President’s Report

The SRCA and Community Recovery

What can I say about the Scripps Ranch Civic Association’s (SRCA) role during and after the 2003 Cedar Fire? It would take many pages and hours of time to tell you. Briefly, the SRCA and Scripps Ranch Planning Group (SRPG) quickly jumped into action. The planning group had a special meeting already scheduled for the Tuesday after the fire to discuss land-use issues. We turned it into a fire recovery meeting just after the first homes burned.

The number of participants at first was a handful, but as the fire impacted so many residents, we opened it up to more people and a larger room. The situation was changing so rapidly that we opened the meeting to all of Scripps Ranch and moved it again, this time to St. Gregory the Great Church. Our community meeting was going to be about residents, not politicians. We had an overcapacity crowd.

Prior to hosting the community meeting and in less than 24 hours, Project Phoenix was born. The SRCA created this six-committee organization that was efficient and easily adaptable to ever-changing situations. Scripps Ranch residents came forward to help and were directed to the appropriate committee and sometimes multiple committees. The one-stop relief center helped residents come to the SRCA when things were overwhelming, confusing, or just not helpful. We did the “head banging” for the fire survivors.

Project Phoenix members met with Laguna Hills fire survivors about their experiences and how we could avoid their mistakes. We ultimately paid it forward in 2007 when Rancho Bernardo adapted our recovery model. It took us two years to accomplish what Oakland Hills did in 10 years! Unprecedented!

Here’s just a highlight of SRCA Project Phoenix accomplishments:

  • Facilitated an agreement that the city deemed all slabs and foundations fire damaged so each one did not have to be inspected, which expedited the process;
  • Educated demolition contractors about scope of work to find efficiencies and drive costs down;
  • Created a construction truck route to avoid schools and minimize traffic conflicts;
  • Organized insureds into groups to help them understand insurance policies and to communicate among themselves to share experiences;
  • Promoted the concept of homebuilders constructing multiple houses at the same time to achieve economies of scale and efficiencies;
  • Held mental health presentations and discussion sessions;
  • Inventoried accurately a list of homes damaged and destroyed;
  • Photographed every fire damaged home and posted photos to the SRCA website;
  • Coordinated the delivery of donated materials;
  • Aided non-SRCA projects such as the North Pomerado group, a cookbook, school supplies, photograph and yearbook replacement, and slope erosion efforts;
  • Hosted sandbag filling “parties”;
  • Distributed excess donations to fire recovery centers in other areas;
  • Provided organizational support to begin the Tierrasanta fire recovery;
  • Aided the Department of Insurance with unlicensed contractor stings;
  • Started the nonprofit Scripps Ranch Relief Fund; and,
  • Responded to thousands of phone calls and emails from fire survivors, volunteers, contractors, government officials, and donors.

We also instituted a policy that if a person or organization wanted to help, they would train our volunteers and we would work with our residents. We knew that, in the long run, it would be residents helping residents, not someone coming to help only to leave in a few days. I would be remiss not to say that Councilmember Brian Maienschein and his staff were instrumental to our community’s success!

The SRCA now has contact information for more than 6,000 residents in order to share community or emergency news. If you would like for us to have your name, address, phone, and email, please drop me a note at [[email protected]].You could be sure that it will be used only to share information about Scripps Ranch.

Bob Ilko, SRCA President

Aging Successfully in SR Lecture

“So you think that you are a San Diegan…” Join us for an interesting and entertaining talk about San Diego’s history on Wednesday, Oct. 2, from 10 to 11:30 am at the Scripps Ranch Library. No matter how long you have lived in the area, you’ll learn many new things about the people and events that shaped our city—from the Kumeyaay Indians to the “Rosie the Riveters” who made aircraft here during World War II. Our speaker, Linda A. Canada, is a San Diego transplant with a love of local history. She holds an undergraduate degree in history from UCLA and a law degree from Loyola University.

New Programs and Services

Scripps Ranch 50 Plus offers lectures, Senior Living Tours, and other activities as outlined in our SRCA Newsletter articles and emails. We do not offer hands-on assistance, transportation service, or opportunities for volunteers to assist seniors.

However, we are considering partnering with ElderHelp, an organization that provides personalized services and information to help seniors remain independent so they can live with dignity in their own homes. Its Concierge Club offers help with the basic necessities through personal attention, meaningful engagement, and coordinated programs and services. Senior-A-Go-Go provides escorted, door-through-door transportation. HomeShare serves those looking for affordable housing or have a spare room in their home.

Learn about ElderHelp and participate in discussions about how we might offer increased services in Scripps Ranch. The same program will be held twice: Wednesday, Nov. 6, from 10 to 11:30 am at the Scripps Ranch Library, and Monday, Nov. 11, from 7 to 8:30 pm at the SRCA Community Center on Cypress Canyon Road.


The October and November Pet Advice for Wise Seniors (PAWS) Club meeting will be combined and held on Friday, Oct. 25, at 4 pm at the Scripps Ranch Community Park. This will be the day for our Howl-oween Pet Costume Contest.

Regular Activities

Check the calendar to your right for a list of all the fun activities we offer each week. Try a new one this month!


We offer special thanks to our sponsors for all their support:

  • Front Porch Communities
  • Gateway Gardens
  • Heritage Senior Care, Inc
  • Seacrest Village
  • Sunshine Care
  • The Vi
  • The Patrician

Water-Sensible Landscape Strategies

  • Wednesday, Oct. 9, 6:30–8 pm
  • SCRA Community Center
  • 11885 Cypress Canyon Road

A water-efficient landscape and irrigation system reduces outdoor water use and minimizes urban runoff entering the storm drain system. Our experts will update us on our water supply and water quality protection efforts, help you navigate rebate programs to cut the costs of creating a more sustainable San Diego lifestyle, and offer strategies to help renovate your water-thirsty yard to a more sustainable, yet beautiful, landscape.

Speakers include JoEllen Jacoby, supervising landscape conservation designer for the city of San Diego’s Water Conservation Program, and Lana Findlay from Think Blue San Diego. Bring questions!

SRCA Monthly Garden Share and Community Building

  • Saturday, Oct. 12, 4–5 pm
  • SCRA Community Center
  • 11885 Cypress Canyon Road

Note the day and time change: 4–5 pm on Saturday. Share your garden excess or get creative with your sharing, for example: seeds, cuttings, starter plants, unneeded tools, pots, fertilizers, recipes, books or magazines, a drawing or other artwork, or a snack or beverage to share with folks in the lovely space outside the SRCA Community Center. This event is about garden bounty but also about community.

Meet your neighbors, say hello to old friends, or introduce yourself if you’re new to the area. Bring bags to carry home your new treasures, and figure that, if needed, you’ll pay it forward some other time.

Please note: excess produce goes to those in need in our local area. If your peaches, apples, grapes, tomatoes, peppers, citrus, or any other fruits or vegetables are above and beyond, we can help you pick them and get them to folks who can really benefit from your fresh food contributions.

Tip of the Month

If you’re considering solar panels, connect with a solar friend or local organization first. Many companies offer referral gifts to existing customers, typically $500 per installed referral. Often, friends and organizations will share these, so both you and they can benefit.

Here in Scripps Ranch, you can help both the Scripps Ranch Civic Association (SRCA)—which helps the community— and yourself. SunCraft Solar will donate $500 to the SRCA if they install solar for you and you mention the SRCA, and they’ll give you a $500 rebate as well.