Save Greenmeadow Around Town, posted by FTF, a resident of the Greenmeadow neighborhood, on Jul 23, 2012 at 2:27 pm
If Greenmeadow is expecting the majority of its members, the Associate Members, to step up and fork out money to save Greenmeadow for the next 40 to 50 years, then Greenmeadow needs to reconsider their by-laws that doesn't allow two thirds of its members to vote, doesn't allow two third of its members to participate on the board and stop treating two thirds of its members like second class citizens. The 'exclusive private club funded by the public' approach needs reform.
As daunting and costly the items on the aging Greenmeadow facilities list are, Greenmeadow needs to pull their heads out of the sand and address the elephant-in-the-room and not just hang up when calling members who do not want to return. Greenmeadow needs to understand the reasons behind the mass exit that took place this year.
Ironic that the current GM administration has cost Greenmeadow more money then Kimball ever did.
I really like living in Greenmeadow and the fact that we have a shared pool. Having a place our kids can go swim together, a place to meet and a hub for social activities is great. This year we clearly have something of a financial crisis due to a rapid and severe drop in membership. However the recent financial survey failed to address the elephant in the room: associate members did not leave in droves because the pool is old, because the hours are no good or because they suddenly have better choices than before. I have talked to many, and heard indirectly from many more, and they left due to issues with the swim team, how it was being managed and how the board responded to their complaints. Unless we face this squarely and discuss / resolve it we will not get our membership back.
We went from the highest membership in many years (despite a severe recession) to the lowest in years without any significant change in the options available to members (all the alternative pools are the same this year as they were last year and even the year before). The folks who left still have kids, they are still swimming, they just chose not to swim at Greenmeadow. We must understand why and we must take steps to deal with their issues. Raising prices, cutting hours or taking other fiscal steps may be necessary to cover the shortfall but they will NOT address the issues. Such actions must be taken only in the context of other changes that WILL address the issues.
The board should find a neutral way to reach out to these folks and find out what they think, why they left - not just where they went. A full and frank discussion of what went wrong, what was done or not done that caused this massive drop in membership must be had and a plan implemented for next year. Once this plan exists we need to get information on what we are changing about associate membership, the way the swim team runs and/or the way the board supervises the swim team out to everyone who quit - we want them back and we have to show we mean it.
Posted by Sean Giffen, a resident of the Greenmeadow neighborhood, on Aug 28, 2012 at 8:39 pm
I would like to personally apologize if you feel like you have not been listened too! My number is in the directory and I welcome a call to share your ideas or concerns! As a resident of Greemeadow I am sure you have read or heard about GM2020. I encourage you to reach out to Tim Foy to learn how you can participate in this effort and help shape the future of our community. All ideas are on the table and I agree that our Associate Members need to have a say in our future!
Posted by It's time, a resident of the Greenmeadow neighborhood, on Sep 6, 2012 at 3:13 pm
65 Associate Members Gone. 33% of 2011's Associate Members left in one year. That's roughly $108,000 lost revenues over a 3 year period. Kimball paid full restitution for his embezzlement charges. Who's going to pay restitution for this? Sunny warned Sean that this would happen if he took the steps he did. It's time to resign Mr. Giffen. It's time to resign. Release the Giffen pool and give it back to Greenmeadow.
Posted by Participant, a resident of the South of Midtown neighborhood, on Sep 8, 2012 at 3:46 pm
As a former Associate member of GM, I have to say that I would not join again. Associate members are much needed by the residents to fund a private clique and their parties, at which outsiders are not welcome. Swim team dues are used this way as well. Anyone who speaks up with a different point of view is maligned, bullied, and driven out. See the long list of former employees and members, many of whom are pillars of the Palo Alto community, if you doubt this. For anyone considering joining Green Meadow, please do not listen to the current board members. They will say anything to keep the party going.
Posted by Participant, a resident of the South of Midtown neighborhood, on Sep 8, 2012 at 3:56 pm
One more thing, although it is hard to believe, Green Meadow residents have an unwritten policy with regard to Associate Members. It goes like this: "Neighbor trumps Associate Member." Because of this, the current board has been allowed to treat non residents and employees terribly, with no repercussions. Once your family has spent years there, believing you are members of the community, and hours volunteering, and you find this out, it is a bitter pill.
Posted by Participant, a resident of another community, on Sep 8, 2012 at 8:49 pm
The Greenmeadow Board operates in a bubble. When one brings to their attention past actions and decisions which led members to not to return, they simply don't HEAR. Or, they were not on the board when certain events took place, and don't want to concern themselves with the past.
Associate members who did not return this year desperately wanted, in good conscience, to re-join. However, the board's actions were repeatedly in conflict with the ethics of these former members. We have seen too many members and employees treated unprofessionally. The clear voice of the community was disregarded when the board had their own agenda. Rather than do the right thing, they consistently supported their buddies.
Posted by Penny Ellson, a resident of the Greenmeadow neighborhood, on Feb 7, 2013 at 4:59 pm
It is irresponsible and damaging to make misleading accusations anonymously in a public forum. These postings should be fact-checked.
Greenmeadow has not asked its Associate Members to step up and "fork out" money to "save" the organization without providing a vote to them. This is a deliberately inflammatory statement and does not accurately characterize the discussion.
Greenmeadow has been exploring multiple options to update and possibly expand its facilities for its membership. A number of options are being discussed by the organization. This aforementioned alternative is NOT on the table. I have been attending the facilities planning meetings as an observing community member.
It has been recognized in the meetings that some Associate Members want a vote (It is also known that some Associate Members don't care about voting because they join only to use the pool and they aren't interested in getting involved in governance.). Identifying a better way to include Associate Members in decision-making is part of the conversation.
However, it is important to understand that voting is currently controlled by an existing decades-old charter, and there a number of reasons voting is presently limited to residents. Primary among them is that Greenmeadow was formed, and still functions as, a neighborhood association which represents the neighborhood on civic matters, manages a scholarship fund, coordinates emergency preparedness, among other community services. Neighborhood association vs. pool club is an important distinction. It is true that some Associate Members would like a vote in order to have a voice in matters related to Aquatics programs, particularly the swim team. So...there are some governance issues that we recognize and need to sort out.
As often happens in democratic process, there are lots of people with a variety of opinions on the subject of voting and membership. The subject of future governance has not been decided. We are engaged in the messy democratic process of sorting out our facility, funding and governance options. Eventually, we need to find consensus around some option that may or may not have been identified yet. Because of the existing charter, a vote will have to be taken by resident members because that is what the decades-old charter REQUIRES.
Democracy is a messy process. I am sorry that some feel impatient with its pace, but part of the process is hearing people's ideas, sorting them out, developing and studying them for feasibility and then trying to build consensus around them.
The uncivil tone of this thread and false accusation is not helpful to a long-standing community organization that has done a LOT of good for its residents and the broader community and is working hard right now to improve both its facilities and governance through study and discussion. If you are a Resident Member or Associate Member, you are welcome to join the conversation, but please maintain civil decorum and stick to the facts. Democracy works better that way.
There were some women in the late 1800's who didn't care about women's rights to vote. And there were some African American women who sat in the back of the bus before Rosa Parks had the courage to defy that. The real question is, do the Associate Members have a RIGHT to vote (after all they are 2/3rds of the membership)?
And what are you afraid of anyway? Surely the Associate Members can't do more harm miss-managing Greenmeadow than what the residents have done. Look at Cathy Gates' stellar swim team program she put together (an Associate Member). She built the largest swim team Greenmeadow has ever had in just two years. Each of those swimmers had to join Greenmeadow.
To me democracy includes equal rights and freedom of speech.