Dave

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Monday, June 8, 2009

One For the Complaint Department...

Note: I apologize in advance to people who visit this blog from outside of the general area. I need to address some local issues regarding our neighborhood, and it will probably be quite boring to those of you not living here.

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The village idiot has once again spoken. Okay, that is a bit harsh.

But in fact, I just received a copy of The Sentinel, a newsletter that is published and distributed by a member of my neighborhood, whenever he feels like exposing the leadership of our community improvement association for the fools that he perceives them to be. It would appear that if you don't agree with this gentleman, you are in fact wrong, and now it seems, involved in improprieties.

I am no different in voicing my opinion, mostly in pride, when I write about things happening in Silver Creek 78250 and our larger, Great Northwest Community Improvement Association. I just do it on a blog that costs me nothing; Joe types up a newsletter, makes 5,000 copies, then pays people to distribute his opinion to the homes in the area. You have to hand it to a person who puts his money where his mouth is, but occasionally, one must respond.

What disturbs me is that he appears to be so caught up in the bureaucratic minutia of every insignificant detail of every little action the community manager or the elected board of directors make, that he seems to have lost sight of the bigger picture. When 99.9 percent of residents wouldn't give a rats ass about how a particular administrative detail is handled, you will always have one guy standing up for principle to point out that a particular t was not crossed or i dotted, even though things worked out and everyone is happy - including the one guy complaining!

I'm sure most of you simply tossed the recent newsletter in the trash without reading, so I'll briefly recap. As I outlined in a post not long after our annual meeting took place, our association was not able to obtain a quorum, and thus could not adopt the agenda for the meeting. In affect, if you can't get a quorum, the people have voted with their feet. That means that the people who were running for elected office cannot be elected at the annual meeting and the by-laws that were being voted on do not pass/fail based upon the votes received.

Our association allows that the remaining directors meet later and appoint people to fill the positions that are vacant. I know what you are thinking. Wouldn't it make sense to just appoint the people who ran and received the most votes? Sure, if you were a director and that is how you decided to make your appointment. The fact is, I am not aware of any criteria that the directors have to use in appointing the new directors, as long as who they select meets the requirements to be a director. I have a better question? Why couldn't the directors also count the votes for or against the by-laws and enact them? The reason is we did not have a quorum and the election is a no-go.

The complaint in the recent Sentinel Newsletter is that there were improprieties performed by our chairman in the way he adjourned the meeting. Improprieties? As in fraud? Really?

Not long after it was determined there was no quorum, there was much discussion on the floor among those residents who bothered to attend the annual meeting. The Sentinel publisher wanted to set a date for an immediate meeting one week from the date. Why? The proxies expired at 11:59PM the day of the election? The association lawyer was called and this was verified.

During the meeting, numerous people (myself included) suggested we hit the streets and knock on doors until we found 37 qualified people willing to come down and vote in person. Because we were 37 people short of a quorum, it almost sounds doable. But by then, it was 8PM on a school and work night. And then, what if it takes a few hours to round up 37 people? Do you lock the doors and not allow any of the people in attendance to leave? It was clear that this would not work.

In the end, one gentleman presented a motion to adjourn and the motion was seconded by none other than Mr. Martinez, the publisher of The Sentinel. And now he seems to be upset about it. The vote to adjourn was overwhelmingly voted in favor by the attendees and that was the end of it.

Now, following the rules, the board has to appoint new directors to fill the two vacancies. Of course, the two candidates who ran are automatically being considered. But as is the right of this group of directors and previous boards of directors who have in the past had to appoint; instead of relying on the votes of the handful of residents who took the time to vote, they can review applications, and decide as a board who best would represent the association, not who one or two proxy holders believe to be the best for the association. Those are the rules, my friends. (Don't forget to cross the i's and mark the t's.)

I don't blame The Sentinel publisher for being upset that his two hand-selected candidates (and yes, I have e-mails from Mr. Martinez as well as personal statements made to me by both candidates to back that up) were not elected. It is his right to back who he wants and his right to be upset if they are not selected. But it is not in any way improper if the sitting board chooses candidates who they deem to be better qualified to serve the community, not the wishes of one man. Simply put, that train left the station when the residents - the voters - of the the Great Northwest chose not to have a quorum.

