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THE BOILING FROGS OF SADDLEBROOKE - By Bill Bengen


There is an urban legend that a frog tossed into a pot of boiling water will jump out to save itself, but the same frog, immersed in water which is heated gradually, will allow itself to be cooked to death.


Is it true? Probably not, according to modern biology. But the analogy applies wonderfully well to SaddleBrooke. We, residents of this wonderful community, are slowly being boiled to death, and nothing is being done about it.


I’m referring, of course, to the gradual decline in SaddleBrooke’s fortunes, brought about by our untenable two-HOA system of government. Although SaddleBrooke was originally designed as one community, it feels less and less so with each passing day.


For example, in recent years we’ve been treated to the spectacle of one HOA suing the other and a protracted negotiation over the Reciprocal Use Agreement, which was almost defeated by residents of one HOA. There was an acrimonious battle over pickleball. We’ve seen continually diverging policies of the two HOAs, most recently evidenced by differing limitations on the duration of property rentals. Our rankings in adult communities have declined. And, nowhere on the internet can be found a single website promoting SaddleBrooke, the overall community.


There are residents of SaddleBrooke who, like the boiling frog, are blissfully unaware of their dilemma. They are in denial, claiming that everything is fine, and change is not required. Fortunately, the great majority of residents know otherwise. They sense that something is wrong, that this is not the deal they were promised when they moved here; but they are not quite sure what to do about it.


Enter United SaddleBrooke, a grassroots movement that is now approaching 500 supporters strong. We advocate the unification of SaddleBrooke government. An actual merger of the two HOAs would be ideal, although we recognize that may be too ambitious for the current climate. However, much good can be accomplished by increased cooperation between the HOAs, particularly in the areas of governance, marketing, and long-term planning. This appears to be the best avenue for the short-term.


We intend to actively pursue our agenda with the HOA boards, calling on individual directors to make our case for increased cooperation. We hope to find sympathetic ears on both boards who will help champion our cause. We are convinced that over time, SaddleBrooke’s fortunes can be reversed, if there is the political will to do so.


Of course, in our discussions with board members, we may encounter “frogs” who prefer to be boiled alive. We don’t have to accept that attitude, especially as we would be boiled along with them. At each election, we can vote for directors committed to unification in SaddleBrooke. The fate of the community is literally in our hands.


Our efforts will require patience and persistence, but the payoff is enormous. A better-governed SaddleBrooke will lower the costs of government, provide for the best amenities, and maximize the resale values of our homes. All it requires a little determination. And an aversion to boiling water.

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