Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Rumors and Allegations - Don’t Do It!

A reminder - rumors and unsubstantiated allegations are just that. We have now had several instances of smears or unsubstantiated rumors being thrown around.

People on the HOA Board and involved with the HOA should know better. That goes for employees and contractors doubly. You have an obligation not to speculate or to gossip - professionally or for the good of the community. Come on people. 

If someone made a threat or whatever your unhappy with - confront that person. Otherwise by whispering or posting on Facebook you are just grandstanding, throwing a bomb for the sake of throwing a bomb - and smearing everyone. I for one don’t appreciate that tactic and I would bet the other candidates don’t either. If you have proof provide it - otherwise it is hearsay and unreliable. You might be smearing someone’s name who doesn’t deserve it. 

I have tried to focus my campaign for Trustee on accountability, communications, civility and transparency. Now more than ever I am convinced that we need improvements in these areas. 

King Farm can be better. 

Friday, March 23, 2018

King Farm Can Be Better

Over $300,000 was stolen from the HOA. The person responsible has been investigated and charged and plead guilty.  To date information affecting King Farm has been slow in forthcoming.

For whatever reason the people in charge of the HOA don’t want to talk about anything related to this money. At a minimum they should have had answers to some of these questions ready for the community: Or at least have the debate. 

- What reforms will ensure this doesn’t happen again?
- How much did our management structure contribute to this poor accounting and enable this employee’s theft? Should we go back to a management company? 
- We have got $50,000 back. What about the rest? Do we have any idea?
- We have a volunteer president and Board - shouldn’t we have professionals overseeing our on-site manager? 

We know the President and Board said they couldn’t wait to discuss this theft when the investigation was finished. Now it is finished. We are still waiting on them to give us more. King Farm deserves answers. 

There is one way to send a message. Turn in your ballots or vote on April 8th. From 10 - 2. 

Of course I ask for your vote. But also please vote for Nancy Paul. I feel that she is a fresh face for King Farm and will help us get the answers that are so lacking. 

The more votes the more you say that this lack of information to King Farm is unacceptable.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

A letter to my King Farm Neighbors

Barry Jackson For King Farm Trustee
 Or on Facebook at Barry Jackson For King Farm Trustee

An employee of the HOA embezzled over $300,000 over five years (from 2012-2017).

Nobody but her is responsible for this criminal act – and she will be punished. You probably have heard little or nothing about it – or you heard about it late. The Board and President were in a tough situation and handled it the best they could. But the truth is they mishandled the communication to residents about it.

Residents let them know that they didn’t agree with how word was broken to the community. There was defensiveness and anger. A lot of rumors happened in the vacuum of information from the HOA. And a lot of bad blood was created.

It will be up to a new President and a new Board to rebuild the trust with King Farm and to shed light on what happened and what can be done.

To that end I am running on four main points – Transparency, Civility, Communications and rebuilding Volunteerism.

King Farm is a great community but it can be better. We need better communication and a better way of engaging with residents. And we need an HOA that executes better and is accountable when it doesn’t.

We need a Board and a President that are open to fresh ideas. That is why I am running – and why I ask for your vote. After talking to her and listening to her ideas at the Candidate Forum - I believe that Nancy Paul is a candidate worthy of your consideration.

Sincerely,

Barry Jackson

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Here is a question I've been thinking about.

Should King Farm's HOA go back to having a management company or should we stay independently managed?

We were with a management company until about 2012. But after that we went without one.

There are good arguments for it and against it. But after seeing an employee make off with over $360,000 over the five years that we were not under a management company - I think it for sure needs to be part of the discussion.

What are your thoughts?


Friday, March 16, 2018

Correcting A Mistake

King Farm just sent out the following. Look - they made a mistake in the Chronicle. But they fixed it by saying that ballots will be counted if they are turned in by 2:00 on April 8th.That seems like a just solution to me. 

Remember - Election Date – Sunday, April 8, 2018. Voting will be open from 10AM – 2PM on April 8, 2018.
______________

"Please note that there was an error in the Chronicle regarding the deadline to turn in absentee ballots. The Chronicle listed the deadline for absentee ballots as 2PM on Election Day. All of the election notices have stated that absentee ballots are due by 12Noon on Thursday, April 5th.

