Since last summer, I have been a supporter of a reconfiguration of personnel and operating procedures of the Alta Sierra Property Owners Association’s board of directors.
This involved attending meetings, letters to The Union, and letters to the board itself. In my first letter to the board, it was responded to by Paul Hoefler, the board president, and he closed with: “Again, thank you for your input. Please stay involved.” So, to properly stay involved, I joined ASPOA for the first time since we moved here in 2004.
We have lived in Alta Sierra for nine years; the first eight years, we were owners, and a little over a year ago due to the housing crisis, we sold our house, and we have been renters since. On the ASPOA membership application, it asks “renter” or “owner,” and I checked “renter.” There is no reference on the application as to “full” membership or “associate.” It turns out, and I was first made aware of this when I called for a ballot for the upcoming December election, associate members cannot vote.
Seeing as we are not allowed to participate fully in the selection of board members, I requested the person in charge of membership to please cancel my membership and return my annual dues, seeing as I was never advised of the “associate” membership nonvoting status. Her response was, “I am sorry to inform you that a similar request occurred a few months ago, and the ASPOA board reviewed the situation as addressed by the state of California Codes for administering nonprofit, volunteer homeowners associations, which led to the conclusion that ASPOA does not refund the annual fees.”
I told her I thought her response would be different if I had not been an outspoken critic of the board of directors via letters to the board and Facebook posts and comments. She again responded that if it were a for-profit organization it may be different, but as volunteers they don’t have the time to keep track of members’ payments and refunds.
By itself, this is rather laughable. One comment would indicate they aren’t allowed to make refunds, and the other says they are just so busy it can’t be done during normal business activities.
The membership fee is $40, not a large sum, so it’s far from life or death. But I do think it clearly points out the arrogance of the ASPOA board of directors.
Terry Bross lives in Alta Sierra.