Sun City Anthem

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Is "Progress" Destroying the Past ?

Can a Nation's Oldest Organization Survive ???

It's February !

1/12 or 8.3% of 2013 is already over.

On a national level, we've been through a Fiscal Cliff, a President being inaugurated for a second term with changes in his cabinet, continued talk of gun control, and the nation is gearing up for Obamacare.

On the local scene, we've seen more HOA indictments and a stadium developer sued by our town.

But nothing....nothing...has me more upset...


Yup, they've done it AGAIN...and creating havoc in the process.

As of January 27, 2013...a first class postage stamp increased from 45 cents to 46 cents, along with a whole bunch of other increases and changes to this "most efficient" organization.

Yes, the FOREVER STAMP, just increased in price.

Here is a list of the LATEST surprises just in case you send a bill payment and it's returned two-three weeks later with a corresponding LATE notice from the place you mailed your payment.

Ever wonder just how much these rates have increased ?

I did.

So, I researched the history of the cost of a first class postage stamp.
From 1932 to 1952...TWENTY YEARS....the cost was 3 cents.

From 1952 to 1958...SIX YEARS...the cost was 4 cents.

From 1958 to 1963...FIVE YEARS....the cost was 5 cents.

From 1963 to 1968...FIVE YEARS...the cost was 6 cents.

From 1968 to 1971...THREE YEARS...the cost was 8 cents.

From 1971 to 1974...THREE YEARS...the cost was 10 cents.

...and so on and so on until just a few days ago, it jumped another penny to 46 cents.



That's right, the FOREVER STAMP took one year to increase from 45 cents to 46 cents.

I realize that the internet has changed our lives, and more and more of us are using direct deposit and online bill payment, but by doing so... it the beginning of the end of an institution ?

As of March 1, 2013 no one will be receiving a social security check by mail any longer. You will be REQUIRED to have an account at some financial institution where this money will be directly transferred.

Though 93% of those receiving social security benefits currently utilize this method, there still remains 5 million Americans who currently receive paper checks...

... the elimination of them estimated to further reduce Postal Service revenue.

...and it doesn't take a scholar to understand what this means in terms of future mailing costs....for FOREVER STAMPS. this trend undoubtedly will increase, what is the future of an institution that was hailed by our nation's first Postmaster General, Benjamin Franklin, back in 1789 ????

Can it survive ?

Can the country and the world do without a mail service

I suppose it can.  After all, the world did survive the demise of the buggy whip factories and commercial horse shoe enterprises, so this might be just another result of "progress".

I don't know the answer, but what I do know is that I would be saddened if did close. 
I'd miss not getting Christmas cards or sending Birthday cards.  Already, over the years, these cards have diminished in favor of electronic mailings...impersonal mailings...perhaps explaining just how impersonal this world has become as a result of what we call...


Dick Arendt

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Baby...It's Cold Outside

Liberty Center Residents Shivering Each Morning...Why?

Many of you know I enjoy the Liberty Center pool, and over time I've had the opportunity of meeting some of the most wonderful people who love the Center as much as I do.

People are becoming aware of Anthem Opinions and seem to enjoy the articles that I've written; so much so, that they've asked to make our community aware of another problem which seems to be ignored by RMI again and again.

I get up pretty early in the morning, but some others get to the Liberty Center before it opens at 5:30 am, anxiously waiting to get that morning work-out in before they start their day.

I usually get there a bit later after the building is open, and was unaware of a problem that seems to be near and dear to their hearts.

Then....I received the following email:

Could someone, somewhere give me a satisfactory answer as to why Anthem Center lets users in before 5:30 am and Liberty Center does not....where is the equity????
It was freezing cold at 5:24 am this morning and the doors at Liberty were locked and the gentleman behind the nice warm desk made no attempt to let us in from the cold....

BLUE CARDS do not work!!!!  Even when the "usual" 8 of us submitted a card to ask AGAIN to be let in when it is cold or raining!

