Don't you just love all those ads and memes that bang on about "New Year, New YOU!" with nauseating enthusiasm? I think to myself, why, yes, I am a new me. Since CVS started decking its aisles with life-size Santas in camo fatigues and pre-fab ginger-bread house kits back in November, I've been knocking back spiked egg nog and reindeer-shaped cookies like Oprah on a cheat day. So, the new me’s couch-creased PajamaJeans don’t fit, I’ve got salami for skin and a banging migraine from furtively sniffing cheap pine-scented Yankee Candles like a klepto in the Home Goods clearance aisle. But just so I can abscond reality a touch longer, I've blocked Gwyneth Paltrow's Goop updates from my Instagram feed.
But I’m happily the sad exception, as there is a lot of “new” about town to genuinely be excited about. R. Roger Rowe chose a new superintendent, Donna Tripi, formerly La Jolla Elementary School principal since 1999, and Sarah Neal, whom I once called my "spirit animal" for her Atlas Shrugged-level indefatigability and principled nature in a column I wrote last year, is now President of the School Board. There are also two newly elected Members getting stuck in, Kali Kim and Jee Manghani.
A Shout Out to the Board and Call Out to All Residents
Speaking of fresh recruits, perhaps the candidates who didn't get elected to the School Board may want to smudge their minds of all their hard political stumping and catch a second wind for a seat on the RSFA Board. Three Members' terms will be ending this year: Ken Markstein, Allen Finkelson, and Janet Danola. Our very own CDRC Confidential Columnist, Jane van Praag, expounds on this in her latest: "The Board needs Covenant Members who may have legal, accounting, or business executive experience to self-nominate by March 12th to the Association Manager to replace outgoing Directors. The CDRC and the other Committees need volunteers, too." She also dedicates this month's column to praising the RSFA Board for their oversight and for being protective of the Protective Covenant (Jane's holy grail). This "epiphany" elation has put a spring in Jane's Pointer Sisters attitude and step, and she's hoping it does the same for loyal readers.
Score! Water Rate Hike Sunk
Another significant and deeply fabulous coup for our Ranch regards the battle brought to our attention by our High Priestess of Water, columnist Marlene King. Marlene's latest columns have continuously reinforced the unfairness of the Santa Fe Irrigation District's proposed water rate hike, and she urged readers to submit a protest form to stop it. While the number of written protests submitted wasn't enough to block the rate increase, Marlene, along with two other SFID Board Members (Ken Dunford and David Petree) voted down the new rate plan in a 3-2 vote on Dec. 20. My gas-taxed and IRS-pillaged bank account and I thank you, dearest Marlene. In related news, the RSFA filed a lawsuit on Dec. 19 in Vista Superior Court against SFID, alleging the district's current rate plan doesn't comply with CA law, and it seeks repayment of what it claims were fees and charges that have been illegally imposed by the district.
New Anti-Densification Bylaw in the Works
An additional topic the RSF Post has been extremely vocal about is protecting our community and bordering neighborhoods from high-densification projects that come with a Lindsay Lohan set of irreversible long-term issues. Not only were several articles written on the subject decrying the negative impact of densification on our pastoral Ranch, the Post went further and launched a campaign and gathered hundreds of names of Covenant residents who supported the letter we sent to the RSFA Board urging them to join environmental lawsuits against the SD County Board of Supervisors. The long-suffering squeaky wheel finally got the grease when the Board responded in their Dec. 6 meeting to a 275-signature-strong anti-densification petition vehemently supported, publicized and circulated by the RSF Post, which was headed by Covenant resident Saiid Zarrabian. RSFA President Ken Markstein said the petitioners "made a strong case," and the Board will now be working on a new bylaw amendment where even if the Board approved a "high-density" project, it would have to be put to a Covenant-wide vote and receive the approval of at least a two-thirds majority to get the go-ahead. A belated Merry Christmas, Saiid! But this truly is a gift for all of us who live here.
Keeping It Real
The Ranch never needs to be "new." Some improvements, a little nip tuck with new tech here and there for good measure, sure. But the last thing we need is over doing it beyond recognition (Google Bride of Wildenstein if you don't believe me). In this Med Spa day and age, we all know what that looks like... and it ain't pretty and it can't be undone. Cheers to this Board for taking the steps to protect and preserve our Ranch's ageless beauty.