How did you first get involved with CAI-CLAC and when was it?
I first got involved with CLAC as a delegate in 2006. At that time, I was very active in my community with civic leadership, including three terms as the chairman of my local Chamber of Commerce and a board member of the county Economic Development Corporation. I was able to see firsthand how the impacts of state and local legislation were significant to the quality of life in my town. Therefore, there was a natural tie-in with the community association industry that I had worked in since 1985. Since then, I have seen an inordinate amount of bills that have had considerable impacts on the ability of associations to govern. There are more laws, more fiscal impacts and no less confusion on how associations should be run. I became a CAI-CLAC delegate to try to make a difference in the preservation of rights in community-governed neighborhoods.
What is the most important goal for you in your new role as chair?
Of course, with the dedicated executive committee and involved delegates that we currently have, I would like to continue the public relations outreach through our social media outlets and website so that our members can have a voice. We are also moving into traditional media interactions so that CAI can continue to be the preeminent organization providing education and advocacy for common interest developments.
However, I am also interested in initiating outreach from CAI to the elected officials in our cities and counties so that there is a more cohesive connection between the municipalities that mandate HOAs be formed, and those that must govern and facilitate those governing documents and laws on behalf of the property owners. There needs to be a close understanding between the ‘why’ and the ‘how’ of association governance. Municipal leaders are very involved with their local legislators and can have a positive impact on association issues. I believe that we have the same goals in common – well-governed and maintained communities. With a stronger connection, maybe we will see a clearer understanding from our legislators in Sacramento when considering whether the proposed legislation is necessary, or best left to a system where HOA property owners have a structure in place to make decisions for their individual association’s needs; or support legislation that would help associations maintain vitality.
How would you like to work with CAI-CLAC members this year?
With the assistance of a great PR Committee, we are working to more fully engage CAI-CLAC members through an update to our website, blog articles, and tweets. I am encouraged that we have seen an escalation of interest in the work that CLAC does, as evidenced by the significant participation of our grassroots calls to action. In the case of AB 2273, the involvement of our members clearly made a difference to enacting an important bill that had considerable opposition from the large lending lobbies. We were successful because of the actions of the members upon our request. I am appreciative of the support and hope that together we can become an even stronger force in Sacramento.
What are the biggest challenges facing CAI-CLAC members this year?
Each and every year, we face new legislation that threatens fiscal accountability or self-governance. This legislation generally comes from an inherent misunderstanding of how associations are governed, or by proposed reactive legislation from a ‘story’ or situation that doesn’t represent the majority of associations. We will need to address those challenges as they come along, while trying to pass positive changes such as electronic voting. As a self-funded organization, we depend on the advocacy fees and support of our members to provide the resources to fight negative legislation, propose needed bills and continue to educate in California. So it will be important to get our message out to those associations who do not know about the great work that CAI-CLAC does on their behalf.
What do you see as the strongest value of CAI-CLAC?
Unlike many types of industry organizations, CAI represents all of the stakeholders in the community association industry: associations, owners, board members, managers and business partners all under one umbrella for the common benefit of communities across America. CAI National and each individual Chapter offers a multitude of educational seminars and resources for the successful governance of communities. Likewise, CLAC plays an important role in protecting self-governance that was granted with the governing documents. We fight to avoid reactive legislation, which may trigger higher costs for administration or adherence, and reach out to educate and inform those stakeholders on the impacts of their actions. If we want great communities, we need to support great organizations. CAI-CLAC is one of them. While sometimes intangible, or in the background, the work of CAI-CLAC has a long history of significant differences to communities in California. Please go to the CAI-CLAC website to learn about our latest legislative accomplishments.
Well said Pamela! CAI’s California Legislative Action Committee is the leading statewide legislative advocacy organization for the betterment of homeowner associations because its volunteer members contribute so much at the Chapter and grassroots levels. There is strength in numbers… and as CLAC’s lobbyist, I depend on our members’ efforts and involvement.