Will remark caught on mic spell doom for Eilers?

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The Main Gate Project approval was going to be the main topic of conversation after Tuesday's Board meeting – until the President made a private, derogatory remark that was caught on tape.Photo by Amy Golding.

The Main Gate Project approval was going to be the main topic of conversation after Tuesday’s Board meeting – until the President made a private, derogatory remark that was caught on tape.Photo by Amy Golding.

The POA Board approved the four components of the Main Gate Project at Tuesday’s meeting, despite the protests of many of those in attendance. (A description of the Main Gate Project appears at the end of this article as provided by the Association’s website.) Members at the meeting were given a chance to speak their opinion at the microphone, and Directors attempted to answer questions politely but firmly.

Unfortunately, discussion about the Main Gate Project became hostile and disorderly as more and more members began shouting at the Board from the audience. The televised meeting exploded out of control and concluded quickly after one of the speakers confronted President Dave Eilers about a derogatory comment television listeners heard him make about her privately to another Board member.

When pressed, the President acknowledged then apologized for the comment. A shouted demand that he step down could be heard from the audience before the meeting was adjourned and went off the air.

That there are members discontent with certain aspects of how the Association is being run was evident from the opening remarks at Tuesday’s meeting, when President Eilers informed the audience that 286 signed petitions had been turned in at the previous Board meeting. The petitions demand a special election to recall Directors Eilers, Yarbrough and Gordon.

Two of the agenda items at Tuesday’s meeting addressed the recall, with the Board approving Feldsott & Lee as the Inspector of Election at a cost of just over $22,000. Directors set the date for the special election at October 15, with an alternate date of October 17 if quorum isn’t met.

The good news at Tuesday’s meeting was a report from Controller Bryan Knechtel and representatives from the auditing firm of Lund & Guttry, who said they had completed a full-scale audit of the CLPOA’s financial statements and were pleased with what they found. They praised Bryan and his staff for their thoroughness and said the audit was “clean,” with no audit adjustments.

The Independent Auditor’s Report is available at www.canyonlakepoa.com. In it the auditors write: “In our opinion, the financial statements referred to above present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of the Canyon Lake Property Owners Association as of April 30, 2015, and the results of its operations and comprehensive income and its cash flows for the year then ended in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America.”

The next item on the agenda called for the approval of the construction contract and budget for the Tennis Building. President Eilers explained this item had to be tabled because of technical difficulties with the online bidding. Bids now are being accepted through 4 p.m. August 14. Only hard copy bids will be accepted.

Four Board Action Items on Tuesday’s agenda had to do with the Main Gate Project. The first was an award of contract and budget. The second was the funding request for the Main Gate Access Control System. The third was the funding request for the Main Gate Security Cameras. And the fourth was the Main Gate Construction Management Contract.

This rendering shows the plan for reconfiguring the Main Gate entry. Four components of the project were approved at Tuesday's meeting – against the wishes of most people who took the microphone to address the Board of Directors. Source: canyonlakepoa.com

This rendering shows the plan for reconfiguring the Main Gate entry. Four components of the project were approved at Tuesday’s meeting – against the wishes of most people who took the microphone to address the Board of Directors. Source: canyonlakepoa.com

As each item was introduced, Directors and then members were given the opportunity to ask questions and make comments.

Director Eric Spitzer opened the floodgate of comments by asking a question about the budgeting breakdown for the Main Gate construction. He speculated that the construction budget had been divided into different components in order to pass a budget that exceeds the limit of $800,000 that can be spent on any one project in a two-year period, per the CC&Rs.

The figures presented in the agenda are as follows:

Main Gate Base Bid from Dalke and Sons: $539,480

Main Gate Access Control System with California Gate & Entry System: $109,200

Main Gate Cameras (no contractor listed): $31,900

Main Gate Construction Management Contract with Michael Baker International: $66,000

Total: $746,580

President Eilers said this total included everything but the construction plans.

The same basic group of speakers got up after each item was introduced to object to the Main Gate Project. Many, including Director Spitzer, called for the Board to put the project to a vote of the people. Shouts also were heard from audience members.

Just two members spoke at the microphone to express approval for the project, one of them being Traffic Engineer Steve Libring who has been working on the project for several years.

Director Bruce Yarbrough explained that, despite the vocal opposition expressed at the meeting, the Board has received numerous phone calls and emails in support of the Main Gate Project. He said it was his job to represent all the members and the welfare of the Association, not just the vocal minority who come to Board meetings.

The Directors attempted to answer questions and objections about the Main Gate Project before ultimately approving three of the items by a vote of 4-1, with Director Spitzer being the lone opposing vote. The one item that got unanimous approval was the Main Gate Cameras.

The final items on the agenda were the date and provider of the special election for the Board recall. These items passed unanimously.

The meeting abruptly was adjourned after President Eilers was pressed to acknowledge the derogatory comment he made privately about speaker Natalie Mathis, calling her a “disgusting pig.” As he apologized, the meeting fell into utter bedlam with shouts demanding that he step down.

A Riverside Sheriff’s officer was called to the meeting and President Eilers later was seen being escorted to his car by Community Patrol officers.

On Wednesday, the Association released the following statement:

“The Regular Session Board Meeting that took place last night, August 4, was regrettably a disorderly meeting. The Association acknowledges that comments were made that Association does not support or condone. Further, the meeting was a poor representation of our community.

“General Manager Christopher Mitchell says, ‘Last night’s meeting was unfortunate, and moving forward we will continue to exert our best efforts towards working alongside the members to help make Canyon Lake the best community it can be.’”

Main Gate Project

The following information about the Main Gate Project is from the Association’s website at www.canyonlakepoa.com.

 If the Main Gate construction goes through as planned, this entry monument will be removed.Photo by Amy Golding.


If the Main Gate construction goes through as planned, this entry monument will be removed.Photo by Amy Golding.

Canyon Lake is a gated community and the entrances into the community must both be efficient and reflective of this premiere community. The Board has identified redesigning the Main Gate as a focal project in order to entering and exiting the community quicker and to also incorporate a new RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology for better access control.

Project details and updates

The Association contracted WEBB Associates an engineering company to create a design plan for the Main Gate. The design plan, which was based on the input from the Facilities Review Committee, the Board of Directors, Association staff and members in the community,includes a new lane configuration, adding another entry lane for a total of three lanes and RFID technology.

As presented at the November 2014 Regular Session Board Meeting, the right lane would be the RFID lane and would be an unmanned lane with an automatic gate, only opening for vehicles with the RFID technology.

The far left lane would be the visitor (guest) lane with a gate guard who can issue new guest passes.

The plan for the middle lane is to be a catch-all lane. Vehicles with decals could use this lane, as well as members who prefer to use their POA card (there will be a machine in this lane for members to swipe their POA card). Additionally in the middle lane, visitors will be able to scan their guest passes and the guard can also issue new guest passes, when needed due to overflow.

WEBB Associates predicts that this design could significantly increase the volume that can come through the Main Gate, which would reduce the backup onto Railroad Canyon Road.

Additionally, a new canopy shade structure was also presented as part of the Main Gate Conceptual Design. This structure would accommodate the two guards that would manage the left and middle lanes. It will also provide shade during inclement weather for those vehicles that need to roll down their windows.

With this new configuration there would be the ability for guards to turn vehicles around before they enter the community through the gate, which could greatly reduce gate running. Also, as part of the design plans, Golden Gate Drive will continue to have access to Canyon Lake Drive South.

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Sharon Rice