Help Bring Good Stewardship Back to PVHA
Save Our PVE Parklands
Preserve our Home Values
442 PVHA Members signed PETITIONS to Nominate ROBE's candidates in past three years
For two page summary of this initiative -- click here
Candidate Forum VIDEO available now - click here
Did you know these facts about our Palos Verdes Homes Association?
- Due to a 50% quorum requirement in the by-laws, there hasn’t been a legitimate election of Directors since 2009? All the incumbents keep re-appointing themselves, and picking new directors without community input?
- Since 1941, there has been a quorum in only 26 years out of 77 years, and only 4 years since 2001? No incumbent director has been legitimately elected in eight years, and three directors have never been elected
- Last year, ROBE (Residents for Open Board Elections) nominated a slate of three candidates but since a quorum was not reached, PVHA refused to even open and count the 1589 ballots received?
- In the last few years, the PVHA has made many significant changes to the election process that make it much harder to reach a quorum? These include:
- One ballot mailing not three mailings (as in the past)
- You can no longer bring your ballot to the annual meeting, and instead it can only be mailed and it must be received one week before the meeting or it won’t count
- PVHA Board no longer “adjourns the annual meeting day-to-day” as per by-laws until a quorum is achieved
- You can no longer collect “proxies” from others and vote them at the annual meeting, as has been done numerous times in the past
- All candidates must collect 100 signatures and have them notarized; this compares to 25 signatures (and no notary requirement) for PVE City Councilmember candidates. Further, in 2015, PVHA incumbents did not follow their own rules and gather the signatures for themselves. So technically, they should have been disqualified
- In May 2017, ROBE filed a case with Los Angeles Superior Court asking for a Judge to lower the quorum from 50% to 25%. PVHA is vigorously opposing that as well as opposing other reforms to bring back the original process above
- In 2012 the PVHA violated deed restrictions and illegally sold 1.7 acres of parkland to a resident who had added extensive encroachments over the last 40 years? In 2015, LA Superior Court ruled against them and instructed for the sale to be reversed and encroachments removed. PVHA appealed that ruling and is vigorously fighting for the right to sell parkland whenever they want
- In 2015, PVHA submitted a letter saying they supported a project that would erect a fence blocking the popular Paseo Del Sol Fireroad, creating an 8-acre private space for nearby residents in violation of the underlying deed restrictions – and that they would help fund the project?
If none of the above are troubling to you, then please do nothing (other than vote for incumbents in the upcoming election).
But if any of this bothers you, please consider voting for the four "petition" candidates in the current election. For bios on these candidates and their positioning statements, click here.
And regardless of whether you support the incumbents or the non-incumbent candidates, please don’t forget to vote by mail and send it in before December 31st.
“If Harry Brandel [longest serving former President of PVHA with over 40 years on the Board] knew what you’ve done in selling parkland, he’d be spinning in his grave so fast you couldn’t even count the revolutions. If I were still on the Board, I would ask every one of you to resign. You should be ashamed.”
-- Lin Melton (former President of PVHA) addressing the PVHA Board at the January 14, 2014 PVHA Annual Meeting
4/12/18 Parklands Case transferred from Court of Appeal back to Superior Court for Final Judgment. For the Remittitur notice, click here.
4/11/18 Petition for Review by Supreme Court of California Denied. The Supreme Court of California denied the PVHA’s petition for review, thus making the 2015 Ruling in favor of CEPC and the 2018 Appellate Ruling which affirms that both stand. Next Steps:
- PVHA: This officially ends the appeals process for the PVHA and Lugliani. This protects parkland in Palos Verdes Estates from ever being illegally sold again! The last step is to go back to the Superior Court to amend the September 2015 Judgment to narrow the scope as the Appellate Court directed. We believe that should occur in the next month. For the notice, click here. Next Steps:
- City of PVE: The Appellate Court ruled that CEPC and the City need to proceed to a trial in order to establish “proof” that the City of PVE had full knowledge at the time of the MOU and deed transfer to the PVHA that the PVHA intended to immediately sell the transferred parkland property to a private resident, which has been established as illegal. Since the City of PVE in fact “spearheaded” the MOU (as per Mayor Bird’s quote in the May 8, 2012 City Council meeting – for the transcript, click here and for the audio, click here), the trial should be a straight forward process since all parties signed the MOU which clearly stated that intent. Additionally, email documentation obtained through the discovery process shows the City Attorney’s role as leading the MOU drafting process; the MOU and email documentation combined with anticipated depositions will be irrefutable. The City can end the waste of public resources by admitting their obvious complicity rather than moving forward with a trial. Their celebratory announcement and statement by the Mayor after the Appellate Ruling was misleading and will be short-lived (click here).
3/29/18 Article in Peninsula News on Judge orders mediation in contested PV Homes Association board election -- click here
3/27/18 Thirty Residents Confront PVHA Board at Director's Meeting: About 30 residents (all members) attended the regularly monthly meeting of the PVHA Board of Directors to ask questions. At 4:30 pm the meeting convened. The Board voted to appoint themselves for another year term. Despite a request, no public input was allowed on this vote. The Board voted to appoint Phil Frengs as President again. No public input was allowed on this vote. After these votes, several residents asked the Board questions about posting the recent voting results, why the Homes Association used the word bankruptcy in recent court filings and about the parklands case. The Board did not agree to publicly release the recent voting results. In addition, at the conclusion of the meeting, Board Candidates MIke Moody and Ried Schott as well as ROBE's counsel Jeff Lewis had a closed door settlement meeting with the Board about the quorum issue. Ried Schott and Jeff Lewis asked that the public be permitted to attend, but the Board refused. The meeting lasted for over an hour. No settlement was reached.
3/22/18 Article in Daily Breeze on "Judge orders mediation in contested PV Homes Association board election" -- click here.
3/9/18 PVHA Files Appeal to Supreme Court of California. Having been told their actions were illegal by one Superior Court Judge, and then 3 Superior Court Appellate Judges, and then having the motion for a rehearing by the Appellate Court, the PVHA Directors today filed an appeal with the California Supreme Court. When will they accept the ruling and stop wasting the PVHA member's money on pointless legal actions to exonerate their own tarnished reputations? For the brief, which continues to assert their right to sell parkland despite deed restrictions, click here.
