Dave

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Thursday, July 17, 2008

GNWCIA Meeting Report: Fast and Fisticuffalicious...

I made a solo trip down to the lodge of the Great Northwest to attend the meeting of the Board of Directors of the GNWCIA this evening; my wife was off gallivanting with the girls over at Johnny Carinos, and by all accounts, I got the better end of the deal. My wife can address the failures of Carinos on her own time; I'll fill you in on the details of the board meeting.

This new board is all about getting on with it. No endless whining or demands to consult the lawyer. But in fairness, some of the audience members would like to get a little more interaction. We had several folks sign up to speak and instead of being able to ask questions to the board, they are simply making statements. The board takes note of anything that needs to be responded to and I assume it is addressed later. I know some of my neighbors don't like this; a resident should be able to voice a complaint and get an answer from the board.

Hmmm. I'm gonna have to say I've witnessed the free-for-all in the past, and I prefer this method.

The other thing the board is doing is sticking to the three-minute rule. And in fact, we had one resident speaking on multiple topics regarding the recreation department, the pools, the bulletin boards and, oh yes, some person threw-up in one of the pools today, prompting it to be closed for an hour. Apparently, upon close inspection, no chlorine shock of the system was conducted which meant that it may well have been a re-make of the pool scene in Caddy Shack! Eewww!

Okay, so with that the speaker's three-minutes were up and she responded with, "But I just got to the best part!" To me, that's like saying, "Hold my beer and watch this!"

What I could discern from the conversation that took place away from the public address system, was that the speaker felt that another resident owed a board member an apology for comments that had been made at the previous board meeting. This resulted in the challenged resident to respond that she did not owe anyone an apology. There was some Yes you do - No I don't back and forth, and then the speaker left the podium.

As God is my witness, my camera was sitting in the console of my van in the parking lot and my cell phone was powered off, so my primary source of pictures and the alternate were both out of action. I was convinced fisticuffs would ensue in full cat fight fashion, and I'd be standing there gawking with a pen and the back of a Styrofoam coffee cup trying to sketch artist my way onto the front page of the Express-News. But no luck. Calmer heads prevailed and the meeting moved on without further incident.

I am pleased to report that the story I did regarding the greenbelt in our area was picked up for publication in Passages. I'll be happy to sign your copy next month.

One other thing to note. There is an issue about getting the budget or the financial report submitted for review. Some of the residents who spoke would like to see the thing finally finished up and presented to members. I've said it before and mentioned it again to a few of the concerned residents that, maybe we should give the folks a chance to get things figured out. We have a fairly new community manager, we have had numerous staff changes in the accounting area and of course we have a new board. But, it has been a while.

Okay, so there you have it. My quick minutes. You do know of course that as a resident, you can always go to the office and request the official minutes of the meetings and the closed sessions. All you have to do is ask. But I bet there won't be any cat fight references. So always check here, first.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

First, your effort to bring attention to the appearance of the greenbelt and to have the greenbelt cleaned has merit: however, from my back yard on Ridge Run I see that the creek still is full of trash consisting of plastic bags, plastic sheeting, and various scraps in the creek bed and along its banks. There are also wood scraps and other trash that appear to be waste construction materials. I do not consider dead tree limbs and branches as trash since they readily degrade and, typically, result naturally. Unless you have seen one of the flood like flows of water that occurs when we have a lot of rain, you are somewhat misinformed as to the cause and source of much of the trash. It largely comes from far upstream, above the Tezel Road crossing. In other words, neighbors and construction people on the other side of the crossing are a source and the water flow is the cause. With another good rain, the trash that is there now will be replaced by a new collection of trash. Nevertheless, why, with all the labor and money spent to clean along the greenbelt, along resident's fence lines, hasn’t the trash been removed from the creek bed and along its banks?

Second, when cleaning behind my fence, small green trees were removed and doing so did not remove a potential fire hazard. Naturally occurring dead leaf and dead branch falls cover the ground. Those are the things that may burn. Furthermore, by having some brush and small tree coverage behind the fence, between my back yard and the creek, children and adults have been reluctant to make that a pathway and transit route. Privacy was maintained when the green brush and trees were there. In addition, erosion is prevented by having some groundcover. Unlike your thoughts, my neighbors and I do not consider paths along and behind our fences an advantageous feature of the greenbelt.

I feel every effort should be made to keep the creek bottom and banks free of trash as described above. And, yes, we are in agreement, those not having property along the greenbelt should not throw waste stuff or junk trash over the back fence. However, do-gooders and politicians, who envision the greenbelt as another Central Park and recreation area for any and all and funded by our annual fees, need to rethink their objectives and look at the whole picture.

When we moved here there were deer, quail, racoon, possum, snakes, squirrel, and many kinds of birds in the greenbelt. Most of these seem to be gone now and, however, the greenbelt is more “civilized” now.

Dave said...

Thanks for your comments and taking the time to give your point of view. You have made several points, but one is very telling:

"And, yes, we are in agreement, those not having property along the greenbelt should not throw waste stuff or junk trash over the back fence."

I'm sorry, but was this what your really meant? You don't want people not living along the greenbelt to through their waste over the fence, but as long as you are a resident, you don't have a problem with it? We don't agree there at all.

When I think of things naturally breaking down, I think of perhaps a banana peel or some sunflower seeds, or even raccoon crap.

Purchasing a home along the greenbelt doesn't give you a right to dispose of your tree branches over your fence any more than if you had tossed them into your neighbor's yard. The city offers free brush collection on a periodic basis - please, work within the system to do the right thing.

Nobody, myself included, is wanting to turn the greenbelt into Central Park. The fact that it is a flood zone would make that a waste of money and effort. But as you have seen for yourself, there are large amounts of trash and construction materials that are not the result of floods, but from people tossing the stuff.

