San Elijo Hills Association Board Recall & Election Results

San Elijo Hills Association Board recall passed 455 in favor, 53 opposed, 11 abstained. Because the recall passed, the candidate votes were counted. The top four finishers, and our new San Elijo Hills Board of Directors, are:
1. Tim Minjares (three year term)
2. Stephen Kirkland (three year term)
3. Jeff Tuller (three year term)
4. Sarah Vollrath (two year term)

Hale Richardson will be appointed by the Developer to the fifth seat.

All San Elijo Hills neighborhoods were represented except Springfield.

Some notable numbers:

1. More residents voted in this election than the first election
2. More residents voted in favor of the recall than the total number of voters in the first election
3. 87.6% of the voters in this election voted in favor of the recall

30 comments

  • I was at the meeting, and both Waterford and Springfield weren’t represented, at least not at the closing of the polls @ 18:15. I had to leave to go to my son’s play @ 18:40, while the votes were still being counted. Were the polls reopened for Waterford after the fact?

    I hope this ends this saga of recrimination and nastiness.

    Unfortunately, based on what I saw, the down ballot votes were very widely split and close, so there are probably a lot of disgruntled supporters of various losers, and we know how that worked out last time.

    I plan to see what we can do to make sure that any future recall requires far more homeowner involvement before it gets put on the ballot. Our current bylaws allow such a small group of people to make this decision that it could make our community ungovernable.

    I’m very glad hat a lot more people voted. That is what I campaigned for in Woodley’s (as opposed to on this blog), and we achieved a much greater turnout.

    I’m sad it had to come to this, and I think this recall, particularly how it happened, and the character assassination leveled at Jeff (who is still on the board, so I’m not sure what he haters gained), will be a blemish on our community for a long time.

    It will be interesting to see how the board acts going forward. I intend to be at all the meetings.

  • Waterford came in right at the closing of the polls and was represented. They did not make an announcement. This is a very good board. I have no problem with Jeff on the board as then an eye can be kept on him. He will not be able to pass his own agenda. This is an excellent board which will be fair and represent the community fairly.

    Tom, what do you mean there were a lot of down ballot votes were widely split? More than 88% were in favor of this recall.

    • I wasn’t referring to the recall, but the contingent votes. From what I saw, once you got past Stephen and Jeff, the votes were very closely split among a lot of the other candidates.

      I didn’t’ see Waterford at the closing of the polls. In fact I distinctly remember, @ 18:15, Jean saying the they hadn’t been represented. Do you mean at the end of ballot counting? In any event, I’m glad that their votes were counted, if indeed they were.

      Clearly, the recall passed with overwhelming support. I hope this is the last time such a thing happens.

      I am concerned that we have swapped one voting bloc for another, with Hale, Sarah and Tim being a rubber stamp for the developer and Walters, which was the status quo ante, but we shall see.

      I”m glad Stephen got elected. Hopefully he can take the lead to help us strengthen our governance so that this kind of circus doesn’t happen again, or if it does, the process for getting it to happen is open, more deliberative, and requires real homeowner input.

  • The Waterford rep came in about 6:17 and the votes were counted. I do not feel this board will be a stamp for the developer. I know Tim personally and he is very fair and balanced. He will do what is best for the community not for the developer. I’m very glad Stephen was elected. He will be the “legal voice of reason” and provide a good balance. I am pleased with this board.

    • I wish the general MO in our HOA was open, and complete, communications. Waterford were late. It should have been announced, and asked “Does anyone here object to the extension of closing of the polls to allow Waterford to be counted?”.

      That Jean Marie decided, unilaterally, to extend the polls, and then, without announcement, to count Waterford, is evidence of her imperious, and frankly completely beyond the powers she is granted, approach to how she does her job.

      No-one there would have objected, at least certainly, I would not have, but it is not her place, as a VENDOR, to mess around with proper electoral procedure.

      Frankly, I fond her obvious glee at the success of the recall disgusting.

