Candidates discuss reasons for wanting to serve


Four candidates have announced their intent to run for the three positions on the Canyon Lake Property Owners Association Board of Directors.

The three seats currently held by Bruce Yarbrough, Eric Spitzer and Edward “Ed” Horton are up for election on May 11.

Tom Nathan, Phil Hawgood, Paul Chenette and Michael Harris have completed and turned in their “Notice of Intent to Run” packets and announced their candidacy. To view their resumes and statements of goals and objectives, visit the POA’s website at

The Friday Flyer invited the candidates to answer a series of questions ovedr the next few weeks. During this period residents will have a chance to hear directly from the candidates and learn what they hope to accomplish if elected to serve a two-year-term on the Board of Directors.

In this week’s Q&A, The Friday Flyer asked candidates to provide their background and why they wish to serve on the POA Board. The candidates are listed in order drawn by official lottery as they will appear on the ballot.


In 500 or fewer words, please provide your background and why you wish to serve on the POA Board.

Tom Nathan

Tom Nathan

My educational and professional background is in business administration. I have a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Southern California and a master’s degree in financial management. Over the past 30 years, I’ve been an accountant and auditor for a major HMO organization; controller for a medical services provider; owner and operator of two restaurant/bar locations; sales and finance manager for a retail boat dealership; and most recently as international controller for a $1.5 billion global leader in direct marketing.

My first visit to Canyon Lake was as a guest in the late 70s.  I returned as a guest in the late 90s and saw a more fully developed community than what I had experienced 20 years earlier.  I decided to make Canyon Lake my permanent home in 2001 and have been a full-time resident ever since.

I currently serve on three CLPOA committees: Finance Committee, Recreation Committee and Rules and Regulations Committee. During my 16 years in Canyon Lake, I’ve also been involved with the Men’s Golf Club, Little League, Co-Ed Softball Club, Men’s Softball Club, Tennis Club and am currently the president of the Ski Club.

As director, one of my goals is to protect and preserve our exclusive use private community that Canyon Lake already is while helping to plan for an even better community in the years ahead. Maintaining and enhancing existing amenities makes our community a desirable place to live and provides residents with a variety of recreational activities to enjoy. Developing new facilities as the community evolves is also important to support aspirations of the 4,800 members.

When I first moved to Canyon Lake, locking my car or even the door on my house was not important. I felt safe inside our private, gated community. I no longer feel that comfort and other residents have shared similar feelings. Another goal for me as director will be to elevate the sense of security felt by everyone residing inside the gates.

My financial background provides the expertise needed to properly review current Association expenditures as well as analyze those proposed for the future. The current subsidies for Country Club and Lighthouse Restaurant locations are a concern, and I plan to use my prior food and beverage experience to help find solutions there.

Current Association processes are sometimes overly complicated and time consuming.  Those pains are felt both by the members and the POA staff working on behalf of the members. I will work to find solutions to simplify those processes to better serve the members.

Being a director requires some critical attributes. One must be unbiased in their thinking and decision making; one must be responsible to the financial health of the Association; and one must accept that Board decisions are likely to result in criticisms from some members, so one must be “thick-skinned.” I’m confident that I possess each of these director requirements.

Phil Hawgood

Phil Hawgood

In 1985, my wife Sara, our newborn baby Trip and I arrived in Canyon Lake. We met our agent who had scheduled an appointment to see a home advertised as a “Waterfront Home.”

The agent set up a number of homes for us to view. I can remember my excitement as we approached the first home. Once in the house, I went right for the “VIEW of the lake.” I opened the drapes that were blocking the view only to find it was a view of another house and not the lake!
I remember turning and saying “Where’s the lake?” I thought this was a waterfront property! “Follow me,” said the agent.

We walked about 200 feet down a 12 foot-wide driveway and, lo and behold, there it was—a beautiful view of Canyon Lake—but not what we wanted. We love a great view, and after looking at more homes we found 29365 Old Wrangler Road. It was a newly-constructed home. It was smaller than we were looking for and not on the water, but it had the most incredible view of the San Gorgonio Mountain! Literally breath taking.

Instead of a back yard there was a large deck with the same amazing view of the mountain. Well, that was it. Sara fell in love with the view and the house! We bought it that day and 32 years later still love Canyon Lake!

We became even more attached to the community that first day as our agent drove us around the lake and pointed out all of the amenities. First and foremost was, and still is, the lake—our lake, for all residents to use. We were excited to view the Golf Course and Country Club, camp grounds, Tournament Water Ski Course, Tennis Courts, Equestrian Center, and parks and baseball diamonds. We had found “The Jewel of the Inland Empire,” Canyon Lake.

My father had a place in Newport Beach and I had always thought between Balboa and Newport Beach, how could it get any better? The day we bought our house, for us, and I believe all of you owners, it did. Canyon Lake has everything and more that Balboa and Newport did, a more accessible lake.

