Friends of Daley Ranch Annual Retreat Minutes

February 4, 2012

Present: Fred Woods, Mike Whalen, Rick Paul, Dick Althouse, Jerry Harmon, and Rick Mercurio

Fred opened the meeting at 9 a.m. at the home of Rick M. The Board discussed the recent newsletter and made the following arrangements for its future: Wendy will continue to put it together online. Rick M will get it printed and buy postage. Sally will print the labels. Jerry will fold and label and stamp and mail them. Rick P will continue to imbed the online pages into our Yahoo email account for sending, which Rick M will do. Fred will invite Don Pillar to a future meeting, at a location with internet access, in order to discuss options with the website. Don may be able to forward email and membership through the site.

The Board discussed the City’s proposed annexation to the east of the ranch, as well as the development planned there. We wondered about details for their proposed access point into the ranch, specifically as it related to parking, equestrian staging, and openness to the general public. We also were concerned with wildlife passage across the roadway between the houses and Valley Center Road. If our opposition to this development is unsuccessful, we hope that the developer, among other concessions, would be required to fund the biological baseline study that has long been needed for the ranch.

Mike and Rick M formed a committee to continue research into the proposed panorama signs for Stanley Peak, and possibly another sign for Boulder loop. Rick M will continue to connect with Rick Halsey, who agreed to photograph the east and west views from Stanley Peak. Once we have the photos we can get a more specific estimate from Pete Kraeger’s sign company in Escondido. Mike will contact Jerry Van Leeuwen to see what we need to do with the City to put up the signage. The committee hopes to explore more than one proposal for the Board’s consideration. Mike has already gotten preliminary information from the company that created signs for the Sikes Adobe. Dick suggested Escondido Blueprint as another possible company. We also discussed the possibility of getting grant money for the signs, which would possibly be about 20 inches high by 48 inches wide.

We discussed the utility building project. Jerry had spoken on the phone to Paul Bingham of the City about the problem of getting permits for the creek embankment. Jerry assured him that we would be patient with that, but that we will be proceeding with the restoration of the buildings unaffected by the creek. Specifically, Dick would like to begin with the foreman’s quarters, which is the building furthest south. He noted that it apparently has a good foundation already, and would be the logical starting point. Dick will meet with Paul to discuss details, and to see if FODR’s project can be placed on the next agenda of the Historic Preservation Commission, possibly with Wendy assisting in our presentation.

Some of the plant signs that we installed last spring need our attention. A few of the identified plants were removed when the fire department ordered the ranch house road to be cleared of brush. Other signs are now loosened. Mike and Rick P agreed to scope out the needed repairs on a first visit, and to do the work on a second visit. Rick M will help if possible.

Fred expressed the need to recruit new blood into FODR. The Board discussed individuals who may fill critical needs, and we identified who of us would contact each person. Fred will contact Donna Aeling to help with school trips to the ranch. He will also reach out to Tracey Brown (preservation), Brian Swanson (activism), and James Dillane (biology). Rick M will contact Tena Scruggs (natural diversity). Rick P will contact Steve Berrol (Caballo Trail project). Mike will contact Donna Davis (historic preservation). Jerry will contact Greg Birch (biking).

The Escondido City Council will be hearing public testimony at the 4:30 meeting on Wednesday, March 7, about the proposed relocation of the utilities buildings adjacent to the Caballo Trailhead. Because of the concerns FODR has already expressed in opposition to this project, we are planning to attend the meeting and be heard. Rick M will make additional copies of our newsletter and remittance envelopes to have on hand that day.

Rick P said that the Escondido Charitable Foundation will have grant opportunities soon, and that this topic should be discussed at each FODR meeting going forward. Potential projects for this grant include expansion of the middle school student trips to the ranch for students who may not have had the opportunity to interact with nature. Another idea is to provide Spanish language trail guides, plant guides, signs, etc.

Rick M attended the last two Reveal Escondido Creek meetings, and reported that each sponsoring organization is being asked to contribute $100 toward the seed money for this project. He moved to pay the requested $100. Fred seconded and the motion passed unanimously. Rick P said he would get the check delivered.

The next FODR Board meeting will be Thursday, February 16 at 7 p.m. at the train depot.

Respectfully submitted,

Rick Mercurio, secretary