Letters to the Editor | TheUnion.com

Letters to the Editor

Born to be wild
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Noise Abatement

A lot of members seem very concerned about motorcycle noise, but there is another source of loud noise that can easily be controlled without all the controversy.

Pleasant Valley Road has signs saying, “Truckers – Easy on Engine Brake” on both directions approaching the main gate stop sign. Most residents probably don’t know what that means; most diesel trucks have a compression release braking system in addition to wheel brakes – these allow the truckers to save wear on the wheel brakes.

They also make a LOT of noise – so much that many cities have outlawed their use entirely.

I live on the lower part of Chaparral Circle, near Chaparral Drive, and residents in this area get to hear these compression brakes a lot of times daily because the “Easy on Engine Brake” sign isn’t far enough back from the stop sign on the Bridgeport side.

My observation is that nearly every diesel truck coming down this grade on Pleasant Valley Drive uses their compression release braking starting near Wildwood Ranch Road, which is way before the sign becomes visible.

At least one more sign near Wildwood Ranch Road should help. I have already gone to the Nevada County Road Web site and entered a request for such a sign – but I’m sure that if more residents did the same, it would help spur the County to put up such a sign. The link to their “Online Citizen Service Request” form is: https://secure.mynevadacounty.com/_layouts/MNCAssets/ap/CitizenRequest.aspx.

It may also be that there are other areas near Pleasant Valley Road where Lake Wildwood residents are bothered by this noise due to use of compression-release braking on a downgrade.

If so, I believe this is the best way to get the County to put up more of these signs – or simply to ban compression-release braking on Pleasant Valley Road, making it more pleasant.

Thank You!



On August 19th the LWW men’s 18 hole golf club held its 2nd annual golf tournament to benefit two injured veterans in our community. We are happy to announce that more than $30,000 was raised!

This year’s recipients are Adam Keys a triple amputee from Folsom, and Noah Bailey a double amputee from Grass Valley. Over 100 companies and individuals provided donations, merchandise and services to make this a huge success. In addition 120 golfers paid $100 to play and bid on the many donated prizes.

Because there are so many names to thank we took out a quarter page paid advertisement in the Union on Saturday Sept. 5.

Auburn Ford provided a hole-in-one car plus prizes on all of the par threes. Nicks Custom golf carts provided a hole-in-one golf cart and Players Pizza provided an excellent dinner.

Twelve different Golf Courses donated rounds of golf and we had ten GOLD STAR SPONSORS that contributed donations, merchandise, & services worth $1,000 or more. We had forty Tee Sponsors that paid $250 to have a sign displayed on the golf course, and many more that provided merchandise, services and other donations!

In the advertisement we forgot to mention Bob Martin (the bearded one) who took pictures of each foursome and Janice Pucci for the silent auction basket arrangements. Also a big thank you to Jim Knight, Carlis Gilbert, and Bill Hamilton for the extra help they provided.

Because of the size of the editorial content we are unable to list everyone’s name but everyone will receive a written thank you!


A Wonderful Opportunity

We could miss a wonderful opportunity. Recently the Lake Wildwood Board of Directors approved a spanking new four-court Pickleball Facility. To create this beautiful facility, the Board essentially repurposed one former tennis court, mandating that the space be dedicated exclusively to Pickleball eleven hours every day. The new Pickleball Facility is already up and running; it’s located in the space that was formerly one of the two tennis courts near the Community Center at Commodore Park.

The establishment of this new facility is quite appropriate too because PIckleball is the fastest growing sport at Lake Wildwood — in fact, it is the fastest growing sport among seniors in the whole country. In the five years since it was introduced here in our community, it has grown from two players to well over one hundred. In just the three years that Pickleball players have been paying Amenity Fees, their fees have totaled to more than $30,000 in the Association’s coffers. With practically no offsetting costs, it’s been almost total profit.

