Delegates and Liaisons from all over California came together for the Annual Planning Meeting of the California Legislative Action Committee (CLAC). This is where the previous year’s legislative work is reviewed and plans are made for the upcoming year. It was followed by the Thursday night CLAC Benefit Dinner at Buster’s Beach House and Friday’s Statewide Legal Forum for California homeowner communities. Learning and sharing were the themes for the Friday Legal Forum. Judging by the comments from around the state everyone came away with benefits from attending.

Victoria Cohen, a homeowner, seemed excited about the growth and future of CAI when she said, “If Tom Skiba’s announcement pertaining to homeowner courses, taking CAI training in-house to management company offices, etc., then I believe CAI is poised for the national growth they deserve.”

A manager in San Diego mentioned, “I liked the fact that there were advanced classes for those who have been in the industry for some time. Further, I liked how the speakers engaged the audience so it was more interactive.”

Mike Romo, from S&L Association Management in Murrieta, said, “What I walked away with is somewhat elementary, but essential, and that is knowing and understanding your HOA’s governing documents and management contract. Even if the governing documents are just bullet pointed for yourself so you have a better understanding of the community you are managing.”

Another San Diego manager stated, “I attended both days of the Legal Forum and view this legal forum and the info received mainly as a great REMINDER tool. I truly appreciate hearing over again the vital aspects of the legal requirements of management and properly adhering to these requirements.   I also gained additional knowledge and insight at each of the sessions I attended.”

Sheila Robbins, General Manager for Village Park Community Association in Irvine, commented on two of the programs: The XYZ’s of Enforcing Governing Documents – “Relevant since it is always a challenge for managers when Boards change,” and Deciphering the Code: How to Read and Understand Recorded Documents – “Most informative & advanced.”

Becky Groenewold, General Manager for Ocean Hills Country Club in San Diego, agreed with Sheila, “The BEST part of the program to me was the program on Deciphering the Code. I could have listened to the speakers for much longer. They gave great info that I have been dying to learn from someone. You should have them attend EVERY event. This is great stuff and they just didn’t have enough time.”

“My take away from the CAI Legal Forum was from the session titled, Risky Rules: The Hidden Liability Lurking in Your Rules. This well-done session brought out the fact that even though the wording of a rule may sound great to the creator(s), it is very important to have that rule reviewed and interpreted by other entities such as a Rules Committee and/or the Association’s legal counsel so as not to create a rule which may appear to be discriminatory or unnecessarily restrictive due to interpretation,” says Betty Roth, General Manager for Sunnymead Ranch for Avalon Management Group.

Another San Diego manager liked Enemy at the Gate: Responding to Criminal Activity in Associations, and gathered information relating to cameras and disclosures, crime prevention, tips for managers and attorney client privilege.

Regarding The XYZ’s of Enforcing Governing Documents, Joanne Pena, PCAM, from Horizon Management in the Greater Los Angeles area liked the, “Information regarding new legislation on IDR and the homeowners’ right to bring their attorneys. I have an IDR request pending now, and so this was particularly relevant. Also, the fact that outside agencies can be called on to assist in enforcing certain provisions of the CC&Rs… For example, the City can impose a Hotel Tax for short term leasing of units.”

Cheri Leal from Paragon Equities in the Greater Los Angeles area said, “I picked up information I was not previously aware of and the team actually brought clarity to me on how the reserve study can sometimes ‘work.’ The speakers [for If You Read “Blah, Blah, Blah” When Reviewing Reserve Studies, This One’s for You] were a good match and played off each other well.”

John MacDowell from Fiore Racobs & Powers had this to say about the State of CAI keynote by Tom Skiba: “I learned that community associations contribute more significantly to California’s economy than I had realized – $6 billion in operating funds, most of which go directly to the small businesses that serve associations. Tom Skiba’s State of CAI talk drove this home, and inspired me as well. Our legislators and the general public need to understand this, and those of us in the industry need to understand it most of all. I also learned about a great publication, ‘State Advocacy: Key Issues,’ published by CAI National.”

Carol Whitlock, a Desert Resort Management manager seemed to agree with John, “Frankly the high light of the conference was the opening with the State of CAI.” Michael Berg, President of Berg Insurance Agency, took this away from the keynote speech, “Membership is key; looking at the long term plans and who will be defining communities in the future.”

Gregory Smith, the President of M&C Association Management in Stockton had a great overview of the whole experience, “This was my first ever CAI CA Legal Forum, and I got a pretty broad perspective as a Liaison to CLAC. On Thursday, I saw the dedication, commitment, and passion of community volunteers, managers, and business partners displayed as we discussed and debated about the best path forward for our industry in California. Thursday evening, I witnessed those same people and quite a few others enjoying each other’s company and contributing to that same cause they are passionate about. Friday was a great day of education and networking. I’d have to say it was an extremely successful and encouraging event. We have an incredible group of volunteers fighting for our industry in California.”

This was the prefect forum for coming together to learn, plan for the future and promote professionalism in our industry in California.

Kimberly Lilley, CIRMS, CMCA, is Director of Marketing for Berg Insurance Agency and the current Chair of CAI-CLAC’s Fundraising & Event Committee and can be reached at  

Kimberly Lilley

Kimberly Lilley