President’s Report – August 2022

As published in The View, August 2022:

John MacDonnell

Money, Money, Money!

How, when, and why the Board of Directors spend it often is questioned, commented on, and can stir up a lot of controversy.

Last month I discussed how your Board of Directors and the Advisory Committees work together to deliver on Sun City Shadow Hills’ promise of a great place to live and vacation. Now, let’s talk about how our money is managed to make sure that we will not face sudden, unexpected, and costly special assessments.

HOA’s are governed by the state’s Civil Code which outlines much of what HOAs must do to address financial management. Despite these legal and fiduciary requirements, many HOA’s are mismanaged. At SCSH, we are proud of our Financial Advisory Committee. Our FAC members each have professional credentials in finance, business management, and law. They review all aspects of our finances on an ongoing basis. They are our financial watchdogs, and report directly and regularly to your Board.

Our HOA keeps its funds in federally insured accounts, and we reconcile each check we write every month. Every invoice paid requires approval by two Board members. The Board treasurer approves all invoices. The additional approval comes from any other Board member. Review and approval of expenditures rotates monthly so all Board members are familiar with and participate in the process. We have policies in place for purchasing authority, signing authority, and much more. We are constantly reviewing our financial procedures to make improvements and close any loopholes.

Our expenditures come from three different funds: the Operating Fund, the Reserve Fund, and the Capital Improvement Fund. Money is allocated to each fund during the annual budget process with input received from our various committees and arrived at through several public meetings open to all homeowners (usually in August, September, and October). These funds are not finalized until after the open meetings are held and the proposed budget has been posted on the official site for review. So, what are these funds and how is the money in them used?

The Operating Fund is used to pay for the cost of running the day-to-day activities of our HOA. Compare that to the cost of running your household and paying monthly bills.

Money in the Reserve Fund is set aside for big-ticket items; to periodically maintain, repair or replace things before they fall apart, have exceeded their useful life, or have become unsightly. Think of this as setting money aside to put a new roof on your house or to repaint and landscape at a future date.

A Reserve Fund value and estimate of its useful life is determined for each significant asset owned and maintained by the community at the time of the initial purchase or acquisition of the item. Thereafter prorated funds are set aside from the monthly assessments over the expected life of the asset so the necessary funds will be on hand when needed. Examples would be mowers for the golf course and air conditioners for Shadows and other facilities. Our reserve study is updated annually to make sure we are setting aside sufficient funding. This is what prevents us from having those dreaded special assessments, as we are constantly saving for the inevitable rainy day.

The Capital Improvement Fund is where we set aside dollars for even larger ticket items that the HOA and its members may decide to add to our facilities or to update the present facilities to meet unanticipated developments. In this past year, a portion of the capital improvement fund is being used for expenses related to the Coachella Valley Water District Flood Control Project, a long time on the drawing board but finally impacting our common area.

Each month we publish our limited financial reports in The View and give detailed reports at the Board meeting. In addition, we are supplied with audited financial statements annually. We want every homeowner to be informed and satisfied that the Board is dedicated to the sound financial management of our community.

We hope to see many of you at this year’s budget planning sessions or have your input communicated to the Financial Advisory Committee and your Board members. After all, we are talking about your money and your community.

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President’s Report – July 2022

As published in The View, July 2022:

John MacDonnell

Living in Sun City Shadow Hills is Pretty Special by Anyone’s Standards

With 3,450 homes, we are not just a Homeowners Association but a vibrant community larger than many cities in California and the second-largest HOA in the Coachella Valley. As such we are a self-governing entity with five-member Board of Directors (BOD) at the helm.

There are two important meetings that your Board of Directors attend: executive session and open session. Executive session is not open to the membership, and by law it is only during these sessions that confidential matters may be discussed, such as contract negotiations, personnel issues, matters of rules enforcement and collections, and legal transactions. There can be as many executive session meetings as needed during the month. Usually there is at least one.

The other important meeting is, of course, the regularly scheduled open Board meeting, where all homeowners are invited to attend in person or watch the video from the comfort of their homes when it is posted on our website. At these meetings, homeowners can offer their input by submitting speaker forms, submitted prior to the start of the meetings. As with many meetings, Board meetings may not be your idea of a fun way to spend an afternoon. But remember this is your opportunity each month to see how our community is being managed plus how our money is being spent, find out what plans are in the works, and make comments on agenda items or policies and changes you would like the board to consider.

Managing SCSH is a big undertaking, and everything can’t be done by the five members of the BOD alone. The Directors are assisted by volunteer advisory committee members. Our many committees investigate, evaluate, report, advise and make recommendations to the board. The work done by the many volunteer committee members assists the BOD in governing our HOA. Without the many hours of work that they invest and the reports they provide, the Board simply would be unable to manage the volume of work necessary to run the community.

The advisory committees include City Development, Finance, Safety Advisory, Facility & Services, Design Review, Covenants, Food & Beverage, Landscape Advisory, Health & Fitness, Golf Advisory, Lifestyles Advisory, Information Advisory, Emergency Preparedness, The View, and others.

In addition to our advisory committees, there are many homeowners who volunteer their time in the library, deliver The View, staff the Lifestyle desk in the Montecito, and elsewhere throughout SCSH. I invite you to bring your professional experience to a committee by letting us know of your interest.

Where Have All the Employees Gone? The Answer Is Simple, We Don’t Have Any. How Can That Be?

Who are the workers we see and depend upon every day to maintain our safety, trim the trees, clean the pools, and answer the phones?

Sun City Shadow Hills does not have employees. We are self-managed, but we contract with different companies to provide their services and their employees to do the daily tasks for our community. These are the folks you see every day doing the work, keeping things running, and making everything look nice while being efficient and friendly. Remember to thank them when you see a job well done. Here are the companies and the services they perform for us: Desert Resort Management (professional management services), Vintage (landscape), Troon Golf California (golf course and restaurant management), and Allied Universal (security).

Who Do You Call When You Have Problems?

You can find contact information on our website at This information is also listed every month on the inside cover of The View for the various departments and the chairs of the advisory committees. Your board members are also listed and available to answer your questions. Remember to direct your questions to the responsible department or committee in order to receive a more timely response to your question or issue.

Enjoy your day, your Board is here to serve.

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President’s Report – June 2022

As published in The View, June 2022:

Kathy Lindstrom
Vice President

It is with great pride and honor that I address our Sun City Shadow Hills community as your newly elected HOA Vice President. The long campaign is over and now it is time to begin the work that our community has entrusted the five members of your Board of Directors to do.

The day-to-day decisions your Board members make range from feral cats, to speeding, to insurance and beyond. Throw in the Coachella Valley Water District Storm Channel, the five-acre parcel, and a budget that will be hit with 8%-plus inflation, and there will be many long and difficult decisions to bring to our community.

The members of this new Board must address these and other challenges in a cohesive manner that ensures each decision will benefit the good of our community. We must work cooperatively for our homeowners and put aside the personal agendas which might have been present during the campaign. We must move forward in a manner respectful to our fellow board members, as well as our residents, in order to maintain the premier status of our Sun City Shadow Hills Community.

This is a wonderful community in which we live with excellent resident volunteers. I am privileged to be the Board liaison to the Health and Fitness Advisory Committee, the City Development Coordinating Committee, and the Food and Beverage Advisory Committee. I have also worked closely with members of the Finance Advisory Committee and the Facilities Advisory Committee.

Each of these committees has such talented individuals in their areas of expertise. We have outstanding individuals who do the fact-finding for the Board and the community at large. They provide the checks and balances for decisions made by the Board. We could not have any better system than advisory councils. These advisory committees enable early identification of problems or concerns, plus support effective discussion and actions by the Board to advance the successful running of the community overall. These volunteers are exceptional in their dedication to our community.

It is my commitment, as your HOA Vice President, to be an active listener to our community members and advisory committees in order to achieve the continued betterment of our community. It is the obligation of your Board to “reason together” to make the necessary decisions entrusted to us by the homeowners and the Governing Documents.

If you have any concerns or would just like to chat, please join me on Thursday, June 9, in the Capistrano Room in the Montecito Clubhouse. I will be there at 3 pm for a Meet and Greet as one of your new Board members. I hope to see you there.

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President’s Report – May 2022

As published in The View, May 2022:

John MacDonnell

Fortunately, it is not very often that you lose a mentor, a friend, a neighbor, a kind and gentle man with a perpetual smile, and a hard-working volunteer for our HOA community all at the same time.

Johnny Goodrum was all those things to me. I, and many in our community, will miss him. It is said that, when we pass, we live on in the acts of goodness we perform and in the hearts of those who cherish our memory. Johnny was such a good man, and many of us will cherish his memory in our hearts.

I, for one, am a better person for having had the privilege of knowing Johnny. In his memory, I will continue to strive — along with my fellow Board members — to make our community the safe, well managed, comfortable, pleasant, and happy place Johnny worked so hard to create.

In Memoriam: Johnny Lee Goodrum
February 7, 1951 – March 25, 2022
Board Member/Vice President

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President’s Report – April 2022

As published in The View, April 2022:

John MacDonnell
Moira MacLeod-Foster

In Review and Looking Forward

As we sit down together, your Board President and Board Treasurer, to compose this article for The View, we are doing so just weeks before our Annual Meeting and election on April 5, 2022. You will probably be reading this just days before it goes up on our website near the end of March or in the hard copy of our Association monthly magazine which will be in the mailing tubes April 1. Our Board meeting on March 28 will mark the completion of our first year of service on your Board.

