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Wilbur Haines's picture
Joined: 08/07/2007
Posts: 474
Cable Vote (vote "yes" for a voluntary system)

RMA reportedly will be sending the cable ballot out soon, if they haven't already.


Lest there be any confusion, the correct vote for a voluntary system is "Yes."

I finally got a chance to see the "information" piece which the Board is including with the ballot.


It's irrelevant.

It goes on and on about how they have a duty to maintain common area assets.

OK, but, um, that's not the question. The question is whether cable TV should be a voluntary, user fee supported option just as broadband and digital cable are.

When you read their piece mailed with the ballot, ask yourself these questions:


How does anything they're pointing to make basic cable any different from broadband and digital cable? If those offerings can be voluntary and user-fee based, why can't basic cable?

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George Roper's picture
Joined: 08/08/2007
Posts: 46
Cable Television Survey

 A survey will be appearing in your mailbox shortly that will ask if you would like to have the freedom to choose your own television content provider and programming.  It seems that instead of a ballot, where each association member household casts one vote, the board has chosen to send out an anonymous survey.  The survey’s accompanying documentation states: THIS IS AN ADVISORY VOTE ONLY.  It is imperative therefore, that a large number of YES, I AGREE will be required to overcome the Board’s present mind set.   Don’t throw the survey away, vote YES, I AGREE and return it to RMA.  This is your one and only chance to control the future of television programming in your home.  Lets keep this string alive until the survey is over

 

George Roper

Mike Burnett's picture
Joined: 07/31/2007
Posts: 183
I support this initiative

I have committed to donate $50 toward the initiative to help the residents understand how to respond to the Cable Television Ballot RMA has sent the membership.

This is very simple and straightforward.  Do you as RMA Members want to have the option of paying for RMA Cable Television Service.  If you do, then answer, Yes, I agree followed by your signature and lot number.  Signing and putting your lot number is very important to help validate your vote.

The "important factors"  outlined by the Board is based on the presupposition that the Cable Television Asset is RMA Common Property.  This is outright wrong-headed (Stubbornly defiant of what is right or reasonable; obstinately perverse in judgment or opinion).  The management of the Cable Television Service is governed by the Cable Television Agreement.

The Cable Television System both inside and outside of RMA's boundaries is all the same asset.  In compliance with the Cable Television Agreement, RMA is the Manager of the Service and the boundaries are the RMCSD serving area.  Anyone subscribing to this service pays into it at the same rate and receives the same level of service.  The Cable Television Agreement stipulates that any Common Interest with the serving area may challenge RMA's management and have the service including all the assets turned over to a an new agency (independent of RMA) made up of representatives of all the Common Interests to manage the service.  RMA can't sell it or recover any past investments in this service, since it was supported by all Common Interests with the RMCSD Serving area. 

Unfortunately our RMA Board refuses to listen to legal counsel.  The Cable Television Service Agreement was signed by RMA, RMCSD and RMPI.  The Agreement is filed in the Sacramento County Clerks office and has been deemed to be a valid contract.

Please complete the ballot and send into RMA.  Additionally if you feel strongly that you agree with the petition, then please send a contribution to John Weatherford to help him recover his out of pocket expenses.  Regardless of how you decide to vote, your participation is greatly appreciated. 

Betsy Guzzetta's picture
Joined: 10/09/2007
Posts: 129
Cable Vote

My form does not ask for signature or lot number.  There is only a space to mark either "yes" or "no."  Are you suggesting we write this information in?  Betsy Guzzetta

Betsy Guzzetta

Mike Burnett's picture
Joined: 07/31/2007
Posts: 183
Responding to Survey

Betsy,

 

Yes.  I would treat it as a vote with Signatures, Names, and Lot numbers, so the Board can not dismiss it.  They should have requested a vote on this issue and are not treating this with the respect it deserves. 

 

Unfortunately, we will need to pull this donkey to the watering hole kicking and screaming.Laughing 

John Walker's picture
Joined: 08/09/2007
Posts: 2
Confusion

We 'checked' 'Yes' on the yellow form mailed to us by RMA. Our names and address was on the other side. I did not sign or initial as I saw no place to do so. Will our vote not count?

Should we get another form to fillout? Help

Wilbur Haines's picture
Joined: 08/07/2007
Posts: 474
You're OK, John

What Mike and others are talking about is that RMA isn't complying with the safeguards which are required by law for a formal vote of the membership, since they regard this merely a "survey." I, too, wish they would have followed formal ballot procedures, but the fact that you didn't do those things - signing the ballot and the envelope, etc. - should not have any impact on your vote being counted.

The ballots do have an addressee label and barcode on them which I hope and believe will provide some assurance against ballot box stuffing, a remote but tangible risk in the absence of using the statutory safeguard procedures.