      I hope you’re right about Tim. I’m concerned that his pocketbook may override his best judgment. Mostly, I wish he was free to be the always present reporter who could report completely and truthfully on the meetings. Now, he has a conflict between openly reporting, and his duty to the board.

      It appears we agree that Sarah is in the pocket of Walters and Homefed.

      If I were a competing Realtor, I’d be upset at her being on the board, as, whether it’s true or not, it will be perceived that she has an advantage in getting variances to the CC&Rs approved for sellers or buyers. One of her supporters intimated as much during the campaign, here, when they said, in defense of her campaign flier, that it was marketing for her real estate practice.

      Frankly, I think that a Realtor who deals in the community should not be allowed to be on the board, by the BOR, and their broker, precisely for the reason outlined above.

      My guess is that she was actually the impetus for the whole recall. She is in Morgan’s Corner, and it was from thence this recall came.

      Some people will be keeping an eye on Jeff, I will be keeping an eye on Sarah.

      I hope everyone keeps an eye on the board, and requires more timely, and complete, communications.

      Let’s start with minutes being ratified and posted in the 30 day period required by law. There’s no reason that they can’t be ratified by written unanimous consent within a week or two of the meeting, if the secretary is actually doing their job.

      • Tom, since you had long since left the proceedings when the results were announced, what position are you in to make any judgment about what Jean’s attitude was toward the result?

        Also, there is no place in Community Association Law where it says that minutes must be ratified and posted within 30 days. Here’s EXACTLY what the law says:

        “The minutes, minutes proposed for adoption that are marked to indicate draft status, or a summary of the minutes, of any meeting of the board of directors of an association, other than an executive session, shall be available to members within 30 days of the meeting. The minutes, proposed minutes, or summary minutes shall be distribute to any member of the association upon request and upon reimbursement of the association’s costs for making that distribution.”

        Kindly show us where it indicates that they must be either ratified or posted.

      • See below: Jean’s attitude was obvious when she made the comment that ” I know the results” very early in the meeting.

        Minutes “made available” in our community, means posted on the website. The law actually does require that they be posted in a public place IIRC.

        Funny, for a guy who was all about holding the HOA to account, that you now are excusing a lack of transparency.

        Are you really saying, in this age of e-mail, and especially considering the terse nature of most of the minutes, that it’s reasonable to take more than 30 days to ratify and post them?

      • Tim appears more of an Ads-Man, then a reporter.
        The fountain is just a collection of fluffy stories written by Karen, surrounded with local ads.

        I wish there was in-depth reporting. For example an interview with the developer as to where is the town center? And why are they attempting to sell the land to a gym. Gee wiz..that is what I discovered from checking out the diggers with my son the other day.

        Tom- Do everyone a favor and get on top of this. Write, call, etc…annoy the hell out them to get ’em building, instead of selling the land off.

      • Ms. Local, the only thing Homefed, and more specifically Paul Borden, understand is real financial consequences. All the agitating in the world won’t make a hill of beans of difference to these people.

        What will make a difference is if we can, either as homeowners, or as shareholders, force them to actually do the job they set up SEHDC to do. IMO, the most likely effective COA is an action under the investment company acts, moving to rule them a REIT or Mutual fund, and thus all their officers ineligible to hold their offices without SEC licenses, and rendering the company subject to SEC and FINRA regulation, unless they actively engage in developing SEH, as opposed to simply holding land and selling it at appreciated values.

        Currently, HOFD is not engaged in an active trade or business other than selling investments.

  • Tom – you are wrong in a number of your assumptions. First – Tim is not a reporter – he does the LAYOUT of the material. Second – In no way did I imply Sarah was in the pocket of the developer. Third – the minutes have always been available from Walters within 30 days. There is NO LEGAL REQUIREMENT they be posted on the website. If you were to call Walters, they will provide you with a copy.. Most communities do not have a website. I don’t know where you got your information – but it is wrong. Fourth – How dare you imply that Sarah was the impetus for the whole recall. There is no evidence to make that comment and I for a fact know THAT IS NOT TRUE!. For someone who abhors rumors, you sure do not have a problem starting them. Fifth – it is very obvious you do not like Jean, but that is NO REASON for you to make such a statement as to her “glee” at the recall. You left early – another one of your assumptions.

