Friends of Daley Ranch Board Minutes

August 20, 2014

Present: Board Members Fred Woods, Mike Whalen, Rick Paul, Jim Schafer, and Rick Mercurio; guests Dan Hippert, Colleen Mackinnon, Peter Benson and Brian Swanson.
Minutes and Treasurer’s Report: Fred opened the meeting at 7 p.m. at the Train Depot in Grape Day Park, Escondido. The minutes from the July meeting were approved by acclamation. Rick P submitted his treasurer’s report. Mike presented a spreadsheet showing the income from the iron ranger since he began supervising it four years ago. The Board thanked Mike for his good work. Mike moved to reimburse Rick M $175.16 for printing and postage expenses related to the summer newsletter and the flyer for the utility buildings. Rick P seconded and the motion passed unanimously. Brian initiated a discussion about the wisdom and even legality of placing some of our assets in an investment fund, which has the potential to rise and fall in value over time, as opposed to all funds going into a CD or bank savings account. Also discussed was the policy of how much money FODR saves rather than spends on an ongoing basis. Most agreed that our present policies are prudent, allowing income higher than inflation and providing a relatively high degree of security while maintaining a sizable asset for future use. Peter suggested that Brian look into the legal question that Brian raised.
Building Restoration Project: Jim reported that the foreman’s quarters is virtually completed. He distributed photos of its new “furnishings,” including a stove, a cabinet, flooring, and a porch bench. It still needs some finishing touches.  The next big project will be raising the adjoining structure and placing it on a firm foundation, while strengthening it. After that, we hope to re-build the subsequent structure that is presently disassembled and stored. It will be located slightly east of its previous spot. Rick M said that he submitted a cover letter to Supervisor Roberts’ office as a first step in applying for a NRP grant for our restoration project plus three informational signs. Roberts’ staffer Brett Fisher responded positively to this letter and said she looked forward to helping us. Jim researched signs, and favors the use of a high quality product now used by the San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy. He shared photos of such signs taken near the Sikes Adobe/Mule Hill area. The Board approved of this plan. Rick M will now work on the full grant application.
School Visits: Fred said that FODR will be receiving the $1000 grant from Escondido Rotary for the visits. He also shared the school calendar with the Board and Dan in order to secure possible dates. It was agreed that Tuesdays and Wednesdays from late February through April of 2015, other than spring break and testing times, would work. Fred will work with the school district to secure funding for busses, but the Board stated its willingness to pay for schools which otherwise would not be able to afford them. Fred and Dan reminded everyone that volunteers who interact with the public are required to be fingerprinted and take a first aid class, all at the City’s expense. Fred said that a “Cox Cares” grant could provide more funds for the visit. He will email Rick M the link.

City Report from Dan:
The Board thanked Dan for attending our meeting and for all his hard work.
Staffing update: Dan said that the City has now “fully staffed” the rangers for Dixon Lake and Daley Ranch, including some upward mobility into leadership positions.
Ranch House docents and shuttle: He said the City is in the planning stages of opening up the ranch house to the public for one Sunday per month. They will sponsor these events in cooperation with FODR and the Daley Ranch Volunteers, who may provide docents. In addition he said the City is looking for a vendor to provide shuttle service from the parking lot to the ranch house on the same Sundays the house is open. The Board expressed its gratitude to the City for this progress, and also its hope that the interpretive display proposal will also be approved.
Rules enforcement: Brian asked Dan about the problem of cyclists speeding along the trails, endangering families and hikers. Brian favors more speed limit signs. Others mentioned the problems of smokers and dogs off leash. Dan said the rangers use an “educational approach” to enforcement, but do cite violators after the first warning. Dan also said he would like to require all bikers to dismount before passing through the main gate. Rick P reminded everyone that FODR favors rules signs in Spanish.
Volunteers: Rick P asked Dan about the lack of meetings for the Daley Ranch Volunteer Association, adding that this group has nearly $10,000 in funds ready to use for interpretive displays. Rick P also said those meetings had provided good communication and idea sharing among the docents. Dan acknowledged this concern and believes that improvements will be in store for the volunteer program.

Roundtable Forum:
FODR is a co-sponsor of a candidate forum on Sept. 25, which will be moderated by the League of Women Voters and hosted by the Escondido Roundtable. Fred, Rick M and Jerry normally attend Roundtable meetings. The City will charge $17 per hour to videotape the forum for broadcast on cable TV. Rick M moved that FODR pay for this fee, not to exceed $75 total. Fred seconded and the motion passed with four yes votes, Rick P abstaining. Tony Endress, who chairs the Roundtable, is seeking to provide signing and translating for the forum. Some Board members questioned the practicality of both these services. It will be discussed at the Roundtable meeting on August 21.

Colleen has been busy researching information to use for a Wikipedia entry for Daley Ranch. She read her draft article to the Board, and took some suggestions. She has already employed 19 sources of information, and she welcomes more input. More work is necessary for following steps in the procedure. The Board agreed that she is doing a terrific job, and thanked her for her efforts.

Plant signs, SD Foundation, Facebook:
Mike said that he has been in contact with Ranger Kathy Boyd, who is in charge of Eagle Scout projects, and she believes they may be very interested in the idea of repairing and/or replacing our plant signs along the trails. He will follow up on this.
Rick P announced that the San Diego Foundation will have a lunch program featuring its new president on September 12. Board members are welcome, and Fred indicated he may attend.
Linda Shipman, who has done an outstanding job as FODR’s Facebook liaison, will be out of town for a couple months this fall. Colleen graciously agreed to take over this job until Linda returns. The Board thanked her for this.

Next Meeting:
The next meeting will be Sept. 17 at the home of Dick Althouse at 6 p.m. Fred and Rick M will be absent for the October meeting.
Respectfully submitted,
Rick Mercurio, secretary