Scripps Ranch faces challenges today that are daunting and will affect our community for the next several years. Before October 26, our community's plate was full dealing with issues of growth, declining infrastructure, overcrowded schools, and the budgetary crisis faced by our city, county, and state. As you can see we already had our hands full.
After the firestorm swept through our community, we now add a major rebuilding task, not just of the homes that were lost, but of all the open space and community areas that were devastated. Just driving down Pomerado Road lets us know how big this challenge is.
Over the years the SRCA has worked very hard to help keep Scripps Ranch a great place to live. Most of the time, our residents are unaware of what we are doing, as a lot of what we do goes on behind the scenes. However, on October 26 that changed. In the aftermath of the firestorm, your friends and neighbors who serve on the SRCA board and other community groups stepped in and stepped up to the challenge.
They did so, even when some of them had lost their homes, because the community needed them to do so. Now, two months later, the effectiveness of their actions can be seen in the amazing progress this community has made towards rebuilding. Scripps Ranch is the model for the rest of the county.
As we all know, the tasks are far from complete. Rebuilding Scripps Ranch will take several years of dedicated, focused effort that will take the cooperation and commitment of all our residents. And, as we rebuild, we still have to remain focused on those "other challenges" that have not gone away.
- Help the families who have to rebuild their homes. We can make sure that we give them the "neighborly helping hand" that will allow them to face this challenge knowing that the community is there for them.
- Rebuild and replace the destroyed open space, and ensure that this is done in a manner consistent with our community identity and also done in a way that shows we have learned something from October 26.
- Manage the rest of our open space. Scripps Ranch still has a tremendous amount of open space that is a fire danger. We need to get that open space under control and managed to reduce its fire danger.
- We have a new middle school in planning. If you have been following this issue, you know that we face "challenges" in this area. Our high school and elementary schools are also facing serious challenges.
- We hope to get a YMCA on our 4-acre parcel next to the new Vons center. This facility is what the community wants and what the community needs, but it will take strong community support and involvement to make this dream a reality.
- Stay engaged in those projects both inside and outside of Scripps Ranch that will effect our community, i.e. the development south of Pomerado road and near the Scripps Poway Parkway/I-15 connection, commercial airport relocation, Caltrans projects, etc.
- We need to work towards a better and community-oriented emergency notification and response system. We need to be better prepared.
- You to stay informed and aware of what is going on and what challenges we face. The SRCA can help, and not just through our Newsletter and website. When you join the SRCA this year and you provide us your contact information, we can use targeted emails to keep you up-to-date on new information as it becomes available.
- Your talents and ideas on ways to meet the challenges that we face. Scripps Ranch is a wealth of talent that needs to be exploited.
- Your sweat. Yes, some of the tasks will take work, but the work needs to be coordinated and focused to maximize effectiveness.
- Your membership in the SRCA. Historically, we get at most one-fifth of the 10,000 homes in Scripps Ranch who join the SRCA. As an all volunteer organization, over 90% of the membership funds are returned to the community.
- Our current members give us a community resource fund of about $50,000, which is already committed to supporting our current community.
- This year, if we were to double or triple our membership, our community resource fund will be better able to support many new challenges.
- Membership is only $20 a year. It doesn't sound like a lot, but if we had even half of the residents of our community who were willing to become members, we would have a very significant increase in our resources to resolve these issues.
Whether you have lived here a few months or many years, by now you have noticed one of the pleasures of living in Scripps Ranch: its residents. We come from all walks of life and all corners of the world, each bringing unique qualities that collectively make our suburb a model for civic life.
At no time has that been more evident than this fall, when a firestorm ravaged neighborhoods in our community and left hundreds of families homeless. Whether spared or not, the Cedar fire touched all of us, and as individuals and as a community, we've responded to the needs of our neighbors in unprecedented ways--from offering hugs to extending our homes to helping fire victims put their lives back together.
