Saturday, May 31, 2008

"Communicative Transparency"

I'd love to add an entirely new topic here but it appears that either I'm not blog savy or that requires administrative access rights. In the meantime, my comments are hidden under a similar but less than perfect topic heading...My ideal topic heading would be "Communicative Transparency" which may do more to share the sort of dork that I am than relate what I'm trying to.Perhaps "Open Air" or just "Open Forum" are better headers. So if an administrator is out there... I'd welcome the help setting it up.So what is the purpose for this new tread? Great question. It has been my experience that communications to the CPHOA mailbox are not shared to the community as a whole. I'll sometimes collect a response but there's no accountability for acting on my messages - or the messages of others. Here's another way of stating my point. Do you know how many questions are raised to our HOA leadership? I have no clue how many nor the topics addressed. I'll see some of my questions politely addressed though seldomly resolved. Am I alone in this or are there others?? Where's the accountability?? Alas, there appears to be none.Now it's not like I'm constantly or crazily messaging our HOA but when I do it's for a good reason - or so I think.My initial attempt at satisfaction was to CC the community on an email I sent to Paul about our upcoming Workday/Petition Picnic. However, as our contact list does not include email addresses that effort fell flat and my hopes of an organic groundswell of communication and discussion was dashed.My second attempt is already weakened by my having to post it under an unrelated topic on an already poorly traffic-ed blog. Alas, accountabilty remains an evasive goal and I more and more resemble Don Quixote.Well, if I'm in for a penny, I'm in for a pound. In a follow-up comment I will paste in the message I sent to Paul today. At least I will have attempted to publicly share my thoughts. This will be coming out in just a couple mins so you can hold your breath......and hey, if you're out there reading this don't feel about about letting me or a responsive post would be great.
May 29, 2008 4:33 PM
DOzment said...
As promised, here's my email from about 30 minutes ago today. In this message I reference an email I sent to Paul last year - April 2007. I'll post that email as another follow-up comment.Again, my objective is open communication designed to spur collaborative discussion and issue resolution. Yes, the removal of this vacuum will create increased accountability amongst our HOA Leaders but it also places increased responsibility upon the constituency as well. I'm open to both and trust that many amongst us are as well.Paul – In reading my comments below it will become clear that I have a strong opinion on a couple of topics – perhaps too strong for the taste of some. However, I believe more importantly than having an opinion is having a voice or outlet for that opinion. As I believe that my previous communications have fallen short, I was hoping to copy our fellow residents on this email. However, we do not have an email list for the neighborhood at this time so I’m entrusting my opinions to our HOA leaders for appropriate consideration and re-communication. I will also post this message on the blog but I don’t believe it receives the traffic today that it once did. I received our recent flyer concerning our work day and picnic. I have some concerns/questions I’d like to share:This should come as no surprise – we must work on our lead time for these events. I’ll make every effort to participate but I can personally attest that a lack of lead time is contributing to the low turnouts. I’ve never once seen a poll or inquiry as to date availability or preferences. Rather, it appears that these decisions are being made in a vacuum. I find this disappointing because it not only shows a lack of planning but also because I’ve specifically asked about the timing and scheduling of work days – see my email dated April 5. I’m significantly disappointed and concerned over our approach of passing along a petition at a picnic which could result in a restrictive rental policy. There has been valuable discussion on our blog about this very important topic and clearly it is a nuanced issue that deserves more weight and thoughtful discussion than a hotdog induced signing party. To ignore opinions collected via an HOA sponsored communication channel, as well as, to by-pass this discussion during our last HOA meeting in favor of a picnic petition is – in my humble opinion – grossly irresponsible and profoundly lacking of good judgment. Further, without a clearly defined process for matriculating a petitioned item into actual legislation you are effectively asking us to sign a blank check with regard to the actual language of the restriction in question. For while I may approve covenantal coverage on this topic, I may not agree with your language but in signing I will have given away my voice. I’d imagine even the strongest supporters of such a restriction would agree that this is a poor process. Below I’ve attached a link to this discussion in our blog for additional context as well as year-old solution proposals/ideas. Link to the “Rent or Not to Rent…” portion of our community blog: of this petition, how does one go about bringing a topic of this magnitude to the attention of the masses? Not only to their attention, but to the point of actually passing around a petition?? Last year we were asked to provide comments and suggestions for a Design Review Committee discussion yet I don’t believe anything ever came from that request. I replied with eleven (11) suggestions but have not seen much movement on any of them much less a community sponsored picnic thrown in their honor. I’ve attached my original email response here as a reference. **note, there is a distinct differentiation in my tone today verses the original email – colorful comments jest-fully made in April 2007 might be interpreted as rude taken only in today’s context.Thanks Paul, I do appreciate your time and sincerely welcome our HOA leadership’s comments/responses. My hope/intent is to foster greater communication and collaboration… we’ll see how I fare.Thanks,Dave
