Dave

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Thursday, June 21, 2007

HOA Meeting Tonight: WTF!

After all these years, I finally made time to attend my first open meeting of the HOA for the Great Northwest. Though I could only manage to stay for the first two hours, I got to witness the small assembled crowd made up of existing board members, previous board members, possible future board members, and then one or two curious onlookers like me.

I'll post a few notes of interest as soon as I get a chance, but initially, I'd just like to say that as a homeowner, I appreciate the fact that these people take the massive amount of time it takes to volunteer for these unpaid positions. I got the feeling though that the board and the participants in the audience were people who all feel as though they have been wronged in some way by other people there. I'm not trying to be some junior social counselor, but honestly, I could have turned on two hours of Hannity and Colmes if I wanted to sit there and listen to people play the "gotcha" game.

One example of that is where the board was faced with a person up and quitting from a very critical position within the community on a Thursday. The board made herculean efforts to meet just 24 hours later and hire a person who had previously worked in the same position in the past, someone with knowledge of the HOA, and hire them as a contractor to fill the position if only temporarily. I was immediately proud that the board of directors had acted to go above and beyond to correct the situation - remember, these are volunteers on their own time - and a gentlemen got up and berated the board for failing to meet some unexplained EEOC policy and for failing to get three bids from other contractors.

I'm sure this guy meant well and I'm sure he had some valid point he was making from a previous lifetime; I also remember being deployed to Bosnia because neighbors were fighting over atrocities that occurred a thousand years earlier.

Life is too short. Why is it that I have lived in this neighborhood since 1999 and not once have I been motivated to appear before the board and complain about somebody who is volunteering his or her time? Because I have a life.

Perhaps a sad and pathetic existence spent working and jotting down notes and taking silly pictures for a blog that only a hand full of nice people read, but a life nonetheless.

I'll post more about this tomorrow, assuming I don't get a restraining order from the lawyer of the lady who seemed to think that a group of neighbors who wanted to get together and ride their motorcycles twice a month as a group would be a liability to the HOA. Sweet baby Moses on a Razor in the pool area spraying graffiti on the park; what a piece of work.


2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dave, The lawyer issue has been a battle for years. The GNW has paid for lawyers' opinions/advice on the motorcycle issue. And, these guys changed their original intent for the 'motorcycle club,' a fact no one is addressing. The liability isn't from the club itself. The fact that in today's (and in the GNW, recent) litigious 'atmosphere' people will sue for petty issues (read the Guy Pucci, Joe Martinez and Ben Pucci suits.) The Board has a fiduciary duty to protect the GNW from further nonsense. If some motorcycle fell over while parked in the parking lot because some little kid was all excited about seeing 100's there and gets hurt, who do you think will be held liable? The bike owner or the GNW? And guess what? We've had a motorcycle fall on a teenage pool patron (an employee was parking his ride in there to safeguard. Go figure.) Been there, done that, don't care to return. Err on the side of caution and all that. More later....Kathy C.

Dave said...

Kathy, It was a pleasure to meet you and I do appreciate you taking the time to read the Blog and comment.

I appreciate a little background on the topic. Interestingly enough, I suspect that the average, ill-advised resident (like me) would have the same reaction I did, and that is that there is too much what-if type thinking going on. Sure, we need to learn from past experience, but if every seemingly good idea is immediately dismissed for fear that something might go wrong, I am pretty sure I can put together a list of potential liability for every currently approved organization the HOA has now. That is no way to live.

A kid can get hurt playing soccer or swimming a lot quicker than one who is a little eager to look at a motorcycle. If a motorcycle falls over on a kid, I'd back the owner of the bike in suing the parents for any damages to the bike before I'd back some negligent parent who failed to properly monitor their mischievous little kid. But that's just me.

Look, I'm not a lawyer and I don't play one on this Blog. I'm all about risk avoidance and not simply doing things willy-nilly without putting any thought into safety. But really, as an "outsider", this was only one more in a series of issues that seemed less about doing the right thing and more about preventing other people from doing anything.

In the end, I really do appreciate your comments and the views of others. My goal is to try to be a good member of the community and be more involved (without having to run for any office).

I don't even own a motorcycle, but if they have a bike show, I'd be happy to volunteer to stand there with a big stick and smack away any little rug rats who try to get too close. How's that for a start?

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San Antonio, TX, United States
I love to observe the odd things happening around me as I go about my day. I especially like it when I can get a picture of people being themselves. Here, I attempt to report the various people and events I have encountered in my neighborhood, and my city. I'd also love to hear from you. Feel free to e-mail your experiences and photos of life in San Antonio.

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