RMA extends vote on community center
[Blog and news brief posted July 17] In a 45-minute meeting, the Rancho Murieta Association board voted Tuesday night to extend until Aug. 31 the vote on a community center and pool. Already, 1,470 votes have been received, out of 2,125 eligible, RMA staff reported, and 1,064 votes are required to approve the measure. The board approved the extension 6-1, with board President Jim Moore dissenting.
As noted on the ballot dated June 1, the voting deadline could be extended “for two successive periods not to exceed thirty (30) days each as authorized by Article IV, section 7(b) of the the Bylaws.” The July 2 due date was extended to Aug. 1 at last month’s board meeting, and the Aug. 31 extension is the last allowed by the bylaws.
At Tuesday’s meeting, General Manager Nick Arther recommended extending the voting period, saying the association “would like to have at least 80 percent of the membership voice their opinion” on the project. Director Bob Lucas said he thought “everybody should be afforded every opportunity to vote for it.”
Since the project needs a 50 percent vote of the eligible members plus one to pass, “The question of a quorum is moot,” Arther said. “If it’s going to pass, it has to have the yes votes,” Lucas said. “... A non-vote is the same as a no vote.” Director Scott Adams said,“We don’t know what the vote’s going to be until we open the ballots, which will be after we close the voting down.”
Director Randy Jenco also supported extending the voting period. “This is such a big issue that I think we have to go for the most votes we can get,” Jenco said. “Because whichever way it goes, we want to make sure we get as many votes as we can so that it is the decision of the community, not just a part of the community.”
Moore disagreed. “We’ve had most of June, all of July. We still have 14 days to go in July,” he said. “I’m not convinced keeping it open for another 30 days is going to do much of anything. ... I think people want to know what the outcome is.” Moore was also concerned about setting a precedent for other votes “that will take three, four months to find out what the outcome is.”
Arther said postcard mailings reminding members to vote are a standard feature of RMA elections, and estimated it cost $300 per mailing.
Dog park: Thanks and a worry
Resident Betty Ferraro thanked the board for the dog park at Stonehouse Park, and referred to an incident between two dogs that reportedly occurred at the park over the weekend, resulting in a trip to the vet for one of the dogs. General Manager Nick Arther said dog park rules will be posted soon, and water fountains for the park are on order. Describing himself as a daily user, Jim Moore said the park had turned out “exceptionally well” and is getting a lot of use. The park received funds from the Rotary Club for fencing and was built by RMA Maintenance.
GreenCycle project planned for Kiefer Landfill
An environmental impact report on a green waste recycling center proposed for Kiefer Landfill was discussed briefly, with concerns expressed about the project’s potential to generate odors.
The EIR for the project lists “odor, truck traffic, and land use impacts” among factors making siting the facility difficult. Additional sites were considered in an EIR released in 2010, and Kiefer was selected over Scott Road and Twin Cities road locations since they are located in “county-designated scenic corridors,” according to the current EIR. “The purpose of identifying a scenic corridor is to protect and enhance the beauty of scenic routes so as to create a more pleasant visual environment for the traveler. Given its adjacency to the landfill it is unlikely Kiefer Boulevard would be designated scenic for the life of the landfill. Thus, based on aesthetic impacts, the GreenCycle site is the environmentally superior alternative,” it reads.
The purpose of the center is the “conversion of garden refuse into useful products” with “private-sector operational and sales capabilities,” according to the EIR. State requirements for recycling “could be met at an out-of-county location, but shipping green waste to composting facilities outside of the vicinity increases impacts to local air quality, climate change and odor on a regional basis,” the report says.
Paul Gumbinger, a former RMA president, was a member of an advisory committee for the project in 2005 when he asked the Sacramento Regional Solid Waste Authority to drop the Kiefer option from consideration, saying there would be “many, many impacts” if Kiefer were chosen, including additional truck traffic on Jackson Road. His request was rejected.
The EIR estimates the project would generate about 200 daily trips on Grant Line, Jackson and other area roads. The types of trips include employee commutes, imports of source material and exports of processed material. “For inbound source material trucks, the large majority of these trips would occur during the a.m. peak hour ... However, for outbound processed material truck trips, it is assumed the 30 percent would be evenly distributed with 15 percent occurring during the a.m. peak hour and 15 percent during the p.m. peak hour,” according to the EIR.
