Short sighted, a way of life...

Discussion in 'Sun City General Discussions' started by BPearson, Jun 18, 2022.

  1. BPearson

    BPearson Well-Known Member

    It was during my junior year in a Catholic military high school and a teacher threw me out of English class. He asked me if i was open minded? I told him i didn't think so. He told me to get out until i could accept others ideas or be willing to consider what others were saying. Of all the stuff that happened in high school, this one incident stuck with me. Some of the best lessons are the ones not written in books.

    Over the years, that question has been repeated. Often times it isn't just the arteries that harden. Our minds, especially as we age, become locked and loaded into our beliefs. All of which makes Sun City sometimes a daunting place to have an opinion. Too many of us, myself included, think we are right and everyone else is not.

    It's also why so often we tend to congregate with those who think alike. Being around those who see the world through a different color of lenses is challenging. We watch the television channels that support those beliefs; we shy away from those that don't. Exactly why we are where we are in this country, torn apart and resenting it and them.

    But alas, this isn't about fixing the mess we are in, waiting for the civil war to start anew. Nope, i'm not in the least little bit interested in the turmoil outside the walls. When we moved to Sun City (2003) my focus turned inwards. I had learned the hard way, the stuff outside the walls was beyond my ability to change.

    From the day we arrived in Sun City and made it our permanent residence, i have been trying to make a difference. Some would argue, not so much. There is a sentiment, often expressed, we should all just be happy we are here and not rock the boat. Dang, just not built that way. Sorry; not.

    Life's lessons taught me early on, being a "people pleaser," wasn't in my DNA. Honestly, i don't try and aggravate people, but it appears i do it naturally. Some just don't like my brutal honesty and straight forward approach to communication. One of the earliest classes i took in continuing education was called "effective communication." the instructor, Irene Lopez, was brilliant in communicating. She was probably more tactful than me, but she left me with an understanding that when you were done speaking, people should know exactly what you were saying. The other thing; 85% good communication is listening.

    Anyway, this past several years has been a test for all of us. We see the rancor in our society and we think it is how it should be. I wish it weren't that way, but sadly it permeates our very existence. We can turn it off and ignore it all, or we can learn from it. Or, we can join in and be even more miserable.

    Ugly choices, for sure. With that set up out of the way, this thread is how we get from where we are in the community to where we/they think we should be. Yikes, huge differences and while we all hoped we would be growing closer, i neither see it that way, nor feel us moving closer together.

    In my humble opinion, there is hope. It won't be easy and there will be some pain along the way. To be clear, it is exactly why i always talk about our (Sun City's) history. It was filled with bumps and starts and stops and anger beyond compare and yet here we are. Better off from all of it.

    Stay tuned.
     
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  2. FYI

    FYI Well-Known Member

    The only way we will all come together is when there's something we don't like that affects us all!

    If a new Board Policy that said no dogs allowed in Sun City, that would certainly do it! Or perhaps when we see the revisions to the Bylaws and we're still prevented from doing anything at our own annual meetings will do it. How about raising our assessment when we know the RCSC is flush with cash?

    Too many people are simply too wrapped-up in themselves to even see what's going on around them.

    It's truly a sad situation. Once you lose your freedoms you can't get them back without some sort of upheaval! At our age, who's up for the fight?
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2022
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  3. OneDayAtATime

    OneDayAtATime Active Member

    Eagerly awaiting part 2.
     
  4. BPearson

    BPearson Well-Known Member

    I think out loud, actually, i write out loud. For the past 30 years, i have been doing that, it's cathartic for me. Remember as a young man or woman, how we used to ask ourselves, what do i want to be when i grow up? I still do that, to this day, i still find myself looking within, trying to see outside myself. The hardest reflection to look at is the one in the mirror, unless of course you are an absolute narcissist. Then you never stop looking and seeing less than an honest reflection. The beautiful you is all you see. Fools game IMHO.

    I know, right now most of you still reading this are asking yourself, where the hell is this going? I laugh aloud, because there are so many directions, but when i started, i had one end in mind. I want each of you engaged in Sun City's future to be honest with yourself, not that you wouldn't be. The challenge we all have these days is to look in the mirror and see clearly, the other guys fault. Ouch.