We have four water areas, a thriving population and almost 2,000 homes built on the water, and all home owners have access to everything equally— Canyon Lake, “The Jewel of the Inland Empire.”

I hope to serve you by listening to you and fighting for the improvements that you want. We’re all equal owners of Canyon Lake and I will work to direct and protect every asset that we all own together!

If everything we have creates the total value of our great community, then all of our property values will increase if we choose the right people to lead. I believe that I am one of those valuable leaders.

Please vote Phil Hawgood for POA Director, “I’ll listen to members.”

Paul Chenette

Paul Chenette

For those who don’t know me, I am originally from Massachusetts. I moved to California in 1979 and Canyon Lake in 1985. I truly love this community and all it has to offer. I have been a Canyon Lake resident since 1985. During that time I have been a member of the Association and an active businessman in the community. During my past 31 years here, I have been a member of the Ski Club, Choraleers, Men’s Softball team, Lighthouse Players, Canyon Lake Community Theatre and Motorcycle Club.


I’ve been involved in the automotive industry from the late 60’s through 2015, the music industry from early 80s through the mid-nineties and the home based direct sales industry from the mid-nineties to the present. I have been blessed to have had success in all three of those industries.

While living in Canyon lake and in the automotive business, I had the honor of being chosen “Business of the Year” in 2004, 2009 and 2011.

My music industry experience gave me the pleasure to have performed with the Canyon Lake Choraleers, Lighthouse Players and Canyon Lake Community Theatre. As an independent consultant in the home based direct sales industry I was featured in the April 2014 edition of Success from Home Magazine.

Community Leadership

Chairman of the Canyon Lake Jr. Golf Fundraising Tournament from 2007 to 2014.

Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors from 2004 to 2015; president in 2005, vice-president in 2013

Most coveted awards include “Citizen of the year” in 2008 and 2012.

Canyon Lake POA Board of Directors from 2010 to 2012; president from 2011 to 2012

I served two previous years on the Board of Directors and have a proven record of service to the Association members. I created the “Amnesty Program” that provided our members with an avenue to resolve their financial difficulties with the POA that benefits themselves as members in good standing and the Association that has drawn thousands of dollars in revenue back to the Aassociation.

In my role as president I filled in twice as the acting general manager while we sought a new permanent general manager. My experience in business and interpersonal skills contributed to my success as a Board member and leader in this community.

I am now seeking election to make my contribution to work with my fellow Board members to insure the members of an ongoing culture of fiscal accountability, openness, transparency, fairness and a positive attitude about serving our community to improve services and the amenities.

My goals for the 2017-2019 term are as follows:

-To be your voice (“the member”) at the board level on all projects and Association decisions.

-To work closely with the Board to build a strong leadership team that will gain the support from the whole community.

-To complete projects as promised.

Michael Harris

Michael Harris

I am a father of three children and three grandchildren.  My sole purpose for serving on the Board of Directors is to improve our community and amenities for the enjoyment of all, especially my children and grandchildren.  Canyon Lake is a great place to live, work and play. It will only stay that way if it has an engaged and informed community of members.

I volunteer two days a week to serve on a committee. My career has always been oriented to improving customer relations. With my vast experience as a manager, contractor, building and HVAC inspector I am able to determine if our projects can be completed thoroughly and on budget. I have the time to dedicate to the members, informing them of the process and finding the answers to their questions.

I retired in 2013, deactivated my Contractor’s License and settled into my home here in “a little bit of paradise.”  My first purchase was a golf cart so I could learn about the community by first hand observation.  I am amazed at the friendliness of all the people I see on my outings. I experienced the lake with a purchase of a pontoon boat. My last two homes were in an HOA so it was only natural to begin attending Board meetings to observe how the POA operated.

I began my career in a family owned supermarket in San Pedro. I worked my way from box boy to grocery manager. As grocery manager, I was responsible for inventory control, ordering, scheduling the front end help (check out clerks), stocking crew and receiving crew.

My second position was with 7-UP Bottling Co. I began as a delivery driver, salesman and delivery manager for the Orange Co. Branch.  I transitioned to Westinghouse Management in 1980 and excelled as the delivery manager in Orange County, managing three supervisors and 60 delivery drivers. I was responsible for budgeting yearly requirements and coordinating with the branch manager.

I left 7-UP in 1983 to be educated in heating and air conditioning service.  I became a licensed contractor in 1989. I was in partnership with my brother and we serviced Los Angeles County. As an owner I was able to use my past experience managing the books, creating spreadsheets to track income, service routes and expanding the business.  We serviced and installed HVAC equipment for Bristol Farms, Nix Checking, Rich Development Co. , Prime Wheel and numerous strip malls.

I completed my career at Los Angeles Unified School District. I became an HVAC inspector in 2003 and became DSA certified building inspector in 2006. I am capable of reading plans, coordinating with the architect, engineers and contractors.  I became proficient in the building process, California Codes and Access Compliance.

I am committed to serving the members of this community. A vote for Mike Harris is a vote for the members.