Who are YLPers? Why, all of us who call Yosemite Lakes Park our home. We’re more than an HOA, we are a community of people who love where we live!
More than just a place of majestic mountain views, YLP is people — individuals of all backgrounds and interests. In this series of periodic profiles, we hope to introduce you to many of these folks — to YLOA board members, to managers, to employees, to our valued volunteers and notable neighbors who share our 21 square miles of Sierra foothills. We hope you enjoy learning about these YLPers.
This week it’s Randy Sacks, a newly appointed member of the YLOA Board of Directors who moved to YLP from the Bay Area in 2017, looking for someplace more peaceful and closer to the mountains.
Tell us about where you grew up and what it was like.
Well you know, I’ve been in California all my life. I was born in Palo Alto (he’s now 66) and lived there until I was, I think about 5, and then my parents moved us to Los Altos Hills.
I went to high school in Palo Alto, College in Los Altos.
I grew up in a family of four kids. I’m the third. So I had an older brother and older sister and a younger brother and all of us are still close. My parents are actually still alive, getting up there in years.
My father spent most of his career in medical research, his early career was in aeronautics and fluid dynamics. But from there he went into blood flow research with Palo Alto Medical Foundation.
My mom was an administrator and she ended up as the director of the Packard Foundation for many years. So she was doing a lot of grant writing and fundraiser type stuff while serving on the board as well.
The Packard Foundation was set up by David Packard initially, one of the founding members of Hewlett-Packard. I think it was Bob Hewlett and Dave Packard. I could remember Dave Packard coming to our house for dinner several times. Both parents were well educated, had successful careers.
My oldest brother currently lives in Sedona, Arizona. My sister is the next oldest, she lives in Portola Valley. My younger brother lives in Seattle.
What was it like growing up in Palo Alto at that time?
There was a whole lot more open space, there really wasn’t any crime. So my parents didn’t have to worry when we took off on the bicycle and go see our friends and stuff. We rode all over the place on mini bikes which have a small gas engine. Not really a motorcycle, but that was awfully fun.
There was a lot of wildlife around, too, so it was interesting to see all the birds and deer and rabbits and all that stuff. Unlike growing up in a city now.
What were your interests as a youngster?
Certainly the mini bikes were a huge interest. The other one was slot cars. I don’t know if you remember those, not many people do anymore but we spent a lot of time at the slot car track and building cars and racing cars and was always interested in that.
But as I got older, you know your interests shift. I never thought I’d be a race car driver or anything. I always kind of figured I’d go to law school but after four years of college, I really didn’t want to do another three.
So I went to Gunn High School. It’s actually in Palo Alto, but I was living in Los Altos at the time and that’s where the district is. From there, I went to Foothill College, which was actually in Los Altos Hills where we lived, and from there to San Jose State.
So what was your area of study?
Originally political science and some pre-law stuff like business law, contract law.
(He earned a bachelor’s degree from San Jose State in political science, then certificates in business administration, business communications and marketing from DeAnza College).
After college, I got a job the summer before I finished at a printing company as a delivery driver and they asked me if I’d be interested in learning how to run a printing press and I said sure. So they taught me, then offered me a job, doing that for substantially more money and I did that for a while and it was okay. But it wasn’t something I was passionate about or anything.
But every time I tried to quit, they ended up throwing more money at me. So I ended up being there a few years. And from there, I went into management and eventually owning a printing company. I’m kind of still doing some of it, commercial printing.
Most of my clients are nonprofits. It used to be tech companies until 2000 and after that things changed and now most of the companies I work with are large nonprofits.
Artisan Printing Co. — I acquired it in 2003. Before that, I was vice president of a printing brokerage. A printing brokerage is people that need printing and these aren’t just like people who want some business cards or something. These are large companies. At the time, my biggest client was Tandem computers, which then was bought by Compaq, computers, which was later bought by HP.
For instance, when I was working with Tandem and Compaq, they had an entire department that produced what’s called collateral. So, they had a team of three, I think graphic artists and then they had six printing buyers. Well, they don’t really want six printing buyers, running out and driving around to print shops and figuring out where they can get the best deal and who’s going to do it. So they’ll contract with a broker in this case that was me. So I was servicing six buyers within the company and I had relationships with a number of printing companies from my years in the business.
So I would take the artwork from the client, figure out who best to perform the work and oversee the work from the beginning through the end and delivery. And then bill them for it and obviously I would mark up what I charge them over my costs. So that’s what a printing broker does.
What kind of area do you service? And what kind of work do you now do?
