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Friday, May 2, 2008

Great Northwest Annual Meeting of Members: No Quorum...

I’m sure this sort of thing is a bore to readers who don’t live anywhere near The Five Oh, so I’ll forgive you if need to hit the back-button now. I’m talking of course about my neighborhood association’s failed effort to vote for new board members and pass a few by laws. I don’t have the exact numbers in front of me, but we needed something like 436 members to either submit a proxy or show up in person to have a quorum. We missed the mark by just over 100. This is embarrassing for an association of close to 5,000 homes.Without a quorum, the Chairman, who by the way was one of the directors whose term expired at midnight, had no choice but to move on with the non-agenda portion of the agenda. In other words, if a quorum had been met, the meeting could have been called to order and votes could have taken place, then the fun things could happen. Without the quorum; no call to order, no votes etc. But a large crowd was still assembled, four scholarships and nearly 200 awards still needed to be presented and food needed to be eaten.Our chairman did an outstanding job, considering the disappointment of the situation, of keeping the event going, but as you can imagine, someone just had to attempt to create controversy from something that wasn’t.

With the lawyer consulted “Six ways from Sunday”, the chairman advised the membership that there was no quorum, and asked that if anyone present had not signed up to vote, to please do so. But again, we were way short in our numbers. In explaining the situation using a public address system, it was made very clear to everyone in the place that we did not have a quorum. The Chairman repeated the numbers required, the numbers obtained and what would happen without a quorum. Following the announcement, one of the other directors stood before the assembled crowd and asked the chairman if he had told the crowd that there was no quorum. I made eye contact with my wife who was seated not far from the director in question and she simply rolled her eyes in disgust.As the cameraman video-taping the event, I observed most of the crowd look at this director and mouth, “What the Hell? So once again, the chair repeated the numbers and re-stated the lack of a quorum. People grumbled as if knowing that this type of buffoonery could be expected for the remainder of the event. Now that the clueless director was appraised of our current status and up to speed with the rest of the membership, I figured we might get on to more pleasant things.

What ensued was a barrage of irrelevant questions regarding procedures and rules and by laws and such, when the fact of the matter was, the remainder of the evening was nothing more, and by rule could be nothing more, than a get together by members to recognize students and residents for their good deeds. It seemed clear to any observer that some people simply have no intention of playing well with others.

Moving on... There was another unfortunate incident that was thankfully avoided by alert staff. A former resident was for whatever reason invited to the meeting of members as a guest. I can’t for the life of me understand why this would be something you would attend if you don’t live in the neighborhood, especially when we couldn’t even get enough participation from the people who do live here, but regardless, this person was invited.

Coincidently, the former resident’s former spouse (who is still a resident) and her new husband were in attendance and suddenly, the reasoning seemed all too obvious. After some brief discussions, this former resident was barred from entering.
The scholarship committee presented four different scholarships to graduating seniors and unfortunately, I don’t have the names of the students handy, but I will tell you that the presentation was very well done and quite a refreshing change of pace for the evening.The fine folks at Taqueria El Nortenito, who have provided their catering services free to the association several times, once again put out a nice spread for folks to partake in.Following the vittles, several presentations were made for various things and then the chairman gave a final year in review sort of briefing, showing the progress made through the year. There has been a lot of progress made in the last year and in spite of what is effectively a split board, many improvements and accomplishments came to fruition.By the time things wrapped up at almost 10pm, only a few remained and yet, one former director made a much anticipated and prepared for shot at the outbound chairman by asking for a financial report. From memory, he cited a few key financials and left it at that. As audience members headed for the door, the former director whined a bit but was universally ignored. Sad.

I am by nature a cynic when it comes to politics from the national level all the way to dog catcher (no offense to dog catchers). But I feel pretty confident that with our new community manager, the remaining board directors, and the fact that the director, who by most observers evaluation hinders progress has moved from the neighborhood and should be abandoning the position, that we will get through this.In spite of the embarrassing showing by my fellow residents, I have to think that people are comfortable with the new direction the board has taken in the last year, or they would have shown up en masse to vote out the directors.

I’m thinking positive.

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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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