It hardly seems possible that it has been almost a year since our election and we excitedly took our seats on your Board of Directors, replacing two previous volunteers. Hoping to make a difference, we began the necessary process of learning the intricacies of our operations. We quickly became immersed in the day-to-day decisions required to run our HOA in a manner that has hopefully been pleasing and respectful to the desires and wishes of the vast majority of our members. We always tried to do so by using good faith and judgment, while attempting to make the best possible decisions for the community as a whole.

In doing so, it was necessary to work with our three other Board members to make decisions that we felt were in the best interest of the community; hash out our differences as much as possible; and come to a consensus or at least a majority decision on one matter at a time. Whether you judge those decisions favorably or unfavorably, they were the decisions of a Board of five members in which all had a voice and an equal vote.

At this time, we wish to acknowledge our two departing volunteer Board members, our Secretary, Fera Mostow, and our Member at Large, Carey Thompson, and thank them for their service as they return to the ranks of homeowners. (We will officially thank them again later at an open Board meeting.) In doing so we recognize that, as a result of your votes that will be tabulated and announced at the Annual Meeting, three of the six candidates who have thrown their hats in the ring will join us in constituting a new Board, with a couple new faces for certain. As a result, there will necessarily be a new balance of views and thinking as the Board handles daily issues and as we arrive at decisions by consensus or majority. We both look forward to that process and will strive to work cooperatively with the new Board members selected by the homeowners as we continue in the second year of the terms we were elected and entrusted to perform.

At the time we are writing this, HOA Elections has advised us that only 554 out of a total 3,450 ballots have been returned. You can do the math but, with three votes per household for Board candidates and one vote per household on ballot measures, it is clear that many potential votes remain outstanding. So, if you have not yet voted, PLEASE do so. You may mail in your ballots to HOA Elections (they must arrive before April 5), deposit them in the ballot boxes in both clubhouses, or deliver them personally at the Annual Meeting by 9 am when the polls close.

This is your community and your investment -- your votes are important. There are six candidates for three Board seats, and you may cast your votes cumulatively (i.e., all three votes for one candidate, or two votes for one candidate and one for another candidate, or one each for three separate candidates). You may write in candidates, but before doing please have the approval of the person whose name you are submitting. You may recall that, in the past, the vote tally between winners and losers was sometimes very narrow, so each vote can be very important. We want all your votes to count, so please carefully follow the instructions provided with your ballot before submitting it.

There are also three ballot measures. The Board has submitted the first, proposing an amendment to the Bylaws section that would grant permission to future Boards to enter into multi-year contracts (for more than one year as currently specified) for food services as set out in the materials included with your ballot. This measure requires at least 1,760 favorable votes to pass. If it passes, we both assure you that neither of us would ever vote to enter into any such multi-year contract without substantial community buy-in and on terms favorable and protective of the HOA. Also, if any such contract has terms that are different from or that go beyond the provisions of the proposed amendment, we believe this would require another vote by the owners.

In no event would either of us support executing such a contract if it only had 260 favorable votes (a simple majority of a quorum of 518) by homeowners. Whether the proposed amendment receives the necessary votes for passage (1,760 favorable) or not, it will be a referendum of the owners indicating the direction the majority wish future Boards to pursue.

The second ballot measure regarding IRS Revenue Ruling 70-604 is placed on the ballot each year and simply authorizes our financial managers to obtain the best possible tax treatment for our HOA for member income; it also permits the HOA to potentially save money if passed. A simple majority vote will pass this.

The third and last ballot measure is the pro forma approval of the minutes of last year’s Annual Meeting. Again, a simple majority is required to pass.

Some homeowners do not like election season because of the many differing views that are often articulated about various community issues and concerns. We view it as a time of heightened community interest and involvement when many owners who are often silent come forward to express their views and preferences and participate in the management of their HOA by casting their votes and influencing the direction they desire their community to go. We both have endeavored to exercise our votes on each issue, one issue at a time, taking into account the expressed desires and best interests of homeowners consistent with the Governing Documents which bind us all.

The two of us have not always agreed on every matter, but we have worked together with the other Board members and pledge to do so on the new Board going forward in the best interests of the community as a whole. We appreciate those who have supported and complimented our past. We share the view that things have indeed gotten better, can get better yet, and will continue to do so on and after April 5. It is the constant obligation of all Board members “to reason together” to make the necessary decisions entrusted to us by the homeowners and the Governing Documents.

Finally, we believe that the state of our community is good and financially sound thanks to the efforts of the many homeowner volunteers who contribute their time and efforts to the management and operation of our HOA.

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President’s Report – March 2022

As published in The View, March 2022:

John MacDonnell

At the October 2021 Board meeting, your five-member Board, by a unanimous vote, authorized establishing the new Capital Improvement Fund account of $1.5 million. All homeowners need to know why we took this step and the information that led us to this decision.

Your Board’s first concern is to protect Sun City Shadow Hills and every homeowner from future assessments because of major projects that are coming up. The money in the new fund belongs to all of us, and NOT ONE PENNY OF IT HAS BEEN SPENT. It is in the bank in a separate account so that we can keep track of it. All of it will be used for necessary major projects. And let me assure you that the actions your Board took comply with our CC&Rs, Section 4.3.2.

Your Board of Directors did not take this action lightly. SCSH is faced with a very costly Coachella Valley Water District (CVWD) Flood Channel Project. We first brought this project to your attention via two town hall meetings held in the Montecito Ballroom on July 8 and July 12, 2021. You can view the videos at

The proposal to create the Capital Improvement Fund out of funds already assessed and currently in our operating fund surplus was reviewed and investigated by our Financial Advisory Committee, outside legal counsel, and our independent auditors. After receiving their comments, the Board reviewed all the information and voted on how to proceed.

CVWD Flood Channel Project

After due diligence, the Financial Advisory Committee prepared a Board Action Form  recommending that the Association transfer $1.5 - $2 million from the Operating Fund into a new Capital Improvement Fund. The Board then consulted our outside CPA (Wayne Carlsen), and he advised that the Association could move the funds from the Operating Fund to the Capital Improvement Fund with no tax consequences.

Your Board asked outside legal counsel to advise us about the legality of creating a Capital Improvement Fund from surplus funds already assessed and contained within the operating surplus. Legal counsel advised that such an action complies with our governing documents.

So why did the Board even consider this action? What would the money be used for? Soon we will be forced by CVWD to participate in an extremely costly multi-year rebuilding project here in Sun City Shadow Hills. This is a MANDATORY PROJECT, and we are responsible for the cost of much of what will be done on our property to bring us into compliance with current flood plain standards.

And why do we have to pay? Because Pulte, the SCSH builder/developer, had to agree that a flood control channel would run through the property in order to get approval to build the Sun City Shadow Hills development. So we inherited this, and have no choice. I urge you to watch the Town Hall video if you have not already done so.

Both Sun City Palm Desert and Sun City Shadow Hills are affected by this flood control channel. CVWD has already started construction along Avenue 40 to Adams Street, which you can see. CVWD is paying for that. On our property, CVWD will pay for rebuilding Pond #1 at is at the corner of Jefferson and 40th Street. But we must pay for all other flood control improvements along that proposed channel.

These improvements are very costly and necessary to protect the Jefferson Street entry and roadway overpass over the North Channel to Phases I and II. We need the $1.5 million Capital Improvement Fund.  Although this is called a CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT, it is actually a CAPITAL NECESSITY.

The project starts now with Pond #2, which is on the right as you drive out the Jefferson gate on the north side of the bridge. Pond #2 must be completely removed, and the pipes supplying water to the entire golf course must be rerouted from Pond #1 to Pond #3. Pond #2 will be filled with dirt and covered with sod, and new irrigation lines will be installed. Just the reconstruction at Pond #2 will cost approximately $250,000. This is a capital expense that will be funded from the Capital Improvement Fund.

Additionally, we will need to build a road from Avenue 40 down into the North Channel so that debris removal vehicles can access this area during any flood event. This additional estimated cost is approximately $150,000. We are likely to face these expenses this year.

At a future date, the bridge at the Jefferson Gate will have to be retrofitted at a substantial cost to protect it from being washed out and collapsing during a potential flood event. These costs could well exceed $1 million according to current preliminary estimates, and these costs will also have to be funded from the Capital Improvement Fund if we have enough money in the fund at that time.

Hopefully, all of these necessary expenditures will not require an additional assessment upon homeowners. Facing these significant expenses, your Board decided (in a unanimous vote) that giving the surplus operating funds back to homeowners now was imprudent because this would likely lead to a special assessment upon homeowners in the future.

Please understand that no money in this fund has yet been spent. Nothing from the fund is earmarked to pay for any improvements to Shadows; nothing has been allocated for the completion of any future projects that might involve the five-acre parcel acquired from Pulte, despite what some homeowners have suggested.

As your President, I have always shared straightforward information with you. I know this is a lot of data about a very important topic. We will keep bringing you more information as the longer term planning continues. Please attend Board meetings and listen to the podcasts to stay informed.

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President’s Report – February 2022

As published in The View, February 2022:

John MacDonnell

SCSHCA Potpourri (A Mixture of Things)

As you may know, the President’s Report must be prepared almost a month in advance to be published in each month’s View magazine. As a result, some things I write about are predictable; but others are a best guess, as more and more it seems that life is unpredictable. And that is truly the case with the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the end of last year, it looked like the mask mandate for inside activities would run through January 15, but at the time I write this, it has now been extended to February 15. The one thing all our residents can be certain of is that your Board of Directors is monitoring the situation closely; we will continue to act promptly to comply with all requirements while at the same time do our best to keep our facilities and amenities as open as possible. The Board asks for your continued support, understanding, and cooperation as we all attempt to navigate through uncertain and difficult waters.

