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VMs Elect Three to WCA Board

The Sept. 26 annual meeting of the Westchase Community Association (WCA), previously postponed due to Hurricane Irma, saw a seat change on the Westchase association’s governing body.

The annual meeting of the Westchase Voting Members (VMs), run by Nominating Committee Chair Keith Heinemann, saw five residents, including three board incumbents, throw their hats into the contest. Reelected to another two-year term were Greens resident Joaquin Arrillaga and Woodbridge resident Rick Goldstein. Joining them is newcomer Ashley Wait-Woodcock of The Bridges. The three will join four other existing members of the board.

Arrillaga, Goldstein and Wait-Woodcock were the top vote recipients in a contest that also included board incumbent Chuck Hoppe of Radcliffe and Bridges resident Basil Piazza.

Previously announced candidate Tom Hurter did not attend the election.

The five candidates in attendance made two-minute opening statements and a one-minute closing statement. They also fielded the same three questions offered by VMs.

Goldstein, who currently chairs the Government Affairs Committee (GAC) opened by stating, “Hurricane Irma changed my priorities.”

Goldstein stated he hoped to use a new term to address electrical grid improvements, stronger rules for securing construction site materials during storms, more consistent storm shelter policies, street parking, the GAC’s Oct. 17 planned transportation forum for Tampa Bay Next and ensuring Westchase has input on nearby construction projects.

Perhaps referring to the board’s all-male membership, Wait-Woodcock stated, “I hope to add a voice to the board.”

A Westchase mom and business owner who is involved in her children’s schools and sports leagues, she touted previous political experience in Tallahassee and stated she would strive “to make sure everyone is properly represented.”

Hoppe, a 21-year Westchase resident who filled a vacancy on the board, touted its service. “We’re there to serve the residents of Westchase,” he said. Hoppe also emphasized the care he personally took in hearing board appeals and serving as a steward of association funds, stating, “I think I take the time to analyze these issues.”

Arrillaga, a native of Puerto Rico, opened by thanking VMs for reaching out to him to inquire about the safety of his family still on the island. He also expressed condolences to Village Green VM Michael Turnbull for the recent passing of Village Green VM Bobbi Pitcher. Arrillaga touted his extensive experience across multiple WCA committees and his previous work as WCA president. “I want to continue working for Westchase,” he said.

A 12-year resident of Westchase, Piazza touted his military career and recent job overseeing grounds and facility maintenance and the hiring of vendors for that work. “I have an extensive educational background showing my experience in analysis,” he said. He closed with an anecdote about how he recently worked with two of his neighbors to split the cost of old and damaged fences rather than just assuming the fences were their responsibilities.

Candidates then individually fielded questions, with the other candidates waiting outside the Westchase Swim and Tennis Center while one spoke.

The candidates’ first question cited the recent 25th anniversary of Westchase and asked where they saw Westchase in its 50th year and how they thought the community should get there.

“We need to make sure we’re not hit by another hurricane,” said Goldstein. He added, “I see our community as a leading community.” He added that Westchase had to continue working and partnering with the county to protect Westchase’s quality of life.

“If we keep the same volunteers we have today,” observed Arrillaga, “we will still be a premier community in Tampa Bay.” He added, “I don’t see us being less than we are now.”

Of all five candidates, Hoppe was the only one to cite at least one of the three traditional responsibilities of the WCA Board, which are overseeing deed restriction enforcement, the property management company and the association’s swim, tennis and karate programs. He cited the WCA’s role in rule enforcement as being key to keeping Westchase’s quality of live through its fifth decade. “We have a very strong HOA,” he said. While he acknowledged some folks viewed it as strict, he added, “It helps keep property values up.”

Hoppe then joked he hoped the community would add a second Gasparilla krewe by its 50th anniversary.

“It’s definitely been a good, strong 25 years,” said Piazza. “We have a good foundation.” He added that staying on top of road projects and projects like the Tampa Bay Trail extension were important.

“I think Westchase is good all around for all walks of life,” said Wait-Woodcock, who added, “I’d like to see more community and team building.”

She added she hoped to see more social opportunities and positivity.

The second question asked candidates what skills or qualities they would bring to the board. 

Goldstein cited his career in management and academics. “Part of my biggest strength is my ability to negotiate,” he said, adding he worked well with neighbors.

“I guess leadership,” Arillaga responded. “I’ve been on the board for many years working in many capacities, including the presidency.” Arrillaga cited his successes, including helping to steer the association through the Great Recession, when assessment collections posed issues.

Hoppe cited his volunteer work with the Scouts and Westchase Thanksgiving Food Drive and his ability to analyze matters effectively. “I’m quite vocal,” he said. “I say what’s on my mind. I think that’s what I bring to the board.”

