Planners back Tobiason’s goal for Santa Maria Creek
This is the first in a series about longtime Ramona resident Angus Tobiason and his concerns about Santa Maria Creek.
By Bill Tamburrino
Angus Tobiason has a project that he wants to see completed for the people of Ramona, and on Feb. 7 the first step toward accomplishing his goal was unanimously approved by the Ramona Community Planning Group.
Cleaning out Santa Maria Creek is a project that Tobiason, a former member of the planning group, believes could save properties and lives.
Tobiason was at the Feb. 7 meeting to hear his grandson, Torry Brean, who is a planning group member, present a draft letter addressed to County Supervisor Dianne Jacob that requests assistance to clean out the creek and prevent the possibility of flooding. The letter will also be sent to county staff with the Department of Public Works and with Flood Control.
“If we do not open that creek up, we’re going to flood our neighbors,” Tobiason said.
The letter tells how soil, vegetation and trash in the Santa Maria Creek have been increasing over the past few decades.
The project that Tobiason wants done and done correctly is in response to a disaster that happened in Ramona approximately 34 years ago and could happen again.
In 1979-80, several earthen dams broke and Ramona experienced a flood and much damage.
Tobiason fears that, if something is not done about the present condition of the Santa Maria Creek, another storm like the one that devastated Ramona in 1979-80 will do even more damage and maybe cost lives.
The letter to Jacob states that, due to environmental restrictions with multiple regulatory agencies, the community cannot remove material like it did in the town’s early days. Brean told planners that the letter asks “for the county’s help to get through this bureaucratic mess.”
“I would like to see the county follow the wishes and recommendations of the planning group,” Tobiason said in an interview. “Too many times the county has taken our community away from the people. Thousands of acres of ranch land and grassland have been put off limits to the people of Ramona. We don’t get our fair share back from the taxes.”
Tobiason is old school Ramona. He has lived in Ramona, worked in Ramona, volunteered in Ramona, and been elected to serve in Ramona. Ramona is in his blood and he is in Ramona’s blood.
Tobiason was born on Aug. 17, 1930. He moved to Ramona with his mother and father, Sadie and Art, and his brother, Art, from Chula Vista in 1939. He has been working and serving in Ramona ever since.
He attended Ramona Elementary School and Ramona High School and graduated in 1949. While at RHS, he played football, baseball and basketball.
“I wasn’t very good but in those days we needed everybody to make up the team,” Tobiason said modestly, as is his usual demeanor.
After graduating, Tobiason joined the Navy and served for four years. He is a Korean War veteran. He also attended San Diego State University.
Tobiason married his bride, Sally, in 1956, and together they raised two sons, Mike and Robert, and four daughters, Cheryl, Crissy, Cathy, and Debbie in Ramona. Tobiason and his wife have seven grandchildren.
He started working full-time in Ramona the day after he was discharged from the Navy in 1954, first as a heavy equipment operator and later as a contractor. Along with helping to build Ramona, Tobiason started his career in community service.
“I was involved with the Junior Fair for a long time and just about every youth sport or activity that my children or grandchildren were involved in,” he said.
His reason for getting involved was simple: “We have a big family and we all live here so I wanted to make sure that things were and are done right.”
Tobiason and his family have volunteered for schools and such groups as 4-H, the volunteer fire department and youth athletics.
He progressed from a volunteer to an elected official. He said he served on the Ramona planning group before it was an elected position, and he was an elected member for 24 years.
Before he finished his term as a member of the planning group at the end of 2012, Tobiason requested that something be done about Santa Maria Creek.
The next installment of this series will report on a fact finding tour of Ramona with Tobiason, concerned community members, and county Department of Public Works employees.
Karen Brainard contributed to this report.
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