The Rancho Santa Fe Post

Christy Whalen Is My Happy Place

The world these days could easily usher in whole new psychoanalytic categories of crazy. We've got weapons pointing at us from the West, East and in our kids' schools, passengers trying to board planes with emotional-support peacocks, PUC projects blighting our historic hillsides, gluten-free gasoline, and Tom Petty is dead.

Maybe I'm just a misanthrope, or -- gulp -- getting old, but all of the above can feel rather overwhelming to someone like me who still writes checks, enters an altered mental state by the array of choice in the light bulb aisle, and has no idea who most of the Oscar nominees were. But then I remind myself to focus on the positives and the people who are working hard to improve our everyday lives.

RSFA Manager Christy Whalen is my happy place. Somehow all my frustrations waft out her open office window just as the light streams in. If she added a cushy chaise and a candy jar I'd never leave. While I could hammer away at issues that I can't extract from under my skin, I want to highlight some of the good things Christy relayed to me during our recent visit.

The RSFA's efforts to build a solid working relationship with the County has been paying off especially when it comes to RSF Connect. Conduit-plan approval by the County has been one of the biggest hurdles, and with the first phase getting the green light, the next two phases are imminently up for review. With design for the fiber optics getting finalized too, I'm told we are mere months away from starting construction. This makes me legit ugly cry. Take me to your leader, I'm ready to be teleported!

With the help of our very own columnist, the high priestess of water, Marlene King, the RSFA is also stepping it up on the water rate issue. As I'm sure most of you are aware, right now the more water you use, the higher the rate you're charged, so Ranch residents are in all manner getting hosed. The Association has hired a consultant to work with the Santa Fe Irrigation District to try to resolve issues surrounding the current rate structure.

New approaches to solving problems and setting goals have also been witnessed in the collaborative work being undertaken between the RSFA, Tennis Club, Golf Club, and Osuna Ranch. These four entities are putting together strategic plans that will be interconnected so there's a common directive for the whole community.

Bolstering this element of community and village life is also the much awaited Gateway Center and new-and-improved pharmacy digs, both of which should go live next year. This still seems too long to wait for the pleasure of picking up a box of Duraflames and a carton of milk, but even this two-bit scrap of hope is a monster-truck fairground turkey leg when you've been starved so long for a shred of local convenience.

Churchill once said, "The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter." That's probably true, but it's what we've got, and you can't complain about local or national politics if you don't stick your neck out once in a while and get involved. Two seats on the RSFA Board will need to be filled for terms beginning July 2018, and the deadline for completing the requisite forms is 5PM on March 12, 2018. I threw my hat in this ring once and got my back side handed to me. But, hey, I tried. There's nothing like standing on a street corner schvitzing under a jumbo cardboard sign with a stupid smile to keep you humble. That said, I would never take the experience back, as I met so many intriguing, gracious, kind and giving neighbors most of whom I would have never met if not for running.

Today, RSFA staff and some Board Members met with a hired lawyer to discuss options regarding SDG&E. I could belabor my misgivings and discuss the congenital failure of the Board to communicate properly on this issue, but today I'm going to pretend all is right with the world and I'm not getting old.