    It is the new world order. We've departed from those days when brutal honesty regarding our faults is now centered in the faults of others. Why not, way easier to shift blame and become fixated on fixing "them," not us. That's where our history becomes so important. I've written it on these pages too many times before to revisit it. Those first 50 plus years were filled with infighting, ugliness and complete and total resentment. Through it all, Sun City came out the other side better for it. People and the community were willing to forge through it all.

    Those early lessons are invaluable to helping us understand our path forward. It's why i get crazed when people who should know better ignore or pretend it doesn't matter. See, there i go making my positions right and theirs wrong. It is so easy to do. It has become almost a conditioned response; i'm right, they're wrong. Think not, look around the country and see the divisive hatred running rampant; on both sides.

    I used to be there. Quick to fight, argue and be in your face. I did it for a living and it was second nature to me. When we moved to Sun City and left that behind, my goal was to be better, less confrontational. It worked until it didn't. Over the years, most of us develop buttons that can be pushed and when they are, our reactions are predictable. It's one of the problems of growing old, we become set in our ways. We believe we have all the answers. Do we? Are we really smarter than everyone else?

    I've made no bones about my past life and my mistakes. I got sober 47 years ago and one of the first lessons we learned in treatment was a careful self-examination. That look in the mirror for most drunks was painful beyond belief. I'd love to tell you sobriety made me perfect. Laughing as i type that, because in reality, even without the booze, humanity and the capacity to be less than perfect is a reality. In fact, when you live life sober, you become even more aware of your short-comings. You simply cannot hide behind the fact you were drunk or high, you were just a horses ass.

    I've been there too many times to act as if i wasn't. I know better than most my short-comings. I won't list them here, i'll save them for the confessional, if i ever go again. See, these ramblings help me see my path, our path forward. It may sound arrogant to include the rest of you in "my path forward," and for that, i apologize. I've included you all because i can't do it alone. I can spell it out with real life examples and i intend to do just that. I mentioned the importance of clear and concise communication in the opening post, i will go there tomorrow when we continue this discussion.

    To answer FYI's question; "at our age, who's up for the fight?" Not me, given my age, i'd rather be a lover than a fighter." And, given my age, that's funny. As an aside, if you can't laugh at yourself, who can you laugh at?
     
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  5. FYI

    FYI Well-Known Member

    And there you have it! If nobody's willing to fight then the takers will just continue to take and givers will continue to give until there's nothing left to give!

    I think you're still a fighter Bill?
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2022 at 1:23 PM
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  6. BPearson

    BPearson Well-Known Member

    Which is exactly where this will take us tomorrow FYI.
     
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  7. BPearson

    BPearson Well-Known Member

    Since the day we bought here, i've been trying to educate owners of just how special Sun City is. It was a community unlike where most of us came from. It was unique when it opened and as we know, as it was being built, literally from the ground up, it evolved and shifted. For every two steps forward, there almost always was a step back. There was no "how to manual" on how to create the perfect age restricted setting. It was trial and error.

    John Meeker's role was to help facilitate the process. He knew after watching the first 5 years, the direction needed a hand, a boost. He understood bringing people together who came from all walks of life, different political perspectives and religious beliefs was a daunting task. Obviously the clubs played a big role, events were a magnet and the countless organizations ultimately became the glue that held it all together.

    When the residents volunteered, gave their time, money and expertise they realized they were owners of this amazing new way of life. The longer i lived here, the more i read, the better i understood the importance of a "City of Volunteers." I know, golf is fun, laying around the pool is fun, joining clubs and making stuff is fun; the list is nearly endless. Fun stuff aside, becoming invested in those organizations success was most often a labor of love. We knew when we gave back, the community was better for it.

    I have been telling that same story for more than 20 years now. As one TOSC poster noted months back as he questioned, "how many times can you beat a dead horse?" Actually, it caused me to smile. Rich was right, my mantra has never changed; but then why should it? The Sun City story has always been a constant; that is until 15 years back when the plot of the story changed. Don't worry, be happy, we'll take care of everything. Your job is to have fun.

    That in my humble opinion was and still is short sighted. Why would anyone think the platform we were built on need be fixed? Are we all so short sighted to think the countless organizations that rely on volunteers are insignificant to Sun City's success? To our unique and ever so compelling way of life? Is Sun City better served by trying to be like the other 1000 age restricted communities, only cheaper?

