President’s Message: Voting for Board and Proposed CC&R/By-Law Change

Kim Fuller
President

Hello Residents,

Ballots for the Board election have been mailed to you. This election for two Board members was thought to be uneventful since only two candidates are running for the two seats. We still need a quorum for the election to be valid, so please be sure to vote quickly so we don’t have to have another election at a cost of about $10,000.

There will be another item on the ballot for your consideration, so be sure to fill out both sides of the ballot. The Board has decided to present the residents with one proposed amendment to the CC&R’s/By-laws. This amendment would change how the CC&R’s/By-laws could be amended. The Board decided to include this measure to save the HOA money and give the homeowners an opportunity to be heard and vote on important voting requirements in our Governing documents. Let me give you the background:

The current By-laws require 51% affirmative votes of all the homes in the HOA to change a By-law. We have 3,450 homes in the HOA. Therefore, 51% of 3,450 homes means we need 1,760 votes in favor of a change no matter how many people vote. If only 1,759 people voted, the measure would be defeated no matter how many of these people voted to pass any By-law change. If 100% of all 1,759 had voted in favor it would still be defeated.

There were 2,123 ballots cast in the last election for changing the By-laws. In order to get 1,760 votes to be affirmative-it would mean 82.9% of the 2,123 ballots would have to have voted in favor of the change. Thus, a large number of votes is required to pass a change in our Bylaws requiring substantial voter turnout. That is why the Board made great efforts to ensure as large a turnout as possible. It is to our HOA’s credit that we had a voter turnout of 61.5%, which statistically is a high voter turnout. National elections range from 40-60% voter turnout. We sent out three mailers and then called every person in the complex to ask them to vote if we had not received a ballot. HOA Elections records show the highest voter turnout in the last 3 years for our elections was 2,156, or 62.5%.

The question is are the current CC&R’s/By-laws so strict that changes are unduly difficult, perhaps impossible. Given that the highest voter turnout was 62.5%, it would only take 397 votes (11.5%) out of the 3,450 votes to block any change to the CC&R’s/By-laws. In the last election, even though 70.56% of those voting wanted to remove cumulative voting, it was defeated because of the current requirements.

As a result, the Board has decided to offer homeowners a chance to change the requirements on the April 9th ballot. The Board is proposing an amendment to change the current requirement in the CC&R’s/By-laws. The proposed change would state, “two-thirds of the votes cast when ballots are received from at least a majority of the Voting Power of the Members”. This will mean we need a minimum 2/3 (66.67%) of those voting in favor to pass any amendment as long as a majority of all homeowners vote.

The Board is asking homeowners to consider this change for the future. In doing so we need everyone to vote so we get as large a voter turnout as possible. Your ballots should be arriving at your home any day now, so please take a moment, fill out the ballot and send it back. If passed, this measure will not affect or change in any way the results of past votes and will only apply to any proposed changes to our governing documents presented in the future. Nothing would help the HOA more than if we could get everyone to vote on this measure, helping to resolve for the future our ability to change our governing documents when a substantial majority of voting homeowners approve of any such change.

Please vote right away when you receive your ballot. Every day we get ballots back saves us money from sending out more notices, so take a moment, fill out the ballot and send it back today. You can also drop your ballot off in one of the ballot boxes at either clubhouse. There are two sides to the ballot so be sure to mark both sides correctly. If you want more information on filling out the ballot correctly please see the website, we have instructions posted. After logging into the home page for Residents only, click on ‘Top Stories’ under the ‘News’ tab. First story listed will be how to fill out the ballot correctly.

Thank you,
Kim Fuller
President

President’s Message: Warm or Cooler Pool Water Survey Results

Kim Fuller
President

Hello Residents-

It has been proposed by the Facilities Committee that the Board consider adding a device which would cool the pool water temperature during the hot summer months. A survey was sent out on 1/30/19 to get your feedback. The results of the survey so far can be downloaded below:

The Board will be considering this proposal at the next meeting on 2/25/19. If you haven’t filled out the survey you can still do so by logging into the Website. We will be taking results until 2/21/19.

Thank you,
Kim Fuller
President

President’s Message: Warm or Cooler Pool Water

Kim Fuller
President

Hello Residents-

It has been proposed by the Facilities Committee that the Board consider adding a device which would cool the pool water temperature during the hot summer months. This device would be able to reduce the pool temp from about 92-94 degrees down to 86-88 degrees. We need to know your thoughts on installing such a device. Some will want cooler water, and some will not. There is, as always, a cost to installing such a device. The cost is about $15,000, or a onetime installation cost of $4.36 per household. There would be a small utility cost increase to the budget for operating the device during the summer. The proposal is to only install the water cooling system at the Santa Rosa pool. This way, during the summer we can offer one pool with warm water and one with cooler water, to try and accommodate everyone.

We have attached a link to fill out a survey, we need to know how you feel about proceeding on such a request. The Board will be discussing this at the next Board meeting so your reply will help us determine how to proceed.

Link to the Survey:
https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/V7B8VMP

If you have questions, please let me know.

