Barry Austin, the Finisterra neighborhood resident disgusted with his homeowner's association, sent us an update on reaction to our story about his HOA voting yes to pay $3,500 for Christmas lights, but no to a neighborhood food drive for the Tucson Community Food Bank.
After press time, the Finisterra HOA held its annual meeting on Dec. 12. According to Austin, the HOA's board president Ed Landes, who didn't return our phone calls at the time, told Austin and his neighbors there were three reasons the board did not allow a food drive: allowing collection boxes in the clubhouse would "negatively affect the ambiance of the clubhouse"; "using the clubhouse hallway would be inappropriate" (he gave no detail of what made cans and boxes of food inappropriate); and "Katie (Lyster) is too busy to supervise the collection efforts." (Katie is the HOA's admin employee).
In Austin's e-mail update he wrote: "Presently, the Clubhouse hallway is used all year for previously-owned books (with boxes and bags on the floor in various places) and several times per year for telephone directories. So it is not clear what is so different about canned / boxed food that would be there for only a short period once per year. When asked what would take so much of Katie’s time (since residents would collect the donated food each day), Ed responded that people would be 'bothering Katie asking her where they should put their donations.'"
Despite the board's vote, Austin says he's taken one load of food to the Community Food Bank from donations that have been brought to his home. Austin says he plans to be at the next board meeting in January seeking further explanation, especially since the food bank announced this month that it may be forced to make cuts in food distributions due to budget woes and lack of donations. See this Dec. 18 editorial in the Arizona Daily Star.
"Imagine how many families could be fed from the $3,500 spent on the holiday lights," Austin says.
I'm in agreement with the letter to the editor published this issue of the Tucson Weekly. Much of these issues can be avoided by not living in developments with HOAs.