The Board’s repurposing resulted in a positive trade off: in the space formerly used for just one of the Association’s six tennis courts, we now have four Pickleball courts. And the tennis court is still there too — but the Board allows tennis on that court for only a few hours late each evening. The space that formerly accommodated only four tennis players at a time now accommodates up to sixteen Pickleball players at a time. It is clearly intended by the Board to be “Lake Wildwood’s Pickleball Facility” for the immediate future.

Perhaps in three or four years when the new clubhouse is finished, Pickleball will get a separate facility in some different location. When that happens the present space can again be returned to a tennis court.

So, what’s the “wonderful” opportunity?

Well, our new Pickleball Facility does not look like a Pickleball Facility. As prospective home buyers drive past Commodore Park, that space just looks like one more tennis court. The old tennis court is still painted there in bright blue with shining white lines as it always has been. The pale blue PIckleball lines are there too but they’re hardly noticeable and nobody would even guess it’s a Pickleball venue.

So here’s the wonderful opportunity. Let’s ask our General Manager to repaint this space, let’s ask her to repaint it to emphasize the four Pickleball courts rather than the tennis court, repaint it so it looks the way most Pickleball Facilities look. It would take less than a couple of thousand dollars to do this (a very small part of that $30,000 profit). We are missing an excellent opportunity if we fail to show off the fact that Lake Wildwood now has an actual Pickleball venue. Let’s show prospective buyers that we are current with the rest of the country in recognizing the incredible popularity of PIckleball among seniors. Let’s show prospective buyers that Pickleball has been given a place of importance commensurate with the Association’s other sports. And let’s do it now.

It’s been proven that Pickleball venues have come to be expected in gated and senior communities across this land. So, showing off our new facility will help support property values. Wouldn’t that just be the very best thing for Lake Wildwood?

Why Bother Voting

The Board of Directors at the regular Board meeting in August approved placing a ballot measure for member vote to allow limited motorcycle access within Lake Wildwood. That ballot was mailed on September 14th and the ballots will be counted on October 26th. It is important to note that the Board did not take a position endorsing or opposing the measure. This letter does not represent the views of LWA management or any member of the Board of Directors.

The ballot measure allows only limited access for motorcycles operated by LWA members or tenants (with approval of their landlords) to and from their respective residences. The landlord approval is important because it obligates the member landlord to be responsible for the actions of the tenant and ultimately to be responsible for any fine levied on that tenant if any violations of the motorcycle access rules occur. The ballot measure requires that only California State noise and safety compliant motorcycles be allowed travel privileges limited to our roads. Also no more than two such vehicles are allowed to congregate together and motorcycle travel is prohibited between the hours of midnight and 5am. The motorcyclists must be licensed, covered by insurance and over the age of 21.

So why should we vote for this measure? Didn’t everyone know the rules before they moved in? The current provision prohibiting motorcycle travel within Lake Wildwood has been tested in court and found to be a legal form of discrimination. It is just that fact that bothers us. By this restriction we have created and maintain a form of second class membership based upon the mode of transportation of a few of our members. Put aside the additional costs of security and maintaining separate parking that is incurred by both the association and the affected members. There seems to be a fundamental unfairness in maintaining separate status for these individuals who happen to use two wheeled vehicles. All of these motorcycle owners are members of our community; all pay the same Association dues as the rest of us; and some of these individuals are members of our military who commute daily to Beale Air Force Base.

If the potential noise is an issue, it has been addressed in the ballot measure. If congregation of groups of motorcyclists is an issue, it has been addressed in the ballot. Off road use and motorcycles in the park continue to be prohibited. Why should we be more restrictive than say, Lake of the Pines or any other public community in the State? Many of us advocate that a government that governs least governs best, yet we maintain one of the most restrictive set of rules anywhere in the State of California. The maintenance of the current restriction seems to be based on out-dated issues or hypothetical fears of noise and aggravation that are addressed by the ballot measure.

Voting for the ballot measure limits motorcycle access to those in our community who need it and eliminates a form of second class membership that is archaic. Please join us in voting to approve this overdue change!

