Most pressing issues in Sun City

Discussion in 'Sun City General Discussions' started by SCR, Oct 11, 2021.

  1. SCR

    SCR Active Member

    What are the most pressing issues in Sun City?

    Please list them with the most important first.

  2. BPearson

    BPearson Well-Known Member

    I asked this very question at the board meeting today and i agreed with their response, water. That encompasses Viewpoint Lake and the water management plan we will be facing in 2025 from the state. When they post it, you will see it is 26 million dollars. Their hope is the state will allow them 10 years to get it all done. I have virtually no hope for that. The water issues facing the state and the entire southwest are becoming bigger than whether the roughs are allocated water.

    The good news is we have some money in the PIF and we collect 6 to 8 million dollars a year from home sales. The bad news is with 4 million dollars for Lakes East/West maintenance building and the 30 to 40 million dollar Mountainview project, we clearly have some challenges. I know they are staying with the 17 or 18 million dollar number on MV, but it is totally unrealistic and that is just for phase 1.
  3. SCR

    SCR Active Member

    Agreed - water is the most pressing issue. Everything else should be delayed till there is a definite plan in place with state approval to resolve SC water issues.the lakes east/west redo should be delayed indefinitely. Management made no attempts to keep that facility in good operating condition and it has deteriorated to a trash facility. Management should be charged with cleaning up that facility and any redo should be delayed indefinitely.
  4. SCR

    SCR Active Member

    2nd on the list - technology to bring us into the 21st century and prepared for the next 30 years.
  5. Water is not the most pressing issue. It is an important issue. My Opinion!
    I have lived here since 1979. I have seen two - 100 year floods in the Salt River. Just do a google search (I use duckduckgo) for "salt river flood 1980".
    You will see stories and incredible pictures of how the valley was divided in two. Only 3 bridges survived to cross the Salt River (24th St. Bridge, Mill Avenue Bridge and the I-10 Bridges). One of the I-10 bridges sank several feet and had to be close, causing all traffic to be routed to the other bridge.

    Following these floods, all the washed out crossings were changed to new bridges. The I-10 bridges were rebuilt, much higher and wider than the originals.
    It took years to recover.

    Arizona had done a good job of managing water. Check out the state and federal sites. I have.

    Over 70% of the water in Arizona is consumed by Agriculture (all sources). The residents use very little by comparison.
    About 36 % of Arizona's water comes from the Colorado River. The rest comes from ground water and the Salt River reservoirs (Saguaro Lake, Canyon Lake and Roosevelt Lake; plus some smaller reservoirs).

    Water conservation is very important, but it's not the most pressing issue. My Opinion.


    I had a picture here from Arizona Water Facts - Arizona Department of Water Resources. The picture shows as a square with an X. But when I edit or quote the post, it shows up correctly.
    Talk of Sun City is broken.

    Check out this link:
    This info in the picture is right from the this page. Along with lots of other information.

    The Arizona Department of Water Resources was established in 1980. Its a wonder what 2 - 100 year floods in a row can do.
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2021
  6. SCR

    SCR Active Member

    So what is the most pressing issue?
  7. I don't think there is one most pressing issue.
    There are several important issues (all number 1 IMHO):
    • Water is one - Viewpoint Lake and Golf Courses.
    • Improving Communication to the Membership (putting priority on telling us what is going on)
    • Safety (facility security, personal security, Protecting Members, Staff and property.
    • Improve Facility Utilization (good data collection, analysis, etc.
    • Making sure Golf is Self Sufficient (I am a golfer) and not draining other RCSC resources.
    • And possibly a few more.
    All of this is important. Not just one item.

    I didn't mention Mountainview. Its the closest rec center to my home, but Fairway is close by.
    I would put MV as a number 2 priority.

    Some hard decisions need to be made by the board and management. It might even call for an increase in the assessment. I would be happy to be in the top 3 for the lowest assessment, if the above items were accomplished.

