ON 6/17/04 AT THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETING - PETITION FOR REMOVAL HANDED TO PRESIDENT
On Thursday, 6/17/04, at 6 PM was the regularly scheduled meeting of Alex Taylor's Board of Directors. I know many of you have told me you have stopped coming to the meetings, because Alex Taylor, the present President of the Board of Directors, is disrespectful to the homeowners and renters at the meetings, but this meeting was very different and entertaining.
Many concerned homeowners had been looking forward to this Alex Taylor's Board of Directors meeting, because we had been gathering signatures on a petition for a special election meeting to be presented to Alex Taylor's Board of Directors and Euclid Management. Going door-to-door we had gathered signatures on our petition from 31% of the homeowners even though at only about half of the units we went to did someone answer the door, some were renters not homeowners, and we didn't even bother to get to all of the doors as we only needed signatures from 5% or more of the homeowners.
Park Mediterrania is a non-profit corporation. California Corporation Code Section 7510 (e) states: "Special meetings of members for any lawful purpose may be called by the board, the chairman of the board, the president, or such other persons, if any are specified in the bylaws. In addition, special meetings of members for any lawful purpose may be called by 5 percent or more of the members."
So only 5 % of the members are needed to call for a special meeting and we easily gathered signatures on our petition from 31% of the members. If we had gone back again and knocked on the doors no one answered earlier, contacted the owners of the rentals, and knocked on the doors we skipped, I'm sure we would have gathered signatures from at least 85% of the homeowners. Very few needed persuading to sign the petition. Among the very few homeowners that refused to sign the petition some probably were just undecided, not followers of Alex Taylor's Board of Directors.
We had intended to present to Alex Taylor at the same time, both the petition for the special election meeting and the candidate forms completed by homeowners who are interested in running for the six positions on the Board of Directors so as to replace all of Alex Taylor's Board of Directors. But we were rushed due to Alex Taylor threatening to adjourn the Board of Directors meeting, because an outspoken person was speaking out of turn and upsetting him. When one of our group of candidates stated the petition was for a special meeting for an election to remove the Board of Directors, Alex Taylor claimed we could not remove the entire board which is not true. In the Bylaws under Article V Board of Directors Selection - Term of Office Section 3 Election and Removal (page 3) it states: "As to removal, unless the entire board is removed, an individual director shall not be removed prior to the expiration of his term of office if the number of votes … ". So contrary to what Alex Taylor claims our Bylaws allow the removal of the entire board.
If Alex Taylor would not willfully and unlawfully stand in the way of a special election meeting that is our right by the Bylaws, I am certain that certification of the signatures on the petition would show more than enough homeowners current with their dues and I am confident we would have an overwhelming number of members voting to remove the board.
What he probably means is, regardless of what our Governing Documents state, he is going to do whatever he pleases. At the same Alex Taylor's Board of Directors meeting, he told a homeowner that his door must be painted "leather brown." Alex Taylor owns the condo at 1077 Unit 3 which has a garage door that is so dark in color it appears black to me, not "leather brown." Alex Taylor's Board of Directors enforces the CC & R's fining homeowners $25 or more per month who allegedly violate the CC & R's. Article VIII Use Restrictions Section 8.08. Animals. states: ""As used in this declaration, "unreasonable quantities" shall be deemed to limit the total number of all dogs, cats, and birds to two (2) of each species per lot."" Alex Taylor has been seen hundreds of times walking his dogs. Alex Taylor has three dogs, one more than the CC & R's allow. If Alex Taylor was fair and treated himself like he mistreats us, he should have been fining himself $25 or more per month for many years for having a garage door that is not "leather brown" and $25 per month for many years for having "unreasonable quantities" of dogs. But no, Alex Taylor is hypocritical and it also does not say much about the moral fiber of the other members of Alex Taylor's Board of Directors to sit in judgment on other Homeowners, fining them $25 per month for alleged violations of the CC & R's, but allowing one of their own to do as he pleases.
