Dianne Jacob Jack Shelver Julian-Cuyamaca Fire Protection District LAFCO New Politics Tony Mecham

LAFCO Votes to End Julian Volunteer Fire Dept., Invites Town to Save It

Devi Ketelsen, 7, reads statement to LAFCO board while being held by mother Jamie.
Share This Article:Devi Ketelsen, 7, reads statement to LAFCO board while being held by mother Jamie.Devi Ketelsen, 7, reads assertion to LAFCO board whereas being held by mom Jamie. Photograph by Ken Stone

The one approach to save Julian’s last-in-the-county volunteer hearth division is to order it destroyed, LAFCO board members declared Monday.

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By a 7-Zero vote, the San Diego Native Company Formation Fee accepted a employees suggestion to dissolve the Julian-Cuyamaca Fire Safety District.

However board members challenged the group to defend it by way of an Oct. 16 “protest hearing” and petition course of.

“Who knows what the right time is to do this?” stated county Supervisor Dianne Jacob. “I do know this: It needs to go to a vote of the people. And the only way we get there is by approving the staff recommendation. .. and then there will be the protest hearing. And then voices will be heard.”

Agenda for LAFCO's Sept. 10, 2018, hearing on Julian fire district dissolution.Agenda packet for LAFCO’s Sept. 10, 2018, listening to on Julian hearth district dissolution. (PDF)A 3-hour public listening to in a mildly muggy Board of Supervisors chambers downtown heard from greater than two dozen individuals, together with three members of the Julian hearth board who backed a county takeover of fireside providers by way of its contract with Cal Fire.

However almost half of the 40 Julian-area residents (some sporting “JCFPD Backcountry Strong” T-shirts) signed speaker slips to make typically emotional Three-minute appeals to protect the volunteer drive.

They requested questions. They waved paperwork. They shared tales of dismal outcomes of Cal Fire takeovers elsewhere within the state.

They disputed accounts of Julian monetary misery made earlier by Tony Mecham, County Fire Authority and San Diego space Cal Fire chief, who stated: “The simple fact is … (the district) has been subsidized by the county since 2007.”

Mecham was mocked for his promise that “we will definitely reduce response times.”

A 7-year-old home-schooled woman from Ranchita — dealing with comparable backcountry hearth points — learn from a handwritten assertion.

“Hi, my name is Devi,” stated the daughter of Nick and Jamie Ketelsen, “and I reside in Ranchita proper now, however I used to reside in Julian. I’m talking as a result of my station isn’t staffed on a regular basis. My grandma and grandpa reside in Ranchita, they usually’re previous.

“What if something happens? They have a farm. They have animals. If something happened to … harm them, it would be the worst day of my life. Please help us.”

Members of the board sought to allay considerations, saying they have been unhappy to see the North County vacationer mecca divided.

Jacob stated Measure A on the November poll would come with a “cleanup” provision to amend the county constitution and add the County Fire Authority.

Stated Mecham: “We can’t stress enough [that] we want to keep the volunteer firefighters” — who might work three shifts every week in the event that they meet “minimum legal standards.”

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Julian hearth board member Kristin Starlin, on “temporary permanent disability” as a volunteer firefighter, advised how she got here to help dissolution after voting earlier to maintain the company unbiased.

She stated she “stepped away from my emotions” to embrace a fiduciary duty triggered by three phrases of recommendation from retired Julian Fire Chief Rick Marinelli: “Life and property.”

“I felt that loss of life and property would be on my shoulders,” Starlin stated. “I had to make it right by the community. I had no regret” by voting in April to search dissolution.

Fire board President Jack Shelver stated present monetary calls for, fueled by state necessities, “far exceed” the district’s price range, which is supported by a 1984-passed $50 annual parcel charge for Julian residents and landowners.

He stated residents would pay much less for hearth insurance coverage if the San Diego County Fire Authority and Cal Fire took over completely. (A Cal Fire chief heads the division now.)

Julian hearth board member Aida Tucker referred to as it “morally wrong to present facts” that the district can survive by itself, slamming volunteer firefighters “seeking to win at all costs.”

LAFCO vice chair Ed Sprague, an Olivenhain Municipal Water District director, stated he was a “little bit heartbroken” concerning the group cut up.

“I’ve had personal friends on both sides of the issue,” he stated earlier than his vote somewhat after midday.

However he famous “clarifying facts” that backcountry residents get fewer providers and wish profession professionals as an alternative of “professional volunteers” to present hearth providers.