    I have never agreed with that argument, that arrangement. I have never feared the community was unable or unwilling to be involved; never. I have argued, if you don't nurture them, educate them and help them understand, they never will get it through osmosis. That process of self-governance on the level Sun City needs to survive, is reliant on a constant, consistent and creative energy of educating and communicating on levels far beyond what we have done over the past 15 years.

    Honestly, i grow weary of the argument. I didn't move to Sun City to fight with anyone. I came here to enjoy my retirement. I also came intending to be involved, to give back as much as humanly possible. I told you i was going to delve into some details and try and pin down where this is going. Tomorrow is another day, so stay tuned, still churning.
     
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  8. FYI

    FYI Well-Known Member

    So....the sixty-four-thousand dollar question is, How do you motivate the people to re-engage and involve themselves into participation and caring?

    There needs to be some sort of draw or incident that wakes people up. Remember all the activity when Karen Mc Adam was removed from the board? That pissed a lot of people off but unfortunately not enough, and until or unless something similar stimulates the masses, your words are like a fart in a blizzard!

    Any ideas?
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2022 at 2:04 PM
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  9. eyesopen

    eyesopen Active Member

    Until “the board” truly embraces Member participation with board actions that are in the interest of the Members AND allows the Annual Membership Meetings to function as intended…nothing is unfortunately going to change.
     
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  10. BPearson

    BPearson Well-Known Member

    Some as you will hear tomorrow.
     
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  11. FYI

    FYI Well-Known Member

    You got it! Instead of the board continually telling us what's going to happen, perhaps they need to start asking more questions, or at least opinions prior to some of their decisions?

    If the Membership starts to see that their input actually affects what happens, more Members will begin to take an interest and engage, but we can't continually keep finding out things after they have already happened! Of course not everything needs to be determined by what the Membership thinks or wants but they should at least be part of the conversation? After all, isn't the Board and RCSC there to serve the Membership?

    This of course would require a completely different mindset of the board but I, also, don't think they're willing too accept the realization that there's a good possibility and probability that some in the Membership know more than they do? Let's face it, the Board and the RCSC staff are kinda living in a bubble where most understand that they can't say anything bad about the corporation. They are mostly "Yes" men or else you'll find yourself on the unemployment line. I think we have already seen a few examples of what happens when you don't agree?

    "Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely" (Lord Acton (1834–1902)
     
  12. BPearson

    BPearson Well-Known Member

    Irony, you know? I awake every day and follow news feeds and web sites of interest to me. A few i like, i even subscribe to. Little to nothing i read leaves me inspired or feeling optimistic in the big picture world we live in. Not trying to be political here, more just a jumping off point for what i do feel good about. Think about it this way: School shootings; mass shootings; political ads touting hunting down members of your own party; electing candidates who should have retired years ago; party planks that attack gays and want to change voting rights for blacks (and way more); gerrymandering by both parties to provide safe elections; dark money, all just part of the daily crap outside the white walls leaves me cold.

    Yet after nearly 20 years in Sun City on a permanent basis, we have virtually none of that staring us in the face. We simply don't. Our lives and the problems we face and deal with are minimal in the grand scope of others. It gets hot here, really hot in the summers, go to the pool to cool off, we have 7 of them to chose from. We have 10% of our population living in Sun City living below the federal guidelines for poverty and we also have an infrastructure in place to help them. We have the occasional issues with underage residents trying to live here, SCHOA deals with them, albeit slowly at times. We get excited by owners letting dogs pee on their property, yikes. People get sideways of whether people walk in the street rather than on the sidewalk. Golf cars are sometimes annoying to people who drive cars. The list of petty grievances and daily affronts is lengthy and petty.

    I write it often, on a scale from 1 to 10, nothing goes on that is more than a 1. The largest single organization is the RCSC. Even though we have the cheapest fees in the country, they are flush with cash. In fact one could, as we have argued, would have been better served if they had spent it, rather than hoarding it. The community has been begging for updating our technology since before 2010. They simply didn't listen or care, and now that they finally have gotten the message with too little too late...is still just a 1.

