Is the RCSC Long Range Planning Committee now a charade?

Discussion in 'Sun City General Discussions' started by aggie, May 25, 2019.

  1. BPearson

    BPearson Well-Known Member

    This Tuesday morning is the next meeting of the long range planning committee. Should be interesting. With each passing day i become more detached to the current process of “self-governance,” simply because it no longer is.

    Committee’s have almost always been more show than go. Unless and until the board sees the value of them, they just become a dumping ground to make it look like we are serving a purpose. We wrote a comprehensive statement regarding the next generation of home buyers and at the core of their expectations was technology.

    Pretending we are meeting those expectations with half-measures and a band-aid approach to the myriad of problems we have regarding technology only insures we will never be compatible with their needs. What the hell was the purpose of the report if the end game is to just do whatever management wants?

    We’ll see what happens Tuesday, but i’m not holding my breath.
  2. aggie

    aggie Active Member

    I do hope there is some recognition for the committee's efforts and not just a pat on the back. Election time is coming around and it should be very interesting to see if anyone running for re-election claims transparency is important. Every time a BOD function is handed over to management there is no need for discussion/transparency at our BOD Meetings.
  3. SCR

    SCR Member

    I've expressed my thoughts on technology (or lack thereof) in Sun City and Bill is correct. A band-aid to the WIFI is totally unacceptable. Technology in Sun City must be looked
    at through the eyes of reputable outside organizations and RFP's. Input to these outside entities should come from the BOD, Management, and more importantly from the general membership of Sun City (meaning paying card members of the RCSC). What management wants (or doesn't care to have the public see) should be a mute point. The residents will in fact be the most affected by any updates, changes, or additions to our technology. Technology was out dated 21 years ago when I moved here and it remains at least 15 years behind today.

    Our management has done nothing to keep our technology fresh and up top date. Technology is an on-going project meaning that it changes on a daily basis and those charged with implementing and overseeing technology must constantly stay abreast of technology changes. Technology must be imbedded into every aspect of Sun City and it must be positioned to grow and expand when technology trends change. Our management is reactive instead of being proactive.

    I've said this in the past - our management/IT staff can no longer handle the challenges that technology creates and must hand that task to a company that can adequately address our current and future technology needs. The management/IT staff has already shown they are ill equipped to deal with Sun City's technology needs. When I was in a technology role for 35 years, classes were mandatory throughout those years to stay current and learn new and improved methods.

    I haven't seen the LRPC's recommendations to the BOD/Management. Perhaps the LRPC should publish what they have proposed so that the RCSC members can see what they have proposed.
    They should be able to add their wishes and desires and provide some input going forward.

    As far as recognition of the LRPC's efforts, I believe that recognition should be the last thing on anyone's agenda while serving with the LRPC. That's not to say that their efforts should go unnoticed.
  4. BPearson

    BPearson Well-Known Member

    When i joined the LRPC i had high hopes for this being the "real deal." The report we wrote for the board regarding the next generation of home buyers was really good. It was exactly what we needed to begin setting the course for a better Sun City. One where decisions were made based on some quantifiable criteria. Since then, we have slipped into a vacuum of doing stuff and then seeing how management feels about it. Sorry, not what i signed up for.

    I'll go to the meeting with an open mind today, but if this is going to work for me, there need be clarity on whether we are real or imagined. In the past, I've watched as boards have pretended they cared about what committees thought or said, but not how i am willing to play the game. We'll see.
  5. BPearson

    BPearson Well-Known Member

    Sadly, i just submitted my resignation from the long range planning committee. Lots of good people on the committee who want to do the right thing for Sun City. Hopefully they will make a bigger difference than i was able to make.
  6. carptrash

    carptrash Active Member

    A loss for the whole community.
  7. Emily Litella

    Emily Litella Well-Known Member

    Thank you Bill for trying. I totally understand and I think you did the right thing.

