The Royal Canyon Property Owners Association (RCPOA) Board of Directors held its regular meeting on Monday, October 8th, 2012 at the home of Director Bruce Hinckley. President Leanne Reynolds convened the meeting at 7:00 PM.
All members of the Board of Directors except for Zareh Amirian were present. A family matter had prevented Mr. Amirian from attending. President Reynolds asked Mike Myers to serve as Secretary for this meeting.
The Directors reviewed a set of minutes from the July 9, 2012 meeting. The Directors had received the minutes earlier in the day via email. Some Directors expressed concern that the minutes of that meeting contained typographical errors or even minor errors of substance. After discussion Mike Myers urged that in view of the relatively late submission of the minutes, and the absence of the regular Secretary, it did little good to attempt to correct, amend or revise the draft of the July 9th meeting minutes that the Board had received. He then moved, and Nick Friesen seconded that the set of minutes be approved as submitted. The motion passed.
A discussion ensued as to whether RCPOA should continue a recent practice of posting minutes of the Board meetings on its website. Several Directors noted that such a practice was not customary among private organizations. Others urged “transparency” was a desirable goal.
Director Lynn Foster moved that Board minutes should henceforth be submitted to the Board for review and correction, and that posting on the organization’s website—if such posting did take place, could occur only after final Board approval. Approved minutes from an Executive Session of the Board, however, will not be posted. The motion was seconded, and passed by an 8 to 4 vote. The discussion was both energetic and confused, and the topic will no doubt be revisited at the next Board meeting.
Social Committee Chair Cheryl Frees-Yvega had been invited to attend the Board meeting to report on this year’s Summer Social, and also on the forthcoming 2013 Annual Meeting, and plans for the 2013 Summer Social. Ms. Frees complimented the work done by RCPOA’s previous Social Chairman, Carol Merry. She said her efforts built on solid groundwork by Carol. We have a location for the 2013 Summer Social. Ms. Frees said that Beth Volpe and the Cooking Group will be doing appetizers for next year’s Social. The Garden Group will do the centerpieces. Ms. Frees and her husband Todd Yvega had donated the “signature drink” mint juleps for the 2012 Social. They’ll be looking for donors for a “signature drink” for the 2013 Social. Ms. Frees suggested that other RCPOA interest groups might want to donate things for the Social—e.g., books from the Book Discussion Group.
Ms. Frees discussed possible dates for next year’s Social. She wants to move the event to Sunday night (to avoid conflict with SC and UCLA home games). She suggested either Sunday September 8 or Sunday September 15 as possible dates. She prefers the 15th because there will be a full moon that night, and the venue chosen has spectacular views. She also suggested a 5:00 PM start next year, since sunset will occur close to 6:30 on either day. The probable cost of the Summer Social will be ~$30 per person. Several Board members offered suggestions about next year’s pricing (e.g., Try to keep the price as it was but don’t include any drink tickets; Have a member and non-member price differentiation, with the non-member price including RCPOA membership to the end of the year).
The Board expressed unanimous appreciation and approbation for the sterling efforts of Ms. Frees with respect to the 2012 Summer Social.
Ms. Frees then turned to her planning efforts for the upcoming 2013 Annual Meeting. It will be held on Saturday, February 2nd 2013 at the Oakmont Country Club starting at 10:30 AM. Oakmont has quoted a food price “all in” of $24.73 per meal. Bruce Hinckley asked if Oakmont had given us its best price since many members of Oakmont are also members of RCPOA. Ms. Frees said that it was their best price, and that, due to the increasing cost of food, she was surprised that it was that low. Aside from the cost of the meal, Oakmont imposes other charges for such a meeting. There is a mandatory valet parking charge of $250 to $325 (whether attendees use the valet parking or not). While Oakmont provides a microphone and screen for free, if we need a projector, there’s a $125 charge for it.
2013 is the year we will have candidates for the Glendale City Council speak at the Annual Meeting. In years past we’ve used the services of a local newspaper columnist as a moderator. We’ve paid him an honorarium of $150 or so for his service. Stephanie Schus volunteered the services of her husband, Joe Russin, to act as moderator. Joe is an award-winning journalist with long experience in covering California politics and news. The Board was and is happy to accept his services as moderator for this year’s meeting. John Wolff and Armine Hacopian volunteered to meet with Joe to discuss arrangements, format, etc. Some Directors commented that the physical arrangements for the candidates at previous Annual Meetings made them difficult to see and hear. Ms. Frees will work with Oakmont and one or two members of the Board to correct that difficulty.
The probable actual cost per person at the Annual Meeting is almost $30. That figure led to a discussion of whether we should continue our past practice of providing a free meal for the candidates who spoke to the group. We’d done that in prior years, but had said that their guests/family members/supporters who wanted to attend the Annual Meeting had to pay for their meals. We’ve had as many as 19 City Council candidates at some Annual Meetings. Treasurer Richard Lee also pointed out that on at least one occasion, we had a net loss of $550 on the cost of an Annual Meeting. The discussion of free meals for the candidates was closed with a statement by President Leanne Reynolds that we’ll resolve the issue at the December Board Meeting.
