THE RIDGES LANDOWNERS’ ASSOCIATION, INC.
P.O. Box 22352 Santa Fe, NM 87502
Year-End Report and Message from the Board – December 16, 2021
2021 Recap and 2022 Look-Ahead
The Board wishes everyone in the Ridges a happy holiday season. As we all know, 2021 was a very busy and sometimes difficult year. The budget for 2021 will continue into 2022 with an annual dues of $650. The dues can be paid in a lump sum by January 31st or in two payments, with the balance due June 30th. The Board will revisit the discussion on improving the unpaved roads in the first few months of the new year after a much-needed pause. Rest assured, we will be open to input from all residents, and we expect that the discussions will be civil and productive. We all want what is best for our community, which may not be something we all agree upon, but ideally is something we can all accept and live with.
There were many positives during 2021, including the revival our community newsletter (Views from the Ridges, published on the website – a December issue was just posted, see https://theridgesla.org/december-2021-newsletter/), learning opportunities on bark beetle infestation and wildfire mitigation from professionals, a coordinated effort to remove bark-beetle infested trees, and first-ever garden and geologic tours. As a community, we reviewed and discussed the request by a church to approve their possible purchase of Lot 17A on the corner of Alma and US 285 for a use not allowed by the Cimarron Covenants. Their proposed amendment was not approved by a vote at the Association’s Annual meeting, and the Church has withdrawn its offer to purchase the property. We thank outgoing Board president Roc Curry for all the time he spent in discussions with the church and its representatives, in researching legal and other aspects of the proposed purchase, and in informing the community about its options in the matter. We also thank Roc for his 3 years of service on the Board, including his leadership as Board president for the past 1½ years.
Resignation of Roads Committee
One of the first orders of business for the Board will be to fill the void created by the resignation of all three members of the Ridges Roads Committee (Mark Glaze, Charlie Whiteley, and Greg Cooper). With their permission, and in fact at their request, we are including at the end of this message their resignation letters. The community owes a huge debt of gratitude to these individuals, who between them have put in more than 25 years and many thousands of hours of service to ensure that both our paved and unpaved roads are properly maintained. Averaged over time, road maintenance accounts for nearly 80% of the Association’s expenditures. We will soon begin a process of recruiting new Roads Committee members. Meanwhile, Paul Reimus of the Board will serve as an interim Roads Committee chair. Please be advised that roads issues may not be addressed as efficiently as they have been in the past for a while. However, know that the Board has secured services for plowing snow this winter and grading if needed.
Environmental Conditions update and Interactive Map
Our new incoming Board member, Dennis McQuillan, has compiled an environmental conditions update for the ridges that is attached to this email. It includes information about forecasted drought conditions this winter, wildfire danger and bark beetles. This update supplements his original report of July 6, 2021 that can be downloaded from this location: https://theridgesla.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Geology-of-The-Ridges-Subdivision-and-Vicinity.pdf He has also put together an interactive homeowner map of the Ridges that can be accessed at: https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=1JtkAjRqwefIco63O2EVy6zjcAL989liw&usp=sharing
This link is also on the website. You can zoom in or out, change the base map, and click on the roads, arroyos, trailheads, wildfire escape routes and hazard icons to get more information and pictures. It is a work in progress, and input/comments/pictures are welcome. The map documents existing conditions and is intended to inform future discussion among residents. We thank Dennis for these contributions, and we welcome him on the Board for 2022.
Two of the three members of the Architectural Control Committee (ACC) have resigned, effective at the start of 2022 – chair Debra Hagey and committee member Carol Albrecht. The Board thanks them both for their service to the community. Gerry Fornell will remain as the only ACC member. In addition to recruiting Roads Committee members, the Board will also be recruiting ACC members in the coming weeks and months.
The Ridges website will soon feature a new community forum that residents can use to express viewpoints and opinions on issues pertaining to the community. In the past year, the Board was asked several times to forward emails from residents (or groups), and the forum will be the preferred mechanism for disseminating these types of communications going forward. Submissions will be subjected to a screening process to ensure that no inappropriate or offensive material is posted (a similar process is currently in place for posting photos or comments). Rest assured, opinions will not be suppressed, but there will be an attempt to ensure that opinions are expressed in a civil and constructive manner. We recognize that there will be some subjectivity in this process, and it will be an experiment of sorts, with some tweaks possibly needed, but the Board believes that this is the best way to allow residents to express their opinions to the community without relying on mass emails or mailings. For the time being, residents will have to email material to the Board for posting to the forum, and they will also have to check the website for new postings (both a submission and a notification process will be forthcoming). An inaugural contribution to the forum was just posted on the website under “Community News” (where the Views newsletter can also be found). The link is: https://theridgesla.org/susan-zeder-comments-the-battlefields-of-clara-barton/. This contribution was originally solicited from Suzan Zeder for the Newsletter on her recently-premiered play, “The Battlefields of Clara Barton.” However, Suzan and her husband Jim Hancock decided instead to express their opinions on what has transpired in the community in the past several months, culminating in the annual meeting. We hope that this teaser will inspire people to access the forum to read their contribution and to engage in constructive exchanges in the future. Note that the Board will still forward factual emails intended to inform the community on matters such as neighborhood safety or security.
