How to induce hysteria, cripple a cause and leave a really bad taste all around

By Joe Cahak

Recently the Ramona Community Planning Group held their monthly meeting and one of the issues was the South Bypass or Dye Road project. Along with this was the Ramona Street extension and the 13th Street bridge projects. The meeting was well attended especially so after the CFARR group and a certain individual when all down Main Street to purposely gin up every business owner that he (they) could. They got 70 signatures for what they claimed was a plan to re-route all Highway 67 traffic to the south bypass and away from town. They had a quite elevated and hostile group all worked up at the meeting ready for bear. Mean while the meeting progressed and the RCPG came to the agenda item. I was one of two people that showed up to voice my concern for the community looking to be asked to give away the easements of the south bypass and stop the road project. I voiced that this is the ONLY route left of the north and south routes that were on the Federal Highway Administration maps and was eligible for Federal funds. The RCPG voted years ago give up the easements for the north bypass I pointed out and this was the LAST and ONLY route left to our community and our future. Carol Fowler also braved the onslaught to speak her opine that this would not hurt business and was an opportunity for Ramona and why she felt so. After some deliberation, discussion and statements the RCPG voted to add the south bypass and the Ramona St extension back on the Ramona Road Priority List and to approve the list.

This Road Priority List was set up by the RCPG that I was involved with, after the RCPG appointed me to the Ad Hoc Ramona Master Road Plan committee. We did our work to analyze the info, road statistics , the geology, the occupancy and road engineering, capacity and future needs. We made our recommendations to RCPG. RCPG voted to approve the Ramona Master Road plan. Then we worked with Supervisor Jacob and the Department of Public Works to establish the Road Priority list and get Ramona some attention on focused and prioritized work. We are seeing the results of this on our roads today and have some significant results coming soon. While I helped this community get there, I did not do this alone. I was a voice among many. We worked diligently over years to see Ramona in general and yes my Estates get some road attention. We used a road tour to get county and state folks to see firsthand our problem and we got results.

I tell you this to inform you these results today are not an accident. They are the result of many people being involved recommending, analyzing the needs and possible solutions and making recommendation for the community. This was not Joe Cahak doing this. I was one of many working hard to sell Ramona and working together to get results by being one voice for the main items. This was all done through and with RCPG voting to approve, recommend and consider. They did so and it is now the majority expression for the community. I am proud to have been a small part of this community’s success to get some big things done for us, our neighbors and our friends. I salute our planning group members for having the time, taking the patience and the for suffering they do, to serve us without compensation.

I tell you this to say that my efforts for the community have been marginally selfish, mildly stern and definitely community based. I hold no office, I ask for no political position or power. I do not want to be glorified. I just want to see OUR Ramona improve and be a better place for us all. I do not ask people to follow me, but to work with the planning group and Supervisor Jacob. What I am saying is if you don’t like the roads or plans please go to the RCPG and T&T meetings and give your 2 minutes and use them wisely if you want them to be meaningful. As to the legitimacy of the Road Priority and the majority opinion of the community, we are represented to the county of San Diego by RCPG. They were elected to represent us. They have voted the road priorities not just once, but each and every year since the group we work with set it up. It has stuck through so many years of many of RCPG members being reelected or newly elected alike. They re-affirmed the list items and priority over and over. I consider it to have standing. The county of San Diego considers it to have standing. I stand by our planning group and the decision they made.

I am not an Estates snob, nor have I used what little influence I was able to muster by persuasion for selfish gain thru property, business or other adventure other than living here and trying to be a good neighbor. I do offer that I did see to the “selfish” adding of a Bicycle network throughout to community and intra community. That was my one big hope to add to the plan that would serve me to be able to safely ride my bike on local streets. Please do note that San Vicente Road project does not just serve me, but a lot of people and small communities around us. It includes the largest trail addition and connection for the Estates to Ramona for the first time in this community’s history. I can ride my bike through the park and to town and back when I want to.

