“Chris Gardner has been the Jess Martin Park volunteer park hosts for over 6 years, for the community of Julian, he is simply irreplaceable!”
– Photo: Chris Gardner receives ‘Volunteer of the Year Award:’ From left to right. San Diego Supervisor Dianne Jacob, Chris Gardner, Jane Gardner, Bob Copper (former director …San Diego County Parks & Recreation ), Chris’ son…Christopher the 3rd.
Chris Gardner has been an amazing caretaker of this small community park. Always making sure that the fields are clean for our kids sports and the walking paths are safe from debris or other issues. Chris has managed to maintain the skate park in amazing condition getting rid of graffiti and other damages youth like to cause, We can always count on Chris to be friendly and kind and always willing to step up take on a project to better this park, KEEP CHRIS GARDNER AT JESS MARTIN PARK! – Kate Rochester
Chris’s duties include, but are not limited to the following areas of this 9 acre park:
- Exercise path
- Skate park
- Picnic Tables
- Ball fields
- Community outreach and support
- Fire drills
- Movie night’s
– Photo: Cal Fire Base Camp Takes Over Jess Martin Park. CCC member Ricco Wilson works with supplies at base camp to keep fire fighters on the job
Unfortunately, Chris was recently told that the park was going in “another direction” (whatever that means?) and that someone with “different skills” was needed as a host. Chris and Jane were given only 30 days to find a new home in a terrifying rental market and, as a community volunteer, no income!
As park host, Chris has offered services without a salary for Jess Martin Park and the Julian community. Chris has not only kept the community/family-oriented park safe and clean, he has also watched out for our children for six years. There are many examples of his care and services : we have felt safe knowing that Chris was there when our teens skateboarded or when our car wouldn’t start when it got dark.
This is not an example of compassion and appreciation for free services; it is likely to leave two seniors and Jane’s service dog in training – each beloved community members, entirely homeless right before winter!
Chris and Jane are valued members of the Julian community. By far, Jess Martin Park is the cleanest and well maintained park in San Diego County. Thanks to the care and concern of park host Gardner, JMP is also the safest and best family and community park we’ve ever experienced! The county would be making a big mistake by removing these two valued volunteer community members.
Chris had done nothing wrong to warrant this dismissal, he was never written up for dereliction of duties, never slacked on his responsibilities, more importantly, Chris cares for our families, friends and the tourists that visit our historic little mountain town. These actions against the Gardner’s is more than disheartening, it’s a blatant lack of appreciation, commitment and compassion. Chris and Jane deserve much better!
The Julian Community wants to know; has the Parks Department and Supervisor’s even considered how terrifying the prospects of being homeless are? Before winter? Before the Holidays? As park host, Chris has demonstrated his commitment to our community with diplomacy, integrity and dignity. Why cant’s the park administrators do the same?
Jess Martin Park is Julian’s park. We pay taxes for it, we picnic there, we take our little ones to the playground, play sports, celebrate birthdays, movie nights, fire drills, snow sledding, Quinceañera’s, and much more.
We, the undersigned, respectfully ask that Chris and Jane be allowed to keep their home at the park, even if another host is added for additional services. If it is not possible to add a host or otherwise, at the very least, allow them to keep living there in their home until another opportunity presents itself.
We also wish to see Chris and Jane treated with dignity and reasonable notice of not less than 12 months. Please sign the petition in support of the Gardner’s: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/keep-our-community-park-host-chris-gardner-of
From San Diego Parks website: (Human Resources – County of San Diego)
We are committed to provide and retain a skilled, adaptable, and diverse workforce for County departments so they may deliver superior services to the residents and visitors of the County of San Diego.
By their own admission, as noted in their mission statement, ‘We are committed to provide and retain.” That’s all the community is asking for, that you stay true to your mission statement. As so many community members have pointed out, “Chris Gardener is not replaceable.” Another ‘park host’ simply won’t do. How can you replace the years of service Chris as proudly served JMP and our community? You can’t! So don’t!
Informed citizens are truly the strength of a democracy!
Please join us and share your support of JMP park host, Chris Gardner!
PLEASE! PLEASE! PLEASE!!!
Sign our petition!
