Saturday, April 09, 2016

Phil Mitchell and the Coto de Caza HOA board just invalided the 2016 Elections

Mr. Mitchell’s letter, violated the HOA's CC&Rs,  Civil Code §5135, Civ. Code §44 and Civ. Code §45 and  Title 18, US Code Section 1705 among others 

Updated: April 15, 2016 with copy of Summerhill Oak tree letter to the CZ board and geocoding failure and sampling of others

Posted By CotoBlogzz

It didn’t take much thought in deciding to respond to Mr. Mitchell’s letter (see copy below) improperly placed in Hillsboro District residents’ mail boxes last week, as not doing so might give readers the false impression that someone actually agrees with him.  It took more thought before engaging in the 2016 CZ Master Association’s election, because the board would typically mount a major effort to block my candidacy, which is exactly what happened.  There are reasons to believe that CZ is probably one traffic citation away from a fourth major traffic fatality during this board’s tenure.  Every owner has a right and obligation to run for a seat on the CZ Master Board of Directors and I am exercising that right as I would hope other owners would do the same. 

This board’s attacks on me were blatant and false.  Its intent to paint me in a false light to my community was underhanded, this is borne out by board member Phil Mitchell, who, in one fell swoop violates the law in advocating for a particular candidate and against another. 
While Mr. Mitchell’s actions singlehandedly invalidate this election and subject the election results, let alone the election procedure, to a lawsuit, I want this community to know that I am choosing NOT to sue him over his libel, and also I am choosing NOT to challenge this election because of the illegalities that appear to be board-sanctioned, contingent upon the board publishing this letter and Mr. Mitchell offering an apology. 

The board’s duties do not include actions like the ones Mr. Mitchell employed against me.  Instead, my actions reflect my sincerity in wanting a more “just” and “safe” community environment for everyone that is devoid the usual bad-board antics against those who voice their contrary opinions.  No one should be afraid to act lawfully in their community for fear that a board of directors will use their access to unlimited funds for the purpose of silencing those with a voice different from those who are in control of all our communal assets.  This is, however, not the first time that’s happened:

In Mr. Mitchell’s letter, the board expressly advocates his election, outside of the association’s election ballot, in clear violation of Civil Code §5135.

In Mr, Mitchell’s letter, the board violated Title 18, US Code Section 1705 by vandalizing roughly 100 mail boxes in the Hillsboro district and inserting unsolicited material.

Other violations include violation of CC&R’s, Civ. Code §44 and Civ. Code §45 for example.
But this is nothing new.  In the past, the HOA’s legal counsel has argued that it is beyond the jurisdiction of local, state and federal jurisdiction.

The CZ Master Association Issues You Never Hear About:

In my opinion, the three major areas of concern are public safety, litigation, and transparent election processes.  Also of ongoing importance are fiscal responsibility.  In my candidacy statement, because of purposeful word-count constraints, I provide links to extensive documentation supporting my position.  I encourage residents to keep an open mind when reading my letter.

1.  Public safety

Mr Mitchell says that “according to the OC Sheriff, the statistics show that we are much safer community than both Rancho Santa Margarita and Mission Viejo.  Crime has not risen.  Traffic is a two way street”

Over the past 15 years, I developed a public safety tool to keep track of traffic accidents and crime and vandalism, with demographic tags.  I offered the tool to the Orange County Register and the CZ Master Association for their use.  Both declined.  Refer to announcement of comprehensive crime and vandalism report issued in 2007:

As  to the “two-way-street” comment, according to research, the buck stops at local governance: :  Whether a community is considered the safest or not, is mostly a function of the leadership displayed by local governance - such leadership includes vision and a willingness to engage with residents, supporters and critics alike and
adopting the right framework for the community - for example, adopting LEEEO
– Leadership - refers to local governance and community leaders
E – Engineering - refers to infrastructure, lighting, signage, etc.
E- Education – inspiring and educate residents on the importance of respecting law and order,
 – Engagement – coordination between law enforcement agencies and residents 
O – organization 

Mr. Mitchell fails to mention that the only three traffic fatalities have occurred under the current board’s tenure and that the fourth and fifth have been narrowly avoided over the last few weeks thanks to Divine Providence.

Mr. Mitchell also fails to mention that the board is obligated to contract for 520 proactive patrol hours per quarter, but the community barely gets 50% of that.

As to the source of the data, for crime and vandalism my data comes directly from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department’s (OCSD) Public Records Act Request Office, also known as SSD/OCSD, which graciously developed the reporting capabilities.  So, one of the two is not telling the truth:  Mr. Mitchell or the OCSD

The source for the traffic accident rate comes directly from the CHP San Juan Capistrano Public Information Office.

A  former director in an interview with the Orange County Register blamed the “Coto Traffic Problem” on the Coto Soccer Moms. However, the data supplied by the CHP and the OCSD indicate that specific to Coto de Caza, most traffic accidents and most crime and vandalism is perpetuated not by soccer moms or teens, but by adults 40 years and older, for example.

