By Nicole Kardos, CMCA, AMS, and Ryan Gesell, CIRMS, CMCA

On Friday, October 20, 2023, CAI-CLAC held its Annual Planning Meeting (APM) in Orange County.  Of the more than fifty attendees, two were participating for the first time.  Nicole Kardos comes from the world of Community Management, and Ryan Gesell comes from the world of Insurance.  Unlike most attendees, we are not attorneys and can often provide a unique and often more relatable perspective for those living in and working with California community associations.

Below is an interview recapping our experiences participating in the 2024 CAI-CLAC APM.

Ryan: Nicole, this was your first time attending the CAI-CLAC APM. What was your overall impression?

Nicole: I was so impressed. There’s so much that I didn’t know. I didn’t know how the process really worked. I learned so much about how CAI-CLAC plans, discussing the hot topics affecting CA and what to do next. It was such an open forum. They really wanted to get everyone’s opinion in the room about what the issues are and then discuss how to move forward and what path we needed to take to get the ball rolling. 

R: Yes!  That was impressive.  And also how organized that fight is. Once the group identified the issues that were most important, plans were made to move forward.

N: Another thing that struck me, was that I live in this Orange County bubble.  Realizing that many folks were from all over the state was eye-opening.

R: I totally agree. I am from the Ventura County area, and it’s easy to forget that CAI-CLAC represents the entire state.

N: It was also great having Louis Brown there in person, and all those attorneys. I have so much respect for the Business Partners that spend their time volunteering for CAI-CLAC.  As managers, we sometimes feel like we are alone, but in reality, we are all on the same team.

R: Was there one moment that you felt hit home for you? Or that you learned the most?

N: Yes. When we were talking about the Insurance Crisis.  I didn’t realize that there are different strategies and different paths forward for CAI-CLAC to take action.  So for the Insurance Crisis, I had no idea that the first path taken was Regulatory. And now CAI-CLAC is going to expand on this work through a Legislative approach.

R: Exactly.  The Insurance Task Force doesn’t believe that the regulatory changes of the CA Department of Insurance are going to solve the crisis.  So, they’re going to try to get the State Legislature to propose bills that would affect the changes they believe are needed to help solve the issues.

N: I also didn’t fully understand the depth of the collaboration between CAI-CLAC and the lawmakers. I’m really hoping to go to Sacramento next year with CAI-CLAC to see more of that relationship building aspect with our legislators.

R: Yes!  I think that would really be valuable.  I’m obviously familiar with the Insurance issues. But some of the other issues that were discussed were new to me. I know that SB 326 is now law, but I didn’t realize that there were things CAI-CLAC was trying to improve on it.

N: I deal with SB 326 every day. There are several concerns with implementing the new law.  Knowing that CAI-CLAC acknowledges and recognizes that it would be an improvement to include more approved design professionals and extend the deadline. This shows that CAI-CLAC listens to our Managers and Boards.

R: I agree. The task forces were new to me. I knew about the insurance task force, but I didn’t realize that CAI-CLAC had task forces that explore topics in detail and then bring their opinions back to the group. Are you on any local committees?

N: Yes. I’m on the CAI-Greater Los Angeles Chapter Legislative Support Committee (LSC) and on the CAI-CLAC PR committee. 

R: How does the Legislative Support Committee differ from other committees?

N: I think that the LSC brings value more behind the scenes, obtaining input locally, working to educate our local chapter members on changes in the law, and helping to raise funds to support CAI-CLAC. Other local chapter committees tend to be more visible in what they do.

People attend CAI programs, and they see the benefit right away.  But long term, CAI-CLAC brings a value that impacts managers, Boards, and Community Associations in a much deeper way. They’re helping shape the laws that govern our communities.

R: CAI-CLAC Delegates and Liaisons are really dedicated.  Attorney and CAI-CLAC Emeritus member, Matt Ober, Esq., CCAL, told me that CAI-CLAC had been working on the new voting bill (AB 1458) since 2010. That’s a really long game.  Can you imagine how many CAI-CLAC volunteers had a hand in that over the course of the last 13 years?

N: Yes!  That was very impressive to hear.  13 years of trying to get that legislation passed.  Incredible.

R: There were probably just a few managers in the room.  Do you find that surprising?

N: No, managers get focused on the day to day. They wait for changes to take effect without recognizing the benefit of participating with CAI-CLAC.  Honestly, I didn’t know I could participate in the process.  I didn’t take time to ask the right questions or get involved.  I was just so busy doing my job and it felt overwhelming.

R: Do you see a benefit if more managers get involved?

N: Absolutely.  They’re on the front lines.  Having them understand the process would 100% benefit the industry.  Most managers don’t see the advocacy efforts or know about the collaboration that happens behind the scenes.  New legislation has an enormous impact on community managers.  We’re the ones that are trying to guide our communities through the process of compliance with these laws. Good legislation makes our lives and our jobs easier.

R: I agree wholeheartedly.  And the same goes for Business Partners.  The more support we can get from them, either financially or just by their willingness to participate when called upon for email campaigns, etc., the better off CAI-CLAC will be.  This whole experience was really illuminating and energizing for the two of us. I really hope that we can get more folks involved in CAI-CLAC, I think they’ll be glad they did. 

You too can get involved! CAI-CLAC encourages constituents to meet with their elected officials to discuss their community association advocacy priorities. Face-to-face interaction with lawmakers is critical. You can learn more on our Current Campaigns page.

If you haven’t already done so, we urge you to take a moment to sign up for CAI-CLAC email updates to stay informed. You can also follow us on LinkedInFacebookTwitter and YouTube for real-time updates on legislative news, resources, event updates, and legislative action.