President’s Message: CC&R

Kim Fuller
President

Once again, we need to request your help in voting on the CC&R and By-Law changes. The HOA and its volunteers have invested considerable efforts and spent over $40,000 to determine the community’s support and preferences as to potential changes to our governing documents but we are required to have your vote to finalize the process and put this current effort to rest. We need everyone to vote so these efforts and expense is not wasted. We need you to vote and send in you ballot to complete the process.

For the CC&R’s and By-Law changes, we estimate we will need a minimum of approximately 2500 ballots in order to assess and determine the desires of a majority of homeowners in the community as to each proposal in the Special Election. To date we only have about 1300 ballots, insufficient for ratification. If you have not already done so, please vote! In the coming weeks, if you have not voted yet, you will receive a new packet with a ballot and election specifications. Ballot drop-off boxes are located at the Santa Rosa Clubhouse and Montecito Clubhouse. If you have voted, thank you and please remind your friends and neighbors to do the same.

There are four items on the ballot for your consideration. After many comments from residents the Board decided to present the following four items for a vote:

  1. Measure 1 includes all the proposed changes to remove Pulte from the documents where possible and applicable, and all changes required because of new state laws. If item 1 passes, then the CC&R’s and By-laws as set forth in the materials provided would become the current documents. Since Pulte is no longer here, it seemed responsible to remove them from the documents wherever possible. The other changes are changes that are required because of changes in the law. If measure 1 passes, the documents will become clearer without Pulte being listed where applicable, and since we must implement new laws anyway, the documents would reflect that which is required by law.
  2. Measure 2 is a vote to remove term limits on committee members. Currently there is a two-term limit on committee members. Some have felt that some committee members should be allowed to serve longer if they are willing and to capitalize on their expertise. Others might feel that providing more homeowners opportunities to serve on Advisory Committees is encouraged.  A vote in favor of this measure supports removing term limits.  A no vote means that the present term limits imposed by the governing documents would continue in effect.
  3. Measure 3 is a vote to Prohibit Cumulative voting for Board member elections. Currently the governing documents direct that the HOA allow Cumulative voting every other year in the election process when 3 Board positions are up for election. Cumulative voting allows a homeowner to place one, two or up to three votes for any one candidate, or two for one candidate, and one for another candidate or one for three individual candidates selected from the total number of candidates running. When only two positions are up for election Individual voting is the required method. In individual voting you have up to two votes per household and may not place more than one vote to any one candidate. In Cumulative voting you may put more than one vote to any one candidate. This is the difference between the two voting methods. A vote “Yes” on this measure ends cumulative voting, and a vote “NO” keeps cumulative voting in place.
  4. Measure 4 is to Decrease the minimum rental term from 90 days to 45 days and will also remove present language which allows homeowners to rent for any period less than 90 days if they use a management company to rent their home.  A “Yes” vote means no Resident will be able to rent their home for less than 45 days, and there will be no more exceptions. A “No” vote means that the present limitations (90 days) and exceptions (rent for less time where a management company handles the rentals) will continue.

A majority of homeowners each having one vote per household on each Measure presented (approximately 1760 votes one way or another is necessary to determine the outcome of each individual measure.) This is your community and an opportunity to make your desires known at least on the Measures presented. Please vote. If you have questions, please let me know or contact other Board members or staff or seek counsel from your fellow homeowners.

President’s Message: Town Hall Meetings

Kim Fuller
President

On November 13, 2018, we will host two Open Board Town Hall Meetings to explain how Ceasar Larrach committed the fraud, over what period of time, and what has been done to improve the process for the future. First meeting will start at 9:00 AM, and the second meeting will begin at 1:30 PM. These meetings will be the same and will be recorded in case you are not able to attend. We will also discuss the budget; future dues increase for 2019 to be $265, and to answer questions.

President’s Message: The Ceasar Larrach Case is Over

Kim Fuller
President

Hello Residents:

The Ceasar Larrach Embezzlement Case is now over. Associa/DRM and the HOA have signed final Settlement Agreements ending the last 14 months of investigation and negotiations.

On November 13, 2018, we will host two Town Hall Meetings to explain how the fraud took place, over what period of time, and what has been done to improve the process for the future. First meeting will start at 9 am, and the second meeting will begin at 1:30 pm. These meetings will be the same and will be recorded in case you are not available to attend. We will also discuss the budget; future dues increase for 2019 to be $265, and to answer questions.

The meetings will go into detail about the case, but here are the highlights of the case:

Embezzlement Amount                                                          $123,062
Funds recovered from Ceasar Larrach in Restitution             $125,000

HOA Embezzlement Costs:
Attorney Costs- EG&H         $ 12,337
RGL Forensics                     $ 21,190
Insurance Attorney               $   2,499
Staff Time                             $   3,660
Total                                      $39,686
Total known Losses and Expenses         $162,748

Settlement Agreement with Associa-DRM:
One-time payment             $65,000     Paid immediately.
Payments over one year    $25,000    12 monthly payments of $2083.33
Total within one year         $90,000
Total Guaranteed recovery within one year:   $215,000

Service Fee reduction by DRM over 3 years       $75,000
$25,000 per year reduction for 3 years if we continue with DRM.
No Increase in Management Fee for 3 years.

Total Potential recoveries:                                 $290,000
(plus, savings resulting from Management Fees frozen at 2018 contract levels)

Total Potential recoveries:                                  $290,000

Less Known Losses and Expenses:                   $162,748

Net Additional Potential Recovery by HOA:      $127,252

President’s Report – November 2018

Kim Fuller
President

Good morning, and welcome to another beautiful day in paradise. Let’s face it, we do live in a great place with many wonderful people who are all willing to help. Thank you, everyone.

This is the time of year that the Board is completing the budget for 2019. This always prompts many to ask me, “Will the monthly fees go up?” I guess I could end this story quickly by simply saying, “yes,” but it is always interesting to explain why to ensure we all have an understanding.

I believe we all have a responsibility to each other to maintain the facilities and services that were installed when we moved here. That is our agreement with one another. It is in our long-term best interest never to let facilities become outdated but to maintain them and provide services that meet the expectations of all current and future residents. This way, property values stay as high as possible; and we all get to use the services for our own enjoyment.

Budgeting is the art of maintaining our facilities in the most efficient way possible without sacrificing long-term benefits. Too often, cuts are made that can lead to diminished maintenance, something we must avoid.

If we don’t want to sacrifice quality, because costs go up each year, we need to match those cost increases to maintain our facilities at an equal level so we don’t reduce quality and services. Reducing quality and services will ultimately lead to lower property values.

Inflation is currently about 2.7%, and that means we can count on costs going up about 2.7% next year. To maintain our facilities at the current level, then, we will need to increase monthly dues at least 2.7%.

I have always been an advocate of modest, responsible increases that match inflation so we can maintain facilities and services. At 2.7% inflation, this would mean a monthly increase in dues of about $7. That would be my goal. I much prefer steady increases that match inflation over the long term that we can plan for, rather than holding dues steady in some years with no increase and then making high increases in other years.

When prospective buyers come to our community, they want to see responsible financial planning with no special assessments. When we can plan on the future and see a track record to support that planning, home values will stay as high as possible.

So, our first task is to maintain current facilities and services, and only after that can we discuss increasing services that will lead to an increase in costs. In addition, such increases need to be in the best interest of everyone, not just to benefit a few. Costs can creep up when we add new services that only benefit a few because all residents pay for these increases.

Let’s use caution in adding any new services that will increase costs to everyone. And keep in mind, our first responsibility to each other is to maintain existing facilities well before taking on new projects that will only increase monthly costs over time.

Every day, I will enjoy the sunset and remind myself, “It doesn’t get any better than this.”

Kim Fuller
President

President’s Message: Fitness Classes – A Discussion of Cost Update

Kim Fuller
President

After many comments about the Fitness Class program, as pointed out by one resident, there is another alternative to keep yearly passes and still not increase the subsidy to residents in the budget for next year. We have been calculating using the assumption of an increase in the number of classes as requested by different people. That assumption drives the numbers because of increase costs in labor.

An alternative is to maintain only 35 classes a week and not increase that number without an increase in attendance to support the increase in labor. This idea has merit. If we maintain 35 classes per week, and no more, we could use this year’s income and expenses to determine any increase in yearly passes to make up any shortfall in the budget. It would then be possible to keep yearly passes, monthly passes, and day use fee at $4 per class. Everything would remain the same except for the yearly pass fee would have to increase to $250.

If we were to support this plan, and limit classes to 35 per week, it means finding the 35 classes that most residents want to participate in taking and eliminating all those classes with low attendance. Monitoring of those 35 classes would be on ongoing process to be sure we don’t increase expenses to all homeowners for this program.

We could, given this budget projection leave monthly fees, daily fees the same, but we would have to increase the fee to specialty classes that cost the HOA more in labor along with the increase in the yearly pass fee. Some classes cost more because certain classes cost more, either because they are longer, or the instructor charges more money for that type of class. Specialty classes would mean the daily fee would be $8, the monthly and yearly pass holders would need to pay $4 for these types of classes to be offered.

