April 1, 2016

POA News and Notes: Candidates discuss 'greatest challenge' facing POA

Candidates for the CLPOA Board of Directors are, from left, George Christopher Williams, Dale Welty, Matt Poland, Paul Queen and Paul Chenette.

Residents are invited to learn more about candidates running for the Canyon Lake Property Owners Association Board of Directors at upcoming forums.

The Notice of Annual Meeting, Candidate Statements and Secret Ballot are scheduled to go out in the mail April 7. The last day it's recommended to mail a ballot is May 5. The Annual Meeting of the Members and Election of Directors will be held at the Lodge on Thursday, May 12, at 8 a.m.

In the order they will be listed on the ballot, candidates for the Board are George Christopher Williams, Dale Welty, Matt Poland, Paul Queen and Paul Chenette. Here are the scheduled forums:

? Saturday, April 9, 10 a.m. at the Senior Center ? Meet the Candidates Forum, hosted by the Senior Work Group.

? Monday, April 11, 7 p.m. in the Lodge Holiday Bay Room ? Speak with the Candidates Forum, hosted by 21 community clubs and groups.

? Wednesday, April 13, 11:30 a.m. ? Hear from the Candidates at the Chamber of Commerce Luncheon in the City Multi-purpose Room.

? Monday, April 18, 7 p.m. at the Lodge ? Meet the Candidates Forum, hosted by the Home Owners Club.

The candidates and their resumes of qualifications and goals can be found at www.canyonlakepoa.com. For more information about the election contact the Association’s Corporate Department at 951-244-6841, ext. 210.

This week, The Friday Flyer invited the candidates to answer the following question.


Even if residents don't appear to be aware of it, what do you believe is the greatest challenge(s) facing the Association at this time, and how will your being elected make a difference?

George (Chris) Williams

One of the biggest problems we face in Canyon Lake is the increasing “Them” versus “Us” atmosphere. I think the atmosphere we want is a service mentality that starts and ends with a respectful demeanor. Who sets the tone for this? It needs to start with our Board of Directors.

It may seem like a little thing, but an atmosphere of listening and a practice of problem-solving beats an attitude of ignoring, quoting rules, and increasing fines, anytime. I think we’ve gotten away from listening to our people and leaned too much towards the “authoritative” assessing fines and creating new rules.

If I am elected to the POA Board, I will work to make this a community that listens to its property owners (and not just for three minutes once a month). Of course we need rules and we need to enforce them. But it should always be done with appropriate warning and notice, respect, and in a progressive and problem-solving manner; not an abrupt, rude, you’re wrong or gotcha fashion.

Member discipline should be a rare and carefully-considered Board decision ? not an everyday occurrence. Changing this process would contribute to better relationships and atmosphere all around and create more than a “little” Paradise.

A good example of this happens when you drive through the gate. Yes, there are a few people at the gate that smile and wave you in, and do I appreciate them! Unfortunately, many times I am greeted with a blank stare, leaving me an overall feeling of having been an annoyance to the person standing there.

This could be changed so easily with a simple instruction from the Board that owners and guests are to be greeted politely and acknowledged respectfully as they come in.

We have many longtime and newer employees that have a great service mentality: at the pool, lodge, lake, campground, tennis courts, golf course, golf course restaurant, equestrian center, in maintenance, at the POA offices, at the gate, really everywhere in Canyon Lake. Let those awesome employees set the standard here. Again, that recognition and standard-setting needs to be constantly reinforced from the top down.

We do so many things well here in Canyon Lake. We have the best amenities and we want to keep them that way. It’s why many of us moved here. A great example happened Fourth of July when I was amazed at how smoothly things went. Hats off to everyone involved in making that happen. We need to further improve communications between the Board and the owners that will allow us to problem-solve together and come up with solutions.

If elected, I’d ask the new Board to reinvigorate its mission statement regarding all decisions, meetings, hiring, and general management of the awesome community we live in. Members concerns are paramount to the Canyon Lake Property Owners Association! To vote, request a proxy or share your thoughts or story, email me at gcwilliams3377@gmail.com or 951-775-2155.

Dale Welty

The biggest question is what will Canyon Lake look like when the community is 70 years old, only 20 years from now? Canyon Lake is coming to our 50th birthday and we do not have a community vision of where we are going.

The newer communities have a fresh appeal and offer amenities that are more relevant and marketable to buyers in the area, and are usually preferred to communities with older homes. Typically, communities decline and age poorly after they have turned 50. Without proper planning, the decline can carry significant consequences.

The most critical element of a community’s success is its members' ability to find common goals and work together to achieve them. It is election time and this can bring the conflict in the community to its peak. I think Canyon Lake should focus on ways to come together rather than ways that divide us. Community members should also make an effort to be civil and respectful of each other in our interactions within the community.