If they do not already intend to do so, I call upon RMA to preserve all of the original ballots received, in case anyone on any side of this wishes to recount them and verify the results, since RMA has apparently also dispensed with the statutory safeguards of using an inspector of elections and an observable public count.

Chris Boudreaux's picture
Joined: 08/22/2007
Posts: 6
What's in it for them?

I strongly support the freedom of choice initiative but I was hoping someone could enlighten me more about this issue.  The actions of any politician or leader are motivated by something.  For example, the refusal of more liberal Federal politicians to reform Social Security stems from their belief that they will alienate older voters (e.g. those currently receiving benefits).  I don't agree with it, but I understand their motivation.  My question is what is the RMA Board's motivation for maintaining the status quo with the current cable system.  Who's interests is it benefiting?  I hope my question makes sense and thank you in advance for any insight.

 

John Walker's picture
Joined: 08/09/2007
Posts: 2
Thank you, Wilbur

Would be great to see a ballot tally after they are all received.

We have been with 'Dish' for several years and could never go back to RM system. It certainly costs more but you really do get what you pay for... It is wrong that we must to pay for RM cable when we do not use it - and, of course, we do not use it because it doesn't perform well...

John T. Weatherford's picture
Joined: 08/06/2007
Posts: 66
Good question

“My question is what is the RMA Board's motivation for maintaining the status quo with the current cable system?” Good question Chris. While the board is currently basing their arguments to continue this fiasco on misguided legalize, the original 1 2 5 plan was supposed to generate a profit. They wisely decided to not include that fictional profit in the 2007 budget and just as I predicted it not only did not produce the blue sky profit but resulted in a loss of revenue, and increasing expenses, thus the second year in row dues increase.  In my opinion it is just ego on the part of some of the board members and their inability to admit they made a mistake. If anyone hasn’t cast their vote please do it now, it will help empower the board members that want go in a new direction.

John T Weatherford

John T. Weatherford's picture
Joined: 08/06/2007
Posts: 66
I attended the first Finance

I attended the first Finance Committee meeting for 2008 today (Jan 10). I am thrilled to report there is a new “sheriff” in town and the Cable issue is definitely going to move in a different direction. I would recommend all of you that are interested, attend next Tuesdays’ Board meeting to voice your opinions and encouragement for the new Board member.

 

Mr Stiffler reported that they have received over 500 survey/ballots so far. I urge you all to get your vote in ASAP. The attitude is changing and your vote will empower the board members to do the right thing. If you need a new ballot stop by the RMA office and pick one up. See you Tuesday evening.

John T Weatherford

Mike Burnett's picture
Joined: 07/31/2007
Posts: 183
Community Meeting with Technology Company

In RM.com’s article following the last RMA Board Meeting, RMA’s President was quoted as saying, “President Jack Cooper said there will be a community meeting Feb. 21 in which a technology company will present ideas on how the community's cable system can be used going forward. Cooper said the ideas relate to selling or leasing the system or having it managed by an outside firm.”

How many times do we need to go down this path?  Since 2003 we have had more than half a dozen technology companies visit RMA to tell us how we can improve the network and provide more services.  All the Board Members get excited over the proposed techno speak from the company’s representatives and proposed income from new enhanced services.  Both Elliot Sevier and I as Board members who chaired the Communications Committee visited this several times as did Greg Voster.  We have had discussions with Surewest, Comcast, ATT, Volcano Communications to name a few.  Greg Voster hired a Network Consultant who facilitated community meetings and they went nowhere.  I was complicit at the time, but remember, we didn’t have Broadband Services when we began these exercises in 2002.  Simply put, the cost is too great for the initial overbuild and the ongoing support and maintenance. 

I came to the realization that these services were way beyond the capability of Rancho Murieta Association.  We benchmarked against small communities that implemented these services because they too were isolated.  We do not have the buy in of the Community as a whole, which is what would be required to undertake a project as we were proposing.  It would take a Centralized Services Organization or Private Company that is already providing these services to pull it off.  We had neither. 

The question at hand is that members want the option of paying for Video Services as we have for Broadband Services.  There is no retreating from this issue.  Jack and David can march 50 companies thru the front gate, but none will change the memberships mind at this point.  They have already made their decision and now want RMA to stop charging them for a service they no longer want.  It can’t get any more plain and simple than that.

Wilbur Haines's picture
Joined: 08/07/2007
Posts: 474
Deja Vu?

Mike, I had the same initial reaction of "Here we go again." But I think it would be fair to hear them out before drawing that judgement. The fundamental question in my mind is whether the possible business model is something voluntary or another forced socialized TV plan with no protection against endless dues increases to subsidize it.

