RSF Association board hopefuls take center stage at candidate forum

Candidates (top row, l-r) Scott Thurman, Laurel Lemarié; (bottom row, l-r) Paul Seitz, Phil Trubey and Courtney LeBeau.
Candidates (top row, l-r) Scott Thurman, Laurel Lemarié; (bottom row, l-r) Paul Seitz, Phil Trubey and Courtney LeBeau.
(RSF Association)

Five candidates vie for three available board seats


The Rancho Santa Fe Association hosted its annual meeting on May 12, a chance for the community to hear from the five candidates hoping to grab three available board seats in the spring 2022 election.

Ballots were mailed that day and are due back by June 13.

The following is a brief look at all the candidates (in alphabetical order):

Courtney LeBeau
LeBeau has lived in Rancho Santa Fe for 18 years, raising two daughters who attended R. Roger Rowe School. She has served on the RSF Tennis Club board for six years and as its president for two and a half years. Additionally, she served two terms on the Rancho Riding Club board and has been on the Rancho Santa Fe Women’s Fund Advisory board. Her business background includes running a custom furnishing business.

LeBeau’s goals include developing a five-year strategic plan for strengthening the relationship between the clubs and the Association board, completing the Del Dios Highway roundabout project to manage traffic flow through the village and continuing to underground power lines for fire safety, and to provide homeowners stability in maintaining their insurance coverage.

Laurel Lemarié
Lemarié has lived in Rancho Santa Fe since 1976, moving for the Protective Covenant, trails, home horse keeping and the school. Her two daughters were born here and her granddaughter now attends R. Roger Rowe.

She is the only incumbent in the election and is also a current member of the San Dieguito Planning Group and RSF Community Services District. She has served the community on multiple committees including the wireless communications, roads, infrastructure and trails committees, and has been board liaison to the Osuna and Forest Health and Preservation Committees.

Lemarié’s priorities are centered on preserving the community’s rural character. She is interested in road safety, how regional housing projects impact the Ranch, reducing wildfire risk, undergrounding utilities and getting reclaimed water to the golf course.

Paul Seitz
Seitz, a Marine Corps veteran, owns an 85-year-old horse ranch in Rancho Santa Fe where he trains, boards and shows horses. A father of two adult sons and a daughter at R. Roger Rowe, he is also a Rancho Santa Fe Golf Club member.

Seitz’s priorities include board transparency, improving amenities such as trails and sports fields, streamlining interactions between the Association and residents, addressing neighborhood safety, keeping track of the budgets, and bringing the community together around events.

Personally, he is also interested in getting a 4H program for Rancho Santa Fe’s youth.

Scott Thurman
Thurman moved to Rancho Santa Fe in 1996 with his wife Kathleen to raise their three children. For many years, his community volunteerism revolved around his kids’ school—they attended R. Roger Rowe and were involved in Junior Dunkers, RSF Little League and RSF Attack Soccer. As his children grew up and started their own lives, he has found time to volunteer at the RSF Golf Club as a member on the men’s activity committee and greens committee.

Thurman comes from a business background owning companies in the print and packaging industry, and as a board member said his goals would be village revitalization, increasing field space for athletics and improving existing Association facilities. He would also like to boost awareness and participation in activities such as Rancho Days, the Fourth of July Parade, village concerts and possibly new events to bring the community together.

Phil Trubey
Trubey is a 22-year resident of the Covenant, raising three children in Rancho Santa Fe. Trubey comes from a background in technology and he brought his expertise to several of the Association’s internet committees and helped bring about the high-speed internet network, Rancho Santa Fe Connect.

Trubey took over as editor of the Rancho Santa Fe Post website in 2019 and is also a RSF Tennis Club pickleball member, a golf club member and an equestrian.

His goals are to enhance existing clubs, amenities and services, ensure board transparency and improve communication to “eliminate surprises for members”. He has encouraged the use of surveys and polls in order for the board to more effectively further community interests.