3/4/18 Letter Requesting Copy of PVHA Board Minutes Sent. In November 2016, PVHA President Phil Frengs asserted in public (at a candidate forum) that any member can come to the PVHA office and review Board Minutes, but when John Harbison did that in December 2016, he was not allowed to make copies with his phone. Further, In late 2017, Harbison went again to their office to review their minutes to refute their inaccurate statements made to the Court in the Quorum-lowering Petition. Several years of minutes in the critical period around 1940 of transition from PVHA to PVE were no longer there (even though Harbison saw them a year earlier). Again Harbison asked to make copies of the relevant pages but that request was refused. Here is Harbison's Declaration based on his review of the minutes that were still available -- click here. PVHA then countered by telling the court in a formal filing that my Declaration should be dismissed because I didn't include copies of the documents! (click here). PVHA's lawyer assured us last month that we could get copies of minutes if we submitted a request in the form of a letter to Phil Frengs. Harbison did that and indicated that he expected a response within 10 days; there has been no reply.-- For the letter, click here.
3/2/18 Article in EasyReader News on "Judge orders count of disputed votes in Homes Association suit" -- click here.
2/27/18 Appelate Court Denies PVHA Petition for Rehearing. For the ruling, click here.
2/15/18 Court Hearing in Petition to Lower the Quorum for Board of Directors Election. PVHA revealed that the extended election (that ended February 8) yielded a total of 2,194 returned ballots, but 47 were disqualified (for unstated reasons); the 2,147 "valid" ballots were 39.6% of the members. As such the 50% quorum was still not achieved. The Judge directed the PVHA to count the ballots (which PVHA has refused to do) because she wanted to know whether the group of dissident members was as insignificant as the PVHA has represented. The count was instructed to be completed before the next Court hearing at 9:30am on March 15, 2018. For the transcript of the hearing on February 15, click here.
2/14/18 Special Meeting of the PVHA to disclose Vote Count in Extended Election. Moss Adams reported that the second mailing due on 2/8 had returned 765 ballots bringing the toal returned to 2,194 – still below the 2,711 needed for a quorum. There had been an approximate 2% return rate of rejected addresses on this mailing. Since the total return was still below the quorum Moss Adams did not attempt to validate the signatures or address of these 765 returned ballots.
2/14/18 PVHA and Lugliani Petition the Appellate Court for a rehearing. PVHA once again is wasting the PVHA's money by continuing to fight the unanimous determination of four Superior Court Justices that their actions selling parkland were illegal. To be successful, they need to show that the Appellate Court did not address an important argument they had previously raised. Yet this brief just rehashes all the same arguments that were individually addressed in the Appellate Court Ruling. As such, it is an abuse of the legal system, and serves no purpose but to incur more legal expense and delay the inevitable voiding of the land transfer and restoring the parkland to its original state. For the PVHA brief, click here. For the Lugliani Brief, click here.
2/12/18 CEPC Comments on City of PVE Statement on the Appellate Ruling. On January 31, the City of Palos Verdes Estates posted on its website and Nextdoor a statement from the Mayor about the Court's decision in the Panorama Parklands Ruling -- for the statement, click here. Some members of the community have found the statement confusing, and others know it to be misleading. Therefore to set the record straight, here are some comments from John Harbison of CEPC -- click here.
2/6/18 ROBE Delivers Mailer about Extended Election to Mailboxes of PVHA Members: As a reminder that the extended election closes on Feb 8th, ROBE sent a postcard to all PVHA members. For the postcard, click here.
1/30/18 Appeals Court Issues Ruling on CEPC Panorama Parklands Case: The Appeals court unanimously found in favor of the Trial Court’s decision that the PHVA had violated deed restrictions by selling Parkland to a private individual – ordering the sale reversed and encroachments removed. The Appeals Court rejected all the arguments made by the PVHA in the appeal. However, the Appeals Court concluded that the decision was “overly broad” in extending it explicitly to all such deed restricted parkland in PVE, and remanded the matter back to the Trial Judge to narrow the decision to the Panorama Parklands. It also concluded that the City of Palos Verdes had the right to transfer the property to the PVHA, unless it was aware of the PVHA’s intent to sell the parkland to a private party and thereby violate deed restrictions; that matter is sent back to the Trial court to ascertain whether the City was aware of that. We are confident that the Trial court will conclude that the City was aware of the issue since the MOU signed by all Parties specifies that the PVHA would immediately sell the parkland to Lugliani once it received the Parcel A Parkland from the City. For the ruling, click here. For CEPC's Press Release on the Ruling, click here.
12/20/17 Candidate Forum Video. The League of Women Voters of Palos Verdes Peninsula hosted a Candidate Forum in which 6 of the 9 candidates for the PVHA Board of Directors made their case. Even if you do not have time to study the issues, we encourage you to sign and return your ballot before the end of the year to make sure it is received by the deadline of January 3. That way, your vote of No Preference will count towards a quorum. A quorum is required to make the election binding. If you have lost your ballot, you may get a new one at the PVHA office in City Hall on January 3, 2018 (when they reopen for business after the Holidays) and then drop the ballot in the lockbox in City Hall that same day before 4:30pm. To see the video, please click here. The video is in two parts, so be sure to also view Part II.
12/18/17 Fact Checking the Letter from Phil Frengs, PVHA President. If are a homeowner in Palos Verdes Estates or Miraleste, you are a member of Palos Verdes Homes Association. As such, you probably received over the weekend a letter from PVHA President Phil Frengs urging you to vote for the incumbents in the current PVHA Director election. Mr. Frengs is certainly entitled to his opinions, but there were numerous inaccuracies, falsehoods and misleading statements in his letter, so in the interest of facts and clarity, you can find an annotated letter with source links to fact-check his letter by clicking here.
12/14/17 Article in the Peninsula News on “Homeowner’s Association to hold candidate forum for Board Elections" – click here
12/14/17 Appeal Court Hears CEPC’s Panorama Parkland’s case -- The three justices who are handling the appeal are Judith Anderson-Gerst, Victoria Chavez and Allan Goodman; oral arguments were heard on December 14. At the hearing, they only asked a few questions of the appellate lawyers (representing the City of PVE, the PVHA and the Lieb Trust/Lugliani Family) and none of the respondent. I am told that in Appellate hearings a lack of questions sometimes suggests that the three justices may have already made up their minds. A written opinion will be issued within 90 days, although our district Appellate Court often responds within 45 days. For audio of the arguments in court. click here. The ruling will be posted at www.pvegoodgov.org as soon as it is available.