    I moved here from Sun City Anthem at Merrill Ranch (Florence, AZ). My rec fee was over $450 per quarter. My taxes in Florence were almost $3000 / year.
    I'm like a pig in Sh*t with $496 / year and under $900/yr in taxes. However in Florence, I had much better police protection. But that alone would not justify the total expense. I had one Rec Center for about 4-5 thousand homes. Were were not as apathetic as here. Pulte/Del Webb is still in control of this community and probably will be for another 5-10 years. It opened up around 2008. I moved there in 2010. I moved here in 2018. I love it here!
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2021
    Cheri Marchio likes this.
  8. BPearson

    BPearson Well-Known Member

    Interesting answer Mike, and all valid points. After the water issue, everything else is a simple (said with a smile) matter of internal functions of the organization. The water issues are beyond their control and will have to be dealt with irrespective of what the RCSC does or thinks. I know there was optimism expressed the other day at the work sessions that the state will give us all this time to work out our water problems, but in my opinion that was way over-stated.

    Which is the perfect segue into stating, I need to say this: As i said above, the other items on Mike's lists after water, including Mountainview are all internal functions within the organizations control, and what i saw the other day gave me immense hope. I've spent 15 years waiting for the RCSC to become something other than what it had become. The soon to be retired gm set the course for the organization and elected to take it away from the sense of community it was founded under. She elected to make golf a bigger part of our future than it ever would be. She elected to strip members of their rights/checks and balances, and centralize all decisions in her hands and the boards. She decided our direction and the board went gleefully along. Let me be clear, she did it with a smile on her face and an oh gosh i work for you leadership style.

    She's leaving and i wish her a happy retirement. Unfortunately the community is reeling from firing board members who don't fit in, armed police officers in our meetings and a deep distrust by those sitting in the audience. Watching the board meetings, in person or online is uncomfortable. The pettiness is unbecoming as a community; from either side. All of which sounds like i am pessimistic about our future...I AM NOT.

    More people are paying attention than ever. What i witnessed the other day was the start of a new management team. I don't know if Bill Cook will be better, worse or more of the same. What i do know is he deserves a chance. Sadly, people flocked out of the meeting before the work sessions; hopefully members will watch them on line. Because what i saw was the basis for a better tomorrow.

    Every issue Mike listed above are real. Almost every issue was in part addressed. The technology piece included in the Security portion was an awesome start. Anyone who has followed this site knows how disgusted i am by the way the RCSC has handled technology. I quit the long range planning committee because they refused to deal with it. Under the exiting gm, she thought it was a big deal to get a 100 megs of wifi in the centers, and it took over two years to do it. We talked about online ticket purchases two or three years ago; still don't have it even though Sun City West and Sun City Grand have had it in place for five or ten years. Card readers and security matters were kicked to the curb with the nonsense it should be done when they build or remodeled facilities. It was crazy because it wasn't a priority or something she was comfortable with. Sadly the boards were complicit every step of the way.

    What i saw the other day was a great first step. Was it perfect? Nope, it was finally done by the new guy Bill Cook who took the lead. If you know me at all, you know i don't gush with praise. I will applaud when people at least try. I begged the board to hold town hall meetings, to involve the community in important decisions. I openly argued for adding the community at large to the equation of deciding our fate. If you look back, i thought it was utter nonsense to have two board meetings a month. I simply stated far more could be accomplished by members sitting in and adding their thoughts to monthly work sessions with a single board meeting.

    The point is apparent, the old gm is leaving and maybe the shitstorm that hit the community the past year is a good thing. Just maybe once the retreads who have sat on the board for 6 or more years will finally fade off into the sunset with the departing gm and just enjoy their retirement. They have collectively been responsible for where we are today...both the good and the bad. Tomorrow is a new day, hopefully a better day for Sun City where those living here will actually have a voice.

    We'll see.
  9. OneDayAtATime

    OneDayAtATime Active Member

    I have been pondering this question since it was posted. Water, for sure. Technology, yes. Leaking lakes, I guess so. But what I see as the most pressing issue in Sun City – and most people are not even aware of it – is what Mike Wendel said in another post – Apathy. And to be clear, I really don’t like to use the word apathy, but I can’t come up with a better one. (Apathy=lack of interest, enthusiasm, or concern; lack motivation to do anything or just don't care about what's going on around you.)