That said, what I am about to express is my opinion, mine alone and no one else. If I fail to express my opinion in a positive way I suffer. That said no planning group member, no one of my friends or “cohorts” at the Estates asked or encouraged me to this expression. I am friends with Jim Piva, Dennis Sprong, Kristi Mansloff, Chris Anderson and many former planning group members and have spent my time at RCPG meetings. I am not dinner or golf buddies. I am friends because I got to know of and about them and their work for the community at RCPG meetings. They earned my respect following through on the big and important road and other project in our community. They earned my respect for being good people and good business people. I especially admire Jim Piva for also joining the Estates Board of Directors to see our road project and communities are brought together.

I have seen some pretty bad and less than entertaining RCPG spectacles in my time. I have never felt more insulted and intimidated than I have after Carol Fowler and I left the meeting with the CFARR group behind us. We received many hostile comments and were given menacing stares as we left. While these certain individuals may feel they have the right to express their opinions. They have in my opinion violated mine and Carol’s in doing so. I have spoken to a fair number of planning group members present and past and have heard many allegations of group hostility, threats and character assignation rampant. Threats to members business and more alleged. We certainly got a “taste” during Ms. Chapman’s guest commentary (April 10 issue). Yes I got a taste of her and her group pretty well, not just at the meeting but afterwards in the Ramona Sentinel online comments following up after the paper edition. Some of the comments are quite interesting, certainly damaging to the CFARR group. Any altruistic thoughts or possible opines one might draw from their biased, prejudiced and downright deceptive and manipulative postures, actions and printed words. To them I say thank you. I could not have done a better job trying to explain others just what CFARR stands for and how they operate. So yes I thank you. I also point out the whole of it to this community and our Editor at this Sentinel has graciously helped others to be able to see as well by leaving it up for all to see for another longer and I have linked it at the end of the article so anyone can read.

I have heard a lot from this group and certainly they tried to distort my words, manipulate my opines, all to fuel their manipulative statements. They then accused me of running for position, of harassing certain of their individuals who put himself off as the solution to local road problems and to get residents to work against RCPG. When this individual didn’t like my facts and the argumentative debate and it was not going his way, he challenged me to meet him at the corner of Dye Road and Hwy 67. Not just once mind you but on up to 5 times now. I was told that this was the “American Way”. Somehow it seems so Chicago thug to me, doesn’t it to you? I grew up in northern Wisconsin and was very aware of Chicago politics. So after a bit of thought and some soul searching I proposed the following.

I meet him (them) at the next RPCG meeting 7 p.m. public input section of the meeting. I get to state my case that I felt hostilely treated, threatened and have been subject to harassment, character assignation and hostility and now threats myself, by this CFARR group and certain individuals. In addition they get the prize of explaining and defending their actions and positions to the community. This is no longer about the South Bypass but about CFARR tactics and who represents what in this community. Rather than meet at the corner, I suggest in front of all Ramona for all to see. I want a laser on this, don’t you after all?

I called Mr Piva and asked for the time to speak and was granted the right to speak for my 2 minutes. So I realize I have, what, 2 weeks to ready my words and strengthen my argument. I plan to use my words and time as wisely as I can. I certainly hope to give Ramona a bit of theater. My goal is to have CFARR seen for the disreputable actions, hostile words and disingenuous argument and certainly irresponsible hyping and ginning up emotions to gain false support for their cause. If I had any sympathy for the group or individuals, it has long since past.

Maybe they can be nice to RCPG to see if they can garner any help for some compensation for their easement losses. They made the gamble with their property purchases and they lost. So what can be done to ease their financial or other perceived pain? I do not know, but I know this community and this person has suffered enough.

To see more:

Joe Cahak is a Ramona resident.