    Golf, a sticking point for me for years, apparently not others has become a hot button topic. Now that we know how much they have subsidized the game, some folks are opening their eyes. Even a bigger issue is the revelation that those living outside the walls are able to come in and use our courses for less money than a RCSC member was revealing. Finding out they could enter the lottery and bump members from prime tee times was disturbing, and rightly so...still just a 1.

    We see the RCSC hiring off duty Maricopa County sheriffs to watch a couple of our centers. Members often ask, because the assume we have them, aren't there cameras at each of centers and on golf courses? When you say no, they are shocked. Crime is a problem. The good news is, it's petty crime, theft and burglaries. Breaking into Sun City homes is on the rise. Unfortunately the safeguards across the community can't be done because we don't have the technology to do it. It is the price we pay for not keeping up with the times like other communities have...still just a 1.

    The other items, petty as well, but still troubling. Board members feeling like Sun City can't survive without them serving 6 years or more. Bylaws drafted by the community that should have been passed in accordance with the Articles of Incorporation at the annual membership meeting, kicked to the ad hoc bylaws committee. The Mountain View project being pushed by a board president who has spent 5 years touting the importance of data, now deciding it isn't all that important for this project. Committees hand picking members being on them and others being told they can't. Some board members (those in the minority) being told their motions aren't valid. Again, i can pick fly shit all day long...but all still a 1.

    When we bought in Sun City in 1999 and moved here in 2003, i felt we had found our Utopia. That place that was isolated and insulated from the outside world. I still feel that way. We have lost some of the appeal, we have moved in the wrong direction. The simple reality is our issues, challenges when packaged next to those outside the walls are minuscule, tiny by comparison. Life is too good here to get sideways over minor annoyances.

    Lest anyone is troubled, let me tell you why i am so encouraged by what i have watched the past year or two. More RCSC members are paying attention. More RCSC members are speaking out. The mere fact we reached a quorum last year blew them out of the water. So much so they had to drag their attorney in to the meeting to make shit up to quell the storm. By the way, that still may not be a done deal, we'll see.

    I help administrate a Facebook page called Sun City Chat AZ. Every day i get a chance to talk about our history, every day we reach new people. My wife is a tennis player and she emailed me a thread where several members are talking about running for the RCSC board, people who never paid attention. Members of the golf advisory committee are frustrated by the lack of actions proposed by the general manager's plan to deal with outside play, next year he said. Board members in the minority are tired of being treated like second class citizens. There is a ground swell of support that has never been there in the past.

    Finally, the letter John Fast wrote to the Independent regarding Mountain View was intriguing. So much so, the board president felt compelled to write a rebuttal telling us all the train has "left the station." He was straight forward with his assessment, whether you agree with it or not. More importantly, every step of the way he encouraged the RCSC membership to be nice. To thank board members for their service. For those who don't know, John is an attorney. He has also told those of us who are members of the Sun City Advocates, he isn't a member. He thinks at times we are too confrontational. I respect that, even though i don't agree. Most of the time we try not to be in anyone's face. There's little value in being an ass.

    My point is this: I have been engaged in trying to help Sun City remain true to their values, their tenets for 20 years. For the first time in all of those years i see the beginnings of a paradigm shift. I see members paying attention and speaking out. I see board members willing to listen, not just take the general managers words as the gospel. That is why i keep going. Sun City was built on a sense of community. It was built by those who were both accountable and responsible. It's always a long slow slog to effect organizational change. In my humble opinion, it is moving in the right direction and for that i am encouraged and excited... and still, all things considered, just a 1 on the scale.

    Life is good in Sun City...it can get so much better.
     
  13. FYI

    FYI Well-Known Member

    How do we make it better?

    Sad story that happened this morning; I was at my Club at Lake View and I saw a lady walking around the upper deck looking kinda lost. She finally approached me and said she was looking for the "Try it before you buy it" aqua-fitness class at the Bell Center!?!?!? I had to tell her she was at the wrong recreation enter and gave her directions to to Bell.

    It's sad that the residents don't know the difference or locations of the various recreation centers!!!!

    It all goes back to "COMMUNICATIONS"!

    I think the RCSC needs a Community Club that meets at least once a month where new residents can come and learn about the community and what's available. Kinda like a Welcome Wagon but instead of us going to them, they can come to us! The Club could also discuss the many other issues that seem to be going on within the RCSC and Board?

    Just my opinion!
     
