By Phil Trubey
March 6, 2022
Following is a recap of the March 2022 RSF Association Board meeting that took place last Thursday.
Board President Bill Weber finally made his Art Juror selection after having botched the process in December. Four volunteers were in the running this time around, at least one of which had applied during the last go around in December. Weber named Bruce Jordan as the new Art Juror. Jordan wasn’t an applicant during December’s process.
Weber conspicuously reneged on the personal promise he made to me that he would name who were all the nominees in open session, as had been done for decades prior. I even wrote about this promise contemporaneously in this article. Weber used the secret executive Board meeting to name the four nominees, which, in my view, is yet another misuse of executive meetings. The Board has been conducting more and more of its business in executive session like the restaurant cost share agreement which was negotiated in secret executive session. Not sharing the nominee list (and “changing his mind” that he would do so) appears quite petty since there is no good reason to upend decades of Association practice. This matters as Art Jurors are solely appointed by the Board President, and if we know who the other volunteers are, we can make up our own minds on how the appointment process worked.
One last personal note. I can’t help but think that the reason why one of the nominees, a past Art Juror, wasn’t chosen by Weber, and a year ago, by Gallagher, is that she’s my wife. I’ve been called on the carpet by quite a few Board presidents over the years for things I’ve written, and I am saddened to think that my advocacy on behalf of members might be the reason why my very experienced, qualified, even keeled and judicious wife isn’t getting the nod for the thing she most enjoys doing for this community.
Director Bill Strong
There is something very wrong with Association governance when a Board member is stripped of their VP role in a secret meeting and we aren’t told about it. If Director Bill Strong hadn’t told us himself in Thursday’s open meeting (something which must have been very hard for him to do – I don’t know if I could have done it), we still would not know since Friday’s Association email blast made nary a mention of this.
Compounding this, Strong found out that he had been thrown off various committees when another Board member made an offhand comment later in the meeting that Strong was no longer on the committees.
Apparently Board cohesion is so bad that Strong felt compelled to hire a personal attorney to fend off charges of malfeasance. In what apparently was a document prepared at presumably some Association expense by the Association’s own lawyer, Strong was accused of violating many Association rules and procedures. Some of those violations included writing his recent article in the RSF Post.
I’m not going to get in the middle of a dispute amongst Board members. Heck, I rarely agreed with Strong on any policy issue, and he was indeed long winded and (in my opinion) didn’t listen very well to others.
Nonetheless I just find it incredibly sad that the rest of the Board would gang up on one Board member in this manner. Someone who almost died during a Board meeting last year (heart problem), and who has only three remaining Board meetings in his three year term. It’s just mean and I am left to wonder why it was done.
You can listen to Bill Strong’s version of what happened to him at 2m35s into the first video on this page.
Recordings of Meetings to be Available Via Website
Starting with this meeting, Association Board meetings will be made available for later playback. The audio for the March Board meeting was only captured by the video recorder’s omnidirectional microphone, so audio quality will be sketchy (there was a lot of kitchen noise where the video recorder was placed).
Next month’s meeting should introduce microphones for Directors to use, which should rectify most issues. In addition, it is expected that next month’s meeting will also be simulcast as a live stream, so you’ll be able to follow live from home, in addition to watching it at a later date.
As this technology progresses, I hope to be able to put in links from my articles to timestamped portions of the recording so you can see the unfiltered bits of the meeting you are most interested in.
New Regulations Posted For Review
I sure am glad I’m not building a new house right now. Three new proposed/modified regulations further tighten the screws on what the Association will allow. I’ve broken out my personal feedback on each regulation in separate articles:
- New Lighting Regulation Would Make Rancho Pitch Black
- Gates and Pilasters Regulation Feedback Requested
The only thing I saw in the new Fences and Walls regulation, was that they codified a rule that your fence must be at least five feet from your property line, absent a signed letter from your neighbor. I wrote about this 2 1/2 years ago here.
Since these regulations contain significant new restrictions and changes, the Association ought to be highlighting what new restrictions these regulations contain rather than forcing us to figure it out ourselves.
In my opinion, the regulation writing process is broken. Expert members and architects at large are not invited to participate in working meetings where these changes are made. They are written in closed meetings (no minutes, no open access) and given to us as a fait accompli.
Some of these new regulations take power away from the Art Jury and constrain their ability to make judgement decisions. In my feedback articles, I show several examples where the Art Jury today could make a determination based on specific property site characteristics (like being on a dead end street, or a driveway being on a hillside), but now no longer would be able to do so.
I urge you to read the regulations and provide comments to email@example.com.
Board President Bill Weber gave a short summary of progress on Board goals.
A closed door 3×3 committee is meeting, chaired by Director Greg Gruzdowich. A restaurant remodel design subgroup has also been formed. I wish I could tell you who is on these rather important committees, but we weren’t informed of that and there is zero information on the Association website about these committees. We were told “work is progressing” with no information on timelines given.
This was described as a “satisfaction survey”, which if it did only that would be a wasted opportunity. However we were also told that the survey contained questions like what new facilities would you like to have in Rancho. We shall have to wait to see what the questions are when the survey is sent out to all members in the March/April timeframe.
Work on the Residential Design Guidelines is stalled. The building department has had their hands full with the regulations they have been shepherding.
The Board wanted to investigate whether Osuna was being used to its fullest potential (spoiler: it isn’t). No work has been done on this, but results of the survey will be used to help form ideas.
I think the goal here was to ensure staff retention and remove roadblocks to their effectiveness. Even upon re-listening to Weber’s comments on this from the posted video, I wasn’t able to discern any, well, update on this.
And that’s a wrap. Hope all is well, see you on the pickleball courts, golf course and trails. For an antidote to this fairly downer of an article, check out the RSF Vitner’s Association Update article.