See also relevant web page: http://www.r-a-l-p-h.com/2004-08-24-amenities-comparison.htm
Common Area not Maintained
Look around the complex. Does it look like the common area has been maintained? Broken down fence and back gate on the Casa Mediterrania Apartments side of the complex. Disgusting looking water in the ponds/streams. Algae growing on the sides and the bottom of the pool. Tennis courts with cracks up to 5 1/2 inches wide. Landscaping is also a mess. The only major expenditure since I moved here in July 2001 was the asphalt work and it was only slurry on my 1097 side. It is obvious there has been a failure to maintain the common area. We had hundreds of thousands of dollars saved away in reserves a few years ago for capital improvements and now almost all of the reserves are gone. Where did all that reserve money go to? This place looks run down so obviously It did not go to keep the common area maintained at an acceptable level. Our association dues were already high at $266 per month then after our reserves were depleted the association dues were raised by $53 to $319 per month.
Disgusting Looking Water in the Ponds/Streams
When I moved in here in July 2001 the water in the 4 ponds/streams was not green and there were no ducks. Two years ago the ducks took up residence here then duck crossing warning signs were installed on the main driveway. Whose bright idea on the Board of Directors was it to use association dues to purchase and erect the signs? Whose brilliant and wonderful idea was it to not discourage the ducks to leave causing the ponds/streams and sidewalks to get so filthy from their duck poop?
In talking to the residents I have noticed a pattern of who likes the ducks and who wants them gone. Generally those that have condos away from the ponds/streams are more akin to like the ducks. They also are less aware of the disgusting filthy green water in the ponds/streams. Those that have the ducks outside their front doors and open windows are less appreciative of the ducks. Of course the closeness makes them more aware of the noise the ducks make and it is their carpets that gets soiled by the duck poop tracked in on soles of shoes after walking on the sidewalks. They also get a close-up look of the mucky water and smell the aroma from all that duck poop accumulating in the water.
Oh, some residents that have been here a long time are pleased that ponds/streams that were outside their front doors were removed. Apparently there might have been originally 8 of them. Of the remaining 4 only one is well designed. One looks like it was the contractor's first attempt at building a pond/stream and frequently overflows on the sidewalk which is a waste of water and raises our utility costs. I heard the past president state at several meetings the board's policy was to rip them out when they needed to be repaired, yet toward the end of his time on the board they did repairs. He also said that the ponds/streams were expensive to maintain, yet the board paid a whooping $26,600 of our money to demolish the last pond and landscape the area. Our monthly electric bill is very high. Most of it is from running 24 hours a day water pumps for the 4 remaining ponds/streams.
Apparently some people have high unreasonable expectations for the ponds/streams. They obviously do not have the filtration capacity for all that duck poop. They were not built as water gardens or fish ponds. They are only concrete lined waterways that do a poor imitation of the real thing. A lot of people complain about the high association dues and wonder why the dues are so high. Its those constantly running water pumps. The good news is that we do not still have all of the original 8 ponds/streams so we do not have all of the original 8 water pumps running 24 hours a day, 365 days a year consuming lots of expensive electricity. Imagine how much higher our association dues would be then.
In the Minutes for the Board of Directors meeting on 6/19/03 it stated: "Pat McKinney motioned and Dan Barnett seconded to have Nature Lakes clean the streams at a cost of $2,200. Motion carried." The streams were cleaned? Really? When? Did Nature Lakes drain the ponds/streams, remove the sediment and flush out the remaining gunk before refilling them with fresh water? I doubt it. I would have noticed it. What I have noticed before in two of the ponds/streams is not being able to see the green pond scum, because the color had changed to Tidy Bowl blue from added chemicals.
From time to time I have seen the water cease flowing in some of the ponds/streams and occasionally have seen patches of standing water* in some of them. For a couple weeks the first one from the street on the 1097 was nearly empty of water and I gagged when I smelled it. The odor was as bad as an open septic tank. Under the green water the bottom must continue to be muddy as I have seen the ducks dip down as to be feeding off the bottom. (* Standing water - see West Nile Virus information at the end of this web page).
