Wow! What a year 2019 was. 2018 had ended with a lot of doom and gloom in the neighborhood, and the thought of yet another dues increase resulted in a lot of attention from the residents, including the formation of the Concerned Residents of Lake Forest Facebook group.
At the start of 2019 it seemed such a long time until the next round of elections in 2020, especially as we were accused of being “uninformed” and “flat-earthers”, not only in social media where you expect people to act rashly, but also through the pages of our own Lake Forester newspaper.
In April 2019 (April Fool’s Day to be exact!) a group of residents got together and formally chartered the Lake Forest Home Owners’ Group Organizing Committee (LFHOG OC). This was a Phoenix Organization built from the ashes of the “Concerned Residents” group with different leadership and different ideas – the tactics and strategy were re-aligned accordingly.
The original charter statement can be found on the LFHOG Website and the Vision and Mission that were created that day still hold true today.
The Real LFHOG
When you are researching which candidate to vote for it is important to remember that if a candidate is associated with, or endorsed by, the LFHOG OC they must agree to our Vision, Mission, and goals. As a reminder:
Vision: A unified, family oriented, community involved organization, which identifies members wants and needs when deciding the direction of our community.
Mission Statement: To develop & support a group of informed residents that can run for the Board of Directors and, if elected, serve as an effective representative of the community.
Further, we stated that our short-term goals should be:
1. The use of the 1343 votes to overrule the membership must be rescinded and never used for anything other than establishing a quorum of the membership (thus allowing a democratic majority vote – one vote per member)
2. The return to bylaws that give decision making power to the members, not the Board of Directors.
We achieved the first, now we are actively working on the second!
We also stated, and still stand by, that…
Any discussion about the future of the Golf Club, Yacht Club, other amenities, amount of dues, special assessments, etc. should be put on hold until a true membership consensus of opinion is achieved.
The Election Framework
Some people have mistakenly viewed the concerned residents as anarchists who want to eliminate the POA, the covenants, and the amenities in order to not pay dues.
In this election cycle it is possible that some would incorrectly set the framework of the election as:
- those who want to protect our covenants and our amenities and improve our community.
- those who want to destroy the amenities and covenants and have no regard for property values in our neighborhood.
This is simply not true, and we can’t let them frame the conflict in this manner. We want to work with the board to show that we want to help improve the neighborhood which can be done with lower dues. Previous boards achieved $1.2 million in pool renovations with $53 dues – all while subsidizing the golf course, yacht club, tennis courts, 19th Hole, and pools.
The framework of the election is actually:
- those who want to continue with a board who dictates that “the government knows what’s best for you”
- A representative board which “respects & represents the voice of the people.”
Fair Opportunity to All Candidates
All nine candidates were invited to complete a questionnaire that was composed of questions submitted to the LFHOG Facebook page.
The President of the Board instructed the Treasurer to send an email to all candidates saying that the questionnaire was not from the Board (which it clearly wasn’t) and that failure to complete the questionnaire would not affect their candidacy.
Fair enough, but a 3-minute speech at the meet & greet is not going to give people a fair impression of what the candidates are standing for and we are encouraging all candidates to return the questionnaire by the deadline of Friday February 7th at 5pm.
This will give us enough time to publish the responses on the LFHOG website and provide people the opportunity to read them before meeting the candidates on Monday 10th (Yacht Club at 7pm).
The LFHOG has evolved tremendously over the last 14 months. From 35 people in the Pizza Hut back room we now have over 800 members of the Facebook group.
We are no longer the people who stood up at meetings declaring they want to eradicate the POA board, close amenities, and have no dues; what we do is work towards educating & informing the membership and to demonstrate that we want fiscally responsible improvements which reflect the desires of the members, and which will enhance their quality of life and property values.
With that in mind, and with careful consideration, interviews, and discussions, the LFHOG OC is pleased to endorse Gary Gray, Jesse Oswalt, and Dale McGinnis for the three open positions this year.
There is a common theme in their election submissions that Dale, Jesse, and Gary want to enforce covenants and develop the amenities in ways that the members deem important in a fiscally- responsible and cost-effective manner. All three are committed to communication, accountability, and transparency. All three are in favor of member involvement in the various committees to help develop a strong relationship between the home owners and the board which in turn will ensure the board are making decisions in the best interest of the membership as a whole.
Ballot NOT Proxy
Finally, please remember to use your ballot and follow the instructions very carefully. If you use the proxy vote, you are empowering the current board to maintain the status quo.
Don’t just hope for change, vote for change.