Opinions

Fast: Sun City resident urges others to verify

Posted 6/10/22

Those who remember the TV character Joe Friday will remember that line. It seems our board is having a hard time dealing with the facts that created the Mountain View Center mess, and some on the board want people to look the other way. Like Ronald Reagan used to say, “Trust but verify.”

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Opinions

Fast: Sun City resident urges others to verify

Posted

Just the facts, Ma’am.

Those who remember the TV character Joe Friday will remember that line. It seems our board is having a hard time dealing with the facts that created the Mountain View Center mess, and some on the board want people to look the other way. Like Ronald Reagan used to say, “Trust but verify.”

So here is what I have been able to verify.

  • September 2018 — the Long Range Planning Committee abruptly changed its charter to host two town hall meetings regarding what people wanted to see at MV. People, our corporate documents have no provisions for “town hall” meetings, so I am not sure what rules apply to them.
  • Oct. 1, 2018 — Two town halls are conducted and 450 people attend (1% of Sun City). Nineteen people speak and up to 16 people wanted pools and/or a dedicated theater (4/100ths of 1% of Sun City). No one in the meeting mentioned pickleball or a gym, but a few emails mentioned a gym.
  • January to June 2020 — A 12-person ad hoc team meets six times “to develop the recommendation for the reconstruction of” MV. A report is issued June 8, 2020 with 66 items, including converting the two tennis courts into pickleball courts and room for a rock-climbing wall. People, this report was not provided to members until 2022.
  • 2020-2021 — Someone works with architect to develop conceptual plans for MV. One or more people give the architect the go ahead to remove all existing site amenities (so called option 2) without, to the best of my knowledge, notifying any of the clubs impacted.
  • May 2021 — Two attempts to pass option 2 plans, which completely remove everything on the site to make room for athletic/performance arts center, are postponed for further discussion. No input from affected clubs is officially sought by the board. No survey of the membership is sought.
  • June 2021 — The pickleball rebellion occurs! Board is bombarded with emails and threats regarding getting rid of the plus or minus 6-year-old pickleball courts with no plans to replace them. Club members are lectured at the meeting by the president, who promises to “find a solution” and tells them it is the board’s job to make sound decisions for the 39,000 members or potential members. Motion to approve Option 2 is passed. Ten days later a second reading of the motion to approve Option 2 is passed. A director makes a motion to waive the customary third reading, and it passed.
  • October/November 2021 — Architect “presents” a phase 3 plan with a 2-story pickleball “pavilion” that is approved. People, everyone knows there is not enough parking for that and no one has ever seen a drawing of this future pavilion.

Everyone knows the board dysfunction that this debacle caused. That dysfunction continues to this day. 

So where does that leave us? With a $40 million mess of a design that tries to combine a theater and an athletic facility through a huge lobby. A friend of mine who was a lead architect for the Marine museum told me the way you manage this incompatible combination is through scheduling (i.e., close the pool when the theater is in use).

People, in my opinion the garbage in, garbage out principles apply to this mess. The decision-making process was garbage and so are the conceptual plans.  But alas, a slim majority of the board wants to pay between $1 million and $2 million to have blueprints drawn up and cost estimates developed for this monstrosity (my words) without considering any other options or the impacts on clubs who are having their facilities taken away. People, they are already discussing in the Budget and Finance Committee how to prepare the members for a large assessment fee increase. As you know, the preservation and improvement fee was already raised from $3,500 to $4,000. To paraphrase George Bush, if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, it is most likely a duck.

Hello, Board of Directors, read my lips: Put community unity first and for, God’s sake, take the time to get this right. There is absolutely no urgency to proceed with option 2. Mountain View is like most of us, old but still functional. My message to the board is to take a break (not enter into any contracts) and have a nice relaxing summer so you can come back with a fresh perspective. I can assure you Mountain View will still be there when you return and no one will attempt to change it.

Let’s return to the Dragnet theme. The scene is a dingy smoke-filled interrogation room with 1-way glass. Joe Friday asks me, “What’s your motive in fighting this; the proverbial train has left the station?” I say, “Honestly, officer, I just want to see broad membership involvement in making decisions about the biggest capital expenditure in Sun City’s history.”  They then shine the hot lights in my face, tighten the handcuffs and deny me water. Finally, I can’t take it anymore and I break. “OK, I confess, I would really love to see Sun City have a standalone performing arts center where members can enjoy plays, movies, musical performances, comedy shows, debates, lectures, book readings, improvisations, host large meetings and do a bunch of other really cool stuff. Is that too much to ask?” I weep. At this point in the show, Sgt. Friday looks over to Officer Danny Williams and says, “Book em Danno; this is a clear case of first-degree honesty combined with inciting membership involvement.” OK, I mixed in Hawaii Five-O.

My fellow members, if this mess troubles you as much as it does me, pick up the phone and call the RCSC board at 623-561-4620 and politely let them know you would like to see them consider other alternatives before spending millions more. You can also email President Dale Lehrer at dlehrer@suncityaz.org.  Finally, if you are having trouble getting through, you can always visit the board office at room 118 in the Lakeview Center, 10626 W. Thunderbird Blvd., to schedule a time to talk to a board member. If you visit, call or write, please be respectful, and remember to thank the board member for their volunteering to be on the RCSC board.

John Fast

Sun City

Sun City, resident, urges, verify

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