The Rancho Santa Fe Post

Op-ed: Are We Living in Washington, D.C. or Rancho Santa Fe, CA?

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I want to thank Tom Ault, the Chairman of the Rancho Santa Fe Homeowners Group for clarifying the small but obviously vocal involvement of the PIC folks in their group. Mr. Ault explained that there are different opinions about the Covenant Club within their group but that very few of the members want to pay for something they won’t use. This is an interesting concept in that this could be said about the golf course, tennis club, open space and trail systems. There are many members of the HOA who don’t take advantage of these various amenities and yet they pay for them either directly or indirectly. I have no small children attending school yet my taxes pay for schools. It appears that the Rancho Santa Fe Homeowners Group has already made up their mind about the Club without all the facts having been presented.

When we speak about community it is the folks that live here and the various amenities that we all share that make Rancho Santa Fe such a wonderful place to live. Even if I don’t join the Covenant Club it can be good for the community and become a gathering place for families to build lasting friendships. It can also enhance our property values even for those of us that don’t use the Club. I truly appreciate the tennis club, even though I have never set foot inside it, and I think it adds value to my home.  I think it is safe to say that no one wants our HOA dues to be increased. However what we do with our HOA dues and our priorities is worthy of discussion. Do we want more open space, recycled water or the Covenant Club? This is a good discussion to have with all the facts before us!

I also find interesting Bill Hinchy’s, John Blakely’s and Allen Finkelson’s letters to the RSF Review stating that the Community Enhancement Fund (CEF) violates the Davis Sterling Act and is illegal. Various members of the Board of director’s, based on the advice of legal counsel,  have assured me that it is in fact legal and that the HOA’s legal counsel will be affirming that for the record. This is the same fund that has been around for over 20 years and was used for the purchase of some of our open space, the Osuna Ranch and the proposed source of funds to purchase the Garden Club. It’s interesting now that there is a possibility of using some of the CEF for the Covenant Club that it is all of a sudden an “illegal slush fund”. 

Is this really what our community dialogue has been reduced to, wild claims about “illegal slush funds” and that I don’t want my HOA fees to pay for something I won’t use. It sounds more like Washington, DC than Rancho Santa Fe and I know because I lived in DC for over 25 years. How about what is best for the community and waiting until all the facts are presented before we make up our minds.

Terry Peay