I have read that the derivation of the name “February” comes from the Roman word “februum,” which means cleansing and purification, part of ancient preparations for the coming of spring. Hopefully we will all experience a cleansing and purification from the menace of COVID-19 as we progress through this year.

By now you probably know that our Annual Meeting will take place on April 5, 2022. At that meeting, three homeowners will be elected as members of the Board of Directors for two-year terms. This year we are fortunate to have six homeowners who have stepped forward and announced their desire to serve. By the time you read this, the campaign will have officially begun on January 24.

The first Candidate Forum was held on January 27, 2022. If you were not able to watch it broadcast live, I encourage you to view the video posted on our official website to get to know all of the candidates. In alphabetical order, they are: Mr. Jerry Conrad, Mr. Terry Coon, Mr. Johnny Goodrum, Ms. Kathy Lindstrom, Mr. Scott Pessin, and Mr. Reginald Powell. It is very important to the HOA that you take the time and make the effort to meet, hear, and evaluate each candidate as the campaign progresses.

As current President, neither I nor our HOA can or will tell you who to vote for. But I will stress that it is of utmost importance that you exercise your right to vote for the candidates you favor. Although only three candidates with the most votes will win Board positions, all the candidates deserve your consideration and appreciation for their willingness to serve. The fact that we have so many stepping forward is a sign of a vibrant and healthy community.

Under our Governing Documents, when three or more positions on the Board are up for election, cumulative voting is in effect. Each household/ownership interest has three votes it can cast. You can give all three votes to one candidate; two votes to one candidate and one to another; or one vote to each of three candidates.

Also, this year the Board has included on the ballot an important proposed change to our Governing Documents which would allow a future Board, where a majority deems it advantageous and appropriate, to enter into contracts for up to five years for the operation of our food services, including Shadows. In most cases, now, the Board is limited to one-year contracts (see Bylaws Section 9.2.2).

In practicality, a one-year contract makes it unlikely that a restaurant operator would have any interest in running our facilities. This is why, since the beginning of our HOA, Shadows and other food services have either been operated and subsidized by the HOA or under annual management contracts with operational subsidies paid by the ownership through monthly assessments.

In order to make any change to our Governing Documents, a vote of the ownership is required. Elections are costly events; they require $25,000 to $30,000 to print, mail, tabulate, and conduct. So it is advantageous and economical to include the proposed change to the Governing Documents on the upcoming ballot so we incur only minimal additional printing costs.

Amending the Bylaws requires the approval of 51% of the ownership interest (see Bylaws Section 14.4.1). Each ownership interest may cast one vote on this proposal. To pass, this requires a “Yes” vote of 1,760 owners. (51% of 3,450 = 1,759.5. Because we have no half ownership interests, 1,760 favorable votes are needed.)

If there are not 1,760 “Yes” votes, the Bylaws provision will remain the same. So it is important for all owners to vote on this proposal. Getting enough owners to participate has proven difficult in the past. But this is your community, and it is important for you to express your views. This will help guide your future Board members in the direction you would like them to go.

A ballot for the director positions and the proposed amendment will be mailed out to your address of record with the HOA on February 12, and you should receive it shortly thereafter. If you do not get your ballot, or if you need a replacement, contact the HOA office as soon as possible.

Please vote and tell your fellow owners to do so as well. If you are unsure or unable to vote for any reason, please consider giving your proxy to another owner.

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President’s Report – January 2022

As published in The View, January 2022:

Johnny Goodrum
Vice President

By the time you read this, the chestnuts have been roasted on an open fire, Jack Frost has nipped at your nose, and yuletide carols were sung by a choir. New Year’s Eve has ushered in another year of promise, and the sun is starting to rise earlier in the eastern skies. The dark nights of winter are giving way to longer days. The morning sunrise is quickly becoming a sight to behold.

Because I am now in the second half of the second year of my Board service and, like the insurance commercial on TV, I have “learned a thing or two” as your Vice President, I would like to reflect a bit on what has transpired in the last year and a half and discuss the promise the future holds for all of us here at Sun City Shadow Hills.

I’ sure you all will recall the many difficulties presented to each of us individually and to your Board in managing our HOA during the COVID-19 lockdown. Despite the constant changes and adjustments, the volunteer homeowners on the various advisory committees as well as your Board continued to function and to do their best to manage the interests of all homeowners. Your fellow homeowners all deserve thanks for their efforts. Simply stated, this is how our community was designed to and must function if it is going to continue to be the place we want to live, or spend our vacation time.

I am very proud of the effort made by the residents, committees, and contractors of the HOA to keep COVID-19 to a minimum in our community, while still allowing as many of our activities to continue as possible. Unfortunately, we are not completely out of the woods, but we will continue to focus on what is best for the majority. As much as humanly possible, we will do so with good cheer and mutual respect for our individual homeowners and residents, and their rights in accordance with our governing documents.

I want to tell you that, during my Board service, I have concentrated on our financial health. And despite the difficulties of the past year and a half, I am pleased to report that our financial position is sound. Although there was a small increase in the monthly assessment, this was kept to an absolute minimum. As homeowners we should all be proud of our strong financial position and confident in our future fiscal health.

To name a few items, we have completed an update of our advisory committee charters; undertaken a reallocation of our reserve funds; and created a committee to study and advise about the best use of the five-acre parcel in Phase III obtained from Pulte with a view toward potential income opportunities. Should that prove possible, any future income would benefit all homeowners either by reducing HOA assessments or increasing and improving our amenities.

Also, I am pleased to say that, during our next election in April, your Board has included a ballot measure to allow future Boards, where appropriate, to enter into contracts for periods of up to five years. You will recall that our governing documents currently limit most contracts to one year. This has meant that, every year, the financial advisory committee and your Board must spend the time to review and determine whether to re‑approve our service contracts.

In the case of the Shadows Restaurant and other food service outlets, this unfortunately has limited the possibility of leasing out these outlets and their management to independent food service operators. Many have supported such a change to our documents in an effort to reduce our subsidy for Shadows.

The possibility of a longer contract term would also vastly increase the ability of the Board to negotiate more favorable service contracts. A minimum of 1,761 owners will need to approve this ballot measure. Whatever your individual view, I would urge each of you to take the time to educate yourself and vote on this ballot measure. This is your community; and voting is the best way to protect your investment and your future.

Personally, I wish to express my great hopes and wishes for the continued success of the Sun City Shadow Hills Community Association in the coming year. May you all enjoy and celebrate good health.

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President’s Report – December 2021

As published in The View, December 2021:

John MacDonnell

I have asked Fera Mostow, our former Vice President and current Secretary, to write this month's letter to the community.

When you read this, Thanksgiving will have just passed and we’ll all be looking toward the various holidays coming up in December. But in the midst of our celebrations, I hope we will all have a chance to take a minute to see how far we’ve come in the past year.

This was a hard year for all of us. The global pandemic took a toll on every one of us in one form or another. For some of us it was the inconvenience of not being able to get the things we need at the grocery or hardware store because the supply chain and distribution network for our desired goods was interrupted so severely. For others, the toll was a more serious one. We saw friends and loved ones become ill and, in some cases, die from this horrible illness.

But as 2022 approaches, it’s time to look forward to a better future. All we have to do is stop and take a look around us. And, although I don’t contend everything here in Sun City Shadow Hills is perfect, I do know this: we live in a beautiful community with wonderful amenities, lots of awesome clubs, fun activities planned by our Lifestyle Department, and great neighbors. We remain one of the safest communities in the Coachella Valley; and thanks to the diligent work of our Finance Advisory Committee and our Board of Directors, our finances are in great shape, with this year’s dues increase less than 1%.

We have people in this community who give their time and expertise by serving on the various advisory committees that help the Board keep this community running as smoothly as it does. And we can’t forget the employees of Troon, Vintage, Allied, and Desert Resort Management who are the backbone of the community. So, in spite of the difficulties of the past year, I still look forward to 2022 with the confidence that our community will remain a place we will all continue to enjoy and appreciate.

So as the year 2021 comes to a close, and we all celebrate our various holidays, I wish everyone a joyous season full of wonderful things, lots of laughs, and much happiness for each and every one of you.

– Fera Mostow

After the election in April of this year, the Board and I knew that there were going to be challenges as we worked to find common ground together. Many people questioned what my first steps were going to be as President of this large community, including the members of our new Board. This was a constructive phase in our Board’s relationships and, during this process, Fera and I have grown cooperatively together. She and I had some opposing viewpoints as many governing bodies experience, but we have been able to bridge these issues to find common ground for the benefit of our community as a whole. I have really enjoyed working with Fera these last few months, and I admire her strong dedication to the well-being of Sun City Shadow Hills.

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President’s Report – November 2021

As published in The View, November 2021:

John MacDonnell

Many of you have no doubt heard the quote, “You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.” Although its origins and author(s) are in dispute, that quote or some version of it has been variously attributed to many people including P. T. Barnum, who talked about “fooling people.”

In a Homeowner’s Association, it is the job of the elected Board of Directors, like our own – comprised of five of your uncompensated volunteer neighbors – to manage the affairs of the community. Naturally it does not call for “pleasing all of the people all of the time.” What it does require is a lot of time and effort by each director to become familiar with and educate themselves about all the issues which regularly arise.

