November 2008

Property Management17 Nov 2008 11:25 pm

Google’s Eric Schmidt comments on the increased importance of the Internet on politics and on how the Internet helps to prevent bad decision making by allowing all of us to easily access information that can be more easily be vetted by more and more of us.

Bad decisions can be prevented by eliminating the secrecy behind them. Sound familiar?

HOA12 Nov 2008 03:34 pm

By now most of us have at least heard of Keith Obermann’s ‘Worst Person in the World’ segment on MSNBC’s Countdown where Keith nightly lampoons those in our country that seem to be clueless in their stupidity and harm that they cause to others.

Since even David Letterman thinks that Keith has a big head it would seem fitting that I too follow Keith’s lead and announce River Run’s “Worst HOA President in the World!”

My nomination goes to Bonnie Lofstedt who after receiving the votes for the job proceeded to use our HOA to sue the homeowner who so generously cast all their votes for her and in the space of a few short months spent more money on litigation than we spend on our entire annual budget, or in our entire history,  and forced the HOA to use Phase I reserve funds to pay off the lawyers. This act stressed our budget for the next two years. All because Bonnie could not get along with her next door Phase II neighbor and refused to follow our CC&Rs to settle the dispute through arbitration and mediation.

But Bonnie’s accomplishments did not end there, she also presided over having our insurance policy canceled (later re-instated with the work of another board member), was reported to have spent more time at the bar than time attending and participating in her mediation hearings to settle her litigation claims, sponsored a high school football party for her son where her husband directed all the participants to park in our fire circle, the very same fire circle where her husband had actually installed the no parking signs, lived and drove their cars around Tahoe City using Oregon tags in violation of California state law, tried to pass a $500,000 assessment on Phase I based on a single quote from one of our odd job local contractors, a handy man, and caused so much division on the board that one of the board members resigned and demanded that the board be reconstituted.

Of course Bonnie took plenty of shots at me because I opposed her policies. She and her husband were furious that I floated a proposal asking the board to consider that their litigation was a private matter between Phase II owners as allowed by our CC&Rs. Bonnie personally signed the paperwork to tow my boat off of the property without prior notification, and she accused me of copyright infringement for including our River Run logo on my correspondence to my fellow homeowners. She also took great pride in violating our nuisance clauses in our CC&Rs as demonstrated by her husband’s email that accused me of spying on them when I was on one of my routine walks around the common area to stretch my legs.

Why this woman is still serving on our board is beyond me.

Bonnie Loftstedt, our local Diva, and “The Worst HOA President in the World!”

HOA10 Nov 2008 07:32 pm

At the HOA meeting last September, a well thought out proposal was presented to allow longer term renters here at River Run keep their pets. Pets were never an issue here at River Run prior to the first year of operation of what is known as Phase II, a collection of duplexes and homes that were built and sold in response to a perceived lack of demand for single family condos.

A rift quickly developed between two of the Phase II owners, the Lofstedts and a local owner that has since sold their interests. The rift soon blossomed into a full scale legal battle whose costs exceeded $100,000. Word on the street was that many of the Lofstedt positions were unreasonable, apparently Bonnie Lofstedt is a Diva.

Bonnie is the type of person that will scream and rage bloody murder if someone parks their car in the wrong place and then wonders why anyone would complain when she parked her cars where they don’t belong.

We miss Brodie!

We miss Brodie!

Part of the fallout was an arbitrary board ruling clamping down on pets, dogs in particular. The “flat landers” on the board apparently have little if any appreciation for Lake Tahoe’s favorite pets, the family dog. Dogs are the preferred pet here and for good reason. Lake Tahoe is a mountainous forest area filled with all sorts of mother nature’s more dangerous animals – bears, coyotes, & raccoons.  River Run is backed by national forest. The family dog is a great way to keep these creatures somewhat at bay, meaning out of your hair. It was little surprise to me that the number of bear incidents here at River Run increased dramatically after tighter enforcement of our dog policy went into effect.

At issue is that one of our units was having trouble finding a long term lease because of the arbitrary dog ruling prohibiting renters from having pets. The “reasonable” proposal presented was to allow pets for leases of 6 months or longer.

The proposal was rejected by the board with claims that boarding of family pets by renters would require significant changes to our CC&Rs. I nearly laughed out loud! I can only assume that this verdict was rendered by Mary, a lawyer on the board whom I believe does not practice law in either the real estate or the home owner association fields.

If I’m mistaken, then perhaps this is just incompetence. You only have to read a short paragraph, Section 2.5 Pets, of our CC&Rs to determine exactly what the authority granted to the board is. You would be mistaken to declare that the CC&Rs prohibit renters from having pets or even that you would need to change the CC&Rs to begin to allow approval of renters with pets.

In fact, the CC&Rs declare that “each Member shall comply with such reasonable Association Rules governing the keeping of pets which may be adopted by the Association from time to time”.

There is the rub. “Reasonable”, and “from time to time”.

Tyler Berding, Esq. wrote an interesting article dated Friday, October 31, 2008 entitled “Why Community Associations are Not Governments” where he describes that while many consider associations akin to “mini” governments, and some boards certainly act in this fashion, there are important differences. The primary focus of an association is on the rights of the individual and that the community function in a kind of consensual harmony. The sole agreement is contractually based. It depends on both parties remaining satisfied for the Association to continue to exist.

To state that our board has been and is primarily concerned with the rights of individuals is like republicans proclaiming to be populists on election day. In particular, many of our board’s decisions, in my view, violate one of the fundamental tenants of contract law, the contract cannot be changed without mutual consent.

There is meaning in the feelings afterward, that the only people that objected to the request were people that don’t live anywhere near here. For me it is yet one more example of the lack, or shall I say, feigned concern over individual rights.

The prohibition of pets to renters at River Run is neither warranted or reasonable. It is simply an arbitrary decision that can be changed at anytime.

Anyone who claims otherwise is either a fool, a zealot, or both.

Granite Peak Management10 Nov 2008 01:20 pm

It has been several months since Sean of GPM, with the help of the Amigos, started ripping down the rotting fence surrounding our pool area. Since that time the pool shack has been resided, the old pool area flooring has been replaced, and new fence posts have been installed.

And this is not the first time that our HOA has waited until eminent failure of common area property before acting.

When I first went out to take a look at the progress, jolly ol’ Sean was there and immediately started yelling at me. Sean obviously has a hard time coming to grip with the fact that GPM is a contractor for our HOA and he does like to order homeowners around. I suspect that he is just not comfortable with HOA oversight, let alone have an understanding of the concept of customer service with a smile.

The pool reconstruction is another example of poor property management by GPM. GPM employed one of their Amigos to complete the plumbing work for the jacuzzi and I am forced to conclude that this several day project implies that GPM and their employees are registered plumbers as required by California state law for any project where the cost of materials and labor exceeds $500. But we all know that GPM certainly doesn’t pay their employees $500 for 2 or 3 days worth of work, but it is clear that the cost of materials does exceed this limit.

While I was not impressed with the plumbing work, none of the pipes were laid in straight and at the proper angles, it became apparent that the plumbing work was also faulty as late last week GPM dug up parts of the pool AREA flooring to apparently fix the plumbing.

Faulty new plumbing?

Faulty new plumbing?

Of course doing something twice is par for the course for GPM. They recently managed our near million dollar siding replacement which last winter resulted in water leaks into several of our units. The north facing leaks were repaired late this summer. No word on if and when the south facing repairs will be completed. Guess who paid for the mistake?