Vista Las Palmas Neighborhood Organization Annual Meeting Minutes November 22, 2015

1. Sheila Cobrin called the meeting to order at 3:20p.m..  The members of the Board were introduced – Mike Ziskind, Raymond Manci, Jim LaMartina, Leo Cohen (in absentia) and Howard Hawkes.  Chairman/Mayor Elect Rob Moon is presently out of the country.

2. Paul Lewin, outgoing Palm Springs City Councilman, provided a State of the City update.  He mentioned that four years ago the town was in a poor economic situation.  Since then things have improved and the city is now paying salaries and paving roads.  City debt has been refinanced and the town is now on a sound financial footing.  It has invested in community centers.  Palm Springs is also allocated in its Police and Fire Departments; though not all vacant positions have been filled.  The city is offering cash incentives to hire veteran police officers and is offering $10,000 recruitment bonuses.  Finally, the town is experimenting with body cameras.

 There was good news regarding taxes.  Property taxes are up by 13% from four years ago.  Sales taxes are up by 20% versus Cathedral City, which is up by 1.7% during the same period.  Two-thirds of retail sale taxes are paid by non-residents.  Hotel taxes are up by 56% over four years ago.  Measure J revenues are 62% over projected revenues.  Tax revenues from vacation rentals represent about $5 million, or 20% of TOT.

 Mr. Lewin fielded questions about surveillance cameras and small business incentive grants.

3. Ryan Raso from the Palm Springs Police Department introduced himself.  Ms. Cobrin asked questions regarding vehicle thefts in Palm Springs and crime in Vista Las Palmas.  Officer Raso stated that there has been a spike in auto thefts, but that those are mostly of rental cars.  In Vista Las Palmas there have been some thefts.  Officer Raso urged residents to get to know one another and report suspicious individuals who are unknown to them.  He went on to say that while there is crime in the neighborhood it is not at a level that residents need to be seriously concerned about.  Officer Raso fielded questions from several attendees.

4. Our new Fire Chief, Kevin Nalder, was introduced.  He stated that he has thirty years experience in fire service.  He hails from Salt Lake City.  The department is developing a strategic plan and a standard of coverage study.  Further he mentioned that a 9/11 memorial would be dedicated on December 5th.

5. Jim Malaspina spoke of the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) and urged residents to undertake the training.

6. Fritz Maxwell of Maxwell Security addressed the group.  He stated that they are patrolling cities across the valley.  Further he stated that the number of clients the firm has in our area is down by about 40%.  As a result they have less presence in our neighborhood.  The reduction in clients has to do with another neighborhood signing up with another company.  Joining up with Maxwell starts at $80 per month.  That amount covers neighborhood patrol, alarm response, vacation patrol, etc.

7. The Treasurer’s report was mentioned and Ms. Cobrin encouraged attendees to read it.

8. Lee Bonno, VLPNO neighborhood liaison.  She mentioned the Nixle app for alerts and road closures; code red, which is a reverse 911; and crime mapping on the PSPD website.  Ms. Bonno also mentioned the neighborhood watch program.

9. The change to the by-laws regarding term limits was briefly discussed.  Gustav Swanson criticized the process and Hank Plante spoke against the need for a term limit provision in the VLPNO by-laws

10. The results of the Board election were announced.  The new Board will include Mike Ziskind, Sheila Cobrin, Mary Jo Potts, Marla Malaspina, Mike Curcio, Michael Marchi and Howard Hawkes.

11. The results of the vote on the term limits proposal were announced.  The proposal passed.  (See full proposed Ballot Measure attached for details.)

The meeting adjourned at 4:40 p.m.

Respectfully submitted by,

Wayne Taylor


Ballot Measures 

November 5, 2015

Dear Vista Las Palmas Neighborhood Organization Members

This is a REVISED letter about our annual meeting. Through an administrative error I inadvertently left out the name and bio of one of our neighbors, Wayne Taylor. The attached ballot for the election of the Board of Directors corrects this error. My apologies to Wayne for this error and to all of you for any confusion this error may have caused.

_____________________________________________________________

In preparation for our annual meeting this document contains two ballots. One ballot is for the bi-annual election of our Board of Directors. The other ballot is a “yes” or “no” ballot for a proposed change to our by-laws.

Board of Directors election: In accordance with our by-laws our Board of Directors is elected for two year terms. In addition to the ballot there is also attached a copy of the short backgrounds provided to us by the ten (10) members who have volunteered to stand for election. These backgrounds are presented in the order they were received by our Secretary, Jim LaMartina, and are in the exact format in which they were submitted.

A most sincere “thank you” to these generous neighbors who have volunteered to serve our neighborhood in this important capacity for the next two years.

By-Law Change Vote: A motion was made and accepted at our last annual meeting for a change to our by-laws to require term limits for our board members. There is also attached a detailed description of the change to the bylaws as well as a short “support” argument and an “oppose” argument. Please read this information carefully and make your decision.

