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The Rancho Murieta Association board criticized Security services provided to the community and had a 10-minute exchange with a Community Services District director who said the RMA has improperly taken $88,000 from the community's parks funds.

CSD Director Dick Taylor took the podium at Tuesday night's RMA meeting to make a point he has been making for months, that the RMA took $88,000 from the community's parks funds to repay RMA legal expenses for the building of the community's new bridge and did so without a proper vote of the Parks Committee or the RMA board.


Dick Taylor

CSD Director Dick Taylor, left, discusses the RMA's handling of parks money with RMA Director Mike Martel.


RMA Director Mike Martel, visibly angry, said he wanted to discuss a bigger picture -- shortcomings by the CSD and ways in which the CSD benefits from the RMA's work and funds -- and offered to debate the issues with Taylor on television.

"I don't care to discuss whether or not the parks agreement is what Mike expects it to be," Taylor responded. "I'm talking only about the procedures for the handling of finances, which you people misused."

"This has been Dick's issue for 13 or 14 months," said Martel. He asked if Taylor had accused the RMA of something that was a felony or a misdemeanor.

"I'm saying we think the money was misappropriated," Taylor replied.

Board President Jack Cooper cut the conversation off after 10 minutes.

After the meeting, Martel said the issue would be addressed at next week's Parks Committee meeting.

The Parks Committee is made up of representatives of the RMA, CSD and development community. It manages funds -- from RMA dues and developer contributions -- for construction of parks facilities.

Questions about Security and enforcement

Director Dick Cox asked how the Compliance Committee penalizes members who are habitual violators of the traffic rules. Reading from confidential documents, he said one member had been cited three times -- for doing twice the speed limit and running stop signs.

Director Chris Pedersen, who chairs Compliance, said the offenders are fined, but the fines are the same -- not scaled to match the severity of the offense.

"The guy who's speeding at 60 mph, I mean, we need to change the way we're doing business here," he said. "We need to bring these people to light. We need to hit them in the pocketbook. We need to communicate to the community who these people are."

Cox also criticized Security Chief Greg Remson's approach to overnight street parking as too lax, which, Cox said, Remson decided to make policy without asking the RMA. Cox asked, "This is the age-old question -- does the CSD work for us or do they work for somebody else?"

Cox said he wants to see Remson and CSD General Manager Ed Crouse stand at the podium at an RMA meeting and answer questions about what Security can and cannot do for the community.

Cox said he believes Crouse "calls the shots and runs the board" at the CSD.

In other actions during the two-hour meeting:

  • The board appointed new members to its committees -- Finance, Architectural Review, Communications, Compliance, Governing Documents, Maintenance and Recreation.
  • The board approved Dick Silvis, who has served as RMA inspector of elections, as the ballot counter for the advisory vote on the future of the cable system.
  • The board approved spending up to $10,000 for a land survey to establish the validity of documents found late last year that may say much of the undeveloped land in Murieta North has been annexed to the RMA. That would challenge plans to develop the land under a different homeowners association.
  • President Jack Cooper said there will be a community meeting Feb. 21 in which a technology company will present ideas on how the community's cable system can be used going forward. Cooper said the ideas relate to selling or leasing the system or having it managed by an outside firm.
  • The board approved spending $6,000 to $7,500 to explore the viability of changing the quorum requirement for electing directors from 40 percent to 33.3 percent. It's usually a struggle to reach the quorum of voters. The change would not affect votes on CC&Rs.
  • Danise Hetland, assistant general manager, said the community's phone directory will be in members' hands by the end of the month after some delays due to technical issues with the publisher, Lincoln Media Group.

Beth Buderus's picture
Joined: 08/03/2007
Posts: 926
Post rating: 706

Embarrassment, maybe the answer

Thank you Chris Pedersen

I've asked before, why can't we name the habitual speeders and DUI's in this community. Print their names in the RVT or mail them out in the monthly CSD bill. Maybe they'd think twice before doing it again if their friends in the community started getting on their case.

And why in the world would some jerk feel the need to do 60mph in the community? Maybe we should have a sliding scale for speed limits and number of times they have violated the limits and stop signs.

Andy Keyes's picture
Joined: 08/22/2007
Posts: 289
Post rating: 120

Evildoers exposed

Hey even though I've been guilty of leadfooting it a few times Im all for posting the names.  That should include what is now rarely enforced which is underage operators of golf carts and golf carts violating right of way and running stop signs.  My question though is cost vs benefits? 

Wilbur Haines's picture
Joined: 08/07/2007
Posts: 474
Post rating: 470

Repeat offenders

I believe formal adoption of a schedule of increasing fines for repeat traffic offenses would be an appropriate response, as might also a sliding scale of fines for how fast over the limit. 55 should cost you more than 35, and is hard to dismiss as mere inattentiveness.

