Open Letter to G2 folks


The Bylaws state that committees must be formally appointed by the G2 HOA Board. However, the present garden committee was apparently never officially established. If so, then it has no official appointments or standing. That is reason enough to question its legitimacy. The lack of formally appointed personnel and agreed-upon principles undercuts the good work a committee might do. The following open letter encourages residents to publicly discuss this situation.

July 14, 2007

(Rev. July 18)
I am not sure that the Garden Committee was ever officially established by the HOA. Instead, the committee seemingly just sprouted spontaneously before the HOA even existed, over 10 years ago. I think the HOA turned a blind eye to this fact, and perhaps that was acceptable to some people. But it resulted in great confusion over the past few years, and that took much energy to rake up. And it seems there's still plenty of raking needed.

I believe most of the garden folks really want to do the right thing. But the group was confused over their role from the very beginning. For example, at earlier stages some members seemed to believe (incorrectly) that they controlled a budget. It seems to me that the group has difficulty getting specific. There's lots of discussion, but few decisions, or worse, some people apparently believe that decisions were made when they weren't. Moreover, the group has proven feeble in managing uncooperative people, and this has caused more strife.

I observed the unproductive and unhealthy nature of this body first hand over the past couple of years. It seems to me that this committee could benefit from a "fresh planting." What do you think?

If a committee uses a reasonable process to deliberate, perform research, and record votes, then the HOA Board is likely to act on those recommendations. But a committee that cannot meet these responsibilities is not likely to be useful to the board.

Now, I wonder if residents understand that all committees serve at the pleasure of the board. And the board can establish, decommission, or reconstitute committees. (The only exception is the Program Committee).

So I'm asking: Will concerned garden folks approach the HOA Board and ask the committee to be reconstituted? Please ask the board to appoint (or reappoint) members who will agree to use democratic principles. I suggest an odd number to break tie votes. And ask the board for a simple set of governing principles (a brief constitution!), perhaps like those used by the Welcome Committee. Wouldn't this be the the honorable thing to do?

Otherwise, I think that all residents are owed a public explanation about why this unofficial body continues to malfunction as it does.

Please understand, I don't advocate destroying this body. I believe G2 needs some sort of garden planning group. But I do think the garden folks owe it to each other to behave, enjoy consensus when possible, and accept majority votes when things don't go their way. That's good democracy in action.

Being a committee member is a privilege, not a right. No one should assume that there is an inherent right to serve on committees. Perhaps that's one of the causes of dysfunction. If individuals believe (incorrectly) that they can just form a committee at their whim, demand resources, and act as though it is their own private fiefdom, they are not acting legally or democratically. That may be why the Bylaws specify that committees are formed by the HOA board. That creates mutual accountability. If even a single committee member does not honor such notions, the result can be unhealthy. And up to early 2007, that's what this group seems like to me.

Can the current members of the garden group (I hesitate to call us a committee) have the courage to ask the board to officially establish the committee as indicated above? I wonder. I say, Save the garden committee by officially replanting it with specific appointments and clear principles!

- Rafael

PS. Hey, if you want to respond, that's cool. I'll post any reply here. Or feel free to use the Discussion Board.