12/9/17 Candidate Forum Announced for December 20th. The League of Women's Voters, along with the Lunada Bay Homeowners Association and the Malaga Cove Homeowners Association, are hosting a Candidate Forum to allow members of the public to ask questions of the nine candidates running for Director of the Palos Verdes Homes Association. The event will be from 7-9pm on Wednesday December 20, 2017 in City Council Chambers at 340 Palos Verdes Drive, Palos Verdes Estates near Malaga Cove Plaza. For information on the event, including the opportunity to reserve a seat and post questions, click here.
12/8/17 Transcript of Court Hearing on Reducing Quorum Released. The transcript of the first out of chambers hearing for the lawsuit by ROBE to lower the quorum was released, and in it Judge Kwan indicated her preliminary thinking. For the transcript, click here. For a condensed version of most interesting excerpts, click here.
12/7/17 Article in Peninsula News on "Judge: Lawsuits to wait until results of vote are in" -- click here
12/4/17 Article in Daily Breeze on "Judge decides to wait for election results in lawsuit against Palos Verdes Homes Association" -- click here
11/30/17 Court Hearing on Quorum Lawsuit. We had our first court appearance in front of Judge Ruth A. Kwan, who asked questions and indicated her current thinking. PVHA attorneys had argued that Ried Schott did not have standing as a PVHA member to ask the court to intervene in lowering the quorum without the endorsement of the PVHA Directors; Judge Kwan disagreed and said Schott did have standing based on her interpretation of Corporations Code section 7515 (for the code, click here). On the merits, Judge Kwan addressed Board President Phil Frengs in the audience and expressed disappointment that the Board was not doing enough to allow a valid election to occur. In particular, she said the Board could extend the election when a quorum is not reached by the Annual Meeting because that is an option according to the by-laws; she suggested sending additional mailings after such an extension to encourage achieving a quorum – rather than incumbent directors re-appointing themselves to serve another year as has been past practice. She took no action, but set a hearing date for February 15, 2018 to review the outcome of the 2018 election and make a determination then. Judge Kwan said that if a quorum is not met in the coming election, then she was inclined to intervene to lower the quorum from 50%, but not as low as the 25% in the Plaintiff’s request. She said she was not predisposed to grant any of the other specific actions sought by the plaintiffs beyond lowering the quorum. To read the transcript of the hearing, click here.
11/23/17 Yard Signs encouraging people to vote for the ROBE candidates are now available. For a copy of the content of each sign, click here. To pick one up, they are available outside the front door at these locations:
• 2325 Palos Verdes Drive West, Suite 212, Lunada Bay, PVE (Marlene Breene’s office)
• 1404 Paseo La Cresta, Montemalaga, PVE (May Elwell’s home)
• 916 Via Panorama, Montemalaga, PVE (John Harbison’s home)
• 4188 Via Solano, Valmonte, PVE (Mike Moody’s home)
• 1632 Via Lazo, Malaga Cove, PVE (Ried Schott’s home)
11/22/17 Ballots should be in your mailbox. The official PVHA ballots started arriving in mailboxes on November 22, so please look out for the envelope. If it does not arrive (or you inadvertently threw it out), please contact the PVHA office for a replacement. Follow the instructions accompanying the ballot carefully so your vote counts. nd remember, mail them back before December 31st since they must be received before January 3rd.
11/22/17 PVHA Files Additional Briefs In Quorum Case. PVHA filed three additional documents in the Lawsuit to Lower the Quorum Requirement. For the Opposition to Petitioner’s Brief, click here. For the Declaration of Sidney Croft, click here. For the Objections to Petitioner’s First Amended Petition, click here. Basically, PVHA is attempting to negate the factual evidence presented by ROBE that prove multiple misrepresentations in PVHA Attorney Sid Croft’s sworn declaration; PVHA is doing so by asking the Court that all references in John Harbison’s Declaration (click here) to newspaper articles be dismissed as “hearsay”, and that all references to direct quotes from PVHA ‘s Board Minutes be dismissed because copies of the minutes were not submitted to the Court. ROBE finds this astonishing since Harbison asked PVHA for permission to make copies of the minutes and was forbidden from doing so by PVHA from doing so. PVHA is not presenting facts that argue otherwise, but rather are hoping that the Court believes its misleading and inaccurate statements without facts to support their assertions.
11/17/17 ROBE sends postcard summarizing the need for new Leadership to all PVHA members. For the postcard, click here. Please attach it to an email and send to your friends encouraging them to vote.
11/15/17 Appeal Court sets hearing date on December 14, 2017 for oral arguments. A bit more than two years since the Defendants in the CEPC Panorama Parklands appealed the ruling against them, a court date is set. For the notice, click here.
11/15/17 Court Accepts California Association Realtors Amicus Brief in CEPC Panorama Parklands Case. For the notice, click here.
11/14/17 ROBE counsel sends letter to PVHA counsel about election process concerns. After issues with the ballot mailins last year (where PVHA made multiple errors in the ballot that caused confusion among voters), in recent weeks ROBE has offered repeatedly to review the ballots before they are printed. PVHA ignored that and has sent the ballots to the printer. Further, once again, PVHA incumbents have failed to comply with their own Resolution # 177 passed on May 24, 2016 that requires all candidates to collect signatures via petition in order to be listed on the ballot (click here). ROBE's attorney sent a letter to PVHA's attorney to point out these concerns -- click here. The response was underwhelming and reinforces the ongoing disregard by the PVHA for its own Rules and Regulations, asserting that the incumbents are not required to gather signatures even though their published Resolution says otherwise -- click here. Three of the incumbents have never been elected and the other two have not been elected since 2009 and their terms have long since expired. In contrast, incumbent PVE City Councilmembers who decide to run for re-election must gather 25 signatures just as any new candidate would. Therefore, from our perspective, the PVHA incumbents should not be listed on the ballot since they did not gather the required signatures via petition.
10/26/17 Schott/ROBE files Petitioner Brief Summarizing arguments in the Quorum Lowering Case -- For the Petitioner's Brief, click here. For the Declaration of John Harbison in Support of Petitioner's Brief that is referred to in the brief, click here.
