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The Rancho Murieta Association board voted Tuesday night to go into budgeting for 2010 with an alternative budget for cable -- one that moves cable maintenance and operations funding into a separate document.  The board also addressed the idea of holding real estate open houses on Saturdays and the question of Security's powers and a Security memo from earlier in the year that apparently orders the department's officers to not respond to requests from the sheriff's department.

The alternative cable budget comes from the RMA's Ad Hoc Cable Committee, which is studying how to handle the system and legal obligations in light of an association vote to let members opt out.  Critics feel the committee's efforts to change the system's budget are an attempt to scuttle the operation.

"I'm not saying we're going to adopt (the alternative) in the upcoming budget," said Director Andy Keyes, chair of the Finance Committee, "it's simply to consider it."

Keyes said he believes all members are obliged to support cable maintenance and reserves.  There has to be a system that's available, he said.

"We do have obligations to maintain this system.   We will not turn our back on this system," he said, adding that the budget must guarantee the system's survival.

Director Dick Cox challenged the idea of having a separate budget, saying that would be in violation of the California Corporations Code, the Davis-Stirling Act and the RMA's CC&Rs and bylaws.

He said he had received a letter earlier in the day from an RMA member who offered legal criticism of the ad hoc committee's approach to cable.

The letter was written by Scott Adams, an attorney who resigned from the cable committee earlier this year after serving briefly.

The letter -- see the full text here -- is a three-page analysis of the RMA's legal obligations to the cable system.

"I am in the process of preparing a lengthy analysis of how the cable facility fits into the Governing Documents and the revenue stream upon which the cable facility must be properly maintained, operated and managed," Adams wrote.  He wrote that he expects it will take another month to complete the analysis, which will be shared with the board.

"You will see that my interpretation of Association Governing Documents and California law including Davis-Stirling fit perfectly like a puzzle," he wrote.  "No one part is inconsistent with another.  My interpretation is also consistent with the advice repeatedly provided you by your own Association counsel, and consistent with prior performance of the Association."

Board members did not discuss Adams' letter.  At least one director said he hadn't received it.

Moore said the board is trying to reflect the members' wishes.

"I think it is the duty of the board of directors to our very best at following the wishes of the people," he said.  "We have struggled with this for a long time, but we are making progress.   Looking at the budget this way is just one more step in the torturous process we have been going through."

He said the board will have to choose a budget approach by September, when the board will hold its budget workshop for 2010.

The board voted 5-2 to have an alternative budget, with Cox and Director Candice Koropp voting no.  Director Mike Martel, who usually votes with the other two on these issues, said he voted yes not because he supports the idea but simply to consider the possibility.

Ted Ryon, chair of the Ad Hoc Cable Committee, said the group will complete its work by Sept. 1 and give the board a full report and recommendations, complete with supporting documents.

Ryon disputed a claim in an RM.com story published Monday.  He said the story was wrong when it said he told the committee that a consultant, Peregrine Communications, told him the RMA was using unskilled people to perform tasks for the study Peregrine was hired to produce.

The board held a 20-minute discussion about the possibility of Saturday homes-for-sale open houses.  In the end, the idea was sent to the Compliance Committee as the first step in a process, including public comment, that could turn it into reality.

The item was put on the agenda by Cox, who said the depressed economy requires some special measures.

"I believe we have to give our members an assist where we can in helping sell homes out here," he said.

Director Mel Standart said he's not aware of any data that says open houses help sell homes.  "We're just inviting the looky-lous to spend more time in Rancho Murieta," he said.

The directors raised questions about the level of security provided by CSD and the amount members pay -- questions that have been asked repeatedly by RMA boards in recent years.

Martel said there was a domestic violence arrest in the community July 4 that has gone unreported.  The other directors weren't aware of it.

Cox said it's possible CSD wasn't involved in the domestic violence situation because that's outside their responsibilities and it could have been handled directly by the sheriff's department.

Martel said he believes the first call was to Security.   "So if I'm wrong -- I don't believe I am -- I think there was other violence that occured in Rancho Murieta that's not being reported," Martel said.

Cox then read a March 5, 2009, memo from Security Chief Greg Remson to his officers.  See the full text of the memo here.

The memo says Remson had been instructed by CSD General Manager Ed Crouse not to perform law enforcement functions.  "This includes providing assistance to and responding with or for (the sheriff's department)," the memo says.