Again...WHERE IS THE EQUITY?   Maybe the rumor is true that the folks that use Liberty Center are "second class" compared to those that use the Anthem Center!!!!

So frustrated, I could scream......

Jan Fanning
Henderson, NV


Well Jan, you peaked my interest because I found it difficult to believe "nice" people would allow other "nice" people to contract pneumonia...


I saw it myself.

So...up I got at 4:00am, had my coffee, and proceeded to the Liberty Center with camera in hand, getting there at 5:15am.

It was cold, but I was determined to arrive at the Liberty Center before this "crowd of 8" she mentioned in her email got there.

I did, and when I arrived, I saw the RMI employee through the glass, sitting behind the desk "as snug as a bug in a rug". 

Great, I thought, it's before the normal opening time of 5:30am, but surely if I knock on the window, that individual sitting behind the desk would allow me entrance to avoid the frostbite.


Evidently 5:30am means 5:30am, not 5:28am or 5:29am. 

Those doors were closed, and they were going to stay closed, until the "warden" decided to open the cell block.

Why...BECAUSE RMI DEMANDS IT, and will chastise OR possibly fire any employee who might open the door.

So...don't blame the attendant, blame the one who made up this ridiculous rule, namely our management company, RMI.

So, as I patiently waited for the "troublesome 8", they, one by one, approached the door and saw me standing there.

...and little Mrs. Jan Fanning, the composer of the email sent to me, in her most "feminine manner", looked at me and said....

"See, told ya so"

...and so, I decided to take a few pictures of those who were forced to wait out in the cold until the building "officially opened at 5:30am".

Note the pleasant attitudes each display while freezing their "parts" off.

Following my work out in the pool, as I walked out the door, I took another look at the doors of the Liberty Center....

,,,and after looking at them again, I thought....

There are two sets of doors; the first opening into a COZY HEATED vestibule; the second, into a COZY HEATED lobby.

Here's the first door entering the building.

This is the second door entering the lobby.


.....then, dangerously, I thought again....

OK, I can understand the lobby being closed until 5:30am, but not the first set of doors.

Why can't the first set of doors be opened allowing the people to enter, and stay warm until 5:30am when the second set would open?

Then to further stroke my curiosity, outside the cold was a park bench...a bench that could be inside the vestibule.

...a park bench that was obviously left outside to stack the frozen bodies who didn't make it inside until 5:30am !

Perhaps someone can explain why torture is a requirement for those who get there early?

Looking back at Jan Fanning's email, I also noted that at the Anthem Center, the outside doors ARE OPEN.   People are allowed into the building, but not permitted to use the facilities until the official starting time.

Now....that's logical and makes a great deal of sense, and if it's OK there, why not at the Liberty Center ?

Maybe Jan was right....Are Liberty Center users SECOND CLASS CITIZENS ???

So, Jan, let's hope someone does read those BLUE CARDS you mentioned.

The RMI management agreement will shortly be sent out for competitive bid, and maybe, or should I say hopefully, somewhere in that request, there will be a requirement that demands COMMON SENSE laced with a tad of COMPASSION for senior citizens, where a common cold might land you in a morgue.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

It Was Too Good to be True

Stadium Developer's Problems Continue as Henderson Sues Him & Four Others

It all started with such excitement.  Inspirada "wastelands" were going to be developed, not with homes, but with a major sports complex that was to have placed the City of Henderson on the world map.

Having met Chris Milam and Lee Haney at a meeting in City Hall two years ago, it was one of the most inspiring presentations I'd ever heard.

The desert near the M Resort that was originally designed to be near Inspirada, was going to a major complex that included National Basketball Association, Major League Soccer, Major League Baseball, and potential National Football League franchises. Pro tennis courts were also planned as well as an Aqua Center in future years, in addition to a shopping center that would turn our sleepy town into a major metropolitan area.

Chris Milam

I can still remember watching Chris Milam display his plans while the room filled with a number of Sun City Anthem residents, two of which were on our Board and one, a past Board president, who watched carefully, being mesmerized as the magic he envisioned would some day be a reality. 