    I have never read anyone as negative as you. Not once, in any of your postings, on any blog, have you said something positive. I wonder why you live here if you can’t find anything positive.

    • Jean made it clear near the outset of the meeting, before votes were even being counted, that she knew what the results were, and was clearly gleeful at them. I’d actually describe her demeanor as giddy.

      I left after 40 minutes to be at my son’s play, which was @ 7PM.This was during the time that Jean spent most of her time talking to the recall proponents, and during the time that Waterford entered, and was counted, unannounced.

      I have expressed many positive things about San Eljio, and especially about the vision for San Elijo.

      Where I have been negative is about the recall, and especially how it came about; the way Walters deals with the residents, and especially the landscaping; and the failure of HomeFed to deliver on the vision.

      I’ll “dare” to imply anything I want, especially in the context of the totally scurrilous character assassination and insult leveled at me, Jeff, the SEH4, and anyone who came to their defense here, by you and others.

      I’ll give you evidence for why I think Sarah had somehting to do with the recall:

      What, other than a few sore losers, was a legit reason to launch the recall 2 days after the last election was certified?

      Who, of the prior losing candidates, really wanted the job and campaigned hard for it?

      Whose Neighborhood rep circulated the petition?

      Circumstantial evidence, to be sure, but since no-one ever posted Ron’s original argument for the recall, that’s all we have to go on.

      Whatever accusations made against Jeff (who had no time to do anything before teh recall was signed): Sarah WAS on the board, and in the whole time she was Secretary, the minutes were never delivered timely.

      Go ahead and hide behind “other associations don’t have websites” etc. etc. The lack of timely, and complete, transparency of the dealings of the prior board is a big part of how we all got into this mess in the first place.I’m used to the “this is the minimum required by law” response from the HOA, and it’s a big part of why I supported the SEH4.

      The rift in our community opened by this recall isn’t going away any time soon.

      Your crowd threw the spear (alea iacta est), so get used to the wound you opened.

      I hope you’re right about Tim. It would be good for us to have a board that actually acted in the open, and responded to Homeowners, as opposed to treated us like renters and acted like a landlord.

      I don’t personally like or dislike Jean, because I don’t know her. I don’t like the way she acts towards us, because it is as a property manager for a landlord; as opposed to an association manager for homeowners. She very clearly plays her favorites, who are those who make her life easy; and mostly those who live at the bottom of the hill, as far as I can see.

      I love the “on any blog” piece. Clearly, you haven’t Googled me. This is a very tiny part of my body of work, and the only place I post about SEH.

      • What rift? The recall won by a landslide. Youre literally the only one complaining.

      • If you don’t think there’s a rift, just look at the discussion here, not just with me, or what went on at the January board meeting, or what several of the questioners tried to get put into the record at the candidates forum (the accusations of conflict and nepotism leveled at Jeff).

        The rift is about the character assassination and partisanship that led to the recall and was in the campaign. When you’re that nasty about and to people, it doesn’t just go away.

        People supported the recall, but Jeff Tuller ALSO won by a landslide, and removing him was the primary goal of those behind the recall, so what does that say?

        Even though the recall succeeded, people are still “keeping an eye on” Jeff.

        The community was clearly divided before the recall, and all the recall and campaign did was deepen those divisions.

      • Jeff didn’t win the popular vote at all, much less by a landslide. Tim won.

      • You are correct that Tim was the ONLY candidate to get (just barely) more than 50% of the vote. Jeff was next, and if his margin over those who weren’t elected isn’t a landslide, then I don’t know what is. It’s larger than the margin of victory in any presidential race since Ronald Reagan in 1984, and that was considered a landslide. By contrast, the margin between Sarah and Torin is well within the sampling error of this size poll.

        Unfortunately, as I gathered from just a cursory view of the summaries while I was at the meeting, the “down ballot” was split widely, and pretty evenly, in two basic tranches, which leads me to believe that we will continue to have those who feel hard done by.

