Captain Rick: I love my town of Gilbert, Arizona, USA … the place I have called home for a long time. With a population of nearly a quarter million, one of America’s fastest growing cities, Gilbert is no longer the small town of 60,000 it was when I moved to Gilbert in 1997. Since then I have viewed every town council meeting to stay abreast of what is happening in Gilbert. That’s a lot of meetings, that required a lot of my time … time that I believe was well spent. I am one of Gilbert’s ‘eagles’ who keep a close eye on our Town Council to help guide our great community in the proper direction.
In mid 2011, I began my “Proper Vote Scorecard” to keep track of how Gilbert council members vote on controversial issues. I consider a PROPER VOTE to be one that is truly in the best interest of Gilbert citizens … one that is fiscally responsible and free of politics and private agendas.
In September 2012 I began reporting on each PROPER VOTE in separate blog entries. Many contain dialog with council members to gain their perspective to enhance citizen understanding.
Gilbert Arizona Town Council: October 4, 2012: Item 10: $15,000 to fund educational services for people in HOAs
CONTRACT – consider approval of Accountability Contract No. 2012-1003-0313 with the Leadership Centre in an amount not to exceed $15,000 in FY2013 related to providing educational services for persons living or providing homeowner association services in Gilbert, and authorize the Mayor to execute the required documents.
For those not familiar with the term ‘HOA’, it means ‘Home Owner Association’. Every new community established in Gilbert has an HOA, which is responsible for the upkeep of all parks and common grounds within the community, often including landscaping along the boulevards and its medians. All home owners in an HOA pay monthly dues to cover these expenses … me included.
Council members Victor Petersen and Eddie Cook voted against this measure. Based on council testimony, it appeared that they cast the PROPER VOTE, but I asked both to offer clarification so that my readers would understand why a vote of NO was proper. The following email conversation transpired:
Victor Petersen: This item took me a long time to reason through. It was disturbing because I did find some valid complaints on the side of the HOAs claiming injustices imposed by the town. I had to acknowledge those injustices, but at the end of the day, I didn’t see that we were resolving them by subsidizing HOA leadership training. I suppose if the HOAs all came forward with an official agreement saying that in exchange for the Town of Gilbert supporting The Leadership Centre contract they would accept that as fully payment for other burdens we ask them to bear, that would be acceptable. However, that is not what we were contemplating, and I would guess they would never agree to such terms. The bottom line is that it is bad policy to accept abuse from a party because we believe we have abused them. It is good policy to stop the abuse. It is good policy to address each injustice directly. Two wrongs don’t make a right, and a vote to continue down this same path has does nothing to resolve these issues. In fact, all that has been accomplished is to perpetuate the injustices that are taking place.
Captain Rick: Your explanation helps a lot. I have a basic understanding of the injustices claimed by the HOAs that the town imposes, but I am not sure the public does. Could you add a couple of lines to summarize the main injustices and why or why not you agree with them…and/or anything that would help improve the publics understanding of the connection between the injustices and the Leadership Centre training?
Victor Petersen: The biggest injustice I have seen that the Town of Gilbert is perpetrating against the HOAs is the requirement for the HOAs to maintain the landscaping along the arterials (main roads) to a standard set by the Town. This standard is very high and very expensive. As I see it, this is really a hidden tax upon the citizens of Gilbert that live in HOAs. I believe we should either let the HOAs decide what amount of landscaping they are willing to maintain in that space or have the Town pay for the cost of the high standard of maintenance we are requiring. With power comes responsibility. If we want the power to dictate a high standard, we have the responsibility to pay for it. I am not sure everyone will appreciate the point I am making on this issue, but I do believe it is true to principle.
Victor’s words of explanation convinced me that the PROPER VOTE was NO. I did not receive a reply from Eddie Cook.
Victor Petersen and Eddie Cook have received credit for their PROPER VOTE on my Gilbert Council Scorecard: https://atridim.wordpress.com/gilbert-council-scorecard/