In a decision that one of our editors finds “disgusting”, none of The Sea Ranch Reader editors were selected to fill the vacant The Sea Ranch Association (TSRA) board seat left behind by Michael Kleeman. In fact, we weren’t considered. In what can only be described as a “divisive power play” (our words), the TSRA board didn’t even include our letter of intent in their agenda.
Many Sea Ranchers were disturbed by the meeting last weekend, especially how a 3rd place candidate (out of some absurd number like 9) that narrowly lost was not considered seriously for the vacant seat. Many were also upset by a new 5-2 super majority of board members that don’t care about “preserving the redwoods” (not our words).
We found the board meeting disturbing for another, completely different reason: the four board members who voted in favor of the new replacement, as well as the replacement, had the worst Zoom backgrounds of anyone who participated in the August 13th meeting.
It’s not that we don’t care about preserving the natural beauty of The Sea Ranch, as the dissenting directors repeated during the meeting. We do care. We just prefer the artificial natural beauty that was so well articulated by our founding landscape architect, Lawrence Halprin. For example, one of his most famous sketches of The Sea Ranch includes open meadows across most of the property, save a few strips of hedgerows on the west side of highway 1 and a dense redwood forest on the ridge to the east of highway 1.
That’s the sort of natural we can get behind, with expansive views and sunlight for most, and forest cover for the rest of us who favor living like elves, foraging the forest floor for sustenance, practicing white magic, and cooking newts and toadstools in their cauldrons for dinner guests.
And please don’t mistake us as anti-environmentalists. We root for Andreas Malm and his friends who say property does not stand above the Earth. We just won’t go as far as Andreas would. Letting air out of our neighbor’s SUV’s tires, for one, is out of the question. As is letting trees grow in those meadows that Halprin drew ginormous eyeballs on.
So let’s get back those problematic Zoom backgrounds that should give the entire membership serious pause.
We want to preface our statements about the problematic Zoom backgrounds with two points. First, there probably isn’t any correlation between taste and your ability to be an effective and successful member of the board. We just noticed a correlation between the quality of their backgrounds and their politics.
Second, as one board director said during the meeting, “praise in public, and critique in private.” So here is a little bit of positive praise for the two dissenting directors and their favored applicant:
1) The applicant had a digital photo background (we think) of their Sea Ranch home’s walls or ceiling. We learned from one director, during the meeting, that this applicant’s home was either designed or re-designed through consultation with William Turnbull. So it’s safe to assume that the wall or ceiling in question is pretty dope.
2) One of the dissenting directors was in the loft or living room of their The Sea Ranch home, which has the 60s or 70s interior vernacular of the time. Not only was the light in the room very pleasant, the room also featured at least two guitars and a music stand with sheet music and all. The overall effect was that of someone who has at least passing familiarity with the arts.
3) The other dissenting director’s background was books. Maybe a photo of books, but it was their books. An actual wall of sun-kissed hardcover books. Mostly classics.
We congratulate the new interim board member and the four directors that selected you. But please consider this advice during upcoming board meetings: get a photo of something at the Sea Ranch that either looks very nice or is instantly recognizable to the membership. That could be the interior of your home (or someone else’s nicer home), a beach, some trees (from a reasonable distance… no close ups of trunks), the inside of a Moonraker or Ohlson rec center saunas, or the back of a TSRA security vehicle.
And if you are going to use your actual background as your background, please include cultural artifacts that show you’re on the level and “get it”. This could be a drafting table or easel, framed drawings, paintings or non-landscape prints on your walls. It could also be instruments, books, records, certain sculptures, life-size wax statues of founding Sea Ranchers, your family getting really upset over a game of Jenga, or all of those ugly clocks you’ve been stealing from Moonraker pool. Whatever makes you seem just a little bit more like the rest of us.
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