        I congratulate Tim on his win, and hope that he proves worthy of the confidence people have shown in him.

        FWIW, here are the exact numbers and percentages, in descending order, for all candidates:

        Total Valid votes (includes Waterford, does not include Springfield): 520

        Recall:
        For: 455
        Against: 53
        Abstain: 11
        For%: 87.5%

        Rest are votes For and %:

        Tim: 263 50.85%
        Jeff: 250 48.08%
        Stephen: 244 46.92%
        Sarah: 226 43.46%
        Torin: 202 38.85%
        Adam: 174 33.46%
        Matt: 165 31.73%
        Mary: 155 29.81%
        Tom: 138 26.54%
        Michael: 122 23.46%

        So you see what I mean about how the “down ballot” was pretty evenly split.

        While I appreciate the willingness to step forward of so many qualified people, I think having so many people running with overlapping qualifications and constituencies, actually made it harder to get a balanced board. Hopefully, in the next election, we won’t have so crowded a field, so that there can be a more clear mandate for the individual board members, and a more clear choice of who to fill which skill sets or represent which constituency.

        Regardless, the election has happened. Hopefully the board can govern effectively, and start improving things in our landscaping, governance, and provide some leadership in getting the developer to deliver on the vision we bought into.

      • The only thing resembling a landslide was the recall vote itself, so lopsided that they should have invoked the Mercy Rule. Sure, the gap between Jeff and those who weren’t elected was large, but that was true of ANY of the top four, with the winners averaging 245 votes and the rest of the field averaging 159. If Sarah’s margin over Torin (24 votes) is within sampling error, then so is Jeff’s over Sarah (also 24 votes).

        The results had something for everyone, and maybe that’s why we’re not hearing about disgruntled or disenfranchised voters. Those who wanted representation from the first election’s winners got Jeff. Those who wanted representation from non-SE4 first election candidates got Tim and Sarah. And those who wanted a totally fresh face got Stephen.

        Here are some more election fun facts:

        1. Not surprisingly, candidates tended to win the neighborhoods in which they live: Jeff won Westcliffe, Tim won Cedar Crossing, Sarah won Morgan’s, Matt won Atherton, with Stephen tying for first in Cambria and Adam and Mary tying for first in Crestview.

        2. However, it wasn’t big wins in just one or two neighborhoods that pulled any of the winning candidates into the top four, making it clear that the four winners were clearly the peoples’ choices no matter how you slice it. In fact, if you eliminate the top two neighborhoods in which any of the winning candidates got their highest vote totals, it would not have changed the outcome of the election, just the order of the top four. For example, Tim’s highest vote totals came from Morgan’s Corner and Sagewood. If you eliminate those two neighborhoods, the top four finishers stay the same. Jeff’s highest vote totals came from Westcliffe and Westridge. Eliminate those two neighborhoods, and the top four finishers stay the same. Same with Stephen (Sagewood and Westridge) and Sarah (Morgan’s and Sagewood).

        3. The winners from the first election received 30% fewer total votes this time around, with three of the SEH4 finishing in the bottom three spots. Sounds like a mandate for change to me.

        This election gave us proof that the process DOES work. “A few disgruntled reps” did not overturn an election. The VOTERS of San Elijo Hills did. More people voted for the recall than the number of people who voted at all in the first election. If there were rabid opponents to either the recall itself or how it went down, they certainly didn’t make their feelings known via their votes.

    • Regarding why I live here: I bought into the vision. If I’d know that, 5 years on, they wouldn’t have even started on the town center, and that the landscaping would be what we now have, I probably would have given some of the other places we looked more consideration.

      Is it so hard to understand that there are many people who are upset with the gap between what were were sold and the reality?

      Like most people who bought in 2005, moving isn’t a financial reality for me, since, like many, I”m upside down, and find walking away morally repugnant.

      So, what is left is to try to make things as close to the vision as possible. Part of that was getting aboard that wouldn’t just rubber stamp each and every change of landscaping the developer came up with. It looks like we’re back to that with the current board.