    We had no intentions of buying a home here. My husband was recuperating from back surgery, and we were living full time in our RV. But then we took a ride. And another. And another. It was so clean here. And people were our age. The more we looked, the more we liked. And we poked around the Bell Center and saw that walking pool. I love activities; husband, not so much. But we found the perfect property for him. So here we are.

    Do I know anything about where our money goes? Do I care? It certainly looks like all is well here. The Recreation Centers are all busy and look well cared for. I don’t lack for anything to do. All looks good. Life is good. I am happy if I win a hand of euchre occasionally!

    But then Karen McAdam (MY candidate!) gets "fired" from the Board. I re-discover Talk of Sun City and our most prolific poster, Bill Pearson. And I read, and I read, and I read. I discover that maybe things aren’t as “good” as they look. It seems that the golf and all things golf that are supposed to be self-sufficient might be stretching that image just a little too thin. So, if that’s the case, how much money are we talking about? And where did it go? And where could it have gone? And can it be proven? And what can we do about it?

    When I tell my husband what I’ve learned and ask him if he cares that the monies have been helping to support the golfers and their game for years, he says, “so what?” He went on to say, “You’ve still got nice pools, gym equipment, card games, Aquafit, miniature golf for the grands, when they come, etc. You're happy, aren't you?” And that, folks, is the most pressing issue facing Sun City. The way he thinks is multiplied over and over and over here in this beautiful “city.” The older members probably pay their $496.00 yearly fee without using any of what they’re entitled to and don’t care. If you’re enjoying yourself and partake in activities, you pay your $496.00 and don’t care. The only ones that might start caring are the younger folks (55 – 65) as they realize that our technology isn’t quite state of the art, the most popular sport in their age group doesn’t have enough courts here, and most of the Rec. centers close early. If they’re still working, they are out of luck.

    I hate to complain about something and not try to offer a solution. I’ve been saying it over and over since I started reading TOSC and getting involved. AWARENESS! And the lack of. What can we do? I’d like to see Bill take all his negative numbers associated with golf and financial reports he has been finding lately and put together a spreadsheet or a chart showing what was spent on golf (that shouldn’t have been) that could have been spent somewhere else. Do you think that the “show” folks might have had the money to build a magnificent theatre by now? Maybe a free-standing one with a coffee bar/internet café that would be open all the time, not just when a play is being shown. What a concept! Or maybe that Center of Excellence that Dale Lehrer talks about for pickleball players could have been built already. But we won’t know any of these things until we get our hands on where the money went, and do we care?

    Many members don’t know that our voices have already been squashed by past Boards who instilled a number for a quorum at the Annual Meeting (where we might have been able to accomplish something) that isn’t attainable. Why, a quorum hasn’t been achieved since 2009!

    How do we get the word out? We don’t have blast emails or big websites to communicate with each other. But what we do have is an Election Committee recently formed to compose and ask questions to our seven (7) candidates at the upcoming forums. A lot of these questions are only going to require a Yes or No answer, and they will help you make up your mind who to vote for. We have our two feet and two hands to canvas our neighborhoods with easy-to-read flyers that can talk about the candidates and also point out the years of discrepancies and misspent monies in easy to see and read format. We have a Facebook site that was started in Karen McAdams’ defense that could easily be a teaching tool for anyone with FB. Bill and Mike are talking about a web site. We have Talk of Sun City, and we have Letters to the Editor in the Independent to keep the awareness factor alive. What I wish we had is a way to welcome newcomers to Sun City with a more in-depth introduction than what they get from RCSC when they sign up or better than what their realtor has told them. Maybe we should all watch our neighborhoods for “For Sale” signs and moving vans!

    I tried to end this on a positive note; I know I sure do get discouraged. Hopefully this next election will help us move toward a Board that works for the members and not the corporation. This might be the push forward we need!

    These comments on this thread are my own personal opinions. I do not claim to represent or speak for any organization. Email: I chose a “nickname” but now you know who I am. I’ve been trying to upload a photo forever, but the system won’t let me!
    eyesopen and Michael Wendel like this.
  10. I'm not discouraged and I think the people in this forum care. This is a good community. It can just be better. Hang in there.