From there, a vote by all directors is used to decide what is best for the community as a whole, while remaining consistent with the requirements of our Governing Documents, the law, and financial realities. The financial realities of many of the Board’s decisions about budgeting affect homeowners in different ways depending on their personal circumstances, and the Board must always consider this during the budgeting process.

By the time you review this article, the budgeting process which has been taking place during the late summer and early fall will have already been completed and communicated to our fellow homeowners. This is an intensive predictive process involving many considerations and compromises in which the Board gets assistance and takes advice from volunteer committees, paid legal and financial advisors, insurers, our contractors for various services, as well as our management company and its personnel. In addition, the budgeting process is also informed by communications from many homeowners.

I have been on your Board and privileged to function as President for approximately eight months now. I myself am not on Nextdoor, but what goes on there does from time to time come to my attention because others report it to me. Nextdoor seems to be a great vehicle for various matters, especially for information about common problems, services, suppliers, and vendors and for discussion by homeowners. On the contrary, Nextdoor is not a proper place for communicating with the Board or the management of our HOA.

You can find the addresses of the committee chairs, our management, and the officers of the HOA, including all five Directors, in the first few pages of each issue of The View magazine. Cut them out and put them on your bulletin board or next to your computer or phone. When you have something to add or suggest, please reach out by communicating through email or by the official site of

The word is mightier than the sword, and your volunteer neighbors on our committees and the Board, as well as those we contract with to assist us in the management of our city in the sun, will listen and respond. It may not always be what everyone wants or would prefer to hear. But your suggestions will be taken into consideration when planning for the benefit of the community as a whole.

I remind you that my main focus – even before I was a candidate running for our Board – has been to protect the integrity and financial stability of this community for all. The Board and I want to express our gratitude again to the volunteers who have stepped up to work hard for this community. You have shown a great desire and passion to complete the missions you have taken on as well as a beneficial ability to work well with others around you. Thank you very much.

Contact the author at

President’s Report – October 2021

As published in The View, October 2021:

John MacDonnell

Change of Seasons as the World Turns

By the time you read this in our October View Magazine, summer in our beautiful community will have passed, at least on the calendar but hopefully on the thermometer as well. Cooler days and nights will be the norm. Our neighbors will be back from their vacations, and our snowbirds will be starting to return. With the holiday season not far off, and “High Season” on the horizon once again, all the activities which make SCSH such a special place should be back and booming.

Fortunately for all of us, the world keeps turning; and your fellow volunteer homeowners who serve as Directors of your Board and staff the many advisory committees have kept working to preserve, protect, maintain, and improve our place in the sun. This all brings me to what I would like to focus on and get all our homeowners to begin to think about. We have many volunteers and important committees that help to keep our HOA dues from rising by working alongside the Board. But most of us are not aware that our Bylaws only provide for three very important “standing committees.”

Article 10 of the Bylaws provides for the Architectural Review Committee – now referred to as the Design Review Committee or DRC for short – which interprets and enforces the requirements of our governing documents respecting the appearance and beauty of our homes and lots. There is also the Covenants Committee that acts as “a jury of your peers’” to assist the Board in the enforcement of other rules and regulations which, in effect, comprise our community’s Municipal Code. Finally, there is a committee which we only see and hear about for a few months each year from October to the time of our Annual Meeting and Election of Directors each April. This is the Nominating Committee, which has the very important task of encouraging homeowners to step forward and run for the open Director positions plus to ensure that our elections are transparent, informative, and free and fair in accordance with the provisions of our Governing Documents and HOA law.

The Nominating Committee currently has the following members: Dan McFarlane, Pete Anderson, Robert Israel, Carolyn Collins, and Linda Strongin Grant. You will be hearing more from this Committee in the weeks and months just ahead. Their duties are specifically set out in Bylaws Section 7.4, but one of those duties is to make “reasonable efforts to recruit at least two (2) candidates for each position on the Board that is to be filled by vote of the Members.” There will be three Director seats to be filled by the three candidates receiving the most votes of homeowners. In accordance with the Governing Documents, because more than two positions will be filled, cumulative voting will be in effect.

Because some of our past Director elections have been uncontested, the Committee will be making efforts to encourage interested candidates to throw their hats in the ring, so to speak. Hopefully, there will be at least six homeowners stepping forward to run. By the way, no Member of the Nominating Committee may be nominated as a candidate for the election to the Board (Section 7.4.3).

If you have an interest in serving your HOA in the important position of Director, or if you know a fellow homeowner whom you would encourage to do so and support, please reach out to them and to the committee or any of its members about your interest, suggested nomination, or questions. The deadline for submitting Nomination Forms – at the time of writing this – has not been set but will likely be before Thanksgiving 2021 because it must be at least four months before the Annual Meeting on April 5, 2022.

So, my fellow homeowners, it is not too early to begin thinking about who you want to see leading our community, setting the tone, and making the important decisions on our Board of Directors.

Contact the author at

Presidents Message: Overview of Podcast #296

John MacDonnell

Audio may be found at:

Below is a synopsis of this episode.

Sadly, one of our family's home caught fire this morning and burned to the point where the city of Indio had to red tag it. Fortunately, they and their dog are all safe and they were able to salvage their car, but everything else they own is gone except for what they were wearing on their backs. So for now they need primarily items for personal hygiene like toothpaste and brushes but let's not go too far down the road for now because it can get overwhelming. Next they need about a week's worth of clothing for him and for her. She has given me permission to give their phone number out. Please be respectful and don't call too late. Let's do what we can to help get them restarted in the rebuilding of their lives.

So this is a good time to give out a reminder to take pictures of some of the items you have in your house and a file of some of the important things you have. Keep the file in a place so you can grab it quickly if you need to get out of your house. The heat dries these houses out very quickly so they are prime for burning.

Take care out there.

Presidents Message: Overview of Podcast #294

John MacDonnell

Audio may be found at:

Below is a synopsis of this episode.

This podcast will provide an update on what is happening in our community:

1. Vanessa Ayon, HOA Asst. Gen. Mgr.: The Annual Golf Walk 2021 (South Course) will be on Fri., Nov. 5th, 8:00 am. Please register at either Fitness Center by Sept. 27. Everyone will receive a tee shirt and snacks will be available. No bikes, scooters nor dogs or cats, please. Starting and finishing behind the Pro Shop by the Shadows Restaurant. Gus Ramirez, our IT guy, will be there to take photos of everyone. This is a free event.

2. Kathy Lindstrom, Chair, Food & Beverage Adv. Com.: Update on food and beverage services:

  • Monday Night Football - Tailgate Menu, all-you-can-eat for $11.95, and Happy Hour prices on drinks; from 4:00 pm to closing; no reservations. The Shadows has new large-screen TVs. There are more of them and one is outdoors, as well.
  • Montecito Café: due to community concern, we are repurposing the Montecito Café. At this time, it won't be open during the day but we will have Montecito Night : Thirsty Thursdays, starting on Oct. 7th, with an all-you-can-eat appetizer buffet for $10.95, indoors or out. Open seating. The putting course will also be open so it's a great time to socialize with your friends and neighbors.
  • Also, we will have Taco Tuesdays, 4:00 to 7:00 pm, with $5.00 Margaritas, $1.50 assorted street tacos, and various Mexican beers, starting on Oct. 26th. Clubs meeting on Tuesdays (or even other days) may also want to incorporate this into their social time. No reservations, just come on down to meet your neighbors and friends.
  • Breakfast at the Shadows: Best deal in town! Only $8.50 for a two-egg breakfast with sausage, bacon, toast and home fries. On weekends, there's Eggs Benedict and also chili-cheese omelettes -- not on the menu but be sure to ask for it.
  • New comment cards: we want to hear from you so the Shadows and the Montecito Café will be the places to go in our community. The cards will be reviewed every month by the Food and Beverage Advisory Committee. We're also offering a raffle every month for a $40 gift certificate so we want your comments. We're open and we're listening.
  • We have theme nights coming up and more in October. Call in early for your reservations because they book up very early. And remember Prime Rib Nights on Saturday for $21.95 -- it's really good!

