The Spring Creek Association is looking for a new director to represent Tract 200 — also known as Vista Grande or “the mobile home section” – after Jim Jefferies was ousted by his fellow board members Monday night.
It’s an odd thing for an elected official to be removed by his or her colleagues instead of by voters, but “odd” is pretty much the status quo for politics in Spring Creek. The story of Jefferies’ rise and fall is a case in point.
He’s lived in Spring Creek probably longer than anyone. He had no apparent interest in politics until 2004 when he started a drive to abolish the association in favor of county control. The association wasn’t spending enough on road maintenance and snow removal in the mobile home section, he claimed.
He ran for the position of director several times – and once for county commissioner – all the while writing letters to the editor and attending public forums to espouse his views.
In January 2005, Jefferies wanted to place a sign on the community’s kiosk that said “Abolish the Spring Creek Association. County government only.” The association turned him down.
His persistence, however, finally paid off when he got elected by a narrow margin in 2015.
With his lengthy history of dissent, property owners must have known who they were voting for. At the time, Spring Creek was looking at the possibility of incorporating into a township – an idea that resonated with Jefferies after his early efforts to abolish the entity.
Many of his ideas resonated with fellow residents, as well. He wanted most of the association’s spending to be put toward roads and other infrastructure. He wanted amenities such as the Horse Palace to pay for themselves.
“I want to run our association as a business,” Jefferies often said.
He also had strong opinions about problems with the community’s privately owned water utility. Just before the 2015 election, he hosted his own forum to push for buying back Spring Creek’s water rights, going door-to-door and inviting residents to come to a town hall meeting.
Several residents complained that the meeting was not what they had expected, and at one point, some of them said they would walk out.
Jefferies also opposed a plan to build a new association headquarters as part of a community center including a new golf course clubhouse and restaurant. He believed the plan should be put before voters, likening the proposed facility to the Taj Mahal.
The long delayed improvement would go on to become a reality. And, still, Jefferies would go on to be elected.
In the months after his election, Jefferies generated enough resentment that the board decided to vote on a process for removing him. Why that was necessary isn’t clear, as removing a director had been tried a decade ago but failed when two of the other six board members refused to throw her out.
Like many issues in Spring Creek, that one was surrounded by fuzziness and peculiarities of the Twilight Zone type.
With Jefferies’ history, it was no surprise when he recently took up a campaign to have Tract 200 secede from the association. After all, he had circulated a petition in 2004 calling for disbanding the entire association, and spent years publicizing his radical opinions.
Monday’s special meeting to remove him was inevitable, based on violations of the board’s Code of Conduct. He signed the policy which says “Each individual director and the President shall serve in a manner that best serves the interests of the total membership of SCA and which causes SCA to develop a reputation for promoting good will within the SCA community which it serves.”
What does the board’s decision mean for the future?
Severing Tract 200 would be a necessary step if Spring Creek wanted to incorporate as a township, which must be geographically contiguous. But that’s not the direction it is going. The community is sticking together, for better or worse, and we hope it is for the better.
What about democracy?
Prior to his removal, Jefferies told the Elko Daily he plans to keep distributing the petition for Tract 200.
“If they do get me off the board, next election I can run again because I’m a property owner,” he said.
Even people who don’t like his ideas have to admire his persistence.