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Friday, March 20, 2009

GNWCIA Meeting Report: My Notes...

My wife and I made the short trip down to the Lodge of the Great Northwest to attend the monthly Board meeting of the Great Northwest Community Improvement Association (GNWCIA). I'll keep the notes brief - because... Oh who am I kidding? This will probably end up being fairly long winded. It was in fact, by normal standards, a barn-burner, and we haven't had fun like this in a while!

Residents to Speak:
Have you ever watched the San Antonio City Council channel on community television? I know, if all you have is basic cable, sometimes it comes to that. Unless you are a dork like me who has the full package and still looks at the goofy stuff.

There are a few regulars who show up to every council meeting with a long laundry list of beefs with the council and I admit, I have watched in amazement as this one man, a guy named Jack Finger, gets up and has accusation after accusation about how the city council is doing this wrong or not following that policy. I confess that I have found the monologues quite entertaining on occasion.

As Mr. Finger brings pages of notes containing the proof, the proof, dammit!, that city council has gone astray in their inner workings, and asks each council member to recuse themselves from this; that, or the other, because somebody received a $12 donation from an old lady in Alamo Heights, and she was once the neighbor of the babysitter of the nephew of a particular council member; thus, conflict of interest is apparent. And city council members stare into their PDA's and drink Bill Miller's iced tea. Or is it vodka?

After you see this train wreck a few times, the entertainment value is lost and now, Mr. Finger just becomes an eccentric part of the proceedings with no more relevance (and no-less I should point out), than the lady whose job it is to change the slides each time someone speaks. Point being; the meeting wouldn't be the same without somebody to flip slides, but let us not lose sight of the fact that like the lady flipping slides, Mr. Finger is not the most relevant piece of the city council meeting. Though make no mistake, in his mind, he is the key component.
  • Our first speaker was Sentinel publisher, Joe Martinez.
I'll let that sink in for a moment or two...
  • Up next, Mr. Robert Rodkey thanked the board for doing what he believes is a good job.
  • Mr. Ben Pucci spoke to also thank the board for their efforts, but he was a bit concerned about the new signs, especially the cost ($70K was his figure) and concerns that people might cause car accidents; in fact, someone had honked at him because he was stopped at the intersection too long while reading the various messages. It happens.
  • Ms. Kathy Callahan spoke of her concern for the addition of new by-law amendments on the ballots for the forthcoming annual meeting. She mistakenly thought the board had voted to eliminate all amendments (as in, any) from the next vote. In fact, they only killed the specific proposed amendments that had been sitting in limbo for a few years.
  • Mr. Mike Yager spoke on two topics. First, he wanted the board to know he was uncomfortable with the closing the executive board meeting (usually held the first Thursday of the month) to directors only. As a side note, while I understand why they needed to do it, I would also prefer to be in on the festivities. Once a month is not enough!
  • Mike also mentioned the desire to have another A-Team event. For those of you who do not know, the A-Team is our volunteer effort to go around the neighborhood and fix things - painting, cleaning, volunteering, etc. As it turns out, there is an A-Team event planned for Saturday the 28th of March to help get the GNW Soccer fields ready for the season. Wanna help us? Meet up at 9AM on Saturday or e-mail me, and I'll get you in touch with Mike.
And after that, the meeting started!