    You're a good man and you have done so much for and in Sun City. Go find a new hobby and spend some time enjoying your retirement and maintaining serenity. Life is short man.
  8. BPearson

    BPearson Well-Known Member

    Thanks guys, it was jus time. Still doing the SCHOA thing with both the CC&R and Community Research Guide committees. Of course still writing the ongoing Webb/Sun City story plus looks like i may end up back on their board next year.

    One of these days we can chat more about why i left.
  9. BPearson

    BPearson Well-Known Member

    I always prefer to inject a positive spin on my thoughts, so let me approach the topic this way: In the early 70's the only option for concert-goers to buy tickets for their favorite show was to line-up well in advance of the opening of the box office. Lines were huge for the most popular concerts and younger folks could be seen camping out a day or more in advance. They wanted the best seats.

    Then a funny thing happened on the way to the box office. A pair of ASU staffers started an online buying service called Ticketmaster (1976). They sold their first tickets in 1977. It exploded and in 1981 they began overseas sales. Once the company went global, the die was cast and an entirely new approach to selling tickets was created. Ticket prices spiked, but customers found it way more attractive than standing in long lines.

    So, what the hell does this have to do with my quitting the long range planning committee? Not much, other than as a community, we can't seem to get even the most mundane of technological upgrades done. At one of our LRPC meetings one of the longest serving members said we were complaining about wifi speeds and connectivity 12 years ago. 12 years later, the RCSC will finally get to 100 megs of download speed. Really? For at least the past 5 years (probably longer) both Sun City West and Sun City Grand have been selling tickets to events online. Really?

    When the committee was asked to put together a comprehensive plan regarding Gen X, we had two overriding themes: Cost would be critical as would technology. It wasn't guess work on our part, it was data driven and everyone agreed it was on point. Knowing over the next 20 years we would collect 150 million dollars in PIF, we suggested going forward decisions not be made emotionally or because a board member(s) or management favor them. We felt it was critical for set criteria be at the cusp of how choices were made. Using data collected by the RCSC, we were convinced we could make better informed choices.

    The problem was and still is, the RCSC (i will be kind here) is 10 years technologically behind where we should be. The solution we proposed was for the board to seek RFP's from company's on what it would cost to upgrade Sun City technology. We laid out 6 areas of concern, but apparently we weren't thorough enough in what we wanted (maybe someday i will post them, because i suspect there's way more to it than that). I told you i went to the last meeting with an open mind. Changing anything is usually easier from the inside than the outside (short of anarchy).

    I was hopeful because when the chairman of the committee ran for the board last year, he ran on the platform that Sun City has to stay competitive. He was the one who asked us to find what Gen X would want. As several of us pushed for technology to be the fulcrum of our move forward, it fell on deaf ears. Instead we watched more band-aids put on broken arms. Wifi half-steps, security camera's minimally effective with costly, stand-alone fixes and online ticket purchasing they couldn't get done for this years season.

    It was abundantly clear to me we were so far away from where we needed to go, there was no point in me staying around. Topping it off was when a committee member pushed for new buildings and proclaiming technology improvements probably wouldn't fall under PIF. Really? I know new buildings are way more sexy, but shortsightedness has plagued this community for too many years. We could do so much better. For now, it is what it is because as long as they patchwork an outdated systems, nothing will ever change. Without a major capital investment in our future we are doomed to stay the course and always be behind the others. The saving grace is, we will be the cheapest.
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2019
  10. IndependentCynic

    IndependentCynic Active Member

    BP, we know you wanted desperately to help accomplish change... hopefully you can find some consolation in knowing WE know how hard to tried. It's not over til it's over... and for many of us, it's not over. I doubt it is for you, either. Recharge your batteries, rest up. Get back in the fight if/when you think you can contribute.

    IMO, one of THE major shortcomings of the RCSC over the past 30-years has been its increasingly myopic view of the membership's desires. Sure, they keep the pools clean and the greens mowed. But forming a new club or getting new activities implemented within the RCSC is like pushing against an immovable object. They have earned the moniker of "the office of no" for a reason. It seems to matter little that the RCSC's JOB is to provide recreational facilities for their members that, presumably, the members want... and getting rid of those that too few are interested in these days.