    Also remember that we all worked hard to get where we are. I think I'm supposed to enjoy life now and not have to take on another job. As I said in some earlier posts, I want to help intelligently. Small, tangible things that can be accomplished without ruining my retirement.

    I refuse to be totally apathetic. But Apathy makes much of what we have work. Just think what it would be like at our rec centers if 80% of the members used the facilities every day. Even if only 3 days a week, and 50%. The rec centers would be overrun. The fact that most people see $496 as a fair price for what they use, is a good thing. There are some complaints about the assessment, but its minuscule compared to those that live here don't complain.
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2021
  11. Poison_Ivy

    Poison_Ivy Member

    Has a committee been formed to get individuals to go door to door in our own neighborhoods, asking them to please attend with the Member Meeting, supposedly on December 13th? We need flyers with specific bullet points, same info passed out to all residents. We have less than 2 months to gather our 1250 quorum. I'll donate $$ to help get copies made. But we need a sneaker net of individuals.
  12. Are your volunteering to set up such a committee? Or just taking the apathetic approach to pony up a few bucks.

    I'm too busy to organize something. I would participate in a Sneaker Net. I would go to 10 or 20 neighbors.

    As for a flyer? I'm not sure that a flyer alone will motivate someone to go to the meeting. A flyer with a proxy might be better. I might be able to get a signature proxy than get someone to attend. But first we need to know what would make up an iron-clad proxy. I'm not a lawyer and the by-laws are very vague in this situation. So a legal opinion would probably be more helpful.

    Just more food for thought.
  13. BPearson

    BPearson Well-Known Member

    Hey Oneday, well written and spot on. Your husband is right as well, most people look at Sun City and say, just fine the way it is. Over the years i have watched lots of followers to TOSC quit reading, all too often frustrated by comments about our beloved community. Speaking negatively is near on heresy. All of which makes me smile as an article in the New York Times back in 2010 claimed i was Sun City's biggest cheer leader. So, which is it?

    The answer is both. Am i speaking in tongues? Hardly. I've watched in utter horror as we traveled down a path that was wrong (IMHO). I've watched as we wandered from our roots and with each passing year morphed into a community so far removed from how we were built it makes me shudder. Sun City's strengths were the community was forged on value and values; two wholly different things. We were always a "bargain," but we also maintained a premise and a promise to hold true to the idea Sun City was a community unlike any other.

    The past 15 years we grew to be more like the thousand other age restricted communities with the concept of single entity governance. It wasn't by accident, the gm had a vision and board members bought into it. Our history meant nothing. Our documents meant nothing. The very protections built into the creation were dismantled with barely a whimper from those elected to serve the community.

    Why? Because the gm had them believing they were elected to serve the corporation. The corporation is nothing without the membership. In fact, we know from the Articles of Incorporation, the corporation was created to serve the membership. It's not arguable, that language is still there. Hell, before Karen McAdam was ever elected she pointed it out at board meeting. It was on that very day i figured she would always be at odds.

    If you have watched the recent board meetings you know the board has flat out admitted they know golf is supposed to be self-sustaining. The courses were bought under those terms and should remain so to this day. Instead they have shown willful and blatant disregard and just done as they please. They've stripped members of their right and their voices, simply because they could. It allowed them the luxury of doing whatever they wanted to do.

    We truly have reaped what we have sewn. That of unto itself doesn't make Sun City a bad place to live; it simply makes us different from what we were. I find that tragic and when i come back in another post will explain why. We are still a great value for the money, however are values have been diminished ten-fold. For me, that is tragic.
  14. BPearson

    BPearson Well-Known Member

    Let me try and piss people off; slow down. For 15 years we were trapped in a malaise of apathy with board's who were more than willing to give away how the community was managed. The exiting gm was very good at convincing boards she had all the answers. Let me be blunt; no one has all the answers. In fact, our history shows us the more people involved, the better the chance for a more satisfying outcome.

