"I Want What I Want When I Want It."

Discussion in 'Sun City General Discussions' started by BPearson, Mar 5, 2023.

  1. BPearson

    BPearson Well-Known Member

    There's volumes written on the differences between the "Greatest Generation" and the "Baby Boomers." Perhaps the simplest way to is explain it is silly, but on point: The greatest generation grew up with radio series that ran from week to week, month to month, year to year. Their life's satisfaction was earned through hard work and constant saving to eventually reach their goal.

    Boomer's grew up in the era of the 30 minute sit-coms and murder mysteries that were solved in an hour long program. Gratification was instantaneous and expected. We were entitled while the generation before us, learned patience and investing in the ownership responsibilities that came with a community like Sun City. They were willing to invest the time and effort to make it work.

    It should come as no surprise to many when the GM hired in 2006 tapped into that mindset and suggested we stop recruiting volunteers and label ourselves the "Fun City." Even down to the Hawaiian shirts it was intended to create a more relaxed less committed atmosphere.

    It also perfectly fit the mindset of many of the boomers looking to buy. In the immortal words of Alfred E Neuman, "What, me worry?' The problem was Sun City was built on a wholly different platform of every other age restricted community. They are typically much more expensive, much better run because of their higher costs.

    We have always been the poor man's Grand or Sun City West or most of the 1000 others around the country. We were always better run when the community was involved (1960-2006). We had brilliant people living here and we asked/begged them for their help. We stayed inexpensive because of those who volunteered and offered to keep us that way.

    In 2006, everything changed. The new mindset of just let us (management and some of the board) became the mantra. With each passing day we transitioned to become newer age restricted community lite, but without the professional management capabilities. The good news was we stayed cheap. the bad news was, we stayed cheap.

    It truly was a two edged sword. On one hand we kept fees low for couples and screwed the singles by making anyone buying here as a single subsidize a couple. On the other hand we exploded PIF fees from a starting point in 1999 of $750 to its current $4000. The good new is the massive number of home sales (more than 2000 a year) brought in gobs of money. The bad news is the GM and a handful of board members had absolute and total control over how it was spent (after 2012 when the long range planning committee was disbanded).

    Did they spend it wisely and in the best interests of the membership? Far be it from me to be the judge, but from a practical standpoint and worse yet, the shitstorm of problems we find ourselves in today, i would answer no. Let me be more emphatic, NO.

    The Mountain View remodel speaks volumes to us. The arguments we are hearing are basically from those wanting the performing arts theater. I get it, i truly do. You've been screwed 6 ways from Sunday. I would argue you did virtually nothing to help your cause beyond whining a lot. but that's on you. The former GM had zero interest in a theater, NONE.

    Golf will be inscribed on her tombstone and i will never be able to explain why? The board, while i was on it, was mostly (6 of the 9) golfers and they swallowed her pitch hook, line and sinker. I could and have argued the push to invest and subsidize golf was a quest to drive the 3 private country club's out of existence and create another 1000 or more high-end housing units, but she never articulated that to me/us.

    Let's get back to the theater. Did you know the DEVCO performing arts theater proposed for the corner of 99th and Bell Road was to seat 1800 people? Did you know the plan was to deed it to the RCSC immediately upon completion? Did you know the RCSC was terrified of accepting that kind of a project and the expenses that came along with it?

    But alas, the Bell Rec Center was 5 million dollars over budget and that was before the theater was built. The plan was scrapped and it became a shopping center. Since that time, performance groups of all stripes lobbied for something they could perform in that was comfortable for residents to sit in and performers to share their talents with the community. It was a reasonable expectation.

    It just never got board support and management had no interest (did i mention that before?). their best opportunity was between 1999 and 2006. Sadly the money was never there with the PIF just starting in 2000. Worse yet many of the amenities were in trouble as they were aging poorly. Several iterations of drawings appeared before the long range planning committee, some really well done and not very expensive. Seems to me back then the average projection was in the 5 million dollar range (some less than that)..

    They never made any headway as the Bell renovation, then the Fairway rebuild got a higher priority rating. Then around 2012, after the Marinette pickleball pavillion was built (as a recommendation by the LRPC), the board/gm voted to get rid of the long range planning committee. The GM was mad their proposal to the board took away from her planned golf course rebuilds. It was roughly 6 million dollars plus.

