A history of Leisure World for new residents
If you moved into LW after 2012 you need to know some historical facts. If you have lived in LW more than 15 years, you should be familiar with this history.
In 2003 the mortgages were fully paid and the strict oversight of LW management by the Federal Government ended. Mr. Habir Narang was retained as Administrator. Apparently Mr. Narang was able to quickly take advantage of his new situation (no oversight by the Feds) and he got himself some sweetheart deals. The GRF Board in 2004 forced Mr. Narang out, replaced him with a man who had no experience to manage such a large operation, and proceeded to take over the management from their weak administrator. Thus, in 2004, the management of LWSB was transferred from a management team to the 18 member volunteer board; 18 individuals with various backgrounds and abilities.
The 16 mutuals were now free of the restrictions imposed by Federal oversight of the community since 1962 and they began to make their own rules. It appears that no one has examined this relaxation of rules and asked if it’s a good or not so good thing. Why? Why has no one asked this obvious question? LW is not the only large homeowners community in America. There is a body of knowledge out there that could help explain what works and what doesn’t in large communities.
In 2004 the GRF Board refused to open the financial books to shareholders, as required by the Davis-Stirling Laws of California. Long story, short, they were sued by shareholders and four years later they lost their lawsuit. Convinced that they were right, the GRF Board appealed the decision against them and lost the appeal and about $1.5 million of shareholder money.
Another long and very messy story about the weak administrator needs not be repeated here. Suffice it to say that he was finally fired in 2012 and the search was on for a new administrator, now called the Executive Director. At long last someone with homeowner’s association management experience was hired in 2013. BUT the GRF Board had no intention or incentive to give up the power they gained over management in 2004 and subsequently LWSB continues to be managed by amateurs.
What do we know about the other Leisure World communities built by Ross Cortese in the 1960s? How have they evolved over the last 50 years? Have we investigated and evaluated what changes they made and why? We have a lot to learn from other communities. Rossmoor Walnut Creek has only nine board members, not 18. They created ‘districts’ to reduce the number of board members to a reasonable nine. Is no one in LWSB curious about this?
Today the LWSB community is facing the replacement of a 56-year-old swimming pool and hot tub. Had there been good management in past years, this is something that would have been planned for long ago and money saved for such a large project. Managers who know nothing about obsolescence planning, do nothing, which is what has happened here.
LW residents are upset about what appears to be a sudden decision to spend a lot of money. Had there been professional management for the past 15 years, this would be better understood by shareholders who would have been working along with professionals to set priorities for changes. Instead, we have a group of well-meaning neighbors trying to re-invent the wheel.
GRF Board members are blind to the world around them. Each year, new board members are indoctrinated by incumbents and come to believe that they are collectively capable of managing over $22 million per year. They keep very busy going to meetings and isolate themselves from shareholders. They have RULES that make it impossible for dialog with them about even the most benign topic. It appears that GRF Board members are afraid of meaningful discussion. They do not want to be challenged. It is inconceivable that none of them insist on getting professional help in community management. What multi-million dollar business takes no advantage of education that is available to help decision makers?
Why do LW shareholders send letters to the SUN? There is no free speech in LW. The LW News controls what information is disseminated to shareholders. “The world according to the GRF Board” is not the real world. Group psychology dynamics keep the GRF Board an insular group, fearful of any disagreement or challenge to their power.The collective opinion of shareholders who understand the history and the exigency of making changes is that it will take a major calamity to make any meaningful change. Really?
Please deny street fair permit
We are writing to ask you to deny the permit for the street fair proposed for the 200 block of Main St. First, the city doesn’t allow events within one week of each other.
This is why the 10K was denied a permit that was only a week away from the car show.
The reason being, that the street closing is too hard on the residents and the businesses when you have them that close together.
Also this permit should be denied on the safety issues. As numerously stated that we don’t have enough police and parking control officers to have them deal with this on a weekly basis. It’s too much of a strain on their resources and pulls away officers from other areas of Seal Beach, leaving all other areas of Seal Beach, like College Park, with depleted safety resources. People from all areas of Seal Beach should call or email their city council members, the mayor, and city manager to stop them from taking your resources.
And there’s no way you cannot have extra personnel there with all the parking and traffic issues, especially when you block Main Street. It means you have to divert all traffic, including commercial deliveries through the residential streets when our children are trying to come home from school and residents are coming home from work.
This is a continual and unsafe disruption of traffic causing safety issues on all surrounding streets.
Please, we ask you as business owners and property owners, and as a couple who love our quaint and safe old town, please don’t destroy this area by allowing this permit to be approved. Please deny this permit. Thank you for your consideration.
Main Street businessman
Editor’s note: The letters to the editor went to press hours before Seal Beach officials confirmed that the application for the special event permit for a weekly Main Street market on the 200 block was withdrawn.