“I think I have good planning and organizational skills,” said Piazza. He cited his military background and work with the Army Corps of Engineers and added, “I think my attention to detail is a strong suit of mine.”

“I’m blessed with awesome parents,” said Wait-Woodcock, who cited their influence in shaping her. “I don’t lack confidence. I graduated college in three years.” Stating she has a lot to say, she added, “I don’t like hearing no. If I want something done, I’ll do it.”

The third question explored if candidates thought the WCA Board should invest resources and time into external politics, for example, county politics.

All the candidates responded similarly, citing the appropriateness of weighing in on matters regarding road construction, like the Citrus Park Drive extension, or nearby zoning issues, but they stated spending money or endorsing candidates would go too far. Observed Arrillaga, “That involvement and leadership is needed to protect Westchase in the county.”

Wait-Woodcock was the only who backed a more assertive role in certain cases. “If it’s something that benefits all the community and residents, I think the answer would be yes.”

When Wait-Woodcock pressed Heinemann for a specific example to address, Heinemann  declined (an example was not cited in the submitted question he read and identical questions are typically asked of all candidates).

The candidates then gave brief closing statements that largely reiterated previous talking points.

VMs then cast ballots, with each having the right to vote for up to three candidates. All voted for three except Bridges VM Cynde Mercer, who declined to vote for any of the five. When WOW asked why she didn’t cast votes on behalf of her neighborhood, Mercer responded, “I am not satisfied with the incumbents and the two new folks who showed up were not quite ready for board service, in my opinion.”  She stated that one candidate referred to the community in writing as West Chase and the other referred to the WCA as the Westchase area association. Mercer added, “I feel like they are good people, with good intentions for community service, but not yet aware enough of the details of the community and its governance.”

She added, “As for Bridges homeowners, I did not hear from a single homeowner as to how to vote, so I didn’t take that into consideration. My thoughts were that I really wanted to do what was best for Westchase, and that is what I did. I wasn’t intending to make a ‘statement’ by withholding my vote. I just didn’t feel like there were any good choices.”

When votes were tallied, Goldstein received 23 votes, Arrillaga 21 and Wait-Woodcock 17. Meanwhile Hoppe received 12 and Piazza received five. The top three vote recipients won seats on the board.

Heinemann concluded by thanking all who assisted with the election. He particularly thanked the five candidates for stepping forward and putting themselves through the election process.

In other matters, prior to the annual meeting, VMs held an abbreviated version of their monthly meeting. There the group unanimously voted in support of an amendment to Glencliff’s window guideline that would remove the need for the decorative metal muntin, glazing or sash bars on their home windows.

Please see below to learn how your VM cast his or her ballots.

Westchase Community Association
2017 Board of Directors Election Results

Neighborhood Name

 

Joaquin Arrillaga

 

Rick Goldstein

Thomas Hurter

 

Chuck Hoppe

       

Basil Piazza

Ashley Wait-Woodcock

 

 

    

Abbotsford

1

1

 

 

 

1

 

Arlington Park – (NO VM)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bennington  

1

1

 

 

1

 

 

Berkeley Square  (absent)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brentford

1

1

 

1

 

 

 

Bridges (withheld vote for all candidates)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Castleford  

1

1

 

 

 

1

 

Chelmsford

1

1

 

 

 

1

 

Classic Townhomes   

1

1

 

 

 

1

 

Enclave-    (NO VM)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glencliff

1

1

 

 

 

1

 

Glenfield  

1

1

 

 

 

1

 

Greens

1

1

 

 

1

 

 

Harbor Links/The Estates

1

1

 

 

 

1

 

Keswick Forest

1

1

 

 

 

1

 

Kingsford  

1

1

 

1

 

 

 

Radcliffe

1

1

 

1

 

 

 

Reserve @ WPV

 

1

 

1

 

1

 

Saville Rowe  (absent)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shires

1

1

 

1

 

 

 

Single Family Homes of WPV

1

 

 

1

 

1

 

Stamford

1

 

 

1

 

1

 

Stockbridge  

1

 

 

1

 

1

 

Townhomes of WPV

 

1

 

1

1

 

 

Traditional TH’s of WPV

 

1

 

 

1

1

 

Village Green

1

1

 

 

 

1

 

Villas of WPV

 

1

 

1

 

1

 

Villas of Woodbridge  

1

1

 

1

 

 

 

The Vineyards

1

1

 

1

 

 

 

Woodbay

 

1

 

 

1

1

 

Worthington

1

1

 

 

 

1

 

Wycliff  (absent)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Totals

21

23

 

12

5

17

 

 Note: Villages with no votes indicated did not have a VM or Alternate present at the meeting.

By Chris Barrett, Publisher

Posted Sept. 28, 2017

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