Related posts:

  1. How to cripple Main Street business and destroy land values, way of life
  2. A taste of our planning group
  3. Review Road Priority Project list
  4. Botannical garden better than road extension
  5. Meeting targets proposed southern bypass

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Posted by Maureen Robertson on Apr 23 2014. Filed under Commentary. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

23 Comments for “How to induce hysteria, cripple a cause and leave a really bad taste all around”

  1. Joe Minervini

    Great letter. A little long, but a great letter. Many moons ago I asked you for a debate, you refused. In your letter, you poke fun at me asking you to debate me at 67 & Dye.
    I also asked you to debate me at Collier Park, you refused again. You said instead of debating me you would "rather chew glass." Now, according to your long letter above, you wish to speak at the next Planning Group Meeting. Cahak, the public cannot debate at these meetings….you get 3 minutes and give a speech. Why don't you simply just meet me at a public venue and debate ? Are you afraid of something ? The Constitutional Congress debated while they formed our Great Country… we Americans have publically debated many issues: Vietnam, woman's suffrage, slavery, etc. Why won't you debate with me ? What are you afraid of ? I have repeatedly given my email address and phone number to many and none of them nor you have ever responded.
    Call me: 619/204-0391 ….lets set it up.

  2. Ramona Resident

    Well then Mr. Cahak, the answer is clear – you must once again save us poor, brainless Ramona residents from ourselves by coming down from your SDCE ivory tower and ramming through yet more bad legislation, this time against "menacing stares"!

    After all, if the people who's lives you are ruining are so uncouth as to let you know what they think of you then that must surely be stopped! It simply doesn't do for the Ramona plebs to be able to look at their SDCE betters with anything other than fawning admiration, now does it?

    If you had even a shred of dignity you would have been content with your new shortcut to the 67, but no – you had to take a victory lap and write this bilge to rub it in the faces of everybody who will have their home devalued and peace disrupted by your actions. Well good for you, Mr. Cahak – I'm sure you will gain even more pleasure in the future as you drive over their property and see their sad faces. Perhaps you can help them recoup some of their losses by buying their tears? I have to say I wanted to vomit when I read your suggestion that those affected should go begging to the RCPG for the scraps from your table – truly, what kind of a man are you?

    Another thing that absolutely disgusted me in your screed was how you say people made a gamble on their property and lost – when that is EXACTLY what you did when you moved to the Estates. It has terrible transport links – you knew that when you moved there – but now, of course, everybody else must pay for your mistake. And please don't trot out that tired lie about how Ramona needs this route – that is absolutely untrue. Main Street doesn't want it, nobody who lives on the entire south side of town wants it, and the route itself is utterly unsuitable for its stated purpose. You cannot build a bypass where the new route will take longer to traverse than the original route – that is patently insane. But none of that matters as long as Mr. Joe Cahak can shave, what? Five minutes, maybe, off his commute. Of course, given the uncanny ability SDCE's residents have to hit trees and other vehicles, I'm sure this new 70 mph straightaway along Dye Road will be a perfectly safe place to drive along too, won't it?

    Absolutely terrible planning by absolutely terrible planners. We must all take some blame for this, I suppose, for not being more political in the past. I for one, though, will be voting in every election and on every matter I can from now on – voting for those who support Ramona and the people who live here, not for those who support Scripps Ranch wannabes that are upset they live in the middle of nowhere.

    We will see if The Sentinel censors my post yet again – I don't think some views are as welcome here as others!

    • JimC

      What is wrong with you? You want to garner support for your position and so you lob out a comment about SDCE residents hitting trees? Have you no moral barometer or are you so bitter at having lost your argument that you wish for nothing less than to burn the town down with you? Pathetic!

      Finally, why in the world would the Sentinel publish such an ignorant and callous post? Spirited debate is one thing but this crosses the line of anybody with an ounce of civility.

  3. Honest Resident

    Thanks, Joe. You'll undoubtedly hear from those who refuse to accept that the roads needed by all of our community are some type of evil SDCE plot. They are a pitiful lot.

    The very unfortunate truth is that they are harming our community by selfishly denying the needed improvements to the rest of us. They deny us all these benefits by making the most fact-less claims and adding-on insulting comments. Every property owner from Mussey Grade to San Vicente to Keynes knew the map and road potentials when they purchased their place, and if they didn't they should go and sue their real-estate agent.