10/18/17 ROBE submits nominating petitions collected from 190 PVHA members for ROBE's four candidates -- 100 signatures were required per candidate. We were told that for the second year in a row, the incumbent PVHA Directors failed to comply with their own Resolutions #177 which requires ALL candidates to submit petitions containing at least 100 signatures. Only 2 of the 5 incumbents have ever been elected, and the two that were elected prior to the last legitimate election in 2009 had terms that have long since expired. Note that incumbent PVE City Council members seeking re-election must obtain 25 signatures. Also note that over the past three years, 442 different PVHA members have signed nominating petitions for ROBE's candidates. For bios of the ROBE candidates for the January 9, 2018 election, click here.
10/17/17 Court Hearing Set for November 30th at 9am -- It is open to the public.
10/13/17 Schott/ROBE Files First Amended Petition to Judge Kwan's Concern -- For the petition, click here.
10/10/17 Court Asks ROBE to Re-file Amended Petition -- Judge Kwan takes issue with the phrasing of the first sentence of ROBE's petition, and indicates that any member (such as Ried Schott) can bring a petition on behalf of the PVHA but ROBE cannot be the plaintiff because ROBE as an entity is not a member. As such, the Judge dismissed the Petition without prejudice, and indicated that we can refile an amended petition with the language she seeks, and then a court hearing can be set without starting over with briefs again. For the Judge's ruling, click here.
10/2/17 ROBE files Petitioner's Reply Brief -- For the final brief filed by ROBE that repudiates many inaccuracies and misrepresentations in the Declaration of Sidney Croft in Support of Respondent's Opposition (below), click here. For the Declaration of John Harbison in Support of Petitioner's Reply Brief, click here. We remain concerned about how the PVHA's legal counsel continues to make so many false and misleading statements; these two briefs go through eight myths promulgated by the PVHA and their legal counsel, and include quotes from the PVHA Board Minutes as well as copies of Articles in the Palos Verdes Peninsula News that report what happened in the past 90 years of PVHA elections. Please note that the Homes Association prohibited us from making any copies of the Board Minutes, so that is why are only able to include transcriptions of relevant sections. Local history buffs, there is a lot of entertaining drama in these articles from 1928-1982 about past calls for regime change and updating the quorum requirement.
9/21/17 California Association Realtors files Amicus Brief in Support of Ruling in Panorama Parkland Case. Significantly, the CAR supported the Judge's conclusion that the sale of Panorama Parkland violated CC&Rs and deed restrictions and should be voided. Further, CAR pointed out that overturning the ruling on appeal would set a dangerous precedent that could have far reaching negative impact on communities and HOA's across California that rely to adherence to the CC&Rs and governing documents pertaining to each entity. Finally, they were critical of the PVHA's arguments that the Business Judgment rule exempted the PVHA from following their own rules. For CAR's full amicus brief, click here. The Amicus Brief was accepted on November 15, 2017.
9/16/17 ROBE Announces its slate of candidates for January 9, 2018 Election -- click here
7/18/17 PVHA files response to ROBE Lawsuit on Lowering the Quorum Requirement -- click here
5/25/17 Article in Peninsula News on "Group files suit over Homes Association election" -- click here
5/21/17 Article in Daily Breeze on "Lawsuit against Palos Verdes Homes Association seeks changes to election practices" -- click here
5/17/17 ROBE Files Lawsuit to Compel PVHA to Count January 2017 Ballots, Accept Result, and Lower Quorum in Future Elections. After trying for four months to convince the Palos Verdes Homes Association Directors to act responsibly and to extend the January election, ROBE drafted a petition in April to ask the courts to lower the quorum and gave the petition to PVHA with the suggestion that they file the petition themselves; ROBE offered to contribute $1500 to cover court filing fees. For that letter and draft petition, click here. PVHA’s attorney Sid Croft responded that they would not file a petition, and for this response, click here.
Having exhausted the avenue of seeking PVHA’s cooperation in the matter, and the PVHA Board voting to do nothing about the election and quorum, Ried Schott and ROBE (as named plaintiffs) have filed a lawsuit to compel the PVHA to:
Open the ballots, count them, and accept the top five candidates as Directors
Lower the quorum on future elections to 25% from 50%
Lower the quorum on changing the By-Laws from 67% to 40%
Require all candidates (including incumbents) to comply with the process for collecting nominating signatures
Require PVHA to do three mailings (unless a quorum has been reached with less than 3 mailings)
Allow for proxies, drop-off of ballots, and cumulative voting (which means if there are 5 positions, the voter can allocate 5 votes however the voter wants, such as on vote for each for 5 candidates or 5 votes for one candidate)
4/25/17 New PVE City Councilmember Sandy Davidson Calls for Dropping the Appeal. At the PVE City Council Meeting on April 25th, recently elected City Councilmember Sandy Davidson proposed that City Council drop the appeal on the Panorama Parkland ruling. Mayor Jim Vandever and Jennifer King both pushed back and rejected the idea, Betty Lin Peterson tried to change the subject, Kenny Kao did not comment, and the matter was not brought to a vote. Here are their comments at 3 hours 18 minutes into the meeting (click here):
Sandy Davidson: “I think we should cancel the appeal of the sale of the City land. I think that will make us some money. I really do. I would like to hear what the other council people say about it, because we have three councilmembers who voted for it.”
Jennifer King: “The only money that will be spent now is on the reply brief and oral argument, and that is a very small portion of the appeal compared to the initial work of getting the record ready and writing the opening brief. No, I don’t think it would be a large savings at all. “
Betty Lin Peterson: “Whether or not we decide that now, this is what we are focusing on.”
Jim Vandever: “Part of the issue with that appeal. I really don’t want to go down that rabbit hole. But understand that if we did not appeal we would be on the hook for a couple hundred thousand dollars of legal fees and we’ve spent $15 or $20 thousand instead. If you are a poker player we are pot-committed to that.”
