It all started with violations to Palos Verdes Estates Parkland covenants and ROBE was born …
Here is an update since our last email on August 28, 2019.
PVHA Ballots have arrived, so please vote:
Vote “Yes” on Lowering the Quorum to 35%
Vote for the ROBE candidates:
Spread the word
Call or send emails to your friends and neighbors
Urge them to vote
Download the ROBE Flyer (here) and email it to your friends
For suggested text you can use/adapt in your email click here
Without all our votes, this will be just another invalid election and the Board will just keep re-appointing themselves
…For the details, read on…
Candidates for PVHA Board of Directors Election
Thank you for your support in signing petitions for ROBE slate of four candidates:
- Marlene Breene (now an incumbent)
- Dick Fay (now an incumbent)
- John Harbison
- Ried Schott
100 signatures were required, and each candidate received over 225 signatures – a record in the four years we’ve been collecting signature. In total, 616 different people have signed petitions in one of the four years!
Ballots Have Arrived – Please vote!
Over the past few days you should have received you ballot in the mail. Please return it ASAP. To help you spot it in your mail, click here for an image of the envelope and instructions for filling it in. Make sure you sign where indicated or your vote won’t count. If you lose or misplace the ballot, call 877-324-7655 to request a replacement. ROBE recommends you vote “Yes” on the ballot initiative to lower the quorum to 35%, and for the four ROBE candidates (Marlene Breene, Dick Fay, John Harbison, Ried Schott). You can vote for any number of the six candidates between 0 and 5, so you don’t need to use all five votes.
How Can You Help?
- Vote! The ballots are due January 13, 2020, but by voting early you will be saving expenditures against PVHA’s precious reserves (now down to $56k) because the Board has committed this year to sending up to three ballot mailings; once a ballot is returned, the expense of further mailings to that member is avoided.
- Put up a Yard Sign: You can pick up yard signs at the front door of 916 Via Panorama; here is what they look like
- Learn about the Candidates: PVrrg (Palos Verdes Residents for Responsible Government) has posed ten questions to each of the six candidates and the answers are here.
- Come to the Candidates Forum on November 21 from 7-9pm: PVrrg (Palos Verdes Residents for Responsible Government ) is hosting a Candidates Forum at PVE City Council Chambers (340 Palos Verdes Drive West, PVE) on that date, and will be posting full video of the event on their website (click here for more info)
- Learn about the issues: Click here.
- Host a Gathering of Friends at your house (and invite the Candidates)
Why is This Election Important?
This election is special for two reasons:
REASON #1: For the first time you will be asked whether you support lowering the quorum from 50% to 35%
This will be an important election because the California Superior Court required that PVHA members be asked if they support lowering the quorum from 50% to 35%. If the majority says “no”,
then the quorum stays at 50% and probably will not be revisited by the Court in the future. ROBE has been fighting for a lower quorum because a 50% (+1) quorum was achieved only 29% of the time since 1941, and only three times in the last 25 years. There have been no valid elections in the past ten years, and none of the current Board members have been elected. We need to bring democracy to PVHA. In the last three contested elections, the vote count only reached 35% once –32.5% in 2016, 29.2% in 2017 and 39.5% in 2018, so even a 35% quorum goal will be a challenge and voter participation is critical. But since a goal of 35% is more attainable than 50%, it is very important to vote “yes” on this question.
Once new members are elected to the board, there is a chance that a future board will advocate for a lower threshold (but it is unclear whether the Court will revisit the issue even with Board advocacy) so this election is very important. The ROBE candidates support lowering the quorum to 25% because that would have meant that the PVHA would have had a valid election 65% of the time since 1941, compared to 56% at 30% quorum level, 51% at 35% and 29% at 50%. Moreover, in the past 20 years, lowering the quorum to 25% would have meant a valid election 100% of the time, compared to 85% at 30% quorum level, 70% at 35% and 15% at 50%.
If a majority of members say “yes” to lowering the quorum to 35%, then the Judge has indicated that 35% will govern the current election (January 2020) as well as all future elections. If the majority says “no”, then the quorum stays at 50% and likely can never be revisited again by the Court.