Thank you,
Kim Fuller
President

President’s Report – February 2019

Kim Fuller
President

Good morning, and welcome to another day with a beautiful sunrise in paradise. I stare at the mountain with snow and think how lucky I am that I am not up there, but down in the valley where I get to enjoy the view. I should explain that I write these articles and turn them in on the fifth of the month prior to printing, which is why some information might seem a little late in coming.

To be sure everyone is aware, the Ceasar Larrach embezzlement case was settled, and you can watch a video explaining how it was done and the terms of the settlement on our community website. We held town hall meetings explaining all the details on November 13, 2018. The short story is that the known fraud amount was about $123,062. Funds recovered from Ceasar Larrach in restitution were $125,000. Total known losses and expenses were $162,748. Total potential recoveries over a three-year period will be $290,000. Watch the video, which explains all points in detail.

We have a Board election coming up on April 9, 2019. This year will be a little different than years past because we only have two people running for the Board for two open seats. Some might ask, if there are only two people running for two open seats, why do we need to have an election? Why not just elect by affirmation at a meeting of residents? Unfortunately, our by-laws do not allow for that kind of process. We are required by California Code and our by-laws to hold the election even though it is uncontested.

This means you will receive ballots in March to vote and return for the annual meeting on April 9, 2019. We are required to have a quorum of 518 ballots, or homeowners, present to hold the election. If we are not able to get at least 518 ballots turned in, the election will be void; and we will have to do it again. The election costs about $10,000 to follow all procedures required by law. If the election were void, the existing Board would continue in place until we held another election at a cost of another $10,000. This is something we need to avoid.

The Board urges everyone to vote so we don’t spend more money for an additional election. When you receive your ballots, please fill them out and send them back so we can move on and finish the election process.

The two candidates running for the Board are Linda Aasen and myself, Kim Fuller. I want to thank Linda for spending her time to volunteer for the Board. Her time will be gratefully appreciated by us all.

I want to thank all of you for your support, consideration, and time in making such volunteer work a pleasant and rewarding experience. It has been a privilege to work with the other Board members, committee members, and staff to help make Shadow Hills such a great place to live. I wouldn’t want it any other way.

It makes me smile to gaze upon another sunset and to know, “It doesn’t get any better than this.”

Have a great day!

Kim Fuller
President

President’s Message: CC&R Election Results

Kim Fuller
President

Hello Residents:

After my Message yesterday, I received several comments and questions from residents. So, I am sending this message to clarify my message sent on Monday.

First, I need to correct an error in my message. I stated that 1,761 votes were required to pass a change to the By-laws. The correct number is 1,760. This represents 51% of our 3,450 homes.

The main question that I received was, why doesn’t 50% +1 of the votes received constitute a win for the yes or no vote?

Hopefully this will clear up the confusion:

The current By-laws require 51% affirmative votes of all the homes in the HOA to change a By-law. We have 3,450 homes in the HOA. Therefore, 51% of 3450 homes means we need 1,760 votes in favor of a change no matter how many people vote. If only 1,759 people voted, the measure would be defeated no matter how many of these people voted to pass any By-law change. If 100% of all 1,759 had voted in favor it would still be defeated.

There were 2,123 ballots properly cast. In order to get 1,760 votes to be affirmative, it would mean 82.9% of the 2,123 ballots would have to have voted in favor of any of the four Measures presented. Thus, a large number of votes is required to pass a change in our Bylaws requiring substantial voter turnout. That is why the Board made great efforts to insure as large a turnout as possible. It is to our HOA’s great credit that we had a voter turnout of 61.5%, which statistically is a high voter turnout. National elections range from 40-60% voter turnout. We sent out three mailers and then called every person in the complex to ask them to vote if we had not received a ballot. HOA Elections records show the highest voter turnout in the last 3 years for our elections was 2156, or 62.5%.

That is why I am asking the Board to consider petitioning the Court to pass the measure. The California Corporations Code permits Court Action suspending the percentage of votes needed for approval imposed by Bylaws when it can be demonstrated that obtaining such consent is unduly difficult. The Board will vote at the next meeting to decide if we should petition the court to pass Measure 3, respecting the removal of cumulative voting.

Hopefully this explains the situation, if not let me know.

Thank you,
Kim Fuller
President

President’s Message: One Day Left. We Need Your Help!

Kim Fuller
President

Hello Residents-

This is the last day to vote for the CC&R and By-law changes. We need your help to complete this process. If you have a ballot, please bring it to a ballot box today or bring it to the meeting tomorrow morning at 9am. Do NOT mail in your ballot. Given that the deadline for voting is tomorrow morning at 10 am, you will need to bring you ballot to the meeting before 10 am or drop it off in a ballot box today. If you don’t have a ballot, come to the meeting tomorrow morning at 9 am and we will have extra ballots to give out to those of you that have not voted yet.

This election for changes to the governing documents will not be postponed past tomorrow. Tomorrow morning at 10 am the polls will close, and we will count the ballots. You may bring your ballot to the Montecito Ballroom tomorrow morning before 10 am and it will be counted.

Thanks for your help and please vote so we can finally end this process.

