February 2020

Be prepared:  part II
“Limpy” and LAMPy:  Take Two

By  Andrew Tonkovich


Lights:  Still too bright in Silverado, courtesy new high-tech, high efficiency LED bulbs.  Camera:  Capture shots and video, of an old, limping mountain lion with the perhaps most startlingly uncreative (if accurate) sobriquet ever.  Action: By Mary Schreiber and the Inter-Canyon League (ICL), at its regular January meeting, where three dozen locals shared tacos from Silverado Café and talked policy, politics and preparedness, again --- with presentations educating canyonites on living with the intrepid old cougar using cautious, conservation-minded best eco-practices.  

“Not a specter,” said Schreiber, this magnificent recent frequent visitor to Ladd Canyon, Shady Brook, Hazel Bell and beyond. Do not shoot, feed, pet or spook him. That’s not good for Limpy (or, as I prefer, el Senor León de montaña) who, if he gets too familiar, will become habituated.  The big cougars are already endangered, threatened by catastrophic diminishment of their geo-genetic territory, typically a 100-square-mile roaming, feeding and romance zone.  See Department of Fish and Wildlife website: keepmewild.org.

The county’s decision on adopting a Local Area Management Plan (LAMP) proposal was postponed by the Planning Commission until April. 

Community spirits
Silverado-Modjeska Recreation and Parks District is the singular official governmental decision and policy-making body in our unincorporated and, for good or bad, underrepresented region.  Unofficially, if heroically, the ICL has for decades offered a typically OC-style exercise of both generous mutual aid and rugged self-sufficiency, sometimes making it hard to tell where residents’ politics reside beyond where they live. This feature of canyons life is often poetic, even fun.  Attending the recent Santa Ana Women’s March, your humble scribe marched (well, strolled) for 90 minutes with a longtime neighbor, who shared heartfelt histories of canyon life in a long-overdue conversation, one we’d not had in 15 years of living three blocks apart or, if you like, together. Perhaps she and other resident experts will share their personal histories at the ICL-sponsored Modjeska History Committee on Sat., Feb. 15, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., or produce a video at the Library of the Canyons.

ICL Treasurer Francesca Duff was, of course, unanimously re-elected that night, with the board considering the option of appointing a fifth member of the currently four-member board.  Voting by ICL elected officers is usually unanimous, the result of typically smooth and efficient facilitation of meetings, and participation of citizens with big hearts and a sense of humor:  Holiday Helpers coordinator Pam Rass, who managed redistribution of nearly $800 in charitable holiday contributions.  Friends of the Library best friend Fran Williams, now planning for the annual May swap meet fundraiser.  Canyons Watch and preparedness proselytizer Anthony Mack, whose crew has distributed 80 pre-programmed emergency radios. (Practice listening to them, suggests Director Dion Sorrel. “Tune your ear” to recognize voices, the effect of atmospheric conditions and even static.)  Steve Chaix, who donated a vacuum cleaner to the Modjeska Community Center.  Fire Chief Bruce Newell, who cheerfully reported on planned improvements to the Irvine Ranch Water District control station.  And the Recycling Committee, which contributed nearly $500. 

If you’d been there, you could also have voted for Francesca, assuming you’d paid $5 annual membership and attended three meetings in 2019.  That would also qualify your board member candidacy.  ICL meets the second Tuesday evening of the month.  

Supervisorial upshots
The SMRPD board chose new officers at its January meeting.  No tacos, but president is Tara Saraye; vice president, Isabell Kerins; secretary, Anjan Purohit; treasurer, the civically ubiquitous Francesca Duff.  Voters pick two directors in November when Tara and Francesca’s current terms expire.  SMRPD next meets Feb. 18, the same date as the county’s primary voter registration deadline.  

Clumsy segue, but three issues consistently define, perhaps predictably, canyon voter concerns, especially regarding the Board of Supervisors race. First, maintaining the integrity of the near-sacrosanct Sil-Mod Plan against further assault by developers and thus maintaining the rustic, dark (!) and peaceful nature, of well, living in nature.  Second, electing a reliable, engaged, proactive liaison with OC Parks, law enforcement, emergency services and utilities.  Third, securing more robust tax-generated resources for our community.  Democrat Ashleigh Aitken, OC Fairgrounds board member and challenger to special election-incumbent Don Wagner (R) recently visited the canyons, hearing unshy reassertion of above by supportive residents. 

Under OC’s new election system, all canyon voters (registered by, yes, Tuesday, Feb. 18) receive ballots by mail. They can cast them in person up to 10 days before the election at any of 188 official vote centers (in-person Feb. 22 through March 3) or deliver ballots off to one of 110 official drop boxes throughout the county. Alas, at press time there were no boxes in the canyons, but easy enough to stop at one on your way to work in nearby Whiting Ranch, Irvine or Orange.