1 Is PASS adding value to community, if not how can we do more?
I think it does, through promotion, marketing, and awareness. Could it do more? Sure, but IMO it's better than nothing.
2 How are user group affiliations working?
Just fine I would think? As I had commented publicly, from a tactical perspective PASS doesn't really "bother" UG's or really restrict them. For me, I just use it for the mailing tool and that's about it. If had to strike out on my own, I'd use something else of course, but the tool and mailing list is there and using it costs me no extra money or hassle or headache.
3 What are alternates to using an expensive management company, if that is a suggestion.
Well, at what sacrifice? And in what context? UG vs SQL Sat vs PASS Summit vs virtual events? I think each of these ought to be separate topics.
FWIW, I think C&C and PASS are symbiotically tied together now, whether we like it or not. I wish there was more transparency from C&C and a better understanding from the community of the nuances of the relationship between C&C and PASS. I often wonder if people think "C&C is for profit" and assume the worst about how they choose to operate (they're always gouging PASS). ARE they really taking PASS to the cleaners? Are they maliciously out to make money, just because it happens to be a for-profit entity?
In addition to that, I think there's a lot of "sins of the past" that haunt PASS + C&C. While I may be defending PASS+C&C, I definitely have issues with how they operate... or to clarify, how things were a number of years ago. I like the changes that have been made more recently, but I still feel like stigma of the past is still chained to C&C. Is some of it deserved? Sure... but is ALL of the negativity towards C&C justified? Or are we just bitter because of what had happened a long while ago, and not willing to give newer regimes a fair shake?