The memo lists a dozen situations where Security officers should not help, including calls for service by deputies or sheriff's dispatch.  "Politely refuse these requests due to policy," the memo directs.

When asked how he had received the document, Cox said it had been provided by an RMA member who is unhappy about the situation.

RanchoMurieta.com will follow up with Remson about this story on Wednesday.

There will be a special community meeting 6:30 p.m. Aug. 26 to examine the North Gate redesign possibilities.  The meeting will be chaired by Paul Gumbinger, former RMA president.

Director Andy Keyes asked in recent months why the RMA hasn't gone ahead with reconstruction of the North Gate when there is more than a million dollars in developer money committed to the project.  Gumbinger, who was involved with the Mutual Benefit Agreement and its provisions for a new North Gate, will offer answers at the session, held at the RMA Building.

Below is live-blog coverage of the meeting and the time in the live blog when coverage of a topic begins:

6:53 p.m. -- Discussion of the cable budget
7:06 p.m. -- Ted Ryon on the Ad Hoc Cable Committee's work
7:53 p.m. -- Saturday open houses
8:17 p.m. -- Unreported crime and Security memo

 

 


Lisa Taylor's picture
Joined: 01/09/2008
Posts: 365
Post rating: 30

security highlights

Interesting security highlights from the meeting:

 

8:17

Martel says there was a domestic violence situation on July 4 that has gone unreported.   There was an arrest made, he says.

 

8:19

Cox says it's possible CSD wasn't involved in the domestic violence situation because that's outside their responsibilities.   Martel says he believes the first call was to Security.   "So if I'm wrong -- I don't believe I am -- I think there was other violence that occured in Rancho Murieta that's not being reported," Martel says.

 

8:20

Cox is reading a memo from Security Chief Greg Remson to his staff, telling Security staffers not to respond to calls with or for the sheriff's department.   "Politely refuse these requests due to policy," Cox reads from the note.

 

8:38

Martel says he objects to selective reporting of incidents.   He lists incidents he knows about that haven't been reported by Security.

 

***

 

It's unfortunate that we are no longer informed of what is going on in our community, since the CSD board no longer wants their officers to be able to law enforcment calls.  We hear bits and pieces from residents when they know of things (such as items taken from homes, violent incidents, etc.), but CSD patrol officers can no longer legally respond, and who knows if people are still even calling them in all incidents.  Director Cox read a whole list of incidents that CSD no longer will respond to, and who knows if they would even show in the logs if a resident did call. 

 

And just a comment on a question Director Koropp/Cox asked about RMA taking over the function of security.  There are a number of reasons why this would not make sense, inlcuding that RMA's jurisdiction is very limited -- both in the area that they can cover and the powers that their employees may have, and their fees are not tax deductible.  Unlike RMA, CSD has the power here, and the jurisdiction to cover the entire district (public and private in different ways). However, as we know, CSD has chosen to accept the limitations created by a goof up in recent law (we are missing our timeframe to argue a grandfathering of our old situation), and I haven't seen any discussion on how to plan for our safety and security as the community grows.  CSD maintaind limited law enforcment powers LEGALLY until the recent change in law.  Full police authority is not needed, and this point keeps getting lost. 

 

There are increasing discussions in Sacramento County regarding those that live in the non-incorporated portion of the county, and having them (i.e. us) pay extra taxes because of the extra services that we require from the SSD (since, unlike the cities, we do not have our own local law enforcment).  Thus, ultimately, we may be looking at paying the county more money to maintain the level of SSD service that we currently have, rather than spend that money here locally, and have some local control on what is enforced and how.

 

**************

Lisa

www.indyeve.com

http://www.ranchomurieta.com/blog/775

(updated 4/15/09)

Bobbi Belton's picture
Joined: 07/30/2007
Posts: 275
Post rating: 442

July 4th information

There were no arrests effected in Rancho Murieta on July 4, despite the implication made at the RMA meeting last night. There were innumerable sheriff's deputies on duty for the festivities, private security, and CSD officers. CSD Security referred two calls about "disturbances" to the SSD. SSD intervened (in one case the two were guests of residents)and brought the incident to resolution. Again, there was NOT an arrest made for any type of domestic violence in RM, nor any arrests of any kind. I have verified my information with the SSD as well as with CSD Security.

I feel it is imperative that erroneous information be clarified/corrected as soon as one compiles the pertinent facts.