 

Please, folks, find that yellow cable survey ballot and turn it in. I think we all know which way the vote will go. But its undeniability as a mandate increases with the number of votes cast.  The correct vote to support transition to a voluntary, self-supporting system akin to broadband and premium TV is "yes."

Ryan Fogleman's picture
Joined: 07/30/2007
Posts: 125
Am I dreaming!!!???

It's no secret that Mike and I rarely agree on ANYTHING. Conversely, it's hard for me to find ANYTHING that I don't agree with that comes out of Wilbur's mouth.

When I read this story I had the proverbial <THUD> head hitting the desk repeatedly reaction. Am I dreaming?! What on earth is this board thinking? Do they think there is some magic potion out there that can be applied to this system, that will miraculously vindicate their acute short-sidedness. MY GOD ! When will this end?

Although I respect Wilbur's patience and suggestion to "hear them out", enough is enough already !

Lets be done with it. All in all I think our association works fairly well, considering it is run by a group of well-intentioned volunteers. It's no secret that Rod Hart's group has ALWAYS worked like a fine-tuned machine. But this CATV system is an absolute abomination that defies ANY logic whatsoever. The business decisions made by this board are absurd at best !

I do have one question. WHO, contacted this technology company and WHO motivated them to contact this company? Be careful folks, there are some real snakes in the grass out there in RM, I know this from a very painful personal experience, and sometimes it takes awhile to sort through their rhetoric, which can appear very impassioned and convincing at the periphery. I just hope we don't learn the hard way, like some have, painfully, from dealing with these snakes.

Lets put an end to this folks. Lets stop bickering amongst ourselves....worrying about people driving 5-10 mph over the speed limit, pot smoking harmless teenagers, mud slinging between CSD and RMA over minutia and REALLY get something done!

Close it down ! Rip out the cables and put an end to this long, long chapter of painfully poor business decisions.

Bobbi Belton's picture
Joined: 07/30/2007
Posts: 275
Cable?

I found Ryan's comment about "snakes in the grass" (right here in Rancho Murieta) quite interesting; however, since his knowledge base is so far above that of normal, everyday folk. I believe he should indicate to the community exactly who those snakes are and why, in his not-so-humble opinion, exactly why they became the alleged snakes (in his again not so humble opinion).

I object strongly--and I know I speak for many others--about these allegedly "non-problematic" dope-smoking teens and the suggestion that we, as a community, shouldn't worry about such trivial issues.

Sorry, Ryan, smoking a "little" pot soon leads to crack, coke, and God only knows what else.

Please respond, utilizing your extensive knowledge, and do name the snakes and tell us exactly what each has done. . .

Bobbi Belton

Wilbur Haines's picture
Joined: 08/07/2007
Posts: 474
Of rabbits holes and snakes...

Getting into publicly naming names of said reptilians is unwise (rife with litigation risk) and probably not something Karen hopes to see here. It's great that ranchomurieta.com has gone to this more real-time forum format, but I believe that our "end of the deal" as users is a litle self-restraint re: things like personal attacks.

Another thing about this new forum environment is that we the users, rather than Karen the editor, create and select topics, so that Karen doesn't have to read, sort and arrange the comments by topic before putting them up as she used to have to do. So if we're about to launch into the tangential discussion of whether teen pot use is the end of civilization or no worse than jaywalking, that should be a new Forum topic "thread" IMHO.

Getting back to THIS thread's topic, Ryan, while I largely buy into your thesis that copper coax wire is becoming an obsolete technology for TV services, I do think it's possible that a private company considering coming into this market to provide voluntary TV services might well be interested in using some of the brand new copper wire and amps and a few fiber optic runs which have been stuffed into the ground over the past few years using whatever it was, a quarter mil or a half mil", of the member's hard earned cash extracted from them with dues.

Because the offer of that existing infrastructure may still be helpful "bait" to help entice a professional, private sector provider of a voluntary TV service into coming out here, I can't agree it should be ripped out of the ground and thrown away. I don't think anyone is going to be willing to pay us anything or very much for it, but the head start it might give a Comcast or a Surewest etc. to build out a system may make it easier to bring in a "Plan B" suitor to replace RMA as the provider - only this time around, as a free market competitor we residents are not forced to do business with as we are now with RMA.

Ryan Fogleman's picture
Joined: 07/30/2007
Posts: 125
Here comes the circus

LOL..firstly..thanx Wilbur for interjecting a leaf from the book of good reason here.

 

Tisk, tisk, tisk Bobbi...well, if nothing else, you continue to serve the community as a boundless source of entertainment. Keep it up, there's nothing on RMA CATV.

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