Residents are invited to learn more about candidates running for the Canyon Lake Property Owners Association Board of Directors. In the order they’ll be listed on the ballot, they are George Christopher Williams, Dale Welty, Matt Poland, Paul Queen and Paul Chenette.
Three groups have formally scheduled candidate forums for voters to meet the candidates and learn their positions on issues. Please note that there are changes to the schedule previously announced. Each of the forums has a slightly different format.
- Saturday, April 9, 10 a.m. at the Senior Center – Meet the Candidates Forum, sponsored by the Senior Work Group.
- Monday, April 11, 7 p.m. in the Lodge Holiday Bay Room – Speak with the Candidates Forum, hosted by 20 community clubs and groups.
- Monday, April 18, 10 a.m. at the Senior Center – Meet the Candidates Forum, sponsored by the Home Owners Club.
The candidates and their resumes of qualifications and goals can be found at www.canyonlakepoa.com. For more information about the election contact the Association’s Corporate Department at 951-244-6841, ext. 210.
This week, The Friday Flyer invited the candidates to answer the first of two questions in 500 words or fewer. Their answers appear in the order they’re listed on the ballot.
- What do you think residents are most concerned about in this election and how will your being elected make a difference?
- Even if residents don’t appear to be aware of it, what do you believe is the greatest challenge(s) facing the Association at this time, and how will your being elected make a difference?
George Christopher Williams
I think most people are most concerned about the Lake Lease litigation. I know I am. As I understand it, the Board was only able to obtain liability insurance for the CLPOA from one company. Other companies apparently deemed the risks too great. So the CLPOA is one insurance underwriter or one claim or one incident away from being uninsured or going “naked” as they say in the trades.
One of the things insurance underwriters least like to see when examining a risk profile is litigation. It is a pretty good bet that CLPOA’s risk profile goes down when the Lake Lease litigation is resolved.
One or two uninsured incidents, anywhere on the property, or on the lake, could easily bankrupt the CLPOA. To have followed a decision-making process that leaves us open to such a result is unacceptable. The fact that CLPOA Corporate Counsel has chosen to encourage our Board to pursue such a high risk and frivolous course is reckless and self-serving.
If elected, I would vote for an immediate resolution of the Lake Lease litigation and a thorough review of CLPOA legal billing practices and relationships. We lease the lake so we can take a swim in it, not a bath.
I think the residents are primarily concerned about the Lake Lease. but community members are also concerned about the lack of civility within the community.
The future of the Lake Lease is the big financial concern of the community. We are at the crossroads of whether to go ahead or withdraw the Lake Lease lawsuit involving the future lease fee being based on future water rates. The POA has spent a large amount of money on this lawsuit, primarily due to the potential increase cost of this current Lake Lease, which could end up costing the community millions of dollars.
I have spoken to a number of people who are practicing attorneys or have been involved with Elsinore Valley Municipal Water District (EVMWD) in the past. Their thoughts are that the appeal will cost between $50,000 or $100,000. This works out to about $20 per prime member. Even a conservative estimate puts the potential cost of rate increases to $600 a year per member. At this time, the POA’s position is that it is worth risking $20 from each property to potentially save the community millions of dollars in the future.
Our best recourse is to negotiate a reasonable settlement with EMVWD. The problem is the EMVWD Board stated they would not negotiate with Canyon Lake unless we withdrew the lawsuit and agreed to give up our rights to challenge the Lake Lease fees in the future. There are two cases going before the California Supreme Court that may give merit to the POA lawsuit. I believe it would be premature to withdraw our lawsuit, at least until the court rules on those cases.
In the end, EVMWD is a government agency that is using its governmental power to extract an unreasonable sum of money from its constituents. Prop 26 was voted on by the people of California to stop these types of actions by the government. We are so proud of the patriots who took a stand at the Boston Tea party. It is a defeating feeling to think the Canyon Lake members are unwilling to risk $20 to take a similar stand.
The other concern is the lack of civility by many of the residents and members of Canyon Lake. Facebook and public conversation is full of accusations about totally unsupportable claims of corruption and criminal behavior by the POA Board and POA committee members. These members dedicate hundreds of hours a year for their community simply because they are dedicated to making Canyon Lake a better place; and for this effort they are continually attacked. You may have good reasons to disagree with the Main Gate Project, but clouding the real issue in Canyon Lake with foul language and unsupportable claims does not help this community.
The Lake Lease is the biggest concern for many Canyon Lakers right now. This lawsuit between the Canyon Lake POA and the water district has caused Canyon Lake property values to lag behind those of the surrounding cities by 16 percent, which is more than $250 million in equity that has evaporated from our community.