New Development: After numerous attempts to gain clarity regarding a comment made by San Diego County Supervisor Dianne Jacob, at the Julian Town Hall, on Friday, Sept. 27, I have finally received a response:
Email from image above ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
QJnuntg of an t2gU
LAND USE AND ENVIRONMENT GROUP
SARAH B. AGHASSI 1600 PACIFIC HIGHWAY, ROOM 212, SAN DIEGO, CA
92101 DEPUTY CHIEF ADMINISTRATiVE OFFICER
(619) 531-6256 • Fax (619) 531-5476
December 23, 2016
Colorado City, CO 81019
Dear Mrs. Elkins:
My name is Sarah Aghassi, and I am responding to you on behalf of Helen Robbins-Meyer, the
County of San Diego’s Chief Administrative Officer (CAO). I am the Deputy Chief Administrative
Officer for the Land Use and Environment Group and wanted to follow up on your emails of
December 20 and December 21 that were sent to a group of County of San Diego (County) employees and County Supervisor Dianne Jacob.
I understand that you are unhappy your email of October 20, 2016 did not receive a direct response
from the CAO. As way of background, the County directs citizen concerns to the Department Director
of the department for which a concern is raised by our constituents. Based on your concerns, the
Director of the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) responded to your questions, and his
response was shared with the CAO and Supervisor Dianne Jacob. As DPR’s Director Albright shared
in his previous response, the County will not discuss the specific reasons for the termination of Park
You have indicated County staff members, including the DPR Chief of Operations, Dave Knopp and
DPR Administrative Secretary, Sabrina Powell, have discussed Mr. Gardner’s personnel status with
you without his permission. The communications that have been provided to you by DPR staff were
in response to your inquiries and limited to informing you that the County cannot discuss the
termination of the Park Host Agreement you raised in your communication with the County.
We appreciate your interest in Jess Martin Park. DPR staff and volunteers strive to provide the
highest possible quality parks to our residents and visitors. If you have any questions please contact
Dave Knopp, Chief of Operations, at (858) 966-1371 or Dave.Knop@sdcounty.ca.pov.
Deputy Chief Administrative Officer
cc: Brian Aibright, DPR Director; Dave Knopp, DPR Chief of Operations
At this incredibly trying time, an attempt to support our JMP community/volunteer park host, a ‘Go-Fund-Me’ page has been developed to make every effort to help aid the Gardner’s ability to move from Jess Martin Park.
Please see here:
This is all very much overwhelming to me and very much embarrassing. …there’s not any other alternative that I can think of at this point.
The County of San Diego wants their land back that we have our RV on..where my husband has worked/volunteered for ,for the last six years..it’s a community park in the unicorporated town of Julian, California. .
I guess I need to give you a little history of our lives so you can understand why my husband & I need some help financially. ..
Six years ago my husband, Chris, applied for a volunteer parks position with San Diego County Parks Department, at which time we were in Utah helping a dear family friend who’s wife suddenly passed away & he needed help with his two lovely children which when the call came out to us we didn’t hesitate & we left San Diego & headed to Utah..thank goodness we did & we stayed there three years helping them …then we started missing our own family here in California so my husband called the San Diego County Parks Department & inquired if they had any openings for a Park Host position in any of their parks..as years before my husband had worked for the county at Lindo Lake Community Center in Lakeside, California as the volunteer park ranger & interim director for eight years..so he figured the county would know who he was & possibly have an opening for a park host in one of their parks… he called them and got through to one their parks department supervising rangers who remembered Chris from Lindo Lake Community Center in Lakeside. .from there he was offered the volunteer park position here at Julian Community Park which now is called Jess Martin County Park. ..& that’s where we have been for the last six >nhalf years..in our 1984 Itasca motor vehicle/RV.
My husband was given a notice of termination from the local park’s department supervising ranger of Hieze Park, who overseas this 9+ acreage park on October 5th 2016..stating that they were terminating his work here as they are ‘going in a different direction ‘ and they don’t need his services any longer, of course my husband was totally taken by surprise as there had been nothing untoward leading up to this dismissal. .in fact he asked the supervising ranger ‘why’ & all he came up with is we need someone who does carpentry, electrical, & plumbing. My husband offered to him to take classes for these needs the park’s department wanted but the supervising ranger only replied ‘we have someone else already in mind’…of course what can you say to that…both of us were in shock …the letter of dismissal was October 5th giving us 30 days to leave the site that we had had the fortunate opportunity to park on in exchange for my husband’s volunteer work of general maintenance & care of the grounds for the last 6+ years..as well as watch the park at night since there is no one else on the property so basically it was a 24/7 job…which don’t get me wrong we loved..& in fact we became residents of this lovely historical town of Julian & we now are very upset to leave as we have made so many good friends & enjoyed supporting the community & their park culture, including watching the children grow up in the park..from tee ball players to little leaguers to teenage skateboard kids, as there is a skateboard park within the park grounds.