    Recreational facilities aren't microwaveable treats -- they take planning, budgets, time to prepare. The LRPC should be the dietitian preparing the menus the members want. Times change. People change. Peoples diets change. Without a viable LRPC the menu at the RCSC will change about as often as the Luby's and Furr's cafeteria menus did... which was almost never... meatloaf on Monday, spaghetti on Tuesday, liver on Wednesday. Of course, all the Luby's and Furr's have gone out of business in Arizona because their customers abandoned them for restaurants that served the foods they wanted. You may see that as good or not, depending on how much you liked liver, but the majority apparently no longer did and majority usually drives the outcome in business.

    The difference in this analogy is the RCSC can't go out of business and there is no such thing as majority rule. The RCSC does whatever it wants... so the membership has to fund the RCSC to prepare the same old "liver" even if almost no one likes "liver" anymore. (Feel free to change "liver" to any amenity whose total cost is disproportionate to the number of users.) The membership isn't involved, and that situation will continue until the membership exerts itself and re-engages in the running of the RCSC like it did decades ago. That's going to be a tough fight since Management is firmly entrenched to resist... I hope I live long enough to see it and I hope I can afford paying for the "liver" until then.
    BPearson likes this.
  11. SCR

    SCR Member

    Bill, sorry to hear you had to resign, but it is probably the best thing you could do for you.

    I think the LRPC has lost it's vision and goals and has ceased to have any meaningfull contribution to the residents of Sun City.
    There are probably members on this committee that have their own agenda and have no consideration for the general populace.
    I don't believe anyone has seen anything that the LRPC has recommended and probably never will. Where is the transparency with the LRPC?
    They should be publishing their minutes, their recommendations, and managements/BOD's response to those recommendations. As members
    of Sun City, we have a legitimate reason to know what they are recommending. I think the LRPC has gone the way of the BOD in that they have no vision,
    they do not care what the residents want, and they have no gumption. It has turned into a sham of a committee. Bill, if you disagree, please iterate all
    your reasons for resigning. You must speak up with a loud voice (not be nice when expressing your thoughts) . The squeaky wheel gets the grease.
    Sometimes, you must stand up and raise your voice. Too many times on this board I hear the same people use kid gloves when discussing the
    board and GM and committees in Sun City. Speak up. Thia is an open forum. The RCSC cannot ban you from the facilities from expressing
    your thoughts. Everyone has and is entitled to an opinion.

    One thing I am both mystified by and curious about is why we haven't heard from ARS (Ann Randall Stewart). Although she may be banned from
    RCSC facilities, she is free to express her opinion on this forum.

    As for the BOD, they are another group that has ceased to have any meaning in Sun City. They have openly given complete control to the GM who has
    aspirations of being the soul leader of Sun City. Another group that has absolutely no vision or gumption.

    Another group I have issues with are the thousands of members of this forum who view the threads but will not add their voice to the discussion.
    What are they afraid of? They have the freedom of speech and refuse to exercise it. In my view they are the silent majority and in the end will
    wish they had spoken up when Sun City ceases to be the so called paradise so many think it is.

    As for technology, we are so far behind that it will probably take a decade or more to catch up to the rest of the world. Increasing internet speed alone
    will not bring Sun City into the future of technology. Having a smartphone does not make people smart, and it by no means makes them tech savvy.
    Where is the discussion on WIFI 6 and 7? Where is the discussion on 5G? Where is the discussion of camera surveillance and why it has not been
    implemented in Sun City? Hard drive space was brought up at the board meeting, but hard drive space these days is dirt cheap. We have an IT department
    and GM who have NOT kept pace with technology and all it can do for Sun City. I suspect one, that the GM BOD has no interest in using technology to show the shortcomings
    in data collection and what it can show and do for Sun City, and two, that no one in either management or BOD has any clue what technology can do for us. Like where we are wasting money, where we could make better use of our funds, how to plan for the future, and to actively take polls of the membership on what they want. Neither the BOD nor the GM have shown no expertise
    in providing technology and planning for the future. They are still mired in the 1990's.

