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[Full story published March 18] The Rancho Murieta Association board of directors Tuesday night unanimously approved a contract to rebuild the community’s cable system and discussed the general manager’s suggestion to simplify driveway parking procedures.

The RMA received five bids for the cable work.  Communications Manager Paul Venturella described the project as “a major upgrade” when he reviewed the bids with the Finance Committee last week.  The work includes replacing components with ones that have a higher bandwidth and removing bad cable.

Venturella said the design will accommodate “the next generation of equipment, so if five or 10 years down the road when we do the next upgrade, it’s literally just dropping in a few amplifiers in the same locations and not doing this again.”

The board did not give the amount of the cable contract, but at the committee meeting there were references to the contract fitting within the amount reserved for the system repairs -- $450,000.

The bid proposals had two components, the design work and the actual upgrade. “In reviewing them, we believe that all the companies are qualified,” Venturella said when Finance Committee members studied a spreadsheet of the bids last Thursday.

Peregrine Systems Inc., the company that prepared a report on the cable system last year, was one of the bidders. “Peregrine bid only the design, and they were the third highest bid on the design, so I set them aside,” Venturella said at the committee meeting. “... They’re also a management company and not a construction company, and we structured the RFP to say we’re going to manage it.” Another company bid the build and not the design. “You could bid one, the other or both. Our preference is to have a company that does both,” he said.  

Of the three companies bidding on the entire project, one exceeded the reserve amount, and the remaining two came within about $1,000 of each other. Both were out-of-state companies that would bring their own people in and also hire locally, and both offered a timeframe of two to three months to complete the work, Venturella said.

Since the bidders were so close, the Finance Committee supported a Communications Committee recommendation to have staff “drill down” more before choosing between the two.

By Tuesday, the choice was made and the board unanimously approved a contract with Truevance, a Florida firm.

“That’s a big step for our cable system,” said Jim Moore, board president, following the vote. “It’s going to finally come into the 21st century.”

Parking problems

Calling the present procedures for parking a vehicle in the driveway cumbersome, General Manager Nick Arther suggested discontinuing the permit process for parking one car. Instead, the permit process would be used to grant “a blanket variance to those wishing to park two vehicles in the driveway.”  A request for three or more vehicles in the driveway would go to the Architectural Review Committee for consideration.

Director Vicky Lentz said she was “very troubled” by the recommendation. “You cannot just disregard the CC&Rs,” she said.  “You’d have to amend the CC&Rs. ... Our variance process is in the CC&Rs, is it not? And you cannot grant a blanket variance for two cars in the driveway. ... This recommendation is problematic. It’s not that the idea is bad. The procedures need to be followed and we have procedures.”

Both Arther and Lentz referred to the failed vote in 2005 that would have allowed two cars to be parked in the driveway if 60 percent of the membership had approved the CC&R amendment.  Arther pointed out that although quorum wasn’t achieved, 769 members voted, and of these, 78 percent supported the amendment.

Director Andy Keyes agreed that a CC&R change seemed to be required, something Director Randy Jenco termed “a monumental task.” Director Dick Cox suggested taking a lesson from townhouse owners belonging to Murieta Townhouses Inc. who just passed a “massive” CC&R change.  

“Our CC&Rs clearly specify that we can park one car in the driveway, period. We’ve been here before,” Cox said. The permit requirement for parking one car in the driveway was about “control,” he said. “That’s what they use a permit for, and they can do that.” It can easily be eliminated, he said.

Lentz said the permit process verified that the requirements in the CC&Rs for being able to park a car in the driveway are met.

“You can leave it to the honesty of the individual member,” Cox replied. “If we get a complaint, we can send our compliance officer out to investigate it.”

“I’m just saying we have to be able to enforce it,” Lentz said.

Cox said the Architectural Review Committee continues to be frustrated by guidelines the committee is supposed to follow for issuing variances to park two or more cars in the driveway. The board recently overruled an ARC denial based on the  number of cars in the household exceeding the number of licensed drivers after some directors asserted that cars used for commuting should be accommodated.

