Meeting was held on Sunday, March 15, 2009

Meeting was held on Sunday, March 15, 2009


A regular meeting was held on Sunday, March 15, 2009 at the Cholla Community Center. The meeting was called to order at 9:00 AM by President Michael Dugan with the following members present: Lew Felton, Pete Pisciotta, Ken Goodin, Gene Court, Steve Lee, Tom Clark, Jim Niblack, Pat Sledge, Shirley McDonald, Gretchen Ellinger, Helen Dahlstrom, Mike Eagan, and Don Schmidlu, Delegate of Vigilance.

Absent: Bill Drake and Valente Cornejo, Mexican Representative.


The board had previously received minutes of the February 15, 2009 meeting. Mr. Dugan asked if there were any corrections or additions. There being none, he then asked for a motion to approve. Motion made, seconded and minutes approved.


Treasurer Helen Dahlstrom passed out the report showing income and expenditures through February 28, 2009. Mr. Dugan asked if there were any corrections or additions to the report. There being none, he then asked for a motion to approve. Motion made, seconded and report approved.


No membership report given to Treasurer.


Nothing to report.


Chairman Pat Sledge said he and Rick Dahlstrom were looking at the Palapa but that was as far as it went. He said he needed to get a toilet seat for the men’s bathroom. Mr. Sledge also reported he and Mr. Felton were going to work on the back storage area and the kitchen storage closet.


Mr. Dugan brought up the Voting and Eligibility procedure for Voting at the annual Meeting in April. Mr. Lee heads the Nominating Committee and is working on Proxies which will be in the Newsletter with instructions and voting procedures. Mr. Sledge wanted it clear that someone voting by Proxy can handle it in three ways. They can vote their choice, have it notarized, and write the name of the person voting their Proxy and give it to that individual to turn in at the (1)
General Meeting. If the person giving the proxy doesn’t wish to vote, the ballot should be left blank, have his signature notarized, and give it someone to vote their choice. The third alternative would be to sign and notarize the signature on the Proxy, do not vote, and mail it to the Vecinos where it would be checked for eligibility and passed out to someone who is not voting a Proxy.

Mr. Dugan said people voting at the meeting will have a green ballot and the Proxy ballots will be white.

There will be no voting until after the meeting due to issues being discussed in the meeting that could change how people want to vote.


Chairman Gretchen Ellinger passed out a sheet showing she had ordered six 3×6 beach signs and one for the launch area. All are galvanized aluminum, guaranteed for 1 year but their actual life is 5 years. Cost of the signs is $l,707, installed.

The beach signs are red and green on white with both English and Spanish: Welcome to La Choya, Enjoy the Beach, Use Trash Cans, No Motorized Vehicles, No Fireworks, No Access to Porches & Patios, No Camping, Closed at 10 P.M. One installed at Tucson Beach and one other but location not known. A suggestion was made that the emergency phone number and the local police number be added to the other signs since they are not made yet, and Ms. Ellinger will check with the fabricator.

The sign for the launch area says NO SWIMMING, BOATS & LAUNCHERS ONLY in both languages but Ms. Ellinger said she is not sure where to put it. The Board suggested she talk to Villa for his suggestions regarding placement.

Ms. Ellinger asked for help with water for the installation of all the signs. Mr. Dugan gave her suggestions on what to do so water would be supplied.

Ms. Ellinger said she had a conversation with Toto and he told her when the signs are up they will definitely enforce them.

Placement of portable toilets was delayed till the week of March 23. Cost will be $57 per month per toilet, emptied and cleaned weekly. Cleaning will be required daily during Semana Santa and probably twice weekly during April and May. She did not know additional fees at the time of the meeting. Ms. Ellinger thinks there might be some assistance from Puerto Penasco during Semana Santa. She wanted to thank Ramon Perez for his help in this project.

She said the planned porta potty and garbage can for the estuary area wasn’t placed at the request of Benjy Brown since some things are happening out there. She will be placing it in another area.

Due to her work on signs, porta potties, etc., she had nothing to report on garbage cans. Mr. Dugan said he and Mr. Arvizu both checked Penasco for cans and found none. Mr. Arvizu found some in Caborca, purchased them, and they are being readied for placement. He has the locks, cable and will begin installing security posts in the chosen areas.

