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Three candidates competing for two seats on Rancho Santa Fe Fire District board

Three candidates are vying for two seats on the Rancho Santa Fe Fire District board. The candidates are financial planner John Ramirez and incumbents John Tanner and Thomas Hickerson. Below the candidates answer questions about why they want to serve on the board and more.

JOHN TANNER:

1) Why do you want to serve on the RSF Fire District board?

Tanner:

Now completing my first elected term, I can humbly state that I’ve learned a great deal about how the Fire District operates. I received an early eye-opener with the Witch Creek fire three years ago. As we all know too well, the fire was devastating, but could have been much worse. I’m proud to be a small part of our highly trained firefighter and paramedic teams and I want to continue to represent them, and you, the citizens and property owners in our district. This is a life-saving business. It’s that simple. My efforts will continue to stress training, fire prevention, mitigation and inevitably suppression.

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2) What experience do you have that you feel makes you qualified to serve on the board?

Tanner:

I’m current on all aspects of the fire district’s operations, including the technology, budgeting, shared cost-cutting efforts now underway with Encinitas, Solana Beach and Del Mar, and our new station currently under construction in the Fairbanks Ranch area. Also, Chief Nick Pavone is retiring this month and Deputy Chief Tony Michel will be taking the reins. Both men are the best of the best and I enjoy a great working relationship with them, their management team, the administrative staff and the four other directors.

3) In your opinion, what are the most important issues facing the fire district?

Tanner:

Prudent fiscal management in these difficult financial times. We must hold our costs down where possible and feasible while keeping our mission foremost: “To serve the public through the protection of life, environment and property from fire and other emergencies through prevention, preparedness, education and response.”

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Ongoing public education. This is a huge portion of our job, and includes school presentations throughout Rancho Santa Fe, Fairbanks Ranch, 4-S Ranch and all of our communities. Public meetings are routinely held, and informational packets are mailed. Check our website at www.rsf-fire.org, or give us a call at (858) 756-5971.

4) What do you think is the role of a board member?

Tanner:

Know your business, your people and your community. Be accessible, supportive and decisive. Let the professionals do their jobs!

5) What would you change, if anything, about the fire district and/or board and how they operate?

Tanner:

Tough question. I like where we are and if things need to be tweaked that’s my role. We have the best fire and emergency people in the county, with the best training and equipment. Change doesn’t always mean improvement. I’m for sticking with a winner while being ever vigilant. our job, and includes school presentations throughout Rancho Santa Fe, Fairbanks Ranch, 4-S Ranch and all of our communities. Public meetings are routinely held, and informational packets are mailed. Check our website at www.rsf-fire.org, or give us a call at (858) 756-5971.

4) What do you think is the role of a board member?

Tanner:

Know your business, your people and your community. Be accessible, supportive and decisive. Let the professionals do their jobs!

5) What would you change, if anything, about the fire district and/or board and how they operate?

Tanner:
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Tough question. I like where we are and if things need to be tweaked that’s my role. We have the best fire and emergency people in the county, with the best training and equipment. Change doesn’t always mean improvement. I’m for sticking with a winner while being ever vigilant.

JOHN RAMIREZ:

1) Why do you want to serve on the RSF Fire District board?

Ramirez:

I am running for the Rancho Santa Fe Fire District board to ensure the readiness of our fire department and thus protecting our families. I will help ensure that our fire personnel have the right training and equipment to respond to fire and medical emergencies promptly. Encourage educating the district residents so they can better protect their family either from fire or medical emergencies.

2) What experience do you have that you feel makes you qualified to serve on the board?

Ramirez:

I have been a resident of the fire district for nine years.

Education: BBA 1995. International Business. The George Washington University. MBA. 2006. National University.

Experience: Member of the Rancho Santa Fe Fire Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). Involved in training exercises to help protect our community in case of disaster.

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Palomar Health (ICOC) — Appointed as a member of the advisory committee.

County Service Authority 83/83A — Chair County advisory committee on Parks and Recreation funding for Rancho Santa Fe and 4S Ranch.

Previously advised on Navy Region Southwest Funding for Federal Fire department over six states.

3) In your opinion, what are the most important issues facing the fire district?

Ramirez:

My three priorities are:

  1. Training and Readiness of personnel. Promptly responding to fire and medical calls.
  2. Ensuring residents are creating defensible spaces through landscaping. We need to be proactive to protect our community from wildfires.
  3. Educating the citizens in the district through programs like the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) to protect their family. This will undoubtedly save lives.
  4. What do you think is the role of a board member?

The role of the board member is to establish policies that can exceed county and state guidelines. By having a sound pulse on people and the needs of our district I will help establish firm but fair fire and safety codes and ordinances. I will help to ensure the employees have the right equipment to do their job.

4) What do you think is the role of a board member?

Ramirez:

The role of the board member is to establish policies that can exceed county and state guidelines. By having a sound pulse on people and the needs of our district I will help establish firm but fair fire and safety codes and ordinances. I will help to ensure the employees have the right equipment to do their job.

  1. What would you change, if anything, about the fire district and/or board and how they operate?
Ramirez:

On the day-to-day operations I do not see any visible changes. However, in the back office I can see a more concerted effort developed in reaching out to people in the district to prepare them for personal emergencies and or more general emergencies affecting many people. This is particularly relevant to the people living in Rancho Santa Fe where their houses cannot be reached quickly in some situations.

THOMAS HICKERSON

1) What experience do you have that you feel makes you qualified to serve on the board?

Hickerson:

I have been on the Rancho Santa Fe Fire Protection District Board since being appointed in mid-2002. I was elected to remain on the board in 2002. I served a four-year term and was re-elected in 2006, again for a four-year term.

During my years of service (2002 to 2010) to the Rancho Santa Fe Fire District, I have been vice president of the board for the past four years. For the past six years, I have served as the board’s representative on the CSA-17 (San Dieguito Emergency Medical Services District) Advisory Committee.

Many worthwhile projects were completed in the district. We have opened two new fire stations and replaced several fire trucks. We have developed a long-range Strategic Plan for the district. Our readiness and planning was well rewarded by the successful efforts of our firefighters during the firestorm of 2007.

We have worked diligently for the safety of the communities we serve. Additional ambulances have been added to the district. One is assigned to 4S Ranch and one to Encinitas. These additional ambulances have shortened response times dramatically, saving lives in the communities we serve.

2) In your opinion, what are the most important issues facing the fire district?

Hickerson:

I am a former volunteer firefighter and the father of a career firefighter. I believe we must vigorously support our firefighters with the best available equipment and training if they are to be able to provide the level of safety and security we all desire for the well being of our families and loved ones.

There is much work that remains to be done. I retired in 1997, after 38 years of service as an air traffic controller. I have the time to devote to the continuing work of the Rancho Santa Fe Fire District. I believe it is important to have continuity within our district, to achieve maximum results, to the benefit of all our communities.

Now, more than ever, our commitment toward public safety must be a top priority. With that goal in mind, I look forward to continuing with the Fire District. I sincerely thank you for your support. Your vote is greatly appreciated.


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