4/24/17 CEPC files Combined Respondents' Brief and Cross-Appellants' Brief in the Panorama Parklands Case. Citizens for Enforcing Parklands Covenants filed a 117 page brief to respond the Defendants' November briefs. ROBE supporters CEPC in that case, which was ruled in favor of CEPC in 2015 and called for the reversal of the illegal sale of parkland by the PVHA to a private resident and the removal of encroachments on the 1.7 acre of property. PVHA and the City of PVE appealed that ruling. For CEPCs first filing in the Appeal, click here. CEPC also filed a Motion to Augment Record on Appeal which included 295 pages of documents related to the earlier 2010 case of Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District vs Palos Verdes Homes Association over Lots C & D; this allows the Judges to see the arguments that PVHA made in that case, and show that PVHA is contradicting themselves in the current CEPC Panorama Parklands case. For the supplemental file with those additional exhibits, click here. For the Court’s acceptance of that Motion, click here.
4/13/17 ROBE Drafts Court Petition for PVHA to File to Ask for Lower Quorum. ROBE prepared a draft petition and sent it to PVHA attorney Sid Croft suggesting they file it to lower the quorum. In the letter, ROBE offered to contribute up to $1500 to defray the PVHA's court costs if PVHA files and supports the petition. For the letter and petition, click here. For Sid Croft's response rejecting the suggestion, click here.
3/17/17 Feedback Poll on the Palos Verdes Homes Association Election. A poll of PVHA members was conducted by Palos Verdes Residents for Responsible Government (PVrrg) to shed some light on public sentiment on the recent election, since the PVHA has refused to open the ballots received and refused to disclose to the public how those voting feel about who should be their representatives. There were 88 respondents. Topics covered including views of the current Board's performance, helpfulness of sources of information, votes by candidate, and suggestions on what the PHVA should do next. Detailed written comments were also captured. For the results, click here.
2/2/17 Guest Commentary by PVHA Board in Peninsula News on "PVHA members content with organization’s direction" -- click here
1/26/17 Guest Commentary by John Harbison in Peninsula News on "PVHA should change election procedures" -- click here
1/24/17 ROBE Proposes to PVHA to Follow ByLaws and Extend Election. The election on January 10th did not yield a quorum, so the current Board has declared they will serve another year. The following week, ROBE’s Steering Committee and its candidates for the PVHA Board prepared a presentation on the shortcomings in the recent election and a proposal for remedying the situation. In summary, we advocated that PVHA follow its By-Laws and extend the election “day-to-day” until a quorum is reached. For the specifics, click here. At the January 24th PVHA Board Meeting, Director Dale Hoffman proposed that PVHA do that, and Carolbeth Cozen also voted in favor of that proposal. However, the other three Directors (Phil Frengs, Ed Fountain, and Carol Swets) voted against the proposal and the motion was rejected. ROBE is considering our next steps.
1/12/17 Article in Peninsula News on "Without Election Quorum. Homes Association board members keep seats" -- click here
1/11/17 Article in Daily Breeze on "Palos Verdes Homes Association election moot, board members reappointed" -- click here
1/10/17 Summary of PVHA Annual Meeting Announcement of Election Results. It was very sad night for democracy and for our community. The City Council Chamber was nearly full, with the largest turnout in four years. However, only 1589 ballots were returned out of 5420 members, well short of the quorum of 2711 required, and less than the 2101 returned last year or the 1772 that were determined to be “valid” last year. The efforts of the current Board to minimize the likelihood for reaching a quorum were successful:
- Sending one mailing not three as in some previous years
- Refusing to accept ballots returned by fax, email, hand delivery to PVHA, as well as by bringing the ballot or proxies to the annual meeting – all of which were allowed in previous years
- Establishing a difficult process to acquire signatures - 100 with affidavits and notary required (PVE City Council nominations are 30 signatures and no affidavit/notary required)
- Allowing address errors on the return envelope
- Closing the office Dec 23 to Jan 4 effectively making it impossible to get a replacement ballot after Dec 22nd
- Failing to list a return address on their original mailed envelope and using the returns to update the PVHA address database. Many people claimed they never received a ballot and others received ballots for homes/condos sold many years ago.
- Sending ballots out on 11/21 (just before Thanksgiving) -- thus increasing the likelihood they might go unnoticed
The Board did not acknowledge any responsibility for any of their actions in this regard, and basically rejected all criticism.
- They are thus not resending ballots to the members that did not vote.
- They are not counting the results of the ballots received, even though members have volunteered to help under their supervision.
- They are not even opening the envelopes received, logging them in, and posting a list so that members can verify if the ballot they sent was received.
- They are not petitioning a judge to have the quorum threshold reduced.
- They did not follow their own Resolution #177 which requires all candidates to gather 100 signatures and comply with the complicated affidavit and notarization process. They did not do that for any of the incumbents, even though three have never been elected and the other two have not been elected since 2009.
Finally, President Frengs stated that in lieu of a quorum being reached, they would continue to serve as directors for another year. We pointed out that the PVHA By-Laws state that in the absence of a quorum, they must “adjourn day-to-day” until a quorum is accomplished. “Day-to-day” does not mean “until a year from now”. The language means PVHA should extend the election long enough to establish a quorum. However, they’ve rejected that -- showing once again that they feel they are above the law (by violating deed restrictions), and can ignore their bylaws and their own resolutions. Finally, by not following their by-laws and continuing to transact business during the year, they are acting illegally because they have not been legitimately elected and hence are not empowered to transact business. For a full report on the meeting, click here.
1/3/17 Powerful Precedent for Rejecting Sale of Parkland. The central argument that the PVHA makes in its Appellant’s Opening Brief (AOB) in defense of the sale of CEPC/Panorama Parklands is that the PVHA is not bound by the underlying deed restrictions that state the parklands “shall not be sold or conveyed, in whole or in part, by the Grantee … except to a body suitably constituted by law to take, hold, maintain and regulate public parks.”This clause was in the deed the PVHA wrote when it transferred the parkland to The City of PVE in 1940 (click here), and in the deed whereby the PVHA received the parkland from the Trustee of the Palos Verdes Project in 1931 (click here). The AOB states (click here) that the PVHA had the right to sell property in the original 1923 Protective Restrictions, and that that right has precedence over the deed restrictions. This argument centers on the intent of the PVHA when it transferred the Parkland to the City in June 1940.