Mr. Clark will be bringing 8 cans that can be used as garbage cans for people needing one.

Ms. Ellinger reported that the UofA Environmental Club cancelled their Spring Clean-up trip.
Heather Green was interested and there was discussion about Cedo helping as well as Vecinos members and going ahead fir the clean-up. It would be after Semana Santa and Ms. Ellinger was told to proceed with seeing if there was enough interest to proceed.


Chairman Pete Pisciotta said he has been working with Bengy on email requests from people reguesting attention to road problems and has replaced a few signs. Other than that, he doesn’t have much to report.


Chairman Gene Court said he contacted the UofA asking their help in why plants and trees are not progressing in growth. The answer was that there is Salt in the ground and is at least a foot deep if not deeper. Mr. Court is trying a new product on the market which breaks down salt and will also be using a special fertilizer, too. The trees are getting a good watering now and are looking better

Ms. Dahlstrom said she had the bollards that were needed to complete the park fence.

Ms. McDonald reported a soccer tournament in the park and there were a couple hundred people there for the event.


Chairman Jim Niblack reported he is getting comments from the community in welcoming the increased police participation. He said that is happening because more interest is being shown to the police by having meetings with them and fixing up their work environment. He encouraged everyone to stop by the station, say hello, ask how everything is going and let them know they are important to us and we are committed to their success.

He also reported a planned meeting with the developer about securing all of Cholla and ask for some boulders to be dropped to keep entry and exit from Pinto Point area. He also asked from input from everyone regarding closing off some of the streets into and out of Borracho Flats and possibly the installation of a camera. There was a discussion and it was not well received by some, especially anyone living in that area. The Board felt it would be necessary to go house to house to show people what would be done and would take a couple of years since people aren’t

there all the time.
Ms. Ellinger asked if anything was on the agenda for a different police station. She was told the present station will always be there. Ms. McDonald reminded the board that the area south of the road from the storage yard around to near the police station is a planned subdivision that will be closed off by a wall. When that is done, the Vecinos would only have to close off the beach and estuary area to secure that part of Cholla and a gate would be more feasible at that time. Mr. Pisciotta looked into that idea in the past with a budget and proposal for a police station there but the board felt it was too expensive.

There was a long discussion about dirt moved to close off the estuary area and what was being done there and the possibility that it would help secure the flats.

Mr. Niblack said he was meeting with the police about them to contracting two rent-a-cops. He said the financial liability would be $300 per week for two individuals for 3 weeks mainly for the Semana Santa. It would allow the regular police to continue their routine while the temporary police will man the check point and have a presence on the beaches to talk to people.

Mr. Dugan asked if anyone on the Board or in the audience had an old, but useable, quad
that the auxiliary police would be able to use to go from beach to beach or around the streets. . On foot, it will take quite a while to walk the beaches.


Nothing to report.


Mr. Dugan reported that the water is usually flowing pretty good now. Mr. Felton said he saw in the Spanish paper that a big tank is planned for Whale Hill which would help with the pressure in town but probably won’t make any difference to Cholla water since it tees off on the other side of town.

Mr. Niblack asked about the overall summary of finances in regard to the water concession. Mr. Dugan said we are coming up on a year in May and the money has been put into a reserve. He said by the end of a year, the Vecinos will recoup in savings what was paid for the water concession. He said there were some other discussions he had with Bengy Brown about seeing if we could do something about water and sewer in getting it started. The board’s concensus was it would be a hard sell to members, especially since the Company elected not to get it started during good times and when there is no money, they want the Vecinos to get involved. It was felt most of the members would say they are fine and have already paid for water and sewer.


Ms. Ellinger again addressed the dirt now closing off the estuary area east of the Company’s

equipment yard. Mr. Dugan warned the conversation has no substance since it is a he-said, she-
said type of information which does not actually affect the Vecinos, since that area is not part of Cholla, but the outcome could impact on Cholla.