Because I came from the Bay Area, all of my clients are still in the Bay Area and and I’ll do just about anything that they need from business cards, to books, to fliers. Because I’m dealing with nonprofits, much more of it is appeals for funding, they do mail appeals. They do invitations to events.
So do you have employees?
I take care of it myself at this point, because of all those relationships I formed when I was a broker. It doesn’t make sense for me to have a ton of equipment because the overhead is just too high. So I have relationships with people I trust and have them do the actual printing. I do it all online mostly. Yeah, most of my communications these days are email. I still pick up the phone once in a while but it’s good to have things in writing so you send and receive documents and yes that kind of stuff.
What have been the high points of your career so far?
That’s a tough one. Well, I mean, acquiring the company was a big deal. I think some of the most enjoyable parts of my career were the nine years I spent with the brokerage company. That was a really nice working environment, had a beautiful office, worked with great people, had really good support, which I don’t have so much anymore being that it’s just me.
I had one enormous client that was easily a 50-hour per week job, and that was Compaq. They were the second largest manufacturer of home computers. Compaq had at the time, I think, 22 buildings on their Cupertino campus and I had a key card with 24-hour access to all of them.
Because I had to be, you know, available at a phone call from any one of the buyers. This was from ‘92 to 2002.
Some of the buyers I worked with were really interesting people. In fact I still keep in touch with several of them. One of them after 2000, when things kind of imploded, decided that he wanted to be a sculptor and he now goes to flea markets and garage sales all over the place and collects. He has a good eye for what he can use and what he can’t and makes little sculptures of things like race cars and motorcycles out of the most unbelievable stuff.
What talents do you make use of as a printer?
I’m certainly good as a proofreader. I can spell. I can put together a grammatical sentence although you might not think so from this (laughs). So I have that. I have a good eye for color, which is important in printing to be able to look at a photograph and say the faces are too red, we’ve got to fix that and to know how to fix that. I have to be proficient in a multitude of software programs, one of which are Photoshop, Adobe InDesign, Adobe Illustrator. All of that knowledge has come self-taught. I seem to have an ability to communicate with computers.
So what brought you to YLP?
I’ve been married and divorced twice. Okay, so I think I should stop trying that for a while, but I had a friend and — let me back up a little bit — so I always wanted to be in a more rural setting. There are great things about the Bay Area. The weather’s amazing. But I was very tired of the traffic. Very tired of the crowds, very tired of the insane cost of living.
And I always wanted to live somewhere a little more peaceful and closer to mountains. So it seemed when the divorce happened in 2016 that seemed like a good time to make a change and I had a friend who had been living in Milpitas and had moved to Oakhurst. And so I called him and I asked him about it and he said, I love it here. He said, why don’t you come up and take a look around. So, I did. And I really liked the area.
(Plus, he’s not far from his children. His son lives in San Ramon and his daughter in Bakersfield. He has two grandchildren.)
So I decided to sell my house in the Bay Area, and look for one around here, here being the Sierra foothills. I started working with a Realtor and she showed me some properties in YLP…. So every time I came to Coarsegold and YLP it just sort of felt like home and I started looking at houses and I made I made a few offers, didn’t get any of them.
It seemed like at the time things were starting to move pretty quickly. And I had looked at a house on Lilley Mountain that I really liked but it was more than I wanted to spend. So I kept looking and one evening, I was in the Bay Area and my Realtor called from here. And she said, do you remember the house on Lilley Mountain? And I said sure, she said, are you still interested? And I said, yeah, but not at what they’re asking for it.
She said, okay, well, they already bought another house. They can’t afford the payments on both of them so they asked me to see if you’re interested and see if you’d like to talk and I said, sure have them throw a number out.
So they threw a number out and I was comfortable with it. So I called her back half an hour later and said, let’s do it. And that was that. So I bought a house on Lilley Mountain in early 2017. And I started coming here every weekend…
Then I was able to move here, full-time, and I got to tell you every time I go to the Bay Area, there are things I like but I can’t stand the traffic. I can’t stand the crowds. People aren’t nearly as friendly as they are here. And every time I turn around and start driving back this way, my stress level drops and I just, I feel so much better.
That’s basically why I decided to run for the board is because I love the community. I’ve been accepted into the community. Everybody I’ve met here has been incredibly nice and helpful, so I want to see if I can give something back to the community.
So what are your priorities now that you’re on the board?
So obviously the last couple of elections — and I’ve participated in both of them — the first time, I got trounced, well, not that badly, but the second time, obviously, I was only seven votes away (from winning a seat) as I’m sure everyone is aware.
