Quality of Experience Issues:
Voting and Power
No one questions authority. Everyone's afraid of Scott and
It's a depressing place. I think I'd rather own a condo in North Korea.
Power at Beaver Ridge is political and autocratic. Members of the board are hand-picked by the president, whose agenda is rarely challenged and never superseded. He is supported at general meetings by his wife, whose strong personality discourages voices of protest. False accusations, profanity-laced tirades, vote-blocking maneuvers too costly to fight, and a pocketful of proxies always ensure that theirs is the only point of view that matters.
Loyalty to the president is highly valued. HOA members are expected to acknowledge his service to them by approving his agenda. Anyone raising questions or hinting at accountability is treated with deep suspicion. Outright dissent is harshly punished. The nonconformist is openly shamed, marginalized, and usually accused of working with "the enemy" - some shadowy force said to be conspiring against Beaver Ridge and its great leader.
The president is sensitive to any challenge to his authority and makes himself essential to the association by jealously guarding his duties from anyone who might take them. While everyone agrees that he does legitimate work, the service comes at the price of peripheral abuse that is neither necessary nor beneficial. Reform is unlikely, given his charismatic (some might say militant) hold over the group.
In 2013, the board easily defeated an attempt to introduce online voting, which might have assured a true majority on controversial issues. Members have found it difficult to organize, particularly since a directory of owners is conspicuously withheld. Those in charge control the channels of communication.
Due to sparse attendance based on past experience, proxy votes
hold sway at the general meeting. These votes must be mailed in advance to the president for
"certification" - meaning that some count, some don't, and others may or may
not get switched or "lost in the mail". Needless to say, the president always claims enough votes to ensure
his personal agenda in any venue – and he will never give up power.
Next Issue: Environmental Quality
[Note: While not obvious to visitors, the president's reputation is well-known in the Valley, where he owns a few unimproved lots and manages to make enemies of those around him. Not wanting to be the next Beaver Ridge, the community of Timberline in particular has wisely resisted his attempts to gain power there.]