Sunday, August 18, 2013

Laguna Woods Village Seniors Demand Direct Elections


Seniors Demand Democratic Vote

At 1:00 p.m. August 19, 2013  in the Boardroom of the Community Center, the Corporate Members are meeting to vote. They will decide whether they will include a survey question with the annual ballots that are soon to be mailed to the residents. That survey question asks the residents their opinion regarding changing the method in which Golden Rain Foundation directors are selected and allowing the residents to vote directly. There has been heavy opposition using unpopular tactics by those directors . A supporting rally will be held outside at 12:30 p.m.

Laguna Woods Village is a community of almost 13,000 units comprised of three separate Home Owner Associations: Third Laguna Hills Mutual with 6,102 condominiums ; Mutual 50 with 311 condominiums located in multi-storied buildings referred to as the Towers; and United Mutual, cooperative housing comprised of 6,323 separate units.
The three HOAs, have a Trust Agreement with Golden Rain Foundation (GRF), a board created to oversee the facilities within the community. The facilities include separate golf courses, clubhouses, an auditorium, swimming pools, and even an equestrian center.
At issue, is GRF’s proposed $20 million Recreation Master Plan. The Plan requires a loan of over $10 million as well as withdrawing more than $9 million from GRF reserves to fund the project. There has been strong opposition to the GRF plan and the resulting spending. In retaliation, GRF Directors have silenced residents when they have attempted to speak at open meetings. GRF has threatened the residents and used security to remove them. They have edited tapes of televised meetings to prevent opposing comments from being broadcast.  They also have met to prepare regulations to censor residents and prohibit free speech. The community has immigrant residents who have suffered under communist control and they have been appalled that type of conduct can occur in American.

GRF directors are not elected by the community but are elected by the Directors of the HOAs who are the Corporate Members. There are 27 Corporate Members, 11 representing Third Mutual, 11 representing United Mutual and 5 representing the Towers. A majority of this group, which can be as few as 14, have the power and capability of selecting their cronies. Residents are facing rising monthly fees which now exceed $600 per month. They seek to correct this problem by changing the election process for GRF directors as that is where much of the cost is originating. After months of attending Board meetings and asking for Direct Election of GRF Directors …..after resorting to petitions to attract the attention of the Boards, the residents finally succeeded in achieving a meeting to consider including a survey of this question in the coming annual mailing of regular board ballots.
The Corporate Members Meeting scheduled for Monday, August 19 is not to actually implement the change, but is a first step. At the meeting, the Corporate Members are asked to allow the survey question be submitted to the residents. The question to be included with the ballot asks the residents their opinion… do they support direct election?
By including the survey question with the ballots, the entire community can be polled and cost is contained as it is not a separate vote and mailing. But the survey request continues to be met with heavy opposition ….. mainly from current GRF Directors and their supporters who do not want to change the method in which GRF Directors are selected.
A new club was formed, Association of Condos and Co-ops. Its purpose is to bring the entire community together to work on issues. ACC supports Direct Election. ACC is organizing a rally prior to the Corporate Members vote to show support for a yes vote….YES for Direct Election of GRF Directors.

Contact Ed Tao, President ACC ,714-316-8548 ,
or Treasurer, Carol Moore 949-307-4029

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