recruiting is now underway for volunteers for the Scripps Ranch Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). We need volunteers to attend the nine training sessions from Monday, Apr. 5, through Saturday, June 5.
This will be the Emergency Response Team for Scripps Ranch based out of Fire Station 37 to augment our San Diego Fire Department. The SRCA website at [www.scrippsranch.org] has the application form and more information.
We have reported, and you have seen, the outstanding results of the labor of your dedicated Landscape Maintenance Assessment District (MAD) crews on Pomerado Road in clearing fire debris and potential fire hazards. In the process we spent money that was included in our MAD budget for other purposes. We needed to be reimbursed so our normal work could continue.
Councilmember Brian Maienschein assisted in preparing and then forwarding a detailed explanation and documentation of what we have done and the costs to FEMA for reimbursement. We had to expend the money and then have it approved before FEMA would reimburse the city and then us. The amount claimed for reimbursement and approved by FEMA will not only reimburse the MAD but will allow us to continue our ongoing efforts to remove more fire hazards in accord with the new city ordinance on brush clearing.
We have begun the planning and analysis work for the budget submission for the coming fiscal year. As we normally pay for the bulk of the work the MAD does from our assessments, the financial problems with the city and the proposed cuts hopefully will have minimal impact on our operations. The assessment will, however, be increased as our projected workload will increase. We will continue to follow our policy of ensuring that everyone gets their money's worth.
The San Diego Union-Tribune carried a summary of the comprehensive report made by state and county agencies on what happened, and what should have happened, in the fire, including a lack of prior planning and coordination. It is worth reading as it sets forth some fundamental needs that we all should consider.
Unfortunately, the Union-Tribune article also featured a picture of Scripps Ranch and a statement that said, "Eucalyptus trees helped spread the Cedar fire in Scripps Ranch." I do not know where they got that statement, and to allay any of your fears about our trees, we had no, repeat no, reported instances in which our trees helped spread the fire.
The leaves of the trees were, of course, singed and are brown. The bases were set on fire in some instances, as it was spread by the burning grass and brush fed by the high winds. If you go out there, you will see how nature is renewing itself with all the new sprouts on the trees. We have asked repeatedly if there were any reports from any fire agency that our trees created a fire safety problem so we could take action.
In fact, I called San Diego Fire Department Assistant Chief Augie Ghio when I read the article and asked if they had any documented report so we could have it for our files. He reported there were none. We are not being complacent; we just want the facts to be reported correctly. There are enough problems with the fire services without creating more. We need to focus on correcting what can be corrected now that we have the time, but unfortunately not the funds.
The new play equipment from Game Time has been installed at Hoyt Park at last. From all the mothers I have talked with, the new equipment is wonderful. We also added a lot of new FIBAR around the base so the footing is a little spongy now. The FIBAR is finely ground mulch, not the standard silicon sand. The Park and Recreation Department specified FIBAR for Hoyt Park.
Unfortunately, a young girl climbing on the outside of the play equipment fell and broke her arm. Happy to say, she was not seriously hurt, but it was a wake-up call. So we scheduled another walkthrough and overall safety inspection and asked for an audit of the installation. We want to make sure all safety measures are included and meet the American Disabilities Act specifications.
We welcome Deidre Hardson as the new principal at Ellen Browning Scripps Elementary School. Deidre comes to us from a district assignment in Mira Mesa, and she replaces Rich Cansdale, who was made a district mentor for new principals. Welcome, Deidre. We wish you much success as our newest principal.
With rain we close our playing fields until they dry out, otherwise they can be damaged. It always seem we are plagued by individuals who want to express themselves by driving their 4-wheel drive vehicles on our grass playing fields. That seriously damages the fields. It takes a lot of work to repair the turf, replace the sprinklers, and level off and roll the grounds so they are safe for play.
Again, we ask parents to check your young pick-up truck drivers, and make sure this does not happen. Not only is it expensive but it is a danger to the children. If you observe a vehicle driving on a playing field, please get a description, date, time, and license number. We can and will follow up on it.
The new entrance to the expanded parking lot of the Miramar Reservoir on Scripps Lake Drive is now open. However, the construction work on the street widening and the replacement of the sidewalk is still ongoing, so please take care. The new landscaping and the new sign will be installed later this year. The large crane you see installed in the middle of the old fire station will assist in the massive concrete pouring that is underway in phase two of the program.
The massive project to underground the remaining power lines in Scripps Ranch is proceeding well, with work now concentrated on Scripps Ranch Boulevard opposite Vons. The work is proceeding with minimal disruptions, and traffic continues to flow. We expect a slightly different traffic problem on Scripps Lake Drive. Thanks for your patience and safe driving.
Mark your calendars and plan to attend the 5th Annual Scripps Ranch Community Fair on Sunday, May 16, from 12 to 5 pm. It will be at the Community Park on Blue Cypress Drive. This promises to be a greatly expanded and fun event, with loads of fun for the entire family. Plan to come and join your fellow Scripps Ranchers in what is already a fine Ranch tradition.
The annual meeting of the SRCA will be held on Tuesday, Apr. 13, at 7 pm in the Scripps Ranch Library. We will have end-of-the-year reports from all SRCA standing committees, a financial and membership report, elect officials for the coming year, and report on upcoming events like the Community Fair and our grand 4th of July Parade and Celebration. You are all invited to attend and participate, so put it on your calendar.
This is your time to come and see how you can become a part of the actions happening in our fine community. If you have not joined the SRCA, now is the time to join the finest community coordinating organization in the city.
When I read that the strike was finally over, I went to our neighborhood Vons for some fresh vegetables and was pleasantly surprised to see lots of neighbors shopping. It is our neighborhood store and convenient, and if customers did not return, the rehired or returned strikers could face layoffs for lack of business. I hope both sides feel that their ideas were considered in the settlement, and we can go on from here with good feelings and superior service for customers.
Speaking of good feelings, Gaye and I were shopping at the Farmers Market at E.B. Scripps Elementary School and looking at the fresh strawberries. An unknown resident with his wife came up and said, "Let me buy you the strawberries to thank you for all you do for the Ranch." I was absolutely floored, but so pleased I did not get his name. I just stammered, "Thank you so much." We enjoyed the strawberries and the thought brightened our whole day. To you, unknown resident, thanks a heap. You made my day.
The first use of the new voting machines had some problems as you have heard and read. However, at my polling place there were no complaints. It was a good test for the November election. If you did not vote in the primary, plan to vote in November.
The SRCA will schedule a Candidates Forum for you to attend in October. Watch the Newsletter and SRCA website--at [www.scrippsranch.org]--for the date and time. The attendance in November is usually higher than at any time since it is a presidential election.
We attempt to force the candidates to state what they will do rather than attack their opponent. If you have not been to one of our Candidates Forums, come in October as we will have the mayoral candidates as well as others. Some elected officials who represent us--Congress member Duncan Hunter, Assembly member George Plescia, County Supervisor Pam Slater-Price, and Councilmember Brian Maienschein--all ran unopposed.
I must acknowledge that it still distresses me to hear and see the negative campaigning, the hit pieces, and the art of dissembling and not answering specific questions that seem to pervade our political scene. Keep an open mind and believe only part of what you hear, see, and read. Then, vote for the candidate you feel can best do the job!