    Sun City has changed forever and will never return to the days when the membership was involved.

    Just my opinion.
    IndependentCynic likes this.
  12. BPearson

    BPearson Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the responses IC and SCR, lots of good points and i love the analogy regarding Furr's and Luby's. Brilliant. For the newer folks reading here, they were mainstays in the restaurant business for years. Sun City and Sun City West residents flocked to them, and then they didn't. They became dated and were locked into a business model that was inflexible. We run the risk of becoming the same.

    You were spot on with many of your points SCR. I will take exception with a couple. The folks serving on the LRPC are both dedicated and smart. The first year they were trapped in a setting where little got done; it wasn't their fault, it was the chairs. The second year the new chair and co-chair turned them loose and all hell broke loose. The ideas and proposals we brought obviously made management nervous and felt we were pushing them. They were right, we were. We saw the future with some clarity and we wanted action, not more running at the mouth. It's why i left, i don't have enough years left to waste it spinning my wheels because management isn't in their comfort zone.

    I will never give up on Sun City reaching its full potential. There-in is my second issue with your comments SCR. The people buying here have changed, they are different from the first 40 years of home owners. That said, they are in many ways smarter. They aren't willing to waste their lives away fighting city hall. We know boomers volunteer in dramatically different ways than those who came before us. The problem is those in control refuse to accept those differences and shape opportunities to fit their lifestyles.

    My suggestion for a technology committee was the classic example. We have brilliant people living here who spent their work lives building technology. It would have been so simple to create an ad hoc technology committee to review and recommend what Sun City needed to do. They wouldn't have been married to it, and could have moved on in a year or year and a half. The simple reality is, committees are seen as a problem, not as a solution. For committees to succeed, you need give them a defined task, provide the tools to do their job and then most importantly take their recommendations seriously.

    We are caught in that mid-stream setting of the end of the greatest generation, boomers and soon to be upon us gen x. Wide variations of people, expectations and values. Building any kind of cohesive structure is a challenge and is only accomplished when you acknowledge those differences and find their commonality. Not easy, but clearly doable. The key is to make it one of your goals. An impossible task when the board/management has never even set year-end goals. If you look at the Sun City West website, you will see their board has set their six 2020 goals out in print after working with the community to define them. You build cohesion, it doesn't just happen.

    The funny thing about the long range planning committee was, for the most part, they didn't come with an agenda. That's more been an issue with management and the board having predetermined ends. In many ways, we've lost that sense of community. As management has become more insular, those of us on the outside have chosen to stay away. It is a catch 22 because the more we stay away, the more the board and management acts on their personal perspectives. More problematic is when boards defer everything to management and they become the sole arbiter of what matters in Sun City.

    I do agree SCR, we'll never get back to the days when people were involved like they were in the 80's. But the potential for us to make inroads, especially with the possibilities using technology is nearly endless. Tragically it will never happen unless or until we grasp the importance of technology becoming our next big investment. Perhaps most troubling is, many people living in Sun City would struggle getting their head around that.
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2019
  13. SCR

    SCR Member

    Bill, again I'm sorry to hear you are giving up the good fight.

    Just a couple of questions.

    1. When was the current LRPC commissioned/started?
    2. What has the current LRPC suggested/recommended that the BOD/GM has approved/acted upon?
    3. Who is the current chair and co-chair of the LRPC?
    4. Is anyone who is on the LRPC also on the BOD?
    5. Why has no one seen anything from the LRPC?
    6. Are their recommendations secret and not for the general membership?

    Without knowing what the LRPC has recommended, how can anyone - including the BOD/GM make - make an informed judgement as to the direction the LRPC is taking?

    7. What would happen if no one applied to fill a vacant seat on the BOD?

    Simple questions that may help clarify some things.
  14. IndependentCynic

    IndependentCynic Active Member

    Well put, Bill.

