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Why is It Important to Vote in the SAMLARC Election?

RSM Lagoon
RSM Lagoon

I'm going to veer a bit from my typical blog posts to talk about this upcoming SAMLARC election, because SAMLARC is not doing what it should or with the transparency they promised. Ballots were mailed this week for the 2014 SAMLARC Board of Directors election. If you are a SAMLARC homeowner, I urge you to take a few minutes to look over your election materials and submit your vote for change. Your vote WILL make a difference.

This year there are seven candidates for three open seats, with only one incumbent—the current Board President—who has been President for three years in a row, running for re-election. That means that there will be at least two new board members after the election (and hopefully, three)... IF you vote.

However, if you don’t vote, and a quorum is not reached, instead of you having a say, the current board would continue, and that SAMLARC Board would appoint new members for any vacant seats.

With that said, understand that your vote can be the difference between protecting your money, your voice, your choice, and allowing the current leadership to continue on its trajectory towards a dues increase because of repeated deficit spending that has been largely hidden from the membership.

Three candidates running for the available seats have joined together with a number of concerned SAMLARC members who recognize the importance of protecting the interests of ALL SAMLARC MEMBERS. The candidates—former RSM Chamber of Commerce Chairman and current Director Jeff Halbreich; former City of RSM Mayor Gary Thompson; and former SAMLARC Vice President Sally Leonard—pledge to maintain current dues, and bring transparency, fiscal responsibility, and accountability to the SAMLARC Board.

These three experienced RSM leaders have been attending recent meetings and reviewing current SAMLARC operations and finances after hearing of SAMLARC members’ concerns. According to Thompson, who is a fiscal, management, and policy consultant to local government agencies, “There is an inherent lack of transparency in many SAMLARC activities, most notably in budget discussions and the contracting process.”

I've looked at these three extensively and followed them through a lot of their careers, I'm confident that Halbreich, Thompson, and Leonard are passionately united to lead efforts to require multi-bid contracts, clearly identify expenditures (no hidden items), provide the full budget to members, and work toward budget process transparency. All you gotta do is vote, please make your voice heard.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