Please let Board know your thoughts on this alternative plan. It would mean all the pass would still be offered and the program would almost be self-funding so subsidy to residents would not increase over this year. The plan would mean:

  1. Yearly pass fee increased to $250
  2. Monthly pass fee remains the same
  3. Daily fee remains the same at $4
  4. Specialty classes need increase fee from everyone
  5. Maximum number of classes will be 35 per week

Let us know your thoughts or if you have further questions. This compromise would allow the yearly, monthly, and daily fee structure to continue.

Thank you,
Kim Fuller

President’s Message: Fitness Classes – A Discussion of Cost

Kim Fuller
President

As a part of the budget process, there has been an examination of the Fitness Classes and their related costs. The Board is considering an increase in the Fitness Class fees to cover costs and that has many asking the question as to ‘Why’. Very simple, but complicated question, but I will do my best to cover many points about the class rates and costs to help explain our predicament. Please understand that these are my comments and not necessarily the opinions of other Board members. Nor do my comments mean the Board will vote a certain way.

Many have asked why the Fitness classes aren’t subsidized at the same level as Golf. Golf operations are subsidized more than other areas, that is true. That operation takes more money to maintain, just like security takes more money to maintain than the fitness dept. When we all moved here we agreed to these costs as part of living here, and that is paid for from the monthly assessments. There is no surprise in paying the cost for maintaining the golf course or paying for security, etc. because we all knew about these costs when we moved in. The future goal is to maintain the level of services in a cost-efficient way without raising monthly assessments unreasonably.

Currently Fitness classes have a yearly pass (use all the classes you like in one year), a monthly pass (use all the classes you like in one month), or pay each time one at a time. Keep in mind the golfers pay for every round they play. That is part of the equation. There are no passes at a yearly rate to reduce the costs of each round. Clearly if we did that the subsidy would have to increase because we would be getting less money for each round played. That is the difference between the yearly passes for fitness classes and golf fees. Golf is pay as you go, so costs are distributed equally among the users.

Fitness classes currently do not operate this way. About 1.5 years ago, at the request of residents, more classes were offered, but it was done on the expectation and condition that the program would break even. So, many classes were implemented, and projections were made to break even so that homeowners would not have an increase in the monthly assessments for the classes. This concept seemed reasonable because these classes were never part of the fitness budget, so to increase the cost of classes to all residents by increasing their monthly assessments did not seem fair.

Part of the projection at that time was a yearly, monthly, and day use fee for the classes. This was implemented and has been tried for the last 1.5 years. The problem is we now have too many people using the fitness classes that are not paying for the cost of the class, so the subsidy would have to increase to all residents if we are to maintain that same program. This was not the intention or plan in expanding the number of classes.

The current cost to the HOA per fitness class is about $65. If residents paid $4 per class, we would need about 16 people in the class to break even. As the program grew, the problem became yearly pass holders given their cost of the pass. At $200, if a person were to take a class twice per week, their cost would be less than $2 per class. This would mean we would need 32 people in each class to break even. The situation gets worse the more people use the pass. Example: one person contacted me and said they would be willing to pay $400 for the pass because they use it six days a week. This person is only paying about 65 cents per class. This is the problem. The concept of a yearly unlimited pass will conflict with the actual cost of providing the class, the more it is used, the more money the HOA loses, and the more money all residents will need to pay as a subsidy.

Even if people are willing to pay $400 for the pass, individual costs of the classes would have to increase to make up the difference in costs. This becomes the complex decision of the Board on how to distribute those costs fairly. Should residents be subsidizing classes along with individual users so yearly pass holders pay little for any class. I am not sure at this point that is fair. The best way to maintain services equally is to have costs distributed equally among the users. This is the platform of golf users. Each person pays as they play, with no special benefit for a monthly or yearly pass. This way we can track the costs for golf and if necessary raise the golf fees up to cover the cost, but it is done for everyone equally.

I don’t believe you can have competing systems in place at the same time; Yearly passes vs. individual pay as you go fees. These two systems conflict and will ultimately lead to yearly pass holders being subsidized by increased costs to residents and daily fee users. The most efficient and fair way to spread costs is everyone pays their fair share of the costs. I favor this approach for a program that needs to break even. If the cost of the classes were to stay at $4 per class, with no yearly or monthly passes, then costs can be tracked, classes with too few people eliminated, and remaining classes can be offered long term without increasing the monthly costs to the homeowners.

The current proposed budget by the fitness dept. was an increase of about 40% in subsidy, this is just too high for all residents so that about 200 people can take classes far below market rates. If we provide the classes at a set fee for everyone, then just like golf, everyone that uses the classes will share equally in the cost. This is maintainable. Otherwise daily fees and monthly assessments to all residents will have to increase. I would be concerned about raising monthly fees to 3,450 homeowners for the benefit of 200 yearly pass holders. Although I understand everyone would like the costs to be low, but sometimes that is not realistic. I also don’t think $4 per class is unreasonable for the benefit, the same as I don’t think golf fees for $42 to $52 dollars is unreasonable.

This program of classes was never part of the original subsidy agreement to residents for the fitness department, so we must find a way to break even if such classes are going to continue. Naturally I am giving you my thoughts, the Board may, and can decide as they wish when a vote comes for the final budget.

I think it wise and reasonable to campaign to the Board for whatever outcome you would like to see take place. That is how the system works, and the final vote for a budget and how classes are offered will not happened until the next Board meeting.

Thank you,
Kim Fuller

President’s Message: Budget

Kim Fuller
President

It is that time of year to complete the budget for next year which always raises the question from many, “Are the monthly fees going up”? I guess I could end this story quickly by simply saying ‘Yes’, but it is always fun to explain why so we all have an understanding.

I believe we all have a responsibility to each other to maintain the facilities and services that were installed when we moved here. That is our agreement with each other. It is in our long-term best interest to never let facilities become tired, but to maintain those facilities and services to meet the expectation of all of us and future residents. This way property values stay as high as possible and we all get to use the services for our own enjoyment.

Budgeting then becomes the art of maintaining the facility in the most efficient way possible, without sacrificing long term benefit. Too often cuts are made which can then lead to diminished care, something that needs to be avoided.

Understanding that we don’t want to sacrifice quality, if all things remain equal, given that costs go up each year, to maintain the facility at an equal level we need to match those cost increases so that we don’t reduce quality and services. Reduction of quality and services will ultimately lead to lower property values.

Inflation is currently about 2.7%. That means we can count on costs probably going up about 2.7% next year, which means to maintain the facility at its current level we will need to increase monthly dues at least 2.7%. I have always been an advocate of modest, responsible increases that match inflation to maintain facilities and services. A 2.7% increase would mean a monthly increase of about $7 per month. That would be my goal. I much prefer steady, inflationary increases long term that we can plan for rather than some years with no increase and then some years with high increases. When people come to buy your home, they want to see responsible financial planning with no assessments. When people can plan on the future, and can see history to support that planning, home values will then stay as high as possible.

Given that goal, our first task is to maintain current facilities and services, and only after that can we discuss increasing services which will lead to an increase in costs. Such increases need to be in the best interest of the greater good and not just a benefit to a few. Costs can creep up when new services are put into place that only benefit a few, even though all residents pay for the subsidy. Let’s use caution on any new services which will increase costs to everyone, and keep in mind, our first responsibility to each of us is to maintain existing facilities well before taking on new projects which will only increase monthly costs over time.

The final budget meeting will be 10/23/18 when all the details will be finalized so Board may approve the Budget for 2019 at the October meeting. The meeting on 10/23/18 is open to all homeowners so please attend if you have comments or suggestions on the future planning. If you are not available, please write to the Board with any suggestions or comments.

Thank you,
Kim Fuller

President’s Report – October 2018

Kim Fuller
President

Although I will never tire of the beautiful sunrises, I am sure many of you are tired of reading about the CC&R and By-law changes. But a ballot was mailed to all residents on April 19, 2018, and we need you to vote to complete the process. A copy of all the documents is available on the HOA website.

There are four items on the ballot for your consideration. After many comments from residents, the Board decided to present the following four items for a vote:

  1. Item 1 includes all the proposed changes to remove Pulte from the documents where applicable, and all changes required because of new state laws. If item 1 passes, then the CC&Rs and By-laws listed would become the current documents. Since Pulte is no longer here, it seemed responsible to remove them from the documents wherever possible. The other changes are changes that are required because of changes in the law. If item 1 passes, the documents will become clearer without Pulte being listed where applicable and, since we must implement new laws anyway, the documents would reflect that which is required by law.
  2. Item 2 is a vote to remove term limits on committee members. Currently, there is a two-term limit on committee members. Some have felt that some committee members should stay longer if they are willing because of their expertise. A vote in favor of this item supports removing term limits.
  3. Item 3 is a vote to remove cumulative voting for Board member elections. Currently the HOA uses cumulative voting every other year in the election process when three Board positions are up for election. When only two positions are up for election, regular voting is used. In regular voting you may not put more than one vote to any one candidate. In cumulative voting, you may put more than one vote to any one candidate. This is the difference between the two voting methods.
  4. Item 4 is to change the minimum rental period from 90 days to 45 days. It will also remove the language, which allows homeowners to rent for less than 90 days, if they use a management company to rent their homes. Current language allows homeowners to use a management company and rent for as little as one day. So, if this item passes, no resident will be able to rent their home for less than 45 days, and there will be no more exceptions.