The work being done by the people trimming trees is not to clean the trash out, it is to trim the trees. According to board members at the meeting, the city is going to be providing large dumpsters to allow volunteers and juvenile offenders to put trash and debris in them - hopefully you'd be willing to step up and volunteer with the many of us who don't live along the greenbelt.

Finally, they also reported at the meeting that DRACO has been going along the back fence and writing tickets to residents who have clearly thrown debris over the fence into the greenbelt. Perhaps this will correct those people who misunderstood what proper use was.

Yes, it is a shame that deer and raccoons and other critters don't feel welcome anymore, but I suspect the overall explosion in growth of the area has had more to do with them moving on than a few people taking a walk through the greenbelt. Further, I doubt that the alternative - keeping the place as a free junkyard for some residents to dispose of tree limbs, garbage, motor oil, mattresses and carpet will encourage the deer to stay.

Thanks again for your comments.

Anonymous said...

Nice reply Dave. Dumping tree branches over the fence to decompose is not okay. Just because you back up to a greenbelt---does not give you permission to dump anything. Instead of dumping---why not go back there and help with the clean-up.

Albatross said...

Dave, I wanted to weigh in on as to the possible reason why your board doesn't respond to concerns of the speakers right away. I don't know if your association is subject to state open meeting laws, but it might be.

According to state law, governmental entities (and some neighborhood associations qualify as such) must post notice of their official meetings three days in advance. The notice must contain what will be considered by the board or council during the meeting. And nothing that is not on the notice can be officially addressed by the entity.

Therefore, if a speaker brings up a topic that is not on the official notice, the prudent governmental agency will not take up the matter and will instead respond to the person later. Otherwise the entity may be in violation of state law.

Of course, this really only applies if your association is subject to the open meetings law. I'm not sure if it is, but some are.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for finding the error in my comment in the next to last paragraph. There were other errors (grammar and punctuation), but they didn’t change my comment very much. I have taken a misplaced word “not” out. Begging you pardons. As you have stated, the influx of people seems to have caused some wild life to have disappeared, but I see that you have caught a possum, proving that our neighborhood has some varmints in it. Perhaps you will re-read this comment.

First, your effort to bring attention to the appearance of the greenbelt and to have the greenbelt cleaned has merit; however, from my back yard on Ridge Run, I see that the creek still is full of trash consisting of plastic bags, plastic sheeting, and various scraps in the creek bed and along its banks. There are also wood scraps and other trash that appear to be waste construction materials. I do not consider dead tree limbs and branches as trash since they readily degrade and, typically, result naturally. Unless you have seen one of the flood-like flows of water that occurs when we have a lot of rain, you are somewhat misinformed as to the cause and source of much of the trash. It largely comes from far upstream, above the Tezel Road crossing. In other words, neighbors and construction people on the other side of the crossing are a source and the water flow is the cause. With another good rain, the trash that is there now will be replaced by a new collection of trash. Nevertheless, why, with all the labor and money spent to clean along the greenbelt, along residents’ fence lines, hasn’t the trash been removed from the creek bed and along its banks?

Second, when cleaning behind my fence, small green trees were removed and doing so did not remove a potential fire hazard. Naturally occurring dead leaf and dead branch falls cover the ground. Those are the things that may burn. Furthermore, by having some brush and small tree coverage behind the fence, between my back yard and the creek, children and adults have been reluctant to make that a pathway and transit route. Privacy was maintained when the green brush and trees were there. In addition, erosion is prevented by having some groundcover. Unlike your thoughts, my neighbors and I do not consider paths along and behind our fences an advantageous feature of the greenbelt.

I feel every effort should be made to keep the creek bottom and banks free of trash as described above. And, yes, we are in agreement, those having property along the greenbelt should not throw waste stuff or junk trash over the back fence. However, do-gooders and politicians, who envision the greenbelt as another Central Park and recreation area for any and all and funded by our annual fees, need to rethink their objectives and look at the whole picture.

When we moved here there were deer, quail, racoon, possum, snakes, squirrel, and many kinds of birds in the greenbelt. Most of these seem to be gone now and, however, the greenbelt is more “civilized” now.

Anonymous said...

“Begging you pardons” is too tongue-in-cheek. How about “Begging your pardon?”

My statement “And, yes, we are in agreement, those not having property along the greenbelt should not throw waste stuff or junk trash over the back fence.” is something that you agree with – I suspect. In other words, if you don’t have greenbelt property, don’t throw waste stuff or junk trash over your back fence. I also could have added the first time around, but didn’t, that if you do have greenbelt property, don’t throw waste stuff or junk trash over you fence. Interpretation troubles occur when people use more than one negative in a sentence. Would not you not agree?

What makes no sense is your interpretation saying “I'm sorry, but was this what your really meant? You don't want people not living along the greenbelt to through their waste over the fence, but as long as you are a resident, you don't have a problem with it? We don't agree there at all. “

Your interpretation is twisted, “through” is “throw,” and “your” is “you.”

As a point of interest, a newly passed oak wilt ordinance by the City of San Antonio requires the painting of tree wounds, sterilization of tree-trimming tools, a permit for contractors. In fact, the city of San Antonio will enforce the ordinance that requires you or any tree-trimming service to paint the cuts on oak trees. Many of the tree trimmers don't paint cuts. One must make sure you ask them if they do; some will argue with you and tell you it's not necessary. If they don't paint, one must hire another company or follow them around with a can of paint. See City Ordinance Article VII, Presentation and Control of the Spread of Oak Wilt, Chapter 21-170, 171,172.

Finally, this seems to have gotten too personal. People should not take themselves too seriously.
And, by the way, possum goes well with sweet potatoes.

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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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