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VMs Elect Two Newcomers to WCA Board

The 26 Westchase Voting Members (VMs) who cast ballots at the WCA’s annual meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 8, reelected a board veteran and chose two new directors to join the board.

Reelected to the Westchase Community Association (WCA) Board was Greens resident Joaquin Arrillaga. Joining him in filling out the three open seats were Berkeley Square’s Brittany Riefler and Woodbridge’s Rick Goldstein. The directors serve terms of two years.

Arrillaga currently serves as the WCA Board president but the newly constituted board will choose its officers at their Sept. 10 organizational meeting.

WCA Director Keith Heinemann, who chaired the Nominating Committee charged with running the election, began by thanking other VMs who had helped with the process – Carlos Quiros (Villas of West Park Village), Ruben Collazo (The Shires) and Bill Dennis (Chelmsford), who served as the night’s time keeper. Heinemann said “We have outstanding candidates. The only downside is that at the end of the night, a few won’t be elected, but I prefer good competition.”

The six candidates vying for the three seats were Arrillaga; Russell Crooks, Bennington’s alternate VM; Goldstein, the president of the Villas of Woodbridge Homeowners Association; Charles (Chuck) Hoppe, Radcliffe’s alternate VM; Ed Kelly, The Vineyards VM, and Riefler.

While Arrillaga, Goldstein. Hoppe and Riefler had previously announced their candidacies, Bridges VM Cynde Mercer withdrew her name from consideration prior to the election. Kelly threw his hat into the ring during open nominations and Crooks was nominated by Bennington VM Jeanne Klimschot from the floor.

Each candidate was then given two minutes for introductory remarks. Kelly explained that he had not submitted his name earlier as he was out of town. He explained that he had only lived in Westchase for three years but cited experience serving on various boards, including his church’s parish counsel. He also served as chairman for a fundraising committee.

Goldstein stated he was the current president of the Woodbridge Villas Homeowners Association and, as its first president in years prior, he had helped shape that association. He said he tends to be a person that people go to when seeking solutions to problems. He added that he is now retired and wanted to devote his skills and time to preserving the Westchase lifestyle.

Stating she knew Westchase well, Riefler stated she was born, raised and attended college in the Tampa area. She spoke of loving the community and cited her background in parks and recreation and government work as sparking her desire to be involved. She added that, if elected, she would be the only female on the board. Observing she was also younger than the other candidates, she stated it would allow her to offer different points of view.

Hoppe said he had lived in Westchase for almost 19 years and had volunteered a great deal in the community. He said he started Boy Scout Pack 46 and has been very involved with kids.

Crooks explained that he had been a resident since 1993 and served on the predecessor of the WCA Board when the community was still under developer control. A retired naval officer with a degree in economics, Crooks expressed concern with traffic, especially on Linebaugh during rush hour.

Arrillaga was the last candidate to provide an introduction. He thanked the group for their trust in him in the past few years and said he wanted to run for another term because there were still some unfinished projects in which he wanted to remain involved.  He also spoke of successes with lowering assessments, enforcing the documents and achieving transparency.

VMs submitted questions and the Nominating Committee chose three to ask each candidate:

1) What have you done to familiarize yourself with the WCA?
2) What do you view the role of the WCA Director as being and what skills or experiences do you have that would make you an effective director?
3) What is your stand on the proposed half cent sales transit tax increase and its impact on Westchase?

All candidates responded to first question by stating they had read the governing documents, with Arrillaga illustrating he possessed the greatest experience in his roles on the Documents Review Committee and his six years on the board. 

All candidates also replied similarly to the second question, noting good listening skills and the importance of representing their community. Kelly also voiced support for light rail and the importance of attending the county’s transportation meetings.

All candidates also supported the half cent tax increase with Riefler adding, “I know everybody hates taxes but a big thing is fixing the holes in the road. I would rather pay the half cent instead of buying new tires for my car. All of the small increments will better our community in the long run.”

Closing remarks were then given by each candidate. Arrillaga reviewed his experiences and cited the importance of the board getting “back to basics.” Crooks described how his military and early board experience would help him contribute.  Hoppe talked about wanting more police officers monitoring speeding on Linebaugh Avenue.

Riefler concluded by saying, “I think I can bring a different point of view. I want to maintain what we have but bring something new to the community.”

Goldstein closed by speaking of his problem-solving skills.

When VMs subsequently cast their ballots, Arrillaga, Riefler and Goldstein won a plurality, with Goldstein edging Crooks and Hoppe by a single vote. The vote tally appears below.

VMs adjourned at 8:35 p.m.

WCA Board Election Results

Neighborhood

 

Arrillaga

 

Goldstein

 

Hoppe

  

Reifler

 

Crooks

 

 

Kelly

 

Abbotsford

X

 

 

X

X

 

Arlington Park –  NO VM

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bennington

X

X

 

 

X

 

Berkeley Square

 

 

X

X

 

X

Brentford

X

X

 

X

 

 

The Bridges

 

 

X

X

X

 

Castleford

X

 

 

X

X

 

Chelmsford

X

X

 

X

 

 

Classic Townhomes  (VM Absent)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enclave –  NO VM

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glencliff

X

 

X

X

 

 

Glenfield  (VM Absent)

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Greens

X

 

X

 

X

 

Harbor Links/The Estates

X

X

X

 

 

 

Keswick Forest

X

X

 

X

 

 

Kingsford

X

X

 

 

X

 

Radcliffe

X

X

X

 

 

 

Saville Rowe

X

 

X

 

X

 

The Shires

X

X

 

X

 

 

Single Family Homes of WPV

X

 

X

X

 

 

Stamford

X

 

 

X

X

 

Stockbridge

X

 

X

X

 

 

Townhomes of WPV

X

X

X

 

 

 

Traditional TH’s of WPV (AM Absent)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Village Green

X

 

X

 

X

 

Villas of WPV

X

X

 

 

X

 

Villas of Woodbridge

 

X

 

 

 

 

The Vineyards

X

 

X

 

 

X

Woodbay

 

 

 

X

X

X

Worthington

X

X

 

X

 

 

Wycliff

X

X

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Totals

22

13

12

14

12

3

Note: Each VM was permitted to vote for up to three candidates with cumulative voting not permitted. The letter X constitutes a vote.

Posted: 9 Sept 2015

Editor's note: The original introduction to this article has been slightly edited. The original post incorrectly listed Director Riefler's first name. It has been corrected above. WOW's editor regrets the error.

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