FODR Board Minutes

April 27, 2021


Jerry opened the Zoom meeting at 7 p.m. Participants included Jerry Harmon, Fred Woods, Dick Althouse, Brocade Wu, Rick Mercurio, and prospective Board member Ron Franzese. Also joining the meeting was Superintendent Chris Krstevski and City Employee Clay Clifford from the Water Treatment Plant, Michael Sabatte of the City and Don Piller, website manager.

Introduction of Ron Franzese: Rich moved approval of appointing Ron to the Board as a full member. Brocade seconded. The motion passed unanimously. Welcome to the Board! Ron introduced himself. He and his wife have lived on the west side of Daley Ranch for about seven years. His background is administrative health care. He is happy to join the team. He has been in touch with the manager of Deer Park Monastery and encouraged FODR to establish a working relationship with them.

Cell Phone Towers Proposal: Chris said that the City has an opportunity to add two cell phone towers in Daley Ranch in order to improve coverage within the Ranch to improve communication and emergency services. They would use solar power. The Stanley Peak station would also have a camera for spotting wildfires. Chris presented a PowerPoint describing the proposal. A question and answer opportunity followed. The Board was in agreement with the proposal.

Jerry asked Chris about City Restoration and Endowment funding on behalf of Daley Ranch. Chris said that moving forward he will have access to excess funds from the sale of mitigation credits. Chris said that $35,000 has been allocated for biological monitoring. The City will be moving forward, in coordination with TECC, on first steps.

Jerry asked about the old “White Building” across from the Ranch House. All agreed that the structure, other than the fireplace, needs to be demolished. Audubon and FODR may work together in the future on a vision for that space.

The minutes from the March meeting were approved by acclamation.

Rick had emailed the treasurer’s reports for March and April to date, along with a revised copy of the 2021 Budget.

Rick had spoken to Ranger Chris earlier, and he had suggested that FODR purchase a brand new iron ranger to replace the one with a temporary chain. Dick says he will try to check the iron ranger on a regular basis and he will speak to Chris about ideas for replacement.

Restoration report: Dick had earlier submitted plans to the City Planning Dept. for the barn restoration, following collaboration with an architectural firm. Dick will be picking up his drawings that includes a new entry way, from across the bridge, which needs an update. The architect will draw up those plans to repair the bridge. Dick hopes that FODR could ask the City for some funding toward this project. Jerry agreed to help with this effort.

Video series update: Fred has been working extremely hard, along with David Woods, on rolling out the 21-part video series, entitled Daley Ranch Connections. The link to the series has now been put onto EUSD’s internal network for unfettered use by teachers and students. David also worked to make the series available to the public and our own membership, using You-Tube, and putting links on our own website, onto our Facebook page, and in our spring newsletter. By all accounts, FDOR is getting high marks from all corners for the quality and scope of this series. A huge thank you to Fred and David for a successful effort over the past 11 months.

SDF Grant for interpretive trail project: Rick has applied for the SDF Opening the Outdoors grant in order to provide $33,000 for the creation of a multicultural and bi-lingual interpretive trail at Daley Ranch. He was able to garner eight letters of support from organizations and qualified individuals, all who pledge to work with FODR in this effort.

SDGE Grant for 2022 field trips: Rick and Fred have submitted a grant application to SDG&E’s Environmental Champions program for $15,000 toward 7th grade field trips in 2022. The EUSD has told us that they are hopeful that actual field trips may resume next spring, but possible social distancing regulations on buses could make transportation costs much more expensive.

Social Media update: Brocade has spoken with Colleen MacKinnon, who handed over Administrative authority of our Facebook page to Brocade. Besides David Woods’ placement of the video series on Facebook, Brocade has begun to post items. We have had lots of users and likes so far, and Brocade is excited to move forward.

Website update: At the March meeting Brocade had said she would look into ideas for changes to our existing website. She has already begun to work on posting updated information by connecting to Chris K for the latest news. Don said that he has been associated with the FODR website for many years. He loves Daley Ranch, and has for a long time. He is willing to offer his volunteer time, and he stressed that continual updates are important on our website.

Meeting with Mac possibility: Jerry had participated earlier this year in a Zoom meeting between Mayor Mac and the Escondido Chamber of Citizens. At that time, Jerry envisioned doing a similar meeting between the mayor and the FODR Board. Possible issues to discuss include KTUA recreation project, biological monitoring, the trails plan, use of restoration funds, and Sunday shuttle buses to the Ranch House.

Possible social connection with Bill Sherrard: Jerry and Rick had earlier discussed an informal get together with Bill Sherrard, who generously donated to FODR in December. We could find out if Bill has any specific requests or thoughts about his bequest. Rick will contact Bill about this.

Format for emailed newsletters: Rick and Fred had privately discussed the method that our newsletter is presented via email. They would prefer a format that does not require readers to click a link to access the full newsletter, believing that even that small effort may keep some folks from seeing the content. Rick mentioned that TECC uses a better technique. Rick will ask Don whether he can accomplish that method.

Protocol for FODR internal communication: Rick reminded the Board that we all need to be diligent and consistent about not only reading all FODR emails, but also responding to emailed requests for comment or action in a timely manner.

Harvest Hills Update: Recently a large coalition of organizations signed a formal letter to the City of Escondido expressing strong opposition to the large proposed development of homes near the Safari Park. This project would negatively impact wildlife corridors that connect to Daley Ranch, among many other consequences. Rick moved that FODR officially support the organized opposition to the Harvest Hills project. Brocade seconded. The motion passed unanimously.

The next meeting on Zoom is scheduled for Tuesday, May 18 at 7 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Rick Mercurio