In the Bylaws under Article IX Officers and Their Duties Section 5. Resignation and Removal it states: "Any officer may be removed from office, with or without cause by the board." So I challenge the other 4 members of the board to do the right thing, prove me wrong about my opinion that you lack moral fiber and fine Alex Taylor $25 per month for each of those two violations and/or remove him from office.
I wonder who on Alex Taylor's Board of Directors was actually elected. Apparently at the annual "election" so few homeowners vote, the "election" is done again and again with fewer votes needed the succeeding times until they finally have a quorum. An unconfirmed rumor that I heard was Alex Taylor received only 27 votes at this condo complex that has 142 units the last time he was up for election, but because of the diminishing number of votes needed he squeaked in. In the three years I have been here no one has approached me and asked for my vote and I have not heard of anyone running for the Board. The Bylaws state the term of office is two years and apparently there is quite a turnover with appointments frequently being made to fill empty slots that occur after members leave the Board. If this is not done there will not be a quorum for voting purposes. I really doubt the other members of the Board of Directors will do anything to oppose Alex Taylor. My guess is the majority on the Board were not elected by the homeowners, but appointees hand-picked by Alex Taylor and he only selects submissive ones that he can manipulate.
At the meeting when he referred to "noise" from a member, he was probably referring to my letters/flyers/calling cards on the condo doors and on the mailbox stands. I started it after he was verbally abusive to me years ago during member input and at my hearing for an alleged violation at his Board of Directors meeting. Not only have many of you told me you would not serve on the Board while Alex Taylor is on it, many have stated they have stopped coming to the meetings, because he is disrespectful to the homeowners and renters at the meetings. I still go to some of the meetings, but stay quite so as to not give Alex Taylor any opportunity to give me any lip. Its amazing to me how someone who is suppose to be our representative of our HOA at our Board of Directors meeting can lack basic social skills. The neat thing about my having a web site is now I can make lots of "noise" and don't have to put up with any disrespect from him. I am just exercising my United States Constitution Bill of Rights First Amendment freedom of speech, and in a way since this is posted on the Internet, freedom of the press.
When we presented the petition Alex Taylor also stated that removal of the board had been tried before and it had cost each unit $300 in attorney fees. Does he mean the members of the Board of Directors wasted the homeowners association dues to prevent the other members from removing them from the board? Is Alex Taylor willing to again waste the association's money to fight removal of the Board? I remember hearing there was some kind of major financial problems years ago similar to what is happening now, but I did not hear the details. It is my understanding that Alex Taylor has been on the Board of Directors for 16 years. At the 4/29/04 Board of Directors meeting, Alex Taylor opened it with a statement that the Board had mismanaged the money while he was busy doing some personal things. I wonder if he has been on it long enough to have been on it the last time too when there were major financial problems. I am sure there are homeowners still living here that know all the details from the last major financial problems and are sick and tired of Alex Taylor dominating the Board of Directors. Will anyone who lived here then and knows the details of the previous financial problems please contact me and fill me in?
Eventually we will be getting that special election meeting we desire and voting in new members of the Board of Directors. After changing the membership of the Board of Directors, we may want to fire Euclid Management. In order to do that we need you to come to the special election meeting and vote for our slate of candidates, or if you are not able to make it to the special election meeting, for you to appoint one of us as your proxy to represent you at the special election meeting.
Some more notes about the 6/17/04 regularly scheduled meeting of Alex Taylor's Board of Directors:
During the member input someone asked about the reserves and mentioned a dollar amount and Alex Taylor said it has never been that high. The Balance Sheet for 9/30/02 showed Reserve Assets at $256,845.78 then on 4/30/04, 19 months later, it showed Reserve Assets had drop $249,918.69 to only $6,927.09. With really high association dues that should have easily covered all ongoing monthly expenses including maintaining the property, the reserves need not have been touched.