LeAna Bui January 21, 2014 at 12:38 PM
smga3000: Go ahead and smear me all you want. You don't have any facts, just insinuations and innuendos. An accusation was made that was found to be baseless. I have done nothing wrong, ever. I am proud of my role in my family, our community, our PTA and other nonprofit work. I have a wonderful husband and two smart, compassionate, beautiful daughters who are amazing. I have a job I enjoy. I am also blessed by a large circle of wonderful friends. You cannot hurt or intimidate me. I am done with this thread and I will never read any blog post by you ever again.
Martin Henderson (Editor) January 21, 2014 at 05:35 PM
I can speak directly to the transparency of SAMLARC under its current management. In the wake of the drowning, SAMLARC no longer answered my questions. When I tried to get any information at all, I was met with a comment from Candace Fullenkamp "your remarks are duly noted." And then ignored. When I tried to get info at the request of a community member, I was told to direct all inquiries directly to SAMLARC; management there would rather have 13,000 residents call them directly to get a question answered than provide once answer to the media for universal dissemination. Additionally, a request to attend the first meting following the drowning was denied -- under the insulation of the SAMLARC rules it takes only one board member to say no for the media to be kept out. My experience has been these guys are not transparent when they should be more than ever. The drowning occurred July 4, and the AED that emergency first-responders asked for (and expected to be present at a high-use facility) still is not on site six months later, even though it could be the device that saves your child or spouse tomorrow.
April Josephson January 21, 2014 at 09:44 PM
I guess I chased Richard away once I posted a few facts about the lack of transparency—and that is just the tip of the iceberg. The budget is a real eye-opener. I urge all SAMLARC members to attend the next board meeting on Tuesday, January 28th at 6 pm at the Beach Club. If you have any question about who to vote for, also attend the candidate meet and greet on January 30th at 6 pm at the Bell Tower Community Center. I believe Jeff, Gary, and Sally have the skills to best protect our interests as SAMLARC members. Martin, I was at the Beach Club on July 4th. It was such a tragedy. I had hoped for some kind of public statement, and prompt action. It took until December for the subcommittee to report to the board in open session, where press is not allowed. There is an AED coming, if it is not there yet.
Something Special Cateirng Inc. January 22, 2014 at 04:04 PM
what nepotism are you talking about and didn't the city take a trash renewal contract without bidding it out the others?
Something Special Cateirng Inc. January 23, 2014 at 02:00 PM
no one wants to answer this question? hummmm
Shawn Gordon January 23, 2014 at 02:46 PM
Feel free to do some of your own research, I'm swamped at the moment, I know Martin has information, was hoping he'd chime in, but with the sale of "The Patch" this past week, he might have his hands full as well.
April Josephson January 23, 2014 at 04:50 PM
Nancy, the contract extension, which was provided for and vetted publicly is discussed here: http://ranchosantamargarita.patch.com/groups/politics-and-elections/p/city-ok-s-revised-trash-hauling-deal . The article includes the staff report detailing the facts, reasons and recommendation for the extension. The staff report is also available to the public as an attachment to the agenda item on the City's website (www.cityofrsm.org). I think this highlights exactly why all SAMLARC members should have access to complete information from the board/staff, and should attend next Tuesday's meeting at 6 pm at the Beach Club.
Something Special Cateirng Inc. January 24, 2014 at 04:18 PM
What date should I look for to see the minutes regarding discussion and vetting of the renewal ?
April Josephson January 24, 2014 at 08:56 PM
Nancy, cityofrsm.org website, agenda for April 11, 2012. Item 7.1 there are two links. One is the staff report. The other is the minutes where the public hearing was summarized.
Shawn Gordon January 25, 2014 at 10:33 AM
@Poot Smelly (aka Sindy Rice/Clements) - I deleted your comment because you posted my street address, here is your comment with that information removed, and my response: "You will back anything supported by Tony Beall and Aprill Josephson. You had better check out Gary Thompson's financial involvement in The City of Menefee!" I've never backed anything by Tony or April, never put up a sign, campaigned or anything. I only just met them both in the last 6 months socially. I did indeed check out Gary and the Menifee situation as I was concerned. Had you checked it out as well, you would have come away with the same conclusion that I did, which was it was politically motivated and there was no evidence of wrong doing or conviction. I was very hesitant to support him because of that story, but by reading up on his background in RSM and all the details on Menifee, I felt very comfortable in supporting him for SAMLARC. What is going on there currently is just simply not acceptable.
Poot Smelly January 25, 2014 at 07:47 PM
TO: smga3000! (AKA-Shawn Gordon) I feel that you are so misinformed! So if it takes political motivation to try to get the truth out! There are many unanswered questions about Gary Thompson's financial involvement in The City of Menefee and several other cities. The commentators on this site are right! He has been a Big Bully while he on the RSM City Council! In regard to your past comments on Tony Beall and The Capo School District, He and Jennifer were very disruptive at the Aroyo Vista School. If you do not believe this, ask the teachers. A vote for Thompson, Leonard and Halbreich will be a step backward!
Poot Smelly January 25, 2014 at 07:49 PM
The Patch has surely become opiniated for having only been in RSM for 4-5 years. So the SAMLRAC would not answer your question? The RSM City Council will not either when litagation is pending!
Shawn Gordon January 25, 2014 at 07:54 PM
Sindy, please, by all means, enlighten us with some facts to support your allegations, I'm always open to changing my mind when presented with pertinent information, which is why I changed my opinion of Gary Thompson to a positive one, after I got more information. I never said anything about Tony and Capo, but I do know that the teachers at AV were using their school email lists to send out political propaganda, as I received it and had to file complaints. As a Fleming supporter yourself, I don't imagine you got targeted at all. It was quite something to be on the receiving end of Flemings enemies list.
Richard Oakley January 27, 2014 at 10:20 PM
Poot, you might want to know this the SAMLARC election is NOT tomorrow, nor is it on Thursday the 30th. Tomorrow is the monthly SAMLARC Board meeting and the 30th is a "Meet the Candidates" forum. The election is in FEBRUARY. So, if you want to keep Gary Thompson off the Board, you have plenty of opportunity to campaign for the candidate of your choice. Just remember to VOTE by the CORRECT date!
Martin Henderson (Editor) January 28, 2014 at 03:40 AM
@Poot Smelly -- the RSM City Council has the professional courtesy of returning my phone calls and telling me they can't answer a specific question. SAMLARC stopped talking to me before there was any pending litigation; re-read my previous post to understand what transpired, but some of my questions have had nothing to do with litigation but simply questions of fact: How deep is the lagoon? But this organization, in its paranoia, would allow a wife into the post-drowning meeting but not the husband because his name wasn't on the deed. That should be a red flag to every voter; what are these guys trying to hide from you?