Mike Myers gave his report as Membership Chairman and Nominating Committee Chairman. He noted that RCPOA had just crossed the 200 total member threshold, up from less than 150 members in May of 2011. He said that the increase was partly due to various membership campaigns including our letter appeal to all non members in May of 2011. But the increase was also partly due to the very successful interest group efforts led by Stephanie Schus. Those interest groups lead to people joining RCPOA. The various special events we have such as the Summer Picnic, National Night Out, and Summer Social, coupled with a pre-event “email blast” from President Leanne Reynolds also have netted a few new members at each event. Myers noted that we will be sending a “dues are due” letter to each of our 200 current members in late December at a projected cost of $125 to $150. There will also be a letter appeal to all non-members in early January 2013, building off the upcoming Annual Meeting with the City Council candidates. The cost of that mailing will be in the $425 range. Since the May 2011 appeal to non-members netted us approximately 20 new members, that letter should ultimately be a break-even proposition.
President Leanne Reynolds announced that she intended to ask the Board to approve an RCPOA dues increase at the December meeting. We’d had a discussion of that issue a year ago, and amid much controversy a dues increase was voted in, then voted down at a special meeting. The matter will come before the Board again in December 2012.
Mike Myers then discussed Nominating Committee procedures. Our Bylaws require that the President appoint a Nominating Committee at least 4 weeks prior to the Annual Meeting. The Nominating Committee then nominates candidates for the Board of Directors. Those candidates are approved—or not approved—by vote of the members at the Annual Meeting. Myers announced that 3 Directors had said they would leave the Board at the end of this term. They are Bea Wojtlya, Mike Myers and Nick Friesen. The Bylaws say that the RCPOA Board must have at least 5, but not more than 13 Directors. RCPOA is in a good position now in that we have several strong volunteers who want to be on the Board. They are Cheryl Frees, Barbara Mastro, Wendy Myers and Beth Volpe. There are other potential candidates as well. Myers asked the current Directors to consider whether any of them might choose to not seek re-nomination as a Director. The idea of creating a Director Emeritus position or role was raised. That would let a retiring Director continue to work for and provide services to RCPOA on an occasional basis as requested. Since we have more potential Director candidates than slots, President Reynolds will also work on finding committee or interest group jobs for such persons.
Bruce Hinckley gave a report on the National Night Out (NNO) event. He said we had at least 150 to 200 people there. The police department and city had recognized our event as one of the largest and most successful in the city. We had great participation from the Glendale Fire and Police Departments with both the Fire Chief and the Police Chief in attendance. The committee held a post-event meeting to discuss lessons learned. Bruce has a written memorandum summarizing those lessons. The committee intended to keep the party at just one location next year rather than trying to have two sites. We’ll have two food trucks next year. There will be a subcommittee for children’s events—probably composed of people from our Parents Interest Group. The sense of the committee was that this was a family event and alcohol would be discouraged—and certainly not provided. They intend to rent a Porta Potty for next year’s events. The NNO committee reported expenses of just $95 this year. President Reynolds pointed out that figure did not include the cost of pre-event mailings. We also anticipate additional expenses next year for table and chair rental and for the Porta Potty. That said, the Board agreed that the event had been very successful and expressed appreciation for the committee’s work. Bruce Hinckley agreed to continue as chairman of this event for next year.
Richard Lee gave the Treasurer’s Report. He said that RCPOA was “generally on target” with respect to the budget that had been prepared and approved earlier in the year, although our “most difficult quarter” in terms of budget outlays will be the upcoming fourth quarter of the year. He was quite gratified that our expected net loss on the Summer Social was just $120, although he cautioned that the number was not yet final as we have not as yet received the Caterer’s bill for the event.
Richard attends The Glendale Homeowner’s Coordinating Council (GHCC) meetings on RCPOA’s behalf. He said that several issues were coming before the City Council at the October 23rd meeting. One of them will be a “view ordinance”. The GHCC has submitted a position statement to the City Council which deserves RCPOA’s support. Because RCPOA is in the hillside area, it is important that the RCPOA Board attend this October 23rd meeting to demonstrate support for this GHCC position statement. Another issue involves increases in electricity rates. After significant pushback on the water rate increase, the Glendale Water & Power Department is considering using electricity bonds (i.e., borrow the money) instead of a rate increase to finance improvements. Another topic that was brought before the GHCC is the Southern California Gas Company’s “Smart Meter Program”. The batteries were supposed to last 20 years; it now looks like 10 years is the more probable service life. The Gas Company did not lay any meter readers off; it just assigned them to other duties—and added a $3 a per month charge to cover the Smart Meter cost.
Richard Lee noted that it is RCPOA’s turn to provide refreshments for the November 5, 2012 Glendale Homeowner’s Coordinating Council meeting. The Cooking Group may provide some help and refreshments for that meeting. In addition, Armine Hacopian volunteered to provide treats for the November 5th GHCC meeting and will deliver same to Richard Lee’s home.