These are the four items to vote on for the changes to the CC&Rs and By-laws. It is important that all homeowners vote so we can conclude this process, which began about three years ago. The HOA has spent over $40,000 on the process to update our governing documents so they are more concise and easier to read. We need everyone to vote so this effort is not wasted. Homeowners may mail back their ballots or place them in one of the ballot boxes located near the reception desks at each of the clubhouses. If you need another ballot, for any reason, please contact the HOA office and we can provide one to you. We are trying to complete this process by November 13. So please send in the ballots right away.

If you have questions, please let me know or contact other Board members or staff.

Once you send in your ballot, take a break and watch the beautiful sunset, and once again we can all understand and say, “It doesn’t get any better than this.”

Kim Fuller
President

President’s Report – September 2018

Kim Fuller
President

A beautiful morning, sun rising, roadrunners running, rabbits jumping, and new things unfolding. Making our life easier is our new website that has just been released. It was launched on August 6, 2018. Representatives from the Information Advisory Committee (IAC) and the Computer Club will be holding classes for anyone who wants help to learn how the new website works. But I have to say I found navigating and using the new site much easier than the old one.

After more than a year of work, beta testing by many, and comments from users on improvements, the new website is now online. After seeing the demo given to the Board, we all were impressed and looked forward to the new format. On August 6, after watching the sunrise, I spent time navigating through the new website. I have to say, great job to the IAC for a job more than well done. Many changes have been made to make it much easier to determine where to go for information about the HOA. As you use the new website, feel free to make suggestions because changes and improvements can be made as we go along at any time.

I want to thank the IAC for the long hours of hard work they put in to make this happen. Committee members Linda Aasen, Lin Conrad, Terry Coon, Kris Downey, Bob Firring, Claudia Marley, George Stephens, and Board Liaison Fera Mostow all worked together along with Gus Ramirez, Communications Manager, from staff. A very special thanks to the Committee Chair, Erin Smith, for the last two years of seeing this project through to reality.

This project was designed to improve communication with all residents by providing accurate information about the HOA in a timely manner. As part of this process, we are asking everyone to sign up for the email announcement system called “e-blasts.” The HOA sends out announcements weekly, and sometimes more, with information and up-to-date news regarding the HOA. These announcements can range from new items for special events, to changes in schedules, to emergency warnings, to updates on HOA business. By signing up for this service you will get all the announcements that we send out to residents on any given day.

To sign up, we need you to fill out a form. We are not allowed simply to put you on the system; State law requires you sign up for the service. We need to verify that you want us to send you such information. Some residents told us they were concerned that, by signing up for such email announcements, they would also receive all legal notices by e‑mail rather than by regular mail through the post office. This is not the case. When you sign up for the e-blast service you will only be getting announcements in your e-mail. All other legal documents will still be sent by regular mail. Sign-up forms are available on the new website or at the HOA office. Please help us communicate with you by signing up for the e-blast service today.

Thank you all for another day in paradise. It is easy to look around and know, “It doesn’t get any better than this.”

Kim Fuller
President

President’s Message: North Channel Ponds

I am writing to explain the low level of the ponds in the North Channel and why there is more green algae bloom than normal.

The threads on a pipe connected to the pump that transfers water from lakes on holes #16 to #17 broke and a repair needed to be completed.  The water level on lake #16 needed to be lowered in order to complete the repair.  Therefore, the water flow from the well at the northern most marsh in the North Channel needed to be stopped as this water flows downhill through the back 9 of the golf course to the lake on #16.

The repair was completed today and the well will run tonight raising the water level.  There will be at least 45,000 gallons of fresh water flowing from the well and that will clear up most of the algae bloom.  Additionally, staff is adding a product to the water (safe to water fowl and fish) to clear up the water.

Thank you,
Kim Fuller

President’s Report – August 2018

Good morning, and welcome to another beautiful day in paradise. So many things are happening that it is hard to know where to begin, but here goes…

The Board approved all the following items:

  • Installation of new carpet in the Santa Rosa Fitness Center.
  • Installation of new gravel/rock in some of the common areas.
  • Resurfacing of the tennis courts at the Montecito.
  • A process for the Travel Committee to pro- mote trips and resolve the insurance issue which will afford protection to the HOA while allowing residents to sign up for inter- national trips.
  • A recommendation from the Safety Commit- tee to update signage at the Phase I & II gates.
  • Purchase of a Roman Chair exercise device for the Montecito Fitness Center.
  • A “Code of Conduct” for all Committee and Board members, so now there is only one form for everyone.
  • A new company to do the Reserve Study, which should be completed by November.
  • Rollout of a new website on August 6, 2018.

The Board gave direction to the Landscape Committee to interview and recommend a landscape architect company to consult for ongoing landscape maintenance.

The HOA received a $125,000 check from Ceasar Larrach to repay money embezzled while he was employed at Sun City Shadow Hills. The Board received the final report from its own fraud examiner and, as a result, voted to end the investigation of the fraud case.

The Board has adopted a new philosophy of hiring consultants to write plans and specifications so that, when we go to bid, the contractors will for plans, specs, and information rather than depending on each contractor’s opinion of what and how something should be done. Without plans and specs, it is very difficult to compare proposals; and this leads to dramatic differences in price, methods of installation, and quality.

An example of this involved the bid on the gravel/rock installation, where bids ranged from $96,000 to $189,000. These prices vary way too much, which means different contractors are seeing the job differently. And that could mean the HOA will not get what it requested for the installation. Bids should be within 10 percent of each other most of the time if the plans and specs are accurate, so that everyone knows exactly what is going to be done and how much material will be installed in a certain way. After careful review and negotiations with the top two bidders, the final price for this project was $79,350.

We can also use a consulting engineer to supervise and inspect the work to be sure it is done correctly. Although we might spend a little more money in the beginning, this process helps to save the HOA much more money in the long run. We can see this result in the final price for the gravel/rock installation.

This philosophical change in how we bid and pick contractors will lead to a much more efficient system with better quality work. This process will help to ensure the HOA receives professional and high-quality work, which in the end will help to maintain everyone’s property values. It will also mean that we as residents will enjoy living here that much more.

So, with that in mind, I watch another beautiful sunset feeling grateful and content we are moving in the right direction. And I remind myself once more: it doesn’t get any better than this!

Kim Fuller
President

President’s Message: North Channel Watering

There have been many questions about the watering schedule of the North Channel. This is the area as you come through the Jefferson Gate that is on your right where the ponds are located, and you can walk with your dog on a leash if you so wish.

There are many requests about watering given the different concerns. Some Residents want the area dry by 5 am so that they can walk early morning. This means we need to water at night and hopefully in time for the area to dry out by 5 am. It takes about 4 hours to go through the entire watering program of the area. So, you can see if we start watering at 2 am, some areas will be wet at 5 am.

We could start the watering time at 10 pm, but some residents have complained that the sprinklers spray on their car when they drive by. The sprinklers are checked and are adjusted correctly, but if the wind comes up it will blow water across the street and onto your car if you drive by. These residents have requested starting the sprinklers at 1 or 2 am so it won’t spray on their cars.

You can see the problem. We used to start the sprinklers at 10 am and then again at 2 am because during the summer the area needed more water. This situation leads to complaints about watering of cars driving by and complaints about the area wet in the morning when people are walking.

We have decided to water at night only once and to start the watering time at 12 midnight. This way the sprinklers will be done by 4 am to give a little time for the area to dry out before residents begin their walk. It does mean if you drive by at midnight your car will get wet if the wind is blowing. We can’t resolve this issue given all the other constraints. We felt there are fewer cars at midnight compared to 10pm, so midnight got the start time. We can’t go later like 1 am or 2 am because the sprinklers would not be done in time so that the area can dry out a little bit for the early morning walkers.

Because we are not watering twice at night, staff will be watering again during the day at some point. This is done with a manual start by staff when there are no people walking in the area. This means you can see the sprinklers running during the day, at different times, in different locations depending on what area needs water. Staff is trying not to interfere with anyone walking while making sure the grass gets enough water on the hot spots that need it.

Hopefully this answers your questions as to the watering of the North Channel and why you now see watering during the day. It is being done to try and resolve all the other concerns that have been presented. It is not possible as you can see to resolve everyone’s request, but this might be the best solution to affect the fewest people and accommodate most concerns.

Thank you,

Kim Fuller
President

President’s Message: Theft from Autos and Vandalism Update

During early morning hours, beginning July 2, 2018 through July 4, 2018, several incidents of trespassing, malicious mischief, thefts from unlocked vehicles, one incident of assault with a BB gun, and three incidents of animal cruelty occurred largely in the southern portion of Phase-1 with Santa Elise as a corridor over a 48-hour period.

