Here We Are In October

The following post submitted by Vince Loving, Association Member

Here we are in October, budget, and election season.

We lost one board member some 8 months ago, due to the attitude and practices of the board, and the SOA board chose to manage their unified voting block by leaving the position open; without any dissenting votes to slow progress…some might call this a rubber stamp for an agenda. Now the greatest asset the board has, the treasurer, is moving to get away from the community…the very last voice of reason on the board (so go the optics).

It seems an eternity since Somersett mistakenly voted for a 3 block of candidates running as one, sadly, the level of apathy throughout the community ensured that fewer than 900 homeowners voted, and the 3 amigos took their vote/election as confirmation that all 3500 homeowners wanted to turn the rules upside down. The apathy continues and grows.

As these three cowboys rode roughshod over everything that is Somersett, it was certainly interesting to see three homeowners, with less than a year (collectively) as residents of Somerset, that disliked so much about Somerset. In fact, one member didn’t even have a certificate of occupancy from the city until 3 weeks after the election.

We hear statements like “Somersett should be happier” and “Somersett should have more of a resort feel” leaving those without the rose-colored glasses asking ourselves “Why did they move here if they hate what it is?”

Prior to the current board, Somersett had its share of issues with board members who had conflicts of interest, like serving on the SOA and the country club boards simultaneously and an abundance of terrible legal advice from the firm the community retained as legal counsel. But we dealt with the issues and moved on…voted the conflicts off the board and moved on.

One current starry-eyed member of the board, wanted to gate the community while he was running for office. The same starry-eyed member seems to want to annex property from the city as communal area at any and every turn. The same member thinks we should foot the bill for another pool because the current pool is too crowded 5 or 6 weekends a year, after all, it is only another $250,000 or so, why wouldn’t we do it? The community has deep pockets, and we are still only millions deep in debt, for the TCTC, as it currently stands…why wouldn’t we spend money we don’t have for something we don’t need? If it’s too crowded, build your own pool and eliminate the need to use the overly crowded community pool.

And then there is the current RFP for landscape services. “We didn’t rubber stamp the renewal from Brightview” …Bravo! Unfortunately, we have allowed the previous contractor to bid on this RFP…despite the fact they planted trees in plastic nursery containers and cost the SOA somewhere in the neighborhood of 40 trees…despite the tumult over curb-dings from that same group plowing snow…despite the mess that Brightview is still trying to resolve with our irrigation after two full years on the job. But if the board had more experience in the community, they would have immediately disqualified the Reno Green bid before opening it. Ah, but you get what you pay for!

Oh, but wait, we can replace all the grass along Somersett Parkway with synthetic turf for $700K and save replacing a 20-year-old irrigation system for $1M, never mind that we still need to replace the irrigation system to support the other greenery, which ultimately brings the project in at $1.7M. This is the approach to project management that only a former politician can design.

Now the budget is in front of us, there is a proposed $3/month increase for common areas, the same common areas that these cowboys wanted to annex from the city. One truly must wonder why you would want to annex a liability from the city that our taxes already pay for. It may be prudent to look at cutting back on the $35K budget for the party planning committee and focus on charging a fee for activities and events that a few residents participate in, rather than charging us all.

We all have access to TCTC, and we all have access to Canyon 9, but what do we really get from the SOA? Seriously, we are kept in debt. The last management company we had (to be gone October 31) grew weary of the constant brow-beating the board gave them rather than managing the vendor more closely. The board lost sight of their responsibility…managing the vendors. Instead, we get crocodile tears over how much work it is to be on the board, yet the 3 cowboys have made the board membership a full-time job,” Poor me, this is a 40-50 hour a week job”, to which I say, “This is your own doing, no one else”.

Oddly enough, the 3 cowboys believe and tout that our values are going up fast due to their intervention in the day-to-day of the SOA, perhaps they don’t understand real estate and the current boom market? Homes are selling everywhere in Nevada in the first 3 days, and most frequently for “over asking”.

November 2022 cannot come fast enough for many of us, once these 3 are out of office, only then will divergent opinion be valued again. Only then will irresponsible spending be quelled.