Cox and Jenco considered having ARC make the final determination on driveway parking variances,  which would only go to the board in the event of an appeal.   

Arther and President Jim Moore suggested getting committees involved in ways to approach the issue, and Lentz suggested getting member input as well.

In brief

  • The board approved combining two lots to create an estate lot, citing a dozen examples of similar actions in the past.
  • The board discussed its North Gate and Escuela gate progress with the Pension Trust Fund.  The RMA has submitted plans to the PTF.
  • The board unanimously approved a proposal by RanchoMurieta.com to begin streaming RMA meetings live on the Internet.
  • The board voted to renew Showtime directly with the premium channel’s owner by April 15 after National Cable Television Cooperative Inc., a programming cooperative that includes RMA among its members, was unable to reach agreement on a contract. NCTC is asking members not to sign with Showtime and instead to to notify Showtime that they will drop the channel on May 1 unless the company negotiates a contract with NCTC, Communications Manager Paul Venturella told the Communications Committee earlier this month. According to Venturella, about 95 percent of RMA  TV programming comes through the co-op. “NCTC does great at getting low prices for small systems,” he said.     
  • The board approved dropping the cost of HBO by a dime to make an additional 50 cents on the premium channel from subscribers after staff discovered a pricing anomaly.  “HBO sets price levels to control your price, so the more you charge, the more they take,” Venturella explained at a committee meeting this month.
  • In other premium channel changes, cable TV customers will be able to get HBO without also taking Cinemax (and vice versa) and to subscribe to Starz/Encore without first subscribing to another premium package.
  • The Maintenance Committee is considering possible sites for a community center, and General Manager Nick Arther presented four funding options to the committee, according to committee chair Randy Jenco. He said residents will be surveyed about possible locations. The committee meets the first Monday of the month at 7 a.m. at the RMA Building.
  • The board voted to drop two high-definition channels that are now part of the expanded digital package because the provider was relocating one of the channels, HD Net, to the basic tier. Replacement programming will be added to the expanded digital tier. 

Doug Lewis's picture
Joined: 08/08/2007
Posts: 165
Post rating: 322

Thanks Dick

  Dick your comments concerning eliminating the one car in the driveway permit process was right on.  Thanks to both you and Manager Arther for taking a common sense and practical approach to it.   Your right that MTI just changed a major component of their CCRS.  Some hard working members took the time to research it, hold town hall type meetings, get a consensus if the changes were desired by the members and it was voted on.  (hats off to them)  The MTI board listened, and conducted a vote on the matter.  Had they taken the approach that it was too great a task, problematic, or a monumental task the change would never have come to a vote.  Even in the MTI vote the quorum  requirement almost derailed the majorities wishes.  Voter apathy, or the belief that not voting will serve as well as a "no" vote curses the process.  It would seem that if every member household is afforded the opportunity to vote that  that alone should eliminate the need for quorums.   Has any community or group of communities ever tried to get changes to this quorum rule?

Doug Lewis

 

Doug Lewis

Jan Kays's picture
Joined: 05/06/2008
Posts: 117
Post rating: 111

FRUSTRATION

Right now I'm having one of those moments (I believe) we've all experienced in some manner where I want to scream in frustration, tell the kids I don't care if they have clean clothes for tomorrow, tell my husband he can fix his own dinner tonite because I don't know what we are having and I don't care, etc.  The reason for my anguish you ask...our RM TV guide or lack of one.....and my missing channels.   I know you're laughing at me.......please stop.

This started over a year ago when one of my favorite stations started moving around and I couldn't find it for periods of time because we didn't have up to date listings sent out to our RM population.  THIS COULD BE A CONTRIBUTING FACTOR TO PEOPLE DROPPING OUT.  When my station finally ended up on 99.6 it would periodically go 'out' because of some mecanical problem that required a new part.  Then after the part was installed and it was back on the air for awhile.......its just gone.  In the meanwhile, I can't seem to get a valid up to date listing of the stations because........I don't have 'the box'.   I have an older HD set that only goes up to 99 channels and I do not need nor want a converter box.  I go to the web site and search for the listings (as I was instructed by employees) and"this line up shows the channel number when using a set top box, there is a no converter listing under CATV/broadband listing above".  THIS RECOMMENDATION DOESN'T EXIST.  