Bobbi Belton

Bill Clark's picture
Joined: 08/07/2007
Posts: 194
Post rating: 690

Bobbi

Thanks for taking the time to research this issue and set the record straight.  It does appear from reading many posts lately that many of the accusations regarding the CSD come from just that---- "erroneous information"

Wilbur Haines's picture
Joined: 08/07/2007
Posts: 474
Post rating: 470

Rumor Mill

Rumor-mongering has always been a popular sport in RM.  But I suppose it is everywhere.

RM.com's picture
Joined: 06/19/2007
Posts: 27727
Post rating: 1387

Correcting coverage of Ted Ryon's comments

Monday’s story quoting Ted Ryon at last week’s Communications Committee meeting was not completely accurate. 

A recording of the session shows Ryon did not say Peregrine Communications claimed the RMA was using unskilled people to do cable work, as the story reported.  Instead, Ryon listed items that he said Peregrine claimed the RMA staff had handled incorrectly, and Ryon himself questioned the skills of the RMA staffers.

Andy Keyes's picture
Joined: 08/22/2007
Posts: 289
Post rating: 120

Lets stop the smoke screen

Alleged arrests on the 4th of July and alleged  water rate increases.  Something tells me that something else is being hidden beneath this latest smokescreen.  Watch the words and the actions of those who chum the waters with misinformation.

Lisa Taylor's picture
Joined: 01/09/2008
Posts: 365
Post rating: 30

security misc

CSD Security referred two calls about "disturbances" to the SSD. SSD intervened and brought the incident to resolution.

 

Is this what domestic calls are being called now, disturbances?

 

I guess the semantics aren't what is important here, at least to me.  In general, I know that not everything is reported in the logs -- you talk to someone about a call they made to CSD and it doesn't show in the logs - many of us have experienced this.  Domestic Violence calls, somehow have disappeared from the logs because now they are disturbances.  I'm guessing that our officers are not called on these calls often anymore (why should they call, so the officer can stand and watch?) and when they are, they have no authority to act, and the board has worded things in their policies so that no matter what they do, they can be found in error.  That error may not just be with their employer, it can be civil liability.

 

We no longer have information on what is going on in our community because the board has seen to it that our officers can't take police reports, and are forbidden to do any type of investigation on any type of crime.  SSD has the option, if they get here in time, of either arresting, or "bringing resolution".  I would like to know, if there is a  "disturbance" where there is no arrest (and CSD hasn't been called), has the Board/GM asked the SSD to provide a monthly list of call activity out here?  Is this being monitored by any one?  Seems to me, if I were the Chief, I would want to be kept up to date by the SSD about what is going on my back yard.  Arrest logs are public info, but SSD doesn't seem to provide activity logs (includes the many calls that may not end in arrest) -- seems like CSD should be able to ask for that information and make it public information.  I know that the long standing relationship between the SSD deputies and the CSD patrol has been dismantled, but I'm curious if other relationships have been formed, so that we can actually know what is going on our community.

 

Pertaining to the RMA meeting.  If RMA is going to get a committee together, then folks will be starting to look at the budget and what is doable and what is not.  The committee might have trouble dismantling the CSD budget.  I would want to get an accountant on that committee.  For example, nearly every year (every year? I would have to check), security expenses are below budget, and security income is above budget, but I can't find where that extra money is carried over to the next year, or where it goes.  (Of course, now that I've written this publicly, this longstanding trend will probably change because they will change the way they report stuff!) By law, that tax money has to go to support security.  The money is probably there, and I am not making any accusations whatsoever.  I am just saying, that if anyone takes a serious look, the security budget needs to be understood in depth and detail, and that will take someone that knows what they are doing and knows the right questions to ask.

 

 

**************

Lisa

www.indyeve.com

http://www.ranchomurieta.com/blog/775

(updated 4/15/09)

RM.com's picture
Joined: 06/19/2007
Posts: 27727
Post rating: 1387

More on Ted Ryon's comments

Nancy Clark's picture
Joined: 08/07/2007
Posts: 114
Post rating: 131

Not out of context

Ted Ryon can clearly be heard on the recording saying "And some of the guys you've got there are not very skilled."   And he then followed up later with "Do they have the skill set to do it?" and "See, that's what my concern is."   So unless he hasn't listened to the recording, I don't understand how he can now say that he didn't question the RMA staff's skills.