    With them (the LRPC) gone the theater was out of sight, out of mind. Whenever the idea picked up a little steam, another need was identified and bypassed the theater. Around 2015 there was a push and for some strange reason, the decision was made to spend more than 10 million dollars on Willowbrook and Willowcreek golf courses, even though the PGA expert who reviews our courses every year said they were good till 2024/2025. These courses were newer because they were built 14 years after the North course.

    Once the PIF budget was pissed away on that project, the Mountain View rebuild really picked up steam. An ad hoc committee, two town hall meetings and lots of interest was generated. If we are to be totally honest, the two things that took center stage (pun intended) was keeping their community pool and building a theater. The odd one offs of a basketball/volleyball gym were distractions with virtually no data supporting adding them. The indoor walking track was never mentioned, why should it be? There was one less than a mile away.

    Everything was on track to get the members living around Mountain View's needs/expectations met. Then a funny (not) thing happened. A small piece of land became available on Grand Ave. A couple of the board members started salivating over the property and walla, we bought it for 750k and plans began as to who would get space there.

    Another ad hoc committee was formed just for this new Grand center and it was jammed through and Mountain View was kicked to the curb...yet again. No idea how much money was spent on the Grand Center but i would guess a safe bet would be in the 10 million dollar range. Way more than enough to have done the Mountain View theater, pool and mini-golf renovations. And more importantly to have done them at reasonable prices and completed in short working order.

    Grand was the vision for a board who wanted what they wanted when they wanted it and the massive golf course expenditures were the vision of the GM who wanted what she wanted when she wanted it. No one ever bothered to ask the community what they wanted...they were just done in spite of the community.

    Fast forward to 2020 and 2021, we found a board who got sideways with the firing of Karen McAdam and were desperate to buy their way out of the nightmare they found themselves in. New theater? No problem. New gym? No problem. Multiple pools? No problem. Indoor dog arena? No Problem. Pickleball courts at Lake View? No problem. New softball building that should have been built in 2018? No problem. Reline the lake? No problem. Finally fix the Marinette Clay club? No problem. Finishing the room at Grand? No problem.

    I suspect you get the picture, the promises became bigger than their wallets and now with home sales stalling, we've promised everything to everybody. It's no surprise my new best friend Tom Swenson is freaking out all over social media whining about the Players getting screwed. They are. The problem is more about the fiduciary responsibilities of the previous board than not having comfortable seating for residents and a decent stage and and off stage areas for the performance groups.

    As i said before, i get it. Those of you who are members of the Players simply want what you want when you want it. Who cares if it cost 4o million dollars? Who cares about the long range success of the community? The argument that a theater is somehow Sun City's future success story and why we will survive is ludicrous.

    If the board gives in, we simply continue the long tradition of just giving whomever whatever it is they want without any kind of strategic or comprehensive plan in place. You'd think a community with a 25 million dollar yearly budget, an asset value of roughly 140 million dollars would have the capacity to do better than flying by the seat of their pants and just doing whatever whenever because someone moans the loudest, or there are people in high places who think they know better than the community at large.

    We need to do better as a community. More on that later.
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2023
  2. Larry

    Larry Active Member

    There is a cautionary tale in today’s Arizona Republic that chronicles what is happening in Scottsdale presently. They passed a $319 million bond issue in 2019 with plans to fund 60 projects for either upgrading existing or adding new facilities. Because of the timeframe involved, they also planned no more 20% inflation by 2023. As of today, they are $115 million over budget because the actual inflation has been double what was projected. I’ve asked several times on this forum when and how that number was arrived at. Sounds to be it is a SWAG at best and maybe nowhere near reality. My second question has always been how are you going to pay for it? Neither question has ever been answered to anyone’s satisfaction.
  3. FYI

    FYI Well-Known Member

    I can hear Veruca from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory singing "I want it now!"

    But where are the oompa loompa's when you really need them?
  4. Cheryl

    Cheryl New Member

    Thank you for taking your time to write this. I highly value your knowledge and insight as you truly do know the history of how we have arrived at this point.

