ASPOA board regroups, recall movement presses on
July 13, 2013
A member of the Alta Sierra Property Owners Association board acknowledged the majority of the neighborhood is aligned against its attempt to renovate the organization’s code and create a mandatory homeowners association.
“It’s not going to happen,” said David Johnson, one of nine ASPOA board members. “It’s clear from a recent survey that the majority don’t want to go forward, and we are going to honor their wishes.”
Johnson is referring to a recent survey distributed to Alta Sierra property owners that queried potential respondents about whether they believed the board should have more enforcement ability, update the CC&Rs and make membership mandatory for all lot owners.
While there are still two weeks left for property owners to respond, the vast majority of those who have submitted surveys has answered no to all three questions, Johnson said.
“The CC&Rs will stay exactly how they’ve been,” Johnson said. “It may be even worse because now that the cat is out of the bag, people will know they don’t have to comply. We’ve made it worse, and that’s the tragedy here. Let no good deed go unpunished.”
Johnson took umbrage at portrayals of the board members as power-hungry and secretive demagogues looking to quietly expand the scope of their influence.
“The board members I have worked with are hardworking, honest and straightforward, and they have been crucified by a small group of people,” Johnson said.
Kathy Monteiro, the leader of the movement to recall the ASPOA board, said Johnson’s recent announcement will not deter her effort.
“This board has lost credibility and lost the trust of the community, and they have to go,” Monteiro said. “(The effort to renovate CC&Rs) is only part of the problem. There is a lack of transparency, and they are out of touch with the community they represent.”
The board has spent a significant portion of its annual budget on legal fees to explore how to renovate the neighborhood CC&Rs without revealing its intention to the public, Monteiro said.
The survey recently distributed by the board should have been distributed before thousands of dollars were spent on an attorney.
The board paid an attorney to explore all the options to give the board more options in solving persistent community problems, he said.
“The problem with distributing a survey first is that we didn’t even know what our options were,” Johnson said. “How can we get input without knowing the options first?”
Johnson said they have only spent half the legal fees on looking at code renovation with the other half spent on drafting letters to property owners who are flouting the regulations in the neighborhood.
Johnson said bad-apple neighbors are a serious problem, and that many people are coming to the board because they are intimidated by neighbors who behave belligerently when confronted with issues.
The desire to increase enforcement grew out of a legitimate desire to help people take care of problems created by unruly members of Alta Sierra, he said.
Johnson said Monteiro’s recall effort is technically incorrect, as state law prevents an entire board from being recalled.
Monteiro must specifically identify the board members she intends to recall if the petition and process is to conform to a legally mandated process, Johnson said.
Monteiro deflected these claims, saying the board was attempting “to weasel out of the process on a legal technicality.”
Monteiro points to a gathering of more than 300 people at a recent meeting as evidence that the majority of people is displeased with how the board has operated over the course of the past year.
More importantly, Monteiro said, board members should be elected by a majority of association members.
Currently, a nominating committee selects individuals to be appointed to the board.
If the number of selected individuals does not exceed the number of open seats on the board, no election occurs.
The nominating committee is supposed to be comprised of ordinary members but is currently made up of board members, meaning the board selects individuals to serve with them, Monteiro said.
“We want to be able to elect our own board,” she said.
Monteiro said she has identified enough candidates to replace all nine members currently serving should the recall prove successful.
To contact Staff Writer Matthew Renda, email firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-477-4239.