Friends of Daley Ranch Board Minutes
February 13, 2023


Present: Jerry Harmon, Brocade Wu, Ron Franzese, Dave Roberts, Dick Althouse, and Rick Mercurio


Minutes and Treasurer’s Report: The minutes from the January retreat meeting were approved by acclamation.

Rick had emailed to the Board the final January accounting and February’s to the 9th. He noted that FODR has now paid back fees and required paperwork to the CA Charitable Registry, which had been delinquent since 2017. Rick also mentioned that his mailing to 67 people on our database, who have been receiving mailed newsletters, and who had either never donated or not done so for five years, resulted in only a single person requesting to go green with email. This is disappointing, but not surprising. FODR will save some postage and printing expenditures as a result.


March 26 Picnic: Brocade has already created a plan for the day, along with specific personnel assignments. Ron and Rick are working on the postcard invitation for non-email folks. Rick has gotten four RSVP’s so far. Rick spoke with Brian Thill, Greg Gould and Gregg Anderson about City help for that day. All were agreeable to help by providing the City van, chairs, tables, and set up assistance. Jerry has invited the new mayor, other council members, and the City Manager to attend and/or speak. Ron is looking into a shuttle vehicle. Jerry and Brocade will determine ways for donors to pay via Zelle, Venmo, and a card reader square. They will also obtain tickets to serve as lunch vouchers. Rick will provide two lists of members who are current, one for the Ranch House table, the other for the main gate shuttle stop.


Interpretive Signs: Rick met with Supt. Brian Thill and Ranger Greg Gould to discuss the interpretive signs. Brian had shown our plans to members of the Appearance Committee. The feedback referred to a relatively recent regulation that an interpretive trail must accommodate the blind by including ropes to guide them from sign to sign and Braille or other means of communication like audio. Brian and Greg acknowledged that they have not seen this done anywhere in Escondido or any other location, but that they want to make sure that new projects comply. They also said they have not encountered blind visitors to Daley Ranch. They did say that existing provisions allow for interpretive signage in two locations along Ranch House Road, and that they will check to see if we can install clusters of signs in those two spots, plus four of the total 12 signs in “isolated” locations that are site-specific. The request would be to install the signs without the accommodations for the blind. Rick also asked them to consider our request to build the small kiosk. Brocade suggested installing benches at the cluster sites.

Rick will contact Thill to see if we can take this project “off his plate” so that we may connect with the decision-makers at City Hall.


School Visits: Fred and Rick met with EUSD and Transportation representatives to request that buses once again be allowed to transport students all the way to the Ranch House. The transportation reps were open to this idea, but they hope to make another trip with the bus drivers to show them the logistics and turn-around plan. SDG&E is currently installing a natural gas pipeline along Ranch House Road, and they hope to be done by the time of the first school trip. EUSD teacher leaders are creating a project-based-learning unit to complement the field trip.


Trail Guide Project: Rick and Brocade, along with photographer Sandy Zelasko and Bill Sherrard, have made photo-drives with Ranger Gregg into various sections of Daley Ranch to take photos. We also have images that Gregg has accumulated. Sandy and Rick met to discuss concepts in creating a printed brochure, which would offer trail loops and descriptions with photos. More drives and/or hikes are planned for the spring to hopefully see more color.


Website: Brocade will try again to get in touch with Don to work on this.


Meeting with Sherrard: Jerry and Rick met with Bill at Jerry’s home to keep him in the loop with FODR’s current projects. We specifically discussed the idea that some of his generous donation could be used for “seed money” to get the City to begin the required biological monitoring at Daley Ranch. Another idea was to demo the old white residence across from the Ranch House and build a meeting space/amphitheater. Bill was enthusiastically supportive of FODR’s plans and ideas.


Animal Camera Project: Dave and Brocade have been working together with Liz Ridder, who loaned Dave three cameras. She also provided copies of previously-approved City applications for research involving wildlife cameras. We would hope to add to her research project with any new information. Dave agreed to spearhead this new project, connecting with the City, and monitoring the cameras and their batteries regularly. Ron said he could help with that. Some of the photos or data could be saved on a hard drive and eventually could be made available to the public, including students.

Brocade mentioned the possibility of buying a drone to help monitor flora and habitat over time.


Barn Restoration: The weather has kept Dick from organizing work there lately, but he knows there is still plenty more to do, like hangers and anchors. An inspection is on the horizon.


City Park/Open Space Memorial Application: Brocade had seen an inquiry on Facebook about memorial benches at Daley Ranch. Jerry obtained the city requirements, which are somewhat lengthy and complicated. Jerry says it may be in FODR’s interest for future potential benefactors to simplify the process. He therefore distributed copies of the initial application to the Board, and suggested that we publicize this in the newsletter.


Potential New Board Members: Ron was very impressed after meeting Donna Leon, a TECC, employee with management responsibility; she is interested in possibly joining the FODR Board, and has been invited to our picnic. Jerry reached out to a lady from Deer Park Monastery as well.


Newsletter: Rick would like to have a feature on Dave. We would also like a photo of him, and maybe we could feature a couple of his wildlife photos. We could do a brief follow-up of our March 26 lunch. The Board would like Rick to prepare a list of donors. Rick will be gone the first couple weeks of April, so we need to either do the newsletter later in April or get someone like Bruce to do the mailing.


Next Meeting: March 14 at 3 p.m. at the Train Depot.

Respectfully submitted,

Rick Mercurio