Euclid Management mailed the homeowners a The-Sky-Is-Falling pink paper full of dire warnings explaining the current situation, options and recommendations titled "Park Mediterrania Budget Analysis February 29, 2004 prepared by Alexander F. Taylor" that stated: "Park Mediterrania has $8,094.91 in its operating account and $44,678.54 in its reserve account." So the total for those two was only $52,773.45. The April 30, 2004 Balance Sheet handed out at the meeting shows the total for those two was only $34,502.87, a drop of $18,270.58 in only two months. If a June 30, 2004 Balance Sheet was prepared today showing the same drop rate, the total for those two would only be $16,232.29 at the end of this month. At that drop rate of $8,116.15 per month, without an increase of revenue coming in from raising the association dues we are going to be flat broke by the end of August. An association dues increase from $266 per month to $319 is $53 per unit times 142 units is $7,526 more per month, but even that association dues increase is less than the drop rate so without belt tightening we will soon have negative balances in our operating and reserve accounts.
If Park Mediterrania Homeowners Association was not a nonprofit corporation, but a business, Alex Taylor's Board of Directors would be considering bankruptcy and how to keep the utilities turned on. Can you imagine trying to live in your condo after the water was shut off due to non-payment and therefore not having any hot and cold running water in your condo to take a shower, wash the dishes, wash your clothes and flush the toilets ?
One of the bogus reasons given for our association dues being so high, the association dues being increased, and our reserves being so low is the delinquencies as if other associations don't have them too. The September 30, 2000 Balance Sheet shows Accounts Receivable at $100,899.65 while the latest one, April 30, 2004 shows it much lower at only $32,366.85.
Since then including at this latest meeting, Alex Taylor has had several opportunities to explain what happened to our money, the reserves, savings for a rainy day, but again and again he has side-stepped the question like a politician. He complained that rumors have been spread about where the money had actually gone, but he said nothing to dispel the rumors.
One of the newer member of Alex Taylor's Board of Directors said it bothered her when a neighbor turned his/her back on her. I'm not surprised it happened. It is something like guilt by association and also known by the company you keep.
Two of our group of candidates that day even drove to Euclid in Upland asking for financial documents and the membership list, but were refused them which is a violation of our Bylaws. In our Bylaws Article XIII Books and Records it states: "The membership register, if any, books of account and minutes of meetings of the members, of the board and of committees of the board shall be made available for inspection and copying by any member of the Association … ."
At the meeting we were given the Balance Sheet and the Budget Comparison Report for April 2004. As usual it is marked "unaudited." Why are we again and again given things that are marked "unaudited." We need to see what the actually expenditures are. For example the largest expenditure that has happened in the three years that I have been here was the repaving of the driveways. I only have an unconfirmed rumor for the cost of that project. I saw financial records a homeowner in another association gets and it showed the who was paid and what amount they were paid. Remember in November 2003 the members were given the approved 2004 budget that stated: "The monthly assessment will remain at $266.00 per month." It even showed a surplus assessment amount being put away in the reserves (savings).
During the Member Input portion one of the homeowners stated what she does for a living is save businesses money. She said she heard, and Alex Taylor did not disagree, that we have had the same landscaping company for 10 years. She said that was wrong. That we would save ourselves lots of money if the contract every year would be opened up for competitive bidding. The Minutes of the meetings show the board directed the management company to solicit one bid from one landscaping company and accepted that non-competitive bid.
We really need an independent outside auditor to look over our financial records and inform the members of where our reserves went as our so-called Board of Directors representative, Alex Taylor, will not cooperate and inform us. So we have yet to see any accounting of what happened to our hundreds of thousands of dollars in reserves and feel Alex Taylor's Board of Directors is overdue with an explanation.
On 4/26/03 I received Audited Financial Statements with an accompanying letter titled Independent Auditor's Report dated 2/4/03 from Robert Owens, CPA. As of writing this portion on 6/21/04 almost 14 months have gone by without another independent audit. Why haven't we received one for this following year?
My dictionary defines shill as one who acts as a decoy (as for a pitchman or a gambler). During the Member Input portion a woman was laying it on thick with praise for Alex Taylor. It reminded me of the saying 'you can fool some of the people … ' It was pretty obvious her motivation for attending the meeting was to mislead with disinformation the new members and those who rarely go to meetings. At the 2nd meeting put together by homeowners, on 6/3/04, this same woman was there who kept making comments that I assumed were just naïve and uninformed misstatements of facts. After this 2nd meeting put together by homeowners on 6/3/04, a lady told me that this same woman was a follower of Alex Taylor, so her motivation for attending the meeting was not as a concerned homeowner, but to mislead people with disinformation so as to disrupt the meeting. So her motivation at both meetings was to spread disinformation.
