The Rancho Santa Fe Post

Questions About the RSF Fiber Deal Answered

A few days ago, I received some common questions from fellow Covenant members about Hotwire, the Inn, and questions about the financial interests of individuals that may be affecting the current HOA election. The following is an example of one such email:

“Perhaps your newsletter could provide a little investigative journalism (Spotlight) on the ownership of Hotwire Communications. It is a privately held company and their website provide less information that any about which I have ever tried to learn. The rumor about town is the current board has sold out to John Moores (does he own any part of Hotwire?) so he can get approval for major changes to the Inn favorable to him and not necessarily the community. This all sounds like the stuff we blamed on Pete Smith and the boards prior to the current one. And did the community, a well-informed community - have the opportunity to vote on this agreement before it was a "done deal"?

Taking another of your points, the kind of representation we want is truly transparent; not just when it is easy or it suits them for PR purposes.

The slate you endorse would make the board 100% in favor of anything they want to do with no dissenting vote. That is not democracy. The Covenant Club is the most divisive issue to arise since the purchase of the Osuna property or the attempt to purchase the Garden Club. And, sadly, the current board has handled these matters no more candidly than previous boards with PIK at the helm.

I greatly fear a 7-0 board would simply prove the axiom: Power Corrupts! and, Absolute Power Corrupts absolutely! I am very grateful I decided not to be a part of this process on either side because these local political campaigns are looking more and more like civil war without civility.”

Here are the facts as I understand them:

1. Hotwire Communications Ownership. This is a Pennsylvania based company and I am reaching out to them now for a more detailed story. What I know now is that: (a) Hotwire is a privately-owned and run company with no ties to the West Coast nor anyone in the Ranch. (b) I reached out to John Moores, specifically, for comment and his response was: “Actually funny… I don’t own (directly or indirectly) any piece of Hotwire Communications. Curiously, as I understand it, Hotwire is a woman-owned and operated company, none of whom I have met.”

2. John Moores “Sellout” accusations. This is an oft-heard rumor started by those who had controlled the Ranch and its politics for a long time. I, for example, am one of the residents who have personally invested a lot in trying to improve the community by creating a news, registration and open forum website to engage members in the process (voter registration alone is up 82% since I started my website 2 years ago!)

3. Pete Smith. I have evidence (see below), that Pete Smith is actually part of the rumors being spread about the Inn regarding the Ranch. You will note a lot of familiar faces, including two current candidates for the Board, a previous President, and others who signed onto letters defaming Ann Boon and Kim Eggleston a few years ago.

4. The Right to Vote. As you can see on this website for the fiber project, this deal is (a) probably the most transparent Internet deal in history -- see the presentation -- and is contingent upon a vote of the community on the financial plan. So yes, you will have an opportunity to vote on it once the community has an opportunity to really understand the deal.

 5. Right to Vote 2: I’m not sure I understand your assertion that “the current board has handled these matters no more candidly than previous boards.” In fact, it was members of this Board that first informed the community about the Osuna purchase, stopped the Garden Club purchase, and have put every major issue to a vote of the people for the first time in our history (see for example, Roundabouts, and Covenant Club; also see, The List of Board Accomplishments).

6. A Unanimous Board: Finally, I hope you take the opportunity to meet Rachel Laffer, Terry Peay, and Rachel Leheny. Each comes with an impressive background and their own financial means that should be considered in light of any assertion that somehow these candidates would seek a financial benefit or work at the behest of anyone else. Have you ever talked to Rachel Laffer for example? Just ask her father Arthur Laffer -- No one is going to tell her what to think!