Candidate forum

In the candidate forum, candidates answered submitted questions on everything from assessments to how to improve board harmony.

For one question, candidates provided opinions on potential capital improvement projects for the Association. LeBeau and Thurman both shared a desire to focus on improvements at the golf and tennis club compound: the restaurant, clubhouse and possibly adding a fitness center component at the tennis club.

Trubey called for a survey or poll to gauge what improvements community members most want to see and Seitz said they should chip away at maintenance projects like broken fences over time as well as improving Osuna Ranch.

Lemarié would like to see progress made on village walkability, sidewalk improvements and equestrian/pedestrian crosswalks: “I’m all about safety on the roads…we need to have our neighborhoods safer.”

Hot forum topics included the proposed new lighting regulation and the oft-asked: “What should we do with the Osuna Ranch?”

On lighting
The Association has worked for two years to update its lighting regulation, soliciting member input and holding a May 4 town hall that grew heated at times.

Thurman said he was at the town hall and it “wasn’t fun”—he advised that the Association update the language with the latest county requirements and then simply enforce what they currently have.

Lemarié, who as a board member has voted against the proposed lighting regulation, said that some of some of what is in the regulation is an “overreach”. She said efforts should be made to change old language (like wattage to lumens) and to keep the community safe.

In her comments, LeBeau agreed with Lemarié that the community needs to be safe: “The last couple years crime has been up so we need to be reasonable about that,” she said. She believed the town hall was informative and that the Association should move forward on the regulation with the community well-involved.

Trubey noted that the lighting regulation is very complex—it is over 10 pages long. Doing his own research on the topic, he sent up a drone at night at 10 p.m. to see how lit up Rancho Santa Fe is.

“What I found is it’s mostly black, it’s pretty dark. And then occasionally you see the Taj Mahal,” he said. “A lighting regulation is needed and it needs to be calibrated properly…hard to do.”

Seitz said he wasn’t in favor of making too many changes to the regulation that is already on the books and they need to find a balance as there are many conflicting community opinions on how much light should or shouldn’t be allowed.

“We don’t want bright lights shining across everybody’s neighborhood but at the same time we shouldn’t be the Gestapo and say ‘Turn your lights off at 10 o’ clock’, I don’t care if your daughter is coming in at 10:30.,” Seitz said.

On Osuna
The Association purchased the Osuna property in 2006 for $12 million with the goal to preserve the historic adobe, protect open space and prevent subdivision. The purchase of the property has been debated many times over the years. Currently, the Ranch is home to the historic Osuna Adobe and serves as an equestrian training facility with horse boarding for Covenant and non-Covenant members. To date, Covenant residents account for 25% of the horses boarded.

One of LeBeau’s stated goals is to determine the best possible utilization of the property for the entire community and then do it.

Lemarié stated that ideas for the property have included everything from a dog park to a new home for the RSF Patrol. She would like to see its historic equestrian roots preserved and that they should look into having more community activities there.

Thurman said not a lot of community members use the Osuna and that’s the biggest problem they have there. He believes it is a beautiful piece of property and they should keep it.

“Osuna is a pain in the butt for the Association,” Trubey said. Trubey, who has experience running a 50-horse commercial barn in Olivenhain for several years, said the ranch serves a very small number of Association members and takes up a small percentage of the budget and yet occupies a lot of board member and Association time and thought.

“There’s no reason why the Association should be owning a horse ranch and running one,” Trubey. ”It’s not a business the Association needs to run. Having said all that, we own it, we own 25 acres and it’s got a historic building right in the middle of it.”

He said there needs to be some thought for an appropriate solution but he doesn’t have the answer.

“That’s my neighbor, our fences connect,” said Seitz, who owns a neighboring 50-horse barn that he said even with temporary stalls, produces more money than Osuna Ranch. “We could turn it into something really great, really fast and make a lot more money.”

He said the ranch would be simple to fix but it’s mostly just been talked about for the last 16 years and nothing ever gets done.