3. John:

  • Bullet points for podcasts: in case you don't want to listen to a whole podcast, there are bullet points listed with times so you can go directly to your topic of interest.
  • Dog Park closed one more day: the Dog Park will be closed one more day for concrete work starting at 3:00 pm on Friday, Sept 10th.
  • Vendor traffic safety: many vendors are blowing through stop signs. Please remind your vendors that we take traffic safety very seriously here and that "Stop means stop" -- full stop. Maybe count, "One, two, three -- no ticket for me".
  • Burrtec trash pick up starting as early as 6:00 am: a lot of people have been complaining about the noise from the trucks at 6:00 am. So Tyler, our G.M., called the city of Indio and their contract gives them the right to come into our community at 6:00 am and there's nothing we can do about that. They have adjusted their hours recently so they will be coming in early.
  • Difference between contractors and handymen: Some residents have been asking for clarification on this. Contractors are licensed by the State of California to perform jobs to improve your homes. They are required to carry bond and they are insured so you have recourse if something goes wrong with the contractor. Handymen do not have those same bounds. They can come into your home and do repairs for you for a certain amount of money. They aren't licensed by the State and may not have insurance and most likely won't have a bond. So when you're hiring somebody, just ask them if there are licensed or if they have a bond. For something quite simple, you're likely okay with that but that's your choice and responsibility.
  • Safety precautions for residents who live alone: we recently had an incident where a woman who lives alone had a fall in her back yard. It was 117 degrees out there. She broke her tibia and was lying on the ground for quite some time and had nobody to help her. One of our advisory committee chairs heard her from her yard and went over the wall to help her. If she hadn't heard the faint calls for help, the resident could easily have died.
  • My point is that if you live alone at any age, please consider getting an alarm button or device to have with you, especially during the heat, to that it makes enough noise to signal loudly that you need help. There are many vacant homes right now with residents away so it's even more important to have a way to get help for yourself.
  • Stu Stryker's Past President article in the View: Stu has written an article for the View at my request. We had a chance to sit down and talk and I asked him to write an article to give some insights into the past for the residents who are living here now and who have been living here. So, Stu, my hat's off to you and your family and thank you very much for taking that time and for all the service you have given to our community.
  • Second Budget Meeting is on September 22 at 10:00 am at the Montecito Clubhouse: if you are interested in what's happening and what's going to happen next year with your money, be sure to come to the Budget Meeting to ask questions and express your opinion. This will be the second of three meetings.
  • Parking Lot Sale: Saturday, October 23, 8:00 a.m. to noon at the Montecito Parking Lot.
  • Let's Meet and Eat Club: their event on Sunday, September 12 is sold out. It will be at the Montecito Clubhouse. Then on Wednesday, September 22, they will have the Dueling Pianos at 5:30 pm. I'm not sure if there are still tickets for that.
  • Tutta Bella Vino: the will meet on September 18 at 6:30 pm in the Montecito Ballroom. Sign up by Saturday, September 11, across from the Lifestyles Desk.
  • I'm told there are 20 spots left for that. Tickets are $25 for residents and $28 for guests. Annual membership is $15. If this is your first time going to Tutta Bella, you can attend this event without having to pay the membership fee but that will apply for your second event.
  • September 11th: For me and other veterans, this day holds a special place in our hearts and I know it does for all of us in this country. I ask that you take a moment to reflect on your life and on the lives that were lost on that day. Take a deep breath and say a prayer. It's a day that, for as long as we live, will always be in our minds and in our hearts. Treat everybody that day with a whole lot of extra respect because it's been 20 years now and we remember that day as if it were yesterday.

In closing, just a reminder to keep your pets off the extremely hot pavement. I appreciate you taking the time with this podcast. It was a long one but I had a lot to cover.

President’s Report – September 2021

As published in The View, September 2021:

John MacDonnell

I have asked one of our past Board Presidents to give us some thoughts in this edition of The View. I respect Stu Stryker for all the time he put into this community volunteering and keeping up the joy of living here.

We have all heard the old adage, “You can please some of the people all the time … ”. You know how it goes. Nothing has changed here. No matter what decisions a Board makes, some won’t agree. Good Boards make their decisions, popular or not, based on what is good for the health of the entire community, not for a select group. It’s been my experience, having served on other Boards besides in Sun City Shadow Hills, that Boards do not last if they do not make decisions for the betterment of the whole community. Board members are not perfect, they are human. Don’t judge them by one action but by the body of their work, and that takes time.

In the past, when we as a Board would make a decision, a certain group who wanted to run the community would find fault. No matter which way a decision went, this group was against it. If we spent money outright for long-term savings, it wasn’t the right thing to do. If we saved the community money by lowering dues, it wasn’t the right thing to do. It was a no-win scenario with this small but very vocal group. I am hopeful that our current Board doesn’t have to face this type of opposition.

A brief note on lowering dues. It was once mentioned that lowering dues during inflationary times was not the thing to do. When a Board puts together a budget, it must cover all the needs of the community. If it happens to be lower than the previous year, the dues are lower. A Board cannot just arbitrarily raise dues. For the record, inflation during that period was .02%.

As I walk around the community, I am seeing many things that are being fixed, repairs that had not been done properly are being corrected, and in general things are being cleaned up. This tells me our Board is moving in the right direction. We have also had contract disputes that have been resolved. To me, it appears that our Board is being proactive in solving issues. We have had some community events, and I hear there are more to come. These are the things our community needs to be a desirable place for people to live. These are the things that will make us a successful and well-maintained community.

The best improvement over previous years is the fantastic support we get today from our community volunteers – from staffing the clubhouse, to serving on a committee or as a Board member. Our members are a gold mine of experience, and it’s good to see our community still utilizing their talents.

When our Board started, we only had six Advisory Committees. By the time we left, we had doubled that amount. It’s good to see our current Board is continuing that trend. We still have a wealth of untapped knowledge out there, and I thank all our residents, past and present, for their service.

– Stu Stryker

Thank you, Stu Stryker, for all you did here at Sun City Shadow Hills. I also want to thank your wife, Nikki Stryker, for sharing you with this community during your time as a volunteer.

Contact the author at

Presidents Message: Overview of Podcast #292

John MacDonnell

Audio may be found at:

Below is a synopsis of this episode.

John: I thought it would be important to give you an update on what safety practices we've been following toward COVID-19 and the variants. I've invited Tyler Ingle, our GM, and Mark Dodge, CEO of Desert Resort Management, to share their information with you as well.

We have been working very hard to make sure this community is safe and we've been following the State and County Guidelines. There have been a lot of questions about what exactly are guidelines. The guidelines are coming down from the State government and they go to the local health departments and to the local regional health divisions of each county. In our county we talk quite frequently to Jose to find out what we need to do here at Sun City Shadow Hills. When he advises us, we act on it almost immediately. The Board has already given our management team and DRM the authority to make things happen when something happens in our county. Some people are saying that DRM isn't doing what they can because they won't make their employees get vaccinated or they won't do this or that or that the HOA doesn't care. Well, that's not true. We care so much about this community. When I ran for the Board, I told you that I would always be up front with you and tell you what is happening in this community and I have done that. I live with everything that I tell you folks and I will continue to do that. If I didn't say it, then I will stand up and defend it -- that's for sure.

We've received so many emails that we think it's time for us to tell you directly how things are going.

Tyler Ingle: Effective August 1st, we with DRM went back to a mask mandate indoors for all of our employees. Vintage Landscape, Allied Universal and Troon all agreed to wear masks indoors regardless of their vaccination status. Out of an abundance of caution we wanted to keep everybody safe and show to the community here that we are committed to doing what's right. It is totally voluntary to disclose vaccine status but we've had approximately 73% of our DRM employees attest to the fact that they are fully vaccinated. We expect that number to be up to 85% or higher by the end of September. Riverside County overall is less than 50% fully vaccinated. At this time, DRM hasn't made it a requirement for their employees to be vaccinated but that may change in the future.

Mark Dodge: DRM has employees in a lot of communities like Sun City Shadow Hills and there has been an ongoing effort in all of those locations, and in our corporate office as well, to get our staff fully vaccinated and to have very few exceptions. The property here is indicative of that. We know through conversations with our employees who has been vaccinated and who has not. Our goal is to have our employees fully vaccinated. We know who we are going to be able to get through those obstacles with and who we are not. We are looking at where we could relocate those employees refusing to get vaccinated to where it would fit them and they would not need to have contact with any of our homeowners. That process looks different in any of our communities. We have one community with over 100 employees and they are already at almost 90%.

And that’s amazing because 60 of those are field maintenance workers. The same thing is going on here. We are looking at the remaining population who is left and the decision to get vaccinated or not is a very personal one and usually fits into one or two categories. But we are not at the point of swinging a hammer and hammering employees into getting vaccinated. We may have to get to that point but we are at the decision-making point where we have to see what we have to do to get to 100%. So we're not taking that approach yet. We're approaching the individual employees, we know who they are and we're managing them and their contacts, and approaching the employees to get everyone to make the decision themselves. September is our soft deadline where we would like to be company- wide where we don't need to be having these discussions at the senior management level week after week.

John: I know we have been doing everything we could to be as safe as possible. We've been staying in contact with the employees, staying on top of how they're feeling to make sure we're not having any issues, and if anyone isn't feeling well I know you've been telling them to stay home. We really haven't had any of those issues. I know if we had gone to a mandatory vaccine about a month ago, we would have lost how many of our employees, Tyler -- 50%. So we would have had to shut down different programs, Lifestyles, so that was an incentive for you guys as the management team to see what you could work out with the employees so we didn't get to that position. You've been working really hard to keep our community safe and I personally appreciate that and you guys taking the time to come in here today to get this information out to the community. We are close.

And as Mark Dodge says, if there is an employee here and we have to move them around, we'll do that if they don't want to get their shot. That should be reassurance enough to know that this team here is working hard for this community. I was hoping we could get Jose on the phone today to give us a drop down on what's happening in the county, but he is out of the office. Tyler, you and I had a chance to talk with him last week and he told us that there is still a pattern of recommended masks for people who are not vaccinated, people who are indoors or less than 6 feet apart. That is not mandatory but a suggestion from the State and the County. If that changes, we'll definitely get that out to the community.

So, Sun City, we're here for you. We appreciate your time. Be safe and have a great day.

Presidents Message: Overview of Podcast #290

John MacDonnell

Audio may be found at:

Below is a synopsis of this episode.

1. Traffic rules for service providers: When you request delivery services from companies like Grubhub, Uber Eats and also services like Uber Rides and Lift Rides, please remember to remind them to obey the speed and traffic laws we have here at Sun City Shadow Hills. Yesterday I was coming around a corner and a guy with an Uber Eats sticker on his car went right through a stop sign and made a right hand turn. I was flabbergasted. So, I'm reminded by our wonderful General Manager that we need to send a message out to you to let those service people know that we really want to protect our community. We don't want to hit a bicyclist or a duck or anything that. So ask them to just pay attention to our laws when they're in our community and that will make this a safer place.