16 thoughts on “Here We Are In October

  1. Here we are in October and Vince Loving once again brings forth a litany of unsubstantiated allegations, skewed opinions, incorrect conclusions, a blatant demonstration of ignorance, and in some cases outright lies. No greater effort has ever been made to inform our homeowners and remain transparent. No greater effort has ever been made to constrain costs and hold our prime contractors to a greater level of performance and measurement. There has never been a bigger commitment from a dedicated team of volunteers who believe in Somersett, and we stand on some big shoulders.

    Clearly Vince Loving has a personal vendetta against members of this Board. I think all of Somersett grows weary of this. Vince continues to sow seeds of discontent with dubious information. How much better it is to be a positive contributor to this community. It’s cowardly to tear down others with mistruths. But its more than worth the effort to dig in to the actual facts, to contribute time and effort to affect positive change! I noticed that Vince is not running as a candidate, that speaks loudly about his character.

    Somersett is getting to a higher plain. Get on board Vince! Or at least get out of the way.

    1. Mark,

      I completely understand your annoyance with the tone of Mr. Loving’s Post. However, would not you be better served with specifically addressing what you consider to be his “incorrect conclusions” and “outright lies”? We ae all better served when we just stick to the pros and cons of the issues!

      I also would like thank you for participating in SU’s discussion forum. A welcome deviation from previous Boards.

      1. Hello Jim,

        I’ll stand on the record. The purposeful deception here from Vince is in his misrepresentation of policy. In any good organization all ideas can be advanced in the brainstorming phase without criticism. Casual conversations may be made. We brainstorm without limits, consider much, vet ideas, do the research, and then develop policy on the basis of consensus and majority vote. Vince ignores the process, ignores actual policy and then claims the sky is falling on the basis of something that someone might have said once. Even then those statements are paraphrased and taken out of context.

        So I’ll stand on the record of what has been and what is. It’s a demonstrated and consistent record of improvement and enhancement, of greater controls and more responsible expenditures, better and more consistent upholding of the rules, better problem solving out-of-court, and of improving the operations and culture of the community. One need not hate what is, to seek to improve it.

        –If anyone has a concern about immediate plans to expand the pool then let’s correct that misrepresentation, that was a question that came from a survey “what if” question. Let’s not confuse the brainstorm of ideas with actual policy. We seek owner’s opinions and preferences, what we can afford to do might be something different.

        –If anyone has a concern about spending $1.7 million to change our landscape then let’s correct that misrepresentation. Follow the conversation, sit in on the committee meeting, become informed about the hundreds of hours that are being invested to gain control over our landscaping. Don’t make gross assumptions about policy and then promote that as a scare tactic.

        –If anyone believes the Board chased off Simon and he “fled” Somersett then please speak to him to correct that unfair and untrue characterization of his motivation.

        –If anyone believes this Board is making efforts to “keep us eternally in debt” then they ignore the $1 million paydown of said debt in 2021, and the nearly $500K of paydown for next year. This Board inherited that debt, and we are the only ones who have made special payments on principal to reduce that debt.

        –If anyone believes you can have a competitive bid while picking and choosing those bidders in advance, doesn’t understand the process of open competitive bidding. Decisions about selection happen AFTER the bid, not BEFORE and take into account all factors.

        –If anyone believes we wish to annex more common area from the city clearly hasn’t understood or followed the parks proposal which resulted in an agreement with the city giving us more control over the parks while the city retains ownership.

        –To say that the failings of First Service is the Board’s fault for not managing them correctly demonstrates ignorance of the day to day facts and of the thousands of pieces of communication and countless meetings.

        –Vince rails that the budget is rising for Community Events, without viewing the 2022 budget which clearly shows that such increases are almost completely offset by event fees. Increased revenue offsets the increased expenditure. He’s getting what he wants, while twisting the facts to make this sound unfair.

        When the time comes these facts can be debated among civil people. Until then I will stand on these substantial accomplishments and brush off the personal insults of being called a cowboy, clown, or gang member. What Vince won’t tell you is that when he had a beef and complaint with his neighbor, “this cowboy” personally interceded and negotiated an immediate resolution. Problem solved. You’re welcome Vince, you have a strange way of expressing gratitude.