Finally, I feel somewhat compelled to address a matter more pressing than this simple issue of a failed election and the whining by one disgruntled former board member.

There is a very small but active group of people in our community who speak in deeds performed to serve all. As one of the people who is attempting to address the real problems we as homeowners face, like trying to alleviate the vandalism issues, participate in clean-up efforts, attend meetings and work with community leaders, I'm frankly sick of the constant accusations of mismanagement by our community manager and our directors over the most insignificant of issues. Really, we have an accounting firm that comes in an audits our association finances and they say things are great, but no, they aren't done the way Joe would do it, so the auditors must be wrong.

I receive e-mails from former residents as well as people who live in and in some cases manage other HOA's. The overwhelming reaction is that this one pain in the ass is, and has been an unnecessary distraction. In fact, I am aware that most if not all decisions our directors make have to be first gauged on how one single individual resident is going to react. If you are paying your yearly assessments, how does that make you feel, to have one resident have so much influence?

Just once, why don't we receive a Sentinel that congratulates the volunteers for cleaning up the place, working with students, coaching the youth leagues? How about a hat tip to the board for making tough decisions and not raising the assessments - and even lowering them?

Instead, we read about alleged improprieties and poor decisions. Please, Sir, get a life.

I welcome comments from fellow residents, readers and especially, my friend Joe. Am I completely off base here? Tell me what you think.

13 comments:

Lynne said...

Spot on, Dave! Thanks for saying what many of us think, or say but can't get out to a majority of listeners.
Unfortunately, as a leader of a large public organization myself, I can attest that there is ALWAYS someone to be that "thorn in the side". Some people just need such attention.
Keep up the good blogging!

Anonymous said...

Dave, unfortunately the tone of your blog comments sounds bitter, cynical, and that really isn't becoming. It seems you've taking others’ (Joe Martinez's) points of view and opinions as if you were personally affronted by another's points of view. You are way too harsh and have made a personal attack where it is not warranted. There is a First Amendment of the Bill of Rights to the United States Constitution, which lets silvercreek78250.blogspot and The Sentinel to say just about anything. So, let it go.


That being said and considering the environment that was anticipated at the past annual meeting, the attorney should have been present. Homeowners, you and I, are paying for that service and an attorney should have been there. I was there and witnessed an age-old problem that arose several years ago with board members and residents who have made participation just one more political jousting match. Is it any wonder some residents are so turned off?

Well, also, it is not that many people "don't bother" to come to meetings. Some just don't care! Some have no stake and are just passing through, so to speak. Some renters have little interest or little to no incentive to participate. I've asked neighbors to give me their opinion on and about the Great Northwest Community Improvement Association and I find that many people do not feel included in the organizational activities. But, more to the point, there is general apathy around neighborhoods regarding certain activities anyway. If it involves crime, for example, there is concern; whereas, homeowner associations are and have been attractive for few and even fewer where there is ongoing dissension in the operation of the association. Apathy? Yes! We shouldn’t have hurt feelings. Just look at the low voter’s turnout for the last election for mayor and city council in this area of San Antonio.

In closing, however, you are to be commended for caring. But, I would like to see it toned down in the future.

Anonymous said...

Oh, my goodness. I am responding to both you, Dave, and the person with the previous entry. If it is OK with this man spewing his incessant negative rants, then it is within our rights to voice our opinions as well. If this person who "provides us with his views", whether we want them or not is well within his rights; then we are well within our rights to tell him to stay away from our house and not fill our yards with his trash. Angry???? Hell, yes. If this man spent as much time WORKING out in the community, like the directors he chooses to slam, think about what we could accomplish. If he is so determined to be a leader in the community, then get out there and get you're hands dirty, Joe Martinez, and then maybe people would listen to you!!!!

Kingfish said...

Hey good neighbor, thank you for saying what we've always wanted said. I think your #2 comment is a member of the ACLU and we all know how they've managed to screw everything up with their so called "rights". Joe needs to come out when we're painting fences, cleaning the green belt, and other community services. Or lets get him a hobby or a girl friend to keep him away.

Dave said...

Dave, unfortunately the tone of your blog comments sounds bitter, cynical, and that really isn't becoming. It seems you've taking others’ (Joe Martinez's) points of view and opinions as if you were personally affronted by another's points of view.