The PVHA does not acknowledge that in March 1940 (just months before that transfer), Pierre Lamure (a prominent resident who was chairman of the committee to incorporate the City of PVE) petitioned the PVHA Board to purchase for his own use parkland where he had illegally built encroachments adjacent to his property. Sound familiar? But unlike the situation in 2012 when the PVHA Board voted unanimously to sell parkland to an encroaching resident, the 1940 Board flatly rejected the proposal and moreover the minutes of the meeting acknowledged that the Board had previously rejected all similar proposals, citing the deed restrictions that prevented them from doing so. Per the article in the Palos Verde News (which was published by the PVHA at the time), here was the Board’s response: “It was explained to him [Lamure} that the Homes Association, under the terms of its tenure of park properties, could not convey them to a private individual.” The PVHA’s legal argument on appeal that it never intended to bind itself to the “no sale” of parkland deed restrictions is flatly refuted by the PVHA’s Board’s decision in 1940. For a copy of the two articles in the Palos Verdes News on March 15, 1940 on this topic, click here and here.
12/30/16 Letter from ROBE to Judge Latin: ROBE’s attorney sent a letter to Judge Latin, who is overseeing the PVHA Election. The letter 1) asks why Judge Latin has not responded to ROBE's 12/9/16 letter; 2) suggests that ballots be allowed to be returned at the 1/10 Annual Meeting because there are many reports of members not receiving ballots and PVHA has closed its office from 12/23 - 1/4 yet the ballots must be mailed back by 1/4; 3) asks for verification that the incumbents collected at least 100 signatures as required in PVHA's Resolution #177 and 4) states if quorum is not met that ROBE will ask Judge Latin to hold the election open as required in PVHA By-Laws. For the letter, click here.
12/29/16 Article in Peninsula News on "Association faces contested election" as part of "Year in Review" -- click here
12/22/16 Letter to the Editor in Peninsula News from ROBE candidate Dick Fay on the PVHA Election -- click here
12/12/16 Questions Submitted for the LWV/LBHOA Candidates Forum which will be held at PVE City Hall Council Chambers at 7pm tonight. For a list of questions submitted to be asked of the candidates, click here.
12/9/16 History of PVHA and Background for the Current Litigation: Joe Ryan has written an excellent blog that explains the context for the current controversy over Parklands that is a key issue in the current PVHA Board Election. For those of us without legal training, Joe has researched the topic and applied his legal mind in a way understandable by us non-lawyers. For the blog, click here.
12/9/16 Letter sent by ROBE to Judge Latin: ROBE’s attorney sent a letter to Judge Latin, who is overseeing the PVHA Election, pointing out the above errors and asking for a method for members to verify receipt, as well as asking for PVHA to follow their By-Laws and to extend the election should there be no quorum. The By-Laws stipulate PVHA’s by-laws state in Article V on page 51:
…“at such annual meeting of the members, directors for the ensuing year shall be elected by secret ballot, to serve as herein provided and until their successors are elected. If, however, for want of a quorum or other cause, a member's meeting shall not be held on the day above named, or should the members fail to complete their elections, or such other business as may be presented for their consideration, those present may adjourn from day to day until the same shall be accomplished.”
“Day to day” does not mean “until a year from now”. The language means PVHA should extend the election long enough to establish a quorum. For the letter, click here.
12/8/16 Article in Peninsula News on "Address Error: No effect on Election". This article incorrectly leaves the impression the address error is a non-issue by quoting Kim Robinson (manager for PVHA) as saying that "so far all but one person has been comfortable with the Homes Association's handling of the issue." This statement is far from the truth. Dozens of residents have contacted the PVHA, written emails to PVHA, or posted comments expressing concern on NextDoor (click here for a sample). For the article, click here.
12/4/16 LMV/LBHOA Announces Candidate Forum on Dec 12th: The League of Women’s Voters in collaboration with the Lunada Bay Homeowners Association are hosting a Candidates Forum for the PVHA Board of Directors. It will be from 7 – 9 pm on Monday December 12th at Palos Verdes Estates City Council Chambers (340 Palos Verdes Drive West, PVE). In accordance with LMV rules, all 8 candidates have been invited to the forum. Questions for candidates will be collected ahead of time and provision will be made for audience questions to be collected at the forum as well. LBHOA is requesting anyone interested in attending to register here. Seating is limited, so please sign up if you expect to attend. Please check the Lunada Bay Homeowner’s Association website for updates or other information.
12/4/16 John Harbison sends PVHA email with suggestion for addressing resident concerns over the mailing address error. With over 60 comments on NextDoor with residents expressing concern over whether their ballot would arrive to be counted, John Harbison proposed to the PVHA Board of Directors that they ask Moss Adams to post online a list of ballots received so that people can overcome their distrust and each confirm that their ballot has been received. PVHA President Phil Frengs responded they did not take responsibility for the address error or their failure to answer members’ concerns posted on NextDoor, and that they would not allow members to verify if their ballots were received and counted. John Harbison responded saying that he had already been encouraging members to send ballots in using the envelopes provided, and it was not his responsibility to clarify the PVHA process or to make representations/assurances that it would work. For this email interchange, click here.
11/30/16 Error Discovered in Address of PVHA Return Envelope. On the pre-paid return envelope, the street address is in error – showing “11960 Wilshire Boulevard” not “10960 Wilshire Boulevard.” Click here for a sample. This caused some people to wonder why the zip code was confusingly not the same as the Moss Adams address listed on the ballot itself (“90099-9811” on the outside envelope instead of “90024”). The incorrect house number was reported to Kim Robinson at PVHA, but PHVA took no action to explain this to the public. However, we have been told that the bar code contains the correct information and that the envelopes will be delivered correctly to Moss Adams, the CPA firm that is doing the counting. Nonetheless, the mistake and the slowness of the PVHA to respond with specifics on why letters should get through caused much discussion on NextDoor -- click here.
11/26/16 Mailer with letter from Phil Frengs arrives in mailboxes of all PVHA members. For the letter and John Harbison's comments on the many erroneous statements made by Mr. Frengs, click here.
11/25/16 ROBE Mailer arrives in mailboxes of all PVHA members -- click here
11/24/16 Article in Peninsula News on "Opposition regroups for new Palos Verdes Homes Association election" -- click here
11/23/16 Two Errors in PVHA Ballot Reported to PVHA. On the ballot, PVHA misrepresented the years of membership by overstating incumbent Carolbeth Cozen by eleven years (15 years instead of 4 years) and understating petition candidate Marlene Breene by ten years (21 years instead of 31 years). This error was corrected in a postcard that arrived on or about December 3rd, although some people have reported the ink was smeared. For examples, click here.