Traffic tables in the EIR show existing levels of service at intersections along Jackson Road and levels with GreenCycle trips added. Even though the Grant Line and Sunrise intersections are currently rated at unacceptable E and F levels of service during peak hours, the additional traffic of the GreenCycle project won’t trigger mitigation measures for the Sunrise intersection, according to the EIR, because it falls short of a significant impact.
Another table shows area-wide travel associated with hauling greenwaste material to the current processing sites, and the EIR concludes that “implementation of the Sacramento GreenCycle project would result in a reduction in area-wide travel. ... Much of this reduction ... would be on the state freeway system.”
According to the EIR, during the 10-year period that ended in 2008, no odor complaints were received for Keifer Landfill. “However, the addition of GreenCycle operations will emit new
odors typically considered noxious, including ammonia, which, when combined with
odors from pre-processing feedstocks, curing operations and existing landfill operations,
could be annoying to both existing and future (i.e. Cordova Hills) sensitive receptors.
Implementation of the following mitigation measure will reduce odor impacts, but not to
a less than significant level. This impact is considered significant and unavoidable,” the EIR reads.
California permitting requirements for the recycling center mandate having an odor minimization plan, and the EIR includes mitigation measures for the plan -- rejection or priority processing for loads that produce objectionable odors; a misting system, covers and filters. If complaints are received and confirmed, the facility must implement additional measures having to do with redesign, installation of equipment, and management of the process.
The EIR considers two types of composting. Aerobic decomposition produces “less pungent and less offensive” odors by maintaining oxygen during composting. Anaerobic digestion -- the absence of oxygen and use of enclosed containers -- “allows for the greatest control of odors because composting occurs within an enclosed system,” the study says.
The project has two, 26-acre sites, only one of which will be selected for GreenCycle operations. Both are on Kiefer Boulevard “directly adjacent to and south of the landfill,” according to the EIR, which also includes information about the topography and wind conditions in the area. The wind is from southerly directions 57 percent of the time; calm 25 percent, and northerly 18 percent.
Cosumnes River Elementary School, southeast of the proposed sites, appears on a map of the project area labeled “Plate OD-1: Location of Sensitive Receptors Near GreenCycle Sites.”
The preface states the EIR is intended for use by the Sacramento Regional Solid Waste Authority (SWA) Board of Directors “to consider the environmental effects, mitigation measures, and alternatives in the process of rendering a decision to approve or deny the proposed GreenCycle project. The EIR will also be used by the Local Enforcement Agency (LEA) and the California Integrated Waste Management Board (CIWMB) in consideration of the issuance of a full Solid Waste Facilities Permit.”
The EIR is available here.
From the archives
Nominating Committee chair selected
Director Tim Maybee volunteered to chair the Nominating Committee for the November board election. The terms of Randy Jenco and Scott Adams end this year. RMA directors serve for three years on the seven-member board.
There are fewer geese at Lake Clementia since the RMA started using a propane cannon and other measures to frighten the birds away, Maintenance Manager Rod Hart reported. The cannon produces a blast of noise, but no objects shoot out of it, Hart said.
The Parks Committee meets 10 a.m. Aug. 9 at the RMA Building. The parks matrix, Greens Neighborhood Park design, Stonehouse Park expenses, and other items will be on the agenda for discussion, according to Architectural Manager Mark Parsons.
Live-blog coverage of the meeting
I'm wondering out of the 1,470 ballots received how many were "for" and how many were "against"?
What is the tally so far? Or are the ballots still sealed and in a mason jar on funk and wagnel's porch until the final, final, final deadline? That's a joke!
I am curious as to the procedure that is transpiring right now and if it is ethical to extend the voting window once the vote has begun. Is there any language that speaks to this point and the ballot process in our documents? And better yet, where can I get a copy of our bylaws or whatever they're called so I can see for myself?
It is conceivable that if a ballot process can be altered during the vote window that inproprieties could occur. If ballots are being counted and the count is not in the favor of one party or the other, those in power could end the process just when the vote falls in the favor desired. Now, I'm not accusing anyone of any wrong doing and I am grateful to all who serve, whether I agree with their policies or views or not. I honor them and I respect them. I am just pointing out that we need to maintain a very high level of integrity in the process at all times. Altering the voting window concerns me. I say, let the votes be cast that are cast within the original window allowed, close the voting to all late votes and count them up and announce the results. When rules are bent or adjusted things go awry...
Just my .02 cents...
You are correct, the RMA board should have closed the vote as soon as they reached a "quorum". In past board elections a quorum (50% plus 1 vote) usually has not been met the first time, so the election is not legal until the numbers are right. So the voting must be extended.