Manage. Don’t Ban

Manage violators rather than ban all – we will become a better community!

In the coming months we will debate whether we should allow dogs in our parks, and motorcycles in the community. There have already been many letters about motorcycles, and now we are seeing letters about letting dogs in the parks.

In the letters to the editor against both changes members of our community bring up the risks of allowing either in our community or parks. These members bring up issues like noise by motorcycles, or irresponsible dog owners who do not clean up after their hounds. If we let dogs in the park, there is the possibility that an owner will not pick up their dogs feces.

If we let motorcycles in there may be the possibility that someone will thoughtlessly rev up its engine making noise. Clearly the concern is over the exceptions and not the majority of motorcycle and dog owners. It is an interesting issue, because for some reason our community is very inconsistent in how it applies its rules. Some rules ban all, others just specific violations.

If we let boats on the lake, then someone may drive it in the wrong direction, or may speed in a no wake zone. We let boats in, and have rules for use. If we let kids live in Lake Wildwood, they might use skateboards in the street. We let kids live here but have rules for skateboard use. If we let new golfers on the course, they might play very slow.

We have marshals to keep the pace up. If we let cars in the community they might speed. We have security patrols to enforce speed limits. Hopefully you see a consistent trend. In most case rules are put in place to manage exceptions and risks so that we might have a pleasant and safe community. So why are we treating people with dogs and motorcycles differently? Why are we punishing the responsible many for the careless few? We don’t do that with anything else.

Banning rather than managing exceptions hurts our community. At its worst it negatively impacts our home values because we are sometimes perceived as a community of rule mongers, or worse yet non-inclusive narrow thinkers.

This is especially apparent from those who state “it’s the rule and always has been” argument. CC&Rs need to support current reality, not a community of rules stuck forty years in the past.

We have had several Bay Area friends not buy here because of that reputation. It is reflected in lower per square foot valuations inside the gate versus outside.

The ban versus manage approach also hurts our culture. The approach ends up pitting one group against another. Creating a culture of divisiveness rather than working together.

It is publically apparent in our letters to the editor. So regardless of what your opinion is about dogs or motorcycles, perhaps you should start thinking about calling for rules that manage the exceptions (which most of our rules are today) and not all out bans. It is a more common sense and consistent approach that does not punish the majority of people who follow the rules.

Allow dogs in the parks, but create fines for those who do not clean-up. Allow motorcycles in but put in place a noise ordinance (for all vehicles!) in which must be test for before issuing a sticker. Treat the issues like everything else in our HOA, create rules for the exception, rather than punishing many because of a few potential violators.

By thinking this way we will have a better community, eventually higher values and hopefully a different mindset in the future. Vote against bans, vote for managing exceptions just like everything else.

Motorcycle-less in Favor

I don’t have a motorcycle and never will have one yet I am in favor of allowing motorcycles in Lake Wildwood. The reason is I believe the current ban hurts our property values. If you go to the website Best Places to live at http://www.bestplaces.net/city/california/lake_wildwood you can check how our housing prices compare to other cities in our area. The median price of homes are as follows: Lake Wildwood $245,200, Grass Valley $268,700, Nevada City $329,000, Lake of the Pines 287,300. So the median price of a home in Lake Wildwood is much lower than those in the surrounding areas. I believe that a good deal of this is due to our motorcycle restrictions.

The average motorcyclist has changed dramatically over the last 20 years. There was an article in the LA Times titled “California biker profile? Old, male, married and moneyed” Per the article the median age of California motorcycle owners is 45 years old in 2012 up from 33 years in 1990.

Almost 40% are over 50, 88% are male and 63% are married. Median income for California motorcyclist was $64,130 in 2012. Per the Motorcycle Industry Council there are 1.7 million Californians that currently hold licenses to operate motorcycles.

This is about 7% of the total licensed drivers in California. I have met a number of folks that have told me that they moved out of LWW or never would consider living here because of the motorcycle rule. Based on the demographics of the motorcyclists they are the same folks that can afford to purchase homes.