    It's a sad display of ignorance by opponents to just flat-out make up so many things about how a road improvement will make it worse as well as, somehow, make it unsafe. Moving the through traffic off of Main St. and improving our appeal as a destination for a Sunday visit sounds a lot better than, "No, No, No!" – which is what the opposing arguments often boil down to in the end.

    Keep it up!

  4. Mike

    Who are the Scripps Ranch Wannabees and why is there all this hate and discontent for anyone who lives in the SDCE area? There is no reason for a division between those who do and those who don't. The homes in Ramona are all about the same price when you compare apples to apples. Maybe a few exceptions for those who live along Mt Woodson Golf Course. I say this because I get the feeling there is a notion SDCE residents have more money – as if that should matter.

    For those of you who are afraid of change – tough!. Poway and Lakeside and Santee looked very rural 40 years ago. Now IMO Poway and Santee have done a better job than Lakeside in keeping up with the times.

    Ramona, time is passing us by and we are now at that point where we have to choose how Ramona is going to progress. We can excel and have the infrastructure, businesses and reputation that cities such as Santee or Poway do or we can half-ass our infrastructure and end up like Lakeside where they are such a mess that nothing can be fixed for the right price.

    What is not an option is to remain as it was when you first moved here some 20 years ago. At some point every rural area will no longer be rural. If you are really anti-social and all this progress bothers you I guess you need to hitch up the horses and keep pushing northeast.

    • whoseit


      You are so right regarding your comments about Santee and Poway.

      There really are two choices; get involved and help make the changes to Ramona so that they benefit Ramona and the people who currently live in Ramona as well as those coming to Ramona or get dragged into the new Ramona kicking and screaming.

      Hate to break it to all of you one stoplight people, but Ramona is one of the last places left to grow in the county and it will grow.

      The mom and pop stores along "Main Street" won't really be damaged by a Target moving in. The K-Mart might go out of business, but in my opinion, it doesn't offer much anyway. I will say that the only businesses I can see being hurt would be the hardware stores if a Home Depot or Lowes moved in. The rest will be fine.

      The people living in SDCE are not the problem. The problem are those people who don't want their piece of the pie to change. I understand that, but roads are crowded and change is coming. Either get on board to help make the changes or get run over by them.

      Poway and Santee are great business communities and doing well. As mentioned, Lakeside is in trouble and looks like a dilapidated forgotten town. Ramona doesn't look much better than Lakeside.

  5. Bob Loblaw

    I hope Cahak didn't hurt his arm from patting himself on the back. SDCE's self appointed Traffic Engineer has spoken. This bypass will ruin some of the most beautiful and rural areas left in Ramona. Ranches, flower farms, wineries, and organic farms currently occupy the route he champions. Why doesn't Cahak just lobby for a freeway straight from 67 to the estates, or get the indians to turn Wildcat Canyon into a second Scripps Poway Pkwy. He bought his home in an isolated suburbia island in the middle of nowhere. That was his mistake, not everyone else's. Maybe all us rural Ramona rubes can wave as he and others blow in and out of town at 75 mph. I couldn't agree more Ramona Resident.

    • Mike

      Actually Bob you bring up a good idea. I would support Wildcat being widened and straighten much like Scripps Poway Pkwy. It would act as a fantastic route should the need ever arise for evacuations. If done right, it could support horse trailers and the such much better than Hwy 67 and could save lives and property.

  6. uh-huh

    Oh cry me a river Ramona Resident. And you should have been paying attention to elections all along. That IS why we are where we are. Good point. And Joe, Joe Joe, I tried to warn you in person. You can't defend against personal attack by attacking back. When "the other side" resorts to personal attack it means they've lost or sense a loss. (no matter what the issue or who "they" are) When you do it in return, what does that say?

  7. Joe

    And yet more hate against SDCE. Why? The residents of SDCE account for 47% of all income in the Ramona community of which we ALL are a part of.

    Communities that do not progress and do not develop, wither and die.

    To hear some of these haters attack Mr Cahak, it seems they are just fine with letting that happen and if it does, they will continue to blame others as that type of personality always does. Its a real shame.

