Category archives for: Government

Director walks out — again


Accusations and a heated exchange among some members of the Ramona Municipal Water District board resulted in one director walking out of the meeting — for the second consecutive meeting.

“This is getting to be repetitious,” said Director Rex Schildhouse as stood up after being stopped from proceeding with his director comments by Board President Darrell Beck and a ruling from legal counsel near the end of the March 11 meeting.

San Diego County takes steps to regulate e-cigarettes


San Diego County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday took two actions intended to limit the use of electronic-smoking devices.

The board voted 3-1 to add several types of such devices to its anti-tobacco policy, and ordered staffers to look into outlawing the devices in county areas where traditional cigarettes are banned.

County adds money to busy intersection


San Diego County supervisors added the intersection of state Route 67, Highland Valley Road and Dye Road to the list of projects to be funded over the next five years during its annual update of the county’s TransNet Local Street Improvement Program.

Also at the Feb. 26 meeting, the supervisors adjusted funding for the Dye Road extension, San Vicente Road widening, and the Ramona Street extension.

Supervisors endorse two state fire tax relief bills

Two bills introduced in the state Legislature to provide relief from the fire tax imposed on property owners in state responsibility areas have the support of San Diego County supervisors.

The supervisors directed the county’s chief administrative officer to draft a letter expressing their support for Assembly Bill 1519 and Senate Bill 832.

On the Agenda

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Thursday, Feb. 27

Coffee with Constituents hosted by San Diego County Supervisor Dianne Jacob, 8:30 a.m., Ramona Town Hall, 729 Main St. Public invited to bring questions, concerns or ideas about county government or the community.

Park projects take step back


Proponents for three projects recommended for Park Land Dedication Ordinance (PLDO) funds have had to take a step back to go through the proper channels.

Nearly $700,000 is available in PLDO funds for recreational uses in Ramona. The county charges the park fee with residential building permits.

Three of the projects on the eight-item PLDO Priority List — an amphitheater, Ramona soccer field expansion and Girls Softball LED scoreboards ­— are in Ramona Community Park, which is owned by the Ramona Municipal Water District (RMWD). The water district leases the land to the Ramona Parks and Recreation Association (RPRA), which is responsible to make sure all activities meet the insurance and permit requirements

District director requests later meetings, review of board policies


The meeting time of the Ramona Municipal Water District Board of Directors will once again be reconsidered, this time at the request of Director Rex Schildhouse.
The Division 3 director said 10 to 12 constituents have told him they would like the meetings, held at 2 p.m. the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month, changed to a later time. Schildhouse proposed 7 p.m.
That was one of several agenda requests Schildhouse had Feb. 11 after a heated exchange between him and Darrell Beck, board president.
Schildhouse complained at the start of the meeting that an agenda request he submitted Feb. 4 was not included on the meeting’s agenda. Instead, he said, the request led to a note in his director’s mailbox and four or five phone calls, one between Beck and General Manager David Barnum, that determined the item should not be added to the agenda.
Beck refuted the claim that he and Barnum decided by phone the item should not be on the agenda.
Barnum told the Sentinel that Schildhouse’s request had to do with board information and meeting procedures that are covered in Policy 1 of the district’s Legislative Code. Barnum said he put a copy of Policy 1 in each director’s mailbox and asked Schildhouse if he wanted the Legislative Code chapter addressed at a meeting. The general manager said there seems to be a misunderstanding. He also noted that directors must write an agenda memo on a requested item.
According to Barnum, he had a phone conversation with Beck on procedural aspects of meetings.
After Barnum gave his general manager’s report at the Feb. 11 meeting, which included information about the San Diego County Water Authority’s drought response, Schildhouse asked Beck if the Ramona district has adequate water supply to tackle a fire in dry conditions.
“I’m just asking for a statement of confidence,” Schildhouse said.
Beck deferred the question to Barnum, who said the board cannot discuss items that are not on the agenda. Schildhouse turned to legal counsel to get an opinion.
“It’s appropriate to ask a question on a subject that’s raised,” responded Ron Ball with Best Best & Krieger LLP, the district’s legal counsel.
After Schildhouse repeated his question, Beck said the board would move on to committee reports, which elicited a comment from Schildhouse that he did not get an answer.
“I’m running this meeting,” Beck responded, but allowed Barnum to provide an answer.
Barnum said there is plenty of water to put a fire out, but he added it depends on the fire and future conditions.
“If the drought continues, that could change,” he said.
At the end of the meeting, Schildhouse gave a list of agenda requests that included a presentation by legal counsel on board policies, what board members should be doing, rules and regulations for compensation, and what constitutes a quorum, as well as moving the meeting time so more members of the public can attend.
A later start time was requested in early 2013 by Division 2 Director Kit Kesinger, who has not been at a meeting since April 2013. Kesinger said he cannot make 2 p.m. meetings because he works in El Cajon. The time was changed from 4:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. in July 2012. Kesinger was elected to a four-year term in 2010.
Barnum told the Sentinel the next board meeting, Feb. 25, will include a Policy 1 workshop. The board will meet at 2 p.m. at the Ramona Community Center, 434 Aqua Lane.
In other business:
•Directors awarded a construction contract to TC Construction Company Inc., which provided a $770,000 bid for site improvements for the Poway Pump Station Secondary Power Source Project. The project will run a natural gas line to the station and add a new pump that can run on both electricity and natural gas to provide a dependable power source if electricity goes out.
TC Construction came in $4,000 higher than the lowest bid, which did not have the minimum required experience, according to district staff. The project total is estimated at nearly $2 million.
•The board authorized a contract for Bartle Wells Associates to conduct a rate and fee study for the San Vicente Sewer Service Area. The study is expected to cost $20,000.

