In January, after my annual medical checkup revealed growing concerns about my high blood pressure, I began to wonder if I should continue in public office, given the stresses of the several positions I hold.
Since January I have been inquiring of good friends in the community, including Jack Queen and Roxana Foxx, as to whether they might run for my position on the Santa Fe Irrigation District Board this fall. After some recent medical tests, my doctors put me on a care regime that convinced me it isn’t worth seeking another four-year term on the Irrigation District Board and the County’s Local Agency Formation Commission, which oversees the operations of all cities and special districts in the county.
Once again we are being asked to vote on the sale of the RSF Garden Club building to the RSF Association. Like many others I’ve talked to in the community, I didn’t fully understand the nuances of the deal when I last voted but I trusted our Rancho Santa Fe leadership enough to support it. Now that this transaction has become as controversial as it has, I decided to try to understand it better before I vote again. This is what I have learned:
We have lived in the Ranch for 43 years and have never experienced such a win-win situation such as the proposed sale of the Garden Club to the RSF Association. We find it difficult to understand how anyone could be opposed to a sale in which you retain the property as well as the money you are paying for it. What could be a better deal. We strongly support a “Yes” vote on the sale.
Dick and Judy Arendsee
Rancho Santa Fe
If the value of a property is judged by the amount of people interested in it, we could be sitting on a true treasure at the corner of La Granada and Avenida de Acacias. Everybody seems to have an opinion. Real estate agents have their ideas about what to do with it. People interested in our parking spaces have proposals. Others just want to open it for weddings or parties, on a contractual basis. More to the point, everybody also has an opinion about what the property is worth. To some the appraised value is too high…Or too low. The Garden Club is getting a deal…Or it isn’t.
For the past two years, the boards of the RSF Association and the RSF Garden Club have worked cooperatively to structure a transaction under which the Garden Club property would become a Rancho Santa Fe Association asset, preserving it for the benefit of the entire community. Thanks to everyone who has worked so hard to work this out.
In an earlier advisory vote, this transaction was approved – at least in principle – by an overwhelming majority of the community and Garden Club members.
We are fortunate to live in this beautiful place with good friends. We enjoy this land, location, community, and the Protective Covenant. Plus, there are “angels” that will rescue us when they decide an elected board member exercised too much fiduciary responsibility. These self-appointed angels claim to have greater knowledge. They claim their enemies have an “agenda,” while they are completely pure. No charge for angel services, but is there a cost?
The sticking point for me on this whole proposed Garden Club sale and lease-back deal has been the Oversight Committee created to control the property sale proceeds. The terms of the deal require an endowment to be set up at the RSF Foundation. Let me explain.
I was curious how our Rancho Santa Fe Association employees compensation compares to employees of big cities around the country. Under California law governing HOAs (homeowners associations), the information regarding the top 15 highest paid employees is public information, as long as titles, rather than names are used. I requested the salary and benefit information from the RSF Association office and received the table below.
I further went online (Google) and researched the salaries of mayors for the biggest cities in the U.S. to see how our compensation compared with those cities. Needless to say, I was shocked by what I found:
I recently attended the RSF Association board meeting that focused on the purchase of the RSF Garden Club. Prior to speaking,we were advised that comments were to be limited to three minutes. This I complied with, but more time was needed to present more information, so these are the salient points that should have been made.
When my wife Helen accepted the volunteer position as President of the Garden Club in June 2010 she quickly discovered that she was, in fact, a glorified building manager, with insufficient funds in the bank to maintain the building for more than a month or two. So, her first step was to lay off the staff and to solicit volunteers to help her keep the doors open. I was her first “volunteer” and took on the responsibilities of manager, bookkeeper, building repair man, clerical secretary, furniture mover and anything else necessary to get the job done.