Ms. Ellinger said she was told by Bengy Brown that a group of fishermen applied for and received a Federal Zone Concession at the east end of the Estuary and the Company has hired an attorney to get it turned around on the grounds that the Company’s application for the use of the Federal Zone was denied due to environmental concerns. According to Bengy, the fisherman intend to have a private parking area, palapas, and concessions selling shrimp, fish, etc. and charge admission to get in. The dirt was moved in by the group of fishermen who got this concession. Bengy said he hopes and believes that all activity has been ordered ceased until the ruling has been made on the environmental impact on the whole thing.

If the group prevails and continues with their plans, they are planning to charge $5 to enter and since the board didn’t believe the Mexicans will pay that amount, they will then drive into Cholla overloading those beaches since the Estuary Beach is no longer available to them. Borracho Flats will get a ton of people and both problems will definitely impact Cholla in a negtative way.

There was a discussion about Gus Brown giving property to the Mexican people in Borracho Flats many years ago.

Ms. Ellinger thought with what had been discussed, it was time to talk again about moving the entry to Cholla out by the storage yard and that with dirt on the beach would secure Cholla. She said the Vecinos have money and should take advantage of securing Cholla by asking for more discounts on the price previously presented by the Company.

Mr. Sledge said the Vecinos do not have money to spend on every operating expense that comes along. The reserves are for capital opportunities such as security, but there needs to be a plan/means of rebuilding the reserve which is something we do not have in place now.

Mr. Dugan said he would be in Cholla for a couple of months and he would re-approach Bengy about the entire concept and ask if they would donate property to the Vecinos or the City for a police station and find out his thoughts on protection from some area out there to some area in here that would stop traffic. The present police station would continue to function because it is the City of Penasco’s Police Department. There was more discussion but about the same consequence. Nothing much was decided. It was suggested that it be brought up at the General Meeting and get a feeling from those in attendance and make it known, it will cost money. Mr. Niblack was asked to get figures together for that item.

Someone asked if the Vecinos could apply for a concession for Tucson Beach. Ms. Ellinger said she didn’t know a reason that they couldn’t. Mr. Dugan said if the group at the Estuary could do it and control the beach, why not the Vecinos. He told of all the stories from homeowners around the beaches are continually complaining about people camping, etc. Ms.

Ellinger said his chance of getting a concession could depend on who owns the surrounding property.

Ms. Ellinger asked that the Board re-visit the motion of securing all of Cholla out by the Equipment Yard and ask Mike to get with the Company to see what could be worked out.
Motion seconded and approved.


Mr. Dugan asked if every Committee Chairman had submitted to the Budget Committee their proposals for the upcoming budget? Treasurer said she was missing Security only.

Mr. Felton said he had planned a Newsletter after the last meeting and people didn’t get their information to him on time. He said he had to get one out with all the necessary information 30 days prior to the General Meeting and he needed everyone to get their information to him.

Mr. Dugan said the Budget Committee would get the information from every Chairman and get the information on the Final Budget to Mr. Felton by email.

Mr. Dugan again visited the two fire truck issue. A sale to someone was discussed at the last meeting. He wanted to know what the board wanted to do with the red tanker. The concensus was to sell it if possible since it doesn’t seem to run. The options are to fix it or donate it to the city because it will just sit there. Mr. Sledge moved that the truck be donated to the City. Motion seconded and approved.

There being no further business to discuss, Mr. Dugan asked for a motion to adjourn. Motion made, seconded and meeting adjourned at 10:45 AM.


Mr. Peterson said the Yellow Fire Truck has a leaky valve and doesn’t have any water in it and no one has done anything about it. He said the valve just needs a little bit of work on it and it will be okay. He also said the City Engineer told him if there was a contractor working in Cholla and leaves construction debris, he would have them clean it up.

Mr. Wyatt wanted the Rhinos and other vehicles stopped from getting on the beach. Different things have been tried to keep vehicles off the beach and they have been moved or driven over.. There was a long discussion about how to stop the traffic.

Ray Flinn thanked the Board for the good job they are doing but had a list that he wanted them to do. One was to change street names, get rid of abandoned utility poles that are all over town, and wants more speed signs over Cholla,


Respectfully submitted,


Shirley McDonald, Secretary


Saturday, April 25, 2009 9:00 AM General Meeting Doors open at 8:00 AM
Sunday, April 26, 2009 9:00 AM
Sunday, May 10, 2009 9:00 AM
Sunday, June 14, 2009 9:00 AM