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Interests: Live and breathe for the Boston Red Sox.
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Why would anyone assume the claims -any or all of them- are related to outside vendors? I've suggested to a couple of directors that we ought to be given some sort of breakdown about the nature of the claims, but it's too early to tell if that information will be provided.
I noticed that two comments by Michelle and one by Sad Sac submitted several days ago were inappropriately held by the blog vendor in my spam folder without my approval. I have released those comments and apologize for not seeing the holds earlier.
To Inglefields, my short answer would be that if one wants to live in a community without rules and regulations, a homeowners association may not be the best choice. Methinks the raging against Sandy Seddon is related in part to the fact that she is doing what she was hired to do. I remember that the common complaint we heard when FSR was running the place was that we were being used as a training ground for unqualified people. Some days you just can't win.
The bocce courts were constructed by Pulte at the time Liberty Center was built. Our Board members didn't get to go onto the property until Pulte finished it and turned over the deed to SCA, as it was their land until then. Keep this in mind when it comes to the future of our community, as well as its current leadership. I have chosen a high level of involvement because I believe it is important to be personally involved if I want to see our community be the best it can be. Not everyone agrees with my approach or the causes I support. I respect those who differ with me IF they, too, have chosen to become involved. Those who complain and whine about one thing or another have the same opportunity I do: BECOME INVOLVED! Otherwise, they will only be spitting into the proverbial wind. - Not speaking about you personally, by the way.
Best of luck with your health issues. I wish I could agree with you that the yardstick for effective community management is that our dues go down. That may be ONE factor, but it's only part of the big picture. Many are the times when I've spoken with visitors who are familiar with the dues structures of other senior communities and can't believe how much we have access to in comparison with the dues of other places. Keep this in mind, too: For the past couple of years new capital projects were put on hold while other needs were attended to. As of May 1st, the GM is authorized to at least consider new capital projects. The advocates for various projects at the site of the dormant bocce courts at Liberty Center, of whom I am one, were undoubtedly pleased to hear this.
Your comments are well expressed and deserve detailed exploration, so I'd certainly like to sit down with you and have a long personal conversation at some point. Back-and-forth blog comments don't necessarily do it justice. For instance, it would probably take an entire new blog article to explain to most of my readers what the six sigma criteria are, though it and kaisan usually apply to manufacturing processes. That having been said, I'll give you a few of my thoughts. Regardless of anything the admirable John Burke may have said, our budgets for the most are not based on inflationary expectations, but are based on real-time estimates of what is needed to run the Association. There are some things that might have inflationary expectations built in, such as the fees we might pay for long-term contracts, but that's generally not the way we do business. If inflation calculations played that big a role, why were our dues completely unchanged for a five-year period, and why was the 2017 dues increase based on a reserve issue rather than on an operating-cost calculation? I have not suggested that you "proofread" the Board Book, but that you use it selectively to learn the details about actions and procedures that interest you. While I read the Board Books from cover to cover, I certainly don't spend more time than I need to on many of the less important items. Is there "always room to trim more fat?" Doesn't fat-trimming have a limit, after which there are consequences for going too far? I offer as a rough analogy the situation in Kansas, where members of his own party are rebelling against the governor for trimming so much "fat" that the state is in serious economic and educational trouble. As for the question of going to self-management vs using a management company, I believe we made the right decision and are already benefiting from it. That is a subject for dissertation-length analysis at another time, but I regard it as a blessing that management's accountabilities, for better or worse, lie here under our figurative roof instead of somewhere "higher up" through several layers of bureaucracy.
In a general way, your comments make sense. After all, don't we all want to live in a HOA where money is not wasted, is not spent needlessly, and where expenses are kept under control? It raises some questions, however, that I think are appropriate to ask you specifically: What is your basis for assuming that SCA increases its expenses to keep up with inflation? I've never heard of that philosophy being either expressed or implemented in SCA. What is your evidence that the Board and management do not seek to use a "best practices" approach? What do you personally know about our bidding and purchasing practices? Do you regularly read the Board Book to look at the bid invitations and specs that are issued and to see the actual bids that are submitted? Are you aware of how many full-time employees and full-time equivalents work for SCA, as compared to how many we had to pay for under the previous management company? What are some examples of the cost-cutting measures you would like to see implemented? What is your overall philosophy regarding what it takes to maintain SCA as a first-class seniors community? I could go on, but I'd like to see how you feel about at least these important issues.
First: There have not been "dues increases." After five years of one dues rate, there was a single increase related to the need to increase the reserves based on a reserve specialist's opinion that money should be in the reserves for common walls and fences. This has been disputed, but it had nothing to do with the fact that we are now under self-management. The meeting was called by Rana Goodman. It was unofficial, and in fact there was resistance to the Activities Manager attending the meeting, though it seemed to work out. - If you think Seddon should have attended, perhaps you should ask Ms. Goodman why she was not invited. As many have pointed out, a great deal of Seddon's time has been spent undoing the damage left behind by FSR. As said by Art Lindberg after being elected to the Board and learning the facts, it was "a mess."
