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This is a letter to a writer for the San Jose Mercury News. This person wrote an inflamatory letter that was prompted by the Redwood Shores Owners Association.

The Cult of Celebrity
March 2002

To: sneidorf@sjmercury.com Shawn Neidorf

I've read your article about noise and traffic issues concerning the church in Redwood Shores and I find a few things interesting.

Unfortunately it appears that the Redwood Shores Owners Association and Redwood Shores Homeowners Association are attempting to spin information in their favor and you have become their pawn.

You should know that the Redwood Shores Owners Association is basically an ad-hoc committee of unduly elected 'officials' that have not been able to achieve a quorrum at their annual meetings for years. Ask them. Ask them what percentage of residents actually showed up for the last annual meeting.

I went to that meeting out of curiosity, although I didn't stay. First you should know that Redwood Shores has a very nice community center, anyone in the community can reserve and sometimes pay for rooms to meet. The largest of the rooms will hold about 3 or 4 hundred people. Quite a few.

Every year the Owners Association sends out notices of the Annual Meeting. The meeting is held at a local hotel, presumably in the ballroom there, and presumably because the large group of people in attendance will not fit in the large meeting room at the Community Center.

So last year I drive up to the hotel on the night of the big event and amazingly enough I can't find a parking space at the hotel. I'm thinking, "Wow, they have quite a turn out." My wife and I who have lived in the Shores for 7 years now, (and never entended these meetings). We approach the ball room in the hotel and it is hoppin'. There is a large group of people congregating and enjoying each others company. We approach what appears to be a reception area and the woman sitting behind the table looks at me quizically and asks if she can help me. I say, "Yes we are here for the meeting."

She says, "Really, are you a "Daughter of the American Revolution" (actually I can't remember the name of the organization but there was some gender-specific comedy involved in it).

I said, "no, we are here for the Redwood Shores Owners Association Annual Meeting"

"Oh, that's upstairs in meeting room 4"


I can't understand why it is not in the big ball room, I've been in the meeting rooms and they are TINY!!! So we walk up stairs and I poke my head in the room and sure enough, there is only about 20-40 people in this room MAX.

I am confused and I walk out, (but I'm sure I was in the right room because I recognize the people that are officiating the meeting). Why would they have their meeting HERE, at, what I would assume is great cost when they CLEARLY do not have enough people to overflow the capacity of the FREE community center? Is it an image thing? Do they want the public to THINK a lot of people show up at these meetings? I'm not sure but it is an interesting question, dont' you think?

After doing a little asking around I find out that this group of individuals has been re-electing each other into positions for years because of a total lack of interest of the people that live in Redwood Shores. They have not achieved a quorum, needed to hold a valid vote for years BUT the organization continues under some obscure or non-existent "executive order", so that they can keep flaunting themselves around like they are much more important then they really are.

I would also ask you to look into the symbiotic relationship between the Redwood Shores Owners Association and the Redwood Shores HOME Owners Association. How many people share positions on each board and executive appointments?

It is odd that the Redwood Shores Owners Association is still bringing up the questions of parking, noise and traffic AFTER they required the church, at GREAT expense, to perform an Environmental Impact Report.

If you read the Environmental Impact Report, which I have, you see that after much, and very exhaustive testing that there was found to be a "less then significant impact" on the community if, and I stress "IF" the church is ever to build another building on the property at Radio Rd. Furthermore the Environmental Impact Report is very clear in saying that there would be a "less then significant" impact on parking, a "less then significant" impact on traffic, and a "less then significant" impact on noise. (I'm not a mathmatician but I would say "less then significant" is a pretty small amount, wouldn't you?)

AND yet... even after reading this report, someone felt it necessary to contact the San Jose Mercury and encourage you to write a story about an issue that has been discussed, and researched , and debated to DEATH.

In actuallity the only reason that the church even submitted plans for a FUTURE building is that the Redwood Shores Owners Assocation DEMANDED that the church submit what is known as a Specific Plan. In a nutshell what that means is that the church must disclose any project at all that they MAY one day wish to build. With a healthy dose of stress on the word 'MAY'.

There is a phenominon in our culture that is frightening. I call it the "Cult of Celebrity". That may not be the best name for it so I will explain. When a pop star wears a low riding jeans suddenly all of our children want to flock to the mall to buy them. When a person hears something on TV they assume it is true. When we see someone stand behind a microphone and speak to people we assume that what they are saying has been checked out and authenticated. And, most importantly, when we read something we believe it to be correct.

You must understand by now that there are MANY people who will read your artical and assume it be to be true, authenticated, and correct. If it is not, then there will be a whole slew of people that will be mislead.

Chris Fenwick
Director/Lead Designer
Broadcast Business Graphics