Meet the Candidates Night for San Elijo Hills Asociation Board Election: February 2, 2010

The San Elijo Hills Community Association received a petition from Neighborhood Representatives requesting a recall of the current newly elected Board of Directors and a new election. Just as in a regular election, all San Elijo Hills homeowners will receive new ballots and have an opportunity to cast votes at the San Elijo Hills Neighborhood District Meetings.

The ballots will include two measures: 1) whether the Board of Directors should be recalled; and 2) if a recall passes, the election of new directors.

Ballots will be mailed to SEH homeowners this week.

Meet the Candidates Night

In order to provide homeowners with an opportunity to meet each Board candidate and engaged in a “Q&A” session, a Meet the Candidates Night will be held on Tuesday, February 2, 2010 at 6:00 p.m. at the Peppertree Hills Eatery.  The Peppertree Hills Eatery has partnered with the Association for this important event and will be providing food to all homeowners in attendance.

All candidates are welcome to send San Elijo Life your bio, platform and a picture and which we will post. Readers may email us or post your questions for candidates.


  • Questions I’d like answered by candidates:

    Interestingly, we still don’t know who they are, but I have several questions I would like all candidates to answer. I’d hazard that these are similar to ones many other homeowners will have.

    1: If elected, what would be the top three actions/resolutions you would push for adoption by the board? What would be your 100 day agenda?

    2: Are you, any immediate family or household member, close personal or business associate; an employee, partner, director or other fiduciary; shareholder or other economic beneficiary; contractor or vendor; of HomeFed, Wells Fargo, Walters Management, any company with a current contract with the SEH HOA or any of the foregoing, or any company that would likely bid for any contract currently held by the same or any of the subsidiaries, affiliates, or entities substantially controlled by, any of the foregoing?

    3: What education or experience qualifies you to serve in a fiduciary capacity as director of a HOA with over 9000 members?

    4: Have you ever been on a board of directors: of a HOA, Corporation, Charity, or other entity? If so, what were the assets/annual operating budget of the same?

    5: What are your current and most recent last two jobs?

    6: What is the largest number of direct reports and budget or P&L you have held direct personal responsibility for? When and for how long?

    7: Do you now, or have you in the past, held any position as a board member, neighborhood rep, or alternate in the SEH HOA? Please give office and dates.

    8: Which other candidates do you most identify or agree with?

    9: Have you ever been convicted of, pleaded guilty or nolo contendere to, any felony; or any misdemeanor involving theft, fraud, or misappropriation of monies in any value? If yes, provide details of matter, dates, and disposition.

    10: Are you now, or have you ever been, the subject of any SEC, FINRA/NASD, OCC, California Department of Real Estate or Consumer Affairs, or other federal/national, state or local financial and/or consumer protection regulatory agency investigation or disciplinary action? If yes, provide details of matter, dates, and disposition.

    11: Residency and Status:
    A: When did you first become a SEH Homeowner?
    B: Do you own more than one voting unit in SEH? If so, how many, and in what neighborhoods.
    C: Is San Elijo Hills your primary Residence? If so, for how long, if not, what % of your time, and during what timespans, are you here?

    • Given Adam Riffe’s response, I’d like to add a question;

      Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of a fraternal organization or other group such as the Freemasons, who pledge allegiance to each other above all others.

      In the interests of Full Disclosure: I am a Pershing Rifleman.
      Originally K-12, I was Pledge Dean and Color Guard Commander of A-12.

    • Really, who rates a set of questions that everyone should want answered by a board member down?

      Has this whole process become so ad-hominem and pathetically partisan that we can’t even find common ground in some basic criteria for qualification for the board?

      I guess it was to be expected, but then again, given that the proponents claim that their goal is civility and a fresh start, you would think that they would practice what they preach.

      • Maybe it is the attitude and tone of your previous posts. You come across as a very angry man. Are you short? You have one big granite boulder on your shoulder.

      • You’re making my point for me. I am angry about this recall, and how it came about, as are a lot of my neighbors. I just choose to do something about it as opposed to fuming in private.
        Are you capable of civil discourse and addressing points with substantive argument, or is the maximum your intellect can manage childish name-calling, in addition to being to much of a coward to post under you full real name?

    • There was one question, which was really the big elephant in the room, that didn’t get asked tonight although I did have a chance to have a long and informative discussion with Stephen Kirkland (who by the way really has a fresh, and pragmatic, perspective; and really seems to know his stuff) about it afterward:

      The most recent past election and this recall have shown two glaring problems in our association’s legal framework:

      1: If the neighborhood rep doesn’t show, people’s votes don’t count.

      2: A tiny number of people, in theory just one Neighborhood rep from a large Neighborhood, can cause the entire community to have to go through redos on duly conducted elections.

      What would you do to address these deficiencies?

      One thing that Stephen Kirkland made clear was that the “5% of homeowners” rue is by statute. However, it doesn’t say that that has to be through this “electoral college” system we have in place.

      IOW, we could require actually 5% of actual homeowners sign a petition.


      • Tom,
        As I stated as my answer to your first question, I thought that this issue needed to be one of the first things the board looks at addressing. Stephen brings an in-depth knowledge from a legal standpoint of what might be a “best practices” approach that our HOA should consider as changes to its by-laws.

