‘Catch 22’

People have asked why a Board Member may seem not to be living up to their campaign platform which was (or at leased was perceived by many to be) in favor of POA change. People have asked why a board member, or anyone for that matter, would support or be part of anything questionable (such as a CMP, or non-transparency, or the Vote, or you name it) and which might be harmful to the Village we all know and love. Because, after all, they live here too, don’t they? The answer is simple.

What we have here is a ‘Catch 22’

So, what does that mean? First, we have to realize how we got here. It came about sort of like is this: Circa 2010 – 2012, a few players got themselves on the Board and decided they knew what was best. Lets call them the ‘New Thought Group’. They started the ball rolling. It seemed innocuous at first, even positive. They talked a good game and convinced others. “Let’s run the Village more like a business”, they said. “We need new growth”, they said. “Let’s get rid of a weak, unpopular GM”, they said. This ‘New Thought Group’ mentality led to a dreamer and closet developer named Twiggs. That led to a MP Workbook of grandiose ideas, which led to a novel concept, let’s call it ‘New Urbanism’. This then led to Bylaw and Policy changes which led to another idea, lets call it ‘Corporatization’. The combination of these ‘New Thought Group’ concepts led to Lawyers, Consultants, PR firms, and fancy titles like Chairman and CEO. All of this led to needing more Money. The need for more Money led to ‘Two Tier’ (despite warnings and objections of many) which naturally led to a Lawsuit. Winning the ‘Two Tier’ lawsuit further empowered and emboldened the ‘Corporatization’ and ‘New Urbanism’ thinkers. That then led to a CMP which, in turn, led to a need for more Power which has now led to the 2018 Vote.

Meanwhile, as the rolling ball was picking up speed many of the old timey and apathetic Villagers were sleeping and/or not paying much attention. After all, a majority of residents moved here to enjoy retirement and fish or play golf, not police the local politics and management. The original ‘New Thought Group’ board members and their followers got others of similar mind set to run and get elected to the board or join various committees. This facilitated all of the above noted “this led to’s”. Before the rest of the Villagers knew it a majority of the Board Members, Committee Members, and Senior POA Staff were all of the ‘New Thought Group’ mentality. The result was a Village that had morphed into a Corporation, ‘Of Itself, By Itself and For Itself’. This then led to more Money Spending, Lawyers, Fancy E-blasts, Spin Doctoring, Public Relations Firms, Heavy Promotion and lots of Double-Speak. The end result is that many new, unthinking or still half sleepy Villagers gradually bought in to the ‘New Thought Group’ ideas. Hear it enough. . . you end up believing it. Kind of like you cook a bull frog. . . put him in a pot of cool water. . . turn the heat up very very slowly and before you know it. . . he’s cooked!

So what’s the ‘Catch 22’ you ask?

Basically, it works like this: A new person of good intentions and ideas for change decides he/she wants to run for the Board of Directors. They campaign with those good ideas and intentions and – bingo – they get elected. Then they wake up to the reality that the game they thought they were getting into is actually different when on the inside. The Bylaws and Policies restrict sensible ideas and change thinking. Free speech is restricted; loyalty is required. They are overwhelmed with legal indoctrination about the ‘Corporate’ way and their Fiduciary Duty to the ‘Corporation’. The ‘New Thought Group’ are in total control and calling all the shots. To object or resist is sure suicide. So, rather than rock the boat and chance being censured, reprimanded or bounced from the Board they ever so slowly begin to ‘go along to get along’.

It is classic: ‘Catch 22’
Or, in simpler terms: ‘You Can’t Get There From Here’

Or, one could also say: They start sipping the Kool-Aid. And then, the rolling ball just keeps on a rolling and picking up more speed. That, my friends is where we are and is how the classic ‘Catch 22’ situation came to be, right here in Hot Springs Village.

So, one might now ask: How do we stop this travesty? What can we do?
Unfortunately there is no easy clear cut solution. The answers are not simple and it will take time. It will take a mandate from the people, an uprising of sorts. This starts with the 2018 Vote and, hopefully, an overwhelming defeat of all 13 of the Propositions on this coming Friday, November 30, 2018. Be aware: It is not too late to change your vote. Just show up at the meeting and get in line.

The next steps are even less clear and won’t be easy, particularly if the Vote goes yes. At a minimum a slate of three hard line candidates must be elected to the BOD come April 2019. By hard line, read that as: ‘Anti-New Thought Group’. Candidates must be elected who are pledged to stand united and oppose the tyranny. Then, after another year, another hard line candidate needs to be elected to swing the majority. These need to be people who will get us back to running like a simple Village with a General Manager, realistic goals and common sense. . . Directors who don’t just ‘go along to get along’.

But, what happens if the vote goes wrong? What happens if. . . ? I don’t want to have to go there. And, if you are reading this, and making any sense of it, you don’t either. Let’s hope for the best and go out and talk to any ‘Yes’ acquaintances you may have. Send them this message. See what you can do. It doesn’t have to be:
‘Catch 22’

Tom Blakeman