    Here's the reality. We are electing 4 new board members; it truly matters because they will become the new majority. We are getting rid of retreads who have done exactly as they have pleased for far too many years. We have a new gm and we have no idea how he will govern. I won't judge him based on his baptism under fire and the pressure cooker he was in. If it is indeed true they won't be giving the old gm a consulting contract, perhaps there will be a different approach to governance. We'll see.

    More importantly, if you have read our documents, you know there is a fail safe regarding floor motions from a general membership meeting. The board has, in accordance with the documents, the right to take the motion back for "study." What is unclear is when they have to report their findings. One could argue it would be a the next board meeting, but that is illogical, because if they say they reject the motion, the members from the floor have no ability to respond at a board meeting.

    The language i am citing was in the old documents and didn't change. Back in the day, the potential for a membership meeting was every three months. If members were hot about an issue, they could keep that angst alive and well every time there was a membership meeting (every 3 months), irrespective of the boards findings. Simply put, the board, when they had that stimulus over their heads, chose not to act irresponsibly.

    Finally, i'm not sure those of us interested know exactly what we want. So imagine going to your neighbors and friends asking them for their proxy vote. I think the gm at the last meeting said there were two types of proxies, one that was general in nature and one that was item specific. And, i will remind all of you the fight in Sun City West around 2000 took roughly 5 years to culminate in them agreeing to be governed by Title 33.

    Our momentum is awesome, better than i have ever seen and for the first time i believe there is hope. We need keep attending, We need screen and elect 4 board members who want to see Sun City governed differently. We need to grow the circle of interested owners. We need attract people based on providing a vision for Sun City they see as a better choice. So slow down, enjoy all Sun City has to offer and help build a coalition of owners who understand Sun City belongs to them and not just the 9 board members and the gm.
  15. OneDayAtATime

    OneDayAtATime Active Member

    So slow down, enjoy all Sun City has to offer and help build a coalition of owners who understand Sun City belongs to them and not just the 9 board members and the gm.

    We have AWARENESS on our side right now (firing of Karen; good coverage by Independent; more readers here; creation on a FB site that could blossom into so much more; increased Letters to the Editor, etc.). I hate to lose the momentum.
    3cavkings and eyesopen like this.
  16. eyesopen

    eyesopen Active Member

    We have communication tools in place to harness and engage this awareness of residents.

    Future members are going to be much more connected by e-communication. Our current tools need improvement to reflect an active adult community.

    RCSC site looks old, tired and just plain sad. A face lift is long overdue. If/when WE ❤️ Sun City website is created, there’s a valuable element in anything NEW, or NEW AND IMPROVED! A media release would be appropriate…free advertising!

    Talk of Sun City needs tweaking. Adding some categories would help users find areas of interest. General Discussion is overloaded with varying and often duplicate topic threads. Yes, there is a search function, you have to know
    what you’re looking for! A new user explores, road signs help. Mike had some good Category suggestions.

    Facebook is still a good presence, though fewer people trust FB data gathering and are leaving FB (increased biased censorship, etc.)

    Focus on Sun City could be a great tool, too, if it eliminated it’s current format. No host, first segment should not be RCSC, eliminate talking heads as much as possible, faster pace, more b-roll, stories that inform and excite potential and current residents and production that mirrors what a viewer is accustomed to!

    Promotion…personal connection is the best buzz, like the new member who took six people to the last meeting. Neighborhood Watch groups and HOA/COA leaders could be provided with concise, eye catching information to share by email and printable for distribution. For residences with no group connections, if they have mail slots, flyers can legally be inserted as those are not
    US Postal mailboxes. Flyers at retail locations often end up littering parking lots.

