Rancho Santa Fe Association board candidates speak at Annual Meeting
By Karen Billing
The four candidates vying for two seats on the Rancho Santa Fe Association Board of Directors in this spring’s election made brief remarks at the May 8 RSF Association Annual Meeting (see below in alphabetical order). The ballots were mailed to registered RSF Association voters last week.
Addario has lived in the community for 30 years viewing the Association board functions from a member’s perspective, but now he finds himself running for a leadership position after being selected by the Nominating Committee.
Addario, who practices clinical psychiatry, said he has experience serving on many boards and committees, and has a strong understanding of how best they can function.
“My view is that a board is a team. It is not one person’s ideas alone that leads to a good outcome; it is cooperation and implementation,” Addario said,
He said he has experience managing large administrative budgets and programs, including helping to get a program at the Department of Psychiatry at Scripps Mercy Hospital that was in the red about $2 million a year back in the black, in addition to improving the quality of service for the patients.
Addario, who is a member of the RSF Golf Club, RSF Tennis Club and RSF Garden Club, said he has listened to a lot of input from members about the Association.
He said that the pool and health center is an idea that has merit — he actually served on a group that studied the issue in 1984 and believes maybe now is the time to revisit it. He said the Association should continue to look at getting better wi-fi service; consider periodical evening board meetings so that more members can attend the meetings; and take strides toward fire prevention and water conservation, the community’s two most significant challenges.
He said his intent as a board member would be solely to provide a service to the members.
“I come into this with no political agenda, only my devotion and respect for this community and to serve your needs in a civil and effective manner,” Addario said.
Boon is aiming to serve her second term on the RSF Association board.
She said the privilege of serving on a board is providing information to the people they serve so that there can be more meaningful discussions on how to allocate resources in the most efficient way.
Boon said she had wanted to debate the issues with her fellow candidates, but more attention has been given as to why former RSF Association Manager Pete Smith retired and her role in his decision to retire. Boon referenced a letter written by Smith earlier in the year that was circulated to the community last week.
“It’s too bad we can’t openly address how the board dealt with the letter,” Boon said. “Soon after the board members received Pete’s letter, they removed me as president.”
Boon talked about how the board members stated at their last meeting that they had spent thousands of dollars to investigate Smith’s claims and she cannot say what the investigator found, but she stated she did not email Smith 300 times in the middle of the night as the letter claimed.
Boon said she is not denying that Smith may have left because of her, but did express her “relief and happiness” that the situation has been resolved.
She said she continues to campaign for open and honest dialogue, which may involve asking challenging questions like she has during her first term on the board,
“My questions shed a light on previous lack of good governance,” Boon said. “I want to focus on the future of Rancho Santa Fe and the good work we can do together. I will keep asking questions and keep a critical eye on spending and work on a strategic plan that benefits all of the members of the community.”
Callahan, who works as the director of communications for International Relief Teams, a humanitarian organization that provides relief and services all over the world, has been a Rancho Santa Fe resident since 2000.
Instead of her prepared written remarks, at the meeting she opted to “speak from the heart” and address the contentious atmosphere in Rancho Santa Fe over the last few months.
“I don’t know what is going on here, everything is just crazy,” Callahan said.
She said in her three years on the La Jolla Town Council they accomplished a lot but they never had all the emotion that she is seeing in the Ranch.
“I don’t understand how we’re getting to neighbor versus neighbor,” Callahan said, noting she has friends on both sides.
She said when people ask what her platform is, she has taken to responding that she would like to help put the community back together and get the Association back in shape.
“I just would like to see us all move forward,” Callahan said. “Let’s do it as a group and as a community and as a family of neighbors.”
Eggleston has lived in Rancho Santa Fe for eight years and said he offers a fresh, independent and different perspective on how the Association should be governed.
Eggleston remarked that he “never dreamed” his candidacy would evoke such hostility and the “flood of character assassinations” that has occurred — with an e-mail circulating last week from a group called Concerned Citizens for Rancho Santa Fe with several claims against him, which he said are untrue.
“I applaud Susan for saying ‘Enough is enough’,” Eggleston said, sharing Callahan’s call for civility. “I never said any of those things (in the email).”
Eggleston said he stresses the importance of transparency within the Association and having a system that makes community participation and involvement a priority. He thinks that to promote transparency and participation, meetings should be held later in the day so more members may attend and that meetings should be audio-taped so members can know what was discussed and what actions were taken.
“We need to define the mission of our Association and the scope of its operation,” Eggleston said, referencing how the “contentious” proposal of the Garden Club showed how “tricky” it can be to purchase something using other people’s money.
He said that the Association needs a strategic plan on how best to use its finite resources, such as improved cell service and letting the community vote on a swim and fitness center.
“My intent is not to alter the Ranch lifestyle but to enhance it and prevent further erosion of home values by failing to implement plans for the 21st century,” Eggleston said. “Future residents will demand them and if we don’t have them, we risk becoming irrelevant while other residential alternatives thrive.”