11/23/16 Letter from PVHA President Phil Frengs Posted on Nextdoor on 11/22/16 Taking Issue with Statements made on this Website and John Harbison's Comments in Response -- click here.
11/23/16 Excerpts from the 1924 Protective Provisions that Articulate the PVHA's Role in Enforcing the Protective Provisions. The PVHA's role includes enforcing the Protective Restrictions, and recent statements from PVHA Board suggest they do not view that as part of their role. Further, the PVHA is given powers to exercise a "Reversion of Title" if there are "Violations of Conditions" and the "Violation Constitutes Nuisance." For the specific language in these clauses, click here.
11/20/16 Article in Daily Breeze on "Opposition regroups for new Palos Verdes Homes Association election" -- click here
11/17/16 Letter to the Editor in Peninsula News from former PVE Mayor Jim Nyman on the PVHA Election -- click here
11/16/16 Second "Meet the Candidates Night" scheduled for Thursday December 15th at 7pm in the Gallery Room at Malaga Cove Library.
11/11/16 Letter sent to PVHA President Phil Frengs Taking Issue with Assertions he made at the Meet The Candidates Night on 11/10/16. Mr. Frengs accused ROBE of misrepresenting aspects of 5 issues, and this letter goes through each of those assertions and fact-checks to show that the accusations were inappropriate and unfounded --
11/11/16 Lugliani files Joinder Adopting the Appellant Opening Briefs of PVHA and the City of PVE. For the joinder, click here.
11/10/16 PVHA Applies for Permission to file an Oversized brief. Permission to file this 133 page brief was granted -- click here
11/10/16 Article in Peninsula News on "Candidate Forum set for Tonight" -- click here
11/9/16 Palos Verdes Homes Association files Appellant's Opening Brief. Eleven months after appealing the Judge's Ruling in the Panorama Parkland case, the PVHA files a 133 page opening brief. I guess "brief" is not a literal term. For the full AOB, click here.
11/7/16 City of Palos Verdes Estates files Appellant's Opening Brief. Eleven months after appealing the Judge's Ruling in the Panorama Parkland case, the City of PVE files its opening brief -- click here.
10/6/16 Defendants file for Another Extension of Time to file Opening Briefs. This latest request for an extension makes in eleven months and counting -- for their stated reasons, click here
9/6/16 Defendants file for Extension of Time to file Opening Briefs. After the Defendants in the CEPC lawsuit appealed in November 2015, they have missed several deadlines for filing their first brief. This latest request for an extension makes in ten months and counting -- for their stated reasons, click here
10/19/16 ROBE Announces "Meet the Candidate Night" on November 10th at 7pm at Malaga Cove Library Gallery Room downstairs. All candidates have been invited.
9/24/16 ROBE Suggests to PVHA that they Ask Judge to Lower the Quorum Required for an Election: The 50% quorum threshold has not been reached since 2009, and lowering the quorum would allow the public to have a say in electing their representatives. This item has been added to the agenda of the PVHA Directors meeting in on October 25th at 4:30pm in Building 19 in Miraleste Plaza. Members of the public are welcome to attend.
9/16/16 PVHA Accepts the Signatures Nominating ROBE's Three Candidates
9/12/16 ROBE Submits 212 Signatures to Nominate its Candidates: Only 100 were needed, and these were gathered in 10 days over a holiday weekend, showing strong support from the community -- Thanks!
9/9/16 PVHA Approved Resolution 179 Additional Procedures for Governing Election: Additional rules governing the election include the statement that if a quorum is not achieved, then the PVHA will not even count the votes -- click here.
August 2016 PVHA Selects New Director Without Public Input (Contrary to What Was Promised): On 1/4/16 at a public "Meet the Candidates" night, PVHA Director Dale Hoffman stated that the opening created by Mark Paullin's resignation would be filled after a process of public solicitations, interviews and vetting by the Board. Throughout 2016, ROBE members asked at the monthly Directors meeting when that would occur, and no answer was given. In the past month, the PVHA website was quietly updated to indicate that a new director (Carolbeth Cozen) had been selected. This lack of transparency and disregard for the public interest is symptomatic of the problem that motivates us to push for Open Board Elections and change
8/28/16 Letter sent to PVHA Board of Directors with questions on the Election Process -- click here
6/24/16 PVHA Approves Resolution 177 Procedure for Open Nominations: For the first time ever, PVHA has acknowledged that they must accept nominations from the public -- click here
3/16/16 Guest Commentary in Peninsula News by Former Mayor Jim Nyman -- click here
2/29/16 Letter sent to PVHA Board of Directors with Suggestions for defining the Election Process -- click here
2/12/16 Article in Peninsula News on "Reformers Dispute PVHA vote totals" -- click here
2/12/16 Article in Peninsula News on "PV Homes Association vote totals disputed" -- click here
2/11/16 John Harbison Comments on the PVHA Election Report: If the last ballot submitted by PVHA voters were counted (instead of the first ballot as PHVA did), all four ROBE candidates would have been in the top five vote getters. This is disappointing because PVHA Attorney Sid Croft stated on 12/26/15 in the Daily Breeze that “If (residents) want to revoke their ballots, they can come to the homes association and mark whoever they want.” For Harbison's comments, click here.