Bill Clark's picture
Joined: 08/07/2007
Posts: 194
Post rating: 690

Karen

 

It's a shame you have to put in this extra time and effort to post the audio recording of a meeting simply to show your  accounting of the meeting and it's content was accurate.   Thanks for  keeping our community well informed!!

Martha Glunt's picture
Joined: 07/29/2007
Posts: 193
Post rating: 421

Isn't this the same

Isn't this the same committee that complained early-on about the content of their committee minutes?  Like, they thought what was being captured  was too much information in their recorded minutes?  And wasn't there some discussion amongst committee members allowing recording of the meeting? 

Bill Clark's picture
Joined: 08/07/2007
Posts: 194
Post rating: 690

Why it is!

That's the one!!!!   Gotta give the crew at RM.COM a high five for not backing down and going silent!!! 

Martha Glunt's picture
Joined: 07/29/2007
Posts: 193
Post rating: 421

Stop me if I'm wrong, but

Stop me if I'm wrong, but didn't the original committe members that OPPOSED FOC resign from said committee right about the time that the pro FOC'ers were wanting sanitization of their minutes?

This committee has run it's course and needs to be disbanded. 

Props to Karen for not only reporting the actions of the committee, but then setting it straight when she was called out for her "inaccuracies."  Committee Chair seems to have dug his hole a little deeper. 

Andy Keyes's picture
Joined: 08/22/2007
Posts: 289
Post rating: 120

BOD policy on Minutes

Martha,

 

The initial committee minutes were in violation of the established policy of the BOD on taking minutes in our meetings.  That issue was corrected and the committee is continuing its work.  I am sure Ted and the rest of the committee would be happy to have you attend the next meeting as they have always been open to the membership. By attending you can get the unfiltered version of what goes on in the meeting. 

 

 

Mike Burnett's picture
Joined: 07/31/2007
Posts: 183
Post rating: 0

RMA cable Issue of Skilled Workers

This response is not meant to support what Ted R. said or didn't say about Rod Hart's maintenance staff.  What the real issue here and has been for a long time is that RMA has NOT performed maintenance on the cable system for a long, long time.  I will also say that they have not had competent staff that could perform the requisite level of maintenance and trouble shooting that is a requirement for managing a cable system as we have in RMA.  I would challenge any RMA Director, Staff member, Committee member to even come up with a list of skills required to perform such maintenance.  It doesn't exist!

I tried to get Doug Mack, RMA Cable Manager, and Greg Vorster, RMA General Manager at the time, to adopt a job description, identify required training and certifications and have the technicians work toward those goals.  It never happened.  RMA Staff felt if they dragged their feet long enough then the Board members and committee members would change and the requests of the day forgotten.  Unfortunately this is the case much too often.  I also wanted them to begin to develop Standard Operating Procedures (SOP's) that they would have to follow for a given task and then use for training new personnel.  This never happened.  We implemented a Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) so they could create work orders, track them and use for measuring performance.  This was implemented, but I would guess is not being used the way it was original intended.

All of this information is the norm for most all Corporations today.  You have a job description, establish annual objectives for every employee, and then measure their performance based on the established goals.  Development plans are prepared based on skill assessment testing to help the employee become proficient at their assigned job function and progress to the next level when they have gained the requisite skill set.

Rod Hart has landscapers and general maintenance technicians working for him.  The cable technicians RMA has historically employed were cable installers.  None of these technicians have the skill set to perform technical maintenance on a hybrid Fiber-Coaxial cable system.

Here is some information that you can review from Peregrine Communications, http://www.perecom.com/engineering.htm

Maintenance and Service Program:

Cable Systems have long recognized that preventive maintenance programs greatly reduce trouble calls and keep your quality of service at a maximum, however it is usually the PM program that suffers in tight budget times. Peregrine will provided engineers and technicians to complete maintenance and service on your plant on your time schedule. We can be on-site continuously or on a regularly schedule interval.

Here is a link to the society of Cable Television Engineers with a list of certifications that Cable Technicians can train and test for to improve their technical knowledge and capability. http://www.scte.org/content/index.cfm?pID=1179

All of this information was laid out in front of RMA staff in 2003 as well as the Communications Committee and some Board Directors.  The Communications Committee members felt that we needed to improve our management and response to cable issues.  However, the Staff and other Directors at the time were not willing to begin the hard work of providing competent staff to perform the requisite maintenance.  We then thought that we would contract this work out to a company such as Peregrine and some of the Directors were worried about protecting individual’s jobs, all of which no longer work for RMA.

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