Each of these crimes were crimes of specific intent coupled with at least two trespassers indulging in crimes of opportunity over a two-day period. The Indio Police Department (IPD) is actively investigating several of these incidents; therefore, specific details cannot be discussed at this time. The Association is also conducting its own investigation.

It is important to note that the thefts from parked vehicles were true crimes of opportunity in that each of the vehicles was left unattended and unlocked on streets and driveways. Small personal property left inside the vehicles was easily found and taken.

The employees of the Association’s patrol company G4S located and confronted two male adult trespassers during early morning dark hours after observing them jump our perimeter walls on several occasions. While temporarily detained and awaiting the Indio Police Department’s arrival out on Avenue 40 near Madison, the two suspects jumped back into the property and disappeared in the darkness. One G4S patrol officer remained in his vehicle on Avenue 40 where the suspects jumped the wall should they return the same way, while other G4S patrol officers dispatched searched the neighborhood within the wall. At this time, he heard several shots from a BB gun and his vehicle’s back window shattered. He did not see the source of the shots and was uninjured. G4S patrol officers continued to look for the suspects until IPD arrived and took over the search.

Three dead ducks were found by members of the maintenance team and it appeared they had been shot with a BB gun as well.

The IPD is currently investigating these incidents. Reflecting on these incidents there are important lessons to be learned.

  • If you park your vehicles outdoors, then ensure your vehicles are secured and locked. Do not keep small valuables such as personal electronics, purses, wallets, coins, and cash in plain sight or hidden within your vehicle.
  • If you see something, say something! In other words, if you see someone near your home or walking within your neighborhoods who does not appear to belong here call the Indio Police Department immediately, and then the G4S patrol at the Front Gates at 760-345-4458. Also, if you see someone suspicious do not approach them as you do not know their mental state or whether they are armed.
  • The G4S patrol officers are unarmed and have no more powers to arrest someone than you do, so please beware of your expectations of them. The primary purpose of GS4 is to patrol the Association for governing document violations; they cannot be everywhere all the time.

Below is a brief synopsis of the reported incidents on and around July 4th, listed times on this synopsis are the time the incidents were reported to Security.

Thank you,
Kim Fuller
President


07/01/18

08:37 Vehicle Burglary reported on Camino San Lucas, vehicle was left unlocked for 3 days in driveway, minor items stolen – 5 pairs sun glasses, iPod Nano, $20.00 cash.

10:16 Vehicle burglary reported on Camino San Lucas, interior ransacked, no sign of forced entry, most likely vehicle left unlocked. Minor items taken – gift cards and phone chargers. Homeowner (H/O) declined to make police report.

07/02/18

04:35 2 trespassers spotted on Camino Piscina in phase 3,

1st suspect described as possibly Asian male approximately 19 years, wearing black hooded sweatshirt, Black pants and black backpack.

2nd suspect described as Hispanic male, approximately 19 years, wearing grey hooded sweatshirt, black pants and black backpack.

Patrol instructed gate to call Indio Police Dept. (IPD), then approached and spoke to the individuals who initially claimed they were staying on property but couldn’t remember where or who with. They were told that they were trespassing, and both agreed to leave. Patrol followed them along NSCB towards Madison, they then broke into a run and jumped over the wall to the left of Madison Gate out onto Madison and turned left towards Ave 40. Patrol followed suspects (who were still on foot) to 40th were they turned left onto 40th heading east. Shortly after they again jumped the perimeter wall on to Avenida Tres Lagunas. Second patrol unit began looking inside community for the suspects while first unit waited outside close to the location where they originally crossed the wall. At this point the first patrol heard several shots that sounded to him like a BB gun and a moment later the passenger side rear window shattered into the back of the truck. Patrols continued to look for the suspects until IPD arrived at 05:15 and took over the search. Last sighting of the suspects was by a Troon employee who saw them leave the property via the golf course maintenance yard on to 40th heading west.

07/04/18

06:30 Patrol received information that there was a burned American flag on Santa Elise. Patrol drove along Santa Elise and found the burned flag on Santa Elise, H/O had no idea who had done this or when. They also found vandalized Cacti on Santa Elise. All H/O were called and informed or messages were left.

08:30 Guest of a house on Ave San Ignacio reported her vehicle had been broken into but went on to admit it was left unlocked, Guest reported a wallet taken from inside a purse left in vehicle containing her id cards, credit cards and approximately $1000.00 in cash. She was encouraged to call IPD to report the incident but as of 7/6 had not done so.

08:30 H/O on Santa Elise reported that daughter’s car was vandalized during the night, an obscene word was scratched into the rear bumper cover. Vehicle was not opened, nothing taken. H/O reported to IPD.

09:29 H/O on Camino Santa Elise reported her husband truck was broken into sometime after midnight and before 09.00 July 4th. Could not answer whether vehicle was locked and did not mention anything missing from truck. IPD was at the scene when patrol arrived taking report.

11:30 Main Gate received call from H/O on Avenida Santa Marta reporting vehicle burglary. Patrol arrived on scene approximately 11:50. Owner reports interior was ransacked between 21:20 the night before and 11:00am July 4th. Only $5.00 in change was reported missing, expensive earphones and designer sunglasses worth $300.00 were still in vehicle. Patrol recommended reporting to IPD.

16:55 Patrol responded to a home on Santa Elise to take a report of a vehicle broken into on July 4th, H/O reported the vehicle was unlocked due to a faulty door lock, interior was ransacked but only some loose change was stolen. House keys and vehicle registration were still in the vehicle.

17:15 Patrol responded to a call on Calle Santa Sofia, 2 cactus plants had been damaged, patrol also found an ADT alarm sign and a torn open box in the front yard that did not belong to the H/O. An address on the box led them to Avenida Santa Belinda, owner was missing a delivery that should have been left on her doorstep. Box was missing approximately $40.00 worth of cosmetics.

Unspecified time Maintenance informed patrol that early on the morning of the 4th there were 3 ducks found in the north channel that had been shot with a BB gun. Maintenance staff removed the bodies and disposed of them.

07/05/18

09:15 Guest on Camino Santa Juliana reported a vehicle burglary. Interior was searched, and trunk was opened but nothing was taken from the vehicle.

Note on July 4th we had 6 incidents involving vandalism and 5 vehicle burglaries.

The incident on the 2nd with the 2 trespassers who used the BB gun to smash the patrol truck window ties in with the incident on the morning of the 4th where 3 ducks were killed using a BB gun. This is the principal reason that Indio PD believe each of these incidents have been committed by the same 2 people.

President’s Message: July 6, 2018

The Association is aware that there have been a rash of vehicle burglaries and property vandalism this week, especially over the July 4th holiday.  The Association takes these matters very seriously and is currently investigating these incidences.  If you have any information regarding these incidences, you may call the Community Safety Director Mark Galvin at  760-345-4349 ext. 2202, or the Indio Police Department at 760-391-4051.  In the case of an emergency call 911. Please remember not to leave your keys in your vehicles or your vehicles unlocked.  Moreover, please do not leave your garage doors open unattended. Do not approach or attempt to stop anyone who is acting suspiciously. If you see any suspicious behavior or persons in the community, immediately call the Indio Police Department at 911 and then the Association’s patrol services at the Jefferson gate at 760-345-4458.

We have made adjustments to the patrols to provide extra coverage in the areas that have already been hit. We have also spoken to Ben Quitron at IPD and he has confirmed that their night time beat officers have been instructed to increase exterior patrols along Jefferson, Varner, Monroe Etc. and their personnel have been instructed to look for anyone in the area for the next 10 days.

We will be in touch with more information next week as we find out more after the investigation.

Thank you,
Kim Fuller
President

President’s Report – July 2018

Good morning, and welcome to another day with a beautiful sunrise in paradise.

Because I have had questions about a recent lawsuit against the HOA, I want to address this issue today. First, I need to give you some background by explaining how the Covenants Committee (CC) functions.

The CC conducts administrative hearings where residents have an opportunity to respond to any citation that they received for rule violations. Examples of rule violations are: stop sign and speeding violations, home design violations, and inappropriate conduct. Residents who are cited for a violation may request a hearing before the CC rather than pay a fine. The CC then has jurisdiction to uphold the fine, dismiss the fine, or impose some other option.

The CC procedures for due process are not like the standards of Superior or Civil Court. What is required by law is that we follow the Civil Code, CC&Rs, By-laws, and our own Rules. Sections that apply are:

  1. Civil Code §4935(a) “The board may adjourn to…executive session to consider litigation… member discipline…”.
  2. By-Law Section 8.06 (c). “The Board…shall be entitled to adjourn at any time for purposes of reconvening in executive session to discuss… member discipline…”.
  3. HOA Rule 1.3.2 “…The CC meets monthly in executive session…”.

