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The Rancho Murieta Association board of directors Tuesday night revisited the possibility of taking over security service for the community and Director Dick Cox defended his conduct as a board member and his right to speak freely following a complaint from another director.

Director Candice Koropp, who launched the conversation about security, said the service is  “lacking,” with “a slow response and sometimes no response,” and the RMA CC&Rs aren’t being enforced.  For example, she said her mother has been coming through the gate for two years on a long-expired guest pass.

She cited another example, an open house held last Saturday, with red and white signs directing people to the open house.  Open houses must be held on Sundays, and signs must be a uniform brown and beige.  When she went to the South Gate to complain, the gate officer responded with what amounted to a shrug, she said.

The notion of the RMA taking over security from the Community Services District has been a recurring theme for at least a decade.  The key argument made by Koropp has been made before by RMA directors -- that the CSD collects a lot of money to handle security and the community gets an insufficient return.

The CSD took over security from the RMA in 1984, after RMA requested the change.  That request was made to utilize the CSD’s ability to enact ordinances requiring that customers pay for the service and to place any delinquent accounts on the tax rolls for collection.

The RMA board also voted 4-2 Tuesday to end its participation in the Joint Security Committee, a quarterly meeting that includes the CSD, Country Club, Murieta Village and Murieta Plaza merchants.

Director Vicky Lentz argued the meeting no longer focuses on security issues and it’s “redundant.”  President Jim Moore backed her view, saying the RMA and CSD “can get together in 10 minutes” instead to solve any problems.

Directors Andy Keyes and Roy Harmon voted against the motion.

Dick Cox

Dick Cox read the comment he posted at RM.com and said it slandered no one.

Moore said the issues around Cox’s conduct had been discussed in executive session. He said the public meeting offered an opportunity for the parties involved to discuss it in open session.

Cox opened the conversation with an invitation to Keyes: “I’d like to hear publicly from my accuser what I’m accused of.”

Keyes said he called for the meeting over a post Cox made at RanchoMurieta.com because the code of conduct forbids directors from disseminating misinformation -- “i.e., that boards were owned by a developer.”

Keyes said that story is often told, but it doesn’t serve the community to promote “what I would consider a rumor in online forums or in print.  Further giving those theories legs and credibility I think destroys the credibility of the board in the long run.”

“To disparage past boards or present boards doesn’t serve us in the future to give us any credibility in the community,” Keyes said.

Cox opened by reading an e-mail Keyes sent to board members in which Keyes called for the board to put a stop to “slander” by Cox.

Cox read the comment he posted at RM.com, in which he interpreted how motorcycle rules came to be in the community. He said it did not slander anyone, as Keyes claimed.

“I have campaigned forever on openness of meetings here,” Cox said after reading the comment. “I have most of my working life defended the right of people to speak their minds.”

He added, “If you don’t like how I represent you, recall me.  Throw me out.” Keyes interjected under his breath, “Good idea.”  Cox continued, “I have conscientiously done what I think is right for this organization, and I violated nothing with this statement.”

No board action was planned on the matter.

In comments after a meeting break, neighbor Carl Gaither pointed to the divide between Keyes and Harmon and the rest of the board.  “While the comments [by Cox] were going on, [Keyes and Harmon were] over there snickering to themselves, as they’re doing right now,” Gaither said.  He called them “an embarrassment to this board.”

Andy Keyes and Roy Harmon

The meeting behavior of Andy Keyes, left, and Roy Harmon was criticized by one member Tuesday night.

Keyes responded, “I believe we had a board last year that was very much the same split, it was just in a different direction.  And on multiple occasions, a former board member and Mr. Cox used to do very much the same thing -- commentary, talking amongst themselves, while other board members were giving their committee meeting minutes or conducting their reports.  And in fact, in many cases, shutting their computers down before that board member was even finished.”

Another member came to the podium to tell the board to work out its personal differences and not impose them on the membership in a public meeting.

MTI changes CC&Rs

Bobbie Fite, vice president of the Murieta Townhouses Inc. board of directors, reported that more than 60 percent of  eligible MTI voters approved a revision of the homeowner association’s covenants, conditions and restrictions. The revised CC&Rs shift responsibility for driveways, decks and siding from MTI to townhouse owners. MTI will continue to be responsible for roofs, exterior painting and insurance. The change means monthly townhouse association dues will be reduced from $276 to $199, Fite said. Townhouse owners also pay dues to RMA since they belong to both homeowner associations.

RMA President Jim Moore said although the CC&Rs that govern MTI  are “embedded” in RMA’s, MTI members were able to change them because the changes apply solely to townhouses.

RMA members will be notified by postcard when the revised MTI CC&Rs are posted on the RMA web site, RMA General Manager Nick Arther said.
In brief

  • Boy Scout Jacob Wolhart provided an update on the Eagle Scout project he first brought to the board two years ago -- installing dispensers for bags that residents can use to collect and dispose of dog waste. He said he hopes to place an order for four dispensers later this week and plans to install them at Laguna Joaquin, Stonehouse Park, Lake Calero and Riverview Park after RMA staff finalizes the locations.
  • The board approved a $4,420 purchase of equipment for the broadband system that meets a post-9/11 federal security requirement currently being met with equipment that costs $400 a month to rent. Previous coverage of this story is available here
  • Directors approved a contract renewal with Scripps Network for five TV channels. The cost increases for the channels are within the amount the RMA budgeted this year for increases, Financial Manager Colleen Hagyard told the Finance Committee last week.
  • The removal of a large redwood tree on Trinidad Court that caused a sewer blockage and overflow last December has been delayed pending an appeal to the Community Services District board, Maintenance Manager Rod Hart said. The tree is on common area between a townhouse and the golf course. The owners of the townhouse are appealing the decision of CSD staff to have the tree removed. Previous coverage is available here.