I didn't literally "narrow it down to those two," but mentioned them initially because they were the names that seemed to pop up the most. But my thinking has changed, because we've received feedback about several other services. Since publishing the article, I've received input, much of it very detailed and informative, on some competitors, including Chef'D, Plated, Home Chef and others. We haven't made our initial choice yet, but I can certainly tell you that Home Chef was enthusiastically recommended by several people. And I thank you for contributing your own thoughts.
I don't know if you attended the workshop or not, but I can assure you that the need for exclusivity of catering did not represent "the presenter's view." It was obvious, in my opinion, that management and the Board understand and would be committed to the right of the tenant to control the catering. When we've been told that catering is the key to financial success, why would we want to tie the hands of the tenant, right at the outset, by telling him that anyone and everyone could use the caterer of their choice? That is why assessing the capability -and experience- of the tenant to handle catering will be so essential to the process. You are basically correct, in my opinion, that a SCA group wanting a catered event would have to do it off site if the caterer has the capability but they don't want to use him. I can think of some variations related to food that would undoubtedly be addressed in a restaurant lease. Pot-luck events, for example, are not "catered events." And if someone wants an event with authentic ethnic food, especially Asian, accommodations might be feasible.
Dream on, Inglefields. One of the residents at the workshop expressed the opinion that the Association had not done enough to support and market its restaurant tenants in the past, and this observation was met with applause. The importance of catering as the driver of tenant success was made crystal clear at the workshop. If we do go the restaurant route, it's a lead-pipe cinch that exclusivity of catering will be an integral part of the arrangement. You suggest that competition for catering is a good thing. The competition will come from restaurants and caterers NOT doing business in Sun City Anthem, which means that the tenant selected must be capable of pleasing as many SCA consumers as possible with its catering ability. To say that this premise is evidence of a lack of business acumen suggests to me that you have it backwards. A tenant running a restaurant for the benefit of SCA residents must be given every opportunity to succeed, and exclusivity of catering is a central component in that equation. At the same time, if SCA catering doesn't meet the needs of SCA catering customers they always have the option to go elsewhere. Protection of a product is essential to the success of any business. At the same time, understanding what the tenant will commit to in "special situations," such as a desire for ethnic catering, has been recognized as important.
The subject of this thread is my interactions with Nona Tobin, not comments about Arendt or myself. I need to close this off for comments because we are going off track and I don't think that's what readers want to see.
Toggle Commented May 10, 2017 on About Nona Tobin at David's Anthem Journal
Since this comment is off-topic, I sent Penny an email inviting her to call so that I could give her some information, but so far I have not heard from her.
I am mindful of the fact that some may feel I didn't make the best decision in not publishing Nona's memorandum. I believed I had good reasons, because it contained language and aspersions that I felt were accusatory and bordered on defamation. In other words, I felt it would hurt Nona as much as it would help her if I published the document. To some degree, I think my instincts were correct, because several directors at today's Board Organizational Meeting took great umbrage at what Nona wrote. And in fact, during the course of the meeting Nona literally apologized for the way she expressed herself in the memorandum. I believe Nona has the potential to be an excellent Board member, and I have told her so more than once. Tonight I called her and we talked for about 30 minutes. Nona told me she thought I was unfair to her in what I wrote, and especially in making a comparison to Bob Frank. I invited Nona to submit an article on the subject to my blog -NOT to any other blogs- which I would publish on her behalf, unedited and without editorial comment. She said she will think it over. I believe that is the best I can do at this time.
To not endorse Carl, Linda, was not an easy decision for me, which is why I did not express specific opposition to him. The Spotlight situation was a big deal for those like myself who were disappointed that a group of folks who wanted to practice and present entertainment at a professional or near-professional level were being discriminated against. I sat through many meetings of the Community Lifestyle Committee where the matter was thoroughly vetted, and both Carl and Bella expressed the opinion that the process had been well handled. The problem, as I saw it, was not with the officers of the Performing Arts Club, it was with a small number of PAC members who were adamantly opposed to working something out with the Spotlight people. Carl was not the only director who voted against Spotlight, but he is the only one who pledged, even on the eve of the vote, that he would vote to support it. What made it worse was his personal name-calling, which riled up the Spotlight supporters and motivated them to lobby against him. The CSG vs FAS split is another matter that would require a long essay to discuss. Suffice it to say that Carl is an advocate for CSG and Nona is an advocate for FAS, with each side having supporters who advocated for their respective candidates. So I'm sure that dynamic had a profound effect on the outcome. A reader wrote me last night to claim that I was attacking Nona, and blogger Dick Arendt has alleged the same. I WAS NOT attacking Nona, just her process of not understanding how the Board chooses its officers. Because I lived through the "Bob Frank era" and saw both my spouse and myself relentlessly attacked for standing up to him, that is where the deja vu enters into it.