I just want to know what channels I have in HD and where...maybe I can find my missing station.   My husband keeps bugging my about TNT in HD....original listing we were given long ago showed we had it but we can't find it.  Sending out new guides to those of us still paying for cable  would go a long way in customer service........and might get my husband dinner.

Frank Pumilia's picture
Joined: 08/08/2007
Posts: 134
Post rating: 187

Frustration

Jan,

I read your comment and have had a different result. 

I just went to the RMA-HOA web site  and was able to see the list of channels for  Basic Cable Channel Line Up Without Converter Box.

I did the following:

Log In  you must be a registered user...easy to do....

Select CATV/Broadband from the selection bar across the top

Select Bacsic Cable Channel Line Up (without converter box)

The listing of all free basic and HD channels appear...print the list.

TNT in HD is channel 53-310

I have a HD set with no RMA converter box and recieve all the channels listed

Maybe you need to re-scan your set as described

If this fails call Paul at RMA and I am sure he can help you past your problem.

Good luck

Bill Clark's picture
Joined: 08/07/2007
Posts: 194
Post rating: 690

Frustration

Jan,  If you remember a couple months back we had the debate regarding the cable system and the drop outs, I even made the suggestion regarding a couple week trail period of the "NEW RMA TV" and was told we don't need the drop outs to return.  With that attitude from some board members I'm not surprised at all they continue to take a less then stellar approach to appease their remaining customers.  Like you've read here before, if you're not happy with RMA cable there are other servers who would love your business.  I'd recommend DirecTv.

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

Jan I feel your pain

Franks  answer is probably the best and concise answer to your question about TNT.  My wife and I have been as frustrated if not more over the dancing cable lineup but let me just ask that you be patient a little while longer.  The contract is on the street now for the system to be renovated  in the next 4 months and brought up to a standard that you will soon enjoy.  The Association hired a fine individual in Paul Venturella who is keenly aware of the situation and is addressing customer service above and beyond that which existed in the past.  Your feedback directly to Paul is valued greatly.  Give him a call and if you don't get satisfaction then call me.  I do get supper BTW but my wife does hide the remote....

Bill Clark's picture
Joined: 08/07/2007
Posts: 194
Post rating: 690

TV Computer

Now that seems logical!  One is supposed to log onto the computer to figure out where to find TV channels on the RMA cable 

Jan Kays's picture
Joined: 05/06/2008
Posts: 117
Post rating: 111

OLD FASHIONED

One of the points I was trying to make previously was that I need something in hand to look at when I want to change channels.  RMA should send out up to date listings from time to time.  I am not very computer friendly and don't always have access to a printer.  ALSO......in my day (as my mother used to say)  a work day ended at 5 pm but it seems that every time I call for anything at close to 3 I'm told that it's the end of the work day and no one can help.   As Seinfeld used to say "What's up with that?"

Bill Clark's picture
Joined: 08/07/2007
Posts: 194
Post rating: 690

TV guide

Sounds like you're looking for that old fashion TV guide that we used to receive in our Sunday newspaper.  I think that went extinct back in the 80's.  RMA has an on screen guide, all they need to do  is to keep it updated.  It's baffling that they can take the time to move channels around yet don't have the time to update the on screen guide. 

We seem to be blessed with a director that thinks this simple change needs a few more months to implement, so in the interim, maybe calling him at all hours of the night for a channel lineup might just speed up the fix to your problem??

  

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

Jan You know you can call me anytime

The membership has been patient throughout this process despite the opposition.    Jan again I am available to help you with this issue as is Paul.  Their day starts at 6 by the way.  Paul and I will make sure you are satisfied with your channel lineup.  Thank you for putting with the system throughout the process.

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