Discolor Online

Weblog of the sweetest person you never want to piss off.


Accursed HOA, you will RUE it!

I managed to miss my usual March bout of losing my voice, developing a sore throat and icky chest cough by skipping GTS this year. Or so I thought. Pramas seems to have kindly brought it home for me. I don't mean to be ungrateful but man, if I'm going to get con crud I want to at least have attended the con!

Tonight was the long-postponed meeting of our homeowners' association's Board of Directors. I dolled myself up in my professional clothes, printed off my correspondence with the management company, grabbed up the budget and the other paperwork they'd most recently sent out and made it over to the meeting right on time. There were about 10 or 12 homeowners at the meeting, which seemed to be a surprise to the board members. Each one of us had concerns we wanted to address. Only 15 minutes prior to the meeting had been budgeted for homeowner concerns, but the chairman eventually spent over an hour (seemingly to the displeasure of the attendees from CDC Management) addressing our concerns, which I appreciated.

They gave each attendee a chance to speak, going counter clockwise around the table. I was smack in the middle. Little did I realize I was not the only person there to talk about safety and security in our neighborhood! When the other attendees began to speak, I got quite the education about what's been happening on the other side of the community.

Last Friday there was some sort of "gun battle" that erupted after a private party at the community center got out of control. One of the homeowners came home to find a bullet hole in his Mercedes. Needless to say he was not amused! There were six calls to 911 about gunshots in a 15 minute period that night. Three or four other people from that block were in attendance to complain about the violence and the lack of security, every one of them mentioned ACTION FORCE ONE (it really does need to be in all caps, I think) spending all of their time parked at the community center, flirting with girls or sleeping in their car, no longer patrolling the community, etc. By the time it got to me, I was very pleased that I was not going to be the only with security concerns. I made sure to point out that until the meeting I had no idea about the gunplay in the neighborhood, but that I shared concerns about the increase in crime in the community and the lack of attention our so-called "security service" provided. I pulled out ACTION FORCE ONE's information sheet, talked about how it was given to me by a security person, complained that only after the fact was I told that the security force only "provided a presence." Received nods around the table at that. I went on to list specific incidents: the park next to my house has been repeatedly vandalized, a window in my house broken, my car broken into and vandalized, my neighbor's fence had been set on fire...all since last summer, I voiced my concern that our security service didn't seem to be "providing a presence" much at all, and that I was pretty sure my neighbors did not realize that the portion of our homeowner's dues that was going to security was not for actual security. I also got a jab in later in the meeting when I had the chance to say that I hoped the HOA could focus on the important issue of community safety and security instead of being so zealous about cosmetic issues like what color a person's porch is painted. "Yeah, or if you've got a window air conditioner five years after the fact!" piped up another guy. Nods around the table again.

Other homeowners went on to say their houses had been broken into (we learned this was a gang of six kids from Kent and Renton, the oldest was only 14, who were caught red-handed breaking into houses here and stealing things like soda, candy, and video games!). Also learned that the local police precinct is down 9 officers since last year! Hmmmm, fewer police officers and an increase in crime... could they be related?

The board is currently made up of three members of the Seattle Housing Authority and two members of the community. Soon they will be moving to a transitional board, which will be three members chosen by the SHA, three members from the community, and one member jointly agreed upon. I will be happy to see additional community members serving on the board, as the two community members were the most in-touch with the feelings and concerns of the other homeowners in attendance. I am seriously considering running for the board myself.

One good thing about attending this meeting is that I now know a couple of the other homeowners from my general area and I have the feeling that it's possible to unify the neighborhood a little behind this safety vs. cosmetic "violations" issue, probably more so than if there hadn't been kids shooting off guns on the corner last weekend. Thursday is the General Membership meeting. I intend to be there. If anything, CDC Management and ACTION FORCE ONE have done a lot to unite the community...though perhaps not in the manner they expected. If the CDC rep isn't already ruing my newly discovered enthusiasm for the HOA's business, she will be soon. Power to the people!


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Anonymous Ramsey Says:

Nice going Nicole!

Blogger Toren Q Atkinson Says:

Do you guys have the "Scary Window Sticker Security Program" in effect?


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