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  14. BPearson

    BPearson Well-Known Member

    That is indeed a "sad story" and one told and retold. There is virtually no effort or energy into welcoming new comers, or helping them understand. This idea the once a year event in Jan or Feb covers the bases is wholly inadequate. Mike Wendell has repeatedly told them about their failure in communication. Alas, it falls on deaf ears. This community could be so much much more. Basic education on our history, what we have here and where it all is should be boiler plate simple. Of course, if you don't care, stay the course.

    The RCSC doesn't see or feel a need for any of that. Thinking the Focus video is good enough is what? Short sighted.
     
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  15. Joelyn

    Joelyn New Member

    There are a variety of avenues through which information is available.

    Perhaps we might be better served if we directed people to where such information is located. An alternative approach for the woman looking for Aqua Fitness TIBYBI could have been to direct her to the Clubs Office while she was at Lakeview Center, rather than sending her off to Bell (a location which has never had Aqua Fitness classes). This would have enabled her the opportunity to learn where this information can be found - in SunViews or on the RCSC website at www.suncityaz.org, where there's also a link directly to the club's own website which has this information along with contact information - https://aquafitnesssuncity.com/

    Information is also available and provided to residents in person at Cardholder Servicers, Chartered Clubs and directly from the Sun City Visitors Center who invites all new members to their offices at Bell to learn about what RCSC and Sun City has to offer (a process that has been ongoing for many years). Facilities Attendants, too, provide much information and assistance. Let's help people locate where the information can be found and stop saying it is not available.
     
  16. BPearson

    BPearson Well-Known Member

    Hey Joelyn welcome. I just finished watching a movie and the closing lines were: "You can't change the past, you can change where you are going." How appropriate.

    Do you know, for as long as i have lived here, the answer from the RCSC has always been, we do enough. Of course back in those earlier days there were far more meetings, the paper edition of the Sun Views was readily available, the Visitor Center was a wholly different free standing entity that at one point bought a bus and gave tours. The Sun Views also every month included articles by and from the clubs. Even back then, i argued we could do better.

    Every time the argument was made, the solution was to make the resident come to us (the RCSC). Let's do a recap; 27,500 rooftops in Sun City. An average number of home sold over the past 15 years, somewhere between 1700 and 2000. Just for discussion purposes, let's use 1700 Let's multiply that 15 years by 17,000 and we come up with a tasty little total of more than 25,000 homes.

    Then let's pretend the RCSC took a real interest in communicating and educating every new buyer. A couple of new buyer monthly coffee's, introductions to clubs and what they offered, still doing bus tours so new members knew what stuff was at each facility. With each orientation, we taught those new buyers the history of the community and why we were unique, special and along with it the importance of self-governance and the role they could each play. How about if everyone that attended supplied their email addresses to enhance our base of emails. How about if we video recorded the coffee session's for playback for those who couldn't attend in person. Best of all, how about if we polled everyone of them about what they wanted and why they chose Sun City. Now the rumor is they want to spend a boatload on a survey from ASU.

    Imagine what a different world Sun City would be today. What a novel approach, engaging people from the very beginning, make them feel welcomed and appreciated for buying into the first active age restricted community in the nation. But the expense you say; here's the numbers at the point of sale: $4000 PIF, $300 transfer fee and $496 dollars lot assessment. Nearly $5000 each and every sale. Not maybe, pay it or you don't get in. Nope, not arguing that it would be cheap to do it right, but it would change the entire dynamic in the community. Those moving here would come armed with knowledge and an appreciation of just how good it is. More importantly, why they needed to be involved.

    Would everyone take advantage? Of course not, it would be foolish to argue they would. However, it would be infinitely different. The angst wouldn't be there. New owners would understand the importance of volunteering and where they could do it. From the outset we would know what their interests were and data accumulation would be on a wholly different tract. Welcoming new owners would become a priority, not a second thought once a year where they are buried with information.

    That's why i mentioned the lines from the movie, we can't fix where we have been. We can address where we are going forward. These are simply the lessons we learned from Sun City's beginning. John Meeker got it, building a sense of community took hard work and a commitment. It wasn't left to chance. It was a priority and one i would argue, the current RCSC doesn't give two shits about. So i am clear, i have been saying these things for years and what i saw from the past 15 was the RCSC running from our history, not towards it.