  • Tom,
    I understand the list of candidates and ballot should be out later this week so that you and the rest of our community know who is running in this election. You pose some very good questions, and as a candidate, I’ll be happy to forward my response to your questions to you. If you would prefer to email me at, I can send you my answers to your questions.

    • Adam, I’d appreciate it if you posted your answers here, where everyone can see them.

      I don’t’ know who would rate your message down, as it was very honest and clear.

      To be clear: I intend to vote no on the recall, on grounds that I have discussed at length elsewhere.

      I will, however, review the answers to the above questions, and the outcome of discussions at the meetings, in placing my contingent vote in case the recall succeeds.

  • Tom,
    I’m Sarah Vollrath (…and also one of the candidates running for a seat on the Master Association board. I want to commend you on all you have posted here as you question and learn more about the election and possible recall. I hope to make time to answer your 11questions before the end of my work day.

    Will you be able to join me at the Meet the Candidates event on Feb 2nd?


  • Sorry Tom Byrnes that I didn’t get to post answers to your questions tonight. I had the best of intentions! (Best laid plans, right? grin)

    Please feel free to contact me DIRECTLY via email ( or cell phone (760.809.9145) in the lag time.

    Candidate for HOA BOARD
    Sarah Vollrath

    • Sarah, I think it’s best that anything you have to say to me, you say in a public forum. I want to make sure that an immediate stop is put to the backchannel, non-public, way of doing things that got us into this mess.

      • Again, really, a call for transparency as opposed to private dealing on matters that pertain to the whole association rated down?

        What do you people want? A Politburo and the populace only hearing what the Ministry of Truth tells them?

  • Why doesn’t Cambria have a neighborhood sign?

    • I don’t know, ask your neighborhood reps:

      Sean Simms and Isa Aranco

      • Someone pleas explain why giving this guy the names of his Neighborhood Reps should be rated down?

        How pathetic are you people?

    • I’m not certain, but it might be that the best wall to put up a neighborhood sign is part of someone’s front yard. It appears that the next HOA board meeting is on Thursday next week. That would be a great place to bring it up (probably a good question for the developer rep).

  • Concerned Homeowner

    I am unable to attend tonights meeting and would ask a favor of my fellow homeowners. As a very concerned homeowner, I would ask that someone review and ask the following questions of the board president.

    Questions for Jeff Tuller-

    In your short time in office you have held secret meetings without notification to the membership, gone against the recommendations of legal council without disclosure to the rest of the board, completely disregarded the rules
    of conduct for board management, tried
    to exclude the developer representative
    from open discussions.    All this
    follows on the heels of launching an extremely negative campaign in which you suggested to residents that certain homeowner candidates were somehow less “real” than you and your SEH4.  After all this in just a matter of a few months, how are we supposed to trust that you’re behavior will change going forward?

    In the past many months you have spent a great deal of your personal funds on campaign collateral to discredit the developer and other homeowner candidates, including an offensive Ghost and Ghoul internet spoof. Now during this recall, which was intended for the direct purpose of removing you from the board, you have again invested significant funds to send out another campaign piece that never apologizes for your original tactics, but even suggests that you are behind the current recall. Why have you spent so much of your own money for a volunteer HOA board position and does it have anything to do with your previous failed efforts to have trees cut down from the common are behind your home to preserve your view.

    In your candidate statement and the information you’ve sent out for both campaigns you have indicated that landscaping and water expenses continue to increase and, if elected, you would work to control those costs. Isn’t it true that we have had a significant increase in the amount of property the association maintains and that the cost per square foot to maintain these areas has in fact gone down, not up. Also, didn’t the last board already renegotiate the associations landscape maintenance contract with O’Connell and significantly reduce monthly expenses. What do you feel you can contribute to this effort beyond what has already been done.

    You state that the “Community Benefits Budget” is decreasing. But, in fact, the budget for events has actually increased over the years as more and more homes have joined the association and so has the number of actual HOA events. Aren’t you are confusing the developer sales promotions with the association events? Also, since the common areas in San Elijo are the largest asset of the association and we all benefit from the surrounding landscaped areas, why do you indicate that the cost of maintenance does not benefit the community?


    At the last HOA meeting you were asked why you wanted to serve on the board and after being pressured to respond you finally admitted that it was all about the trees outside your back fence. Are there other reasons that you feel as though you can contribute to the benefit of the membership.

    During the last HOA meeting there was a lot of discussion about misconduct on the part of Jeff Tuller including his unilateral decision to call an unnoticed meeting of the membership, and his decision to act against the advice of legal counsel and his misrepresentation of board request to legal counsel. Immediately following this discussion and concerns posted by Halé Richardson and Mary Russell, you nominate Jeff Tuller as board president. In your eyes, what makes him a good president and how are these past actions to be overlooked.

    • To Anonymous Coward.

      Why didn’t you attend, instead of posting the same tired and unsubstantiated accusations under cover of anonymity?

      The pro-recall crowd have spent far more time, and engaged in far more vitriolic ad-hominem character assasination than was ever the case in the prior election.

      Enough already.

      Time to move on.

      As I asked in my first ever post regarding this recall: What are you FOR?

Leave a Reply