    Timing IS everything. Why not take advantage of NOW while member interest level is higher than it’s been in a long time?
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2021
    OneDayAtATime likes this.
  17. BPearson

    BPearson Well-Known Member

    It is everything, sometimes. The obvious question becomes do what? I know, build the We Love Sun City Website, then what? Press releases saying what? Bring new people to meetings, absolutely. Let me be the eternal optimist here and say 500 people are chomping at the bit, what about the other 36,000 card holders who know virtually nothing?
  18. OneDayAtATime

    OneDayAtATime Active Member

    We're getting off topic!
  19. eyesopen

    eyesopen Active Member

    Confront APATHY with AWARENESS

    “I know, build the We Love Sun City Website, then what?” PROMOTE IT
    “Press releases saying what?” RESIDENTS LAUNCH NEW WEBSITE FEATURING A, B, C, etc.
    “Bring new people to meetings, absolutely.” BRING A FRIEND/NEIGHBOR campaign that begins with the “500 chomping at the bit!” Two RCSC meetings a month, lots of opportunity to invite.
    “Let me be the eternal optimist here and say 500 people are chomping at the bit, what about the other 36,000 card holders who know virtually nothing?” PROMOTE personally. Utilize every existing communication tool available to educate, inform and make connections. Beginning steps, not a race.
    3cavkings and OneDayAtATime like this.
  20. BPearson

    BPearson Well-Known Member

    Easy to get sidetracked and why i tend not to get bent out of shape over whether comments stray a bit. I want to finish my thoughts on the tenets/values Sun City was founded under. For some, it won't mean much, for me, it speaks volumes. When i redid the displays in the Freeman room at the museum, this anecdote was one of the key features.

    John Meeker was the genius behind Sun City's rebirth in 1965. He incorporated any number of changes that impacted sales. His goal was to build a community around a concept of ownership and self-governance. The documents written were member based with checks and balances that kept the control in the hands of those living here and prevented boards and management from becoming the end all be all.

    I've written that about a thousand times. The bigger point i want to make is from an interview we have on file at the Museum in our oral history collection. Clearly, John was the one person who best understood the impact Sun City had on this country. He realized DEVCO changed the course of how seniors would look at retirement forevermore. He died in the early 2000's and he saw the myriad of others trying to replicate Sun City's success.

    Sun City used to be the largest, The Villages of Florida are now bigger. It's like comparing apples to banana's. They cover 3 counties and are wholly different. Ignoring the craziness during last years elections, the Villages has segregated communities within those 3 county's. There are several trailer courts, lots of single family homes that have their own options and then the wealthy gated communities tucked behind walls that keep them separated from the masses.

    All of which brings me back full circle to the original Sun City and the Meeker interview. He was proud of the fact, there was no class separation. He boasted how the most expensive homes on the lakes had the least expensive garden court apartments directly across the street. The community was built on the idea, how much money you had was immaterial. What mattered was when you moved here you took ownership and helped shape Sun City to become a very special place.

    The first time i read the interview i was stunned. John appeared to be far removed from a bleeding heart liberal, but he was truly proud of that ideology of people of all financial stripes living side by side. Truth be told, it might be the reason i fell in love with Sun City; you didn't have to be wealthy to live here. Sun City started out for those of modest means and has never deviated.

    We still remain so to this day. The most amenities at the least cost. Some things have changed though. The PIf started in 1999 and has steadily increased from $750 to our high point now of $3500. Rumors are they are looking at increasing it to 5K. Would that number freeze potential buyers out? Not for anyone with substantial resources, but how about those on the bubble? Are we now catering to a more upscale buyer?

    Unfortunately, that's only one side of the discourse. When the exiting gm came in, she asked the board to go to a "lot assessment" rather than a per person rec fee. Simply put, that became a flat rate per household irrespective of whether there was one or two people living there. The argument was it was easier to budget if you knew there would be a fixed income based on every house paying a flat rate. They grandfathered those who bought before 2003. In 2009 they decided people weren't dying or moving fast enough and they changed the rule to say if you moved to a different property, you lost being grandfathered.

    Of course married couples loved the concept, singles would be subsidizing them. We can rationalize all of it, but the simple truth is, singles help keep couples rates down. Then if you really want to make it ugly, factor in all of the single buyers paying the full rate and then tell me how many of them are golfers? It doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand if golf is being subsidized, a single person on a tight budget is helping pay the freight for couples who golf.

    Is it right? Is it fair? Who decides what is fair or right? Lots to think about as we move forward. There's more, stay tuned.

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