Maybe, I am sharing more than is necessary. .but I feel it’s important to get the whole story included…in fact, a petition was started to maybe retain Chris in this volunteer position here at Jess Martin Park. .people were very kind & left wonderful comments on how good Chris was in his job & how safe they felt with being here with their children & enjoying the park..we got about 200+ signatures in total…but I guess it wasn’t enough to change the minds of the agency involved, they (San Diego County Parks Department ) has their own agenda. In fact, currently the park is all torn up & has few visitors, which is bewildering to us why we were only given 30 day to more..my own inflection here would be…why? Why aren’t we allowed to stay longer as the park isn’t even functional except for the playground, picnicking area, bathrooms & skateboard portion. It makes no sense for them(the County of San Diego ) to rush us out….
That’s were the Go-fund me now comes into need…we have been looking for another place to park our home but the timing of all this has played a detrimental part…all the RV parks are full with the snowbirds from other areas & other park volunteer hosts positions were filled in the months before our notice, as park host positions are normally seasonal & for only 3-6 months at a time..so when we inquired for positions they informed us they had already chosen people for their winter season. .now we are in a very delicate situation as the County of San Diego has informed us they have given us enough time to leave…but there is a big But…we do not have the money, tires, & oil.. (old saying)…& we don’t care to be in violation of the law by just pulling out of here & sitting on the streets..don’t want to be refugees in our own country. ..we are both seniors & live on a very fixed income…in fact our income is below the poverty level of $1,668 for two adults…that’s why we need financial assistance probably not alot but enough to rent a house where we can park the RV & my husband can find a paying job, no more of this working for nothing. .sure volunteer service is great but not always the best for yourself cause now we are in a pickle. .and it’s not the sweet savory kind of pickle..
Thanks for hearing me out..& if your good at creating go-fund me pages please offer to help us…I really need someone’s help & support in our situation. ..
PLEASE, do whatever you can to help our dedicated volunteer park host of 6 plus years, he’s worth every amount of effort!
**New Development: ‘Go FundMe’ – In an effort to help support the Gardner’s ability to move from the Jess Martin Park.** https://www.gofundme.com/help-get-us-get-back-on-our-feet
COUNTY OF SAN DIEGO CODE OF ETHICS: Chief Administrative Officer-Helen N. Robbins-Meyer. San Diego County Parks Department
“I am ashamed. ..there is a proper protocol for the American Flag….the US Flag is flying right now in a County park…6:26pm..sundown ,which is normally is taken town when when the employee of the park & rec leaves at at 5:00pm…this last week the flag was hung on Friday left up during the fog & rain until Monday…why I don’t know…normally my husband puts the Flag up & brings the flag down during the weekend, here at Jess Martin County Park…but he no longer has his keys or his badge…the least the County of San diego can do is have respect for the United States of America Flag…there is not a light out there to shine on Old Glory tonight. ..what have we come to….it is a disgrace. ..father’s & grandfather’s have died for this country…just tell me why???…Why ??? Julian California & Jess Martin Park…are better than this….God Bless America. … “- Jane Kerns Gardner
The park is required to have that flag flying, half-staff when necessary, and taken down every day, not left to deteriorate in the weather.
Access and Correction of Personal Information:
You can review any personal information collected about you. You may recommend changes to your personal information you believe is in error by submitting a written request that credibly shows the error. If you believe that your personal information is being used for a purpose other than what was intended when submitted, you may contact us. In all cases, we will take reasonable steps to verify your identity before granting access or making corrections
Mission Statement: To conduct meaningful and constructive dialogues between the San Diego Sheriff’s Department and citizens in the Rural Enforcement Division on law enforcement concerns, issues and priorities and ensure that the citizens’ expressed concerns are addressed in a collaborative and effective manner.
The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department initiated the Citizen Advisory Group (CAG) based upon the recognition that members of the community are an integral part of any law enforcement strategy. The department knows the community has insights and perspectives that can assist Sheriff’s deputies control and prevent crimes in the communities they serve. Thus, the CAG provides a forum to encourage open communication between law enforcement and the community. The Julian CAG hopes to foster a greater sense of ownership on behalf of the citizens in addition to a greater sense of collaboration with law enforcement officials in the east county.
Boards & Committees
The San Diego Park and Recreation Board was chartered by the City to serve as advisory board on matters relating to the acquisition, development, maintenance and operation of parks, beaches and recreation properties and facilities.
Park and Recreation Department Volunteer
All prospective volunteers are required to complete a written application.
Applications are also available at the following location:
Park and Recreation Department
Volunteer Management Office
2130 Pan American Way
San Diego, CA 92101
The Park and Recreation Board was chartered by the City to serve as advisory board on matters relating to the acquisition, development, maintenance and operation of parks, beaches and recreation properties and facilities.
Most Requested Links
Andy Quinn –