Respect. Trust. Power.


One Art Juror has quit. Another one privately tells me that dealing with the Board has made their stint on the Art Jury “no fun”. Letters are being sent back and forth between former Art Jurors and Board members

In private conversation, a Board member says they’d like to get everyone co-operating together. Great idea. It would be nice to see concrete action in that area.


The Board appears to have concerns about the lack of consistency of Art Jury findings over the years, even though no one ran on this platform, and I have heard zero debate in open Board meetings that this is an issue to be addressed. But fine, assuming this is something the Board wants to tackle, the right way to tackle it would be to task the community experts, ie. the building commissioner and the Art Jurors, to work on this.

Instead, the Board decided on a 7-0 vote to impose the Board’s process onto the Art Jury. Even worse, the Board decided not to work with the Art Jury directly, instead directing their employees (Association staff) to force this onto the Art Jury, putting the staff into an untenable position.

This is micromanagement. It is demoralizing to the hardest working group of volunteers (and staff) in this community. It is no wonder a very seasoned and experienced Art Juror resigned over it.

It’s the Process, Get Over It

Have you ever followed a criminal jury trial? From time to time there’ll be a verdict that you just don’t agree with. But somehow there are no serious calls for jury trial reform. It is the process, and while no one thinks it is perfect, it works well enough.

As I pointed out in a recent article, our own Art Juries make decisions that you might not agree with as well. But it is the process, and it works well enough. Sure, the Board can effectively change how Art Juries will rule on projects through resolutions and regulations, but the overall outcomes probably won’t be better. The point being that five experienced people who see dozens of submissions every meeting are well qualified to make the required judgement calls.

And if you did want to tighten policies, procedures and regulations, maybe the people driving such changes should be the Art Jurors themselves, who are our local experts. Or a committee of current and former Art Jurors. Supplemented by building department staff and outside consultants, of course. 

Staff Stretched Too Thin

The building department does a lot. Members discuss new projects with planners. They analyze every single submittal and work with members to get projects into some kind of shape for Art Jury review. They spend a lot of time getting ready for Art Jury meetings and the results thereof. They physically inspect projects under construction. They handle member complaints about Art Jury decisions. They handle member complaints about other members as it relates to building. They flag projects to the (lone) staff enforcement person for construction that isn’t adhering to the approved plans. These are all complex functions that each take time, and there is a lot of this activity going on in our 2,000 homesite HOA. 

When I’ve mentioned my perceived staffing shortage to various Board members I get back some variant of “the building department doesn’t work hard enough” or “there aren’t that many projects, surely they can keep up” or “maybe we need better staff”. 

Time for a wake up call. We are very lucky indeed that we have the staff we do have. Finding good people to work for the “Rancho Santa Fe HOA” is more challenging than some may think. 

At any rate, if you want better Art Jury/building department outcomes, maybe consider adding more resources.

Respect. Trust. Power.

In conclusion, a little more mutual respect and trust is needed and fewer resorts to wielding institutional power.

Updated to take out the more inflammatory statements.