Note: Our current by-laws can be seen on our website at www.vistalaspalmas.com

Only one ballot per household will be accepted. Your information and your vote will remain confidential and will only be used to validate your ballot. Your name and address are required on your ballot in order to ensure that all voters are members in good standing of VLPNO and that we do not have any accidental multiple ballots. Your voting information will be kept confidential and will only be seen by three members who will be designated to count the ballots at the meeting. Ballots will be destroyed after the election is validated.

Please note that we cannot honor any ballots unless you are a current member of VLPNO and have paid your dues for the coming year. If you have not paid your dues for the current year please enclose a dues check for $35 with your ballot.

Please print out and (1) mail your ballot to the below address or (2) bring your ballot to the annual meeting on November 22. If you forget to bring your ballot to the annual meeting there will be additional copies available. However, remember, and this is important, only ONE ballot per household (Vista Las Palmas address) can be accepted.

Mail your ballot to: Jim LaMartina, 1267 Abrigo Road, Palm Springs, CA 92262. Ballots must be received by Jim no later than November 21. Ballots received after November 21 cannot be counted.

Or Bring your ballot to: Annual Meeting: The O’Donnell Clubhouse, Sunday, November 22, 3:00pm – 5:00pm.

Thank you!!!!

Rob Moon, President


CORRECTED VERSION

Vista Las Palmas Neighborhood Organization Official Board of Directors Ballot 2015

Voter Name:

Voter Address:

Note: Your name and address are required in order to ensure that all voters are members in good standing of VLPNO. Only one ballot per household will be accepted. Your information and your vote will remain confidential and will only be used to validate your ballot.

Please note that we cannot honor any ballots unless you are a current member of VLPNO and have paid your dues for the coming year. If you have not paid your dues for the current year please enclose a dues check for $35.

Please print out and mail your ballot to the below address or bring to the annual meeting.

Mail to: Jim LaMartina, 1267 Abrigo Road, Palm Springs, CA 92262. Ballots must be received by Jim no later than November 21. Ballots received after November 21 cannot be counted.

Or Bring your ballot to: Annual Meeting: The O’Donnell Clubhouse, Sunday, November 22, 3:00pm – 5:00pm

Please vote for up to SEVEN (7) of the below candidates for members of the Board of Directors for the term of November 2015 – November 2017. See attached candidate statements. You may also write in any candidate you wish to vote for that is not listed below.

 Mike Ziskind

 Mary Jo Potts

 Sheila Cobrin

 Wayne Taylor

 Raymond Manci

 Marla Malaspina

 Mike Curcio

 Libby Kauper

 Michael Marchi

 Robin Abrahams

 Howard Hawkes

 ________________________________________

 ________________________________________


Vista Las Palmas Neighborhood Organization Official Ballot for Change to By-Laws

Voter Name:

Voter Address:

Note: Your name and address are required in order to ensure that all voters are members in good standing of VLPNO. Only one ballot per household will be accepted. Your information and your vote will remain confidential and will only be used to validate your ballot.

Please note that we cannot honor any ballots unless you are a current member of VLPNO and have paid your dues for the coming year. If you have not paid your dues for the current year please enclose a dues check for $35.

Please print out and mail your ballot to the below address or bring to the annual meeting.

Mail to: Jim LaMartina, 1267 Abrigo Road, Palm Springs, CA 92262. Ballots must be received by Jim no later than November 21. Ballots received after November 21 cannot be counted.

Or Bring your ballot to: Annual Meeting: The O’Donnell Clubhouse, Sunday, November 22, 3:00pm – 5:00pm

Please vote to accept or reject a proposed change to the VLPNO by-laws for adding the requirement for term limits for board members. See attached information for proposed change.

Accept proposed change to VLPNO by-laws requiring term limits Reject proposed change to VLPNO by-laws requiring term limits

Term Limits Proposal

BACKGROUND

As our neighborhood has become more vibrant, there has been a desire by new owners

to become more involved in neighborhood affairs, including the neighborhood board.

The Vista Las Palmas Neighborhood Organization (VLPNO) is required to elect board members every two years. Members serve a two-year term with no limitation on number of terms.

PURPOSE

This proposal reflects an effort to keep the VLPNO innovative, vibrant, welcoming and fresh. It enables new voices and ideas to be heard and new people to become involved.

MOTION APPROVED NOVEMBER 2015

"A committee of five persons shall be formed immediately to develop changes to Section 4 of Article VII of the Bylaws that will implement term limits for the Board of Advisors. The committee members shall include two current members of the Board of Advisors and three VLPNO members who are not currently members of the Board of Advisors. The goal of the committee shall be to develop a specific proposal for implementing Board of Advisor term limits. The proposal shall be considered at the 2015 Annual Meeting and, if approved, shall become effective immediately. The proposal shall include a method for phasing in term limits for current members of the Board of Advisors and that phase in shall be first applicable when electing Board of Advisors at the 2015 Annual Meeting."