May 29, 2008 4:40 PM
DOzment said...
Ok, one more as promised...Here's some context - in April 2007 we received a letter outlining the creation of a new Design Review Committee and it solicited ideas for this team to consider, as well as volunteers to participate. I was told by Paul at our Memorial Day picnic that I was the only one to response. This was surprising to me - only 1 resident with ideas none of which were discussed or implemented. It was equally surprising to hear that the committee was launched seeing as no one responded to the letter but that's a discussion for the black helicoptor crowd at another time.So here is a copy of that email. Please know that some of this was tongue-in-cheek because I was feeling playful at the time of its writing and I believed that everyone's opinions carried equal weight. Clearly I've seen that not to be the case since.Again, if you're reading along, "THANKS!" and feel free to let me know - DaveOzment@gmail.comPaul – I appreciate your recent letter regarding the need to clarify or detail the design guidelines. Below are a few comments or suggestions I’d like to offer to the greater cause. I hope this helps and look forward to reviewing the final proposals.We should have a clear interpretation on fences. The draft covenants distributed to the initial wave of buyers precluded fences and this was relaxed in subsequent versions as the builder realized there was a demand for them. I’m not categorically against fences, but I’d like to see a clearly worded policy regarding them in the next iteration. We need a policy and enforcement procedure for dogs relieving themselves in the common areas or in yards other than their own. I’ve stood in my yard or watched from my window when dogs from more than one household have used my yard as their personal bathroom. This is in additional to the ‘treats’ I’ve found in my yard or in the common areas. I like dogs and I like my neighbors but I don’t like my neighbor’s dog’s feces scattered about. We need a clear enforcement policy and escalation protocol for all covenant violations. Threatening letters should be deployed as merited rather than as a unilateral measure. This is doubly true in instances, say lawn maintenance for example, when we admit to not having a clear policy in the first place. Aftermarket custom lighting that some neighbors enjoy should be deployed tastefully. Of course taste is subjective but the very nature of the Design Review Committee is to legislate a range of acceptable taste. And rightly so. I’d expect that any more than 2 or 3 or 4 lights added to our small and already well lit yards is beyond a reasonable definition of taste. Same goes with the planting of additional flowers and greenery in the front beds. It’s kinda like cologne. Just because little is good doesn’t mean that more is better. I think some yards have been over planted. Some neighbors use bark, some mulch, some use colored mulch, and others use the pine straw. This is fine. Some neighbors use some of each. This not so much. Mowing a ‘stripe’ or pattern in the grass looks nice… mowing the same pattern each week creates ruts in the yard, can kill parts of the grass and generally looks bad This was an issue with the previous HOA – I think neighbors SHOULD be allowed to hang flags in their yards or from their front porches during football season. I think this can be good for conversations and neighbor relations. On the flip side, flags should be tasteful (i.e. no auburn flags) and not left out indefinitely. I am amazed by the number of neighbors that bought huge trucks AFTER moving into this neighborhood. We should be able to do something about the number of cars parked on the street as a matter of course. I think this is the single worst thing done to detract from the aesthetics of our community. Additionally, this is not a safe practice as we move into summer and expect to have more children playing out doors. We should standardize how we communicate with the HOA. I get letters in mail, letters placed in my mailbox (isn’t this against the law?), signs at the entrance, and apparently a blog, who knew? We should choose 1 or 2 of these, tell everyone that these are the preferred methods, and stick with it. I’ll provide my preferred mailing and email addresses below to help with this effort. Also, let’s communicate events in advance as well. The Memorial Day cookout notice is an appropriate level of advance notice, the Saturday workday a couple weeks back wasn’t – at least for me and my schedule. Can we share the responses you collect? Names can be omitted but it would be nice to see what the other neighbors are thinking. It might help control some issues. For example, if I’m doing something – like parking my truck in the street – and I see 10 neighbors comment on it then I may self police my behavior in the future. Please let me know if you have any questions.Thanks,DavePreferred Mailing Address:3509 Baker RdSte 403-223Acworth, GA 30101Preferred Email
May 29, 2008 4:51 PM

