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Important! Please Read!

September 1, 2014:  At a recent Town Hall Meeting on proposed modifications to the Emeritus Membership Category, some members have asked why the Board is involved in trying to make changes to Emeritus. I have been on the EYC Executive Board for four years. Three of those years we have been dealing with efforts to modify the Emeritus Membership Category. In every case, the Board has NOT initiated this effort. It has been an issue of debate and dispute between the members themselves.

 

Some want it eliminated because they feel the discount (25% of Voting Members’ dues) is too steep and feel the Club cannot afford it based on possible demographic trends.

Those defending Emeritus as it currently is composed believe it provides revenue to the Club while relieving Voting Member slots for new members.

Both are right and both are wrong – depending on what future you see for the Club.

The Board initially endorsed a proposal by a special committee of Past Commodores (called the EYC Emeritus Evolution – E3) that would, among other things, cap Emeritus at 10% of Voting Members , raise the eligibility requirement from 20 to 25 as a voting member and raise the dues from 25% of Voting Member dues to 60% of same.

By the time you read this, you will know what the Board finally decides to recommend, when we vote on it and why. That is not why I write at the moment. I write about something more important.

The discussion between members – despite pleadings from the Board – has been horrible. It is not the disagreement that is bad. No, that is perfectly acceptable as EYC members and it is a form of freedom of speech to which Americans are accustomed. The problem is the characterization of motive of your fellow members. 

  • Those who want to eliminate the Emeritus category have accused their fellow members of being only “motivated by money” or engaging in “Yacht Club welfare” without regard to the interests of the Club long term.
  • Those defending Emeritus have accused the Board of having a “secret agenda” and those wanting changes willing to “throw out old people”. Some Emeritus members have called for a new Board, insinuating that the current Board “does not listen or does not hear”.

All these characterizations do a disservice to your fellow members. It seems easier to malign the intent of those with whom one disagrees than to debate the merits of their arguments. One must understand that a debate can happen between people of good will. The debate we have had seems to suggest that everyone is acting in a selfish, duplicitous manner.

Perhaps such a state of affairs is reflective of our current political environment. We live in a time when nothing gets done, parties take radically divergent points of view and blame the stalemate on “the other guy”. Think of it as the result of cable news networks. Whether you watch Fox News or MSNBC, isn’t it better ratings to have people disagree and yell at each other? The problem is that it has given us a disproportionate sense of OUTRAGE. I come from an experience in politics when people of opposite sides of an argument would recognize that they can’t get every thing they want and come to some form of agreement with which they can live… Wow, isn’t that radical?

We will come to some resolution on the Emeritus Membership Category. The Board’s goal is to not eliminate it as some want. But the Board prefers to not have it look the same as it is now. We will move on from that disagreement which has done much to fuel distasteful characterizations of our fellow members. Why? Because we have much that needs to be done for the FUTURE of the Club and this argument must end.

There may be bad feelings at the end of the vote. But to quote my favorite President, let us appeal to “the better Angels of our Nature” and move on.

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