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Sunday, September 15, 2013

Clear Lake City Community Association Board Overrules Election Results


During the June 19, 2013, meeting of the Clear Lake City Community Association, just minutes prior to seating the newly elected Trustees, the Board of Trustees passed an unprecedented motion to rescind the candidate application of the winner of the Trustee position for the Oakbrook subdivision (Exhibit A, item 10; Exhibit B; and Exhibit C).  This resulted in the Board seating the incumbent Trustee who lost the election by a vote of 57 to 30 (Exhibit A, item 10).  The Board of Trustees ignored the vote of the residents of the Oakbrook subdivision when they passed this unprecedented motion.

The reason provided by the Board of Trustees for the motion was the candidate did not utilize the "official" Candidate Application form (from 2011), which clearly states the candidate must present the application in person to the association office (Exhibit B; Exhibit C; and Exhibit D).  The winning candidate gave his Candidate Application form to a representative of the association, a sitting member of the Board of Trustees, who then gave the application form to the association office.  Prior to the April 18, 2013, deadline for filing, the winning candidate appeared in person at the association office to make sure they received his Candidate Application form and to take care of any fees associated with the application.

Prior to the annual Clear Lake City Community Association Board of Trustees election each year, the Board creates an Election Committee and tasks the committee with overseeing the election.
                In 2011, the Election Committee brought motions before the Board of Trustees at the March 15, 2011, meeting to update the Candidate Application form and fee.  The Board approved both motions (Exhibit E, page 4 of 6).
                In 2012, the Election Committee brought a motion before the Board of Trustees at the February 21, 2012, meeting to update the Candidate Application form and remove the fee.  The Board approved the motion (Exhibit F, page 3 of 4 and Exhibit G).
                In 2013, the Election Committee did not bring any motions before the Board of Trustees prior to the election.  The association office modified the 2012 Candidate Application form to include the available Trustee positions for 2013 and posted the official 2013 Candidate Application form on the association website (Exhibit H).
Based on these facts, the "official" Candidate Application form was the form approved by the Board of Trustees in 2012 (Exhibit G) and modified to include the 2013 positions (Exhibit H).  Additionally, the public notices for the 2013 Board of Trustees Election (Exhibit I; Exhibit J; Exhibit K; and Exhibit L) did not include any information regarding the submission of applications in person or required fees.

For the record, all of the candidates for the 2013 Board of Trustees Election, including the incumbents, submitted completed 2013 Candidate Application forms.

Professor Plum


List of Exhibits
B.    Video:  CLCCA HOA Election Hijacking part 1, http://youtu.be/V2bIocE4G2Y
C.   Video:  CLCCA HOA Election Hijacking part 2, http://youtu.be/F8L3XtphEg8
D.   Video:  clcca hoa 2013 07 21 chapter and verse, http://youtu.be/0yh7ZWF_aGo

I:     Document:  2013 BOT Election Notice #1.pdf
J:    Document:  2013 BOT Election Notice #2.pdf
K:    Document: 2013 BOT Election Notice #3.jpg 


L:    Document:  2013 BOT Election Notice #4.jpg

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

CLCCA Pool Red-Tagged by Houston Health Department



The City of Houston Health Department red-tagged the community swimming pool in the Camino South subdivision of Clear Lake a month ago due to black and green algae blooms in the pool. The Clear Lake City Community Association apparently does not realize the pool has been cited, as they have failed to make any attempts to clean the pool over the past month. The algae blooms remain untreated and growing in the pool less than four weeks before the pool is scheduled to open to the public. 


Per the City of Houston regulations: “Commercial pools/spas must be in kept in good working condition and meet inspection requirements all year round. Neglect and non-compliance with City regulations creates hazardous conditions. Violations of the requirements listed can result in fines ranging $250 to $2000 per day, per violation.” 

The CLCCA board voted to outsource the pool maintenance at the February 8, 2013 Special Meeting of the board. All of the pools are supposed to be vacuumed and cleaned on a weekly basis by the contractor. 

It is quite obvious in the photos that it has been weeks or even months since any cleaning was done to the Camino South pool. Additionally, the pool pump burned out in the pool. Considering the buildup of organic materials in the bottom of the pool by the filters, it is likely the lack of routine maintenance, including simple vacuuming that is covered by the pool contract, that contributed to the pump burning out. This is negligence—plain and simple.

To date, the pool remains red-tagged and has not passed inspection by the City of Houston Health Department as required in order to open.

The CLCCA Trustees continue to waste our money by not taking care of the assets that we have and allowing them to be damaged by sheer negligence. Shouldn’t someone from the board or office be checking up to make sure that the contractors that they are hiring are doing what we are paying them for?