One organization that binds our community through its annual and special events is the Scripps Ranch Civic Association (SRCA). Through nominal annual membership fees that start at $20, the SRCA is able to bring you fun gatherings such as May's Community Fair, the 4th of July Parade and Celebration, and partial sponsorship of Symphony in the Park. The SRCA also sponsors spring and fall Clean-Up Days and Recognition Night to honor community volunteers.
The SRCA supports the community through the fire station education fund, student scholarships, and donations to the Scripps Ranch Library and neighborhood parks. There are also community forums on various issues, the Scripps Ranch Information Center, and our "Graffiti Busters," a unique program to discourage vandalism.
Around election time, there's Candidates Night, where we invite all candidates in the local races to come and answer questions for our residents. The SRCA also provides a community voice with city leaders in such issues as the new Scripps Ranch middle school and the ongoing City Water Department expansions and Miramar Lake upgrades. And it provides financial support for schools, Scouts, athletics, youth clubs, and community organizations.
The SRCA established and is managing a Fire Relief Fund, as well as coordinated hundreds of volunteers, carpools, clothing, and donation drives, and provided many other disaster-relief services. A special committee, "Project Phoenix," was established to help in the rebuilding process, and SRCA volunteers continue to staff a table at the Local Assistance Center to help residents in any way possible. Finally, there's the SRCA website at [www.scrippsranch.org]. It has proven to be an invaluable source of information on the Cedar fire's impact.
This month, you should receive a letter and decal from the SRCA Membership Committee. Please fill it out and send it in, or send in the form on page 45. Either way, you still get the SRCA decal. Those of you who already belong to the SRCA, we hope you renew. Those who have let your membership lapse, we hope you come back. And those of you who have never joined, we hope you make this the year that you do.
Our single collection point will now be the parking lot of the Community Park on Blue Cypress Drive. The site will be available through Friday, Jan. 16. Please remove stands and ornaments from all trees and keep the site neat. Flocked trees will be accepted.
We are embarking on major efforts to enhance our Landscape Maintenance Assessment District (MAD) and protect against future fire damage. We are preparing our new budget and anticipate increasing our community efforts for fire safety in conjunction with the city.
This means more funds will probably be needed through your assessment fee. We will incorporate the annual Consumer Price Index (CPI) increase into the budget, but may still need more revenue to meet planned expenditures for brush and canyon clearing. We will keep you posted as to what we need to do, much of which we have postponed for years for lack of funds and city policy support.
We are entering the dawn of a new era that will dictate greater effort and greater results with your help. I assure you, we will remain zealous guardians of your and the city's funds for maximum effect. If you would like to help, call me at 566-6083 and become part of the MAD committee. We need your ideas and support.
The date for the annual Recognition Night has been changed to Tuesday, Feb. 10. This will allow for the submission of the names of all the people whose actions made such a difference in our fire response. We need your input. Please send your nominations to our Recognition Night chair, Dorothy Mildice, at [[email protected]]. Send their name, phone number, address, and how they helped the community.
The SRCA has named all San Diego firefighters and law enforcement personnel as our Scripps Ranch Citizens of the Year. We have asked the individual chiefs to designate one person from their department to receive our award for superb individual and collective services rendered to our community.
If your New Year's resolution is to get more involved in your community, we have a perfect way to do just that. The SRCA needs a representative for District 10. That is the area bordered by I-15 on the west, the lake on the east, Hibert Street on the south, and Scripps Highlands on the north. If you are interested, contact Gordon Boerner at 689-2411.
Chair Heidi Brown and the Girl Scouts, along with the SRCA, put on the 21st annual Holiday Celebration in Jerabek Park in December. It featured Santa Claus, souvenir patches and candy canes for the kids, and delicious hot chocolate and cookies courtesy of the Girl Scouts and Christina Datko and friends.
The Marshall Middle School band provided the music, and the Marine Corps Reserve collected Toys for Tots. We all participated in our annual countdown to light the community Christmas tree, led by our councilmember, Brian Maienschein. Special mention was made of the children who lost their homes in the fire and the role that this family event has in our community.