Fresh Faces Bringing New Ideas to Sharpstown Civic Association

Fresh Faces Bringing New Ideas to Sharpstown Civic Association
New SCA director candidate Sharon Galloway introduces herself to members at the October 26 SCA meeting.

They’re in charge of enforcing the 1950s-era rules about what you can and can’t do with your house. They pay S.E.A.L. Security to patrol your neighborhood. They hire Cypress Creek Pest Control to spray the streets for mosquitoes.

True, you can own or rent a home in Sharpstown without paying much attention to the Sharpstown Civic Association. But they influence your life whether you know it or not.

For the past several years, the same core group has been running the SCA board. But several first-time board members were elected last year, and it’s set to happen again.

This Thursday, November 16, SCA members will gather for a Thanksgiving dinner and election in Bayland Community Center.

The election is now uncontested after secretary candidate Annie Love dropped out of the race (although each candidate still needs to receive at least one vote). But the election is still set to bring changes to the SCA.

Per member requests, this is the first time the SCA is allowing early voting. In the past, all voting has taken place within one hour, after dark, when some members prefer not to drive. This time, members can vote early at Bayland from 3:00-6:30 PM, or wait to vote until the meal is served at 6:30 (voting ends at 7:30).

The director candidate lineup includes five new faces: Sydney Bumpass, Mario Pinheiro, Mike Marshall, Sharon Galloway, and Anne Wilburn. (Wilburn is also the sole candidate running for secretary.) Some of these candidates have shared ideas for making Sharpstown a better place to live.

At October’s SCA meeting, Bumpass suggested “less whining” about neighbors and more helping: “If there’s a neighbor that needs their yard edged, let’s just go do it. I’m guessing there’s a little bit of an elderly component or something’s going on. I grew up in this hood. We took care of each other. So I would like to see that come back a little bit.”

Galloway said she’d like to use her experience in marketing, brand awareness, and social media to combat the local “stigma” against the neighborhood and “get the good name of Sharpstown out there in the community.”

Wilburn wants to boost the reputation and membership of the Civic Association through better transparency, accountability, and communication. In a phone interview, Wilburn said she worked for the Better Business Bureau helping nonprofits meet twenty accountability standards to become BBB-accredited.

The SCA is a different kind of nonprofit, driven by membership dues rather than donations, but Wilburn says that most of the BBB standards could still apply, and that meeting the standards could "convince more people to join" the SCA.

In addition, in a newcomer-filled neighborhood as diverse as Sharpstown, Wilburn believes the Civic Association should be educating people more about deed restrictions: “Think about if somebody comes from Mexico… They work hard and save their money and buy their first house… And then here’s this organization out of the blue that comes out and says, ‘Yeah, we have rules about what you can do with it.’” Wilburn thinks it's important to explain the "why" of deed restrictions, not just the "what."

Wilburn also wants to prioritize updating the website, which has “old, irrelevant, and missing” information.

For example, the SCA board published a proposed revision of the bylaws on the website so that general members could review them before voting on them this August. The membership voted the bylaw changes down, but three months later, the proposed bylaws are still posted on the “Governance” page of the website—without any clarification that they are not the actual bylaws.

Of course, keeping meeting minutes would be Wilburn’s main responsibility as secretary. She says she wants to "capture more of the main points in the discussion" than current minutes do: "Ten years from now, somebody who didn't know anything about the Civic association or the board or who was on the board...should be able to read the meeting minutes and understand what was discussed, what was decided."

After the election, new board members will be required to follow board policies, potentially including a new code of ethics that the current board will vote on at the December meeting.

Here are some of the highlights from the proposed code:

  • Requires board members to conduct “open, fair and well-publicized elections.”
  • Requires all board members to “speak with one voice,” supporting the decisions of the board whether or not they agree with them.
  • Prohibits board members from making “accusations and/or disparaging remarks” about the board on social media.
Proposed SCA code of ethics, from a handout passed out by Matt Wine at the November 13 SCA board meeting

The potluck at Bayland Community Center (6:30 PM on 11/16/23) will include turkey and ham provided by the SCA, along with any side dishes or desserts that members choose to bring. It will be the last general membership meeting of 2023.

Only dues-paying members can vote, but according to the SCA, "All residents of Sharpstown are welcome" to join the feast.