This means that, in a CC hearing, there is no right to an open hearing, no right to confront the accuser, and no right to cross-examine witnesses. Rules of Evidence do not follow Civil and Criminal Court procedures, and the CC is only required to give a summary of the incident without names of accusers. The HOA Board takes the position that we want to maintain a friendly environment in our neighborhoods and so don’t want residents confronting each other over such complaints. As a result, there is disclosure of complainant names, we do not allow open hearings, and there is no cross-examination. Now that we understand the administrative hearing process, I can explain the lawsuit. A resident, according to a contractor doing work, was interfering with work being done. When the resident did not comply with requests to stop interfering, a citation was issued to the resident for a rule violation. The resident was fined $200 after attending a CC hearing.

The resident felt his due process rights were violated, and so he sued the HOA in Small Claims Court for $10,000 — $200 for return of the fine and $9,800 for punitive damages. The resident claimed he was denied an open hearing, denied ability to cross-examine witnesses, denied the opportunity to confront the accuser, and the HOA failed to follow rules applicable to civil and/or criminal trials.

The judge found in favor of the HOA. The judge stated there were no violations of the Civil Code on the part of the HOA. The HOA followed the law, so no damages were awarded to the resident. The benefit of this lawsuit is that the judge made clear that the process the HOA is following is correct and legal.

The effort here is to explain the rules of our hearings, so that residents understand the process and are not led to believe that their rights are being denied. We would like to avoid what some might consider frivolous lawsuits that simply cost the HOA money.

Even after such hearings, I look at another beautiful sunset and thank everyone for making each day a special day where we can all say: “It doesn’t get any better than this.”

Kim Fuller
President

President’s Message

Per the instructions of Judge Hop, Ceasar Larrach delivered a Cashier’s Check made payable to Sun City Shadow Hills HOA on Monday 6/11/18 in the amount of $125,000. This has been deposited into the HOA account.

Thank you,
Kim Fuller
President

President’s Message: HOA Lawsuit

Since I have had questions about a recent lawsuit against the HOA, I want to address this issue today. First, I need to give you some background by explaining how the Covenants Committee (CC) functions.

The CC is a Committee which conducts Administrative Hearings where residents have an opportunity to respond to any citation that was imposed on them for rule violations. Examples of rule violations are: stop sign and speeding violations, home design violations, and inappropriate conduct. Residents who are cited for a violation may have a hearing before the CC to be heard rather than paying a fine. The CC then has jurisdiction to uphold the fine, dismiss the fine, or impose some other option.

The CC procedures for due process are not like the standards of Superior or Civil court. What is required by law is that we follow the Civil Code, CC&R’s, By-laws, & our own Rules. Sections that apply are:

  1. Civil Code §4935(a) “The board may adjourn to, …, executive session to consider litigation, ……, member discipline, ……”.
  2. By-Law Section 8.06 (c). “The Board . . . shall be entitled to adjourn at any time for purposes of reconvening in executive session to discuss . . . Member discipline….”
  3. HOA Rule 1.3.2 “…. The CC meets monthly in executive session….”

This means that in a CC hearing there is no right to an Open hearing, no right to confront the accuser, and no right to cross-examine witnesses. Rules of Evidence do not follow Civil and Criminal Court Procedures, and the CC is only required to give a summary of the incident, without names of accusers. The HOA Board takes the position that we want to maintain a friendly environment in our neighborhoods and so don’t want residents confronting each other over such complaints. As a result, disclosure of complainant names is not done, we do not allow open hearings, and there is no cross-examination.

Now that we understand the Administrative hearing process, I can explain the lawsuit. A Resident, according to a contractor doing work, was interfering with work being done. When the resident did not comply with requests to stop interfering, a citation was issued to the resident for a rule violation. The resident was fined $200 after attending a CC hearing.

The Resident felt his due process rights were violated and so he sued the HOA in Small Claims court for $10,000, $200 for return of the fine and $9,800 for punitive damages. The resident claimed he was denied an open hearing, denied ability to cross examine witness, denied being able to confront the accuser, and the HOA failed to follow rules applicable to civil and/or criminal trials.

The Judge found in favor of the HOA. The Judge stated there were no violations of the Civil Code on the part of the HOA. The HOA followed the law so no damages were awarded the resident. The benefit of this lawsuit is that a Judge made clear that the process the HOA is following is correct and legal.

The effort here is to explain the rules of our hearings, so that residents understand the process and are not led to believe that their rights are being denied. We would like to avoid what some might consider frivolous lawsuits that simply cost the HOA money.

Thank you,

Kim Fuller
President

News from the President’s Desk…

  1. The Montecito Clubhouse Fitness equipment has been replaced and the Fitness Center is now open for business. Stop by the fitness desk to sign-up for an orientation to learn how the new equipment works.
  2. There is an open Board meeting this Thursday, 5/31/18 at 9:00 AM, in the Front half of Ballroom, to discuss:
    1. Rule changes for Covenants Committee.
    2. Rule changes for FAC committee regarding number of members of the committee.
    3. Covenants Committee Charter approval.
    4. Presentation of the new website.
  3. Ceasar Larrach update: Larrach was ordered to pay restitution of $125,000 to our HOA by June 7.  Click on "Residents Only" above for more information.
  4. The Tennis Courts at the Montecito Clubhouses have completed repainting of all poles and fences and the installation of new windscreens.
  5. The Santa Rosa Fitness Center new carpet replacement bids going to Board next month for approval.

President’s Message: Update on Ceasar Larrach

Bob Israel once again attended the settlement hearing for Ceasar Larrach on 5/25/18. Here is his updated report of that conference.

Thank you, Bob, for attending the second hearing.

Kim Fuller
President

From Bob Israel:

Per the Request of Kim Fuller, I appeared at the Riverside County Superior Court, Indio Justice Center at 8:30am on May 25. I had discussions with both Steve Morgan the assigned DA and Joseph T. Rhea, Ceasar’s criminal attorney. Ceasar’s attorney was indicating promised restitution would be sent either to the Court System or the Insurer who had paid the claim. I advised that there had to date been no payment towards the Association’s loss of money by any insurer and indicated if possible the funds should be transmitted directly to the SCSHA as the victim to avoid further delays, and to avoid what I learned was a10% administrative fee ($12,500) normally charged by the County of Riverside for collecting and transmitting restitution funds. With these clarifications, and agreements, Mr. Rhea then transmitted to me a request for wire information to the HOA accounts which I forwarded to Kim Fuller and Tyler Ingle for immediate response. Following that, the two attorneys went into the Judge’s chambers to apprise the Judge of the agreed terms of the Plea arrangement before the matter was undertaken in open court. After a substantial period of time, during which all necessary forms and agreements were reduced to writing, at approximately 11:40 AM, Ceasar appeared before the Honorable Judge John J. Ryan one of the most senior and most respected Judges on the bench locally at which time the terms were outlined which included:

  1. Ceasar withdrew his previous plea of not guilty to the charges against him and entered a plea of guilty to all three felony counts.
  2. Ceasar acknowledged his waiver of his right to a jury trial.
  3. The Judge suspended imposition of sentence upon the felony counts subject to Ceasar’s agreement that he was accepting an initial term of 120 days in jail (119 days with one day credit for time previously served) subject to probation as to be determined by the sheriff’s department which could include work release, ankle bracelet (with Ceasar to pay the cost thereof), or any other diversionary program approved by probation authorities. DA Morgan, later advised that the determination of the Judge to suspend imposition of sentence upon the felony counts was the better outcome than the judge rendering an immediate sentence beyond the 120 days, as should Ceasar not comply with any of the terms of his probation, including e.g. restitution, not fully complying with the terms imposed for his probation, having or controlling firearms, etc. he would then be subject to the Court conducting a full sentencing hearing and imposing State Prison time of up to 5 years and 4 months for the felonies Ceasar plead guilty to. The judge asked Ceasar if he understood this and then stated: "that in the case of violation of probation he would be sent to prison for a long, long time".
  4. Ceasar agreed to restitution of $125,000 to the HOA and he and his attorney represented that the funds were available and would be transmitted by wire to the HOA pending receipt of instructions, with evidence of such payment sent to the Court on or before June 7, 2018 and the matter was re-calendared for that date. The judge advised Ceasar that failure to make the agreed restitution would be considered a violation of probation.

It should be noted that the amount of restitution is capable of being re-opened upon further proof of additional fraud, but it is my understanding that at least according to the investigation thus far, this sum is very close to what the HOA and its investigators believe could be proved as actual out of pocket losses.

As soon as the funds have been received, the HOA will email an acknowledgement to Ceasar’s attorney Mr. Rhea and to DA Steve Morgan, acknowledging that fact so that information can be provided to the Judge by June 7. Should for any reason, the funds not be received, by close of business June 6, DA Morgan should be emailed immediately.

DA Steve Morgan stressed that the outcome of these criminal proceedings had no effect whatsoever upon any additional claims (beyond the funds covered by restitution) which the HOA may wish to civilly assert against Ceasar or his employer for damages/losses beyond the amounts the Plea of Guilty by Ceasar now admits were stolen.

On behalf of the HOA I thanked DA Morgan for his efforts and anticipated result on our behalf.

Bob Israel
Member at Large

President’s Report – June 2018

Once again as the first light breaks across the horizon, and a neighbor greets me with a “good morning,” I smile and reflect on the gift of this paradise. It is a pleasure meeting, talking, and working with so many great people. Feel free to contact me anytime with your questions or concerns.