Bitter? Yes. Not because I may disagree with a particular point of view. Read the majority of this blog and you will find that I give my views of different restaurants. If someone shares I different opinion, I eagerly seek that different point of view. I love debate and behind the scenes, Joe and I trade e-mails often debating the various points.

My bitterness and cynicism has nothing to do with point of view, it has to do with approach. If someone standing next to me helping to paint a fence tells me I suck at it, I'm a lot more willing to take it as constructive criticism. If another guy simply drives by every time I'm painting a fence yelling at the top of his lungs that I suck and out to be audited or something, I tend to start to be bitter about it.

Look, as far as I know, other than "not understanding anything", Joe has never had anything negative to say too or about me. I like the man. I just am sick of the attacks. If you think people are apathetic, I certainly agree. But part of the loss of interest in our particular association has to be at least partly attributed to the constant infighting caused by one resident and a small handful of his supporters.

I appreciate the comments.

Anonymous said...

Hey Dave, maybe the reason your association didn't get enough votes to hold a quorum, is that the neighbors didn't want to vote for either of the two candidates that you referred to here as "Joe's handpicked candidates", so they just didn't bother to vote? I think that was the case in the recent city elections as well. (Not that the candidates for the city election were hand picked by Joe.)

Hmm, that's just a thought.

Anonymous said...

I am going to start returning Joe's newsletters to his front door since he thinks its okay to put them at mine. I personally dont know the man, but his writing doesnt just reflect his negative opinion, but it reflects negatively on his character.

I suggest others do the same-return the newsletters to Mr. Martinez' door.

Anonymous said...

I suggest others do the same-return the newsletters to Mr. Martinez' door.

Now that is an idea I can get behind!!

Anonymous said...

This guy needs to get a life! Who needs to hear him rant and rave. The board has done an excellent job. I hope this tells the board members not to appoint his candidates.

Anonymous said...

If you humor him he will continue .He's got you all right where he wants ya.Up in arms.I could care less.What else better has he to do with his $$..Must be nice.

Anonymous said...

Joe has held the GNW hostage since 1999! His tenet is to spew lies/half the truth enough, and people start to 1.) believe him or 2.)become apathetic. In 10 yrs., the GNW has become apathetic and tired of his antics. Back in 1998, he stated at a GNW mtg. he could shut down the GNW's HOA (as residents know it now) based on the redundancy of city-provided services. He went around the 'hood propagating 'anger at the powers that be.' I believe he will get his wish with nothing more than a newsletter!!----I know some people have already gathered nearly 200 of his TRASH Sentinels years ago and dumped them in his trash bin, whether he knew it or not.---And just so you know, even if you ask him NOT to deliver it to your doorstep, it will still be there. Mine was after NUMEROUS requests. And those of you who have bothered to read his drivel know I was the intended target for years. Made me wonder why he lavished so much attention on me.---The previous poster said it best. He has the GNW right where he wants it....I just can't believe he and his cronies haven't filed a restraining order/lawsuit against this board and tied their hands for 5 or more years as he has done in the past. He must be running low on steam, which is good for the rest of us.---Thanks for letting me vent. Kathy

Dave said...

Thanks, Kathy - and everyone else who commented. Venting is good!

Anonymous said...

I'm a little late to the party here, but I want to support Dave that there is much of the 'bigger picture' here that needs to be addressed.

Mr. Martinez is similar to that employee that constantly requires you to spend so much time and energy on him that you can't get any actual, real work accomplished. I typically read The Sentinel, and my experience goes something like this: start off with a 'crap, here's another one', read it with much distaste trying not to see the errors, notice something that makes sense every so often, chuckle, recycle.

I did not vote for either candidate since I have not heard them address any issues. I went to the 'meet the candidates night', arrived 15 minutes late, and they were done! In the past, the candidate had a lot to say, but not this year. Based on the apathy, lack of a quorum, and my lack of faith in Mr. Martinez's candidates, I decided to put in an application for the Board. Let's not nit-pick, let's instead try to figure out how to make the ballots more user-friendly, get people involved, and make the meetings more efficient (and less dramatic!).

I think the recent renditions of the Board have done well, all things considered. I hope we can continue the move forward.

And, by the way, I like the new signs!

Eric

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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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