    In addition to the $40 MM. I also believe at issue will be that facility going dark for 5 to 7 years. No amenities for that small intimate facility area residents have grown to know and love.

    Interestingly, I spoke with a large commercial contractor. His largest accomplishment was being a part of the cardinals stadium. He is familiar with theaters and rec centers. His estimation was at least 3 to 5 years, longer if dealing with demo of existing infrastructure.

    I believe the community (and the accountant in me) needs to be aware of the current funds, how they are allocated, and a projection as to the balance of PIF after all current proposed expenditures.

    Also, that facility will be offline for years, with nothing. Dark side of the moon there.

    Something to think about.
  5. BPearson

    BPearson Well-Known Member

    Great following with 250 reads and some good responses. There's more though, way more.

    Let me shock the readers with this: The former GM may have been right. Yes, i said it and have always understood her argument; i simply didn't agree. All of which doesn't make either my vision or her vision right. My position as i sat debating/discussing with her was simply this: IT SHOULD BE THE MEMBERS WHO DECIDE...not me, not you, not even the board. She was terrified of letting them decide.

    While many lament my references to our history and the fact i am trapped in the past, i always chuckle to myself. Really? History tells us of the 35 year struggle (1961-1996) where the powers that be (including many of the organizations) pushed the need for Sun City to incorporate. Revenue sharing was the basis and the idea we were leaving "free money" on the table by not becoming a city was foolishness. Based on our population, we could see excesses in the millions of dollars from the state if we just became Peoria, Glendale or Surprise like with our own city government.

    Those living here fought it every step of the way. John Meeker/DEVCO tried to convince residents it was the right way to go. The Farrell Report on alternative forms of city governance was little more than a subtle push to change direction. The reality was, those living here loved being the member/owners. They didn't want a mayor, or city council people, or a police force and garbage collectors paid through their local city government taxes. They knew in time the revenue sharing would be gone and the costs born of a city bureaucracy would soon inflate the taxes collected and the only solution was like where they came from...raising their property taxes to pay for everything.

    It's a fascinating story that doesn't get much coverage. For those of us who know, it was lesson on what those who came before us wanted. Does that mean now, the boomers want that? Hardly. Maybe the former GM and the bulk of the board members that worked with her believed it was time to move to a single entity governance where the GM and a handful of board members decide what's best for us? We know the documents that she drafted and were passed by the board took away the safeguards the "greatest generation" built into them. We know less meetings and less input from both members and committees was the new normal. And, we knew not ever having a membership meeting was perfectly fine with them.

    That's why i say, maybe they were right. Maybe no one cares enough anymore to get involved or speak out...unless of course it comes time to "want what they want when they want it." It seems to me that is the exact reason we are where we are. For the past ten years we let the management team and a handful of board members make every decision for us.

    The question becomes easy for me: Did they know better? Consider this:
    * We are now locked in an ugly controversy over Mountain View. The theater. pool and amenities there should have redone years ago.
    * Instead the GM/board opted for 10 million plus dollars on two golf courses that weren't due renovations till 2024/2025.
    * Instead the GM/board opted for 10 million plus dollars to buy the land for the Grand Center and build it.
    * Instead of listening to the members and committees (before 2010) tell them over and over again we needed to update our technology, they opted to completely ignore any investment in technology and now we are light years behind the curve.
    * Instead of paying attention to golf trends (pre-pandemic), they pumped 50-75 million dollars (current number) into golf course renovations with no plan or strategy to recover those costs. Then Covid 19 hit and the courses got a great boost as it was the only game in town. Sadly management made those decisions of and by themselves with a poorly thought out choice to sell cheap golf to non-residents via full play half price passes. And then when members complained, they argued it was good for the community. Are you freaking kidding me?
    * I won't belabor this because it is yesterday's news. Carole Martinez and i begged our fellow board members and the GM to put the question of buying the Lakes Club before the membership. Let them decide. Instead we were told not to say a word about it for fear "it would drive up the price." It was pure and utter BS.