    2. Mark, again you are calling me a liar and trying to shout me down or shut me down.
      What precisely have I lied about? Perhaps we have a far different set of optics, but you cannot just publicly call anyone a liar without proving it, especially so in public.
      So, please, define the lies, correct the record, and move on. As a member of the SOA I am entitled to answers. As president of the SOA everyone is entitled to answers whether you agree with their approach or not…whether they voted for you or not (for the record we did vote for you, give us a reason to not bear substantial remorse for that decision).
      As a dues payer I should not have to modify my schedule (work or otherwise) to run for the board, but I am entitled to voice my opinion regardless of how divergent or distasteful you might find it. Historically, your have always been smarmy in your responses and your current response marks an acme of nastiness and smarminess.

  2. Readers should know that Mr. Loving is not a member of any Somersett Committee. Nor a candidate for the Board.
    The tone of his negative remarks are clearly personal. For some reason he’s got it in for current Board Member Bill O’Donnell.
    With regard to the current Somersett Board, I know whereof I speak, as I have stepped up and actually serve or have served on Somersett Committees (Facilities, AGC, Communications, Technology, Transition. Oh, and I’m a liasion to Events too.)
    There are tons of reasons to become internally managed, and Somersett will be the better for it. I wager to say that Vince has never met Nancy Kerry, our upcoming General Manager; had he done that, he would have found her to be tremendously qualified, eager and capable.
    I wager to say that he’s never spoken to Chris Mann about the landscaping contracts. Chris has hundreds of hours invested in trying to work with Brightview to get better service; tons of time preparing the Request For Quote to obtain other competitive bids; more time in reviewing the lengthy proposals received. It’s easy for Vince to whine, but he has no idea of the facts.
    I wager he’s never spoken to Simon Baker, Treasurer, about the details of the budget. Yet he claims the “cowboys” are not watching the dollars. Does he not know the the 2021 budget was trimmed by hundreds of thousands in 2021, AND we were able to pay off $1,000,000 in debt?
    On November 1, our own internal management takes over. Funny think Vince, nearly every employee is staying on with Nancy and the Board. Maybe they know that the changes that are coming are good for residents and good for them too.
    I voted for the Three Amigos, and I would do it again in a split second. Positive change was needed; change came; the results speak for themselves. No more lawsuits; repaired relationship with the golf club and with Sierra Canyon; kinder and gentler AGC without sacrificing Somersett standards; superior communications to residents through weekly Mark’s Messages; involvement of residents via loads of surveys asking for resident input on a wide variety of subjects; review of major contracts (management and landscape) and action taken that benefits Somersett; better pool Snack Bar operation at no risk or expense to the SOA.
    The Three Amigos bested the previous incumbents by a factor of 900 to 400. I guess Vince thinks that the residents who voted for them were just stupid in the last election.
    Finally, had Vince actually read the Candidate Statements for the current 4 candidates, he would have discovered that in general they SUPPORT the actions of the current Board, and want to build upon their successes.
    Geesh…..

    1. I do not agree at all with the tone, personal attacks and substance of this comment. Comments like this are a main reason I (and probably others) would be hesitant to run for a seat on the Board. Board members receive no compensation and, if they are doing a good job, are spending a significant amount of their personal time for the benefit of all members of the SOA. The results achieved by this Board speak for themselves. They are laser focused on service, cost control, responsiveness to SOA members concerns and enhancing the community. I raised two issues with the last board: the lack of dog waste stations and speeding on Somersett parkway. The last Board blew off my issues. This Board has addressed both of them in a positive way. The last Board allowed themselves to be misled by legal advice on the rock wall issue that any construction attorney attorney would have advised was a lost cause (i.e., being way past the 6 year Statute of Repose) and spent a fortune chasing an appeal. I personally have used Reno Green to maintain my property and to landscape two other properties I own here in Somersett and simply do not believe the allegation that they planted new trees without removing the plastic cans. Reno Green is a respected landscape company and a Reno-based company. The last Board’s firing of Brightview, at a higher bid price than Reno Green, may have been a mistake and as a home town company, they should be in the running for the contract. I have not seen a whole lot from Brightview that impresses me and I walk this community every day. Also, the Board has been responsive to the outside of Somersett community’s use (and trashing) of Canyon 9, without paying green fees and acted to stop the abuse. Finally, at some point, physical security will become an issue here in Somersett. This Board is forward thinking, not only regarding technology upgrades, but in thinking about our physical security; you might want to get yourself a Ring camera so you can receive weekly Northwest Reno neighbor reports of car break-ins, stolen packages and strangers roaming and checking to see if doors are locked at 3AM. When is the last time you saw Reno PD cruising through Somersett to create a police presence? My guess would be months.

