For over 40 years, the Rancho Peñasquitos Town Council (RPTC) has been dedicated to serving, representing, and promoting the activities and interests of all Rancho Peñasquitos residents. By maintaining strong community partnerships, the RPTC is able to provide grants and scholarships to individuals or organizations for activities, events, and projects that directly benefit PQ. The council is also the group behind a number of community events throughout the year, like the annual Fiesta de los Peñasquitos. And with its “What’s New in PQ?” column in every issue of our very own 92129 Magazine, the RPTC keeps the PQ community abreast of events, local information, and other important updates. Read along as we speak with RPTC President Elijah Nicolas and learn more about the group’s impactful work in the community.
Q&A with RPTC President, Elijah Nicolas
Can you give us a brief history of the Rancho Peñasquitos Town Council? When was it founded and by whom?
The RPTC was established in 1975 as 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization funded by donations from residents and local businesses.
What is the mission of the RPTC, and how do you work towards that goal?
The purpose of the Town Council is to serve, represent, and promote the activities and interests of all Rancho de los Peñasquitos residents. We rely on donations, government grants, and the annual fiesta to raise the funds for our community grants and sponsorships.
What is your current role within the council?
As president, I serve as the chair of the executive committee. I am also responsible for setting meeting agendas and sending them out to all Town Council members and community partners.
How did you personally become involved with the council?
A few years back, one of my good friends from middle school, Brian Reschke, kept talking about joining the council and I’ve always been interested to see what really takes place. Two years ago, I made myself present and haven’t looked back.
At-A-Glance | Elijah Nicolas
Name: Elijah Nicolas
Profession: Commercial airline pilot
Education: University of California San Diego
Family: Married with two children
Hobbies and Interests: Aviation, photography, technology
Favorite Spots in 92129: Starbucks, Peet’s Coffee, Bad Ass Coffee, Hilltop Park
Who are the RPTC board members? How are they chosen to be on the board?
President – Elijah Nicolas; VP – Matt Benedict; Treasurer – Brian Reschke; Parliamentarian – Alan Gin; Secretary – Open. The board is elected by the Town Council Membership each June with an annual term of July through June.
Tell us about the different committees within the council and the responsibilities of each.
Health and Safety – The charter of the Health and Safety Committee is to promote a healthy environment in PQ for all residents and discuss issues that affect the schools and students in PQ. Educate and promote current needs with blood drives, disaster preparedness, and coyote and rattlesnake abatement events. Chaired by David De Vries.
Education – Collaborate with local schools providing community scholarship competitions through art and English contests during the fall and spring. Chaired by Roger Platt and Jessica Xu.
Community Partnerships, Public Relations – This committee’s goal is to serve, represent, and promote the activities and interests of all Rancho Peñasquitos residents and keep those residents informed about current events affecting PQ by means of all media outlets and electronic communications. This committee works to increase council visibility in the community. Chaired by Kate Glenn.
Web and Print – This committee will maintain and add content to the council website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter pages and maintains a community contact list to include individuals and groups creating an online newsletter to potentially include: council contact information, fundraising, elected officials’ updates, crime stats, Planning Board update, sports, parks and rec, schools, library, business, church, other community interest items, and write the 92129 Magazine column. Chaired by Kate Glenn.
Banner District – This committee solicits businesses to sponsor and design new street banners for the community to raise interest in local businesses with advertising on those banners. The last few years our main sponsor SDCCU has been very supportive in working with us to help promote the YMCA Farmers Market and San Diego County Fair. Chaired by the Executive Board.
Government Affairs – The committee fields and refers questions from the community that fall into the category of “government affairs.” The committee may organize candidate forums around election cycles, possibly in conjunction with another Town Council (Rancho Bernardo or Mira Mesa). Chaired by Brian Reschke.
What is an advisory representative? Why is this person important?
Representatives attend other local and community group meetings to keep the Town Council and community informed.
Rancho Peñasquitos Planning Board: Representative Seat – Open. The Planning Board is a City entity and does not fall under the authority of the Town Council. The City Council recognizes one official land use planning group in each community to work with City staff to formulate and implement the General Plan and community plans, and to advise the Planning Commission and City Council on projects. The board meets the first Wednesday of every month at 7:30 p.m. at the Hotel Karlan in the Sandpiper Room. For more information, please see www.sandiego.gov/planning.
Rancho Peñasquitos Parks & Rec Council: Representative – Theresa Gonzaga. Parks and Recreation Council works with our community and many of the sports programs to grant access to the city facilities. Parks and Rec is responsible for some of the fun events that happen every year at Hilltop, like Oktoberfest and Snow Day in December.