Today I would like to take a moment to thank some of the many people who are doing so much for our community. It is easy to forget all the people that work to make this place a paradise. So many people on so many committees work hard for our benefit. Too often people think it is the Board that does all the work. But it is the members of each committee that are doing much of the work, to provide the Board with the information before voting. It is all these members that make the difference between success and failure in creating a beautiful place to live. Please take a moment and thank them for all their efforts and for making the work of the Board so much easier.

If you know a committee member, stand up and thank them. We can’t say it loud enough or often enough given their dedication. Let me take this moment to thank all the Chairs of each committee for their service and unselfish dedication:

  • Communications Advisory Committee Chair: Tom Hutson
  • Design Review Committee Chair: Vicki L Berg
  • Facilities & Services Advisory Committee Chair: John Petersen
  • Finance Advisory Committee Chair: Bill Wethe
  • Food & Beverage Advisory Committee Chair: Jurgen Gross
  • Golf Advisory Committee Chair: Dave Bakshy
  • Information Advisory Committee Chair: Erin Smith
  • Landscape Advisory Committee Chair: Chris Stevens
  • Safety Advisory Committee Chair: Ed Chavez
  • Emergency Preparedness Committee Chair: Jeff Kirkpatrick

And the new Covenants Committee should be starting in the next two months.

We have a new website ready to launch soon. The Board will be reviewing the site and, if all goes well, it will be launched sometime in June. Our goal is to be able to communicate with residents with information as fast as possible. To make this happen, we need each resident to sign up for e-blast communications, which are the notices we send out by e-mail. If you haven’t already signed up for e-blast, you will need to fill out a form to receive these e-mails as we are not allowed to send them without your permission. There is also a form to fill out if you want your e-mail information to remain private. This, too, can be accommodated. The more residents we sign up for this e-mail communication, the faster we can send out notices of information to you and keep you up to date about everything that is happening here at Shadow Hills.

So, when the sun sets on this day, I will reflect on the beautiful sunrise, a good morning greeting, plus all the kind people who have gathered in this community and say to myself, “It doesn’t get any better than this.”

Kim Fuller
President

President’s Message: Update on Ceasar Larrach

Bob Israel attended the hearing for Ceasar Larrach on his settlement conference. Here is his report of that conference.

Thank you, Bob, for attending.

Kim Fuller
President

From Bob Israel:

I attended the Ceasar Larrach court appearance in Indio May 16. This was a continuance of the settlement conference. Prior to addressing the Court, I heard a discussion between Ceasar’s attorney and Steve Morgan the DA in which Ceasar’s attorney indicated Ceasar was ready to accept the Plea agreement deal offered previously by the DA at the time of the last conference.

He indicated that Ceasar was willing to make “ full restitution” of $105K by wire to the DA’s office , and plead guilty to a felony with a sentence ( to be determined by the court of from two to four years) which sentence would be suspended with probation for a period of time set by the court, during which time if Ceasar were to commit or  be found guilty of any other serious legal charges his probation could be revoked and he be required to serve time in prison.

Ceasar would be initially sentenced to 120 days in jail, subject to whatever referral programs to be recommended by the probations officers, (i.e. work release ,house arrest, ankle bracelet etc.).

When the DA indicated that the restitution amount was on the basis of his record to be $123,000 and not the mentioned $105K which was the amount in the initial charging papers, but which had been amended upwards, there were additional discussions, which resulted in the attorney for Ceasar asking for a one week delay until 8:30AM on May 25, at which time he represented he was fairly certain there would be a settlement and plea agreement to be entered.

After the hearing, I confirmed the above information in a short conversation with the DA Steve Morgan. Should Ceasar not comply as indicated, then subject to whatever arm twisting on the County and on Ceasar and his attorney which the judge might engage in, there would either be a settlement and plea or a date for a preliminary hearing would be set. On the basis of everything I heard I would anticipate that there will be a plea and restitution agreement arrived at by next Friday as lacking that the matter would move to preliminary hearing and result in Ceasar being bound over for trial.

Bob Israel
Member at Large

President’s Message: A Question of Insurance

Good Morning Residents.

There have been many questions about the change in policy regarding insurance requirements for entertainers and performers. Although the concern has been described for just the entertainers, the changes were directed at all contractors that access the facility. Perhaps the best way to start is to explain what was required, what is required now, and why the change.

About one year ago the Finance Advisory Committee (FAC) was directed by the Board to examine and recommend changes in our contracts, agreements, insurance coverages, and how each would affect the HOA. FAC consulted with legal counsel for the HOA and made written recommendations to the Board. There were examples of contractors not supplying required certificates of insurance and related endorsements to be furnished to the HOA making it more difficult to collect on a potential claim for damages.

It is true that guests of residents do not have to show any proof of insurance when accessing our community and its common area and amenities. Please remember all residents take responsibility for their guests and any damage that may be caused while visiting our community. In the case of a guest of a resident, if the guest causes damages in the common area, the HOA will collect from the resident if the guest refuses to pay the claim. This is different for all contractors in that if there is damage by a contractor, we would have to take legal action, like small claims court, if the contractor refused to pay a claim. This is a more time consuming and costly process for the HOA. On the other hand, if the HOA has entered into a written agreement which requires a certificate of insurance from the Contractor or Entertainer, together with the Additional Insured endorsement from the insurance company, the HOA can submit the claim and be paid by the other insurance company, which protects our HOA from a claim and possible increase in future rates.

In the review by FAC and legal counsel for the HOA, it was determined that some contractors were not providing a certificate of insurance for Automobile Liability which is separate from Commercial General Liability insurance. The HOA was already asking for a certificate of insurance for Commercial General Liability together with an ‘Additional Insured’ endorsement on the insurance policy, from all contractors and Entertainers. What was not being checked was ‘did the contractor or Entertainer have Automobile Liability insurance coverage’.

Since this coverage was not being checked, the FAC recommended that all agreements with Contractors and Entertainers have a provision requiring a certificate of Auto Liability insurance coverage in addition to a certificate of Commercial General Liability coverage. The FAC, legal counsel for the HOA and the insurance broker of record for the HOA also recommended the minimum limits of coverage for Automobile Liability be the same as the minimum limit for Commercial General Liability which was One Million dollars ($1M). The Board decided a minimum limit of $1M for Automobile Liability insurance was burdensome for the entertainers that were being hired by the Clubs and Groups, so they voted that part of the recommendation down. It was discussed and decided since California law requires proof of insurance, and people are supposed to carry such a card in the vehicle, we would just ask for a copy of that card for Club Entertainers. That way no Entertainer would have to obtain different coverage or pay for an increase in coverage limits. The Entertainer would simply show proof of Automobile Liability insurance with at least the minimum California car insurance coverage for Bodily Injury Liability and Property Damage Liability, and the HOA would be satisfied. This was the compromise at the time regarding Automobile Liability coverage for Entertainers.

The Board thought requesting a copy of an insurance card would not be a burden since everyone already had one by state law requirements. So, this policy was implemented at the beginning of this year in the hope of increasing the protection of the HOA, and it would cause little effort to obtain. It now appears some feel that asking for such a document for the Club Entertainers is a burden, so the Board will need to discuss this situation once more. It was not the intention of the Board when implementing this policy that any Club or Group would be overly burdened with the request because the proof of insurance for Automobile Liability is a state requirement. It was also thought by the Board that checking to be sure Contractors and Entertainers have auto insurance when they drive on site was a responsible policy.

I understand no system is perfect and we try to implement that which can work for the great majority of situations. Many of the situations don’t come up at the time of implementation but become known after the implementation process. For example, what happens if there is a substitute performer last minute because of illness, emergency, etc. The insurance would not be confirmed. This is true. What happens for the guests of the performers that drive in a separate car, there would be no proof of insurance. This also is true. What happens if a Contractor or Entertainer cancels their insurance, we would not know it was cancelled, and that too is true. All these exceptions can occur and make for more detailed work for the Clubs and Groups. It was never the intention of the Board to make for more work just to make for more work. It is the intention of the Board to protect all residents of the HOA the best we can within reasonable limits, a point of balance you might say.

Given this information the question now before the Board is what policy should be implemented? I totally understand and agree that more work for little reason seems onerous and burdensome. Somewhere we need to find that balance to protect the 6,000 residents and not to overly work Clubs and Groups that supply such terrific service and programs. Finding the balance will be the challenge. We could simply remove any requirement for proof of auto given that many think it is a low risk situation. We could make exceptions for just some Clubs and Groups, but that might seem unfair to other Clubs and Groups. And then there are some residents that believe asking for the card is not a burden and needs to be done. I do believe that if residents don’t want the Clubs and Groups to have to do such work, and the residents want our insurance to cover the claims because it is a low risk, I think that is their right. But we need to all recognize, with open eyes, it might lead to higher premiums, can’t say how much, can’t say it would happen, I can only say it is possible.