REASON #2. Progress has been made with two new board members, but more new leadership is needed
Beginning in February 2019, two of ROBE’s past candidates (Dick Fay and Marlene Breene) joined the five-member PVHA Board when the Board replaced current members (Carolbeth Cozen — subsequent to her Art Jury appointment — and Phil Frengs — when he resigned from the Board). This brought significant, fresh perspectives to the Board; however, there were several subsequent decisions where the two new ROBE directors were in the minority (2-3). One of those decisions related to proposed changes to the PVHA View Policy; this resulted in restricting roughly half of PVE homes from bringing tree/view disputes to the PVHA. Unfortunately, the new/more restrictive policy was approved by the Board (with Fay and Breene voting against the new more restrictive policy.) Since then, Marlene Breene has been working diligently on a new more comprehensive policy and we are hopeful that a version of that will replace the current flawed policy; but the outcome is not known. Thus, we have concluded that ROBE must stay active this year to promote additional changes to the composition of the Board.
In July 2019, long-time PVHA Board member Ed Fountain resigned. Ed had approved the original sale of Palos Verdes Estates Parkland in 2012 as well as the appeal of the CEPC Judgment that ordered the sale reversed, so ROBE views his resignation as a positive development. The resulting four-person Board solicited applications to serve as his replacement and interviewed eight members who applied; Charles Tang was appointed to serve.
Why do we need strong new leadership?
STOP THE BAD DECISIONS PVHA’s mission is to be an effective steward by:
- Defending the CC&Rs and underlying Deed restrictions, including maintaining parkland forever for public recreational use as stated in the Deeds
- Providing a streamlined, transparent and fair process for architectural and landscape approvals, including resolution of view disputes over vegetation on privately owned land
- Exercising fiscal prudence and responsibility
The sad part is that the Board in recent years has failed on all three of these dimensions through a series of bad decisions:
- Actively violated the Deed Restrictions by selling 1.7 acres of Palos Verdes Estates Parkland to a private resident who had built extensive encroachments on parkland for over forty years, and then wasting over $900,000 defending that bad decision in court
- Failed to be proactive and intercede when those restrictions were being ignored – such as the new ADU ordinance and building a
- $450,000 Turnaround at the end of Lower Paseo Del Sol on deed restricted parklands
- Wrote an advocacy letter to support closure of a section of the Paseo Del Sol Fire Road through Palos Verdes Estates Parkland and thereby eliminating public use and access of about six acres of parkland
- Process: Continued an opaque, frustrating and at times unfair process of approving architecture and mediating tree/viewdisputes
- Fiscal: Wasted over $900,000 on legal pursuing an ill-conceived sale of Palos Verdes Estates Parkland that was ultimately reversed in a decision by the California Superior Court
We need new leadership – people who embrace the core mission and who are responsive to the needs and interests of PVHA’smembers. Marlene Breene and Dick Fay have begun the reform process, but they need more reform-minded Board Members to join them.
What are the future issues, and what are your ROBE candidates’ positions on those issues?
Your ROBE candidates pledge to tackle these future issues with integrity and clarity – in coordination with PVE City Council:
- Art Jury Approval Process: Streamline and make more transparent
- Fiscal Responsibility: Rebuild PVHA’s finances after the previous PVHA Board burned through over $1M in reserves defending their right to sell parkland. Reserves now only $56k
- 5G implementation: Minimize the aesthetic impact of more antennae towers
- ADU: Respond to state usurpation of local authority and attack on our CC&Rs’ single family residency
- Governance reforms: Reduce quorum, set term limits, implement online voting, update By-Laws and seek member approval
- Communications and transparency with members: Improve PVHA website, collect emails, post Board meeting agendas in advance, etc.
- Maintenance of Parklands: Demand that City of PVE enforces removal of Palos Verdes Estates Parkland encroachments and better maintain parkland and existing
- Fire Prevention and Evacuation: Address risk from climate change and inadequate maintenance
- Digitization of records: Mitigate risk of compromise to PVHA function from fire/earthquake
For specifics on these issues and the positions of ROBE’s candidates, click here.
Thank you for your interest and support.
All the best,
For the archive of past updates to supporters, click
courtesy of: California Beach Front Homes
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End Corrupt Politics in Palos Verdes Estates
— George Fotion (@homeispv) November 4, 2019