So our current rule probably takes out from 5-10% of potential buyers. Even those motorcyclists that actually purchase homes here probably reduce the value they are willing to pay for LWW homes versus others in the area.

Based on supply and demand if you take out potential buyers you reduce demand. So the demand for Lake Wildwood properties is reduced by the 5-10% which has to affect prices as indicated above.

I could understand the reason for the restriction if I thought the noise of motorcycles would be disruptive compared to other noises in our community. Let’s face it weed eaters, leaf blowers, chain saws, etc are more disruptive.

I actually do not like the sound of a Harley but I don’t think a few seconds of one driving by my house every now and then is worth several thousand dollars on the value of my home.

Just a Blonde

Recently I visited my brother in Washington State who lives in a community with HOAs. He was recently voted their HOA president.

I think about my brother…and I think about our community. My brother has an Afro and rides a Harley — on those two counts, sadly, I can see him being automatically judged by a lot of people. Funny thing, my brother did not choose his Afro; he was born with that hair, and through the years it has caused issues.

But my brother was renowned at Boeing with his Union representation, lunched with the CEO, has volunteered for 20 years and bolstered a small soup kitchen that feeds the homeless and hungry north of Seattle. He is a stalwart citizen, but if he was standing outside, here in Lake Wildwood, holding a sign, how would people view him?

I stood at our roundabout inside the gate holding two little signs: VOTE and RIDE HOME. Virtually everyone slowed down enough to read. But because I “look” okay — I wasn’t born with the same hair — I was not immediately discounted and judged. I was just a blonde woman in a dress holding signs.

When our mailboxes are all filled with the ballot to vote on motorcycles, think about your neighbors. Probably very few even have motorcycles. It isn’t like suddenly half the community will run out and buy a bike — heck, they’re expensive! But if your neighbor wears leather, it is for safety.

If your neighbor seems unreasonable for wanting to ride his motorcycle, who is really being unreasonable? The rider or the one who wants to continue to disallow it?

Just my Sunday morning thoughts as I drink my coffee and think how blessed, overall, I am to live in a beautiful house, with a lake we enjoy immensely and a beautiful Harley sitting in our garage begging to be taken off its leash.

Another “yes” voter and resident:

Armed Octogenarians Wearing Depends

There have been a number of Letters to the Editor regarding the arming of security at Lake Wildwood and, in a similar vein, the use of an outside service as a replacement for the existing system is also discussed.

From what I have seen, all these letters have been in favor of armed guards. Recent demographics conducted by the Board have shown that 70 percent of the Lake Wildwood population is over the age of 65. Crimes are not typically committed by this age group.

I doubt that we need to worry about roving gangs of armed octogenarians wearing Depends and attacking people in Lake Wildwood. So the concern is outsiders coming in and perpetrating crimes on the residents, or the remaining 30 percent.

In the case of the outsiders, it seems to me that this is largely taken care of by the security gates. The system isn’t perfect; it has holes, particularly when large numbers of outsiders come in for events like the fireworks (also drinking and DUI type events are very high around the Fourth of July).

Based on the Constitution, gun ownership is allowed by Americans; if someone wants to arm himself for the purposes of protection, it is allowed.

But in a community like ours, funds are finite and choices need to be made, priorities set. There is also a push to keep fees low, as many residents are on fixed incomes.

I support the examination of all expenditures by the Board of Directors; this is the duty of all citizens. But given the demographics of this community and the existence of security gates for everyone coming in, the added expense of armed guards versus unarmed ones seems an unnecessary cost.

If armed police are necessary, there is a sheriff’s office just outside of the main gate. Granted, they would not be on the scene as quickly as the internal security, but this is one of the tradeoffs we must make for keeping fees low.

With regards the fireworks, this is the event that makes Lake Wildwood what it is and I fully support it. It is awesome advertising for Lake Wildwood and says a lot about this community.