Community Manager Report:
  • Did you notice that there is a Coyote and/or Chupacabra roaming the neighborhood? Well, in spite of the many appearances on local TV, newspapers, Blogs and other media outlets, the mangy animal in question is still on the loose. If you encounter said creature, please do not call the police or the Animal Care Services. Chupacabras and Coyotes both fall under the purview of Parks & Wildlife. By the way, while I don't recommend you get close enough to become lunch, if you do get pictures, e-mail them to me for prompt posting here!
  • The CM addressed some of the concerns brought up in The Sentinel newsletter regarding the accounting practices of the board. You should know that in fact, the Sentinel quoted a letter from the accountant, took it out of context and still got it exactly wrong.
  • CM also addressed concerns about allowing the carriers of Passages (our local monthly newspaper) to stuff a flyer for a local restaurant (House of Pizza) in with delivery of the paper. He pointed out to the board that the business covered the full cost (an additional fee paid to the carriers) for stuffing, and in return, they have been a very good business to the community, sponsoring luncheons for our youth sports teams and other events. I think this is awesome. One of the CM's goals was to build a rapport with local businesses, and this is just one of many ways to do it. Kudos, Darin!
Committee Reports:
  • Government Affairs: The GNW is sponsoring debates to be held on April 6, 7 and 8th for Council District seats 6 and 7 (on the 6th and 7th respectively) and the Mayoral seat on the 8th. The dates and times for the 6th and 7th are locked in. The time on the 8th is being moved to a little later due to conflicts with another debate. Keep your eyes on the marquees (and the road) for updates as we approach the date.
  • Election Officer: Candidate night for the two new Directors will be held on April 14th at 7PM at the lodge. This will be a great chance for you to meet our two new Directors (assuming we have a quorum), Beatriz Dean and Mark Martinez. By the way, I have had brief conversations with both these people and they seem eager to get started on the board. We should really give them our support by voting them in.
  • GNWatch. Cellular on Patrol class at the GNW Lodge, Saturday 8am to 1PM. Free Donuts and pizza. Who could ask for more?
  • Scholarship Committee: Kathy Callahan reports that the potential scholarship candidates will all wait until the last minute to submit applications. Happens every year. Do you have a kid who needs a scholarship? Better get those applications in, soon.
After a short break, the meeting got underway again to listen to some new business.

Proposed Bylaw Amendments:
Director Myrl Britton Gave a draft presentation that is being prepared for the Town Hall Meeting to explain the two proposed Bylaw changes for our HOA.

  • The first change is to "provide for the levying of fines for violation of Association covenants, conditions, and restrictions." And of course, if you vote to add this bylaw, you will vote to change the "period" after the previous bylaw to a "semi-colon". Obviously, if you don't vote to add the new bylaw, you wouldn't be voting to swap out a period for a semi-colon.
I know this sounds asinine, but when I saw the Sentinel delivered to my house this afternoon, the publisher actually made a huge deal about not making the punctuation change a separate vote. Let's discuss this for a moment.

Imagine you voted to change the period to a semi-colon, but voted against adding the new amendment. Can you imagine the English teachers trying to explain this to your kids in preparation for the TAAKS Test?

  • In the second proposed bylaw change, Director Britton suggests we remove the following bylaw: "(l) assure that a total monetary reserve for all funds of no more than three hundred thousand dollars ($300,000) be maintained. This amount may be raised only through yearly surplus funds in the general operating budget."
This one is a no-brainer. That cap was put in place several years ago and as one thoughtful audience member pointed out, he could by a 1968 Ford Mustang for $2,600 in 1968, but now, the same car would be roughly $26,000. Fact is, cost of living rises and you need more money in reserve than you did several years ago. Leave that amount to the board, not some arbitrary cap.

But again, I have to laugh at The Sentinel thinking that the omission of swapping out a "semi-colon" for a "period" at the end of the previous bylaw would require an additional vote. If you vote to delete the last bylaw in a section, it is obvious that you change the punctuation to reflect that the section ends (with a period).

Jack Finger would be proud

I have come to the conclusion that there are people who will poo poo any idea that does not originate from their own mouths. We saw a bit of that at last nights meeting.

I don't want to sound too much like my President, Mr. Obama, but I told my wife that some people would vote against giving cotton candy to retards just because they didn't think of it first.

And I have already called the Special Olympics folks to offer a full apology before you even finished reading this.

See you at the next Board meeting - I hope.


Albatross said...

"And city council members stare into their PDA's and drink Bill Miller's iced tea. Or is it vodka?"

I'd go for bourbon, well-iced and with a water chaser.

KeithAlanK said...

Vodka and Hawaiian Punch Lite™--tell people it's Big Red™.

Sometimes I wish we had meetings in our 'hood, but the nutjobs would drive me...well, nuts.
I think I prefer reading about yours since they only amuse me instead of making me angry.

Do you think they have pron on their PDAs?

Dave said...

Do you think they have pron on their PDAs?

Not all of them; probably just Diane Cibrian.

brenty said...

Have you noticed the new paint job on the GNW signs (T.Trace from Misty Oak). Lovely MAGENTA! Do you think the association will allow us to paint our house this color?

Albatross said...

"Not all of them; probably just Diane Cibrian."

You just made me laugh out loud!

Dave said...

Have you noticed the new paint job on the GNW signs (T.Trace from Misty Oak). Lovely MAGENTA!

Yea, I noticed that. I was thinking maybe it was some sort of special primer. Who knows, maybe this is some new form of fing sway.

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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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