The following essay was written by Jim Mayfield, former member and Vice-President of the Sun City Anthem Board, and is republished here with his permission. Jim retired after six years service last May at the same time I was elected to replace Carl Weinstein.
On Saturday, we received our ballot for the recall election in the mail. At first, I almost discarded it in the recycle bin without even opening it. I though it was another piece of solicitation junk mail. (Subsequently, I was told that I was not the only one who thought this way.) However, I opened the letter and found out that it was the ballot for the recall election and the instructions for how to mail in the ballot.
The purpose of this email is not to reiterate the obvious flaws (already noted by others) in the ballot process that should and could have been avoided by the CPAs retained to perform the voting process if they had studied and incorporated the time-tested SCA election processes. Instead, the purpose of this email is to raise the ominous issues regarding 1> the motivation for the use of voter suppression tactics, and 2> the ethics behind obvious voter suppression tactics.
During my six years of service on an SCA committee and board of directors, I observed a steady decline in the willingness of SCA homeowners to volunteer their time to serve as club officers, SCA committee members and to seek election to the SCA board of directors. This trend is indeed regrettable because of the large number of intelligent, talented residents who live within SCA and whose talents could be used to insure efficient operations at SCA and continuous improvement of the quality of life within SCA. I also observed that fewer than half of the SCA homeowners vote in the annual board of directors election. Even more significant, less than .75% of the SCA homeowners attend public board and committee meetings.
On one level, I empathize with why SCA homeowners do not chose to participate in the governance of their homeowners association. Most people retired to enjoy pursuing life-long retirement objectives. Annual assessments appear low compared to the benefits received. However, as consequence of the lack of involvement by a broad group of homeowners in the governance of SCA, a small group of self-serving homeowners and management control and manipulate the operations of SCA. Their personal agendas frequently do not represent the best interest or service expectations of the homeowners.
Motivation for Use of Voter Suppression Tactics
The threshold to remove a director is just over 2,500 votes of the 7,144 SCA homeowners. Anyone who doesn’t vote or whose ballot is disqualified is an automatic “no” vote. Obtaining the “yes” vote from 2,500+ homeowners is an almost impenetrable barrier to the removal of a director. This reality begs the question of why management, members of the current board, and individuals wanting to maintain the status quo feel compelled to
- use voter suppression tactics,
- disseminate false and misleading information,
- spend over $4,500 to get out their fake fact message, and
- conduct possible violations of state law and SCA governing documents
to defeat the removal election.
The obvious answer is that they want to send the message that any attempts to dislodge them will be unsuccessful;` so, don’t waste your time. They also fear that even an unsuccessful attempt at removal in which a majority of the votes cast are for removal will send the communication that a majority of the active members of the community are not supportive of the performance of current management or board of directors. When faced with dissent, they rely on brutal, frequently illegal, tactics to suppress homeowner involvement and the dissent of any elected director who doesn’t “go along to get along”.
Ethics Behind Obvious Voter Suppression Tactics
The question we, the homeowners, need to answer in this recall election is the message we want to send regarding the ethics and culture of the SCA community. My experience since moving to SCA is that it is a community of fine, diverse people who share an incredible moral compass. I do not believe that the actions of the current board or management reflect the moral values of the residents of SCA.
Personally, I never believed the recall election stood a chance of being successful. However, I believe that every “yes” vote sends a message to the corrupt, self-serving insiders who currently control the governance of SCA that their morals and actions do not represent the community.
I urge you to spend the 50 cents to send in you ballot and to vote “yes” in the recall election.
Thanks for reading a best wishes to all of you.