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Apathy could derail wonderful community

by Frank Leeming, September 2, 2019

A wonderful community could be derailed by apathy

Here’s the dilemma

We live in a nearly perfect place.

Affordable housing.  Low cost of living.  Beauty.  Four seasons.  Little traffic (not a single stoplight).  Low crime. No hurricanes, floods or earthquakes.  Fabulous amenities.  Great neighbors.  A community that works.  Excellent emergency medical services.  Countless clubs, churches, and organizations to meet all our needs and interests.

The only blemish is at the top of our property owners’ association.  The leadership is not up to the task it faces.

Hundreds of talented and caring POA employees work hard every day to make the Village what we want it to be, often straining against the tone and direction of those at the top of the organizational chart.

 A collusion between several boards of directors and the last three general managers/CEOs built a virtual wall, blocking Village input from making an impact or inducing change.

How property owners feel about their aloof managers was demonstrated the last two times they were given an opportunity to vote.  They soundly defeated proposed Declarations changes and then elected three candidates who said they opposed how things were being done.

No matter.

The last two boards have given our CEO such immunity and protection she feels free to impose her control and intimidate any who challenge her.

The centerpiece of her administration – a Comprehensive Master Plan (CMP) – is not right for Hot Springs Village.  Yet she pushes it and imposes it at every opportunity.

While our streets go unpaved for a third straight year, she builds an outdoor pool with marginal appeal.

Now she’s trying to jam through upgrades to the Balboa Golf Course and Clubhouse with little time for property owners to express their feelings.  Both projects are valid, but details of the work and its funding need to be openly talked about.  One public forum isn’t enough. Delaying final decisions for at least six months should be a given.

And while some good people are looking at marketing and trying to make our budget process more transparent, they’re constrained by the platforms they’re working on.

Marketing needs its own independent venue to help shape how we’re going to attract new homeowners to the Village.  Being shoved off to the side as a part of the CMP is not going to lead to meaningful control over the hundreds of thousands of dollars the POA has spent for marketing in recent years.

And an ad-hoc budget committee is not the same as a standing finance committee reporting directly to the board.

So the dilemma: We live in a great place, a near-perfect community, yet we feel it slipping away and there’s nothing we can do about it.  In a democracy, and in a corporation where shareholders determine the future, we feel helpless.

Danger lurks around the corner in the form of apathy

The danger just around the corner is apathy.  Property owners may turn away in frustration and go about playing golf and hiking and fishing and working in the garden and going to church and traveling and let those in charge of the POA have their way.

If we let apathy roll over us as it did in the middle of this decade, our wonderful community will flounder and slowly fall apart.  All the dynamism and excitement which led the Village to be named the only Thousand Points of Light community in America will fade and what makes us special will be gone.

Hot Springs Village – a thousand points of light

Let’s remember how President George H.W. Bush said he would “keep America moving forward, always forward – for a better America, for an endless enduring dream and a thousand points of light.”

That’s the spirit we need to keep alive in Hot Springs Village.

hot springs village 1000 points light hsv
1000 Points of Light Fountain

by Frank Leeming, September 2, 2019


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