    The one thing i know for certain about Sun City is way too few members know far too little about how Sun City works. It doesn't have to be that way.
     
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  17. BPearson

    BPearson Well-Known Member

    It is inevitable, the more you do and say, the more you are critiqued and criticized. I learned that the hard way over the years. While still working, we did an enormous number of differing efforts to draw our members in. After more actions than i care to admit (some good, some bad), i came to a very basic understanding, going to the members was inevitably the most effective tool in our tool chest.

    I suspect some (as they have in the past) would argue, just another "Monday morning quarterback." The funny thing is, if i drag out my 4 page newsletter, written when i ran for the RCSC board in 2011, you would see some of these same comments, recommendations. It was entitled "Sun City, Past, Present and Future." there were 3 candidates for three spots, so it wasn't like my campaign literature was needed. I felt compelled to showcase my "platform" and used it as the catalyst to jump start my next three years on the board.

    I touted transparency; hard to talk about being open if you aren't being up front. It may well have aided to how unsuccessful i was during my three years on the board. I was running in one direction, the general manager had a wholly different plan. Her vision was the polar opposite of mine. By minimizing the role of the members accomplishing her goals and vision was far easier to reach. She was brilliant at what she did in that regard. Board members ate it up. I watched in horror.

    I've written it often, i tried to change the culture of the organization. It was a fools game on my part. As i sit here some 10 years after i was on the board, we have become exactly what she wanted, hoped for. Control and power contained in the hands of a few. Let me be clear, there was nothing sinister about it. We just disagreed. My long held belief has always been tilted towards the values that made Sun City so unique. Ownership by the membership.

    The problem with centralized control reduces the potential to get it right. Fearing the membership becomes an off-shoot of the hoarding of power. What we are all watching unfold before our very eyes is a wrestling match between those who think the community should have a voice and those who think the community is little more than those who pay the bills. I know that over simplifies the dynamic, but why make it more complicated than it is?

    One of the best lessons from sobriety was to keep it simple stupid. I try and live my life that way. The other day we heard/read the argument from the board president about analysis by paralysis. It's a well worn phrase from those who are tired of thinking about things. We also read, "the train has left the station." Okay, but the reality is this and the question looms very large, has it really? I mean this to be well intended, because ultimately it becomes the question every board member and every RCSC member should be open to in the next 6 or 8 months: "Is there any amount too large regarding the Mountain View project that is too much?"

    I wasn't one of those in support of the 90 day moratorium. I wasn't one of those critical of the project going out and getting bids. Others in the Sun City Advocates have voiced their displeasure and objection to it. I have not; other than to question the parking. The assistant general manager did an analysis in 2009 of where the theater would fit given the project size would trigger meeting county parking codes. I've never understood the managements decision not to share those findings with either the current board or the membership as a whole. Life would be far simpler is that information was shared.

    I asked you above to imagine what Sun City would look like today if 10 or 15 years ago we had centered on an inclusive ever engaging role with new home owners. If we had made membership education an investment in our future, would we be in a different place? Would it be better? We'll never know. If they hadn't been afraid of the answers they would have gotten, they (the RCSC) would have just asked them. Clearly, they weren't interested. Are they now?
     
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  18. FYI

    FYI Well-Known Member

    And if you watch the 2 videos (about 3 hours worth) with the Long Range Planning Committee about Mountain View, which now is also over 3 years old, you will see it has not much to do with the cost, but basically a Christmas list of what everybody wants!

    As some have reported, the utilization of Mountain View is not much better than that of Oakmont, which has the least amount of participation? So, as Bill asks, how much money is too much?

    Those 2 meetings reminded me of asking a child what they wanted for Christmas? Just as a child has no concept of cost, it seems like some of our residents are of the same mindset? They don't care what the cost is, they just want it!

    I get it. It was an opportunity for input from the Members but when all was said and done, look where it's gotten us! We're talking over 40 million dollars and still, nobody can tell you what that will buy!

    Once the actual numbers start coming in from the architect's I think people will be disappointed and we'll hear more and more about Fairway which is less than a mile away with many of the same amenities some want at Mountain View.

    There is no Club space at Mountain View, never was and no plans to add them, so how about just concentrating on a performing arts building?
     
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