The Thursday deadline was put in place to provide time for the Election Committee to review the voter registry lists and ensure absentee ballots received were indicated on the registry lists accordingly. The registry lists are used on Election Day to check-in voters and provide them with a ballot for same day voting. So, if possible, please submit your absentee ballots by 12Noon on Thursday, April 5th so that the Election Committee volunteers can prepare in advance for Election Day as much as possible. Please be assured that all valid ballots received by 2PM on Election Day will be counted. We apologize for the mistake in the Chronicle and hope this provides clarification.

A few more Absentee Ballot Tips:

· Please make sure only 1 ballot is placed in an envelope.

· Only registered voters may participate in the election. All titleholders of single family homes, townhomes and condominium units, as shown on the Assembly's records, are automatically registered. All other persons, including tenants and other occupants of a King Farm residence, who are not the record owners of the residence that wished to participate in the election should have already registered by now. The deadline to do so was February 12, 2018.

· Anyone that needs an additional absentee ballot & pre-addressed envelope can either request one from the management office via email at management@kingfarm.org , or stop by the office and pick one up. Alternatively, one can make a copy of the absentee ballot we provided and place it in an envelope.

· Please make sure to follow the directions for the absentee ballot. Don’t forget to sign and print your name on the outside of the envelope. It would be great if you listed your street address as well. The envelopes are not opened until Election Day by the Election Committee volunteers but, as stated above, the registry lists are marked ahead of time to indicate an absentee ballot has been sent in. It just makes the volunteers jobs a little easier if the name is clearly printed and if possible the address is listed on the front of the envelope.

· If you have any questions please feel free to contact the management office at management@kingfarm.org or the Election Committee at elections@kingfarm.org."

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Traffic Management in King Farm

Someone asked me about traffic management. As somebody who (now runs slowly) but who used to take awhile to cross the street (thanks to a stroke) - I can say that I am in favor of everything we can do to slow down traffic in the neighborhood, make crosswalks more visible, add stop signs and yield signs and put red-light cameras in high violation areas. In particular the Gude/Watkins Pd intersection. I see people all the time speed through that stop-light well after it turns red. That is an accident waiting to happen.


Monday, March 12, 2018

King Farm Chronicle - Maybe They Won't Notice....



The King Farm Chronicle is in the mail. They have the Candidates' Questions and Answers in there. But do you know what isn't in there? Not one word about the employee who stole over $300,000 over five years (2012 - 2017). What is up with that?

The President had a statement - released by email. The Board had a statement, read at the Board meeting.

Yet, not one word in the Chronicle. This is just wrong. The Chronicle is arguably the most widely read publication in the King Farm community - and to not put anything in about the money embezzled, the conviction of the former employee responsible or King Farm's prospects for getting the money returned (or at least parts of it) - that decision smacks of a deliberate attempt to keep the community in the dark and quiet. 

I know the President and BOT released statements. But they haven't and didn't put anything in the Chronicle. Residents who aren't on email or online or can't make a meeting deserve to know what King Farm HOA thinks and what is being done. 

Not a word in the President's report. Not even a mention of it in the recap of the Board of Trustees meeting - even though they read a statement on the embezzlement at the start of the meeting. 

This is a big story to the community. At a certain point you have to figure that the exclusion of the story is quite intentional.

King Farm can do better.




Sunday, March 11, 2018

King Farm Can Do Better




My name is Barry Jackson, and I’m running for King Farm Board of Trustees. I have lived in King Farm for 11 years with my wife and two daughters. 

I am running to help rebuild trust in the King Farm HOA.

It was shaken after a former employee embezzled over $300,000 over a five year period. 

When it was first discovered, for various reasons, the HOA decided not to say anything publicly. 
But word leaked out as it always does – and residents were angry. The reaction of the HOA was to get angry and be defensive.

It is time to turn the page. A new President and Board can  rebuild the trust with King Farm.

