Plans by the Sand Canyon Homeowners Association to share an email list of its members with the local radio station as a way of alerting them to emergencies such as brush fires, have been abandoned due to privacy concerns.
Last week HOA members voted on what has become a controversial issue for some – the sharing of the HOA email list with the local radio station KHTS.
The vote taken Aug. 2 was evenly split, said Ruthann Levison, the SCHOA’s communication director who spearheaded the efforts to put their emails on a list to be used for alerts issued about emergencies such as brush fires.
“This whole thing got totally out of hand,” she said, referring to growing controversy surrounding the “opt out” plan to share the list with KHTS.
“We were trying to do something for the benefit of the community,” she said, noting the plan became more trouble than it’s worth.
“This was a superbly large tempest in a teapot,” Levison said.
Levison pointed out, however, that even if the vote was not split and had tipped in favor of the plan, the HOA board would not have put the plan in motion.
“The board decided that “opting in” is the best way to go,” she said.
Last month, the SCHOA board agreed to share its 900-member HOA email list with KHTS radio station, giving its members an opportunity to “opt out” if they wanted but not give them an opportunity to “opt in.”
“The board felt this was going to be an enhancement to the community,” Levison told The Signal before last week’s vote was taken. “The reason was made to turn over all the email addresses is that it will get the majority of the community on board.”
The alternative – inviting members to “opt in” for inclusion on such an email blast list – would not be comprehensive, she said, noting she would expect about 20 percent of the membership to sign up if it was left up to them.
In the end, the board opted for the ‘opt in’ method of getting HOA members included on the email blast list.
As the debate over privacy versus safety grew, more and more residents contacted The Signal to voice their concerns over privacy.
One “Sand Canyon resident” who wrote such a letter said they were: “appalled the SCHOA’s decision to release my person information to the radio station KHTS. I have checked the legality of this and from what I have gathered they are in violation of the law and cannot as a board make the decision to release any information about residents or members without their consent. This notification cannot come in the form of an ‘opt out.’”
Levison maintains her intentions were good with the safety of HOA members in mind.
“We’re all family members here,” she said Friday.
“Now we’re just going to encourage everybody to sign up and opt in and not be complacent,” she said.
Editor’s note: This story first published in The Signal newspaper edition on Saturday, August 12, 2017.
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