2. New mask policy for Association employees - Tyler Ingle, General Manager: John: Today we have a wonderful guest. He is taking time out of his very busy schedule to explain a couple of things that the state of California has put out and our good friend Jose at the Riverside Public Health Office who works very closely with the CDC and the public address system for Riverside County has put out some notices and we have Tyler Ingle who will explain a little about what we have going on here. We're just talking about basic public safety for our community.

Tyler Ingle: Out of an abundance of caution, Desert Resource Management has decided that all of our employees will wear masks indoors. This includes employees who are vaccinated or non- vaccinated. They'll also wear masks outdoors when they're not able to socially distance. We've spoken with our other service providers and management companies, Troon, Allied Universal and Vintage Landscape, and they've all agreed to follow the same policy.

John: So this recommendation comes from the State and then onto the county. So we're not doing this to be aggressive but to be safe. If you don't feel comfortable as a resident and you choose to wear your mask indoors or when you're not socially distancing and that is your preference, please feel free to do so.

Tyler: We're not enforcing anything on the residents. There's no county mandate that requires masks for anyone including our employees. But in our case, Desert Resource Management and our senior management CEO agree that out of an abundance of caution that we would go back to mask wearing at this time and that will be effective Sunday, August 1st.

John: If the state guidelines change and it becomes more restrictive for the residents, we'll get together with the Board and the management team here and we'll evaluate what we need to do and we'll make an informed decision to send out to the community.

Presidents Message: Overview of Podcast #289

John MacDonnell

Audio may be found at:

Below is a synopsis of this episode.

1. Holes on the side of your backyard walls: the holes are there to allow water to run out during heavy rain falls. The drains in your yards can handle normal rain but heavier rain levels need a way to leave your yard to avoid flooding. Some residents plug those holes to keep rabbits and other small creatures out, but the holes should be unblocked when heavier rain is predicted.

2. Committee members still needed: There are various positions available. Interest forms can be downloaded from the HOA website or are also available at the HOA office. Just complete the interest form and submit it to Vanessa Ayon, our Assistant General Manager. She will refer the forms to the right committees, depending on your interests. This is a great way to get more involved in your community. Also, don't forget our clubs. We have over 60 of them now and they will be resuming in the coming weeks.

3. Special Guest, Mary Lou Phillips, Tutta Bella Vino Club: The club has returned after working out a deal with the Shadows Restaurant and we are happy to have them back and filling the ballroom. Now over to Mary Lou.

Thank you, John, for encouraging the clubs to use these podcasts to let others know about our clubs. We meet every third Saturday and taste six or seven wines -- two whites and four reds, plus some bubbly to start the evening as you come into the ballroom. The wines are available for purchase by the case at the end of the evening and can be picked up at the Shadows the following Thursday afternoon. We are an educational and wine tasting club with wines available at restaurant pricing. We have three wine distributors and depending on which one is being featured, the distributor will be present to give about a 5-minute overview of each wine we taste. Our monthly event is $25 per person which covers the wines featured plus a small plate of cheese and crackers, fresh fruit and chocolates provided by the Shadows Restaurant.

We usually meet the third Saturday of the month from September to June. Our annual membership is $15 per person. A one-time attendance is allowed without paying the membership fee (returning members are required to pay their membership when they sign up for their first event). Membership forms are available on the Shadow Hills website. Our next event will be on Saturday, September 18th, at 6:30 pm and will feature Dry Creek Wines from Northern California. We normally start our events at 7:00 pm but since we haven't met for over a year and a half, we thought it would be fun to have a 30-minute social time to allow everyone to get reacquainted. Registration forms for our September event will be available on our website on Friday, July 30th, and hard copies will be available that morning at the Montecito Clubhouse across from the Lifestyles desk. Checks for the event, along with the registration form, as well as returning members' annual membership fees, can be dropped off at the Tutta Bella mailbox outside the Montecito Clubhouse billiards room. You may reserve a table for up to 10 people and all names and checks must be submitted along with your registration forms. If you have fewer than ten people, we will assign you to a table with others. It's a great way to meet people. We will receive registration forms until September 11th or until we are sold out. If you have any questions you may email us at We're looking forward to seeing all of our returning members, as well as lots of new members.

New residents are especially encouraged to get involved with our clubs. Information on all our clubs and how to join is available online but also at the HOA office or at the Lifestyle Desk at the Montecito Clubhouse.

President’s Report – August 2021

As published in The View, August 2021:

John MacDonnell

Hello, Sun City Shadow Hills, I want to start by wishing everyone safe travels in these summer months as you, your friends, or others in our community vacation and escape the heat for the time being. We are looking forward to your return before the holiday season, and until then we are still here keeping our community running better than ever.

We are fortunate to have a great staff and Board that continue working alongside many of our Volunteer Advisory Committee members. We also have our contracted service providers who remain on duty to watch over our common interests and operations and to maintain our wonderful community.

We can all agree that the heat seems a bit harsher at times this year than in the past, which causes a natural slowdown of outdoor activities around the community. But we are definitely remaining open for business. The Board is looking at all opportunities for us to enjoy the reopening of our facilities, and we are very excited to share them once again.

This summer has already become one to remember with some of the events that have taken place. The Montecito pool party along with the Fourth of July parade saw a record number of attendees, most of whom have given positive feedback about their experiences.

While we have generally returned to normal, we are still working diligently on our budget and the financial impact from the unanticipated events that occurred just over a year ago. We will continue to do so as we maintain our facilities and plan for our common goal of making each new day better than the previous one. As I say, “the beat goes on.” We hope all of you are staying informed via our website, whether here or away. We wish you safe travels.

The fall season is right around the corner. With most of us looking forward to cooler weather, I am confident that we will be able to hit the ground running as we bring back many beloved events plus some new ones to our community. The new events include the Halloween Spooktacular and the Presidents Cup Golf Tournament, and the Holiday Parade returns to help send us off to another new year here in wonderful Sun City Shadow Hills community.

Here are a few highlights from our Fourth of July Parade:

Contact the author at

Presidents Message: Overview of Podcast #288

John MacDonnell

Audio may be found at:

Below is a synopsis of this episode.

First, I want to say thank you to all those who stop to give me feedback out in the community. I really appreciate it, especially the positive ones, but I also want to hear the negative ones and we'll try to fix those issues as we go along.

1. Shadows Restaurant - Applications for the Ad Hoc Sub Committee: This has been very important to this community for a very long time. We will be accepting applications from anyone who would like to have a say in the renovation of the restaurant this Wednesday, July 21st, in the Capistrano Room, Montecito Clubhouse, at 1:00 p.m. We're not saying the renovation is going through. We need to stop losing money, need to make it better, and market it better to the outside community. Interviews will be held the next day, July 22nd, starting at 9:30 a.m. in the La Jolla Room, Santa Rosa Clubhouse. You will receive more information at the 1:00 p.m. meeting on Wednesday.

Applications will be available online at the SCSH website ( You can fill it out and either give it to our Assistant GM Vanessa prior to the meeting or bring it with you to the meeting and give it to the Food and Beverage Committee Chairperson, Kathy Lindstrom. Kathy and other members of the Food and Beverage Committee will be present for both days.

Kathy has provided a Mission Statement to help define the purpose of the sub committee which reads:

The mission of the Ad Hoc Sub Committee to the SCSH Food and Beverage Committee is to:

  1. research and recommend a company to do a feasibility report and strategic plan for the development of a tangible operation of the food services for the community of Sun City Shadow Hills through the Shadows Restaurant;
  2. work with a hired team to determine if a new renovation will function and complement the expansion and renovation of the Shadows Restaurant;
  3. determine and document key operational elements for efficiency, quality, creativity and customer satisfaction.

The Ad Hoc Committee will be comprised of seven members: one from Food and Beverage, one from Facilities, one from Finance and four additional members. The level of qualifications will be high.

Personally, I'd like to see a lounge with a bar that faces out over the golf course , lake and driving range; an outdoor patio that overlooks all that as well and where we could have dinner with music out on the driving range and maybe some fire pits. We could expand the restaurant and maybe include a pizza oven. There are a lot of things we could do but it will all come down through the Ad Hoc Sub Committee.

2. Dog Parks: You all know I have two dogs and appreciate how important they are in our lives. The dog parks will continue to open at 7 a.m. (not earlier) and close at dusk which according to our Security Director is now about 7:30 or 8:00 p.m. So when Security shows up, please remember they're doing their job.

I'm amazed that I still see people walking their dogs on the asphalt. If you wouldn't walk barefoot on it, don't have your dog do it either. Please keep the dogs on the grass with this heat.

3. Fourth of July Celebration: It was so inspiring and a great feeling to see everybody out there having a good time. For those of you who missed it, I have to tell you it was really something to see all of those golf carts going down the boulevard in two lanes, with everybody honking and waving to their grandkids on the sidelines. And then to get back and have Pete Anderson handle the flag raising. Pete, you're a rock and an inspiration in this community and we really appreciate what you and the other veterans do for us. Hats off to you, my friend.

4. Upcoming Lifestyles Events: Connie and the Lifestyles Desk have been working so hard to prepare for this year. It usually takes a year of planning to make sure everything comes off just right so this year is a real challenge. We have a Halloween Spooktacular and Parade coming up and a Presidents Cup Charity Golf Tournament to benefit the Shadow Hills High School golf team. We'd love to raise $10,000 for that team. They practice their golf here at Sun City Shadow Hills.