Alex Taylor was very out of character, he kept in check his usual disrespectful attitude to the homeowners and renters at past meetings. I know many of you have told me you have stopped coming to the meetings, because of the insulting way he acts.
Another surprise was his giving us plenty of time for member input. Usually at the start of Alex Taylor's Board of Directors meeting Member input portion, he says something about cutting it short, even though the limit is 3 minutes per person. A new member going to the last meeting would get a false impression of Alex Taylor and how the meetings were run by him.
At the Member Input portion one of the homeowners asked a question that should have easily been answered, but apparently it was a difficult one for them. The question was of the 5 board members sitting at the table who was the president, vice-president, treasurer, secretary and member-at-large? It sounded to the one asking the question and me too like we had no treasurer and secretary, yet we had three members-at-large.
As I wrote earlier: "The Bylaws state the term of office is two years and apparently there is quite a turnover with appointments frequently being made to fill empty slots that occur after members leave the Board." My question is with all this shuffling around of Board members, one of the ones who has been there for about two years said he has been the treasurer, secretary and member-at-large, who is keeping track of which slots are up for grabs at the annual elections?
The outspoken person that was speaking out of turn and upsetting Alex Taylor made at least one very good point. None of the members of Alex Taylor's Board of Directors bothers to walk the property. There is no management-by-walking-around from a member of Alex Taylor's Board of Directors. Shouldn't someone on Alex Taylor's Board of Directors check to see that the vendors, the landscapers for instance, are doing what they are getting paid to do.
For example Alex Taylor spoke with the Euclid representative about the (alleged) homeowner violations and the representative stated he checked and none of the (alleged) violations were corrected. Alex Taylor took the word of the Euclid representative that he had gone back and looked again at the units. During a hearing about a garage door that allegedly needed painting the homeowner insisted nothing was wrong with it, Alex Taylor did not take his word on it or say he would see for himself what it looked like, and Alex Taylor's Board of Directors voted to continue the monthly fine. Two days later I walked over to the home owner's condo and looked at his garage door. It does not need painting. I did notice a piece of molding that was unpainted, but it was not on his garage door. It was on the same unit number, but on the other side of the driveway. Duh, so much for the Euclid representative claim that he checked the (alleged) violations and none of them were corrected.
While I was over there to look at the homeowner's garage door, I noticed one of the disgusting ponds is right in front of his door. It sounds to me Alex Taylor's Board of Directors has their priorities all wrong. They should quit nitpicking the homeowners about the small stuff and do something about the big stuff Alex Taylor's Board of Directors are responsible for, because when the Board of Directors fail to maintain the big stuff as they have chosen to do, it really drops the property values a lot more than the small stuff. A visitor of mine commented this condo complex looks run down. My supervisor at work told me he used to deliver furniture many years ago and remembers this place when it sat out in the country by itself. Back then the condos were upscale. Now the tennis courts are unusable with cracks as wide as 5 1/2 inches. It is a shame that the Board, that Alex Taylor has sat on for 16 years now, has let this place go while raking in way above average association dues.
Three years ago I included in a letter to Euclid Management and Alex Taylor's Board of Directors the suggestion that something should be done about the street address numbers on the main sign at the street entrance and, surprise, it was ignored. As you know driving down Santo Antonio Drive from one direction it shows 1077 and from the other direction it shows 1097. So half of the people driving down the street looking for one of those two address numbers don't see it until after doing a U turn and seeing the opposite side of the sign. It would be so easy to put both numbers on both sides of the sign. We could even add street address numbers, 1077 and 1097, on those phony street signs on the alleyways. As you know people that come here for the first time, frequently miss seeing the two street number signs on opposite sides of the main driveway and go to the correct unit number, but on the wrong side of the driveway.
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