Ranch traffic accidents down, says patrol chief

RANCHO SANTA FE — “The good news is traffic collisions are down by 22 percent,” Rancho Santa Fe Patrol Chief Matt Wellhouser said during his semiannual report to the Association on Aug. 6.
Wellhouser attributed the reduction to coordinating efforts with the California Highway Patrol, or CHP. “The CHP has made traffic safety a priority,” Wellhouser said. “We’ve shifted our officers around and our deterrence is working.” According to his report, Wellhouser said that in the first six months of 2008 there were 47 noninjury accidents; this year there were only 38.
If there was bad news in the report, it was that burglaries were up slightly. There were 15 burglaries and attempts made in the first six months of 2009, compared with 14 last year. “But the burglaries were less significant this year,” Wellhouser said. “The village was hit hard last year. Our presence is greater in the village now and I think that’s a deterrence.”
More than 14,000 security checks have been performed this year. In the future, that task may be eased as new software is being introduced that will allow residents to ask for vacation checks online. “This will be a tremendous cost savings,” Association Manager Pete Smith said. The online process will save on phone cost fees, which, according to Smith, average $55 to $60 per call.
Wellhouser said there appears to be less traffic coming through Rancho Santa Fe and speculated that it was due to either higher gas prices or fewer people commuting to and from work. “Let’s hope this trend continues,” he said.
President Bill Beckman commended Wellhouser for his report. “Thanks for keeping the community safe,” he said. “We really appreciate it.”
In other Association news, eligible former art jurors and board members were chosen at random to establish a committee for selection of Art Jury candidates. The committee will interview prospective candidates and propose to the board of directors a list of at least two candidates in excess of the number of appointments to be made. This year two seats will be available on the Art Jury when the terms of Paul Slater and Midgie VandenBerg expire. “This is a great opportunity to serve the community,” Beckman said. “We need to recruit. We need people to serve on our committees and eventually on the board.”
Former board Director Bob Spears bade farewell to the board of directors on Aug. 6. Spears and his family have lived in Rancho Santa Fe for the past nine years, but will be moving to Sioux City, Iowa. Spears has accepted the position of CEO in a company that does robotic assembly of food products. “I know how much work this board does and I’ve come to say goodbye,” Spears said. He made it clear he hopes to return someday to Rancho Santa Fe. “We wish you well and thank you for all the work you did,” Beckman said.