Arrogance and the ASPOA
October 12, 2013
As a member in good standing of the Alta Sierra Property Owner's Association, I think we can safely say that it is not either moral or ethical to try to prevent folks from running for office or for their asking to be on a committee if that is what they desire.
However, prevention is exactly what is going on in Alta Sierra. The current unelected board has taken the position that anything not generated from within is wrong. They are spending ASPOA members' money to try to thwart the most basic process of a grassroots movement. The movement has simply come about due to the current system being broken, and the reason it is broken is solely due to the lack of transparency the current regime has subscribed to.
The very idea of taking members' money to try to suppress a different point of view goes against the often-quoted bylaws and California Corporation Law for nonprofits. Board members against any potential candidates are supposed to raise their own funds, not take from the ASPOA treasury.
It seems strange that ASPOA is reluctant to allow the inspection of ASPOA financial records by the membership. I know because I have formally requested that and been denied access. The current board is also not forthcoming with minutes of executive meetings as called for in the bylaws of the organization.
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Having attended many meetings with the ASPOA board of directors, it is apparent that they consistently cite the "Restated By-Laws of the ASPOA" in a manner that protects or in a manner that they think protects the status quo. They refuse to allow recordings of their meetings and make it a point to meet during the week so working folks will have little chance to attend. They like it that way because that is another group that will not be able to have input, even though they are property owners. Obviously, this is to protect their positions on the board of directors in such a way as to prevent truly open and honest discussions of issues and elections of officers where they need to compete based on merit. In other words, it is an old boy and old girl club decidedly against any reform or new ideas brought by persons who are truly interested in open elections and positions to improve how this board acts.
For example, at the last ASPOA board meeting, Oct. 7, I was called a bully by board President Paul Hoefler because I was asking how Julie Sigenthaler (another ASPOA appointed, not elected board member) could determine who gets to run for office — and/or could ask to be on the nominating committee determined by her — was either moral or ethical as was her position on the issue. As I was saying that, she had not answered my question after she muttered something to the effect that it was in the bylaws. Hoefler declared the meeting adjourned.
How is that either fair or open to the ASPOA membership? Who is being the bully now?
Obviously the idea of competition of ideas is anathema to the current ASPOA board. Are these the kind of folks we want to be placed in a position of authority over the folks who live in Alta Sierra? I think not. I believe the ASPOA board of directors does not operate in the open and has demonstrated an agenda to change the nature of the organization, not to serve the members and the people of Alta Sierra but rather to control them.
On Oct. 7, for example, a missive went out to the general membership to try to dissuade people from voting in an legitimate recall election brought forth by the members to protect their own positions. Of course, they have a right to run for office like the rest of us, but they seem to be afraid of any real competition or ideas not of their own making.
Just to be clear, I am one of many persons who wishes to recall the current ASPOA board. It is now time to take the arrogance out of the ASPOA. It is time to stop interpreting the bylaws only for the convenience of staying in power.
Don't be fooled. Vote as you truly feel in the open election we are calling.
Fred Crowder is an Alta Sierra property owner.