Thank you,
Kim Fuller
President

President’s Message: CC&R Changes Ballots

Kim Fuller
President

Hello Residents-

I wrote to you yesterday about the voting on CC&R’s and By-law changes. Do NOT mail in your ballot if you are voting in these last two days. Given that the deadline for voting is Friday at 10 am, we want to be sure your ballot arrives on time. So, to be sure your ballot arrives on time please drop off your ballots at the Clubhouse ballot boxes or bring them to the meeting at 9 am on Friday. Do not Mail in your ballot because it might not get here in time. The Polls will close at 10 am Friday so be sure we get your ballot before that deadline.

If you have not voted please do so in the next two days, and you can drop off your ballot in one the ballot boxes in the Clubhouses. This election for changes to the governing documents will not be postponed past Friday. On Friday, at 10 am the polls will close, and we will count the ballots. You may bring your ballot to the Montecito Ballroom on Friday before 10 am and it will be counted. If you need another ballot, please contact the HOA office asap.

Thanks for your help and please vote so we can finally end this process.

Thank you,

Kim Fuller
President

President’s Message: CC&R Changes

Kim Fuller
President

Hello Residents,

There are only three days left to vote for the CC&R changes and we need everyone to please vote. We need 1,760 affirmative votes to pass a change to the CC&R’s or By-laws. There are only four items to vote on with the first item being what many consider to be the most important.

The first item would remove Pulte from the documents and would also bring the documents current to State Code and State Law. We need you to vote if these changes are to be done. If we don’t pass these changes, the current documents would remain the same, which would be confusing to a person reading them because they would not conform to current state law. For example, a person would have to look up our By-law and then verify with the current state code to see if there were changes which would void our existing By-law. If the HOA passes item 1, the documents would be up to date and conforming to State Code so residents would not have to look up current State Code to verify the language in our documents. This would make it much easier to everyone to read our governing documents and understand what they mean.

Many have said that given ballot item 1 only changes our current documents to conform to current State Code (which is required by law anyway), a reasonable person would consider such a change a reasonable and responsible thing to do.

If you have not voted please do so in the next three days, and you can drop off your ballot in one the ballot boxes in the Clubhouses. This election for changes to the governing documents will not be postponed past Friday. On Friday, at 10 am the polls will close, and we will count the ballots. You may bring your ballot to the Montecito Ballroom on Friday before 10 am and it will be counted. If you need another ballot, please contact the HOA office asap.

Thanks for your help and please vote so we can finally end this process.

Thank you,

Kim Fuller
President

President’s Report – January 2019

Kim Fuller
President

Monthly Breakout of Dues – 2019

As we enter a new year, it seems appropriate to explain our forecasted monthly expenses. These amounts are based on the approved 2019 budget.

Your monthly assessment per homeowner unit is $265, which reflects a $5 per unit per month reduction because of the forecasted Operating Fund surplus in 2018. By this I mean, the total monthly assessment would have been $270 per unit had there not been a forecasted surplus for 2018.

Let us now look at the composition of the $265 monthly assessment. There is a $41.75 credit 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 $223.25 per homeowner unit, is forecasted to pay estimated monthly operating expenses as follows:

  • $55 for Facilities Maintenance
  • $36 for General/Administration
  • $32 for Golf
  • $28 for Property Protection
  • $28 for Landscaping
  • $16 for Recreation/Lifestyle
  • $11 for Utilities
  • $13 for Fitness
  • $8 for Food/Beverage
  • $0 for Capital Improvements
  • $0 for Common Area Improvements
  • $5 for Contingency Fund
  • $7 for Depreciation

You may notice that the budgeted Operating Fund expenses total $239 per homeowner unit per month. The difference in Operating Fund expenses and Operating Fund dues ($239 vs.

$223) is funded from Operating Fund other income that we anticipate earning during the year ($11 per unit per month) – plus we are utilizing a portion of the forecasted Operating Fund surplus from 2018 ($5 per unit per month).

The increase in dues from $259 to $265 represents a 2.3% increase, very reasonable considering that the minimum wage increased 9% beginning in 2019.

I want to thank the Board and staff for all their work on the budget to make this modest increase happen.

Thank you all for another day in paradise. I will stare at the sunset, and once again look around and know, “It doesn’t get any better than this.”

Kim Fuller
President

President’s Report – December 2018

Kim Fuller
President

Welcome to another day of beauty and sunshine at SCSH. Many of our residents have returned to this paradise for the winter after taking refuge in cooler climates.

Once again, we need your help in voting on the CC&R and Bylaw changes. The HOA has spent over $40,000 to update these documents, but we need your help to finalize the process and put this project to rest. We need everyone to vote so this effort is not wasted. We need you to vote and send in your ballot to complete the process.

To change the CC&Rs and Bylaws, we need approximately 2,500 ballots to proceed with the Special Election. To date we only have about 1,300 ballots, about half of what is necessary for ratification. If you have not already done so, please vote! In the coming weeks, if you have not voted, you will receive a new packet with a ballot and election specifications. Ballot drop-off boxes are located at the Santa Rosa and Montecito Clubhouses. 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. 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 Bylaws 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 required due to 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 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; there will be no more exceptions.

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 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