Alta Sierra meeting stokes tempers
May 17, 2013
A meeting called to discuss fundamental changes to the Alta Sierra Property Owners Association governance did little to assuage the escalating tempers of those on either side of the issue.
Association President Paul Hoefler and other members of the board hosted a two-hour meeting Saturday, at which they attempted to explain their upcoming renovation of the CC&Rs that will give the governing body the power to mandate membership in the association, along with the ability to fine, and file liens on, property owners out of compliance with neighborhood regulations.
About 120 members attended the meeting, according to a letter Hoefler circulated among the property association members. Several attendees asked questions by writing them on note cards and handing them to the board.
However, Kathy Monteiro, an Alta Sierra resident who is leading a recall effort of the board, said Wednesday that questions were cherry-picked by board member Don Bessee, whom she accused of attempting to steer questions to make the board look favorable.
“It was a sham,” she said. “Anyone who watched could see Don Bessee take certain cards and toss them to the side.”
“It didn’t happen,” he said, adding he dispensed with some of the questions because they were duplicates, which could account for the appearance of him cherry-picking questions.
Monteiro said that along with ignoring some questions she and others had written, the board has unfairly portrayed her as siding with medical marijuana advocates, many of whom are angry at the association for exerting political pressure on the county to pass a medical marijuana cultivation ordinance.
“I’ve never seen a marijuana plant in my life,” she said. “Paul Hoefler’s letter characterizes the entire opposition as pot growers.”
Hoefler’s letter states: “It is interesting to note that the leader of the recall effort who was a strong advocate of the marijuana ordinance is now working with the marijuana supporters.”
His letter further stated many of the pro-marijuana advocates were attempting to disrupt the meeting but that the presence of a Nevada County Sheriff’s deputy quelled such efforts.
“The advocates for marijuana growers did repeatedly attempt to disrupt the proceedings, but a brief discussion with the deputy put that to an end,” the letter read.
Monteiro said the attempts to falsely align her with pro-medical marijuana advocates are meant to serve as a distraction from the board’s effort to assign themselves more power by making association membership mandatory (it’s currently voluntary, and about 1,600 of the 3,000 property owners belong) and giving the board the authority to impose fines, tax liens and foreclose on properties out of compliance with neighborhood regulations.
“This is the ugliest politics that you can imagine,” she said. “The board is trying to divert attention away from its mismanagement.”
Hoefler maintains that the board is not attempting to accrue and wield power arbitrarily but needs enforcement ability to ensure members of the neighborhood don’t simply ignore the community precepts, as has occurred in the recent past.
Also, the president maintained he is committed to an open process in the CC&R amendment process.
The board will distribute a survey to the community to request comments on the proposed amendments, incorporate suggestions, host another forum and put the final draft of the amended regulations up for a vote.
“It is important to understand that if we do not get a majority in favor of the changes, the process ends,” Hoefler said in his letter. “If we get a positive response, we will proceed.”
To contact Staff Writer Matthew Renda, email firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-477-4239.