I'm sure if any of those condos along those streams are up for sale, the unsightly condition of the water must be lowering purchase offers. Remember an appraisal typically includes 3 comparisons so even if you live elsewhere, if one of those 3 comparisons is near one of the filthy ponds/streams, it may lower the appraisal of your property. As I noted before one of the duties of the Board of Directors is to maintain the property. Obviously putting up cute duck crossing signs and not discouraging the ducks to leave, causing the streams to get filthy and resulting in the services of Nature Lakes in an attempt to clean them is wasting money to maintain the property. Oh, by the way, over a year has gone by since the last time the streams were supposedly cleaned and long overdue time to again waste thousands of water to clean again what should have not been allowed to get so filthy. Obviously as long as the ducks are allowed to remain and defecate in the water it will continue to remain filthy.
Connie, the apartment manager at the Casa Mediterrania Apartments, said they like the ducks, but when there are to many ducks a duck farm just picks up the extra. (Shaynes Water Gardens and Ponds, Phone: (760) 772-2817, Fax: (760) 772-2837).
Broken Down Fence and Back Gate
I started the previous section with "When I moved in here in July 2001 the water in the 4 ponds/streams was not green and there were no ducks." There is some serious damage to the shared back gate and nearby portion of the fence between our property and Casa Mediterrania Apartments that probably could only have been done by a vehicle. And as there is only vehicular traffic on our side, someone in a vehicle on our side of the fence probably was involved in the damage to the fence and the nearby gate. A different section of this web page states in part: ”In March and April of 2003 asphalt repairs were done." I don't remember seeing the ducks before the asphalt was repaired. Coincidence? I believe if the fence and gate were repaired, the ducks could easily be herded to the Casa Mediterrania Apartments side and then we would have an opportunity to have duck poop free water in our ponds/streams. Will the ducks fly back over the fence? Maybe, but I have only seen them take flight once during the time I have lived here.
Just like Park Mediterrania, Casa Mediterrania Apartments is also having a problem with kids who do not live there entering their property. How? Through where we used to have a shared back gate that was closed and padlocked. It appears the apartment complexes on both sides of us put up fences completely surrounding their properties and this Homeowners Association only planted shrubbery in the back. The wrought iron gate that is off to the side leaning up against the fence on the Casa Mediterrania Apartments side probably was the original gate. It was replaced by a flimsy wood one that is already broken. The replacement gate has an ordinary patio gate type hasp, the wrong kind for a two part gate. So like French doors not bolted at top and bottom, even padlocked, it is easily pushed open. Also even if it was closed and locked securely, there would still be enough of a gap at the bottom for kids to crawl under. That is because the ground is higher on Casa Mediterrania Apartments side and the gate was built swinging the wrong way, toward this higher ground. Whoever choose wood for a replacement gate, an ordinary patio type hasp and to have the gate swing toward higher ground did not know what they were doing. On the opposite side of Park Mediterrania is another apartment complex also with a shared back gate. But unlike the flimsy wooden gate replacement it is a sturdy metal gate.
Algae Growing Inside the Swimming Pool
We do have a swimming pool and a spa. The main gate for them has a lock, but one does not need a key, because it can easily be opened with just a tug. The swimming pool water was clear enough to see what appears to be algae growing on the sides and the bottom of the pool. In some areas there are some real thick clumps of algae looking like moss on a tree, I was able to scrap off chunks of it with my swimming pool key. Imagine paying all that association dues money for pool service and still having growing on the sides and bottom that stuff I described. No supervision of the pool service by either Euclid Management or Alex Taylor's Board of Directors.
Tennis Courts with Cracks up to 5 1/2 inches Wide
We have tennis courts. But that is nothing to brag about, because our tennis courts are hazardous to play on due to the presence of cracks up to 5 1/2 inches wide and lots of broken glass. The 2 tennis courts each has a gate, but only one has a lock, a broken one at that. Why didn't Alex Taylor's Board of Directors maintain the tennis courts? Ask Alex Taylor. He was on the board for 16 years and the only thing I am aware of he did to them was take down the basketball backboard so neither the kids from the neighborhood nor ours could play basketball.