    It really is this simple, if no one cares anymore, so be it. Then i can quit my campaign for this community to stay true to its roots. Sun City was built on a platform of ownership, accountability, responsibility and forging a sense of community. A place when the greater good was more important than any one club or group. My only argument is this: It should never have been left to a handful of board members and a GM who had a vision of trying to make us like all the others. We were are and always should be unique in my humble opinion.
  6. Larry

    Larry Active Member

    Nia N Maxwell likes this.
  7. Larry

    Larry Active Member

    How can anyone say they are for this project when nobody has a clue what it will actually cost? I don’t know when or how the estimated costs were arrived at. Does anyone know? And remember, you don’t build a church for Easter Sunday, so set a budget and live with it. This entire process is an absolute joke.
    LoriEllingson, jeb, Linduska and 2 others like this.
  8. eyesopen

    eyesopen Well-Known Member

    [​IMG] The Sun City Players wrap up their 2022-2023 Season this month. They presented three performances. Their group hosts classes on all things related to theater through the year.
    A Performance Arts Center seating 400 limits its use when you consider how many people attend other events, like our concert series. The committee reviewing the whole Mountain View plan will hopefully consider the needs of our community, not just the Players’ wish list.[​IMG]
  9. BPearson

    BPearson Well-Known Member

    Somehow we morphed into an organization that never budgeted for projects but simply accepted whatever a contractor told us what it would cost. Back in 2005 when the Fairway project began, the board allocated 18 million dollars, it came in at 16.2 million. I know the last couple of building projects i paid any attention to (the South pro-shop and the Grand Center), i asked the management member (who now runs clubs) what we had budgeted and told us we don't budget an amount, we just pay them when it's done. Say what? I guess it's the new normal.

    With that aside, i've been engaging on social media (Facebook) a bit regarding the MV project. What has become abundantly clear is, most followers/posters don't know much other than what they want. How we got to this crappy place in time was lost in the shuffle, hence the reason i started the thread. If i could summarize this fiasco, it would come down to this: When you don't have a comprehensive strategic plan and fly by the seat of your pants, the end result is exactly why we are where we are today.

    As far back as 2010 i have been posting that from 2000-2030, Sun City will be in the spectacular position to have collected in excess of 200 million dollars from the PIF. I wasn't some sort of idiot savant genius, it was just math. Numbers of homes sold times amount of revenue derived from it over a 30 year period. Back when the long range planning committee was the real deal, they had their hands all over a more cohesive plan. When the board kicked them to the curb around 2012, everything came from the GM. Not that it mattered much as before their dismissal the GM told them point blank they only had 25% of those dollars, she needed the other 75% for her golf course renovations. I was on the board at the time and shocked the board members didn't tell her to pound salt.

    Social media has brought forth a myriad of comments. Those who want the theater could care less about the 40 million dollars; like the Nike commercial, Just Do It. Those who hate the idea are at least reasonable enough to call for a vote of the membership. I tend to agree because the idea 5 or 6 board members strapped us with this 40 million dollar project was just as preposterous as the new board members saying hell no. This is such a hot button issue, members should weigh in, after all it affects every one of us.

    Another problem with MV rebuild is the ripple affect. Closing down Mountain View entirely for 2 years (minimum in my opinion) causes all sorts of other issues. The most easily identified comes from the commitment to build pickleball courts at Lakeview. There's no money allocated from PIF for them, so the 1 to 2 million dollars has to be added to the top of the MV project (not as a line item but in real dollars not identified in the current PIF budget). Two other issues create runoff from it. The most obvious is the noise factor and no matter what the "experts" tell us about noise abatement solutions, the real world is that constant clack/clacking of ball on paddle will destroy the serenity of one of the most serene places in Sun City. Those owning homes on the lake will be, to put it mildly, pissed.

    The second issue is classic, because it follows our pattern of failed planning. Build courts there so we can rip them out when we rebuild Lakeview. Sound familiar? The Lakeview Center should be our centerpiece; our showplace. Doing it half-assed would be nonsense, but pretty clearly our current modus operandi. Every square inch of that massive footprint should be used to maximize the space and the needs of the membership. If the small MV footprint is costing us 40 million dollars, what do you think the LV remodel will come in at?