Nellie Bloom's picture
Joined: 08/03/2007
Posts: 362
Post rating: 587

Thank you

Karen for the excellent coverage. Thank you Dick Cox for your commitment to an open process that includes the membership. Thank you Carl Gaither for speaking up on security issues and for pointing out Directer Keyes' and Harmon's disruptive and unprofessional behavior.

We face plenty of challenges in our community.  We need a Board that can work together for the benefit of the membership they serve.  I urge community members to speak up and ask for the kind of leadership we want. We are almost there. 

For my friends and peer group with kids and sports practice and work and more.. please use our online forums to participate in the process.  I hear many of your smart, good suggestions. Our community and our kids need you. Even in a small community such as ours, the wheel turns slowly.  We need to participate now.

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

Great video/sound quaility

I have to echo Nellie's comments regarding the excellent coverage of last nights board meeting.  I'm sure a lot of hard work went into this production. Both Karen and Ralph deserve a big THANKS!

Regarding director Keyes comment regarding his and director Harmon's childish behavior during Director Cox's testimony,, all I can say I was shocked to say the least.  For a sitting director to think it's ok to act like a child because he felt the same thing happened to him last year is stunning to say the least.  Mr. Keyes, you're a sitting director for our corporation, you were voted there to represent the members, yet you seem to act like your only goal is to attack directors and members that don't agree with your position.  It's time you move forward and drop these grudges and take care of the corporation's business.  If your not up to representing the members then resign from the board.

Cheryl Snook's picture
Joined: 07/30/2007
Posts: 43
Post rating: 50

Attn: Board Members

Why not just turn a page and start anew this Spring 2010? Learn from the past, erase the slate, and move forward -- on to creating and working as a T.E.A.M. (Together Everyone Achieves More) for the good of the membership. Keep all this sniping, inneundoes, and backstabbing inhouse and away from the public eye. It serves nothing and no one other than to create dissension with the end result that the "real" issues often get overlooked, little attention, or completely shelved until the next go-round. I seriously doubt there will ever be real cohesiveness within the Board, but at the very least exhibit behavior befitting the professionals you are and that the membership deserves. Thank you.

Gerry Quinlan's picture
Joined: 01/22/2010
Posts: 1
Post rating: 9

smart ass comments

I'm not sure if was Keyes or Harmon but which ever of you was making the smart ass comments under your breath during the meeting and during director Cox's time at the microphone, might want to find the mute button next time. You sound like a couple of 10 year olds. No offense 10 year olds!!! Anyway, at least you two are adding entertainment value to the equation.

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

security vs.complaince

In a prepared statement, Director Candice Koropp listed a number of grievances about the security services provided by RMCSD. “It seems to me that the security services provided by CSD are lacking,” Koropp said. “There is slow response – sometimes no response. Calls are certainly not always in the security logs that we might read, and our current CC&Rs are not enforced.”

Koropp cited specific infractions that she feels are not being addressed including vehicle and parking violations, enforcement of signage regulations and dogs off leashes. Her criticism also focused on gate officers who she asserted do not follow proper procedure in allowing non-residents into the community.

“I would like to have a discussion about us bringing back security under RMA where we would have the control to have things enforced that we want and not just leave it to the whims of another agency,” Koropp said.

Director Dick Cox concurred that looking into other security arrangements is a good idea. “It’s worth taking a look at,” Cox said. “I’ve been critical forever about lack of training at our front gates.”

Koropp also pointed out the issue of costs. “The questions are, could RMA provide security for less - or the same amount - where we may be able to control enforcement if it were under RMA,” Koropp said. “Could we get cheaper personnel, or could we do outsourcing of security or something to lower costs?”

Cox interjected that what the membership pays does not represent the entire CSD security budget. “The last I heard they get a little over a million a year, and they’re siphoning off a whale of a hunk for administrative expenses for security,” Cox said. “I’m sure it covers part of the general manager’s salary and administrative salaries and that. But I don’t quite see where they need $100,000 or more a year for administration of one chief and a couple of patrolman.”

From the RVT article in yesterday's paper: http://www.rivervalleytimes.com/front1.shtml  (I think that link is only good for a week, it might then be in the archived stories)



I think it would facilitate this conversation if all parties would carefully distinguish services that are considered security issues, and which ones are considered compliance issues, and which overlap.  For example, signage is compliance and has nothing to do with security.  Who gets in the gates, that's an overlap.  Security (even our security that has no authority), is different from RMA complaince since CSD security does not serve at the whim of the RMA CC&Rs, only the safety related ones.

It's pretty clear that RMA *cannot* take over security functions for all of Murieta, since RMA has more legal restrictions, does not cover all of Murieta, and if the risk of lawsuit for CSD security is great under current operating procedures, then the risk under RMA will be much greater.

RMA can however, take back compliance, gate operations, and that may very well be a worthwhile discusssion.  But before that discussion can happen, folks (residents and directors) really need to educate themselves on the issues and the legalities.

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