This is a good time to look into some of the many clubs we have here at Shadow Hills. Even though many are dark over the summer, it's a good time to consider which ones might fit into your lifestyle. Check the View Magazine to see what clubs we have here. My wife and I went to Let's Meet and Eat last week and there wasn't a square inch empty on the dance floor. We had a great time!

5. Board Meeting on Monday, July 26th, at 2:00 p.m. We hope you can make it. Comment cards will be available to fill out if you wish to let us know who you are and what you would like to have addressed. We look forward to seeing you there. I'm excited that our new Fitness Director is going to be announced that day, too. I'm looking forward to what she's going to do for us.

6. Advisory Committee Members Needed: if you have some time and expertise in any of the advisory committee areas, they really need your help. This is a great way to get involved and give back to your community.

7. John's Original Board Candidate Statement: When I ran as a candidate, I wrote a statement that I got grief for from some and also some praise from others for being specific. I wrote, "I want to be a Board member for the good of the people of this community, not for myself. Plain and simple." I live that every day. I'm here for you. I give you my time and my expertise whenever I can. What I don't know I will find out. We have a great team here at Sun City Shadow Hills and I need you all to support them. They do everything in their power to make this a better place to live.

Thank you all for your time. I appreciate it and I'll see you out in the field.

Presidents Message: Overview of Podcast #287

John MacDonnell

Audio may be found at:

Below is a synopsis of this episode.

1. Introduction: I welcome everyone to the podcast and encouraged residents to drink lots of water and be careful in the extreme heat. My very special guest is Pete Anderson from the Veterans Club who will talk about the flags and the Fourth of July parade. I am happy to tell you that the Shadows Restaurant has decided to get involved and will be offering red, white, and blue pina coladas for $6.00 and mimosas and Bloody Marys for $5.00 after the parade and for the flag raising.

2. History of the Veterans Club - Pete Anderson: The Veterans Club was started by Tom Hudson, a veteran and a colonel, who ran if for years. We lost Tom about three years ago. He initiated the Memorial Day and the Fourth of July celebrations. You may remember the Memorial Day celebration where we had up to 400 people turn out. I invited the ROTC cadets from Shadow Hills High School who did the flag raising. We also usually had two or three Marines from 29 Palms and the mayor of Indio. This is really what got the Veterans Club going.

Toys for Tots: Tom and I also worked together on starting the Toys for Tots at Christmas. We had a dinner with 60 or 70 people about three years ago and it has grown so much. We put Toys for Tots boxes throughout the community and two years ago -- the last time was before Covid -- we collected 1326 toys and 26 bicycles. The Marines take all of the donations to Cathedral City where they are divided by age and gender. We invite the Marines, the ROTC cadets and some of the teachers from Shadow Hills High School to the dinner and this is all paid for by the Veterans Club.

Flag Sale: You may know that our club member Larry Smith sells American flags for the Veterans Club. We've just ordered 100 flags and we sell them for your homes. If you have worn or tattered flags you can take them to Larry or to the Montecito. I pick them up several times a week and take them to the American Legion in Indio. We have two retirement burn flag parties per year. We bring in the ROTC cadets from Shadow Hills High School and the cadets from the American Legion. For the last one about a year ago, we had over 600 flags to burn. We alsohad two guerisson flags to burn. These are the huge flags that you see flying over car dealerships. The cadets helped us cut the flags into about twelve pieces to be able to retire them properly and burn them.

Veterans Club welcomes new members: We currently have only 56 members when we used to have over 100. This is due to Covid and also the loss of veterans. We welcome new members to share our activities. We are dark in July and August but in September we'll resume our monthly Tuesday meetings in the Montecito Clubhouse. We have had interesting guest speakers from the Air Museum, Patton Museum, VFW, and the Veterans Association. We provide information on benefits and how to access them. We invite the cadets to our parties where you have a chance to talk with them.

Flag poles at entrance gates: most communities like ours have the US flag and often the California flag at their gates. I was unable to get Pulte to provide this but we were getting close when Covid struck. With your support, John, it looks like we'll be able to have at least a US flag at each of our entrance gates and maybe a California flag, too. Hopefully, the HOA will pay for the 35 foot poles and the Veterans Club will pay for the flags.

3. Flags for the Fourth of July and the cart parade: I had previously referred everyone to Larry Smith, our "flag guy", but I didn't realize that he only has the larger size flags for your homes. You can get the small ones at hardware stores or Home Depot. Larry has the larger ones for you and also some handmade wood flags that he does himself. His address is 80620 Santa Juliana and he welcomes you to stop by.

Pete and his crew will meet at the Montecito Clubhouse at 7:00 a.m. on the Fourth of July to lay the flags out all across our community. The flags will go up on the morning of the 4th and will come down on the evening of the 5th. The parade will begin at the flagpole at the Montecito and will end at the Shadows Restaurant area where there will be a flag-raising ceremony by the vets. We may even have Johnny Goodrum there to sing American the Beautiful!

I've been so inspired by you, Pete, and the accomplishments of the Veterans Club. I don't join many clubs but I'm a vet and I'll join your club this year. We really appreciate what you and your vets do for us and thank you for being here today.

President’s Report – July 2021

As published in The View, July 2021:

John MacDonnell

It Is Time to Bring the Shadows Out of the Shadows

I have been exploring the idea of establishing a special committee of homeowners to focus on the maintenance of and future improvements to our food facilities, most important the Shadows Restaurant and the Montecito Café. Since the beginning of Sun City Shadow Hills, the subsidies for both have been increasing year to year. As part of each resident’s HOA dues, we now pay $11 per month in subsidies toward our restaurant, which sums up to $37,950 per month and ultimately $455,400 per year. That is almost $1 million every two years that is coming directly from all our pockets through HOA dues.

Subsidies will continue to increase if we do not take this seriously now. Many of us enjoy Shadows and want to see it remain; but serious attention, planning, and action need to be taken for this to happen. Previous attempts to fix this issue have fallen short. But by coming together to share our thoughts, opinions, and ideas, I believe we will be able to exchange these debts for profits within the next year or two. For us to succeed, we need to establish this committee to protect the future of our restaurant, to investigate all options, and to proceed with improvements deemed worthwhile.

Albert Einstein once said, “Doing the same thing over and over, and expecting different results, is the definition of insanity.” For years this has been a money pit for the community, so it is vital that we start weighing our options. Here is what we have heard: Should we make an additional investment to improve the kitchen, enlarge and reorient the bar? Should we establish food minimums for homeowners? Should we pursue lease and management by a local restaurant?

Most of these ideas have been considered in the past. Our new committee will focus on these aspects along with the financial ones to pin down which will help us exchange past losses for future profits. Change can be unpredictable at times, but it is in our best interest that the Board form this committee to assist us in considering these questions.

Since this was brought to the attention of the Board, we have received some new and proactive suggestions for improving the restaurant. We have considered the idea of a separate bar with an area for live music, attached to an entirely new dining area. Also, adding a pizza oven and preparation station for pizzas made for dine-in or take-away. We could also launch an advertising campaign to all our neighboring communities, touching upon these possible improvements to our restaurant and letting them know that Shadows is open for business. Meanwhile we would like our community to be able once again to enjoy all facilities including the restaurant, banquets, and lounge to their full extent. These are all inviting options that could possibly bring in more business.

Moving forward, I would like to see homeowners pitch their ideas as well, whether from the sidelines or the frontlines where decisions will be made and initiated within this new committee. By bringing this situation to the attention of the entire community, I hope we will be able to start a new age, reexamining past decisions to ensure a better future for ourselves and the generations that follow.

The success of such endeavors will depend on the willingness of homeowners – using their interest and expertise – to get involved with this vital evolution of our community. It does not matter how much time you invest in this endeavor, because together our shared interest will always be better than none at all. As they say in a famous game show, “Come on Down,” let us get this ball rolling.

Upward and onward, I will see you there.

Contact the author at

Presidents Message: Overview of Podcast #286

John MacDonnell

Audio may be found at:

Below is a synopsis of this episode.

1. HOA Board Meeting: a reminder that the next open Board meeting will be on Monday, June 28, 2021, at the Montecito Clubhouse.

2. Club and Committee Chairs: I am inviting the chairs of all clubs and advisory committees to participate in a podcast to talk about what's happening with their clubs. I've asked Vanessa to spearhead this and to take the names of those who are interested. There are a lot of new people in our community, as well as others currently in Canada or in other states, who want to plan their activities for when they return here so it's a good time to get your message out there. So just contact Vanessa in the HOA Office to set up a time to schedule a podcast.

3. Advisory Committees: there are openings on these committees so I encourage you to go to the HOA Office to complete an application form. After an initial interview, the chair will send your application to the Board to get you involved. The Finance Advisory Committee, for example, needs a couple of people and I would love to see a couple of ladies on that committee. If you are retired and have some financial background, please consider submitting an application.

4. Kathy Lindstrom, Chair of the Food and Beverage Advisory Committee, reporting on:

A) Menu items and theme nights as the Shadows Restaurant: some of the menu features include a great breakfast of a large pancake, one egg any style and bacon or sausage for just $4.50; on weekends we have Eggs Benedict, hash and eggs, biscuits and gravy, a smoked salmon platter, and cinnamon French toast.

When it's too hot to cook, we have wonderful salads such as our Special Shadows Salad for $12.95 with baby spinach tossed in a raspberry vinaigrette and topped with fresh strawberries, apricots, dried cranberries, candied pecans and goat cheese and a protein choice of turkey, chicken, shrimp or salmon. We also have a citrus shrimp and avocado salad, a Cobb salad, a chicken salad, and a stuffed tomato salad. And we have a ton of sandwiches.