It's time for a fresh approach. To that end I am running on these main points – 
  • Financial Accountability and Oversight
  • Transparency 
  • Civility
  • Improving Communications 
  • Rebuilding Volunteerism

King Farm HOA can do better. 

If you believe that too - I ask for your vote.

Vote now by mailing in the ballot that was mailed to you or dropping it off at the HOA, requesting an additional ballot and envelope and returning it by April 5th.

Or vote at the Saddle Ridge Community Center on April 8, from 10 - 2.

Friday, March 9, 2018

A Note on King Farm Elections



A little disagreement on where and when King Farm ballots can be placed out or handed out to residents between candidates and the Board and President leads me to believe that we have to update our King Farm elections.

The problem boils down to this. King Farm says that Election Day is on April 8th - from 10:00 - 2:00. But then it mails out ballots to everyone in the community and tells them that they can vote by mail or by dropping an envelope containing a ballot by the HOA's Community Center prior to April 5th at noon.

That isn't absentee voting - not really. It is a 30 day voting period in reality. Any homeowner (they are automatically eligible to vote) or registered voter (apartments, etc) who is in good standing can vote in the election. So if you want to get it over with, or are going to be out of town or you just don't know if you'll have time to vote on April 8th you can vote now! Or by April 5th.

Good deal right?

But here is the rub. Many households have more than one vote - so they need to make copies. And thanks to the HOA mailing putting copies in the hands of everyone - they can. In fact, a recent email went out from the HOA telling people to do that very thing. People give them out at events, in community meetings, door-to-door, etc. Or you could always request another ballot and envelope  from the HOA.

Somebody might be thinking - isn't this a recipe for voter fraud? That is a good question. I think there are checks in place to make sure that voter fraud is not a problem. We require the voter to give his/her name, a witnessing name and a valid address for the voter. All of that is checkable. We just should be especially vigilant with all these copies floating around the community. Besides that - we know that nationwide voter fraud occurs in a few cases out of the millions and millions of ballots cast. Most people are good people. 

Are we really saying that King Farm's residents or King Farm's candidates are more apt to conduct fraud with the ballots?

Nah. I don't buy that.

But we should take steps to ensure every ballot is looked at by the Election Comitttee - just to avoid needless speculation. After the election, we should take steps as an HOA to make the elections less confusing, tighten up ballot control and reduce a very complex and antiquated system. We wonder why we don't have much participation - it might be the problem is a confusing system. We need to fix it.

In the meantime, here are some instructions again for anyone who wants to turn in an additional ballot.
__________

If you aren’t sure whether or not you or another person are registered with the HOA, contact the HOA at management@kingfarm.org or at 301-987-0122.

Just make sure that you have a witnessing signature and that you only put one ballot in an envelope and that you address the envelope to:

Secretary, King Farm Elections Committee
c/o King Farm Citizen Assembly300 Saddle Ridge CircleRockville, MD 20850
Absentee Ballot Enclosed

                    ______________________________
                    Voter Signature
                    ______________________________
                    Voter Name Printed

Be sure to sign it and print your name. Then drop it in the mail or drop it off at the Community Center. 

Or vote on April 8th from 10:00 - 2:00 and avoid all this mess.

If you have additional questions - go straight to the source. Ask the Management of the HOA at management@kingfarm.org or at 301-987-0122. They know what the rules are and what they are not.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

I thought it would be important to post this. This was my opening statement in the Candidates' Forum:

Good evening. Thank you for coming out. My name is Barry Jackson, and I’ve decided to run for a position on the King Farm Board of Trustees. I have lived in King Farm for 11 years with my wife and two daughters. We have enjoyed our time in King Farm – we have a plot in the Community Garden, take the King Farm shuttle, shop in the Village Center, enjoy the parks and numerous activities put on by the HOA. 

I was previously on the Board from 2008 to 2011 – serving as Treasurer and Chair of the Board. After I got off the Board I served for a time on the Budget and Finance Committee and the External Affairs Committee. 

But perhaps my most fulfilling and demanding volunteer work comes with the King Farm Swim Team, which both of my daughters are on.

I work in the Chief of Staff’s office for AARP.

