Opinion/Letters to the Editor January 2021


Jan. 7 issue:

Thank you Marlene King

Thank you to Marlene King for her steadfast resolve! Along with Greg Gruzdowich, they were two solid voices on the Santa Fe Irrigation District board. Marlene, in her six years (Dec. 2014-Dec. 2020) of water oversight and service as a director of the board, will be missed. Although Marlene’s departure was a surprise to some, she achieved much during her tenure.

She was a voice of reason, holding the line against water rate increases. We should all be grateful to her for this.

It is critical that the next director be up to speed on all the local and regional water issues and challenges, to understand the past COSS (Cost of Service Study) to protect Ranch ratepayers’ interests. The next COSS is in 14 months, which hopefully will not result in another water rate increase.

As Marlene said: “It does not matter how much 92067 reduces usage; the very nature of the difference in property size throws a significantly higher percentage of overhead onto 92067. Overhead is the last frontier in finally achieving rate equity.”

I do hope that she will continue to be a voice (albeit) from the sidelines for the good of the ratepayers.

Thank you Marlene for being a strong advocate for us! You are highly appreciated.

Happy New Year 2021!

Nick Dieterich,

SFID Division 3 resident since 1996

The Ranch has lost more than its ‘King’— What will water rates be in five years?

Thanks to former Santa Fe Irrigation District (SFID) Div. 3 Director Marlene King for working so hard for us. I feel there is no one left who will spend as much time representing Rancho Santa Fe for fair water rates.

All Ranch residents and landowners need to be concerned about the long-term rate effect on 92067 due to the newly lowered reserve fund thresholds. Former Director King often brought our attention to the disparity in general overhead costs between smaller, coastal properties and larger, inland properties. This will be very important when the time comes to fund SFID’s contractual obligation to pay upwards of $50 million to build a new Lake Hodges dam face. Will the $50 million be divided equally among each of the SFID customers?

As SFID expenses rise and customers continue to reduce their outdoor water usage, will the Solana Beach majority vote in a sixth tier in a couple of years when SFID votes in a new rate structure?

Holly Manion
Rancho Santa Fe

Jan. 14 issue:

Marlene’s SFID legacy

Marlene King represented Division 3 for 6 years and has my profound appreciation for her commitment to fighting for equitable water rates for all SFID customers. I overlapped terms with Marlene for two of my four years representing Division 1 and have followed SFID’s rate structure closely since then. Time after time, Marlene and I were on the short end of 3 to 2 votes regarding water rate equity. Although our two mostly rural Divisions buy the majority of SFID water, we represented the minority of board seats due to SFID’s board structure. When rates are not equitable, I feel it is like getting unfairly taxed without equal representation.

Marlene has continued that fight for equitable rates, knowing that convincing other SFID board members was typically a futile effort. Yet I believe Marlene studied and understood the financial modeling that is the basis for determining water rates better than any other director.

I give Marlene much credit for continuing her efforts and have referred to her as our “water advocate” version of RBG. What also comes to mind is the well-known Theodore Roosevelt quote about the person in the arena, “It is not the critic who counts… the credit belongs to the man (woman) who is actually in the arena…” Thank you.

Greg Gruzdowich

Rancho Santa Fe

SDUHSD principals are irreplaceable and deserve our support

As students in San Dieguito Union High School District, we have experienced the challenges of moving to online learning. We have watched teachers adapt their curriculums to the demands of new and unfamiliar platforms. We have watched students work to acclimate to these new curriculums and the unusual structure of the school day. What has been a constant throughout these changes have been our principals, who have supported both us students and our teachers.

In my experience, principals have acted as linchpins for the community, helping bring together students, parents, and teachers in ways each of those individual groups cannot. They are trusted to fairly represent all of their constituents and, especially during these pressing times, have navigated the disparate interests extremely gracefully and effectively. Principals work to protect students and guide them through difficult decisions—decisions which are becoming more and more common as our environment becomes more and more stressful. SDUHSD principals have demonstrated their commitment to our community, inside and outside of school hours. They are irreplaceable elements. And they deserve our support as much as any of our teachers. We ask on behalf of SDUHSD students that we give them this support and praise them for all they do for us.