There’s a huge sentiment in the park about how dues can’t go up anymore. Well, I am not the guy who’s going to tell you that I will never vote to raise your dues — by the way that pledge disqualifies you from board service because your fiduciary responsibility on the board is to oversee and protect the financial health of the association.
But what I bring to the table is a long history of complex negotiations to come up with maybe out-of-the-box solutions that not everyone would think of and I think when we’re faced with a board dues increase, my desire would be to explore every other possibility.
I’m not saying I won’t vote for a dues increase, if it’s warranted and necessary, I certainly will. But a lot of times, I think there may be other possible solutions so that that’s number one.
As far as the fiduciary responsibility, the rest of it is, I just want to continue to improve the park. I think we’re on a great track of getting things back in order after a very long period of neglect that well predates me. Obviously, I want everybody to be able to enjoy this place as much as possible and as much as I do, so if I can help make it a better place to live. I’m all for it.
You have a keen interest in the Neighborhood Watch program here?
So there is an existing Neighborhood Watch program on North Dome and it has been there for years but because the park is so spread out and so huge, my feeling was there need to be more of them because obviously someone on North Dome can’t watch my house on Lilley Mountain if they see something suspicious.
So my desire was to create some additional functional units and that desire came about because when I came here, as I said, I was living in the Bay Area, most of the time. So I would have Amazon packages delivered to my house and they would sit there sometimes for a week. Never had an issue. Nobody ever touched one.
So I just assumed OK there absolutely is no crime here until my security camera picked up a guy walking across my driveway who broke into my car at four o’clock in the morning. That prompted me to look into the Neighborhood Watch program and I knew about it because one of my larger clients for printing was the city of San Jose police department, and I helped them a lot with the program.
So I reached out to Madera County Sheriff’s Office, who connected me to a community service officer named Carena Valdez. And she and I have been working together to try to get something going on Lilley Mountain, and hopefully branch it out to other areas of the park as well.
It’s not only a nice thing to have if you’re going to be out of town for a little while, to have your neighbors kind of keep an eye on your property but it’s also a great way to get to know your neighbors.
So we have an upcoming meeting on the 24th of this month at 6:30 in the clubhouse in person. And we will have representatives from Madera County Sheriff’s Office, from California Highway Patrol. Hopefully from Madera County Code Enforcement and I’m hoping also our own security and it’ll be a great opportunity for people to ask questions about the program and learn what the program is about.
What is your opinion about the social media impact on YLP and YLOA affairs?
Well, if you’ve read my posts, I’ve been largely supportive of the board and certainly the GM. So, the unfounded criticism and accusations without any evidence or reason that rile up other people I guess I’m not a fan of, I don’t like it.
I understand the need for people to be able to vent and talk about anything they want. And social media, obviously, fills a huge portion of that role. It’s a fine line.
As I said, you’re going to see a lot less of me on social media during this next year and certainly I will not comment on anything related to the HOA or board. It doesn’t mean I don’t have an opinion but it’s inappropriate for me to comment on that.
As far as social media. I think I think it’s a double-edged sword and I kind of feel like it has to be because if you institute an enormous set of rules to try and make it Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood you’ve basically destroyed it and the same works the other way.
It’s kind of the way it is because it’s a necessary evil. So I’m not a huge fan of regulation of social media. I have the ability to not look at something, if I don’t want to. And I wish other people would realize that they do, too.
What is your opinion about the value of volunteering in YLP?
It’s hugely important, especially now, as we are hopefully now getting the end of Covid but it doesn’t look that way. Every business I talk to is having trouble getting employees and there are a lot of valuable services that volunteers can provide. And I think if people have the time and desire to be helpful, it’s a great two-way street, it works both ways, it’s rewarding for the volunteer and also for the people that they’re helping.
It’s my desire to scale back or stop working in about 2 years. And at that time, I will definitely be able to volunteer more time.
What hobbies or outside interests do you have?
I love riding motorcycles. I have one. I very much enjoy skiing. I love to fish. Hiking is a passion of mine, so I do that as often as I can, whenever I have time.
My dog, Rose, a mostly black lab-part shepherd, she’s 2 years old and a ball of energy. So we’ll go up hiking midweek or on the weekends.
I hate to predict the future but at the moment I’m perfectly comfortable. Yeah, there are a lot of good things about living by yourself. One of which is you get to decide what you want to do within the confines of your responsibilities and nobody argues with you when you decide to make a decorating change.
I have a patio out back that looks out over a canyon where there’s only one other house that you can see. And in the evening you can sit out there and watch the sunset and listen to the coyotes howl out in the canyon. That’s my stress relief mechanism.