      For the current Board Members, including Simon (who will be missed), thank you for what you have done and are doing.

  3. I feel that letter and all the Cowboy rhetoric a little disheartening….I feel the new board has been doing a terrific job…Communication has been fantastic & I happen to agree , we could use another pool in the future…The TCTC is a great part of our community & the various Summertime events are fun….The Canyon 9 is a great asset also for all to enjoy…Lots of the boards ideas are just that “ ideas”….Somersett is a great community & I feel we are heading in the right direction….My opinion for what it’s worth

  4. I for one, appreciate the 3 current board members who I believe have the best interests of the community at heart and have done an amazing job (free) for the whole community. I am sorry to see the disgruntled verbiage from Mr. Long.
    Charnelle Wright

  5. Any Board Member has to take the “flak” from “whomever”. Criticism, critiques which may be judged to be insulting require that we all exercise civility. Name-calling does not help any debate!

    I personally feel that calling the 3 of the 4 Board Members “Amigos” “Cowboys” is inappropriate; please bear in mind that our Board is working very hard to make Somersett a better place. In any endeavor one often takes two steps forward and then one step back… progress occurs incrementally. The question raised really is do we want the Board members working (and being elected) as a team or not?

    It is easy to complain about First Residential. One has to believe that if they were competent, concerned, taken independent corporate legal advice, they would have talked the past Board from pursuing legal action on the Rockery Walls. A savings of ~$700K. Managing the Landscaping is very difficult; BrightView was selected based on the recommendation of Tracy Carter, Community Manager at the time; one factor in this recommendation was the ability to quickly snow-plow the Private Streets using their own equipment. Not possessed by Reno Green at that time.

    Irrigating acres of grass in the high desert is problematic. The infrastructure we have for this is not “hardened” to protect from “aging”; systems that function under high pressure, age very quickly! Vinyl/rubber pipes quickly deteriorate if exposed to debilitating sunlight (10% more intense at 5000’). Vandals (probably kids) take delight in disrupting sprinkler heads. Mowing often reaps more than grass, by removing sprinklers. After nearly 20 years, including suing Moana for improper installation (and winning), replacing pipes, sprinkler heads, using directed nozzles, have yet to solve the issue of the wind blowing water everywhere over Somersett Parkway…much to the chagrin of passing motorists!

    We are spending $400K on buying potable water to keep our grass doused. What to do? Well, in Las Vegas and Phoenix we would be paid to remove the grass and dramatically reduce our water usage. The Board in 2016 investigated the possibility of using our 425 AF water rights we own to irrigate the landscaping…to do this a new well would have to be drilled… and building the pipeline to service the bulk of the current irrigation system (replacing TMWA) was expensive. Infrastructure is expensive, just ask Toll about the geoengineering for the Cliffs and Desert Winds for Brea! Maybe we can sell off some of the excess water rights to pay for improved landscaping and reduce debt. Calculations show that we only really need 200 AF for both the Canyon 9 and the Championship Golf Course

    We live in a desert, we should not be using syn-turf, unless in play, recreational areas such as our two public parks, TCTC, Aspen Lodge. We should have xeriscape in most places, with drip irrigation (needs less pressure, buried to protect from environmental hazards), for the trees and shrubs.

    I have read through the candidate statements (well 3 of them). The folks running are seemingly supportive of the efforts of the current Board and those who are elected will be able to add positive voices; to make sure that the progress we have been making in “going forward” is continued towards a better Somersett; better adapted to the rapidly changing world of tomorrow!

    Yes, I sure would like an additional pool.

    1. I agree. SOA should investigate the costs and benefits of zero scaping as much of the the common areas as makes financial sense. Replacing grass with rock along Somersett Parkway would save water, maintenance and lower reserves. We live in a high desert. Maintaining non-native vegetation will become increasingly expensive.

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