  8. John Hancock

    If any of you attended the RCPG meeting maybe you would understand some of what is happening here. The part of the bypass that will actually alleviate traffic from main street has basically been tabled. According to Mr. Piva it will not happen in our lifetime. That being said, why then go ahead with the other two phases. In my opinion they do nothing to alleviate the traffic problems on main street and are a waste of money that could be spent improving other roads in and around Ramona and SDCE. What needs to happen is, instead of all of the personal attacks and strange rivalry between the SDCE and Ramona Town, everyone needs to come together and figure out a solution that works for everyone, residents and visitors alike. Julian has a highway that runs right through its main street. Certainly doesn't seem to be hurting their tourism. I don't want Ramona to become another Poway or Santee, no Costcos or Walmart Superstores, but I also don't want it to become stagnant with no growth or development. With all the wineries and antique stores, Ramona can certainly be a destination for Southern Californians. Take a look at Santa Cruz for example. They have maintained a nice small town feel but have managed to incorporate some modern necessities as well. Instead of anonymously beating each other up here why not come to the meetings, take part in making Ramona a better place to live. Though I don't agree with the tactics of either Mr. Minervini or Mr. Cahac, I certainly admire the fact they are not posting anonymously and that they both are willing to come to a public forum and express their opinions. In their own ways they are working at making Ramona a better place to live. I also want to take a minute to express my admiration to those serving on the RCPG and all of its sub-committees. I may not agree with everything they do, but at least they are doing something.

    • Mike

      Well said John. Though Julian has a very limited tourist industry and more people come up to enjoy the mountain (elevation) and snow than they do to spend money. Elevation and snow are not things we are going to have here in Ramona so we are never going to have that niche that places such as Julian or Sunrise Hwy do in the winter. They are also lacking in a lot of business types I think we could not do without and their residents are probably of the type that simply don't mind – I don't think a typical Ramona resident would ever find living in Julian convenient.

      The growth is coming to Ramona whether you like it or not. It is akin to a wave which starts out thousands of miles away in the ocean. As it gets closer to shore it is massive and nothing can stop it. All one can do is to plan smartly for its arrival or otherwise be caught not looking and then deal with the consequences. I for one do not want to be saying "if we had only….". I would rather be the one watching the growth move into an infrastructure and town which is ready to handle it.

  9. Guest

    Santa Cruz is a dump outside of the waterfront. Overrun with drug addicts

  10. JimC

    Mike – Well said. Thank you for bringing a rational, sane approach to all this. Ramona will never be a small town again. We need to manage the growth by first building the infrastructure to support it, not to mention catching up with what we already have.

    As for big box stores, bring 'em on! I can't wait for a Target or Home Depot. Make shopping in Ramona more convenient and watch property values soar.

  11. Joe Minervini

    To Those of You That Still Don't Get It:
    I moved to Ramona because I liked it the way it was when I first saw it….15 years ago. Sure, I would like to see some change by filling all the empty stores on Main St. If I want a Target, a Walmart, I'll go to Poway. For now, I'll continue to enjoy what's here. As for improving infrastructure, adding thousands of more homes, more and bigger streets,
    no thanks. I remember Poway 45 years ago when it was like Ramona is now. Don't change Ramona. Leave it alone….its our town…..and most of us love it here.

    • Guest

      Doesn't work that way. It's called progress, Joe. Those of us who have been here far longer than the 15 years you have could make the argument that YOU, and the others in the last 15 years, moving here has contributed to the problem… I wish Ramona was like it was when I was a kid – one stop sign at 10th and Main, but we all have to accept the inevitable change.

    • I remember 15 years ago, people were saying the same thing. "Shut the doors to Ramona now, before we get too crowded." They were right about Ramona changing, but what can you do about it? How do you tell your neighbor with a vacant plot of land that he can't build a home on it? Is that fair? Is that even legal? (Hint: the answer is "no").

      How do you link "improving infrastructure" with "adding thousands of homes" in the same sentence? It is intellectually dishonest to suggest that fixing a known traffic problem (the congestion on 67) is the same thing as bringing 4S Ranch to Ramona.