This lawsuit was sold to the community based on a couple of assumptions that were not well thought out: 1. The Lake Lease will compound at 8 percent per year; and 2. The price of water will only rise.
First, the Lake Lease did not compound at 8 percent this year. In fact, the budgeted cost went down according to both the water district and the Canyon Lake budget. This means that the excessive cost of the Lake Lease that we thought were we fighting to protect ourselves from may not ever exist, and the lease may not even grow to be an excessive burden 50 years from now.
Second, we were told that water rates will only rise. The water rate is the primary input in determining the overall cost of the Lake Lease, and the cost of the Lake Lease rises and falls with the water rate. The fact is an acre-foot of water cost less in 2015 than 2014, and is projected to rise only 2 percent this year, according to the water district. We need to consider the facts, and recognize we need to stop the lawsuit now.
If elected to the Board, I will bring a thoughtful analysis to Board decisions. This analysis will be shared with all the Board members and enable them to make better decisions.
For the current Lake Lease, I will employ the same methods that I use in my job. My job is to build consensus within organizations around a technology platform. I work with people I have no authority over and build this consensus by building relationships, listening, and presenting the value from their perspective. I will bring this same approach as a POA Board member.
I think the number one concern of the residents is the Lake Lease. Having our Lake Lease in jeopardy has caused our property values to decline and made the sale of waterfront properties nearly impossible. We need to drop the failed lawsuits against EVMWD, as we cannot afford a prolonged legal battle that will take years, years where our property values will be artificially low, and all our money will go to paying lawyers.
Instead we should let the new Board work to repair the relationship with EVMWD and negotiate a fair and sustainable Lake Lease.
Another huge concern is the way residents are treated by the Board. They have consistently shown that, once elected, they do not listen to us, they ignore us when we speak at the meetings, they have gone against our will, sued us, paid lawyers to find ways around our rules and our bylaws, outright gone against the bylaws; and then finally they just re-wrote the bylaws altogether, removing our rights, our financial protections, and their spending limits.
In addition to that, they have exponentially raised fines for tickets up to $1,000, changed the gate policy to make owners wait in line behind visitors, changed rules to inconvenience us, inhibited our freedoms and angered the people in general, and most recently are making new rules to fine you up to $750 for staring at any POA employee. That’s right, they are going to fine you for LOOKING at them.
This is NOT how you run a community. I want to put a stop to all of that. I want more cordial communications with the residents at the monthly meetings. The Board should answer the residents’ questions, be friendly, open and not just ignore you and then say “Next” when you’re done speaking.
A Board member is YOUR representative, so act like it and show some respect to the people that put you there. I want “Town Hall” meetings where the members can discuss freely their concerns without time limits. I want a Board that is responsive to what the members want instead of to their own personal agendas.
We need reasonable people on the Board that understand their job is to represent us. To do this we need the 66 percent that don’t normally vote to come out and vote this year. We need your help to take this community back for the residents. If you agree but don’t normally vote, or put the packet to the side and forget to send it in, please send an email to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and address and I will personally bring a proxy to your home.
A quick signature and that will allow me to cast your votes for you. You don’t have to deal with the complicated ballots, instructions and multiple sealed envelopes. Email me and I’ll take the hassle out of the process for you, and you will be helping to take back your community, and have a Board that represents you.
I believe there are many issues that residents are concerned with. The Lake Lease, our legal expenses, our subsidies for certain amenities, unfulfilled projects, security, rules and regulation changes, assessments and so many more. ALL of these issues affect ALL of us. You can pick and choose which one or ones you want to support, reject or change but, at the end of the day, ALL the issues affect ALL of us.
The biggest issue that residents should be concerned with is the election itself. Who do you want to get elected? What effect will that newly elected Board member have on the existing members? We NEED the two newly elected Board members to be able work with, influence and collaborate with the existing Board members.
The two questions I have gotten the most are: Why are you doing this again? And what about your legal issue?
I will answer the legal issue first. On June 25, 2015, the Indio district attorney’s office sent a task force to support the delivery of a search warrant for the Bureau of Automotive Repair. The allegations were that a total of six smog certificates issued by AutoCare USA were issued fraudulently. It was determined that I was complicit in two of the six.
On March 1, 2016, the case was closed and I was ordered to serve probation. There are no fines and no restitution. The matter is over and will in no way effect my ability to serve on the Board.
Why am I doing this again? I love Canyon Lake. I have lived here for more than 30 years. I believe I can make a difference. Over the last 15 years I have served the community in several capacities. Unlike my fellow candidates (no disrespect intended), I won’t need a learning curve as I have previously served on the Board as Secretary in 2010 and President in 2011. I can work with, influence and collaborate with the current Board as well as whomever would be elected with me. I’m looking forward to serving you again.