In this case the board has received over 1470 ballots and announced that the quorum was 1064 ballots. In my opinion they have overstepped their authority. It is possible that they do have a legal right, however by extending the election when it is already legal makes their motivation suspect. We should thank President Jim Moore for his moral leadership by casting a no vote.
You asked where you could get a copy of the CC&R, Rules and Bylaw for the RMA. You can ask at the office, but unless real estate law has changed ( or your realtor did not do their job) you should have received a full packet with those documents when your house closed escrow. I know I did.
I have lived in this community for 19 years and cannot recall a board ever approving a vote extension, not once but twice. What is being hidden in this extension. There's a reason. Makes a resident wonder what, don't you think? Perhaps there may be a benefit to someone? Not sure who or why but I'll bet people would like to know. It seems to me that either the vote is very tight or the yes votes are going down flaming. I think that Steve might be on to something.
With 2125 eligible votes, 1470 votes thus far received, leaving 655 households who have not voted, 1064 required to approve the center, it's a DONE DEAL! COUNT the votes now, yes/no. A quorum is needed to PASS it. What if the majority of the votes received thus far is against it? YET, the board voted to extend the voting period to August 31!!!????? RMA is sending out "reminders" (at members' expense) to vote"? Is this DEMOCRACY at work????????????? Mary Lou Craig
I agree with all three of you. It's getting ridiculous. And then there's the whole question about the requirement of a quorum. At the April meeting I could have sworn they said they needed a quorum and were concerned about not getting enough ballots to meet a quorum. They had to have a quorum of the membership and then the vote needed 50% + 1 to pass. Well, now they say they don't need a quorum. Huh?
Nonetheless, the already have 1470 ballots at last count so whether they need it or not they do have a quorum. Supposedly, there are 10 to 15 ballots still coming in either every day or every week (can't quite remember the time frame and, gee, I wonder who supplied those numbers?) and so they don't want to shut anyone out and since they don't meet again til the middle of August (past the August 1 deadline) they had to vote to extend now. Didn't we know last month that they wouldn't meet again until after August 1? I could have sworn I heard that in the discussion.
As much as I respect the members of the Board, this whole process has been a debacle. You could say it's a hot mess. Wonder where the Board is getting their advice on how to conduct this process?
Janet, I agree with most of what you posted, however, I have lost all respect for the board members. It seems they are doing everything in their power to push the CC into the win column. They are putting national politics to shame. They wanted a quorum, they got it, so count the votes.;
I'm fairly new here, and I haven't gotten involved much with the discussion of the CC, but I thought I'd chime in. I don't really understand why people want the vote closed quickly. I don't see any advantage in shutting it down at the earliest point possible. I agree with Randy's comment, "... we want to make sure we get as many votes as we can so that it is the decision of the community, not just a part of the community.” I would prefer to know that we received votes from the largest number of residents possible so there is no question that the will of the majority was done. Cutting it off earlier would undoubtedly lead to people saying, "Most of us did/didn't want it, but the other side packed the polls better." I say let's really settle this by getting as many ballots as we can. Could someone be cheating and looking at the ballots now? Sure, it's possible, but unless there's evidence, I'll take their word that ballots are sealed.
Enough is enough! Members who care have voted. Members who don't care have voted by not voting. Let's get the tally and move on.
All of you have a right to be suspicious. Interestingly, under Bylaw Article IV, Section 7D the Board has the right to extend a ballot deadline for any reason they like provided such possibliity was mentioned in the ballot materials or on the ballot itself. I believe that requirement was met.
However, having the authority to extend the deadline and having a good reason to do so are two different things. If people choose not to vote, that is their privilege and the Board has no right or responsibility to try to "improve" our citizenship. It annoys me that my dues money is being used in a process to urge those who haven't yet voted to do so. I would hope that there is no arm twisting involved in that process, but I wouldn't bet against it.
As a group, the Board highly favors this expensive project and recognizes that everyone who does not vote is effectiively casting a "no" vote. In my opinion, that is the real reason the vote count has been delayed.
John Hein: Follow the money. I repeat a comment I made yesterday; the RMA Board won't stop until they get what they want. They don't care what the rest of us want. Don't you know already? They know what's best for us. They are an absolute embarrassment to this community & should be ashamed of their unethical conduct. My husband & I are both disgusted with them and have come to the conclusion our vote means nothing. SHAME!