The success of the community and the future of Canyon Lake is very important to me and my family. I have lived in Canyon Lake for 28 years. Our children range from 27 to 8 years old and have spent most of their lives in Canyon Lake. Our son recently bought his first home here.

I have served on numerous Canyon Lake POA committees over the past six years. These committees include the Tennis Facility, Youth Action, Recreation, Activities and Finance. My wife, Kellie Welty, served on the Community Patrol Committee, and Parks and Beaches Committee, and currently serves on the Recreation Committee. Kellie also serves on the Santa Rosa Academy school board.

Professionally, I have been a real estate appraiser and a Special Adapted Housing Agent for the Department of Veterans Affairs for over 25 years.

Researching and interpreting market data, and applying that information to determine the value of real estate is my primary job as a real estate appraiser. As a real estate appraiser, one of my primary concerns is the property values in Canyon Lake.

If elected to the Canyon Lake POA Board, I would work to provide better communication to its members, especially in regard to its proposed future spending on reserve and capital improvement projects.

I would work with the community to create a plan with goals for the community that are supported by the community as a whole. I would encourage and reach out to the community to be engaged in the planning process. Community success cannot be achieved by the community leaders alone; the community itself must become part of process.

Here is what the community can do to bring success to Canyon Lake: Dine at the Lodge and Country Club, and provide feedback to the POA about your dining experience. Invite your friends to golf on our beautiful Golf Course and promote annual golf membership. Join the Neighborhood Watch Program. Enroll your children and grandchildren in youth activities.

Matt Poland

I believe the greatest challenge facing the association is maintaining the Canyon Lake lifestyle. Canyon Lake is one of a kind with all the amenities, the clubs, and the value received from the POA dues. 

We all moved to Canyon Lake to enjoy the amenities and social activities ? whether it is skiing the slalom course, playing tennis by the water, golfing, or enjoying many of the other activities. I believe it is the Board’s duty to preserve these amenities and the club traditions that go along with them, while at the same time being diligent with the POA funds.

If elected, I will respect the traditional uses of the amenities and the clubs that have helped define Canyon Lake. I will also work to eliminate waste and use the Association’s money more efficiently. Here is my plan:

Reduce Litigation Expenses. From the Lake Lease to the lawsuits with the members in the community, I believe we need to spend a lot less money fighting. No matter who wins the election this year or the next, we are all neighbors that contribute equally each month to fund the Canyon Lake lifestyle. I will ensure members are treated like neighbors.

Engage the broader community. There are experts in several areas that could help the Board make better decisions if it were easier to participate. For example, an insurance broker could quickly tell if we are getting a fair deal on insurance, and a builder can easily tell if construction bids are reasonable. 

The challenge is our expert members are very busy. I will create virtual committees, leveraging technology, that enable members to engage when they have free time during the day. I believe virtual committees will tap into expertise that will save the Association money and improve services.

Create an exchange program. I would like to start an exchange program where members of the community could contribute a few hours of work in exchange for credit towards POA dues. For example, have a program to let members staff the member lane at the gate. You would have a neighbor welcoming you back into the lake, it would reduce dues for the member, and it would save the Association money.

Pay attention to the details. From managing over 20 successful real estate projects I have learned that managing a lot of small numbers can add up to a big number and ultimately a successful outcome. As a POA Board member, I will bring this same detailed accountability to how your money is spent.

While ending the Lake Lease lawsuit will be my first task, keeping Canyon Lake the community we all love is my overall objective. Please vote for Matt Poland on May 12th.

Paul Queen

A lot of our challenges are financial. The problem is we act like a government ? meaning we don’t care how much we spend because, when we overspend, we just raise taxes, or in our case dues, to cover the excess. This is why over the last 15 years our POA dues have gone up 250 percent while nothing else has increased nearly that much.

I’m not saying we need to stop spending completely. Many of the recent expenditures have been absolutely legitimate, such as replacing the aging docks and playground equipment. The POA is supposed to do that. But there is discretionary and services spending that should definitely be looked at.

One area to improve is legal fees. According to the numbers I’ve been given, we spent over one million dollars in legal fees in the last year, and nobody ever looks at that number and says, “That's too much money.” Why?

Every business examines their expenditures yearly and looks for areas to save. We don’t. We look at our expenditures and say, “It's time to raise dues.” I think that needs to stop. We could save $750,000 per year in legal fees alone by hiring an “in-house” attorney and paying a reasonable salary for that position.

Another area is security. We are paying $450,000 more per year for the current Securitas contract then we paid Barton when they provided the same service. Yet we have more complaints than ever about security not doing a good enough job. We should be looking to re-negotiate that contract, or put it out to bid again.

