Recall of United Board Fails
By Kim Lefner
An overwhelming majority of the United Mutual community voted against a recall of the United Board on Tuesday, July 2. The ballot numbers revealed 2,132 "No" votes against the recall and only 925 in favor, despite money spent promoting the recall by the “Enough Is Enough” group.
According to Protect Property Values (“PPV”) Club President Stevie Magid, “The community voiced their opinion on holding down spending, not creating new debt, and keeping our Village affordable by saying NO to the Recreation Master Plan and the demolition of Club House 2. When given the opportunity to express their opinions in an expensive election which was forced by a petition of only 449 United Mutual owner signatures, the owners spoke loudly and clearly. We are not a country club, but a community of retirees that want to live out our lives in a place that we can afford, and continue to enjoy the amenities and quality of life that we already have.”
According to Magid, residents are concerned about the lack of transparency and openness in the governing bodies in Laguna Woods, especially their ability to spend money without input from homeowners and residents. “No longer will that be business as usual in Laguna Woods Village,” said Magid.
Magid pointed out that elections over the past two years have cost United Mutual nearly $100,000 in election and attorney's fees that will never be recouped, not including legal fees for the other mutuals and the Golden Rain Foundation (“GRF”). “Each forced election wastes our money and divides our community. This wasted money resulted from the actions of leaders with their own agendas who were not elected by the community, small groups of disgruntled United petitioners that forced costly, unnecessary elections, and arguments based upon lies and distortions. This money would have been better spent upgrading our infrastructure with [items such as] better plumbing and lighting. How wasteful and divisive the battle has been to the entire community at large, not just United Mutual,” said Magid.
The remaining GRF Board members voted to pay off a $10,000,000 loan taken out by the previous GRF Board majority on the administration building last year. The present GRF Board says that this will save the community between $33,000 - $37,000 per month in interest fees. Magid and others expressed concern about the inability to recoup the fees on interest and on architectural plans the previous GRF Board majority voted to incur. “Many thousands of dollars were wasted by the former GRF Board members on the Recreation Master Plan which without community support, was doomed from the start,” said Magid.
Magid also questioned the legality of the Board taking out a loan against the administration building. “Taking out a loan on [the] administration building and putting our community into debt without our permission is unconscionable and maybe even illegal.” Some residents question whether the Board members who voted to take out the loan should be held personally responsible for reimbursing the community for the related costs of the loan. But that decision would have to be made by the Corporate Council comprised of the United Mutual, Third Mutual, and Mutual 50 Boards.
Magid encouraged homeowners to make their wishes known to their Board members. “We are the owners and the Boards speak for us. Personally, I welcome a new era in Laguna Woods Village, one that will be hopeful. One where we can put our differences aside and work together to keep our homes and community affordable and welcoming to all who live here,” she said.