At our next Board meeting we will need to discuss and try to a find a solution. There is no perfect answer but there should be a reasonable solution that benefits the greatest good. So, everyone should respond to the Board with their thoughts, ideas, and solutions. Your opinion matters because in the end, whatever risk we take on, we do it together and it will affect us all. At the same time, if policies are too burdensome, and we lose volunteer programs that we all enjoy, that too affects us all.

So please write to us with your thoughts on how we should proceed.

Thank you for your help.

Kim Fuller
President

President’s Message – May 7, 2018

Dear Residents:

We found in one of the documents we mailed to you about the CC&R and By-law changes, the ‘Notice of Action by Written Ballot by the Members’ (“Notice”), contains incorrect section references for Measures 2 and 3. The Notice was sent to you along with your ballot to vote on the Draft Restated CC&Rs and Bylaws (Measure 1) and three separate voting items for optional amendments (Measures 2 - 4).

The text of the amendments in Measures 2 and 3 is the same as in the notice you already received with the voting materials. The only change is in the section numbers that are referenced in the Notice.

This occurred because of the many different changes to the documents over time which created different section numbers as sections are added or deleted. The proposed documents on the flash drive are correct, the instructions are correct, the ballot is correct. The only error is the reference to certain sections on page two of the ‘Notice of Action by Written Ballot by the Members’ (“Notice”) I referred to above.

Both legal counsel and HOA Elections of California have reviewed the situation and both agree this does not invalidate the election, so the process will continue. We will be sending by regular mail a letter explaining the error, along with a corrected page showing the correct section numbers to every homeowner.

Below is a copy of the letter that will be mailed along with the corrected page. Let me know if you have any questions.

Thank you,
Kim Fuller
President

President’s Message: CC&R and By-law Changes

The CC&R and By-law changes, along with a ballot was mailed to all residents on 4/19/18. You will receive two different packages. One package will contain a computer flash drive with the proposed CC&R and By-law changes. If you would like a hard copy of the proposed changes, contact the HOA office and a copy will be made available to you. By sending the documents on a flash drive rather than a hard copy to each resident we save more than half the cost of mailing. A copy of all the documents are also available on the HOA website.

In addition, a second envelope was sent by the HOA Elections of California on 4/19/18 which contains the ballot, along with instructions. This is a separate envelope than the above. So be looking for both envelopes.

There are four items on the ballot for your consideration. After many comments from residents the Board decided to present the following four items for a vote:

  1. Item 1 includes all the proposed changes to remove Pulte from the documents where applicable, and all changes required because of new state laws. The flash drive contains the proposed revised CC&R’s and By-laws. If item 1 passes, then the CC&R’s and By-laws listed on the flash drive would become the current documents. Since Pulte is no longer here, it seemed responsible to remove them from the documents wherever possible. The other changes are changes that are required because of changes in the law. If item 1 passes, the documents will become clearer without Pulte being listed where applicable, and since we must implement the new law anyway, the documents would reflect that which is required by law. The documents on the flash drive do not refer to items 2 through 4 on the ballot.

Items 2 though 4 are not listed on the flash drive documents because those changes will not be listed in the document unless the item passes. So, if any item 2 through 4 passes, that language will be changed accordingly in the document.

  1. Item 2 is a vote to remove term limits on committee members. Currently there is a two-term limit on committee members. Some have felt that some committee members should stay longer if they are willing because of their expertise. You will now vote to remove term limits or leave them in place.
  2. Item 3 is a vote to remove Cumulative voting for Board member elections. Currently the HOA uses Cumulative voting every other year in the election process when 3 candidates are up for election. When only two candidates are up for election Regular voting is used. In Regular voting you may not put more than one vote on any one candidate. In Cumulative voting you may put more than one vote on any one candidate. This is the difference between the two voting methods.
  3. Item 4 is to change the minimum rental period from 90 days to 45 days. It will also remove the language which allows homeowners to rent for less than 90 days if they use a management company to rent their home. Current language allows homeowners to use a management company and rent for as little as one day. So, if this item passes, no Resident will be able to rent their home for less than 45 days, there will be no more exceptions.

These are the four items to vote on for the changes to the CC&R’s and By-laws. There will be more Town Hall meetings to explain the changes and how the ballot will work. It is important that all homeowners vote so we can conclude this process which began about 3 years ago. Please vote and return the ballots when received. Members may mail back the ballot or place in one of the ballots boxes located near the reception desks at each of the clubhouses.

If you have questions, please let me know or contact other Board members or staff.

Thank you,

Kim Fuller
President

President’s Report – May 2018

Welcome to another day in paradise, where each morning I watch a sunrise and gratefully acknowledge this is a great place to live. It is clear we all chose to live here for all the important reasons of life, and the few differences we have just don’t matter that much in the big picture of Shadow Hills. Sometimes I explain to others what it is like to live in such a place, and they just listen with envy; so I watch a sunset and thank my lucky stars for what we have to enjoy.

The Board election is over and, with three new members, the Board is moving quickly to offer new proposals for everyone to review. Many such proposals are born from the discussions each candidate had with residents during the election process. Each Board has its own personality; it doesn’t mean one is right or one is wrong, it just means each Board is different, and such differences come from the election process. All we need to do is recognize that there is no right or wrong, but only productive decisions motivated by unity. If decisions are motivated with this understanding, divisiveness will no longer exist; and productive outcomes will become self-evident. After participating in our first meeting, I for one am excited to see the new Board put aside election politics and work together in this atmosphere.

One such change coming forward involves the Covenants Committee. The Board voted to establish a new Covenants Committee, and we need resident volunteers for that committee. Currently the Board acts as the Covenants Committee. This committee listens to all the cases involving fines and citations for HOA rule violations. The CC&Rs and By-laws allow for a separate committee, made up of residents, to be the Covenants Committee. Once established, the Board will then be an appeal committee if someone does not like the decision of the Covenants Committee. This change would mean there would be a two-step process instead of a one-step process for all rule violations. This would also mean more residents would be involved in any disciplinary hearing, which many believe would be a positive path to a more open and positive system.

You can apply for this and other committees by filling out the “Advisory Committee Interest Form” which you can obtain online in the Residents Only section under “Association Documents”; or you can pick up the form at the HOA office.

We are also looking for volunteers for the Information Advisory Committee (IAC) which oversees our website. This committee needs writers as well as members to update the website with all the new information that is constantly produced. Keeping everyone informed as quickly as possible with accurate and up-to-date information helps us all by reducing any misunderstandings.

Once again, I will enjoy my sunset, the warm greetings from all the neighbors, and remind myself, it doesn’t get any better than this.

Have a great day.

Kim Fuller
President

President’s Report – April 2018

Deja vu. Once again as the first light breaks across the horizon, I smile and reflect on the gift of this paradise. Once again, I have the privilege of working for you as President. Feel free to contact me anytime with your questions or concerns. Congratulations to Bob Israel, Fera Mostow, and Bruce Marley for being elected to the Board. And so it is time to get to work.

Since it is deja vu, I thought I would once again explain our forecasted monthly expenses. These amounts are based on the 2018 budget. As you know, our monthly assessment per homeowner unit is $259. Of this amount, $47 is credited to the Replacement Fund – this is the savings account used to pay for future items that need replacement, repair, or renovation. The balance of the monthly assessment, or $212 per homeowner unit, is forecasted to pay estimated monthly operating expenses as follows:

  • $48 for Facilities Maintenance
  • $39 for General/Administration
  • $29 for Golf
  • $26 for Property Protection
  • $23 for Landscaping
  • $15 for Recreation/Lifestyle
  • $10 for Utilities
  • $12 for Fitness
  • $7 for Food/Beverage
  • $1 for Capital Improvements
  • $2 for Common Area Improvements
  • $3 for Contingency Fund
  • $6 for Depreciation

You may notice that the expenses I listed total $221 per homeowner unit per month. The difference ($221 vs. $212) is paid from other income that is anticipated to be earned during the year.

In funding the list above, we are paying for the amenities and lifestyle we enjoy. Not one of the items listed above makes a profit, and that is why we pay the monthly assessments. All of these items are subsidized by our monthly assessments.

So, I have been asked many times during the past year, why doesn’t the restaurant make money? Why are we paying a subsidy for the restaurant? The answer is the same as for all the other items listed. We are paying a subsidy on all these items because they are conveniences that are supported by our monthly assessments. We don’t expect the swimming pools to make money, yet we pay to have them available. We don’t expect the fitness facilities to make money, yet we pay to have them available. We pay a subsidy on the Lifestyle programs so that we have them available.

When we pay the subsidy for the restaurant, it is no different than the subsidy for all the other amenities. We are paying a small cost for the availability of the restaurant; we are not paying to use the restaurant. So, don’t think the restaurant will ever break even; it won’t, just like all the other items; they too don’t break even. They are all part of a whole picture that contributes to the experience of enjoying life here at Shadow Hills. So, as you look at the list, you can see that the restaurant is actually one of the lowest cost amenities we have.

And because of all the terrific things I get to do, I will reflect on this beautiful day, the “good morning” greeting, all of the kind people who make me smile, and say to myself, “It doesn’t get any better than this.”