      As for the current board, I think we have too many sales and marketing people, and no finance or landscaping/horticulture one, and that is a huge gap, IMO.

  • I always laugh at people complaining about landscaping in RSF, Santaluz and now SEH. Look California is a desert, we all need to appreciate natural chaparral and be lucky we still have some around us. SEH did a great job for the most part creating a drought-tolerant scheme. They did blow it with the pines (fire hazard) and Sycamores blocking views that people paid a premium for. That was stupid and odd? So if you’re looking for the garden state you’re in the wrong place.

    • I would much prefer coastal sage, rosemary, and manzanitas to the pines. They’d be a lot safer in a fire as well.

      Sycamores and California Oak are native to this area, and if properly emplaced, would beautify, provide shade for animals, and not need to block views.

      It’s the shot rock with no topsoil that I find most galling. That’s where the developer hosed us on the landscaping.

    • Coastal San Diego is not a Desert. It is a Coastal Mediterranean climate, and, like the Cote D’Azur and the Italian coast from La Spezia to Cernobbio, experiences wide variation in climate and precipitation based on coastal proximity, elevation and topography.

      Many species are endemic to our region, with variations by altitude, exposure, drainage etc.

      The Torrey Pine is even a workable tree.

      The Scots pine is not. The only reason we have them is they are cheap, and that our developer welched on their commitments.

      As the highest elevated western-facing slope with direct coastal exposure, SEH actually gets higher than average precipitation for our region. Where I live, Woodley’s Glen, actually gets MUCH higher than average, due to the funneling of clouds. Yet we are given rock, and a few sad scraggly pines, as landscaping.

      • What you talking about Tom?

        Woodley’s Glen is all houses from what I have observed.
        It is a sea of track homes off Questhaven, with just a few feet between all the buildings.

        Yeah the trails need some planting…but the gardeners spend all there time hacking/trimming all the vegetation down to look busy.

        Personally I think if we went without landscaping for a month or 2 the place would look better. Spend money on plants instead.

      • Actually, there is quite a bit of common area inside of woodley’s, and what I am mostly referring to is the moonscape on the fire road behind my house.

        I agree that we’d be better off if things were let grow. What really needs to happen is for the HOA to get some $$ from the developer to put some TOPSOIL on the shot rock.

        I also think that the Pine trees, in addition to being out of place for the area, are a fire hazard, don’t’ provide shade and habitat, are overly expensive to maintain (to include thirsty), and generally the wrong trees for the area.

  • Tom –

    The sky is blue above San Elijo Hills. At night, it appears black.

    Discuss. Debate.

    • I left it up to my alter ego, Mr. Hillary Norman Peterson. He’s so much more erudite in these matters.

      Ever been to the Bull and Finch? I used to live walking distance from it. Locals tend not to go there, since it’s a tourist trap.

      My local was McGreevy’s.

  • Cliff, you need to back off on da beahs. Yah lyin on yah back, which is why ya’hve figgahd out the color of da sky.

    Now get back on that bah stool and stop bein silly!

  • Tom Brynes,
    I have kept in touch with all your blogs. You seem to have a 360 degree brain! I would love to chat sometime. Is there any other way of contacting you?

    • Google me

      Tomas L. Byrnes

      It’s a very small hurdle, and if you can’t pass it, we probably won’t have much to talk about.

      • Tom – Beth paid you a nice compliment and wanted to talk with you. Why are you such a jackass and so rude?

      • Because I’m used to people on this blog not being what they claim to be.

        I’m not being rude.

        So, if she is genuinely interested, and a real person, she can find me easily. I really am very easy to find.

        I’d just prefer not to post my actual direct personal contact information here.

        I’m in the phone book. I’m in the association website directory, with my correct phone number and e-mail.

        I’m not being rude. I’m just not putting myself out there any more than I already have in this, hostile, and indexed by Google, and thus mined by spammers, forum.

    • “Beth”, good to talk to you today. I knew you’d be able to find me pretty easily, without my having to make it easier than it already is for my inbox to get filed with SPAM.

      Keep in touch!

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