Miramar Community Leaders Forum: Representative – Jim Hogan. This forum is comprised of representatives from all San Diego communities that are surrounding, or affected by, MCAS Miramar. The purpose is for the base to communicate ongoing activities to the local communities and for local communities to communicate activities that could affect the base.
Los Pen School Community Policing Program Collaborative: Representative – Roger Platt. The collaborative provides a forum for the school, SDPD, and community leaders to exchange information related to school, safety, and residents’ issues of interest.
What kinds of grants and sponsorships does RPTC provide? How is it decided who receives a grant or sponsorship? How are they funded?
Grants are reviewed quarterly and sponsorships monthly. Community service grants are available to individuals and organizations for activities and projects that promote the interests or provide community service to Rancho Peñasquitos. An individual or organization may apply for and receive only one grant per calendar year. Individual grants will normally not exceed $300 and organizational grants will normally not exceed $500 annually and cannot exceed 50 percent of total funds received for each project. Grants will be awarded as the Town Council deems appropriate and as budget permits. We sponsored the YMCA Farmers Market again this last year with $5,000 to support locally grown food options.
Community program or event sponsorships are awarded at the discretion of the Grants Committee and approval of the full RPTC Board. To qualify for a sponsorship, the event or program should have a wider community benefit, have our logo appear on promotional material, and can involve a large organization. Sponsorships do not generally exceed $1,000.
If your request falls into this category, please use the sponsorship form on our website.
Tell us about the Fiesta de los Peñasquitos. What is its significance within the community?
The Fiesta de los Peñasquitos Annual Street Fair has been the premiere community entertainment event for the last 23 years with attendance of 17,000 to 25,000 residents each year coming out to celebrate the best of Rancho Peñasquitos. We recognize the excellence in the community service and award the top achievers at every level of graduation in our school system, an outstanding business, and individual contributions who have provided our community with acts of service that go above and beyond, making a difference for Rancho Peñasquitos. We have local vendors, artisans, entertainment, and a fun zone. This next year we will be featuring a car club with many local members.
What other programs or activities is the council involved with?
The Rancho Peñasquitos Town Council is a sponsor of the weekly Rancho Peñasquitos Certified Farmers Market, bringing locally grown organic fruits, vegetables, honey, eggs, and artisans. We have also supported Movies in the Park, Sienna’s Playground Equipment Project by Rolling Hills Elementary, Cookies & Cocoa with Santa, a gift drive supporting foster kids with Voices For Children, BLAST afterschool program at Los Peñasquitos Elementary School, and the Courage Is Beautiful care package program for deployed military personnel from Rancho Peñasquitos and surrounding areas.
How would interested community members become involved with the RPTC?
Everyone is always invited to our monthly meetings that take place every first Thursday of the month. If you find that any one of the events or committees interest you, start there and volunteer. We’d love to have you!
At-A-Glance | Rancho Peñasquitos Town Council
Name of Organization: Rancho Peñasquitos Town Council
Address: P.O. Box 720783 San Diego, CA 92172
Phone Number: 858-848-7782
Are there any upcoming events the community should know about?
Each year we hold a Growing Up PQ essay contest in partnership with 92129 Magazine, beginning in November. This year local students in grades K through 12 are invited to submit essays reflecting on the theme “PQ Youth Volunteers.” Qualified entries will describe one specific volunteer experience, what it means to them, and how it makes PQ the best place to call home. Three winning essays (one from each school level – elementary, middle, and high school) will appear in 92129 Magazine’s next issue and on the Town Council’s website, and the authors will receive cash prizes! The deadline to enter is Nov. 2. See our website for more information.
We will also be hosting Cookies & Cocoa with Santa on Dec. 3 at the Hotel Karlan. It is a free community event and gift drive for foster kids with Voices for Children. There will be music, holiday crafts, face painting, desserts, photos with Santa, and lots of fun!
When and where does the council meet?
The Rancho Peñasquitos Town Council meets the first Thursday of every month at the Hotel Karlan, 14455 Penasquitos Dr., San Diego, CA 92129. Meetings begin at 7:30 p.m.
What are the council’s short-term and long-term goals?
Grow our brand awareness as the “hub” of Rancho Peñasquitos through community resource links on our website, promoting our grants and sponsorship opportunities to enhance life in Rancho Peñasquitos for local businesses and residents.
Offer four seasonal community events a year: Fall – October Nights, Winter – Cookies & Cocoa with Santa, Spring – Fiesta de los Peñasquitos, Summer – Music & Movies in the Park.
Is there anything else you would like for 92129 Magazine readers to know?
The RPTC is an all-volunteer organization and everyone in the community is welcome to join us making a difference for all who live in 92129. We are seeking dedicated residents who have a few hours a month and would like to give back where they live and have a great time while they’re at it! Join us!
David De Vries
Member at Large