Col. Mustard

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Auxiliary Residential Community Service Charge


The only way to modify the Conditions, Covenants, and Restrictions (Restriction Instruments) of the residential property within the Clear Lake City Community Association is through a majority vote of the property owners of the lots.  The Clarification Instrument dated May 9, 1995 states:

"WHEREAS, all the Restriction Instruments listed on Exhibit "A" contain the following noncontiguous provisions ...  (2) These covenants are to run with the land, and shall be binding on Friendswood and it successors and assigns and all persons claiming under them and all subsequent property owners of said above described lands, and any part of same, for a period extending until July 1, 2003, at which time said covenants shall be extended automatically for successive periods of ten (10) years each, unless an instrument signed by a majority of the then owners of the lots has been recorded, agreeing to change said covenants in whole or in part, or to revoke them..."

 According to the inflation calculator at http://www.bls.gov/data/inflation_calculator.htm, the purchasing power of $1.00 in 1968, the last year the Clear Lake City Community Association had a mill assessment increase, would be $6.62 today, which translates into a loss of about 85% of the 1968 purchasing power.  In 2011, a majority of the then property owners of the lots of each section within the Oakbrook West and Meadowgreen subdivisions in the Clear Lake City Community Association amended their respective Restriction Instruments.  The amendment added a paragraph indicating all lots shall be subject to a mandatory Auxiliary Residential Community Service Charge of $80.00 per year.  The Association, its Lawyers, and the Harris County Clerk verified the vote of the property owners, and once verified, filed all documentation associated with the amendments for each section with the Harris County Clerk.  These amendments are a reflection of the desire of the property owners in Oakbrook West and Meadowgreen to preserve the Clear Lake City Community Association, such that it can continue to serve the community and the Clear Lake area.

The addition of the Auxiliary Residential Community Service Charge supplements the annual Community Services Charge, and provides funds for the common general fund of the Association.  The total amount of additional funds from the Oakbrook West and Meadowgreen subdivisions is approximately $150,000.00 per year.  As part of this change, the residents of the Oakbrook West and Meadowgreen subdivisions are now eligible for complimentary access to the facility pools and tennis courts.  The fee for this facility access is currently $105.00 per year for residents.

In November of 2012, the Clear Lake City Community Association Board of Trustees voted to overturn the amendments and discontinue the Auxiliary Residential Community Service Charge of $80.00 per year in the Oakbrook West and Meadowgreen subdivisions.  Since the only way to modify the Restriction Instruments is through a majority vote of the property owners of the lots, this action taken by the Board of Trustees is, of course, not legally binding.  Additionally, at the February 19, 2013, meeting of the Board of Trustees, a Special Committee was formed to explore the refund of the Auxiliary Residential Community Service Charge.  The discussion at the meeting included comments that no monies would be refunded and residents who took advantage of the complimentary access to the facility pools and tennis courts would be charged an additional $25.00 for that access.

The current Board of Trustees is not acting in the best interest of our community and is making decisions that negatively affect all of us.  Ask your neighbors how they feel about what this Board is doing.  Ask the Trustees why they are making these decisions and how long they think the Clear Lake City Community Association can last without the additional funds.  The Board of Trustees cannot nullify legally binding documents without due process, as defined above, and it certainly cannot trample on the First Amendment rights of the citizens within its boundaries.

Mr. Peacock 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Really, Mrs Toppin??


Visitors to the January 15, 2013 meeting of the Clear Lake City Community Association were greeted with a bright, red notice on the door :
“Under the OMA (Open Meetings Act) you are allowed to video tape, but all other devices will not be acceptable and will be monitored.”

Maybe Mrs. Toppin slept through her civics classes and doesn’t realize what she does and does not have the right to control the use of in the meetings. Yes, it is perfectly acceptable to ask the audience to place their cell phones, pagers, and other devices with audible capabilities to “silent”, and if they cannot be placed on silent, then they should be turned off. It is also acceptable to ask all attendees to exit the room to take calls. These are a common courtesy that all attendees should be extending to other attendees in the meeting. However she does NOT have the right to restrict the use of the devices for reading email, sending texts, looking up information, or taking notes.  Mrs. Toppin most certainly does not have the right to restrict ANYONE from having their device on their person! With the number of break-ins in vehicles in the CLCCA parking lot, restricting board members from having the devices “on their person” is ridiculous, unless of course, she is willing to replace any phone that is stolen from a vehicle! And if a board member wears a hearing aid, isn’t that considered a communication device?

Mrs. Toppin also put the homeowners on notice that their other devices will be “monitored”. Is Mrs. Toppin planning on wire-tapping everyone’s cell phones or is she planning on having Mr. Heimlich bring in his cell phone jammer, as witnessed by numerous attendees at the June 2011 CLCCA Board meeting?