      As a kid, I remember hearing derisive comments about being a "townie" or "estates person," but I have not heard such pettiness again until members of the South Bypass opposition through it out there. Not only is attacking people who live in the SDCE a very unneighborly thing to do, it is very misguided. The South Bypass has never been about creating a quicker commute for people traveling to the Estates, but rather about getting cars off HWY67 more effectively. It is about reducing the backup of cars stretching to Archie Moore Rd every day, on a road that is used by all Ramona residents.

      You are right to be on the lookout for things that will take away from Ramona's unique atmosphere. Big Box stores, high density housing, and loss of agricultural lots are all things threatening to invade our community character. Most of this can be kept at bay by taking a moderate position and working together. The hardline no-growth crowd will never be taken seriously by the people who really make the decisions — county bureaucrats. The more you hiss and boo at public meetings, the less relevant you become. I am all for returning the debate to a calmer, and more reason-based, perspective, which I think will benefit those on both sides of the argument in the long run.

      I am in the phonebo… erm.. I mean Facebook.

      • John Hancock


        I couldn't agree more with most of what you say. Improving the traffic situation does not mean Walmart and Costco will be beating down the doors to build in Ramona. And the bitterness between "townies" and "estates persons" is just wrong. We all need to work together to create reasonable solutions for improving Ramona. There is no doubt Ramona will keep growing, I am a case in point, having just moved to Ramona 2 years ago. I was in the Army for 20+ years and have literally lived around the world. Ramona is the last place I want to live..and I mean that in a positive way.
        One thing I still do not understand, and perhaps you can explain it is, how is spending millions of dollars to make a road literally a few hundred yards from 67 and Dye RD going to help get people off of 67 any earlier? How will straightening out Dye Rd relive traffic on 67?
        I think this might post as "Guest" and I don't want to post anonymously so my names is below.

        John Hancock – I too am on Facebook

        • Great question, and I am not sure I have the greatest answer.

          The basic idea is to allow cars to exit 67 at a constant flow, without needing to bottle neck at the 67 light. Now, the big question will be how this is accomplished. The exact design has yet to be completed, so there is still much community involvement to be had.

          There is another part of this discussion that I think needs to be considered, and that is I think it is the inevitability of a traffic light at Mussey Grade. Eventually we will see four lanes across 67 through that area, and it will become impossible for people to turn left onto 67 from Mussey Grade without the help of a light. Left turns would also not be allowed by state road safety standards without a light. There is also an argument that the constant stopping by cars on 67 to let Mussey Grade traffic through sends shock-wave after shock-wave of cars breaking; which contributes significantly to hindering the flow of traffic.

          So if there is going to be a signalized intersection at Mussey Grade, it may also be able to take advantage of the road that the county already owns that connects from this intersection over to Dye Road (Dye St.). This could allow a near constant green light that allows 67 traffic to merge off the highway and be on their way without stopping to turn right further down the road.

          Notice I used the words "could" and "may." I have not seen this, or any other design, after it has been traffic modeled and diagrammed. That tends to be the funny way about how these things works. The funding is allocated first, then the plans are designed. There may be better ways to do it. Mr Minervini has an idea about a longer turn lane that I personally would also like to see thrown through traffic simulations to see how it stacks up.

          The portion about straightening out Dye Road is a safety issue, not about increasing traffic flow. Those corners are the location of a lot of accidents, which will only increase over time.

          The design and debate are far from over, but I am convinced that something, rather than nothing, needs to be done. Of course the devil is in the details, which are still up in the air.


    • Whoseit

      "If I want a Target, a Walmart, I'll go to Poway." That is such an ignorant statement.

      Why would you not want that money being spent to support of Ramona? Bringing business to Ramona employs the residents, provides infrastructure and revenue. If you would prefer to support Poway with your money, please move there and allow those who want to bring jobs, infrastructure and managed growth to Ramona to move forward without you.

  12. Guest

    Mr. Cahak uses "I" 57 times in his commentary. Guess who this is about.

  13. Guest

    This is old. Another article to read would be nice.

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