2/10/16 PVHA releases Judge Latin's Report and Issues a Press Release -- click here
1/30/16 Judge Latin Sends his Report on the Election Count to PVHA -- click here
1/14/16 Article in Peninsula News on "Lower Voter Turnout nixes PV Homes Election" -- click here
1/14/16 Article in Daily Breeze on "Lower Voter Turnout nixes PV Homes Election" -- click here
1/9/16 Letter from ROBE to PVHA Directors on Election Process -- click here
1/7/16 Letter to the Editor in Peninsula News from Ann Hinchliffe, former PVHA Director -- click here
1/4/16 Meet The Candidates at Peninsula Center Library Community Room from 7 - 9pm
1/1/16 Article in Daily Breeze on "Challengers in PV Homes Association election to host open forum" -- click here
12/31/15 Letters to the Editor in Peninsula News from Barbara Culver (former PVE Mayor) and Renata Harbison -- click here
12/31/15 Year in Review in Peninsula News on "Parklands ruling appeal spurs candidates" -- click here
12/29/15 Article in Daily Breeze on "New ballots cannot be recast for P.V. Homes Association board, attorney says" -- click here
12/26/15 Article in Daily Breeze on "4 challenge incumbents for Palos Verdes Home Association seats" -- click here
12/17/15 Article in Peninsula News on "Four Challengers Running for Seats on PV Homes Association-Peninsula News" click here
12/17/15 Letters to the Editor in Peninsula News: For letters from Dick Fay and George Winston, click here
It's time for a leadership change at Palos Verdes Homes Association (PVHA) -- The current directors have lost their way:
- Sold parkland to an encroaching private resident in 2012
- Advocated re-zoning parkland as residential in 2013
- Taken actions declared illegal by Judge in 2015
- Appealed court ruling despite strong community opposition
- Advocated closing the most heavily used trail through parklands in PVE in 2015, and offered to partially fund the project
- Allowed the bluff top parklands to serve as a construction yard to house broken up asphalt, heavy machinery in 2015
- Failed to act while PVPUSD granted easements for freestanding solar panels on PVE school sites
The current Board has been embarrassingly inconsistent on several issues including a rezoning request (supported then not supported), tried to deny a legal standard (MRTA) in one case then advocated it in another, filed with the court that they voted for appeal then denied it, cited that the PVHA had rights under the Stirling-Davis Act then later denied that the Stirling-Davis act applied to them. Other embarrassments include trying to redefine the word “shall” as meaning “may” and hence “optional”.
The consequence of "status quo" actions of the incumbents can be:
- Loss of open space parkland through further sales and reduced public access
- Further drain on public resources by defending lawsuits brought on by illegal actions and ill-conceived policies at PVHA
- Erosion in property values as PVE's premium over RPV goes away with the loss of Protective Restrictions and open space
- Risk of Palos Verdes Estates turning into another Redondo Beach
As a consequence, a group of concerned residents have formed a group called ROBE (Residents for Open Board Elections) to nominate and elect a new set of leaders to PVHA Board that care about PVHA's true mission and commitment to parklands.
So far, ROBE has collected 193 petitions and at least 178 nominations per candidate. Per CA Code, only 100 are needed to add a name to the ballot.
Among the signers are four former Palos Verdes Estates mayors, one former PVHA President, one former PVHA Director, and the widow of another former President of the PVHA (who two years ago asked all the current Directors to resign), as well as two former Board members for PVP Unified School District — indicative of the depth and breadth of concerns by recent leaders in our community. Former Mayor Joe Barnett (recently deceased) also spoke out against the sale of parkland at a City Council Meeting in 2012, so if he were included, it would be five former PVE Mayors dissatisfied with the decisions made by the current Board.
To learn more, we encourage you to read on and explore this website. To take action, click here.
One of the things for which we are most thankful is the foresight our Palos Verdes Estates Founding Fathers who created a very special community almost a century ago, with about 800 hundred acres of open space to enjoy and cherish every day. We are also truly thankful for the spectacular job of stewardship of that legacy performed by the PVHA over most of the past 92 years.
However, many of us are concerned that the current PVHA Board has lost its passion for protecting our parklands, and that it has made a series of very poor decisions starting in 2012 when Board members agreed to sell parkland to a private individual (click here for more information). Since then PVHA's behavior in the CEPC lawsuit has added to the Community’s concerns about their commitment to their core mission — that of defending the Protective Restrictions established in 1923 while ensuring their adherence. The Judge in that case found the actions of the PVHA "ultra vires" (illegal) and mandated that the sale of parkland be reversed; for the full Ruling click here, and for the Final Judgment click here. PVHA's recent decision to appeal the Judge’s ruling is a stark reminder that they remain unresponsive to the strongly expressed interest of the community that they accept the ruling.
Some of you are unhappy with how the Association resolves view and tree disputes. Others of you may have shared our disappointment with how the Association and City allowed the bluff tops to serve as a construction yard to house broken up asphalt, heavy machinery and other construction equipment when construction was done earlier this year near the intersection of Paseo Del Mar and Via Barr. More recently, the Association advocated the closure of the Fire Road trail off of Paseo Del Sol -- one of the best hiking trails in all of Palos Verdes. The Association has also stood by silently, without any apparent comment or inquiry, when the Palos Verdes School District recently approved solar panels without competitive bidding or drawings depicting the location of the solar panel arrays. The direction that the Association’s current Board of Directors seems out of step with the will of the Association’s members.
For instance, PVHA President Mark Paullin wrote a letter in June 2015 expressing support for a plan to shut down (with a 300 foot fence) all public access to a portion of the Paseo del Sol Fire Road trail. The Fire Road is probably the most heavily used walking/hiking/biking trail in our City, and it is the only path through the largest parkland parcel in our City. Astonishing as this advocacy was, Paullin went on to say in his letter (click here) that PVHA would financially support the project. How could the PVHA support this, since the Fire Road is on the very same tract of land that the Judge has ruled must remain "parkland forever… for public recreational use” due to inviolable deed restrictions? The Judge had found that the PVHA had acted “ultra vires” (illegally) when they sold parkland on Via Panorama. Fencing off public access to parkland to give privacy to a few neighboring homeowners is also illegal since the same 1940 Deed states the property “is to be used and administered forever for park and/or recreation purposes only … for the benefit of the (1) residents and (2) non-resident property owners within the boundaries of the property heretofore commonly known as ‘Palos Verdes Estates’.”
For many years, the same people who made the above decisions have remained on the Board of Directors by default because there were insufficient numbers of PVE residents who cared enough to vote in the board election. No quorum and no meaningful election has been held for years.
This continual and alarming disregard for our heritage has caused many in our Community to conclude that we need to act to elect a more thoughtful and responsive Board of our HOA. Unfortunately, the tradition of the PVHA Board has been that they are self-nominating, and the ballots we are asked to sign have no provision for write-in alternatives or even choice among a pool of qualified candidates. Consequently, a group of us have formed a new initiative called ROBE for “Residents for Open Board Elections,” and we’d like to ask for your support. The PVE City Council, the PV Golf Club, the PV Tennis Club and the PV Beach & Athletic Clubs all have processes where members can collect signatures and add themselves to the ballot -- why should PVHA not do the same?
This website provides background documents, press articles and information about ROBE so that you can be better informed. For bios of our proposed candidates who have all demonstrated commitment to parkland and a passion for preserving that part of our heritage, click here. We also provides the means for you to take action and help bring back good stewardship in our local government.