Guest Column: Bad news for Leisure World, Mutual 12

Two instances of bad news came for Mutual 12 Leisure World residents, from the beginning of this year. The first news arrived with the 2017 budget, which included, unprecedented in Mutual history, a 20 percent increase in monthly assessment.

And the worst is that the president and board of directors refuse to explain repeated shareholders’ questions, such as why the Landscape Contract increased by 20 percent; Landscape Extras by 76.8 percent and Landscape Trees by 260 percent. Landscaping spending for the last two years has become a big concern for shareholders.

The second bad news came with president’s announcement regarding the settlement with Yamamoto Inc.

The very carefully-crafted announcement has only one reason—to hide the real current and future problems with the project. Even the basics of the project presented incorrectly as (quote) “…upgrade our sprinkle system.” The project is about a “System separation upgrade.” Yamamoto did not work on the sprinkler system—the project is about “Separation of Domestic and Irrigation water,” under which were added almost 10,000 feet of 2-inch pipes for the water supply to the irrigation system.

By signing the settlement, the board accepted the Mutual Board’s guilt in mismanaging the project and is trying to cover up the real scale of the problems, current and future.

In reality the project completely destroyed the mutual water supply for our irrigation system.

The project came to attention of the shareholders at the beginning of 2016 and immediately shareholders began to raise questions – “What are the reasons for this expensive, unnecessary and dangerous project?”

The Mutual Water Supply System was designed by professionals as part of Leisure World’s Water Supply System, and our Mutual never had any problems with water supply. It is a typical design, when water runs through pipes to buildings, where at manifolds it splits into domestic water, which runs inside buildings, and irrigation, with a short run to sprinklers.

At a March 21st 2016 Mutual Board meeting I asked who brought suggestions to separate domestic and irrigation water lines? The answer was “The GRF Building Inspector.” On my question “What are the benefits of that expensive project?” the answer from the building inspector was: “Mutual will receive irrigation water from the water line, coming from the Mutual 9 direction.”

This is not a reasonable explanation for spending $67,645 on the project, which will not bring any improvements, nor will it save even one gallon of water. The only visible beneficiary is the contractor, who received the contract without any competition.

As it was clear from the beginning of the project, Mutuals have completely destroyed the Water Supply System for irrigation. According to the expert, hired by the Mutual Board, the new over-extended water lines resulted in reduced water supply volume and low pressure, so sprinklers are unable to water the area they covered before.

What make the situation even worse is that the project was done without approved engineering documentation, required by the city of Seal Beach by permit.

Mark Pogrebinsky lives in Leisure World.