April Josephson January 28, 2014 at 05:54 AM
Poot Smelly, you are woefully misinformed. Your comments attack leaders within RSM who IMO have done more for our City than anyone, from pre-cityhood until today, with numerous false statements. I don't understand your bitterness, nor do I understand where you came to the conclusion that Shawn (who I only met last year) always backs me. I don't even know you, so I am really confused. This is about SAMLARC's lack of transparency, and need for accountability and fiscal responsibility. The candidates I support, Jeff, Gary, and Sally—who Shawn has also decided to support, are the best qualified to do this. Although this is a non-issue, I will address it in hopes of putting it to bed once-and-for-all, since it continues to be brought up by the ill-informed. You repeatedly state that "There are many unanswered questions about Gary Thompson's financial involvement in The City of Menefee and several other cities." You are merely spreading rumors, as you have ZERO facts. What questions are unanswered? What other cities?...Here are facts: 1) There was never any legal investigation. There were audits. The press mentions that there were questions to answer—nothing more. 2) Thompson was not the Finance Director who committed the errors. Internal controls were not put in place by the first Finance Director, which led to a couple of large errors. Thompson was brought in to address them. For confirmation, look at the May 4, 2010 Agenda on the Menifee website, where there is discussion by the City Manager, referencing a female Finance Director committing the errors. 3) Once the City Manager and City Attorney in Menifee were replaced, Thompson was brought back in to complete his contract. Proof can be found by reviewing the warrant register in the June 15, 2010 Agenda, where there are payments to GST Consulting for May and June 2010. 4) After being reelected in late 2010, Thompson was sworn in by a Menifee councilwoman, which never would have happened if there had been wrongdoing. If you have other questions about Menifee, or any other unnamed/unknown/non-existent city, please ask them now, rather than continue to make false claims. Repeating rumors does not make them true, it only makes the person repeating them lose credibility. To anyone who has read this far, I urge you to look at the facts and submit your votes for Jeff Halbreich, Gary Thompson, and Sally Leonard for the SAMLARC Board of Directors.
Poot Smelly January 28, 2014 at 02:25 PM
April Josepson! Surprise! Your opinion as a lawyer and friend of the Bealls and Gamble means nothing to the real people in our City! How you can support The Loudmouth Bully Gary Thompson is beyond me! I understand that you authored/edited The Dirty Hit Piece on Kenny Hrabik! You are quite the RSM Lady! LOL
Poot Smelly January 28, 2014 at 02:31 PM
Mr. Henderson, it does not take a "rocket scientist" to understand that SAMLARC expected litigation from the drowning incident! Why should they talk to an online reporter/or any other reporter for that matter? Too bad that this angered you! The City of RSM Council Members always go behind closed doors when their is a possibility of litigation. Why should it be different for SAMLARC? Is it because The Beall Gang wants to control every detail in Rancho Santa Margarita?
April Josephson January 28, 2014 at 02:57 PM
Poot Smelly, once again, you are completely off-base. Do you make things up as you go? Where are facts? Do you know anything about what is going on with SAMLARC? Diverting the topic into personal attacks against those who actually care and want to make a positive contribution is very unbecoming. What are you doing for your community other than spending your time circulating falsehoods? I think SAMLARC members and RSM residents as a whole are caring and smart and know better than to believe people who spend their time making false accusations without any substance behind them.
Richard Oakley January 28, 2014 at 05:20 PM
Poot Mon, The reason SAMLARC does not have to talk to media is because it is a corporation. Like private citizens, a corporation is under no obligation to speak with the media about anything it does. What part of "no comment" don't you understand?
Dove Canyon Oldtimer January 28, 2014 at 05:40 PM
This Poot Smelly person seems a bit unhitched. Reading these comments here and the comments on the other story today about Petrilla from this person, I think this person should seek some professional help.
Poot Smelly January 28, 2014 at 09:46 PM
Glen acosta (AKA- Dove Canyoun Oldtimer) It is you that is unhitched! What will you/wannabee run for next time? Dog Catcher?
Shawn Gordon January 30, 2014 at 12:22 AM
RSM Truth - could you do us all a favor and provide some details, actual details, of why we shouldn't trust those people? I'm always interested in facts. Thanks. Maybe the Patch can do a story on what happened with Suzanne Singh.
April Josephson January 30, 2014 at 09:59 AM
Shawn, don't expect facts from these people. They only deal in rumors and innuendo. They apparently have a problem with people who are outspoken about doing what is in the best interest of RSM and don't have personal agendas.
Poot Smelly January 30, 2014 at 04:18 PM
April you and Tony Beall have the Biggest Wrongful Agendas in RSM! You people are Control Freaks and are a major negative impact on our City!
April Josephson January 30, 2014 at 07:35 PM
Poot and Rsm, you are both long on rhetoric, but short on proof (as in non-existent). As I said before, your rumors are off-base and don't become fact just because you repeat them or tell us they are facts. If you posted under your own names, with real information, as I do, then you might have some credibility. Until then, please keep posting your garbage. It makes the rest of us look better.
Rsm Truth January 30, 2014 at 08:02 PM
April- You are so misguided that even when using your own name, your comments have no validity as people get to know that you are really the hatchet woman for Beall's group. The sad thing is you are convinced that you are doing the right thing for RSM. Tell Jennifer. Tony and Gary Thompson to use their real names and I will magically join them with mine. I will be waiting'
April Josephson January 31, 2014 at 04:06 AM
Rsm—you are humorous. I only speak for myself, as I always have. If you believe what you are saying about others, then I suggest you lead by example. Post under your real name...and see what happens...I'm waiting, but know better than to hold my breath.
Rsm Truth January 31, 2014 at 12:21 PM
April- I am so very glad that you have a sense of humor! Just what part of "have Jennifer, Tony and Gary Thompson to use their real names and I will magically join them with mine" did you not understand? You are friends with them so have them own up to their fake names! Must get back to work now! I will be waiting.
April Josephson January 31, 2014 at 06:18 PM
Rsm, I understood your directive. It appears, however, that you did not understand that I speak for myself, and only for me. It is up to you to make contact with anyone you want to communicate with. I am posting to urge SAMLARC members to participate in the election process. My personal recommendations are Jeff, Gary, and Sally. That is all.

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