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Thursday, December 6, 2007

GNWCIA Meeting Report: My Notes...

Wow! That was a fast one with little to no controversy to report - which is a good thing, right?

My wife and I made the short trip down the street to the Lodge of the Great Northwest to attend the meeting of the board of directors for the Great Northwest Community Improvement Association.

A very brief agenda and Chairman Lee Besing knocked it out in near record time. Kicking off the reports from the department heads, Community Manager Darin is getting acclimated to the new position and the community. He and the staff have the yearly assessments ($222.00, down from $235.00) in envelopes and you should be getting yours soon. Pay it!

Jose our Deed Restrictions officer is back on the streets and hitting it hard. Having filled in as CM for a period, he had not been able to focus as much time on notifying residents of their crimes against good taste, and thankfully, he is back at it. He mentioned that yes, he does understand French, and many upset residents give him quite an earful when he cites them. Keep up the good work Jose!

Jose also mentioned that the five members of the Architectural Committee should be given new three year terms beginning in January so their tenure's can be normalized. It seems that there had been many members leaving and new people filled the slot. By resetting everyone's tenure to the same month, it will normalize things. Director Guy Pucci agreed and made a motion to do it and the board agreed.

Speaking of the Architectural Committee, did any of those five members approve the new color scheme of the painting project on the Lodge? Apparently, the color is Mustard (on the bottom) and Yellow (on the top). Egads! As I looked at it to take the picture, I could tell how it might work in an industrial sort of way, but again, Egads!

Then again, nobody has ever accused me of having taste or style.

Stephanie, our director of all things Recreation made note of the Hot Chocolate Social scheduled for Thursday the 13th of December. Santa is supposed to be there and apparently, pictures will be taken. Check out the GNW website for more details. She also mentioned that T-Shirts have been ordered for the Polar Bear Swim scheduled for New Years Day. If I weren't so concerned for the wellbeing of the public, I might consider plopping my own fat ass into the chilly waters, just to be able to report the commotion here. We'll see.

Chief Burton was out on business so Chairman Besing made note of the security related details: A new truck and new security systems. Taggers, beware.

Fred from Maintenance gave us details on lots of good work being done to improve the parks and also to make sure the board knows they are getting their money worth from the painters.

With that, Directory Janet Doherty wanted to bring to the boards attention that certain groups renting the lodge during December had some issue with the Christmas tree and associated decorations being in the lodge during their events. Though Jose had no issue with removing the tree to accommodate these folks, I think the idea of someone being offended by these type of decorations was equally offensive to many others.

Chairman Besing, though finding the idea (of being offended by the tree) silly, suggested that this was not so much a board issue but a personnel issue - as in, do we pay the staff to remove and replace the Christmas tree every time someone doesn't want it for their party? (Agreed).

At least one audience member voiced his disgust for these tree haters and asked what's next, are they going to want us to remove the Texas flag? Actually, they do remove the flags when the lodge is rented out.

Here's the deal and this is just my take on it from the perspective of someone who just recently rented the lodge. First, it is not a minor expense to rent the lodge if you pay for security and clean-up (security is required if you have any beer/alcohol). So, I don't recall the exact fee we paid but it was well over $650 from roughly 7PM to Midnight. Don't get me wrong; it was very much worth it.

Here's the deal. A Christmas tree would not have fit the scheme of my daughter's daisy-filled wedding. When you rent the lodge, you get the use of tables and chairs and such, but you are not required to use all the tables and all the chairs. In other words, the staff assists with set-up and sometimes the tables get set-up classroom style, sometimes they get set-up dinner style, or sometimes, there are no tables and only chairs. For all the work that it takes to set-up the tables and chairs, moving the Christmas tree once or twice during one month out of the year is not the back-breaker, or the offensive anti-Christian thing that it might appear to be at first blush.

Oh, and by the way, it was actually a religious group who rented out the room who were opposed to the tree. Go figure.

Sorry folks, wish I had more dirt to stir up but really, it was all very calm and everyone behaved rather nicely. My own observation is that our new community manager has had a calming affect and is quick to defuse things when blood pressures raise.

The final order of business had to do with adopting of the a few changes on the budget and there was one insignificant issue (to everyone but the person who raised it) and the CM was able to immediately rectify any concerns and the vote commenced. Great work!

NOTE: I appreciate the feedback that I receive from people present in the meetings, especially when they are able to clarify something that I might have recalled or mis-recalled. That was the case in my notes reported from a month ago. Specifically, I did something that I try to avoid with my blog in general and that is to present information that I wasn't first-hand aware of. Several folks e-mailed me to tell me that I got a few things wrong and of course, I made the corrections to the blog entry. But, I wanted to be clear that it is my intention when I present these notes, that I do so in an honest and hopefully accurate way. This doesn't mean that I expect you to agree with my take on things or agree with my opinion about them. I do appreciate when folks (especially Directors) leave comments that help expand the notes or at least give their opinion. I hope that these notes can make residents (and people interested in HOAs in general) aware of the activities with our little association. But by all means, if I get it wrong, let me know!

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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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