We, as a community, have gone through and are still suffering major pains from the total destruction of homes and the upsetting of lives. Yet, we welcomed the holiday season as a rebirth of hope. The goodwill and charity shown by so many helps ease the pain and suffering. Remember, however, that our rebuilding efforts will be long, difficult, and, undoubtedly, fraught with some frustrations for many. It is "for today, tomorrow, and tomorrow," so continue to help your neighbors; they need your TLC.
The last issue of the Newsletter contained a host of good advice for residents whose homes were spared. An Urban Wildlife Interface Code was developed and it deserves to be repeated, in part for those whose homes were spared the fire and want to know what they could do to create a "defensible interface."
- Roofs should be made of fire-retardant material;
- Create a defensible barrier around your home to the specified space of 30-100 feet;
- Move woodpiles away from your home and wooden fences;
- Thin out ornamental shrubs and remove any dead vegetation;
- Cut back any tree limbs that overhang or touch your roof;
- Keep grass and vegetation cut;
- Have a plan in place and known to all occupants about evacuating;
- Prepare a detailed inventory of all household possessions by description, cost, date of purchase, etc., and take pictures or video of them and put those in a safety deposit box;
- Assemble in one place all important papers;
- If rebuilding or adding to your home, consider using fire-retardant materials, and include application of fire-retardant material to eaves and other parts of the house; and,
- Install a fire alarm system to reduce your insurance payments.
Finally, take action now. Do not put it off. It may not be needed, but it ties in with California earthquake and fire reaction plans, along with assembling food and water supplies for at least three days.
- Initiate a "breather" or halt to approving new home building projects and other projects until a review of the impact of each on our Ranch has been made.
- Complete, with community input, a review and revision of city policy on brush clearing, responsibilities, and inspections.
- Work with the fire department to determine those specific additional safety measures to be adopted for Scripps Ranch, to include establishing the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program.
- Use some of the experiences from other communities to establish a system of fire department inspections and reports for compliance in fire vulnerable areas, as well as enhanced communications and notification means.
- Revise and publish criteria for more fire-resistant construction of homes. For example, Miramar Ranch North homes were built with fireproof roofs. Include that in appropriate fire code changes.
- Develop, with community input, a time-phased program to modify as needed the uses and maintenance of our open space, including the canyons, to reduce fire potential.
- Conduct a demonstration reforestation and revegetation plot at a Scripps Ranch site so the best practices are known prior to initiating full-scale work.
- Continue to work closely with the city and county in our Project Phoenix to facilitate and assist in the home reconstruction for residents dealing with insurance matters, as well as other needs.
We have completed the north side fire debris clearing operation and will embark on a limited effort on the south side in the coming weeks. We are awaiting specific guidelines from qualified arborists as to the actions to take. I am sure you have noticed that the ground is becoming covered with green shoots already. So, nature is at work.
At a meeting of the Mira Mesa Town Council I took the opportunity to publicly thank the hundreds of Mira Mesa residents who opened and ran the evacuation center at Mira Mesa High School for Scripps Ranch residents. They arranged for food, shelter, guidance counseling, and help to all of us in our hour of need. A wonderful example of neighbors helping neighbors.
During the immediate aftermath of the fire, the Retired Senior Volunteer Patrol (RSVP) was asked to staff the traffic control points on the Ranch as an adjunct of the San Diego Police Department and to control action at the Mira Mesa Evacuation Center. RSVP volunteers continued their efforts as long as needed.
They also staffed the entry station at the Local Assistance Center. RSVP volunteers included: Dale Iwig, Bill Hampton, Barbara Maietta, Evan Wetherald, Dick Vanek, Larry Brady, and Joni Strong. Thanks for excellent service to the SDPD and our community. To join our RSVP, please call me at 566-6083.
You have all heard and read about the truly fantastic job Clint Carney, Scripps Ranch representative and chief of policy in council district 5, has done during and after the fire. After all his exceptional work, lo and behold, I meet him on Red Cedar Drive in December, hand delivering a letter and sketch of the route of the SDG&E planned construction to each home so no one would be surprised.
