“Not if I see you coming”

The Berkeley Town House board of directors today replaced an amiable outgoing director with a combative veteran, who lost no time displaying her contempt for certain community members. And the board claims it wants peace?

This evening the board of directors of Berkeley Town House decided to make itself a lot nastier and more antagonistic than it has been in recent memory. It replaced the mild-mannered, peacemaking, sensitive K M, who is resigning as she prepares to move out, with none other than S P, whose motto might be “Leave no stone unthrown” and who is remembered by long-timers for her iron-fisted presidency. The (unanimous) vote gave the lie to the board’s recent calls for “peace” and “forgiveness”.

During the comment period, a member asked S P about her previously circulated open letter attacking “aggressive newcomers” and urging people that she disagrees with to move elsewhere. The member asked S P whether she could work with members of various opinions. Answer (paraphrased): Yes, if they behave themselves. The member asked S P whether she would begin acknowledging her again when they met in the corridors. Answer (exact quote): “Not if I see you coming.” The member also asked S P whether she would be willing to ride in the same elevator with her. No answer. Another member said she, too, was always ignored by S P. Answer: I don’t consider her a member in good standing. (It’s an honor to report that S P has recently crossed me, too, off her greeting-eligible list.)

This appointment was a declaration of spite by the board against the membership, or at least a mammoth lapse of judgment. There were far more constructive, open-minded, friendly members to choose among.

On the positive side, S P’s addition to the Board will increase its candor. When she despises you, she says so. A refreshing change. It’s also admirable that the board actually voted on this appointment in an open meeting, not in secret, as it had illegally done with its last two replacements.

This vote was flawed, too. It wasn’t legal (as I read the law) for K M to vote on her own replacement, nor for the board to hold this vote before K M’s resignation had taken effect, but those are technicalities. The important thing is that the board did something dumb in front of the members, and the members got an opportunity to give a live demonstration of that fact. That’s progress.

5 thoughts on ““Not if I see you coming”

  1. I thought this blog had a policy of not publishing people’s names without their permission. Ms. S P, no matter how egregious her offenses, is entitled to the same privacy you have accorded others. And Ms. K M, according to this account, has committed no offenses at all. To be fair and balanced, you should either omit these names or include the names of president C T, “a member” C L, and “another member” J G.

    1. Thanks for this comment. I haven’t adopted a policy like the one you describe. There are personal names (and photographs) in various blog postings here. It’s common for persons to publish other persons’ names on the Web. For example, there’s a Wikipedia article about me (despite my lack of suitable credentials), and nobody ever asked my permission to post my name in that article. However, I have been anonymizing names in this blog where I thought it considerate and especially where the name made little or no difference (I did that in your comment with the members’ names). But I consider a director of a publicly regulated corporation to be a public figure. Blogs can usefully deploy a name-and-shame strategy to incentivize decent behavior by persons with power.

      1. I think the California Court of Appeals has determined that board members of HOAs are not public figures. Where such people are deemed “limited purpose” public figures, I think they are fair game only in the limited public fora of association meetings and newsletters, not in the wider world. But you should consult your attorney about this.

    2. In the face of additional arguments against the naming of people in this posting, I have edited it (and the first comment) to change names to initials. This allows those familiar with Berkeley Town House to know whom I’m writing about, and strangers to know what a few deluded folks currently in office here think they can legitimately get away with. My particular concern is with those who are contemplating a move into BTH. BTH has much to offer, but also some significant temporary flaws. In my opinion it would be fraudulent to conceal the known flaws from prospective shareholders. If readers want more details about these incidents, they may contact me.

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