    Of course we don't know, nor apparently don't care. We simply flutter from board to board, GM to GM, each with their own vision for the RCSC. Members simply are expected to pay the bills. While serving on the board, when the GM/fellow board members were eliminating committees, i asked them to replace them with semi-annual town hall meetings where we had open, honest discussion on the community's needs. Talk about a fart in a crowed elevator.

    There's been a lot of chaos this past couple of years. You can't break the pattern/mold without it. Most of us are truly comfortable in the status quo, even when we don't like it, we know it is way easier than the struggles that take place when you create turmoil and try and reinvent the wheel...or more appropriately try and restore the sense of community Sun City was founded under and around.

    Hopefully the discomfort will stir the membership to step up and get involved. We'll see.
  10. BPearson

    BPearson Well-Known Member

    One of the most intriguing aspects of the MV project has been; there is a raft of ideas floated by those of us who have no real idea of what would fit where? I know in retrospect, we should have purchased the La Ronde shopping center (both sides of the street, back around 2012). The owner wanted out and we toyed (really briefly) with the idea but it quickly died. Had we only know the firestorm that was coming, it would have been a touch of genius. I know i wasn't smart enough then to get my head around it.

    I also suggested, 6 months back the RCSC trying to buy one half of the shopping center adjacent to the Sun Bowl. The idea was to bulldoze it and create an enclosed entertainment complex for both (Sun Bowl and theater) would satisfy the county's stringent code requirements for parking. The center is in bad repair and the rumor was some of the business owners were struggling to pay their rent.

    If i told you i have heard a half a dozen suggestions. that may well be a bit shy of reality. We all like to second guess options and ideas on how to fix the mess the former board left us in. Sorry, but the 40 million dollar project is crazy IMHO. Worse yet, what they are proposing seems like a pipe dream, simply because of the small footprint and large number of projects attached to the three phases.

    I know the Players like to tell us about how all the other groups want to have this and i suspect there is some desire, though clearly not at the level of the Players. I sometimes get ripped for being anti-theater but the fact is we were season ticket holders for many years in St. Paul MN and loved going to the Ordway Theater for plays. It was a drop dead gorgeous venue in downtown. Like many theater's around the country, a good share of its build was due to the Ordway family that left a boatload of money to get it built.

    Beyond that, we saw shows in Vegas and on Broadway when we vacationed. I would also argue and support the importance of a Sun City venue with comfortable seating, well appointed back stage areas and proper storage for props and stage materials. That said, when i first saw the proposed MV project, i felt i was looking at a massive theater in Scottsdale, and supported by wealthy patrons donated to fund it. It was spectacularly beautiful.

    I've always been a fan of function over form. I want stuff to be useful first and pretty second. One would argue we could do both but i have found that is seldom the case. Even more interesting has been the argument about the need for "flat space" in Sun City. It's a legitimate argument but the idea of a basketball gym fulfilling those needs never quite worked for me. The biggest problem was having two separate buildings (theater and gym) was only going to magnify the parking question. Covered space has a different requirement than open space i have been told. Once there is a roof on it, the requirements increase.

    The entire point of this long diatribe is the lead up to a potential solution: Could one building serve both purposes? I know, confusing. However the long range planning committee has been questioning/challenging management on two different fronts that may or may not be viable. The first is using pre fabricated buildings which these days, once they are sided, you cannot tell the difference from stick-built (bad term but you get the idea). Is there any cost savings in doing that? We owe it to ourselves to know that answer.

    The second has been floated several times and dismissed out of hand. Retractable seating has made quantum leaps from the old days of sliding bleachers. I was told there is a very large complex at ASU that is a structure with seating for a huge crowd that is mechanically opened and closed and serves a dual purpose as "flat space." My guess is, it's not as gorgeous as the plans we saw, but is it doable? What if we could get flat space when needed and comfortable seating for 600 with a well appointed stage area?

    While some are attacking the current board for doing their due diligence, i would expect no less from them. Throwing money at projects because they can is foolishness. Worse yet with the downturn in sales, the real question is, can we even afford the proposal passed last year?
  11. Larry

    Larry Active Member

    Why doesn’t the board explore an alternate site for a theater instead of trying to do the impossible task of piling everything into one site? Or is the long range plan to take ove the Sun City Country Club spot when the new water restrictions go into affect?
    Janet Curry likes this.
  12. FYI

    FYI Well-Known Member

    As should those who criticize!

