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→ Video of RMA meeting (1 hour, 7 minutes)

The Rancho Murieta Association board took a step into the communications present and future at Tuesday's meeting, unanimously approving changes in the RMA’s code of conduct to address the realities of social media. The board also addressed midge fly treatments at Laguna Joaquin, the plan to charge Murieta Village residents who want to use RMA facilities and recent TV problems with Greenfield Communications.

The Governing Documents Committee proposed amendments and additions relating to social media as written by Bob Lucas, a former board president who’s also an attorney. The amendments basically add social media to the list of public interactions where directors have to be cautious to not share confidential information or claim to speak with the authority of the board or its committees. The code of conduct additions forbid directors from operating a website or social media area that purports to speak for the association unless the new communications channel has been approved by the board.

Director Joanne Brandt, who, in her role as chair of the Communications Committee, has commented online to address Greenfield Communications service problems with the community in recent months, asked whether that would continue to be proper under the new policy. Some problems have occurred on weekends, she said, when there’s no RMA staff to review her posts. And while she tries to keep her posts general and not imply board approval, she said she recognized readers would assume she was speaking on behalf of her committee.

“We want you to be able to conduct constituent services,” Board President Alex Bauer said. “It’s important that you’re able to do that as a board member.” Director Rob Brown, chair of the Governing Documents Committee, said the new policy allows what Brandt is doing.

The same question was asked by Director Stephanie Bianchi, chair of the Recreation Committee, who has made an effort at community outreach, both in-person and online. She said she hears frequent complaints that RMA doesn’t do a good enough job of communication.

Bauer said the policy is only the first step in a communications effort. “There’s no point in having this unless we have some further steps,” he said.

The Communications Committee has been charged with addressing how RMA should engage on social-media platforms, and Brandt said the conversation will begin at the committee’s July meeting.

Bauer addresses Village, Greenfield issues

Board President Alex Bauer read a brief statement about the board’s decision last month to begin charging Murieta Village residents a fee if they choose to use facilities behind the gates.

“First,” he said, “this is not a blanket fee imposed on all residents of the Village, but only residents who choose to enter the gates. Second, we are not separating families. Families inside the gates are encouraged to place Village family members on their guest lists. Doing so places that individual under your responsibility and avoids the fee charge. 

“Ultimately, this is a simple issue. You are asked to pay for something if you use it.”

Bauer also commented on recent problems with Greenfield Communications. 

“The RMA board is aware of the recent problems over the Memorial Day weekend regarding Greenfield cable and the temporary loss of many channels,” he said. “Although this was directly attributed to problems with the DISH satellite upgrade, and was eventually corrected, Greenfield’s customer service and response to many Rancho Murieta customers was unsatisfactory, and RMA staff have been following up with Greenfield. We have expressed our concerns to Greenfield management about the quality of their customer service and about all frequent disruptions in service. They have written back, promising to address those issues.”

Bauer encouraged Greenfield customers to contact the company with any service problems and to keep a note of the issues and Greenfield’s response. If the problem isn’t resolved, bring your information and Greenfield work ticket to the RMA’s Communications Committee for resolution, Bauer said. 

To receive a credit for the Memorial Day weekend outage, contact Greenfield, Bauer said. Later in the meeting, Director Jim Crowder urged community members to request a refund for the services they didn’t receive.

Change planned in midge fly treatment at Laguna Joaquin

Director Larry Shelton, a front-lake resident who has spearheaded efforts to address the annual problem with midge flies, said the Community Services District has changed its approach to treating Laguna Joaquin for the flies and will no longer use the granular larvicide that Shelton believes has proven successful. 

“They’ve decided to go back to the liquid insecticide, which they’ve used for years, which was ineffective,” he said. Asked if it was because of price, Shelton said he hasn’t gotten a definitive answer, though that was the tentative answer. “That’s kind of bogus,” Shelton said, because an approach had been crafted that allowed CSD to use the granular larvicide and stay within its budget.

Shelton, a retired environmental scientist, said the liquid doesn’t work because it floats on the water, while the granular sinks to the lake bottom and is ingested by larvae there. “That’s the only way you can attack and kill it is in that larvae stage,” he said.

“It was really public sentiment a year and a half ago that convinced CSD to use the granular, and I think that’s what we’ll have to go back to again,” Shelton said.

Updates on miscellaneous projects

General Manager Greg Vorster reported on planting of grass at two Stonehouse Park fields. Sprigs of grass were being planted, he said, and then “all we do is water and wait.” The grass should be grown by the end of August, he said.

Wood chips will be placed at the new dog park at Riverview Park at the end of June and be in use through the summer, Vorster said. In September, irrigation will be installed and grass will be planted, he said. “Next summer it will be a grass field, like the one at Stonehouse,” he said.

RMA staff is currently pouring concrete for the Lake Clementia modular restrooms, Vorster said. The restrooms are scheduled for delivery in mid-July, he said.

The board unanimously approved spending $1,250 a year for reserve studies under a three-year contract with Applied Reserve Analysis of San Rafael.

Larry Shelton's picture
Joined: 01/29/2015
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Midge fly treatment

After futher discussion with CSD they have agreed to continue granular BTI treatment of Laguan Joaquin to aide in controlling midge flies.  The future treatment plan is one application of granular BTI treatment in early May with additional liquid BTI treatments throughout the summer as needed.  It appears that we currently have the situtation somewhat under control and one application of granular BTI should be sufficient to maintain and minimize the midge fly population.  So far reports, from residents, have been positive regarding the impact of midge flies this past year.  We will continue to monitor this approach and modify it if necessary.

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