Yes, you saw the happy official city paint can sprayers applying their "graffiti" to Red Cedar Drive opposite Miramar Ranch Elementary School. Yes, it was right over the many marks we had just laboriously removed. This is to mark for the SDG&E project of burying the power lines that took place during the school's winter break. (See page 23 for details and a map of the project.) Be alert when you drive down Red Cedar Drive.
Councilmember Maienschein says this is the first Scripps Ranch project in which the new city ordinance on removing marks and repaving streets will be enforced. This street will not be torn up again for three years!
The city-promised construction by December did not occur, and we do not know when it will occur. It seems the city is reviewing the cost again. With delays, the cost always rises and this has occurred. The lesson learned is that a course of action once planned should be pursued. Sorry, I cannot provide a date for its completion, even after two years.
In response to the many comments to me that the water level in Evans Pond has dropped again by evaporation, the Recreation Council authorized five-acre feet of untreated water be purchased, and we added it in December.
The wonderful Old Pros, Scripps Ranch Women's Athletic Club, and the SRCA sponsored "Band Together" at the end of November. It was a great success and honored the firefighters from stations 37, 44, and Marine Corps Air Station Miramar. A fine time was had by all. Unfortunately, the automatic sprinkler system did not function properly, leaving the field wetter than planned. Please stay off the field for the next two weeks as we reseed, roll, and redo the grass plantings.
The new entrance to Miramar Reservoir and the widening of Scripps Lake Drive are proceeding well. We have held several meetings on the proposed entry signs that were commissioned by the Water Department as "public art," the same as the shining large letters on the wall by the library that were removed.
The plans are in the process of revision and being commented on now. The recommended signage will be published for all to see when this review by all members of the planning forum and their parent organizations is complete.
On November 21, 2003 Dr. Rich Cansdale, founding principal and mentor of EBS Elementary School, was promoted to mentor principal with the San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) and left Scripps Ranch. Rich is an outstanding educator with forward thinking ideas and techniques.
The superb progress made in such a short time by EBS in academic achievement is a credit to his efforts. We asked for Rich to be hired and to start during the summer as we worked to bring EBS online faster than any other SDUSD school. Rich mastered all the details, prepared for a new type of school, enlisted a fantastic staff and faculty, and met opening day with flying colors.
An innovative and enthusiastic principal, he brought to the new school a spirit of adventure in learning and accomplishment that will serve students well in the future. We wish Rich the best of success in his new assignment. Thanks, Rich, for all of your work on behalf of Scripps Ranch. It has been fantastic.
Teenage responsibility: My neighbor's new SUV was parked on the street outside his house when he heard a crash. He went out and saw the left rear of his SUV was smashed in and no one was around--a hit and run. We said that a boy scout would stop and report it, and we both went inside just a bit discouraged.
Later, a young man with his mother came to the door and reported he was at fault and was sorry he had left the scene as he did. The young man and his parents, Scripps Ranch residents, accepted responsibility for their actions.
Sharing misfortune: A resident who lost her home was asked to be interviewed on a radio program that also featured a family in a different part of the county who lost its home. After the interview, concern was expressed that this would contrast Scripps Ranch as a well-to-do community getting more assistance than a county resident.
In response to my asking how they were doing and could we help in any way, good friends who lost their home on Fairbrook Road said, "We are making it, but Christmas is going to be tough on the children, as we lost all the old family ornaments, but we are starting a collection again." They also said they would decorate the site of their old home.
The thought he expressed is one we should heed. We are lucky we lost things, not lives. This was a truly memorable Christmas since everyone was safe. Isn't that the spirit? I guess we should all think that way as we start a new year.
Many Scripps Ranch residents show their joy of the season and pleasure in being able to live in Scripps Ranch by decorating their homes with beautiful light displays. Unfortunately, there are some vandals who like to destroy these decorations. Please be on the alert for the actions of these vandals and report license plates, description, and incident to the police so the vandals can be apprehended and punished.