The district’s “executive staff,” he added, “has done a piss-poor job of managing the outcomes and responsibilities” and amenities and gear upkeep.

However Patricia Landis, a candidate for considered one of two open seats on the hearth board this November, vowed to turn out to be a part of a four-member majority that may search to rescind the dissolution software.

“We’re a volunteer community. Period,” stated Landis, who stated she based the nonprofit Julian Fire Plugs, which raises cash for the district.

She stated a $200 annual parcel payment on Julian’s November poll would make the district financially sustainable, and protect native management as an alternative of from “50 or 600 miles away.”

One other pro-JCFPD candidate for the board — 20-year-old Evelina “Eva” Hatch — spoke final throughout public feedback (whereas videotaping the assembly for later posting on Fb).

“I know the emergency services issue inside out,” Hatch declared, saying “future generations have the most at stake.”

One problem the county hasn’t resolved is a possible Indian declare on the land beneath the brand new Fire Station 56 on state Route 79.

Two audio system, together with a veteran lawyer for the Kumeyaay Diegueño Land Conservancy, stated they have been impartial on dissolution however reminded the board that late Julian resident Frances Mosler had deeded 6.four acres of land to the Native American Land Conservancy — acreage later transferred to the Kumeyaay group.

Ted Griswold, the conservancy lawyer, stated the land was meant for a JCFPD hearth station and ending the district would trigger the property to revert to the Mosler belief.

Jacob later requested LAFCO lawyer Holly Whatley if defending the hearth station land was a situation of dissolution.

“No,” Whatley replied, however the “county is willing to continue to discuss it.”

The Indian land challenge was a nonissue for Mike Hatch, a Julian volunteer firefighter.

Hatch — a celebration to a lawsuit towards the hearth district, county and others — stated the county would resolve the land dispute with the Indians.

“The native tribes have a lot at stake in their casinos and stuff,” Hatch stated after the assembly. “They have to deal with the county on a regular basis. They work with the county a lot. Their fire departments work with the county, too.”

Regardless that the Kumeyaay Diegueño Land Conservancy isn’t the identical because the tribes operating casinos, “it’s pretty much the same people,” he stated. “I know a few of them.”

Hatch stated the Indians would “negotiate hard” however Cal Fire would finally get the hearth station land. “That’s more than likely.”

He additionally predicted that JCFPD defenders would acquire the wanted 25 % of Julian-Cuyamaca registered voters to pressure a vote on dissolution.

“We’ve already gotten 25 percent three times,” Hatch stated. “Last time we did it in two weeks — 300 and something (signatures). That was over 25 percent by a long shot.”

However he stated gathering 50 % — to halt dissolution — is “a hard number to crack. But I think it’s doable.”

Hatch wasn’t stunned by the 7-Zero vote to disband — saying: “I’ve been to this rodeo before.”

On Fb, board candidate Landis stated: “LAFCO did as expected and now it is our turn. Every registered voter will receive a Protest Petition. Sign and return it asap. This is the process that will allow Julian-Cuyamaca residents to vote. This is our only chance at democracy.”

Sprague and Jacob have been joined within the LAFCO vote by North County Supervisor Invoice Horn, Chairwoman Jo MacKenzie of the Vista Irrigation District, Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear, El Cajon Mayor Invoice Wells and public member Andrew Vanderlaan.

San Diego Councilwoman Lorie Zapf, who was late to the assembly, left early and didn’t vote. A LAFCO staffer stated she had another dedication.

In explaining her vote, East County Supervisor Jacob stated she’s all the time been a “big advocate of local control” (sparking snickers within the viewers).

However she stated she didn’t know “where the entire community is on this issue — whether the community supports this recommendation that’s before us or not.”

Subsequently: “I think the best thing for us to do today … is to move forward. … Cut through the emotion. Stick to the facts and have a robust .. debate over the issue, hopefully a kindly debate and not get personal as I have experienced.”

Insisting that “we tell Cal Fire what to do — they don’t tell us what to do,” Jacob stated the difficulty wasn’t about “jurisdictional lines, patches on the sleeve.”

It’s about “when that 911 call comes in — that they get the fastest response people.”

Keene Simonds, LAFCO government officer, put it merely: “If the majority of the community doesn’t want the reorganization to occur, it won’t occur.”

LAFCO Votes to End Julian Volunteer Fire Dept., Invites Town to Save It was final modified: September 11th, 2018 by Ken Stone

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