What is Mrs. Toppin so afraid of if someone in the audience, or the Board, for that matter, uses an iPad, laptop or other device during a meeting. Is she afraid she won’t be the center of attention? Is she afraid that someone will be able to look up a bylaw, policy, Roberts Rules of Order or, worse yet, the Open Meetings Act that she is so fond of misquoting and call her out on it?  Just because Mrs. Toppin is a Luddite doesn’t mean the rest of Clear Lake must follow suit and abandon their electronic devices. Even the Houston City Council allows cell phones, iPads/Tablet computers, and laptops in city council meetings. According to the public information officer for the Houston City Council, the city council allows cell phones (on silent or vibrate), laptops and tablet computers because there is no good reason to exclude them and the Texas Open Meetings Act does not specifically allow them to be banned.

If Mrs. Toppin wants the audience to “respect” her and pay attention, maybe she needs to start by respecting the homeowners and her fellow Board members first. The snide and disrespectful comments she makes towards Board members and homeowners who disagree with her need to stop. Her rude comments set the tone for the meetings, make a mockery of the board, and creates an entirely unprofessional appearance at the meeting. When you take into account Mrs. Toppin’s inability to follow a simple agenda, her propensity to skip entire portions of parliamentary procedure (e.g. discussion of motions, call for negative votes, etc.), coupled with her desire to pick and choose what parts of the Open Meetings Act , Bylaws, and policies she wishes to follow, it’s no wonder that the residents of Clear Lake make a mockery of her!

One of the most poignant events that occurred during the meeting was when the cell phone of Nancy Leber, one of Mrs. Toppin’s most ardent supporters, started ringing loudly from her purse and Leber had difficulty turning it off. Toppin barely commented on it, another example of her lack of fairness and professionalism.

Clearly, the easiest way to send a message to Mrs. Toppin that her control tactics are unacceptable is to attend the next CLCCA Board Meeting with your laptop, iPads/tablets, cameras, and cell phones (all on silent, of course) and challenge her to throw everyone out, considering most tablets and cell phones have cameras, which are specifically protected by the open meetings act.

Cell notice photoSharp by Blexcroid

Mr. Green

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Does Swerdlin Have What it Takes to be Fair?

Although I did not attend the meeting where the CLCCA Board voted to make the loan to the Friends of CLCCA, I have followed with interest the witch-hunt against Ray Banks, the former President of the board. I am surprised that if Mr. Swerdlin is pursuing criminal charges against Mr. Banks and attempting to throw him off the Board for loaning monies to the Friends of CLCCA, he isn't pursuing the same charges against Glenda Stroud. Stroud, who was Treasurer at the time (and continues to be Treasurer), also supported loaning the monies according to the register of votes published in the meeting minutes. If anyone should have known that the loan was a breech of fiduciary responsibility, Mrs. Stroud should have. Mrs. Stroud apparently did not speak out against the loan in her capacity as Treasurer.

If Mr. Swerdlin insists on pursuing charges against Mr. Banks and throwing him off the Board, he rightfully also, at minimum, should be pursuing the same charges of misconduct against Mrs. Stroud and her dismissal from the CLCCA Board. Realistically, he should be requesting charges against ALL of the current Board members who were seated at the time the measure was approved. That includes his good friends, Mrs. Toppin and Nancy Leber!

Maybe Mr Swerdlin is only going after Mr. Banks out of some venal agreement for power. It certainly demonstrates his bias in not wanting to level charges against Mrs. Stroud and have her removed from the Board. At minimum, it shows Mr. Swerdlin lacks the professionalism it takes to be an effective Trustee and how consumed he is with his own pomposity. Maybe he is saving the impeachment of Mrs. Stroud for another grandstanding event in front of the Board?

It's time for Mr. Swerdlin to stop acting on his own egotistical needs and start working for the residents of Clear Lake.

Mr. Green

Friday, January 11, 2013

What Happened to the Email Alerts??

Remember the time when you used to receive email alerts for meetings? Ironically Mr Swerdlin and Mrs Leber, both Meadowgreen representatives were the ones to request email alerts for meetings.

No email blasts have been sent since the summer. Guess Mr Swerdlin doesn't care about public notices now that he's on the board...

In November the meeting date was changed without proper board approval that are required by the bylaws that the board are responsible for enforcing. Then without an email blast, how was the community supposed to know that the meeting had been moved a week earlier in the month?!?!

Anyone wonder why the need for the sudden meeting date change??? Perhaps it was for the vote to try and invalidate the votes of the residents of Meadowgreen and Oakbrook West? Yes that's right the board that was elected by the people don't care what you, the people, decided.

Interesting?!?!

Ms. Scarlett