    10 or so years ago I visited a dying friend who lived in a community of roughly 500 homes. The community's HOA had their own TV channel where community announcements, reminders, etc. were shown. It wasn't exactly one-stop shopping for all matters involving the community because it had limited interactivity. But it was ahead of what the RCSC has today in many respects. The takeaway is that technology is not something new or recent. Today's mainstream world is already replete with technology... banks and commerce are rooted in Internet websites, robotics build our products, vehicles drive themselves, etc. Today's farmer tills his fields using GPS guided equipment, employs drones to inspect crops and cattle, etc. In contrast, here in SC we have the ability to pay our assessment online and the promise someday we'll be able to buy concert tickets. I can hardly contain myself! (yes, it's sarcasm)

    Look, SC will eventually face the situation where prospective residents simply won't buy here because the community lacks the technology amenities they're used to having in their pre-retirement lives. I'd submit that day isn't that far off. What will it cost to catch up... probably a lot. What will it cost if the current "kick the can" strategy persists... probably a lot more. Delaying the implementation of things that ultimately have to happen is seldom smart business. 40 years ago SC kicked the can down the road on funding for major maintenance and facility upgrades. 10 or so years ago Golf started to decline in popularity... municipalities started shutting down courses, etc. SC put their head in the sand and kicked the can instead of beginning to confront the situation headlong to minimize the impact to golf-front properties. These things aren't going away... when the RCSC pulls their head out of the sand the issues will still be there. That's just irresponsible in my book.

    SC now has one of the highest PIFs of the SC-like communities. You can delude yourself that it's not affecting property values if you want, but the reality is it does. And when the day comes that there is no alternative to shutting down a golf course (or two or four) I'm sure the community will regret not having attacked the problem earlier. This isn't some conspiracy theory, there's a really good chance climate change and decline in golf will necessitate course closures. The membership needs to wake up and get involved. RCSC misdeeds cost the RCSC nothing... IT COSTS US!!!! It's our assessment money they're spending... and when they run short they simply raise the assessment and we must pay.
  15. BPearson

    BPearson Well-Known Member

  16. BPearson

    BPearson Well-Known Member

    Hey IC, spot on yet again. I really appreciate it when my ramblings make sense to someone/anyone. Your friends community is the perfect example. Reaching people begins the process of inclusion. It's why Sun City West has surpassed us in many ways. Their Torch program builds both leaders and draws owners into the process of governance. Their documents have not been rewritten to grant management all of the responsibilities. They're not afraid of controversy or with putting questions out there that might make people uncomfortable. You can't ignore issues anymore than you can let management determine the solutions. If you are truly a community, you need work to that end.

    One of the things the chair of the LRPC was doing a good job of was getting us the latest data they did have. The biggest problem was it fell far short of what we actually needed. That was one of the reasons we proposed the the technology examination by companies that knew what was available and what would serve our needs. None of us were experts. Apparently we didn't write it clearly enough (that's a load of crap, but i'll go with what they told us). In the end, they just wanted it to go away.

    Let me close by saying, the people involved aren't evil, corrupt or stupid. There is always room for legitimate disagreement. The failure comes when you can't even air those differences. SCR is right, publishing the things the LRPC wrote and suggested would give the community a chance to weigh in. That may well might be the biggest sin of omission the management and board has committed over the past 13 years. In the end, the board can do whatever they feel is right, but unless and until they give the community all the facts, it becomes a one-sided discussion and course of action.
  17. SCR

    SCR Member

    Bill, isn't Rich Hoffer on the BOD?

    Is the latest RCSC email blast correct in that Darla Akins is completing David Wieland's term? I thought Rich Hoofer had that honor.

    In any event, it is hard to fathom the current stampede to be on the BOD. Three people out of thousands? WOW!

    Although there is probably a lot of IT talent in Sun City, if those people have been away from IT for a year or more, they too are behind.

    I'll say again, the current IT staff and the GM and or Assistant GM also have no clue with regard to IT. Either that or they do not want anyone to see results of
    data collection and analysis done by a reputable IT company. Keep the general public in the dark!
  18. BPearson

    BPearson Well-Known Member

    Darla had the 4th hugest number of votes and she got Dave W's seat he vacated.

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