Leanne Reynolds gave a Neighborhood Yard Sale Report on Dan Cabrera’s behalf. It’s set for Sunday October 14, and the number of participants is growing rapidly. Dan says it’s up to 29 now. So far 2 of the participants have paid the $10 fee to help with advertising. Membership Chairman Myers said he would send a friendly “reminder” letter after the fact to non-RCPOA members who participate in the sale asking them to join.
Lyn Foster discussed the newsletter, and asked for ideas for the January 2013 issue. Many were forthcoming, along with offers of photos, etc., to help out. Leanne Reynolds said she has asked Lyn to look at, and report on, the cost difference between preparing and mailing a newsletter to members only versus preparing and mailing a newsletter to all 650 homes in the area. Lyn will report back at the December meeting, where we will discuss whether to cut back the number of copies mailed, e.g., assuming further growth in membership to 250 or so members, versus continuing to mail to 650 addresses.
Webmaster Todd Yvega gave his report and presentation. He had a 6 page report describing things he had either completed and corrected, or that he felt still needed to be corrected and improved on our website. Yvega has been active and it shows—but he noted that websites take a lot of work and ongoing corrections and improvements. He was particularly encouraged by the rapid growth of the “Greenbriar” Nextdoor.com social networking site. Its “footprint” includes most, but not all of the RCPOA territory, plus a little more. He has also initiated an RCPOA private “Wiki” which will enable members of the Board and volunteers to build a “knowledge base” (i.e., an encyclopedia of RCPOA operations, procedures and policies). He has sent IDs and temporary passwords to all Board members. He’s going to encourage us to use the site, saying that once we’re familiar with it, and the concept, it will be easy to use.
Messrs. Yvega and Lee then had a discussion of the use of PayPal. Lee noted that he doesn’t always have information from PayPal as to what a payment is for. Yvega says that this information is stored in the RCPOA’s database and will be viewable by Richard when the “Manage Invoices” page is developed. There has been an accelerated use of PayPal by RCPOA members—both to pay the $10 fee to participate in the area yard sale, and to RSVP for the 2012 Summer Social, indicating that residents want to use it and like the convenience. Lee correctly said that there is a transaction fee or charge by PayPal, which has to be balanced against the member convenience in using PayPal. Board consensus was that members will likely increase their use of PayPal in future.
Stephanie Schus gave the Interest Groups Report. You could say that the interest groups are “cooking along” just fine. The Garden Group and the Book Club continue to meet regularly. Because the Cooking Group can only accommodate a limited number of participants and interest from residents has exceeded this, a second Cooking Groups will be organized. The original Cooking Group has decided to morph into a fine wines and gourmet group; the focus of the second group will be determined by that group’s members. Suggestions were made for a Dog Owners Group (since we had so many dogs attend the NNO event), and (by Armine Hacopian) for a Grandparents Group. The Historical Issues Group is getting started under Greg Grammer, with an organizational meeting scheduled for October 17. Leanne raised the possibility of needing a Neighborhood Watch Super Captain to help move the organization of this ahead, also noting that some residents have expressed interest in hiring a private patrol service.
Stephanie noted the most often cited issue from last year’s survey was “Traffic”, which she suggested can be the topic for a single-topic program. Stephanie said she had follow up with resident Elaine Wilkerson and our Special Issues person, Lorena Parker, to discuss how the neighborhood might address the challenge of traffic issues. Leanne noted Chief DePompa offered to lend his support as well. Other possible programs might include Solar Energy or Trees, as well as an event at the GCC Planetarium, perhaps with a lecture by resident David Hurst, a retired GCC astronomy professor.
Leanne Reynolds discussed the upcoming December Board meeting. Our Board meetings are running longer because we have a good deal of business to discuss. Our Bylaws require at least 4 Directors meetings per year, but we can hold more than that. In years past our December Board meeting has been a combined business and social one. She asked the Board whether we should hold just a “business” Board meeting on December 10th with a separate “social” Board meeting on December 17th. She asked for a show of hands, and the consensus was to have two meetings. One proposal for the December 17th meeting is a no host dinner meeting at Mori Teppan Grill. Bruce Hinckley noted that someone might offer his or her home for a social meeting on the 17th. Other than the decision to have two meetings rather than one, nothing was firmly concluded.
The subject of a possible name change for the organization to include “Greenbriar” was raised. Mike Myers noted that amending the name of the corporation to something like “Royal Greenbriar Neighborhood Association” would require both a resolution by the Board of Directors and an affirmative vote by the membership (which could take place at the 2013 Annual Meeting). John Wolff said that in addition to those votes we would need to look at the effect on our tax exemption letters, Internet domain names etc. Todd Yvega suggested we might be able to do it through a “fictitious name certificate” filing, e.g., “Royal Canyon Property Owners Association dba Royal Greenbriar Neighborhood Association”. It was agreed that more study would be needed to determine the requirements for and the impact of a name change. President Reynolds asked that the Directors think about possible alternate names for RCPOA, and be ready to discuss them in December.
President Leanne Reynolds adjourned the meeting at 10:00 PM.
Michael Myers, Secretary ex tempore (ed. RL, TY, SS)