While I watched the presentation, it brought back a memory I had from 2005 when I visited Sydney, Australia's 2000 Olympic Village; so much so, that I asked him, "Do you have plans to entice the Olympics to Henderson, Nevada?"

...and when Mr. Milam said, "I can't comment on that at this time", my eyes lit up daydreaming of the future.  Two weeks later, it was learned Chris Milam contacted the Olympic Committee to inquire about this possibility, but the US Olympic Committee quickly slapped his "wrists" saying it was not his position to even make such a request.

Was this really going to happen?

The City Council approved the complex and it was to be financed with revenue bonds without any cost to residents of Henderson.

It was too good to be true, but somehow it was so thrilling, you wanted to believe it could be true.

...but like most things that "seem too good to be true"...

... it was...

... and the problems mounted in the two succeeding years as Mr. Milam, the Bureau of Land Management, and the City of Henderson, faced the reality that...

It wasn't going to happen after all.

...and the City of Henderson named Chris Milam, Lee Haney, and two attorneys, John Marchiano, and Christopher Stephens, in addition to a Mr. Michael Ford, who previously did consulting work for the City of Henderson, also a former Bureau of Land Management official, in a civil action.

The lawsuit charges that the five individuals "misled Henderson order to use the city to win a bid on 480 acres of federal land he conspired to sell piecemeal to residential and commercial developers at a substantial profit".

The full details are in the Tuesday, January 29, 2013 edition of the Las Vegas Review Journal's front page of the "Nevada" section, and for those of you who do not receive the paper, here is the article:

From a personal standpoint, this was one of those instances that so many of us hoped would emerge having a spectacular sports complex in our own backyard.  

It didn't....but this world needs dreamers who can look at things so many of us are incapable to seeing...

... and in the passion of needing to believe in a dream, people sometimes are incapable of seeing the truth; they believe what they wish to believe, because it gives them hope of a bright future.   

...and that's what causes the greatest disappointment.

So, Mr. Milam, you shall have your day in court, and down deep inside, I still want to believe that your original intent was good, despite the mounting evidence.

Each man is innocent until proven otherwise, but in the months and years ahead, as you look at your accusers, know the public was injured emotionally more than the loss of any sum of money.

...and if I were to see Mr. Milam again, I would probably look at him in the same way that a small boy did years ago, when after the 1919 Chicago White Sox "Black Sox" scandal, he approached a man named Shoeless Joe Jackson, and with sadness and a tear in his eyes said to him:

"Say it ain't so, Joe"

That's how much this whole thing hurt.

Dick Arendt

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Carbon Monoxide...Kill It...Before...It Kills You

Carbon Monoxide Alarm...Small Stay Alive

When readers send us information that we believe is beneficial to the community, we don't hesitate to pass it on to our readers.

We have smoke detectors, but how many of us have Carbon Monoxide Alarms ?

Carbon monoxide is the "odorless gas" that can KILL.

Here is a copy of the email we received that we would like to share with each and every one of you.
Dear Anthem friends,

We don't have Carbon Monoxide Alarms in our homes!  OMG!

I "assumed" our homes would have been built with these alarms installed with recent construction. Not mine!

Owning gas appliances without having at least one Carbon Monoxide detector in your home can be life threatening.

FYI...... We purchased our hard wired alarm fire/Carbon Monoxide Alarm combo from Home Depot for $47.97We did not find the hard wired type at Lowe's.

Our electrician easily replaced one of our existing fire alarms with the combo model.  

Portable units are readily available too. For the simplest solution...there are also units available that merely plug into a handy receptacle.

Spread this important message on to your friends.  Be safe!

Jackie Foster

Great advice, Jackie.

Thanks for passing this on to us...and as you can see, we're spreading it to our friends.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Looking at History As It Has Affected Us Over the Years

Do You Know this Man ?

James W. Marshall

He changed life as we knew it.....165 Years Ago...on January 24, 1848.

Just click on our "History & Holidays" Page to learn how his accidental discovery...altered the evolution of the United States !