2.  Litigation 

The board and Mr. Mitchell address my litigation concerns with ad hominem attacks in violation of Civ. Code §44:  You can find evidence supporting  my claims in my post at:

However, you do not have to take my word for it:  Simply go to the Orange County Superior Court website and  search for the CZ Master Association board of directors, as shown below

Letter to CZ board asking it to desists from frivolous lawsuits
Letter to CZ board claiming it is beyond jurisdiction of federal law and failure to act in good faith

3. Direct elections 

The board in Mr. Mitchell’s letter argues that ‘In a community such as ours, any board must be guided by the articles of incorporation, CC&Rs and the California Davis-Sterling Act,” while at the same time violating the CC&Rs, civil and federal code.  Mr. Mitchell offers as evidence that the current archaic, arcane delegate, cumulative vote system, which lends itself to corruption, works just fine by stating that “two new homeowners became board members.”

CZ board attempting to silence the CotoBuzz Journal

The two new board members were elected by the same small minority, according to county records one has been in the community for a couple of years and the other one may have a conflict of interest, as he works for a subsidized entity.

Arguably, these two new members would have little to no chance of being elected in a fair democratic direct election.

Property values:  

When the board and Mr. Mitchell use Zillow to claim Coto de Caza does not have to  worry about property values, it clearly shows they lack basic understanding  of how public safety, the rule of law and leadership play “an invisible hand”,” as Adam Smith might say, as a value add.

Refer to:

It is like using Zillow to determine the cost of a cup of coffee without understanding what makes the Starbucks coffee significantly more expensive than the one at McDonalds.

Or as President Kennedy might say,  “I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?” 

4.  Budgets 

Mr. Mitchell argues that “all trees on common area have been geocoded and their health is evaluated every year by the landscaping companies as part of their contract.”  That is precisely what I argued when we tried to save a majestic Oak Tree at the end of 2012.  But the board actively fought tooth and nail, and at the end the Oak Tree came down.  But after further research, it was determined the golf course owned the tree, not the association! what good did the geocoding do?  Zilch!  Nada!

The geocoding mentioned in Mr. Mitchell's letter was either not available, or the board did not use it when we tried to sabe the Summerhill Oak Tree

Copy of letter to the board about the Summerhill Oak Tree- many more where these came from.

The statement “the current water storage and restrictions have created problems” is a vacuous alternative: 

 My argument, documented in, predates the water shortage  and show areas where trees were cut down some ten years ago and  never replaced, while at the same time, there are areas with too many trees and more being planted.

5.  Subsidies 

The board and Mr. Mitchell says there are no subsidies and that the subsidized entities “all have deed restrictions” - The term deed restriction or right of way refers to a preference of one of two vehicles or vessels, or between a motor vehicle and pedestrian, asserting the right of passage at the same place and time. It is not an absolute right, however, since the possessor of the right of way is not relieved from the duty of exercising due care for her own safety and that of others. In other words, right of way does not mean, I am allowed to anything I want, my way!

According to a study by a previous security director William Pilot, the subsidized entities consume over 30% of the budgeted resources in the community, including financing gate runners, for example.
If the board was seriously about doing something about it, it is well versed in finding unscrupulous lawyers, such as a firm representing the homeowner and the HOA at the same time,  who can argue that the sky is purple and not blue, for example

Driver of this Maserati blows off through at least three stop sings at Coto de Caza Drive.  In  the last one, at the intersection with Vista del Verde, he almost collides with the white SUV making a legal U-turn.  The driver then turns right onto the subsidized Los Ranchos Estates


The board and Mr. Mitchell want to have it both ways:
On the one hand, they vilify me for not attending board meetings.  On the other hand, in Mr. Mitchell’s own words, having attended board meetings would have done diddle squat, as he and the board would simply have raised its collective hands and claim impotence, or brush off any of the  issues I deemed to be important to the community.  As they see it, everything is perfect!

My focus for more than a decade has been public safety.  

I not only warned the association, Keystone and James Harkins about the high traffic accident rate five days prior to the first traffic fatality, but I also spearheaded the effort to coerce the board to rehire the CHP for proactive traffic control:  I called a safety committee meeting preempting a regularly scheduled board meeting, which the board subsequently cancelled.  When I asked to use the meeting room to conduct the safety committee business, the board refused.    Since then, I have sent to the board alerts when the accident rate is unacceptably high.  The point is that over 99% of the board meeting agenda items are not that important, the important matters are handled behind closed doors.

I hope the CZ board will finally do the right thing, for the sake of the community.  I hope the CZ Master Association homeowners will realize that we are one traffic citation away from the fourth traffic fatality in the community

EXHIBIT A:  Copy of Mr Mitchell Letter:


Phil Mitchell and the Coto de Caza HOA board just invalided the 2016 Elections

Mr. Mitchell’s letter, violated the HOA's CC&Rs,  Civil Code §5135,  Civ. Code §44 and Civ. Code §45 and   Title 18, US Code Sect...

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1 comment:

JLA said...

For the records, the statement "If the board was seriously about doing something about it, it is well versed in finding unscrupulous lawyers, such as a firm representing the homeowner and the HOA at the same time, who can argue that the sky is purple and not blue, for example" is not meant to say I encourage the board to use unscrupulous lawyers. Quite the opposite: