The communication pipeline was wide open on Friday, March 27, when District 2 Supervisor Dianne Jacob and her staff met with Ramona community leaders in an ongoing effort to promote Ramona revitalization.
Representatives from the Sheriff’s Department received applause when Lt. Duncan Fraser announced, “Ramona does not have a gang.”
Fraser explained that gang members are either on probation or in jail. This is due to dedicated work by two deputies, one of whom received a deputy of the year award for the effort, he said. The community and law enforcement is not resting on its laurels, however, since the problem is always lurking and ready to reappear, Fraser added.
In a related report, Fraser explained that Ramona is launching an anti-graffiti program, similar to a successful one in Escondido. Senior volunteer officers have received training and camera equipment. Any graffiti will be photographed and sent to a database that has been compiled, showing the handiwork of taggers. The potential for identification of the tagger is greatly increased through this technology, with arrests made and financial restitution being paid. Additionally, the Sheriff’s Department has deployed resources to Ramona, reassigning two deputies to a car that will be patrolling Ramona from 7 p.m. through the night to address DUI and other issues that arise during this time period.
In light of very recent tragedies on Highway 67, it was reported that a grant has been received to do a public awareness program and to patrol Highway 67 for DUI offenders. Legislation has been introduced in Sacramento , Assembly Bill 91, which would require, in some instances, the installation of an ignition interlock device on a the vehicle of a person whose driving license has been suspended or revoked because of DUI offenses. If the bill passes, the Department of Motor Vehicles would establish a pilot program in four counties, including San Diego.
Carol Fowler, Economic Development Subcommittee chair, reported on efforts to bring attention to Ramona’s businesses through the Great American Town Campaign. Ramona Chamber of Commerce representatives will form teams and for the next three Fridays will be working various sections of town with brooms and window cleaner, while installing U.S. flags obtained from Ransom True-Value Hardware at a reduced cost to merchants.
The chamber’s Economic Development Committee has some new members who are marketing experts. A focus is on branding Ramona, delivering a consistent message on what the community in the heart of San Diego County (Ramona is in the geographic center of the county) has to offer, and coordinating events and an image so people stop and shop. A key component to a successful marketing and tourism effort will be boutique wineries, all agreed.
Fowler asked about the status of the environmental impact report for the Boutique Winery Ordinance and Jacob reported that it is right on schedule. She said the interim administrative use permit process seems to be working, and when it doesn’t winery owners are contacting her office to get the help they need to move the process along.
Jacob reiterated that the goal is to allow boutique wineries by right when certain conditions are met. Fowler expressed her thanks on behalf of the winery owners who contact her regularly wondering if they should give up.
The report on economic development in Ramona also included goals such as creating an agency for promoting tourism and business activities, developing a shopping area similar to a Seaport Village near the Santa Maria Creek Greenway, creating a pedestrian-friendly environment in the historic district through street landscaping and design standards, and removing environmental obstructions from Main Street properties.
The Ramona Revitalization Steering Committee will meet again in October, when progress reports will be given on the projects mentioned as well as on the Palomar Pomerado Health (PPH) facility, the library, the Santa Maria Creek Greenway/Park Preserve and other park projects, and various infrastructure and transportation elements. The public is welcome.