The Usual Suspects

Opinion

By Buz Whelan

So there they were. Joe Olall, David Pope, and Renae Skubish, along with their candidate Donald Glasgow, forming their usual gauntlet of outrage. And there were the handouts screaming about the latest horrible and extreme changes about to be foisted on an innocent, unsuspecting membership. Ah, but luckily these saviors of the status quo were there to sound the alarm. “Old is good, new is bad,” they verily chanted to those arriving at the school entrance. Thinking is dangerous to these folks; misinformation is the weapon of choice to protect voters from anything that might move the association forward. And when they aren’t peddling misinformation, they promote absurd points of view. Here’s an example of their way of thinking: their tract states in boldface that they are particularly excised over the wording that would change the requirements for removal of a director from “with or without cause” to “for malfeasance, misfeasance and nonfeasance…” They correctly point out that under the existing bylaws the burden is on the director to show why he/she should not be removed. In other words, a director is guilty until proven innocent. It’s an interesting concept. Hey, it works for China and North Korea. Why not Emerald Lakes? The whole concept of American justice is based on the principal of innocent until proven guilty. Maybe these folks would like to change that, too.

Incredibly, new lows were reached. Normally we have to get to the substance of debate, say a dues increase, before the fighting begins. But here we were, listening to the instructions for voting when up to the microphone marches Renae Skubish to protest. Yes, protest. She didn’t like the instructions, specifically regarding the necessity to place votes for candidates in one box and votes on bylaw revisions in another. Ever slow to grasp even the simplest reality, she wanted to be able to put votes wherever she pleased and she made a motion to that effect. Evidently, keeping votes separate because they would go to two separate counting rooms and because mixing them would only add a step of separating them immediately after the voting, and further because this process would create more opportunities for error was all too complicated for poor Renae to process. So she made her out-of-order motion to change the process to one she could more easily understand. You cannot make this stuff up.

  Later, when the floor was opened to comments on the revisions and amendments this same person came forward to point out if the Consumer Price Index reached the maximum cap or beyond every year for the next twenty it would cost over $10,000 per property. This is about as realistic as saying if it rains every day for the next year, the dams won’t hold and we’ll all be flooded out. Hey, it could happen, right? Considering that we haven’t hit a 4% CPI even once in the last 10 years, it’s more than a bit of a stretch to suppose we’ll do so every one of the next 20. Yet here come the cheers from the slow learner section, all pumped up over this ‘clever’ observation. Whew. What a close call. We almost lost the opportunities to have vicious debates between association leaders who recognize a need for a dues increase and members who have never so much as glanced at an association budget. Thanks, Dave. Thanks, Joe. Thanks, Renae. All credit to you.

Virtually every claim made in this absurd document – the one they were handing out at the entrance to the meeting place – is based on a misunderstanding of the language used in the revision documents, or worse, on deliberate distortion. Beyond that, it is a cowardly attempt at manipulating the voters. For the entire time of its existence, since November of 2009, the Committee to Revise the Bylaws has been completely transparent. They have reported their progress at almost every single monthly open meeting since then. They have taken on additional volunteers. They have had public debates. Yet these pusillanimous disrupters have made no objections at times when they could have been debated. They waited until the Annual Meeting to put out their lies and distortions when time for debate would be past. As long as this small band of malcontents can manage to influence like-minded or low information voters, Emerald Lakes will be held back by its archaic bylaws. Thank you, Dave. Thank you, Joe. Thank you, Renae.

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Posted on August 30, 2012, in BOD Meetings, Opinion and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. Buz, you hit the nail on the head!!

  2. Bravo

  3. John Palmisano

    Buz, although Ms. Skubish’s example was a gross exaggeration of what theoretically could happen, it was not completely false. If you do the math and I know you have, using the annual CPI would after a few years inflate our dues to the point where after about 8 years we would have paid a whole extra year of dues. Many pension plans use a formula of 1/2 times the annual CPI to guard against inflation. If that is the point and I think that is what I am hearing, should we not consider that option? I agree that the smaller yearly increases would be less painful to our members and the dues would not increase to the point of pain for most people. Although we would all like to keep our amenities or even modernize and make them better we can’t inflate our dues to the point that prevents some people from paying them causing even more pain for those of us who do.

    • John, Now that’s what I am talking about! You have a problem with the plan and you offer a suggestion to improve it. Thank you for being constructive and not destructive. We should all be talking about what might work, instead of what doesn’t work. –Lola

  4. These comments, are exactly why there is no hope for progress here. There is no compromise. Anytime anyone says anything that Buz disagrees with, he insults them personally. Look at the language…it says, if you don’t agree with me, you are wrong and stupid. I had hoped for more.

    • I actually think it says “if you don’t agree with me, speak up as soon as possible so that we can work on it some more, but don’t wait until after years of work and ambush us with your disagreements at the very last minute to sow doubt and confusion instead of trying to fix the problem.” –Lola

    • @Denns….so you find Buz insulting but not the lies and obstructions that are constant in this community. I don’t know if you come to the open meetings or the annual meeting but the behavior that these people exhibit is disgusting.

  5. John, while we disagree I respect your thoughtful reasoning. Had the CPI escalator been in effect from 2004, the time of our second to last increase, until the present time we would be paying $1001, or a dollar more than presently. And yes, during that eight year span with the dues slowly climbing, we would have paid an additional $786 each. That’s spread over 8 years. Using the dues compliance rate of those years, the association would have taken in approximately $1,179,000. What could we have done with that much money? How much better condition would our roads and facilities be in?

  6. @denns, if the Annual Meeting is the first you heard about the bylaw revisions/amemdments I can understand your viewpoint. But we worked on these revisions for just under 3 years. At virtually every meeting we reported our progress. We began with 6 members. In July of 2011 we added four more. There were numerous disagreements, many, many debates and countless compromises. When we finally reached a consensus, we presented our recommendations to the board. More adjustments were made according to the wishes of the directors. To say, “There is no compromise” is to disregard 34 months of exactly that. Lola is dead on. I don’t mind compromise at all, in fact, I embrace it. What I object to is people who ignore the process, absent themselves from the debate and then pass out false and misleading information at the very last minute when meaningful debate is no longer possible. And that’s exactly what the ‘usual suspects’ did.

  7. I don’t find it at all offensive that people disagree, And because they disagree, that does not make them “disgusting”. To name them “usual suspects” or to call their comments “false and misleading”, makes it personal. Once the bullying begins, the focus on the issues is lost, and so is the hope for compromise, and meaningful progress.

    • Dennis, I would agree with you but then we’d both be wrong. These usual suspects have been the key in stopping any progress. You are not subject to their actions or their responses. They offer problems but no solutions. It is one thing to agree or disagree but it is another to have such an ego that it deflates the community. If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck it must be a duck.

    • The bullying began when this group (and they are the same folks, over and over) decided to block any action that the board takes, if it is an action that Buz Whelan agrees with or was in any way involved in bringing forward. Rather than standing for “compromise and meaningful progress”, they have made it their mission to block those things at all costs to our community. To them, the messenger is ever more important than the message, and so it is they who have made it personal. If they wanted to work for progress, there were dozens (literally!) of meetings and discussions on the content of these issues and how to present them, and they could have tried to be a part of that. Or they could try to tell us all that the bylaws are perfect as they stand and need no changes, if that is what they believe. This is a group dedicated to nothing more than starting trouble and controversy, and they do it over and over again, and thus they have certainly earned the title of the “usual suspects”. –Lola

  8. I give up…I sign off…goodbye.

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