By Phil Trubey
January 15, 2022
The RSF Association board meetings have lately left me underwhelmed. Lots of talk about process issues and regulations, very little actual action that improves our lives as residents in the community. However this latest January meeting had three items that positively impact us. More thoughts about this at the end.
Village Street Sign Toppers
The infrastructure committee and staff have been working for a while to get approval from the County to replace our street signs with ornamental signs that would give Covenant streets a distinctive look. This is part of a branding and esthetic enhancement initiative. Various other neighborhoods in San Diego and Carlsbad have this. However, the County has never done this, so the best we could get were street sign toppers.
The Board approved purchasing 23 toppers for the Village downtown area and may try to expand this to the rest of the Covenant in the future. There was a question about people potentially stealing the toppers as souvenirs: maybe the Association could buy a few extra and sell them to members?
Board Meetings To Be Recorded
Staff proposed an AV equipment package and streaming service to allow Board meetings to be streamed live, whether they take place in person or via zoom. In addition, meetings would be made available in recorded form on the Association’s member portion of the web site for later viewing via a PC or mobile device.
This is a welcome addition and something I’ve been advocating for a while. RSF will join many other local government organizations that make their meetings publicly available in recorded form and would reverse a 4+ year old RSFA ban of keeping such recordings and making them available to members.
Notices To Be Emailed
Continuing on the theme of modern communications, the Board has posted for a 30 day comment period a proposed rule that would allow members to opt-in to receive all general communications from the Association via email rather than either postal mail or posted to the Association web site.
For example, the yearly budget could be emailed to you rather than mailed. This would also mean special Board meeting notices could be emailed to members. This would be done on an opt-in basis and a procedure would need to be followed to ensure that you can in fact receive email from the Association and that it doesn’t fall into your spam folder, a common occurrence for high volume email. The full memo and procedure to be followed is available here.
Hopefully many people will opt-in and save the Association not insignificant mailing costs. On a similar note, I am surprised more people haven’t taken up the Association on their ACH direct debit program to pay monthly fees via automatic bank withdrawal. Only about 10% of members use this (I’m one of them) and it works well. You can specify exactly what kinds of withdrawals are automatic and which ones aren’t.
Bathroom Budget Approved
The Richardson field bathroom for the little league baseball diamond got an expanded budget to take into account materials costs increases from about 4 years ago when the original budget was made. They also need to replace/repair the failing roof on the structure. It ended up being a very expensive bathroom, but the Association was hemmed in by a tough location (right beside a creek) that involved a diverse set of permitting agencies and requirements.
Let’s not stop here. Will the board please take up an agenda item to also build a bathroom for the soccer field? Such a bathroom would be far cheaper since there is an available sewer main right there on Ramblas de las Flores, and permitting would be exponentially easier (no creek).
Member Input Urges Dog Park
A member emailed the Association asking that a dog park be built. This is a great idea! This would provide another social meeting place for residents, always a welcome addition. It is these kinds of simple, relatively inexpensive concrete suggestions I wish the board spent time on rather than endless navel gazing discussions about process.
The Patrol chief gave his yearly update. I’ll give the big take away up front: Please report all suspicious activity to the Patrol. There have been a recent increase in burglaries, especially from “hikers” on the golf course trail or riding trails with face masks and backpacks. Better to have a Patrol officer have a friendly conversation with a member than to not report anything and allow a burglar to continue committing crimes.
- Handled 3,576 calls for service, 12% decrease from 2020 (Covid year).
- Alarm calls were about 6% of all calls.
- Most crimes are “opportunistic” in nature.
- We had 16 burglaries, 11 residential, 5 commercial (usually meaning construction site).
- 18% of all calls were self initiated by Patrol officers.
- Average response time for all calls was 6:00 minutes
- Patrol quick response netted one Burglary arrest.
- 1,080 calls were assistance calls for the Sheriff, CHP and Fire.
- Drove over 116,000 miles and conducted over 24,000 security checks.
Here’s the Patrol’s number, I’d recommend keeping an entry for it in your phone: (858) 759-8588 or directly to their dispatch at (858) 756-4372
Gateway Project Still In Permitting/Financing
The Gateway project, which would redevelop the entire triangular land area that the gas station partially sits on, was given an extended Association permit until 2025. The developers cited a two year delay getting County easements sorted out, and general Covid related delays.
They also pointed to the general collapse of the commercial real estate market last year as a contributing factor. Basically, lining up financing for this project hasn’t been made any easier the last few years. Got some extra cash you’d like to invest in real estate? I’m sure the developer would be interested in talking with you. Maybe you could be instrumental in getting a grocery store back into our village.
Current timeline is to have construction plans submitted to the County later this year.
Board Election Deadlines
Finally, we have a Board election looming, with three out of seven spots up for grabs. Self nominations are due March 11th. May 12th is the all candidates forum and when ballots are mailed out. Ballots are due and counted June 13/14.
In recent years, the RSF Post has been neutral when it came to candidate endorsement. But I’ve been getting increasingly frustrated over the past few years over the Board’s misplaced priorities and general lack of moving projects forward that would positively impact our community. The missing in action restaurant remodel is but one example.
In my opinion, the Board has spent way too much time on things like regulations and Art Jury internal processes (something it isn’t even supposed to be involved in). Meanwhile community enhancements get little airing. This past meeting was no exception – I’ve been purposefully not reporting on these long arguments at the Board level about the Art Jury and regulations unless us members are asked to review something. You’re welcome.
In the next few weeks, I hope to be writing my own personal vision, along with concrete suggestions, of what the Association could do for its members going forward.
Meanwhile, I would love to be able to endorse some likeminded candidates. I am hoping that I can find three energetic candidates that have a broad community focus. A good board member not only has the time to devote to the position, but also pays attention and contributes to each agenda item and isn’t a single issue candidate.
I am often asked if I will run. I actually spend quite a bit of time researching and writing these articles. I’d rather do my part communicating what is going on, but I realize the two roles are not incompatible. We used to have a Board president who wrote monthly columns on this website. So … maybe.
As always, I am very interested in knowing your thoughts! Please let me know at email@example.com.