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Charleston Park Homeowners

To all homeowners, In light of all of the negative events and personal attacks I felt it necessary to remove the original post from this blog. I will also be blocking all "anonymous" commenting. I had turned the anonymous option back on about a month ago because I felt that some were afraid to post as them selves but it was meant to be a positive move. Now it is obvious that peoples insecurity is controlling there good judgment. I would welcome any suggestions on how we all together can make this forum better. Lets use this oppourtunity to move foward in a sprit of community.......

Friday, June 1, 2007

Yard Sale

I'm not sure if anyone is interested in having the yard sale, but there have been no emails or calls to confirm. I had to have an appendectomy and gall bladder removed (sorry if tmi!!) so I won't be able to do all the leg work, especially since no one confirmed. If someone else is interested, feel free to post so here, otherwise I think the yard sale was a bust.
Thanks, Nicole

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Restaurant Recommendations

Not necessarily local ones. We are always looking for a great place with good service. A few weeks ago we had dinner at……..

Monday, April 23, 2007

To Rent or Not to Rent...

To put this into it's own blog post, I am also pulling out a great discussion topic brought up in the comments. Should we change our covenance to not allow any of us to rent our homes? This is something that needs unanimous support to change in our existing HOA, but it's a serious question to bring up. Some of the most successful and nicest communities throughout Cobb are "no-renting allowed" places. This allows the community to stay more tight knit as well as keeping our property values at the highest of highs.

But to bring to everyone's attention, the flip side. We are in a housing slow down. Some of us might come under hard times or might have a job transfer. Selling our homes might be easier than other homes in our area, but still because of the slow down, it's taken longer to do so. Those types of situations require immediate financial fixes that only renting would solve.

What are some other thoughts on this topic as well as support for either side? If this gets enough track, this should be put to a movement of amendment to our covenant at our next meeting.

Book Club

For any new visitors or those not reading the comments under each post, the Charleston Park Book Club has chosen to read "Nineteen Minutes" by Jodi Picoult. The first "official" :) meeting will be May 8th or 9th (please comment with suggestions). Steph has volunteered her house and several people have offered to bring appetizers/drinks. I think that about sums it up. Anyone else interested and those who have already commented on the blog, feel free to make suggestions/comments here! We'll consider this our CPBC section!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Home Owner Recommend Vendors / Contractors

We all have probably had a good experience with local businesses and want to spread the word. I also thought that some of us have our own goods or services to provide to the community as well. What a better place than this.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Neighborhood Directory

The board does want to put together an updated directory so I thought I would collect as many homeowner's info from you all here and contact everyone else by mail. If you object to posting your info here or are trying to remain anonymous that is perfectly fine. I will send out an info sheet in the next couple of weeks to gather anyone I am missing. I am making most things optional out of respect for those who don't want to share too much info.

Morning Coffee and Notable Quotes

A place to find a little daily inspiration and perspective in our otherwise hectic lives...........

Community Yard Sale $$$

I’m glad several people have shown interest in this since a “Community” yard sale tends to draw more attention and customers. Let’s try to get something together before it gets crazy hot – which will be soon despite the fact that it was 40 degrees when I left this morning! Anyone have thoughts on a date? I was thinking the first Saturday in May (5th) might be a good time – not too hot, people paid monthly will have just received their checks, and it’s before several holidays in May which may be conflicting with people’s travel/vacations. Any thoughts?