ACTIONS TO DATE

The Vista Las Palmas Neighborhood Organization (VLPNO) voted at its November, 2014 Annual Meeting to form a committee to draft a by-law which would implement term limits. The bylaw would be presented and voted upon at the November 2015 annual meeting. If approved it would become implemented in 2017.

PROPOSAL

The following proposal will phase in term limits in a fair and equitable manner which will

not negatively impact the operations of the VLPNO.

The seven current board members are referred to herein as the “original board”. The basis of the term limits proposal is “number of years served on the board”. The implementation plan is presented below.

For the 2017 November board election

  • Two “original board” members will be subject to term limits if they have served three or more consecutive terms, based on longest time served.
  • They cannot run for re-election in 2017
  • They are permitted to run again after sitting out one two-year term

For the 2019 November board election

  • At least two additional “original board” members will be subject to term limits if they have served three or more consecutive terms, based on longest time served.
  • They cannot run for re-election in 2019
  • They are permitted to run again, but only after sitting out one two-year term

 For the 2021November board election

  • At least two more “original board” members will be subject to term limits if they have served three or more consecutive terms, based on longest time served.
  • They cannot run for re-election in 2021
  • They are permitted to run again, but only after sitting out one two-year term

For the 2023 November board election

  • The final “original board” member will be subject to term limits if they have served three or more consecutive terms, based on longest time served.
  • They cannot run for re-election in 2023
  • They are permitted to run again, but only after sitting out one two-year term

After the “original board” has completely “turned over”, the term limits will continue in the same manner. Thus, no board member shall serve more than three consecutive terms without having to “roll off” for two years.


FOR TERM LIMITS

What are term limits?

Neighborhood associations often use term limits to combine experience of long-serving members with new ideas and creativity of new board members. Term limits provide a temporary “time out” for longer-serving members.

Why are term limits important to Vista Las Palmas?

Vista Las Palmas has experienced great change in the past few years. Rebounding property values have triggered an influx of interested and talented new neighbors who want to actively participate in the Vista Las Palmas Neighborhood Association. At the same time, the increase in property values has created complex, new issues related to poorly executed vacation rental regulations, lack of enforcement, and industry lobbying to allow outdoor amplification at event house properties.

The current Vista Las Palmas board has been remarkably stable and served us well over the past five-plus years. However, there is an immediate need to augment experienced board members with new leadership and new ideas to address new ways to correct the flawed, watered-down ordinances that the city believes are working. Term limits are a valuable tool that will encourage fresh leadership with the new ideas and the energy to address the current issues of the day and new issues in the future.

Do term limits mean that current board members can suddenly no longer serve? No. We value experience and VLPNO has been blessed with both. The ideal board includes longer-serving members and newer members who have new approaches.

When would current board members have to leave the board? No board member is required to rotate off until 2017.

But don’t term limits automatically remove capable officers?

No. Officers are elected by the seven-member Board, and NOT by the membership.

Do term limits take away voters’ choices?

No. Term limits increase choices. They encourage neighbors to become involved. A healthy organization includes both experienced and newer members. It’s notable that last year—only after the concept of term limits was first introduced—we had a contested election for the board for the first time. This year, in the midst of consideration of the term limits proposal, we are looking at significant turnover of our board. Term limits will guard against complacency and will stimulate board participation by new neighbors with new talents and points of view.

But, don’t experienced board members have more clout with our city officials? No. With longevity comes complacency, familiarity and friendship, and a desire to “get along.” A new board member could actually be more effective at applying pressure with superior contacts, better communications skills, or remaining “arms-length”.

Why don’t we leave things as they are? Why should we “rock the boat”? That is always an option. Our current board has served us well. In the past, well-respected neighbors took up the slack. But issues have become more critical and complex. New, innovative and effective approaches are sorely needed. Serving on the VLPNO is a privilege; it is not a right.


Term Limits: Position against

We already have term limits: they're called "elections." If voters don't like the job that their leaders are doing they can replace them. In our case that can happen bi-annually at our annual neighborhood meeting.

Term limits automatically remove capable officers who have worked for years to build relationships with City officials to get things done for our neighborhood. In the case of Vista Las Palmas, we have board members who have City officials on speed-dial, and who can get the latest information on issues like crime in the neighborhood or who can apply pressure to get streets paved, etc. It would be a waste of talent to simply remove experienced, influential leaders simply because the clock has run out.

In summary, term limits take away voters' choices, turning the election process over to an arbitrary calendar. We're better off picking our own leaders when we want.

Suggested annual dues contribution of $45 per household helps pay for website, mailings, printing, newsletter, supplies and our VLP neighborhood events.

Duration: 1 year
Price: $45.00