Sloppy Asphalt Repairs and Loss of Parking Spaces
In March and April of 2003 asphalt repairs were done and notices claimed: “Just think how nice it will look when it’s finished. It will increase the property values for all.” The notices must have been talking about the 1077 side where all of the asphalt was replaced. Not the 1097 side where the asphalt was only slurry sealed. Oh, 4 of the 5 members of the Board of Directors lived on the 1077 side. On my 1097 side Elias Bros. Contractors did not even bother to repair the asphalt before covering it with slurry seal. (Note: slurry seal is just a temporary fix. In just 2-3 years it will look again in need of repair.) Behind my garage is a parking area 62 feet wide that had several depressions including two that were large and deep enough to be called potholes. The potholes are both still there. Elias Bros. Contractors did not even bother to fill in the potholes. The driveway still has many rough areas and unfilled cracks which should have been at least patched. In the driveway next to the 4 garages in the building I am in are 2 natural gas meters and protecting them from careless drivers are four 4 1/2 inch metal posts. Before the asphalt repairs 2 of 4 of these metal posts were leaning. I assumed during the repairs Elias Bros. Contractors would have the common sense to upright these metal posts, but I was wrong. Euclid Management has not even bothered to mark all 4 of these gray posts with reflective tape so they can be seen at night. Park Mediterrania was built in 1979. Twenty-four years later in 2004 after these asphalt repairs were done painting was also done marking parking spaces that were different then the original ones that were in use for 24 years. I estimate about 20 of the parking spaces that were in use were lost. So much for the false claim: "Just think how nice it will look when it’s finished. It will increase the property values for all.” Yeah, right.
West Nile Virus-Mosquitoes Infecting Wild Birds
In above "Disgusting Looking Water in the Ponds/Streams" I write of seeing standing water. The deadly West Nile Virus has been detected in infected wild birds in San Bernardino County. I wonder if any of our ducks are sickly or have been found dead. To report a dead duck phone (877) 968-2473. To report potential mosquito breeding ponds such as ours phone San Bernardino County (800) 442-2283.
A Press-Enterprise article stated: "State and county health officials are urging the public to take precautions, including eliminating potential mosquito breeding areas such as neglected backyard swimming pools and standing water. Other advice includes wearing long sleeves and pants plus DEET-based insect repellent when outdoors at dusk or dawn - when mosquitoes are most likely to be present."
Of course mosquitoes are getting inside our condos where we are not wearing long sleeves and not using mosquito repellent. The standing water in our ponds/streams is obviously breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Also there are dozens of grates for drainage in the front of many of the condominiums. All it takes is just a cupful of water in a drain for hundreds of mosquito larva to live. Its easy to see those little blood suckers flying around outside even during overcast days. (We even have dragon flies, flying over the pond scum). After our mosquitoes bite our ducks, they are then biting us and if and when West Nile Virus is present, transmitting the virus to our blood streams.
The article also stated: "Last year, the virus sickened nearly 10,000 people and killed 264, the largest outbreak of a mosquito-borne disease in U.S. history." A later Press-Enterprise article on 6/22/04 stated: "A 61-year-old Colton man may be the seventh Inland resident to contract West Nile Virus from an infected mosquito, San Bernardino County public health officials said Monday. The man remains hospitalized with encephalitis - inflammation of the brain - but is improving, Dr. Eric Frykman, interim health officer for San Bernardino County said by phone." Then a P-E article on 6/25/04 stated state officials declared "epidemic conditions" and county officials planned to spray a three-square mile area in Fontana.
On 9/9/04 right after the new Board of Directors were elected, we went to the Bluffs Restaurant in Colton where our waitress informed us one of their regular customers died from the West Nile Virus.
I wonder if Alex Taylor's Board of Directors even bothered to have the dark green scummy standing water treated with larvicide's to kill mosquito larva.
City of Colton and County of San Bernardino web pages with information about the West Nile Virus:
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