Carl, I'll give you an example of why I don't regret not endorsing you. You told me during the campaign that you regretted not voting for the Spotlight Club because you said you were now seeing that the new club appears to be successful. Yet when you posted yesterday to Arendt's blog, you instead defended your vote against that club and unfairly went after Susan Girard (again). You can't have it both ways. One of the Carl Weinsteins is not being honest about his true feelings. I've searched my notes from CLC meetings and workshops to find anything negative you ever said about the Spotlight application while you were serving as Board liaison to the CLC, and I could find no such comments from you. So in effect you not only stabbed them in the back by saying you'd vote for the new club and then doing otherwise, but you turned loose a fairly large group of active residents who went out to campaign against you because they felt they had been two-timed. Whose fault is that? When you combine it with the feelings of another large group who understood why you supported the CSG against FAS but didn't understand why you didn't take affirmative action to try mediating the situation, I think it pretty much closed the door for you.
You're right Earl, and as you know, that's the second time I have done that. I'll make the correction in the article. Thank you.
Mosholo: Personally, I wish we didn't always have to suspect the worst when the Board makes decisions like this. Here's what I assume: Sandy came to us from California, and I doubt that she has established a personal relationship with the new law firm. Also, I think this was strictly a Board of Directors process.
I could not agree more that folks should shop around. I've taken pains to suggest that those considering such a purchase should not just duplicate what we did, but should weigh all the pros and cons.
Since the "conversation" is now about the reasoning behind my comment and not about the subject of the article, and since you and I have gone around the mulberry bush ad nauseam on the subject, and since I have started to get emails telling me to end it, I think it's time to close off comments on this thread. I did not deny you your right to comment, did not censor or edit you, and responded to your comments as courteously as possible, so congratulation on bringing me to this action.
You quoted me correctly, but you are stretching the definition of defamation when you state that my description of the use of the signs -not comments aimed at specific individuals- constitutes defamation. Since you asked for my legal expertise in your prior post, I'll give it to you now: You clearly do not know or understand what defamation is, and I would suggest that we call a halt to this back-and-forth right now, before it gets even more personal. That is not the purpose of this blog. I expressed an opinion and you eloquently disagreed with it. There is nothing new for either of us to add, I think, and there is no reason to beat a dead horse. If you really do have this concern, as I mentioned in an earlier comment addressed to another reader, you should be focusing on Mr. Arendt, because if he ties your name and address to any of the signs, he will be publishing your name and address. Shouldn't this concern you more than taking umbrage at my expression of opinion?
Inglefields: I don't think you'll find anything I wrote on the subject that challenges the sign sponsors for exercising their right of free speech. There is lots of contentious exercise of free speech going on in the nation right now, on both ends of the spectrum, but does that mean we are to be denied our right to criticize it? In doing so, am I not exercising MY right of free speech?
Dear Christensens: I always know I am in for a verbal scolding when a reader addresses me as "Mr. Berman" instead of by my first name as most of my readers do. I must admit to being a little bit pissed off by contributors such as you who conclude their comments by expressing doubt that I would publish them because they don't agree with me. You say you have been around here for 15 years, but I don't know how long you have been reading my blog, because if you are a veteran reader, you would know that I DO NOT censor reader comments unless they are defamatory, in poor taste or off-topic. And I don't usually PUBLISH reader comments, because the readers themselves decide what they want to post here. This is exactly what YOU have done. In saying my blog is "supposedly unbiased," you are revealing your misunderstanding of how most blogs operate. Blogs tend to reflect the opinions of their owners, and I am no exception. While I do focus to a large degree on presenting unvarnished facts and information to my readers, I DO express my opinions often. I try to label my opinions as such, and I always invite readers to respond with differing opinions if they wish. Why do you say I "attack, bully and try to silence anyone you disagree with?" Are there some examples you can give me of people I have bullied on this blog simply because I disagree with them? - I'm sorry, folks, but that is a false and bogus accusation. About the signs: I have no idea who owns the sign in the photo I used. I took no pictures of any signs, but I received five photos of signs on five different properties that were sent to me by different people, and I simply chose one of them at random. If in fact the one I used IS your sign, then you should expect no right of privacy; obviously,the sign is planted on your property because you want people to see it. Consider yourselves lucky, because my blog competitor Dick Arendt is publishing not just pictures of the signs, but also the street addresses of the properties where the signs are located. So maybe you should have a conversation with HIM. I made it clear in my article that use of signs like this on one's own property is completely legal. You have every right to do this. But I DO consider it unethical and in bad taste because I don't consider it in keeping with the lifestyle of our wonderful community which stresses the positive, not the negative. Unfortunately for you, perhaps, I have detected a large backlash and outpouring of sympathy for Mr. Weinstein as a result of the signs, so who knows how things will turn out? But please do me a favor: If you really want to attack my integrity by suggesting I would not allow your comments on the blog because they disagree with an opinion I hold, you might be better off not even being one of my subscribers. I don't like to lose subscribers, but I bristle at false accusations of censorship or unfairness from people who don't have the guts to deal with me directly, on a personal level, to discuss their concerns.
Thank you, Josie. That means a lot to me, especially at a time when my integrity is being questioned.
As the GM has told the community, she has been approached by a number of interested parties about operating the restaurant. While I am not at liberty to mention specific names, I did speak with one of these prospective operators while dining at a restaurant he owns, and he told me his plan would include providing meal delivery from the restaurant to residents.