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2nd Candidate Statement

Traditionally, candidates’ second statements are about the issues. Please see www.Elisabeth4TSR.com for my positions on specific Sea Ranch concerns.

 

Here, I’d like to demonstrate how I will approach the many decisions we’ll make over the next three years. I think a sound decision making process is a better predictor of decision quality.

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When I evaluate policy, I consider:

 

  • Is the proposed policy consistent with our Sea Ranch values?

  • Are we preserving the health and safety of all Sea Ranchers and our environment?

  • Are we treating all members equally? Are we all sharing equally in our community amenities, and in the costs and responsibilities for caring for them?

  • Are we preserving the amenities that Sea Ranchers enjoy?

  • Are we caring for our natural and built environments today? Are we investing in our future when and where we need to?

  • Is our governance transparent? Are you able to observe and participate in the decisions we make?

Each decision must also meet a set of criteria:
  • Is the proposal fiscally sound?

  • Is it feasible?

  • Are we preserving our property values? (We are, after all, an HOA.)

  • Have we analyzed the solutions using an objective, data-driven approach?

  • Are we fully leveraging the expertise that exists in our staff and volunteers?

As a Sea Rancher and a Director, I am entrusted with preserving the character and beauty of TSR. Also, we should preserve or enhance our amenities unless there is a compelling reason not to.

Both are Sea Ranch values that seemingly conflict when we consider airstrip usage. Pilots become members believing that they will be able to use the airstrip. Airstrip neighbors bought their homes in a community that values our environment and living lightly on the land. The airstrip is not our only problem, nor is it our most far reaching problem, but it exemplifies the comprehensive way I approach and address all issues.  

The airstrip discussion is not just one issue. It includes safety, noise, liability, environmental impact, member amenities, limiting access to authorized users, and enforcement. Defining the problem requires thought. How do we ensure airstrip access to members, guests, and lessees (per the rules) while preserving the quality of life for nearby residents, limiting liability, and maintaining safe operations?

We don’t have good data on noise levels or usage. We have yet to hear from our attorney or our insurer. I’d also like to hear from an independent source on safety. Any decision the Board makes has to put safety first and then must consider liability and costs. But even that is not enough.

I’ve talked to pilots and airstrip neighbors. The range of responses is enlightening, but remarkably wide ranging. Both the pilots and the airstrip neighbors expressed an interest in meeting, possibly with a facilitator, which I support. That said, and I’ve made this clear, nothing the pilots and neighbors come up with is definitive. It is the Board’s job to assess safety, liability, costs, and enforcement and then make the final decision.

I talked to a small airport manager and researched airport noise complaints. I observed the Planning meetings where solutions were proposed, and members provided input. I’ve read all the member emails. I’ve categorized my questions to prepare for the experts. Until I have all the available information, I won’t prejudge the results.

In contrast, building resilience is the most important issue we face.

 

The January storms gave us a window into our vulnerability to climate change. As a result, we increased the budget to cover clean-up and vegetation management costs. The storms also highlighted problems with our aging water infrastructure. Our reserve policies are sound but should be revisited in light of changing climate conditions and possible increased demand. Because of the pressure on dues, we did not add to the reserve fund to update the TSRA offices. We can’t avoid this forever. Our staff need an earthquake resistant, ADA compliant place to work and we all need a facility to serve as our communications hub in emergencies and store our institutional knowledge. 

Resilience also means that we prevent fire when possible. Fuels management is not new and it’s not optional. Without a comprehensive program, we endanger our homes, our insurability, and ourselves. I need to hear the staff recommendations and listen to the experts. If I don’t, I am not acting in the best interests of the membership. The fuels management plan covers our Commons beyond our forests and the decisions on how best to care for our environment are nuanced and complex.

 

Resilience is about more than avoiding danger. It’s about envisioning what Sea Ranchers will look back on 50 years from now and say, “Thank goodness they did that,” just as we think about our water rights, SRC, the CPTZ, our Commons, and above all else, the very ethos that makes us The Sea Ranch. We need to be proactive. For our natural environment, we need demonstration areas where we can test plant species that will thrive here as the climate changes. We now have powerful mapping and modeling tools to track ecological changes and predict fire risk. For our built environment, we need an overarching plan to work towards carbon neutrality by 2030 and increased energy independence. Our design guidelines should continue to evolve to include sustainable practices. To take advantage of the opportunities before us, we need a planning process that enables us to assess, scope, and prioritize new initiatives so that we can decide what to do, when to do it, and how much to spend in an integrated and fiscally responsible way.

 

Resilience is about more than our natural and built environment. It’s also about our community. Perhaps our most far reaching problem is a lack of trust. A member wrote and said that he hears talk about reducing animosity among us but not about building trust. He makes an excellent point. 

Information is the best tool we have to combat mistrust.

 

I advocated for a documentarian to catalog the plethora of information that the Board uses to make decisions. We must make information access easier for the membership. If we are all working from the same sources, it’s easier to ask clarifying questions instead of casting doubt. We can point to evidence instead of relying on opinion.

 

I make listening and civil discourse a priority. I am working on decision frameworks to address controversial topics more productively. I recognize and appreciate the many and various talents of Sea Ranchers. During a difficult exchange among the Board, I wrote “We need not all possess all of the skills necessary to ensure the community that we love thrives and the values we cherish persist as we find solutions to the challenges ahead of us. There are seven of us for a reason.” This is true across the whole of TSR. The best ideas emerge from our differences – in our opinions, experiences, and strengths. There’s nothing Sea Ranchers can’t do when we put our minds, and our hearts, to it. If you give me the honor of continuing to serve as your Director, you will have both of mine. 

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This statement was submitted to TSRA on April 11, 2023

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