I believe there is a concern that publicly shaming members could get legally dicey. I'm not sure that any such liability is clear-cut, but the risk of such litigation, expensive whether won or lost, is something to be concerned about. State law gives rule breakers a right to closed disciplinary proceedings. It isn't clear, but some see this as suggesting a right of privacy, i.e., protection from public humiliation. Because of concern over such privacy rights RMA is coy even about just who is delinquent in their dues. I'm not criticizing that coyness, because I think I understand and empathize with its roots. I just want to point out that this concern about getting into a legal privacy rights thicket is implicated by this debate.

Those who worry about selective enforcement, a common complaint whatever its accuracy or lack thereof, should also then worry about how a power to publicly humiliate those whom those with the power decide to selectively punish might play out.  If nothing else a "shaming system" would place even more pressure on the system to give a pass to the important, wouldn't it?

Mike Burnett's picture
Joined: 07/31/2007
Posts: 183
Post rating: 0

Community Meeting with Technology Company

In RM.com’s article following the last RMA Board Meeting, RMA’s President was quoted as saying, “President Jack Cooper said there will be a community meeting Feb. 21 in which a technology company will present ideas on how the community's cable system can be used going forward. Cooper said the ideas relate to selling or leasing the system or having it managed by an outside firm.”

How many times do we need to go down this path?  Since 2003 we have had more than half a dozen technology companies visit RMA to tell us how we can improve the network and provide more services.  All the Board Members get excited over the proposed techno speak from the company’s representatives and proposed income from new enhanced services.  Both Elliot Sevier and I as Board members who chaired the Communications Committee visited this several times as did Greg Voster.  We have had discussions with Surewest, Comcast, ATT, Volcano Communications to name a few.  Greg Voster hired a Network Consultant who facilitated community meetings and they went nowhere.  I was complicit at the time, but remember, we didn’t have Broadband Services when we began these exercises in 2002.  Simply put, the cost is too great for the initial overbuild and the ongoing support and maintenance. 

I came to the realization that these services were way beyond the capability of Rancho Murieta Association.  We benchmarked against small communities that implemented these services because they too were isolated.  We do not have the buy in of the Community as a whole, which is what would be required to undertake a project as we were proposing.  It would take a Centralized Services Organization or Private Company that is already providing these services to pull it off.  We had neither. 

The question at hand is that members want the option of paying for Video Services as we have for Broadband Services.  There is no retreating from this issue.  Jack and David can march 50 companies thru the front gate, but none will change the memberships mind at this point.  They have already made their decision and now want RMA to stop charging them for a service they no longer want.  It can’t get any more plain and simple than that.

Wilbur Haines's picture
Joined: 08/07/2007
Posts: 474
Post rating: 470

Deja Vu?

Mike, I had the same initial reaction of "Here we go again." But I think it would be fair to hear them out before drawing that judgement. The fundamental question in my mind is whether the possible business model is something voluntary or another forced socialized TV plan with no protection against endless dues increases to subsidize it.

Please, folks, find that yellow cable survey ballot and turn it in. I think we all know which way the vote will go. But its undeniability as a mandate increases with the number of votes cast. The correct vote to support transition to a voluntary, self-supporting system akin to broadband and premium TV is "yes."

Andy Keyes's picture
Joined: 08/22/2007
Posts: 289
Post rating: 120

Cable Technology Canard

Any option that doesnt include the will of the majority of the community that I believe you will find wants tom make the system voluntary is a waste of time. When the advisory votes are in, count them, draw up a resolution by what ever means necessary, change what ever document that needs changing, and set the unwilling participants in the cable TV system free.  I havent been here nearly as long as Mike or Wilbur but I can believe that this latest move is less than credible.  Where was the suggestion of outside management 9 months ago, long before the petition of John Weatherford was formulated and populated?  To the RMA, Lead, Follow ,or Get out of the way.

Mike Burnett's picture
Joined: 07/31/2007
Posts: 183
Post rating: 0

Parks Committee Financial Debate

After watching the RMA meeting on channel 5 concerning the issue Dick Taylor raised regarding the "misappropriation of Parks Funds", I would like to see this issue put on the agenda for the next RMA meeting.  This is an important issue and RMA should want to address this openly to ensure that they are participating in the Parks Committee in an appropriate manner.


The Parks Committee is made up of representatives from the RMA, CSD, and the Developers.  The funds for the Parks Committee come from developer fees to build the walking trails and parks amenities.  Once the parks are built, then the maintenance falls to the responsibility of the Common Interest Development they coexist within.  So the funds must be used in an appropriate manner for this sole purpose.


I believe that the Wooden Bridge should have been included in the trail system and therefore would fall under the purview of the parks committee for construction.  Maintenance would then fall to either RMA or CSD depending on how they finalized this responsibility.


What I heard Dick Taylor say to the RMA Board is that the funds were distributed without going thru the correct method for transferring the funds and distributing them.  Since this was raised in an open RMA Board meeting, the RMA Board should put it on the agenda and let everyone know what the resultant outcome is from discussions in the next Parks Committee.  These committee meetings are typically scheduled during normal working hours so most residents wouldn't be able to attend.


Dick Taylor leveled a serious charge against the RMA Board and we deserve to hear the final outcome.

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