By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities
Today’s post offers more proof that Community Associations Institute, California Legislative Action Committee — CAI-CLAC is unfriendly to homeowners.
If anyone reading this post still believes that CAI represents the interests of more than 60 million homeowners from association-governed communities in the U.S., today’s post should definitely change your mind.
At the bottom of this post, you’ll see two recent CAI-CLAC announcements that clearly illuminate the truth. The trade and lobby group’s political stance on HOA legislation is decidedly unfriendly to homeowners.
Please consider the following.
CAI is a trade group
CAI’s core mission is to enact state legislation that benefits its members, primarily community association managers and attorneys.
To the extent that “homeowner” members exist in CAI’s state and regional chapters, they are board members of association-governed communities, many of whom are also active in the real estate sales and management industry.
Fair elections not a priority for CAI-CLAC
CAI is clearly not interested in promoting fair elections in association-governed communities, nor does the group value a voting process with integrity, the kind that association members can trust.
The CLAC vehemently opposed SB 1265 from the start, mischaracterizing the legislation as “anti-consumer.”
In fact, SB 1265 was a pro-consumer bill sponsored by Center for California Homeowner Association Law (CCHAL) and supported by the American Civil Liberties Union, California Alliance for Retired Americans, Nonprofit Housing Association of Northern California, Citizens for Constitutional Local Government, El Dorado Institute, Inc., Greater Sacramento Urban League, and Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones.
The intent of SB 1265 was to eliminate disenfranchisement of voters in California’s homeowner, condominium and cooperative associations. The goal of the proposal was to eliminate arbitrary HOA board imposed “qualifications” for board candidates.
Make no mistake: From the start, CAI-CLAC’s goal has been limiting the pool of eligible candidates for the boards of association-governed, common interest communities.
Why would a “consumer-friendly” organization want to prevent homeowners from being elected to their board of trustees?
Management companies and attorneys directly benefit from maintaining the status quo. They know that if homeowners vote the bums out and elect a fresh new crop of board members, their contracts and retainer fees will likely disappear. Because, after all, it’s common for a new board to immediately replace prior manager and attorney or (gasp!) even move to a self-management model.
So it’s no surprise that CAI’s trade group members favor nominating committees, HOA-vendor monitored elections, and policies that create multiple disqualifying factors to suppress the vote and severely limit opposing candidates from running for board elections.
To put it simply, CAI’s “consumers” are the industry professionas’ favored HOA board members — not homeowners at large!
Heck, if associations can simply avoid the hassle of elections, all the better, according to CAI-CLAC. That was their basis for SB 1128.
Now CAL-CLACs members boldly congratulate themselves for aiding an abetting current boards of trustees to remain in power indefinitely.
The trade group has no intention of compromising its blatantly biased agenda in the face of pressure from housing consumers backing homeowner-friendly legislative proposals.
CAI-CLAC initially sponsored SB 1128, the bill that would have allowed HOA boards to cancel elections by acclamation, under the often dubious claim that no members of the association offered to step forward to serve on the board.
After all, according to CAI standard political rhetoric, serving on one’s HOA board is a “thankless job,” for which only the current board members are qualified.
Well… as soon as California Legislative committees added reasonable conditions for election by acclamation, as well as the homeowner-friendly provisions from SB 1265, CAI-CLAC chose to oppose its own bill!
Don’t believe the misleading PR
The most infuriating and frustrating part of the political process is when the opponent relies on rumor, innuendo, and untrue statements to advance its cause.
And CAI-CLAC wins first prize for precisely this sort of objectionable behavior.
For example, it’s blatantly untrue that SB 1265 “sought to push felons, litigants and delinquents onto boards.”
On the contrary, SB 1265 would have prohibited felons convicted of financial crimes from serving on the board.
In addition, SB 1265 would have reasonably required the association to prove that a candidate was truly delinquent on assessments or fees. It would have prevented the association from disqualifying a candidate based upon questionable management practices, incompetent bookkeeping, or bogus fines imposed by the board at the opportune time.
And SB 1265 would have allowed association members to decide whether or not to vote for a candidate involved in a lawsuit with the HOA, its board members, or its management agents. Quite often, homeowners want to oust an overly litigious board. But it’s virtually impossible to do that if the board disqualifies as candidates all of the members it’s suing.
What about transparency?
CAI-CLAC continues to make a big deal of the fact that SB 1265, and the amended version of SB 1128, would have allowed members to review ballots during a recount following an election.
The trade group’s rhetoric du jour is that homeowner “privacy” would be at risk.
Nonsense. Here’s what SB 1265, as amended and approved by both chambers of the Legislature actually says: (identical provisions in SB 1128)
See also, SB 1128:
It’s entirely possible to validate the vote without revealing individual votes cast by secret ballot. Nothing in either bill would have compromised the secret vote. There it is in black and white.
Did CAI-CLAC’s PR team actually read these bills that they opposed and lobbied against?
Bottom line: CAI-CLAC simply wants to prevent association members from exposing election irregularities, thereby overturning a rigged vote or fraudulent election process.
CAI-CLAC gloating about its success in convincing Governor Jerry Brown to veto consumer-friendly legislation (SB 1265), as well as its own amended bill (SB 1128).
Two of my readers alerted me to the following two announcements circulating in California. I’m betting that CAI-CLAC probably doesn’t want the state’s HOA consumers — homeonwers at large — to see these.
Here’s another announcement posted on CAI-CLAC’s website. This elite class of attorney-lobbyists celebrates a political victory at the expense of millions of California homeowners.
CAI-CLAC 2018 Legislative Accomplishments
Oct 18, 2018 | Legislative Accomplishments | 0 comments
In 2018, CAI-CLAC worked tirelessly to serve the best interests of approximately 13,000,000 homeowners residing in over 50,000 community associations throughout California. There were several laws introduced this year that directly impacted our community associations. We were successful in persuading the Governor to veto two bills that would have dramatically changed community association governance, and removed associations from a bill which would have imposed onerous and unnecessary inspection requirements. We are proud of the work conducted by our Sacramento Advocate, delegates and liaisons and their outstanding legislative accomplishments achieved.
“It’s been a historic year for all our accomplishments,” explained John MacDowell, CAI-CLAC’s past chair and an attorney specializing in community associations with Fiore, Racobs & Powers. “Our success was a result of all the hard work everyone put into defeating these bills. We couldn’t have done it without the support of our members.”
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