Regional water agency declares Level 1 Drought Watch, seeks voluntary conservation


San Diego County Water Authority directors voted unanimously today to call for stepped-up conservation measures in the face of California’s drought.

The board, at a special meeting, declared a Level 1 Drought Watch and activated the agency’s Water Shortage and Drought Response Plan to preserve water reserves in case dry conditions continue into next year and.

Commercial property owners file lawsuit over Ramona sewer fees


The property owners of several commercial establishments in town have filed a civil complaint against the Ramona Municipal Water District, alleging that the district’s equivalent dwelling unit-based wastewater fees are unlawful and invalid.

The class action suit was filed in San Diego Superior Court Jan. 13 on behalf of Eugene Plantier, who owns the property at 109 10th Street where Mariscos Mar De Cortez is located; Progressive Properties Inc., which owns the Day Promenade office building at 850 Main St.; and Premium Development LLC, which owns the properties at 620 and 626 Main St., the latter being the Ramona Mainstage building. All are customers of the water district.

Meth takes toll in region, county reports

Methamphetamine killed a near-record 217 people in the region in 2012, a recent report shows.
Four of those deaths occurred in Ramona, according to the county medical examiner’s office. Three lived in Ramona, and one was an Escondido resident. All were male.
From 2008 to 2012, the number of people in the region who died because of meth increased by 55 percent, from 140 in 2008 to 217 in 2012, according to the most recent Methamphetamine Strike Force Report Card.
More than 60 percent of meth deaths (133) in 2012 involved people between 40 and 60 years of age. The percentage of meth deaths in this age bracket was almost identical to the figure in 2008. The 10-year age bracket with the greatest number of meth deaths (69) was 50 to 59 years of age. And 13 deaths (or 6 percent) were people older than 60.
The Ramonans whose deaths were meth-related were 27, 30 and 51 years old, the county reported. The Escondido man was 43.
“While San Diego County is no longer the meth capital of the world, people’s lives are still being turned upside down because of this deadly and addictive drug,” said County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Dianne Jacob, who led the effort to create the Meth Strike Force in 1996. “Make no mistake. Meth is death. The number of meth deaths reported in 2012 was the second highest since the Meth Strike Force began tracking deaths in 1995.”
Those who suffer from a meth addiction or who suspect drug activity in the community may call the Meth Hotline at 1-877-662-6384. Drug treatment resources are available. Meth crime also can be reported online at The calls and reports are confidential.