B) Theme Nights: tonight is Pasta Night. Then on July 7th is our Shrimp Spectacular, July 14th is our Summer Salad Extravaganza where you will be able to taste all of our salads. July 21st and 28th will be Pasta Nights. But hold off on your reservations until Friday (June 25th) because we are meeting tomorrow with the Food and Beverage Advisory Committee to see how we can increase the seating for these special theme nights because we have been sold out. We may be having two seatings so we can have more people there for the fun and camaraderie.

C) Montecito Café Update: For those of you who are concerned about the closure of the Café, we are meeting tomorrow (July 24th) to discuss options to use the Montecito Café. We have been talking with residents and hearing their ideas. We will be making a presentation to the Board on this, so stay tuned for more information. We appreciate your patience. In the meantime, stop into the Shadows Restaurant for a pitcher of beer or of Margaritas. You can also bring your own wine -- the corkage fee has been dropped to $8.00.

5. Montecito Pool Opening Celebration: This will happen on Saturday, June 26th, with free hotdogs, chips and soft drinks. We are allowed seating for 86 and we're at least 75 over that, So we'll open the gym and the amphitheater area to provide more space for as many as we can. So please stop by to enjoy a hot dog and the music provided by our Board Vice-President Johnny Goodrum.

6. Memo from Safety Advisory Committee: The Board received a memo from the Safety Advisory Committee and voted in favor that all gates will be closed all day from now on going in and out. If you have questions or are concerned about this, the Safety Advisory Committee Chair Jeff Kirkpatrick will be making a presentation at the open Board Meeting on Monday, June 28th, so you will be able to ask questions at that time.

7. Fourth of July flags: Every year the veterans put out US flags at our gates and around our community for any US celebrations that involve the flag. This year there will be flags out for two days since the Fourth of July falls on a Sunday so the official holiday is Monday, the 5th. Our golf cart flag celebration will be on Sunday and the Veterans Club President Pete Anderson will be at the Montecito Clubhouse at 8:00 a.m. for those who want to decorate their carts with flags and to see you off for the golf cart parade. I'll be there with my dogs and flags on my cart, too, to join in the celebration.

If you would like to purchase a flag for your cart or your house, I have been given permission by Larry Smith who sells flags for the Veterans Committee to give out his name and address: 80620 Camino Santa Juliana. So you can just stop by Larry's house to purchase a flag.

8. New Security Director: Our new Security Director, Tuey Paiyarat, will be at the Montecito Pool Opening Celebration and at the June 28th Board Meeting, as well. We're very happy to have filled that position.

9. Jefferson Ponds and North Channel: I've asked Roland in the Troon golf office to take charge of cleaning up the first pond, so they area active as we speak cutting down the weeds and doing a general clean-up. The first pond isn't affected by the North Channel Project. They've also been working hard on the golf courses and doing a great job.

10. Pets in the heat: I want to finish as I always do in the summer with a reminder to keep your pets off the pavement. Put booties on them or carry them, whatever you have to do to make sure they're safe. Please don't let them put their paws on the pavement -- it's dangerous out there.

Presidents Message: Overview of Podcast #285

John MacDonnell

Audio may be found at:

Below is a synopsis of this episode.

1. Reported Case of COVID-19 in the Gyms: We have had a reported positive case of COVID-19 reported in both gyms and the Montecito indoor pool. For the health and safety of the community, they will be closed today for a massive cleaning. We plan to have them reopened by tomorrow, June 19th, by 3:00 pm. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation. If you may have been in these areas and are concerned, you may want to check with your healthcare provider and/or your doctor for their advice if you feel the need to be tested.

2. Montecito Outdoor Pool Update: the pool at the Montecito is going absolutely wonderful. We're on track and on time for completion next Friday with the chemicl balances all done. There will be a Pool Appreciation Day on June 26th from 4:30 to 6:00 pm at the Montecito Outdoor Pool. Our very special guest of honor will be our Vice President of our Association who will be there to sing for us. We'll also provide hot dogs, chips and soft drinks. Please call the Lifestyle Desk to register for this.

3. Fourth of July: I've been hearing from people that there will likely be a drive-through golf cart parade through all three phases on the 4th of July. With so much uncertainty with COVID-19 and the changes in tiers, The Lifestyles Desk hasn't had an opportunity to plan or prepare for the 4th of July. Events like this normally require 6 to 8 weeks of planning. If the parade happens, I will definitely join in with flags on my golf cart. I will try to find out when and where it will be starting and will get back to you as soon as I can.

4. Lifestyles Survey: The Lifestyles Desk will be sending out a bunch of surveys to help plan for musical and other events. Please watch for them online and make sure to participate so Connie can plan based on what you most want. We already have the return of Let's Meet and Eat and Comedy Night -- there is a lot happening around here.

I am enjoying my time as your President and having the interaction with the community and receiving your feedback, both positive and negative. Either one helps me in making myself better for this community. Be safe out there, drink lots since it's so hot, and please keep the dogs off the sidewalks.

Presidents Message: Overview of Podcast #284

John MacDonnell

Audio may be found at:

Below is a synopsis of this episode.

I know I just did a podcast yesterday but now I'm back with just a short one. There are two issues I want to address:

1. COVID-19 Tiers: There is a lot of information out there that people have been reading in newspapers or online that we should be in the yellow tier. I just got off the phone with the CDS Riverside and they told me that we're still in the orange tier and that I'm not to release us to any other tier. I'm waiting to hear back from a gentleman named Jose, the CDC Public Address person for the County of Riverside, and I should be getting more information from him. But I'm holding fast for now that we're still in the orange tier but will move to yellow just as soon as we can do it.

2. Montecito Pool: I want to apologize to you for the Montecito Pool. I went down there at 11:30 this morning and met with our General Manager and a couple of our team members and the pool still is not to my standards. I have to, as a professional general contractor, give you the best possible job for that pool. When they jack hammered out the plaster that wasn't quite correct, some of the tiles came loose. They were going to replace those tiles but after knocking on a few of those tiles and hearing hollow spots behind them, I was not convinced that it was in the best interest of the Home Owners Association to leave that pool with those tiles in it. So I have asked them to remove all the tiles in the ribbon between the coping and the plaster itself and to reset all the tiles. I did that simply because I don't want problems down the line where the tiles will come loose and then we'll have to repair the pool every so often.

So it's going to take an extra four days. We were planning on reopening on the 21st and now it's going to be Friday, the 25th. But I felt that it was not up to the standards of what we deserve here at Sun City Shadow Hills so I took the liberty of making sure that it was done right.

So, that's all I have for you today. I look forward to getting back to you as soon as possible about the COVID-19 tiers for our community and an update on what's happening for the 15th of June to go to green. I'll be back to you as soon as possible through either a podcast or through Tyler at the HOA office. Thank you for your time, drink lots of water -- it's hot out there -- and I will see you out there.

Presidents Message: Overview of Podcast #283

John MacDonnell

Audio may be found at:

Below is a synopsis of this episode.

First, I want to remind everyone to drink lots of water with the temperatures rising. And I also want to thank Gus Ramirez for setting up all the equipment for each of these podcasts. I really appreciate it, Gus. Bob Firing can't be here today but I hope to see him back soon.

1. Montecito Café: Everyone misses it. I love it, but we can't make it come back by just snapping our fingers. Due to safety concerns and the numbers being down, the last administration decided to close it-- temporarily, I believe. Kathy Lindstrom with the Food and Beverage Committee is trying to save the Café and the Board will be carefully looking into their recommendations.

2. Montecito Pool: Sorry -- we had hoped it would be open by now, but there were things wrong with the pool that required us to start all over again. It's under construction now and I check it every couple of days with the knowledge from my years of experience in construction. We hope it will be open -- cold and beautiful -- by June 21st, but I can't promise.

3. Comedy Night and Other Shows: Sir Laughs-a-lot, Let's Meet and Eat and others will be back as soon as Covid restrictions allow. Julie Johnston is ready to sell tickets so when they are available, don't wait. They will go fast.

4. COVID-19 Update: The local CDC is our guide. They are in our hospitals, our neighborhoods and our businesses so they know best. The Board is proactive and ready to move as soon as we get the word. We're hoping for a June 15th release, but we can't promise.

5. Rumors: There are lots of them here and it's like getting your information from a Cracker Jack's box. We'll clarify anything that comes up. I'll do more podcasts if they are needed. We don't want rumors ruining our lives.

6. Podcast Transcriptions: Some of you have asked for transcriptions so you don't have to listen to a podcast. I am happy that we now have a volunteer experienced in writing and editing who has offered to provide these now.

7. Delegation: Some of you are saying that we aren't doing our job -- and that I'm not doing my job. I am out there all the time doing my best but I won't be a micro manager. I can't do everything here, so I delegate when appropriate to our very capable Assistant General Manager and our very capable General Manager. They will get back to you with the information so I don't have to go to them and then back to you. I am learning as I go but I don't know everything.

8. Dogs and Hot Paws: This important issue makes me tear up whenever I see it. As our temperatures reach 110 and 120, if you can't walk barefoot on our pavement, asphalt, and grass, your dogs shouldn't either -- especially along Sun City Boulevard. They are our substitute children and please be sure to provide water for them.

I'm looking forward to seeing you in our neighborhood -- forward and upward! Thank you for your time.