Tuesday, July 29, 2008

What would Laura Roslin do?

(posted by Bill)

Many folks know that I am a huge fan of Battlestar Galactica. While I don’t fancy myself as a true scifi geek, I find my favorite show extremely compelling (I was also a fan of the disco-era influenced original, starring Lorne Greene). For those who haven’t watched the dark, re-imagined new series, it uses human drama as the key, and technology takes a backseat to the story. For the uninitiated, “The Twelve Colonies of Kobol” are all but wiped out in a sneak nuclear attack by the "Cylons". Secretary of Education Laura Roslin, on her way back from a decommissioning ceremony aboard the “old-school” Galactica (think USS Missouri), finds out that she is the ranking official left in line (#43 in the succession order) for the presidency. She then rounds up survivors into a fleet protected by the Galactica, and tries to head for the lost 13th colony: Earth.

(Hopefully, BSG sounds intriguing enough for you to watch the critically-acclaimed series from the beginning-even Shel is a huge fan, and we have the whole series on DVD).

Where is this going? Patience, please. Last year, we moved into this great little neighborhood on the lake. We can look out our front window, and see the lakefront.

We belong to the homeowner’s association, and our nominal yearly dues pay for common area upkeep, a picnic area and waterfront access. This is the only road within 10 miles where you can drive along the water’s edge.

Anyway, despite being sucked into a home renovation vortex that consumed almost nine months of my life, we’ve met some of our neighbors, who are very nice. Some folks stopped in on move-in day to welcome us, and invite us to the fall clambake. While in the middle of construction, the association president (an Eastlake cop. Boy, that grabs your attention when you see a patrol car pull in the driveway) stopped by to welcome us. So in May, when we got notice of the association’s annual meeting, I made sure to be a good neighbor and attend.

I found out a couple of things. Voter apathy is prevalent in the most basic of governing bodies. Out of 33 households on the street, just 11 attended. Also, as Lakeshore Blvd. bisects our little oval street into two "horsehoes", I found that there is a touch of North/South angst that has a bunch of history behind it, and some of the voting rules for trustee representation are affected by this. When a few long-time residents questioned some of the changes being voted on, there was a suggestion to go door-to-door to get a Yes/No/Abstain. I persuaded those folks to consider that the meeting was advertised well in advance, and that folks had an opportunity to vote in absentia as well. While I was careful to advise them of my legal background (none whatsoever), I gave my opinion that the voting semantics allowed a simple majority of those present at the meeting, not a majority of the street’s households. We eventually decided to vote and move on, in an effort to avoid such paralysis.

Fast forward a few weeks. A notice in our mailbox congratulated all the new association trustees, of which one of those listed happened to be me. That’s what I get for opening my mouth. Oh well, I‘m happy to help, and find out what happens in our little community.

I was actually looking forward to attending the first meeting last night. Once in the meeting was in session, we discussed the office of President. The rules dictate that the person receiving highest number of votes for the seven trustees makes that person the Chief Executive. After announcing the person with the highest votes, she declined to accept. Additionally, our runner-up said “no way” as well.

Gee, who do you think came in third?

I strolled into the house humming “Hail to the Chief”, to which Shel (hereafter known as “The First Lady”), asked, “What did you do?” She figured that I couldn't keep my mouth shut, and got into even more trouble. I figure that I couldn't have met more than a dozen of our neighbors, so it’s puzzling as to how I garnered the votes as an unknown person (unless it’s normal for them to say, “let’s drop this in the lap of the FNG**”).

I will wear the mantle of office with pride, and faithfully execute my duties to the best of my abilities. From what I gather, I’m sure that I will be able to keep track of requests for borrowing the association picnic tables, which seems to be one of my most important things for me to do. Otherwise, I plan on operating under the most Libertarian principles, (“That government is best which governs least”, alternatively known as "do no harm"). I may put up a Pinehurst website, with a schedule of events, contacts, and meeting minutes, to help bring us into the 21st Century, but that's about it.

However, there may be even more to the job than I currently know. I understand that Mike, our outgoing Prez will be dropping by with “The Book of Presidents”. I assume that is where the launch codes are kept.

Interestingly, Pat Franks’ Alas Babylon dealt with this same topic. A nuclear war takes place in the late 50’s, and the rules of presidential succession leave the Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare as the acting president. In the scheme of things, I guess you could interpret that the surviving United States was about as relevant as Paraguay.

Or a homeowner’s association.

* the " new guy"

1 comment:

Anonymous said...