    What needs to be done IMO is there needs to be some sort of presentation that shows the community just how far advanced newer technologies have come. The community too needs to do their due diligence.

    When you talk about a metal building people think of the plain, square, box type garages or storage buildings they have seen in TV commercials which can't be any farther from their true potential.

    And when you talk about retractable seating people think about the old wooden bleachers from their old high school gymnasium days! Retractable seating has advanced to terraced, theater-type seating with many options for the seat design. Everything from a simple folding seat to cushioned arm-chair. Seating options are available depending on how much you want to spend.

    I think if people actually knew what was available you would eliminate more than half of the negative comments.

    Bottom Line: If you're going to reject, out of hand, any recommendation for a metal building or retractable seating without understanding their full potential then you should perhaps just keep your comments to yourself!

    But then again...is it really about the design or is it just I Want it NOW?
  13. FYI

    FYI Well-Known Member

    Someone mentioned on another thread regarding the Focus Group and the Sun City Survey, "Also, why are we paying ASU to do this? I think this should be part of a thesis project or internship that the students decide to do."

    How about a thesis project or internship for those students studying architecture to develop a layout and plan for Mountain View or a Performing Arts Theater?

    Just wondering if ASU would bite? Sure could be a lot cheaper than CCBG plus, you would be getting the latest design trends from a younger generation?

    Might be an option at least until a final design is approved?
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2023 at 2:27 PM
  14. BPearson

    BPearson Well-Known Member

    Not a bad idea Tom but then we probably wouldn't be living up to Sun City standards (whatever that means). One has to wonder/question why CCBG gets everything we do? Is that the smart way? The right way? Or, just the Sun City way to get the best outcomes? I've always wondered why the idea of competing for our works was such a foreign concept?

    I guess the good news was the walking track less than a mile a way at Fairway was so inspiring they just built it into the MV plan...go freaking figure.
    Janet Curry, Linda McIntyre and FYI like this.
  15. Linda McIntyre

    Linda McIntyre Well-Known Member

    I know people are used to their "own" neighborhood facility so to speak...it's comfortable. But seriously. With MV and Fairway a mile apart, redundancy is ridiculous. Space allocation is critical. Needs assessment must be analyzed rationally. We keep hearing: great pool and spa, pickelball, mini-golf, theater, flat space! Is that it? Can it happen without the extras that were thrown in? And make the outdoor space really great and still give us a theater that's truly big enough to meet our future needs and provides the comfort expected when attending such performances, and frankly we deserve. Looking around we could use a little "life" added to our facilities.
    Janet Curry, Enigma, Linduska and 3 others like this.
  16. Say What

    Say What Active Member

    If you build anything south of Grand, you are building something nice in the middle of a ghetto. Are we going to pay for armed guards 24/7 to protect members and the RCSC property? Sorry, but south of Grand isn't safe, and it hasn't been for years Bill, enough in every thread about Meeker and Devco. You're a broken record. Go write a book. Kill many birds with one stone. Buy Union Hills golf course, make some of the course a park for all including dogs. Many many pickle ball courts, a state of the art theater. Forget about pools, spas, weight rooms. That's at Marinette. Club space could be in the new building also.
  17. BPearson

    BPearson Well-Known Member

    You never fail to amaze me sw. I'll push for buying that golf course if you'll agree to pay the legal fees associated with the 300 lawsuits from those owning homes on the course. The path is pretty simple; 50-75k per lot. The difference with the RCSC buying it and a land developer is we would use it as an amenity, they'd build 200 or 300 high end condos and can absorb the per lot payoff in the settlement that will be forthcoming.
    Cheri Marchio and Linda McIntyre like this.
  18. Larry

    Larry Active Member

    I wonder how the three private courses will survive when the new water restrictions go into effect. I don’t know how they will be able to afford to make the necessary changes.
    Cheri Marchio likes this.
  19. BPearson

    BPearson Well-Known Member

    They won't, putting in desert landscaping will cost far more than they paid for to buy the courses.
    Cheri Marchio likes this.

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