(Located to the right of the Welcome Screen)

Let Us Enertain You

The Painters Finally Showed Up...
to Paint Half the Fence

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote an article about not getting my fence painted after sending the association the $45 fee in June, 2012.

I know it's not a lot of money, but I was assured I would still get my money's worth....and as of this writing, it looks like that's exactly what I money's worth.

Well....they finally showed up about start the painting.

While I expected this.....
I ended up getting this....

No Notice
No knock on the door
Just two guys with paint cans and brushes.

I couldn't understand these "unannounced" individuals not even giving me the benefit of a phone call, but worse than that, I pondered...

Are they supposed to paint when the temperatures went below 50 degrees?

It might have been above 50 at 3:30pm, but what about 1:00am ?
Therefore, I just watched the painting commence....

...until approximately 3:45pm when the foreman showed up, obviously discussing the day's stock market reports, because they weren't painting the fence !

At 4:00pm...the fireworks commenced !

With just half the fence painted...they decided to leave, obviously tired, having put in a tough day in the heat.

I waited seven months to get half my fence painted. Was I going to have to wait another seven months for the other half ???

Almost crashing through the back sliding door, I confronted the foreman and said....

"Woah can't leave this place looking like hillbilly heaven."

"My name isn't Jethro, and my wife not Ellie Mae, and I can assure you, if Granny were still alive, she'd have confused you with opossum and dealt with you accordingly."

After a strange look, he pulled out a map of Sun City Anthem and told me that the place was so big, it would take time to finish it.

I didn't really care how big the place is, I know it's big, but what does that have to do with the other half of the fence ?

"But....if you knew you couldn't finish it, why did you start it?"

Again....with the map showing me how big our community is !

Finally coming to the conclusion that Jed Clampett was an unknown in Mexico, and that he had no idea as to what I was referring to,  I shook my head, went into my home, and as he left, I displayed this sign to his truck.

Then....from a home who I believe was my neighbor Peter, all I could hear was......

Well, tomorrow is another day,and my fence hopefully will be finished (if it doesn't peel due to the cold).

I called Board Director, Bella Meese, and Bella was as pleasant as she always has been to me.  Hopefully, the moral of this story will be to give even greater scrutiny to awarding various contracts.

The culprit here is the guy who hired this firm, not the board, but at the same time, it certainly gives credence to closely examining the management company who did, and not hesitating....


Sunday, January 20, 2013

Character sometimes means saying "I'm Sorry"

What Price Glory ?

In less than a month, those who wish to run for our Board will have had to declare their candidacy.
To date, only one person has come forward, Finance Committee Chairman, Jim Mayfield.
This article is not an endorsement, but instead...

