I am one member of a five person board. The opinions I express on this forum are mine only, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Escambia County Staff, Administrators, Employees, or anyone else associated with Escambia County Florida. I am interested in establishing this blog as a means of additional transparency to the public, outreach to the community, and information dissemination to all who choose to look. Feedback is welcome, but because public participation is equally encouraged, appropriate language and decorum is mandatory.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

The Nature Trail Paradigm: Self Sequestration

Nature Trail is a giant subdivision that sits in Beulah right across the street from Navy Federal Credit Union and the Navy property known as OLF8.  I love this subdivision and my family owned property in Nature Trail until very recently.  I live right next door to this development and I have many friends and acquaintances that live in Nature Trail.

Lots of things are happening in Beulah, from the expansion of Navy Federal Credit Union, to the expansion of  9 Mile road to become a 4-lane road, to the new freeway interchange off of Beulah road, to a new Middle School being constructed right down the road, to model airplane flyers operating their RC planes overhead, to sound barrier walls being constructed right outside of Nature Trail, to a large open field being prepared for development right across the street,  to a myriad of other issues that will affect the residents of this massive, exclusive subdivision.

These are taxpayers that live in Nature Trail, some of whom have invested more than $500K in their homes!

 So during last year's primary election campaign  (that I won last Tuesday)--- I sent 6 different mail pieces to the residents of Nature Trail----more than to any other group of constituents anywhere else in District 1.  Why?---because I could not come and meet these residents face to face.

I tried at one point in the campaign and was turned away at the gate.  "No Soliciting of any kind!"

Meanwhile, I walked to 8,627 other residences throughout Beulah and the rest of District 1 because candidates are welcomed in other neighborhoods throughout Beulah and  District 1--yet they are precluded from canvassing in Nature Trail.

Now--I get it, nobody likes having people come to the door to try to sell them vacuum sweepers or pressure washing services--I get that.  But I'm just trying to meet voters, I'm not selling magazine subscriptions, frozen steaks,  Tupperware sets, or wooden ships like a scene out of Napoleon Dynamite!

I'm just trying to meet voters, because I feel like if I'm going to ask someone to vote for me, I ought to make an effort to try and come meet them in their neighborhoods.

What perplexes me  most about all of this is that this very large group of property owners----apparently by choice--- is missing out on meeting the very candidates that will eventually be representing their interests on the Board of County Commissioners!

At Tuesday's BCC special meeting on OLF8--multiple Nature Trail Homeowners showed up and none of them appeared to have a complete understanding about all the happenings around them in Beulah----several almost seemed "frustrated" about not having a complete understanding of what is going on around them.  One resident got up and stated that he wanted a "Master Planned Community" for the entire County!

Whaaaaaatttt?  I thought to myself.....

So on a lark I decided to personally call Nature Trail yesterday to see about getting a "candidate forum" set up--- so that Nature Trail residents could, if they so choose,  hear from the last two remaining candidates for County Commission in this election. I assumed these residents might want to know our stances on all of the issues coming to a head in Beulah---right outside the front entrance of their subdivision----before the election happens on November 8th!

There are now only  two candidates left in the race to represent them, the Nature Trail residents and the rest of Beulah and District 1, on the County Commission.  One might think the residents would want to hear from Jeff Bergosh and Audra Carter----one of us will be their next commissioner!

So I attempted to reach the Homeowner's Association representative at a downtown phone number I got from the Nature Trail sales office, and I could not get him on the phone.  I could not get him to return my call, either.  His secretary took a message, and then called back herself 10 minutes later to tell me that politicians are "not permitted in the (common area) Lodge."  When I asked her why, she was somewhat short with me and said "What you are not hearing and understanding is that the covenants do not

allow this--the residents wrote and approved the covenants."  When I asked about how to arrange a forum in Nature Trail for the benefit of the residents, she chidingly stated "You are not understanding what I am telling you."  She continued  "If you have a resident sponsor you, you may be allowed to set up a small table--- for a limited time-- out on the lawn, below the lodge, away from the pool area, , behind the tennis courts, out on the grass by the woods."

Guess what----I'm not going to fight mosquitoes and snakes to set up a "table in the woods" for anybody anytime ever---especially if there is an empty, air-conditioned lodge available.

Looks like things will just transpire around Nature Trail without their input and influence prior to election day....and this is too bad.

100% Self-sequestration might have its pluses, but it definitely has its larger minuses when this much aggregate property value is not, apparently by choice, fully engaged in our very important upcoming election.

But hey, I tried, right?!?


Denise said...

I honestly wish we had some kind of provision in our HOA covenants that prohibited politicians from coming to our doors here in Bell Ridge Forest. Yes, I am one of your neighbors, and I found the constant knocking and interruptions of politicians to be quite annoying.

Jeff Bergosh said...

Denise--it is very simple. Put a "No Soliciting" sign on your door like many neighbors throughout District 1 have done. I never knocked on doors that had these signs out of respect for these residents---and most candidates won't either. Like I did, most candidates will leave a note and let the resident know they stopped by in case the resident wants to call/meet the candidate. But I will say the overwhelming majority of the 8,627 residents of District 1 that I did meet going door to door for a full year in this campaign were happy to speak with me and to engage in a dialogue with me about our community. This is the fourth campaign in District 1 that I have run, and walking door to door is the most effective way to reach voters in order to win elections. As I continue to walk door to door for the next 57 days leading up to the General Election on November 8th, You can be sure of one thing: I'll make sure I don't knock on your door ever.

Thomas said...

Jeff, I live in Nature Trail and appreciate the no soliciting policy of our HOA; you would be surprised at the number of people who do not understand what a "No Soliciting" sign means. That said, I have read your blog for some time and appreciate the information therein. Your blogs about OLF-8 were spot on and well written. Did you allude to your blog on the mailers you sent to Nature Trail residents? One of your primary candidates did meet with residents of NT by having a friend host a meet and greet. That candidate did not go door to door and only spoke to those who attended. There are other ways to reach your voters while honoring their desire to not have uninvited people ringing their doorbells. Your blog is informative, sell it.