Joshua Charat-Collins,CCA

Irene Chung, CCA

Madeleine Moon, TPHS

Ayush Agrawal, CCA

Andrew Gao, CCA

Sebastian Charat-Collins, PTMS

Lucas Beltran, SDA

Lukas Nepomuceno, CCA

Much gratitude to SDA’s principal and assistant principal

I consider myself fortunate to have worked as a high school teacher for half of my teaching career at San Dieguito High School Academy. SDA has always attracted good students, staff and administrators.

I had retired before Adam Camacho became the principal at SDA, so I did not have the pleasure of working with him as a teacher. However, I volunteered at the school and, before the pandemic, I would often see him on campus. Adam always greeted me by name, with warmth and a big smile on his face, making me feel welcome.

Once retired, I helped organize a group of SDA’s AVID students to read with the elementary students at Paul Ecke Central Elementary School (PEC) in the after-school program (AVID = Advancement via Individual Determination). On the drive to PEC, I enjoyed our conversations together. Most of the AVID students were Latina/o and would be the first in their families to be college bound. They spoke fondly of Mr. Camacho, happy that a Latino was their principal, someone who could “understand them better.” I remember one student saying that Mr. Camacho always looked happy. This is what a good principal does: He listens to students, and with warmth and kindness, making them feel safe and accepted. I know that during this pandemic Mr. Camacho is tirelessly working to keep his staff as safe as possible.

I also want to compliment SDA’s Assistant Principal Celeste Barnette. Her open mindedness and big heart have helped make the teachers and their students at SDA feel respected. I was part of a group of retired teachers from SDA who had been coming to SDA once a week, during the pandemic, with treats and drinks for the staff who were on campus. We set up our table near the check-in station by the Health Office. Ms. Barnette always greeted us enthusiastically. She posted our photo on SDA’s Facebook page, praising our effort effusively. Her exuberance and positivity motivated us to continue our presence up until winter break.

Amidst COVID cases surging, heated debates about reopening schools, and the attack on the U.S. Capitol Building, I felt it necessary to spotlight two excellent school leaders in SDUHSD who positively impact so many human beings. Much gratitude goes to Adam Camacho and Celeste Barnette.

Ronette Youmans

Retired teacher, SDA 2014


SDUHSD leaders applauded for their work, support and care

I am a parent of students at both La Costa Canyon High School and San Dieguito Academy. I am writing in support of both schools’ administration and faculty. We have all been faced with an unfortunate and unusual situation this past year, COVID-19. There is no blueprint on how to deal with it but I applaud our district for all of their work, support and care. We have many wonderful leaders who truly prioritize the needs and safety of our students and teachers. They communicate with us on a regular basis and they support our students, all while keeping up with the ever-changing landscape.

My husband was an educator for 16 years so I have seen first-hand what educators do for their students. Through his eyes I have also seen what principals do for their staff and students. They create safe spaces to learn, they celebrate the successes of their staff and student body, they champion school spirit and create contingency plans (especially important this past year).

Both of my high school children have felt connected and supported since starting virtual learning last March. They are comforted in knowing how seriously our administrations are taking the known risks of COVID-19. It is unfortunate they cannot attend in-person instruction but it is imperative that our children, our families and our community remain safe and healthy. The pandemic is world-wide, it is not isolated to North San Diego County. We should not be harsh with our educators, with the administration and staff during this already stressful time. Do I miss watching my son play soccer? Yes, but I know he will be able to play when it is safe.

This past year has taught me and my family, more than ever, the meaning of community and care. We must make sacrifices to keep others safe, we must modify our lifestyles to help others. We should commend our children for their resilience and for adjusting to the changes we all have faced. Thank you to everyone at La Costa Canyon, San Dieguito and the entire school district for keeping our children safe, informed, supported and encouraged.

Suzy Jackson

Encinitas (Olivenhain)