A plea...not for more candidates, but to all of you to look carefully at those who wish to represent you.
Don't let ANY PUBLICATION you might read influence you other than providing you the facts of the past, the experience of the individual who chooses to run for office, and of equal importance, their character.
We are a community of volunteers...and ordinary people are fallible...they make mistakes, but mistakes must be understood in order to correct them, and those who committed them, should recognize them, apologize for them, and most importantly, promise never to commit them again. CHARACTER.
Why am I bringing this subject up for discussion ?
Because of the profound affect something recently had on me watching the Friday, January 18th afternoon show "Katie" starring Katie Couric.
The subject of that show was....
"Why Do We Cheat?"
Though the subject matter of the show was primarily the Lance Armstrong admission of "doping", a number of guests appeared to discuss that topic...
...the most enlightening of which was a man named Walter Pavlo.
Pavlo committed white collar crimes at MCI as the telecom business roared in the mid-1990s. He served two years of a 3.5 year sentence for obstruction of justice, money laundering, and mail fraud.
According to Forbes Magazine:
"An unremarkable rank-and-filer in a 25-person billing department, he says he cooked the books, under pressure from higher-ups, to help bolster MCI's growth.  Pavlo employed an array of tricks--taught to him, he says, at MCI--to hide hundreds of millions of dollars in aging bad debts and clearly uncollectable receivables owed by a raft of upstart telecom resellers."
In the process, he skimmed $6 million for himself and a couple of partners.
....and as a result of "cheating" he lost EVERYTHING, the most important of which was his family and any hope of financial credibility to obtain future employment.
I watched his interview with the deepest of attention, and as it proceeded, it began to remind me of some of the past problems we, in Sun City Anthem, have incurred as a result of a number of individuals who have been elected to our boards in past years....and the allegations made against them again and again.
Time and again, year after year, the allegations of "wrong-doing" have been made by some, and a few years ago an IRS audit uncovered Sun City Anthem being the target of improperly retaining funds that should have been returned to residents.
Though the initial claim against our association was $1.345 million, it was eventually settled for approximately $113,000 plus interest of $32,000, totaling $145,000.
A victory? 
Or a defeat? 
Perhaps both, but in a sense of fairness, the FULL STORY should have been divulged, not some fairy tale to condemn a few individuals as being responsible for something, when their only "crime" was trying for years to get your money back,  yet ignored, and criticized by those who were responsible for the mistakes.
Yes... the subsequent settlement was considerably less than the original demand, but yet, had advice been adhered to by those who had decision making ability years ago, and ignored OVER THE YEARS by other boards, the amount should have been ZERO.
...and despite the continual obsession on the part of another publication, in  some sadistic form of resentment that has lasted for years against anything and anyone who has made attempts to bring out the full story, rather than the bits and pieces that serve no purpose OTHER THAN TO justify actions which needlessly wasted resident funds...
...The law was broken OR nothing would have been paid.
Just WHY is it so difficult for some to tell the FULL STORY?
...AND...perhaps the saddest commentary of all...
NO ONE....yes, NO ONE, has ever said, "I'm sorry".
We have incurred thousands of dollars in expenses that ordinary residents have made attempts to control; yet, when brought to the attention of our leadership, have been ignored, and often criticized, over the years. expenses in choosing past operators who have failed to meet their financial obligations....and more recently, spending funds to feed SELECTED individuals at the expense of  remaining residents, in addition to the lack of demanding any personal financial guarantee in the lease agreement, should this newest operator fail.
....contracting unlicensed AND uninsured labor.
...refusing to place major contracts out to proper competitive bid, circumventing the laws though various loopholes.
Even a simple question as to WHERE IS THE MONEY for fence painting collected from residents over seven months ago, remains IGNORED by each member of our board.
We have been the subject of Channel 13's HOA Hall of Shame, yet those who have brought us this embarrassment, or those who seem to have supported those who have caused it, are reelected to board positions, year after year.
Just how does this happen?
Well...that's where the "Katie" interview with Walter Pavlo comes into our picture.
...and here is that segment from her show...
Is "cheating" contagious? 
Does this video provide some form of insight as to WHY these problems continue to exist?
As Mr. Pavlo states, "I cooked the books..there's nobody that's going to allow you that opportunity" (when you seek other employment after being caught). 
 He went on to say how actions which inwardly he knew were wrong, somehow seemed to be justified over time; how they seemed to get "caught up in it", never realizing how much it actually hurt so many people...until it was too late, and had grown to such proportions over the years.
Well, Mr. Pavlo, you obviously don't reside in Sun City Anthem, where "cooking the books" is an allegation that, when attempts are made to determine if accurate, are shut down at every opportunity, and any attempt at accountability is either flatly rejected, ignored, and even criticized.
So, as we enter the election season and each of you examine your choices of candidates, ask WHICH of them will open the books for review...
...and those who use excuses to KEEP THEM CLOSED....well....consider others for your choice.
Let me close this article by a couple of quotes made by John Wooden, the immortal coach of UCLA, who won 10 National Basketball Championships, 7 in a row, and to this day holds the college record of winning 88 consecutive games.....
"Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be."


The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching.”

Let's do some homework during this election and elect the RIGHT candidates who WILL examine the past, in order to CORRECT our path in the future.

Dick Arendt