RIDGES BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Roads Committee Resignation Letters
I would like to first commend the entire Board for the tireless effort you have put into this past years budget process and roads proposal. Unfortunately, the status quo continues. For the last eleven years Charlie and I have faced the same uphill battle educating the Association as to the merits of establishing sufficient reserves to deal with capital improvements regarding our roads. The defeat of the budget and lack of Association members willingness to grasp the financial significance of not funding for the inevitable, has consequences. First and foremost, this tack will require more time and energy on behalf of the Roads Committee to search out more bids to approach individual roads. This will be the case as sufficient reserves do not allow a more comprehensive approach. I refuse to do that. Secondly, and most importantly, this will cost the ENTIRE Association more money over time. Due to the questionable tactics of six or seven lot owners, three proposed budgets to build capital reserves for future road maintenance were voted down. Because of the aforementioned headwinds, I’m resigning from the Roads Committee. I wish the Board and the Roads Committee the best for the future. Feel free to publish this on the Association website as it may be the shortest and succinct delivery of the message that needs to be delivered to the Association.
As you may recall, at the Annual Meeting I made the statement, “I can’t understand why any rational thinking person would volunteer to serve on the RLA Board given the lack of civility, character assassination and attacks on integrity being demonstrated, and that’s a shame”. Prior to being compelled to stand and make that comment, there was an accusation from the audience that my involvement on the Roads Committee was self-serving which garnered a boisterous laugh from the audience. As the Board knows well, days before the meeting I had requested that Rey de Reyes not be selected for upgrade in 2022 due to my involvement on the Roads Committee. But the audience response to that comment sent me a vivid message that they agreed with the “Self-Serving” accusation. If this were the only attack on my integrity and the integrity of other community volunteers, I might let it pass. But more disturbing to me after reflecting on my years of involvement and thousands of hours serving the community, this is the RLA culture. The recent community response to the Board’s Budget/Roads proposal is only one of many, many personal attacks I have witnessed and documented from individuals directed at volunteers serving our community. This includes the insults directed at Board members in many communications leading up to the Annual Meeting, remarks at the meeting and repeated daily emails directed at the Chairman of the Roads Committee demanding his resignation. And the November 8th letter from the CRTR group is yet another example of this group’s effort to sabotage the creditability of the Board by spreading more misinformation to the membership. I ask myself, where is the appreciation from those who are incapable of understanding that these volunteers only motive in sacrificing their time and talent is to serve in the best interest of their neighbors. I made my decision to resign at the meeting and left before the meeting ended. I honestly fear that our Association is on the precipice of failure due to the potential inability to recruit new leadership and will ultimately become the sister community of Cimarron.
I want to make it absolutely clear that my decision to resign has nothing to do with the membership’s rejection of the Budget/Roads proposal or my anticipation of how the Board and hopefully the membership will move forward. I accept and respect the membership’s vote on the issues with disappointment, however, as in past failed budget proposals, I believe the vote was unfortunately influenced by organized opposition utilizing misinformation, invalid emotional arguments and inappropriate attacks on the Board to influence some members decisions on the issues. My decision to resign has everything to do with the toxic norms continually demonstrated in our community over the years and the entire community is complicit in allowing that culture, embraced by a few, to exist.
I believe that the Board pursued every potential alternative in addressing the gravel roads issue during the past year and exercised outstanding transparency in communicating the alternatives to the membership over the past several months. I have only the most respect for all the hours and hours of hard work each of you have sacrificed for the community in your attempts to present the facts regarding the roads issues. It appears now that you have lost the Roads Committee and I can’t say how sorry I am to be part of that new problem you face. My personal reaction to the demeanor of the Annual Meeting was, “I’ve finally had enough” and I let that decision rest a few days but after further reflection, it is now final. I sincerely hope that the 2022 Board can find ways to reunite the membership and gain membership support in the decision process and that some members can gain some civility.
Like Charlie and Mark, I too resign from the Roads Committee. For the six years I’ve volunteered on both the Board of Directors and the Roads Committee, the accumulation of insults and charges of malfeasance no longer justify the time and energy devoted to the position. I am also disheartened by the disrespect shown to my colleagues, Charlie Whiteley and Mark Glaze. I am happy to offer any assistance the Board may require to help smooth the transition in forming a new Roads Committee.
I want to congratulate the Board on their attempts to secure the future integrity of the roads in The Ridges and will continue to support their efforts as a landowner.