Kim Fuller
President

President’s Report – March 2018

I have not written a newsletter message to you in three months, and during this time I continued to appreciate what we all have living here in Shadow Hills. I smile at the sunrise, then sit and enjoy the sunset every night if possible with Karla – a moment of time that seems to stand still while we enjoy the most important and sometimes simplest things of life. It is perfect!

The Board election will conclude on March 5 after two months of campaigning on the part of the candidates. Many forums, many speeches, many flyers, and many doorbells, all to show residents who should represent them on the Board. Congratulations to the new members of the Board, and a special thank you to all who volunteered to run.

It is not easy standing in front of 200 people explaining the merits of any question. It will be my hope that we all agree that the election is over, and now is the time for the new Board to work on the matters at hand. Clearly, there is always something that needs to be done.

One of current items is the upcoming vote for the proposed changes to the CC&Rs and By-laws. We anticipate mailing the ballots and documents along with instructions to the residents on March 12. There will be two separate envelopes with the information.

In one envelope you will receive a computer flash drive which will contain all the documents. There will be a red-line version and a clean copy of the changes for both the CC&Rs and By-laws on the flash drive. This was done to save the cost of mailing the entire document to each homeowner (a cost of about $10 per home). Mailing a flash drive with the documents will save more than half that cost.

In a separate envelope you will receive the ballot and the instructions for filling out the ballot. So be looking for two different envelopes.

After many comments from residents, the Board decided to present the following four items for a vote:

  1. Item 1 addresses the bulk of the document. These changes will remove Pulte from the documents where appropriate and will make changes because of new laws with new requirements. Because Pulte is no longer here, it seemed responsible to remove them from the documents wherever possible. The other changes are required because of changes in the law. If item 1 passes, the documents should become clearer without Pulte being listed where applicable, and since we must implement the new law anyway, the documents would reflect that which is required by law.
  2. Item 2 is a vote to remove term limits on committee members. Currently, there is a two-term limit on committee members. Some have felt that some committee members should stay longer if they are willing because of their expertise. You will now vote to remove term limits or leave them in place.
  3. Item 3 is a vote to remove cumulative voting for Board member elections. Currently, the HOA uses cumulative voting every other year in the election process when three candidates are up for election. When only two candidates are up for election, regular voting applies. In regular voting you may not put more than one vote on any one candidate. In cumulative voting you may put more than one vote on any one candidate. This is the difference between the two voting methods.
  4. Item 4 is to change the minimum rental period from 90 days to 45 days.

These are the four items to vote on for the changes to the CC&Rs and By-laws. Hopefully, whoever is President beginning March 5 will hold more Town Hall meetings to explain the changes and how the ballot will work. Please vote so we can conclude this process, which began about three years ago.

I look forward to seeing everyone once again, and I wish the new Board nothing but success. Once again, I reflect on another beautiful day, all the kind people that smile when we meet, and I say to myself, “It doesn’t get any better than this.”

Vice President’s Report – February 2018

This is my last article for The View as a Board member. Since I am retiring from the Board, I wanted to take this time to thank everyone for the privilege of serving our community as a member of this HOA Board.

I have, over these past four years, served on this board with John Council, Greg Middlebrook, Stu Stryker, Jerry Cavoretto, Carey Thompson, Barbara Stocky, Vicki Berg, Kim Fuller, Erica Hedlund, and Agi Kessler along with the dozens of wonderful volunteers that staff our various advisory committees. Together we have tried to move this community forward in these ways:

  1. Approving a website where all information can be located by the click of a mouse. Formerly we requested the documents in writing and, 30 days later, you could get a hard copy, but you paid for the copies. Now, you can pull up the documents and print or not at your leisure. This includes our financial statements, Board minutes, committee minutes, governing documents, club information, etc.
  2. At its meetings, the Board must handle corporate business, so comments need to be limited to three minutes. I started “Meet a Board Member” four years ago where two Board members meet every month with residents for an informal chat about the community and issues that are on their minds.
  3. Board meetings are videotaped so that, if residents are unable to attend, they can still stay informed about what is going on in the community.
  4. The community wanted more pickleball courts, and so the Board installed pickleball courts in Phase 3.
  5. Residents had to wait outside the HOA office, as there was no room inside. Also, the community needed another meeting room. These items were both accomplished by expanding the HOA office.
  6. We approved the expansion of tools for the community to get information. You now have the website, podcasts, flyers, smart TVs, cell phone apps, and weekly email blasts. You can also ask questions through the website’s “Ask a Question” or by emailing a Board member.
  7. Before Pulte left the community, the Transition Ad Hoc Committee and the Board considered the remaining items needing review and were able to attain$300,000 to offset any potential issues that may arise in the future.
  8. We have implemented a new slurry process that looks darker and lasts twice as long as the previous method.
  9. Working with the landscape committee, we were reimbursed 100 percent for the areas where we removed turf and implemented desert landscaping. This improves the look of the community and saves us water.
  10. Working with Pulte, we attained a$1,000,000 maintenance building and a second dog park.
  11. We contracted with Troon to run our golf course and food and beverage operations, which resulted in significant improvement and a reduction in subsidies.
  12. Once Phase 3 was completed, residents needed more space around the Santa Rosa pool. The Board expanded the pool area over a year ago.
  13. The Board approved a Golf Master Plan to repair and remodel some of the areas of the South Course to make it more appealing and – hopefully reduce subsidies as time goes by.
  14. The Board approved moving our Emergency Preparedness Committee as a sub-committee of our Safety Committee, and Jeff Kirkpatrick has been working hundreds of hours to get our command center organized and stocked with necessary supplies to help in a disaster. Jeff is also conducting monthly emergency preparedness seminars, free of charge, to show us how to be better prepared in case of a major flood, fire, earthquake, etc.

And the list goes on. As the community moves forward, I am excited to see the great things that will come for all of you.

Thank you again for the honor to serve you, and may God bless this community.

Joan Dzuro
Vice President

Vice President’s Report – January 2018

Happy New Year! As we start making our New Year resolutions and look to the future, I thought we could take a moment and look at 2017 and what your previous two Boards (one ended March 2 and the new Board started March 2) accomplished in 2017. Below are some the more major items:

  1. Sports Areas: The Board approved the resurfacing of some of the tennis courts, replacement of windscreens, and the painting of the courts. We added additional awnings and benches for players. We added a sound curtain to the pickleball court, upgraded the snack bar countertop, added an icemaker by the tennis courts, resurfaced the Santa Rosa pool deck, purchased new furniture to go around that pool, and replaced the plaster and installed tile in the spa. The bocce ball courts were leveled and resurfaced.
  2. Golf Course: A major overhaul of the south golf course was completed. You can find all the details, including photos of the project in process, on the website at www.scshca.com/golf-master-plan-projects-completed. All renovations were accomplished at more than $200,000 under budget. We now have new liners and sand in all bunkers; an enlarged practice and putting green; and a renovated, lighted putting course in the community.
  3. With Pulte leaving, the Board established an Ad Hoc Committee to review the last areas that needed to be released and, after much discussion and negotiation, the Board was able to acquire $300,000 to cover future costs of items in Phase 3.
  4. We widened the parking area by the North Channel on San Mateo so that we have a place to park as you walk your dogs in that area.
  5. We added lamps next to the sidewalk on Sombra by the Monroe gate to illuminate that area.
  6. We revised the tree trimming schedule so all trees get trimmed each year (unless the species requires more time between trimmings), and we removed some of the excess trees.
  7. We added red-/green-lighted gate arms to all the gates to make it easier to know when your transponder signal has been read by the gate.
  8. We worked with the Veterans Club to install a flagpole and flag outside the golf/Shadows areas.
  9. Working with the Ad Hoc Governing Documents Committee, we updated the CC&Rs and By-laws for the homeowners to vote on. The changes basically remove references to Pulte in areas where they can be removed. Since Pulte still owns five acres in the northeast part of our community, the references have to remain in some areas. Three additional items for homeowner vote include: cumulative voting for Board of director elections, term limits for committee volunteers, and length of time homes can be rented.
  10. The Finance Advisory Committee has made numerous recommendations to help the Board with upgrading our financial procedures and internal controls. (We also hired a Controller, Tyler Ingle, to help in the execution of these procedures.) The committee has reviewed all insurance policies and contracts as well. They also created a subcommittee that reviews our Reserve Study report and budget.
  11. We have established a new Advisory Committee, Facilities & Service, that will look at any request for large purchases, or projects that need to be replaced or repaired, and confirm the work is needed.
  12. The Board held several budget meetings and approved a budget for 2018.
  13. We are working with the Information Advisory Committee on an upgrade to our website.
  14. The Board met over the summer and updated the Strategic Plan, which is available on the website at www.scshca.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Final-Strategic-Planfor- 2018.pdf.

There are still a number of items that your Board is working on for this year. As always, getting residents’ respectful feedback is important to us. You can do this by emailing Board members, attending a Board meeting and speaking at an open forum, attending a “Meet a Board Member” session, or asking questions through the Shadow Hills website at www.scshca.com/ask-a-question.

We hope that 2018 is your best and happiest year yet.