Now, why am I running…

Our trust and our faith in the institution that is King Farm has been shaken. Everyone trusted that everything was running smoothly. It turned out not to be the case. What happened is done – and there is only one person to blame for her criminal acts. She is convicted of embezzling over $300,000 over a five year period – and she will pay the price in her reputation, her restitution, her future job prospects… and one hopes, her incarceration. 

You can’t blame those in the HOA - the President, The Board of Trustees or management - for the theft. I’m not saying you shouldn’t ask questions. You should - and honestly, you should get them. The Board and President were in a tough situation and handled it the best they could - but they mishandled it. Residents let them know that they didn’t agree with how word was broken to the community. There was defensiveness and anger. A lot of rumors happened in the vacuum of information from the HOA. And a lot of bad blood was created.

It will be up to a new President and a new Board to rebuild the trust with King Farm and to shed light on what happened and what can be done.

To that end I am running on four main points – Transparency, Civility, Communications and rebuilding Volunteerism.

We need to restore trust between residents and the King Farm HOA. That is why I am running for Trustee. It's time for a fresh approach. 

I would appreciate your vote. I look forward to your questions.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Candidate Forum - for those who missed it

 
President Candidate Forum  
Trustee Candidate Forum

King Farm Election: Modernizing The Voting Process

One of the things I am running on is improving communications and processes.

The current voter system in King Farm is one such process. I have heard from many people that it just doesn't make sense. It hasn't been updated in a long time and it seems rather cumbersome and inefficient and a barrier to people actually voting. People are confused about whether they can vote or not.

If I am fortunate enough to be elected, I know several of the current members of the BOT have expressed interest in overhauling the old system.

Surely, we have expertise in the community and in the city to help us iron out the kinks, make it easier to vote - but also ensure that voting is fair and fraud-free.

Call it a committee, a task force, Election Reform Group, whatever - but I am confident we can move ahead and modernize King Farm's election.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Election Update - Vote By Mail Instructions

ELECTION DATE – Sunday, April 8, 2018. Voting will be open from 10AM – 2PM on April 8, 2018.

If you can't show up on that date or want to vote by mail (from the HOA):
Deadline For Early Ballots: NOON April 5, 2018.
"Final election Mailing - By now all should have received the second and final election mailing. In this mailing there was an absentee ballot, pre-addressed envelope, directions for the absentee ballot and all of the candidate’s statements.

Anyone that needs an additional absentee ballot & pre-addressed envelope can either request one from the management office via email at management@kingfarm.org, or stop by the office and pick one up.

Alternatively, one can make a copy of the absentee ballot we provided and place it in an envelope but please make sure to follow the instructions on labeling the envelope as provided in the mailing.

Only one (1) ballot per envelope please
."

Monday, March 5, 2018

Barry Jackson For King Farm Trustee





 

Vote now through April 8th. Every vote counts. Please vote and then tell your friends in King Farm to vote as well.

We need to restore trust between with citizens and King Farm HOA. It's time for a fresh approach.

Questions/Comments/Ideas? Leave them below or email me at dbjackso1@gmail.com.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Candidate Forum Coming Up!

Just a heads up...

The Candidates’ Forum is this week - Wednesday, March 7, 2018 @7:30PM. The Elections Committee will hold a Candidates Forum and all are encouraged to attend. Questions will be taken from the audience. If you can’t make it and wish to submit a question for consideration you can do so by email. Please email management@kingfarm.org no later than 4PM on Tuesday, March 6, 2018 as the committee meets that night to go over final preparations for the forum on the 7th.


Thursday, March 1, 2018

Weather - High Wind Warnings (or lack thereof)

I know that various people are reporting the weather. And maybe it won’t be s bad. But if it is - and we have 60 or 70 mile an hour gusts of wind - we are going to have garbage cans, patio furniture and others things flying all over King Farm. 

We should have King Farm communications about that severe weather situation. The fact we don’t is a big gap that we need to address.


Maybe it is bad, maybe not. But one day it will be. We should have a better plan in place.

On the "Kicking Kids Off The Swim Team" Language

I've been thinking about the post that I put up, and the language I used about "kicking kids off the swim team." I actuall...