My name is Carl Silva and since becoming President of the United Portuguese S.E.S., Inc. for 2014, I have focused on several issues, especially those that were of great concern to those present at this year’s annual Contas meeting, January 26, 2014. Those issues have been addressed as follows:
The Hall Website is a valuable asset of the Hall that incurred significant investment to establish. It is a one-stop location for much information regarding UPSES, Inc. in general, the Hall itself, and Festa and community related activities. Unfortunately it had not consistently been kept current. As of now, however, it is up to date and new content has been added and more is being planned;
I established a Marketing and Fundraising Committee whose purpose, among other things, is to organize the marketing and accountability of tiles for Our Heritage Walk of Faith in front of the Hall. An accounting of the tiles sold over the years with regard to tiles actually installed has been called for as well as a marketing plan to accelerate the sale of the tiles;
The Marketing and Fundraising Committee has also been charged with creating a plan to utilize the marketing materials that was invested in over a year ago in order to increase revenues to the Hall for maintenance and replacement of equipment;
Monies received on the lease to Sprint PCS for placing their antennas on the Hall roof was stated to be used to pay down the debt of the properties owned by UPSES across the street from the Hall. After significant research, it was discovered that the lease payments were in fact to be used to pay off a small improvement loan. The loan was paid some time ago. It has now been established that the monies now received from Sprint will be used to pay down the principal of the loan on the properties. Action was taken by the Board of Directors at the February 2014 meeting to institute this policy;
The securities investment that was for many years under the supervision of Charles Schwab had been underperforming due to changes in the bond market, interest rates, and an outdated investment strategy. The Board of Directors approved the transfer of supervision of our invested funds to UBS, a large investment banker, who provides consistent consulting and offers a better investment strategy and extensive financial services;
The Board of Directors is making inquiries to the City of San Diego regarding handicapped parking directly in front of the Hall. The expectation is to have at least two spaces designated as handicapped only parking in the near future;
Board Member absences from monthly meetings was a particularly upsetting aspect of last year’s Board of Directors. And, in light of the lack of delineation between excused and unexcused absences, enforcement of the provision in the bylaws regarding absences became confusing. The President’s Management Committee will study and deliberate in order to recommend an amendment to the general assembly at the next Contas in 2015. In the meantime, the members of the Board of Directors have been made aware of the seriousness of excessive absences from monthly meetings and that abuses will be firmly dealt with;
The Bar Committee has taken measures to purchase wine bottle stoppers to be used in place of corks to ensure that opened and unfinished bottles of wine are capped with stoppers at all times.
The Hall is in need of constant repair and the daunting task is to keep it as presentable as possible in order that it properly represents the center of our proud Portuguese community. Repairs are not the only aspect that requires attention. Replacement of inefficient and outdated equipment has to be accomplished in order to minimize energy usage and provide our Festa and community organizations with a reliable and efficient bar, kitchen, and hall facility. Outside parties looking for locations to hold events need to be enticed to lease our facility and bring much needed revenue for repairs and equipment replacement. An appealing and well maintained facility is a must.
Two examples of items that need attention are the refrigeration in the bar for efficiency and less energy usage and installation of solar panels to provide energy for our own use and lessen costly usage from outside sources. These will be detailed further in a subsequent communication to the community.
Meanwhile, the Hall is building momentum towards our Festa 2014. There are the next two events. The BBQ is fast approaching on April 12th and then the big Fish Fry, April 30th, followed by Rosary Week and culminating with Festa do Espírito Santo, June 6th to 8th. The Festeiros have been energetic and are very capable in directing and managing what is to be another successful and fun filled Festa. Of course, I cannot forget all those who have and will volunteer to help out in all aspects of our celebration. From the kitchen cooks and helpers to those preparing the Hall and bazaar area and those helping in the parade to the different organizations and members who help in the bazaar. The ordeal is exhausting but well worth it.
Please contact me for any question or help you may need.
Carl Silva, President