Another example is the new front gate. One million dollars for a gate is too much. I believe we should have updated the Main Gate, expanded it, duplicated the stackstone architecture other parts of the community have, and added some of the technical upgrades such as proximity scanners to read our POA cards.

This would have given the front gate a great facelift and modernization, and we could have done it for half the amount that we are now spending on it.

One last point is bids for new work. We need to put new/improvement/replacement contracts out for RFP (Request for Proposal) every single time. There are too many instances where, once a contractor gets in the door, they automatically get all the contracts without competitive bids to guarantee we get the best price. This absolutely must stop.

Every contract should get three competitive bids, and those should be examined to see if its what we really need. As an example, at a recent Board meeting I attended, I watched the Board approve $4,000 to replace a double door. And nobody even asked why a door would cost so much money. Why?

We need to be much better stewards of our members' money and work on reducing the dues instead of increasing them. For more info on my positions, visit my facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/paulqueenforpoa and please give me both of your votes in May.

Paul Chenette

I believe there are many issues that residents are concerned with. The Lake Lease, our legal expenses, our subsidies for certain amenities, unfulfilled projects, security, rules and regulation changes, assessments and so many more. ALL of these issues affect ALL of us. You can pick and choose which one or ones you want to support, reject or change but, at the end of the day, ALL the issues affect ALL of us.

The biggest issue that residents should be concerned with is the election itself. Who do you want to get elected? What effect will that newly elected Board member have on the existing members? We NEED the two newly elected Board members to be able to work with, influence and collaborate with the existing Board members.

The two questions I have gotten the most are: Why are you doing this again? And what about your legal issue?

I will answer the legal issue first. On June 25, 2015, the Indio district attorney’s office sent a task force to support the delivery of a search warrant for the Bureau of Automotive Repair. The allegations were that a total of six smog certificates issued by AutoCare USA were issued fraudulently. It was determined that I was complicit in two of the six.

On March 1, 2016, the case was closed and I was ordered to serve probation. There are no fines and no restitution. The matter is over and will in no way affect my ability to serve on the Board.

Why am I doing this again? I love Canyon Lake. I have lived here for more than 30 years. I believe I can make a difference. Over the last 15 years I have served the community in several capacities. Unlike my fellow candidates (no disrespect intended), I won’t need a learning curve as I have previously served on the Board as Secretary in 2010 and President in 2011. I can work with, influence and collaborate with the current Board as well as whomever would be elected with me. I’m looking forward to serving you again.

Pat Van Dyke

Editor's Note: Throwing her hat into the ring this week is Pat Van Dyke.

I would like to thank the community for allowing me the opportunity to run for office in our “Little Bit of Paradise.” Having lived in Canyon Lake for 40 years, I have seen it evolve from an unincorporated area to a city. I have watched it grow from 600 homes to over 4,500 homes. I watched as Railroad Canyon Rd. was changed from a narrow, dangerous two-lane road to a well-traveled six-lane highway.

When I saw the question, "Even if residents don't appear to be aware of it, what do you believe is the greatest challenge(s) facing the Association at this time, and how will your being elected make a difference," water evaporation quickly came to mind. This is an area of concern that I have not seen addressed in the 40 years that I have been a Canyon Lake resident.

Considering our drought conditions, it's time for a water evaporation prevention program. If elected, I would propose Pat’s Evaporation Prevention Program (PEPP) consisting of two simple steps.

In step one, all residents living on waterfront lots or owning in-ground swimming pools would be required to purchase a large roll of bubble wrap. Each Monday, at 8 p.m., those who reside on a lakefront lot would be required to cover their waterfront with bubble wrap reaching 6 feet beyond their shore. The water would remain covered until 8 a.m. Friday. This would prevent evaporation in the shallowest areas of the lake three days each week.

The lake would be closed to all boating during the time of the Bubble Wrap Period (BWP). Homes with in-ground pools also would be under the BWP; unless, of course, they can prove they already use pool covers.

When the drought is declared over, all of the bubble wrap would be placed on Canyon Lake Dr. North and South, and Guinness World Records would be contacted to document the event as Canyon Lake hosts the World’s Largest Bubble Wrap Popping Party.

Step two concerns the huge amount of water that evaporates each day from our lodge pool. In order to keep the lodge pool open all week and not be under the PEPP Act, all swimmers would be required to bring in a gallon of water for pool admission. This water would be poured into the lodge pool so that the water level can be kept at an acceptable depth. Only sealed, filtered water purchased from the store would be accepted. (Water in reused milk containers would not be accepted.)

Swimmers arriving at the pool without their “Water Allowance” (WA) would be asked to stand at the entrance gate (Water Gate or WG) until a swimmer arrives willing to share an extra gallon of water.

I believe these steps would help solve Canyon Lake’s water evaporation problem. If you wish to speak with me in support these plans, you may contact me at 800-APR-ILF-OOLS.