My friends and relatives always want to come here to see it. From a real estate investment perspective, it is worth it and has significant added value in my opinion to home value. It is “cool.”

With this said, security is important as well, but the difference between armed and unarmed is minimal. With regards to inside versus outside security it isn’t so clear. There is value in having control over our own security people rather than deferring that to an outside firm. But it is close.

4000 +/- vs 225

Conservatively the average home has at least 2 cars. In Lake Wildwood that means probably at least 5,000 cars but I am leaning on the light side to be fair.

Statistically in communities the number of motorcycles is 10% of households. 10% is about 240 motorcycles, if my memory serves me correctly on number of homes here.

What’s the problem? Dirt bikes will still NOT be allowed, load motorcycles will NOT be allowed.

Let’s get with the times here, folks. Raise our property values by showing we do not discriminate.

Vote yes on motorcycle access.

A conservative motorcycle owner,

Kudos to Qi Gong

Dr. Julie Cox is again generously donating her time to raise money for a local organization, this time the Penn Valley Community Foundation. At a time when the Foundation is moving into its community fundraising phase for the much anticipated Community Center/Cultural Center to be built in Penn Valley, Dr. Cox is leading by example.

Each Saturday morning she can be found bright and early at Gateway Park teaching a class of enthusiastic exercisers. Known as a zumba and aqua zumba instructor at Lake Wildwood, Julie is now offering free Qi Dong classes to anyone who wants to try the ancient art in exchange for a donation in any amount to the Foundation.

The twenty-five or so regular participants can attest that the class is fun, easy and energizing. You do not even have to be an athlete to join in the gentle exercise!

You won’t be sorry if you show up at 8:30 Saturdays for an hour of fun and the chance to add your individual contribution to the Foundation fund.

Thank you Julie for thinking of this great idea and giving us the chance to feel good and do good at the same time.

Felt Safe

I attended the meeting on Tuesday August 18,2015.

I attended the meeting on Tuesday August 18,2015.

I still cannot believe that as a property owner I have no voice in what the Manager and her assistant have decided on our Future.

We moved here in the Spring of 1088.

The main reason we moved into Lake Wildwood is because my wife felt safe with the Security Program.

During those days I was a Fire Captain for California Department of Forestry.

This job found me absent from home for days on end.

After retirement I perused several jobs an agent for fire Apparatus Manufactures.

Though I did retire for about a year, we found it necessary for me to return to work.

At the meeting I filled out the little card , however it was not addressed.

I raised my hand to be shouted down by the manager and her Operations manager.

After the meeting I asked the new operations manger what his job was. He replied” I do not speak to people who have your attitude”.

I replied, Hey don’t you work for me , I am a home owner.” He replied “ I do not!” “I work for the board!”

Frankly I teach Fire classes to new firefighters and company officers in several states. We teach even rookie Firefighters that the public should always be referred to as CUSTOMERS.

My feelings are that the new staff’s attitude toward Homeowner’s and Lake Wildwood residents are in drastic need of improvement.

Lake Wildwood Staff is not in compliant with common sense , state law and the rights of our residents..

Motorcycle Ballot

Before you vote on the motorcycle ballot, you should consider the following:

The limitations on motorcycle activity are proposed as changes to the CC&Rs, not as “rules”, which can be changed by our Board. Therefore, it would take another Association vote to change them. Suppose it was desirable to extend the curfew from 12 -5 a.m. to 10 p.m- 6a.m.? That would take another Association vote. Association votes are costly and difficult to win.

They may sound good, but are the proposed motorcycle limitations really enforceable? For instance, as a practical matter, will, or even can, Security keep track of motorcycles in transit to ensure that they are only going to or from the gate and to or from the owner’s residence as required? Think about it.

Finally, doesn’t the prohibition of more than two riders congregating somewhere, without prior approval, violate the first amendment to the U. S. Constitution which guarantees the right of people to peaceable assembly?

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