Dear Deborah [last name redacted],
We received your message last night (October 30, 2019). We believe in supporting our restaurants. We also don’t have our heads in the sand and understand the amount of justifiable anger people have.
One thing in your message that is correct is: it is a RUMOR and only a RUMOR that we are involved in a boycott of the Beehive.
This was your message to us:
I have heard rumors that someone is trying to get Villagers to boycott The Beehive because Cindi Erickson has an interest in this business. Please reconsider such actions. If you are upset with Cindi, arrange to set up meetings with her and tell her your feelings. If people boycott this establishment, you are affecting the lives of people who are there trying to make a living to support family and loved ones. If the business is closed down because of boycotting, these people are the ones hurt. Right now, some have only been making $45 in 3 days. The Beehive is a a [sic] place that was thriving until recently. They are still trying to provide live entertainment every Friday and Saturday for free, Trivia on Tuesday nights are free to play from 7-9 pm. Greg and Trish Jones have invested in our community. But they are having to cut back on employees’ hours. At least one of the employees has made only $45 in 3 days. No one can live on that small amount. It is the action of boycotters that are causing those workers who are struggling to make ends meet that are [sic] being affected by the boycott. There are not that many food service jobs around and it is those people who are being being [sic] hurt, not Cindi Erickson. Please reconsider and stop boycotting. Take up your grievances with her, and don’t include innocent people that happened to find a job at the Beehive.
Deborah, you started out saying that you heard “someone” is trying to get Villagers to boycott the Beehive because Cindi Erickson has an interest in this business.
Then you proceeded to tell us to reconsider such actions. This statement presumes that we are doing this, which we are not.
We are not boycotting the Beehive, nor are we encouraging people to boycott the Beehive
We have a problem with certain aspects of HSVPOA and this has nothing to do with the Beehive.
While we have heard people say to boycott the Beehive because Cindi Erickson is part owner, we cannot control what other people say. For us to think that we can control what people say or do would be very presumptuous of us.
We are not aware of any organized effort to boycott the Beehive. We have heard only a handful of people suggest this and I do mean a small number.
We did arrange a meeting with Cindi Erickson
While we felt her agreement to have a meeting with us was a very gracious thing for her to do, the situation became very ungracious. Cindi successfully shut down people in the meeting when they were asking her some hard questions. While we found this offensive, we did not say anything about this because, at this point, we did not realize how much she often tries to control the narrative. We put this off to Cindi having a bad day. Originally, we still naively had high hopes she would represent the will of the majority of the Villagers instead of the CEO’s New Urbanism CMP. We were wrong. Cindi also shutdown Tormey Campagna at this meeting.
Subsequently, she has shut me down (Cheryl) when I tried to speak and also a number of other Villagers.
Cindi also has removed from the Board Meetings the first commenting period. This was the opportunity for Villagers to speak about the agenda. This shuts down Villagers.
In addition to this, the Board has started Zooming some of their meetings, which precludes all of the audience from making a verbal statement. As Chairman of the Board, the responsibility for the ultimate decision to Zoom the meetings would lie directly on Cindi’s shoulders. This shuts down Villagers.
People are angry with some of the things Cindi has done. Maybe because of Cindi’s actions, some people are not supporting the Beehive. I don’t know if this is happening or not. Everyone is free to make their own choices and we have not asked anyone or any group to boycott the Beehive.
Putting blame on the wrong people
Sometimes when something bad happens, people tend to want to blame others when they only need to look in the mirror. If the Beehive is not thriving, perhaps look for other reasons instead of trying to blame us. We have heard many nice things about the Beehive, but we have also heard some negative things. The positive comments have outweighed the negative.
Possibly the explosion and fire at the restaurant caused some bad publicity. That must have been horrifying to be enjoying a leisurely dinner and then there is an explosion and fire from a hamburger being flamed at the table. (We are not placing any blame on anyone for this incident and do realize this was an unfortunate accident.)
Possibly business is down (if indeed it is) because it is the off-season.
Another possible reason for less business might be rainy and cloudy weather. A lot of our visitors are golfers and they cannot golf in the rain.
This is what I posted in our Facebook group in February when some individuals were questioning whether it is a conflict of interest for Cindi to vote on certain issues due to her ownership in the Beehive. (While no one in the group can share the Facebook conversation of other members, it is perfectly acceptable to share your own posts. I am choosing to share my post here in order to clarify some things):
Posted February 22, 2019
BOD member, Cindi Erickson has contacted us. She has “heard” of the conversation happening in the group. She says she would like to clarify some issues.
Please send any questions you would like to ask Cindi Erickson to me in a private message or email. I will share the questions with Cindi and then share her responses with the group. The author of the questions will not be shared. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
To be fair, we need to hear Cindi’s side of the issues.
Obviously, someone has contacted Cindi. While it is okay to discuss these same issues outside of the group, it is not okay to share the exact conversation or expose who the person is making the comments. Thank you.
Updated to add email from Cindi:
Good afternoon, Cheryl,
I am so glad you posted your email address.
In advance of any questions people may choose to pose, allow me to share these facts. Feel free to do with them whatever you choose.
Here are the current facts:
· Village Progressives is an LLC that owns the Beehive business (not the real property – we lease that from a private party, not the POA)
· Village Progressives also owns the operating contract for the Balboa Marina (again, we don’t own the real property; in fact, we don’t lease anything there, just operate it)
· Village Progressives has 4 business partners: Greg and Trisha Jones, Gordy Lowery and me (but not my husband). I am not a majority partner.
· One of Village Progressive’s partners, Greg, has privately purchased Last Chance. He intends to bring in other partners not currently associated with Village Progressives. I am not one of those partners, nor is my husband. It will be owned and operated as an entirely separate entity, not Village Progressives.
We have no reason to believe the information Cindi provided in February is not factual. In other words, Cindi does have an interest in the Beehive and the Balboa Marina and does not have any official business interests in Xplore the Lakeside restaurant.
We would like to encourage Villagers to patronize worthy restaurants in the Village. If we do not patronize our restaurants, there will be consequences.
The consequence of not patronizing our already heavily subsidized POA-owned restaurants is that less patronage may mean higher subsidization. (Unless they would do the unthinkable and shut down the restaurant. We don’t look for that to happen as the restaurants are on the golf courses.)
If we do not patronize the privately-owned restaurants, we will lose them. An under-patronized restaurant does not usually remain in business for long.
So if you believe a restaurant is worthy of staying in business and you enjoy the restaurant, and if you are able, by all means, we encourage you to support this restaurant, whether it is a POA-owned establishment or is owned by private entities.
Joe and Cheryl Dowden, October 30, 2019
Deborah Dutton would like it to be known that she is not the Deborah who wrote the email. This is correct. It was a different Deborah.