Thursday, May 26, 2016

Committee bows to Self-Serving HOA lobbyists & Lawyers to Defeat Asm Wagner's AB-1720

 Sunshine and the free flow of information were exactly what the associations don’t want – Assemblyman Wagner - Same self-serving HOA lobbyists and lawyers are supporting Assemblyman Chad Mayes ram through AB- 1799

Posted By CotoBlogzz

Rancho Santa  Margarita, CA  – Assembly Bill 1720 by Assembly Member Donald P. Wagner (R-Irvine) recently failed in the Housing & Community Development Committee. The bill would have restored the intent of the Common Interest Development Open Meeting Act and allowed homeowners to obtain information about what their elected homeowner associations are doing.

According to a press release authored by David Scheidt,  in the face of vehement and self-serving opposition from homeowner association lobbyists and lawyers, the committee bowed to those lobbyists. On the committee, only staunch pro-private property rights champion Beth Gaines (R-El Dorado Hills) sided with the homeowners and the principle of openness in government.  It appears that the same self-serving HOA lobbyists and lawyers are supporting Assemblyman Chad Mayes ram through AB- 1799

In the case of the Mayes' expedited AB-1799, he betrayed HOA homeowners disenfranchising thousands and giving the industry even more power to determine the outcome of elections.  There is no compelling reason for such bill, other than self-serving HOA lobbyists and lawyers.  Not surprising, since the visible money behind Assemblyman Mayes is coming from San Bernardino County Safety Employees and the Insurance Industry.  The invisible money is of course, not visible.

But I digress -  The David Scheidt's  press release expands on AB-1720 and the HOA industry’s opposition.

AB 1720 would have effectively overturned the 2013 case of SB Liberty LLC v. Isla Vista Inc., which gutted the open meeting act by eliminating the homeowners’ right to bring anyone – a friend, family member, interpreter, or attorney – to advise or assist at a meeting of the homeowner association board. It would have helped individuals better understand what these quasi-public entities were doing.

“But,” said Wagner after the hearing, “sunshine and the free flow of information were exactly what the associations don’t want. At the hearing, one of their lobbyists even testified that the associations’ attorneys object to having other attorneys in the room on behalf of homeowners. Of course they do! But what a betrayal of fundamental principles of fairness for a government committee to go along with that abuse of due process.”

“I’ve always suspected that continued secrecy was the real goal of the opposition,” Wagner added. “It was extraordinary to hear a lobbyist actually admit that, though.”

The opposition was so vociferous that any effort at compromise was quashed, meaning, for example, that even a homeowner with language or physical difficulties cannot have a representative assist in the management of their affairs before the HOA board.

“I was surprised,” said Wagner, “that the committee would reject the interests of our immigrant and elderly populations in favor of lobbyists and lawyers. But it did. Based on this vote, if you are in a HOA, you are out of luck and on your own. I really must thank my great Republican Colleague Assembly Member Beth Gaines for her support of the people I was trying to help and for her courageous vote for transparency in governance.”

Prior to the SB Liberty decision, decades of case law had held consistently that Common Interest Development/homeowner association boards were quasi-public entities, and that homeowners - who purchased the homes and paid monthly dues – were entitled to obtain needed information from them, without unreasonable restrictions. With that case, though, secrecy became possible and the HOA lawyers and lobbyists have embraced it.
“In the end, this misguided opposition means a homeowner who isn’t able to attend or understand the meeting – but nonetheless needs the information discussed at these meetings – will be prohibited from having a representative attend on their behalf, even if it was their son or daughter,” said Wagner. “This bill was always about fair and equal representation, and it’s a shame that fact wasn’t the focus of discussion at the committee. For most people, their homes are their most significant possessions and the source of most of their wealth. Homeowners deserve to have access to any information that may affect their homes. Home ownership is a keystone of the American dream. Apparently, the lawyers and lobbyists for HOAs don’t share that dream.”

Assembly Member Wagner represents the 68th Assembly District which includes all or part of the Orange County communities of Anaheim, Irvine, Lake Forest, Orange, Tustin, Villa Park
and surrounding areas


Posted By CotoBlogzz Rancho Santa Margarita - we keep arguing that we do not need legislators like Assemblyman Chad Mayes in Sacramento - ...

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