Letters to the Editor: Thursday, April 20, 2017

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Most Leisure World mutual board members aren’t experienced

Before Leisure World was fully developed it was assumed by the lender, HUD, as well as by the developer, that the various independently-funded Mutual Corporations would merge into one master corporation after the last section of the entire community was completed. There would no longer be 16 Mutual Corporations, each trying to manage its own affairs, but rather one board of directors for the entire community. This setup as individual corporations was simply an artifact for funding purposes.

People come here to retire, not to run a corporation and assume a burden they do not want, for no compensation other than the appreciation of others. How often has every Board of Directors complained that there are not enough volunteers to fill the board? There are serious legal consequences for any Mutual Corporation that cannot govern itself.

Has anyone looked carefully at the rules and regulations of any Mutual Corporation? Most are humongous, unedited, or poorly edited since origination. Matters that are of serious concern now may not have been 50 years ago. New circumstances have to be consistently and regularly considered, rather than just drafting a wording and adding to what was presumably the intent of the original document.

Another matter for serious consideration is the tremendous authority bestowed upon any Board of Directors. They handle matters that are only vaguely familiar to most shareholders, are given responsibility for budgeting huge amounts of money, and serve with no bond, trust agreement or insurance for bad decisions that could bankrupt any mutual.

The directors are somewhat protected for unintended bad decisions by something referred to as “the business judgment rule.” The Mutuals are not covered for bad decisions that could be financially disastrous, even though made by honest directors who only want what is best for their Mutual.

It is not only difficult, but almost impossible to get qualified and experienced persons to sit on Boards. There is no vetting on the part of the Mutual Boards or the GRF in regard to any candidate for a director position. The whole matter is handled simply as shareholders helping each other with no concern for the seriousness, or possible consequences of unintentional, but very bad, decisions.

The amount of money that could saved as a result of this association of independent corporations acting as one huge client to various services is enormous. Legal fees immediately come to mind. Should one corporation need advice on a specific issue, their attorney may charge thousands of dollars on any matter that requires any research work at all. Should another corporation need answers to the same questions, they would pay the same high fee for exactly the same information. This would be the case even if the same attorney represented both corporations.

Further huge savings could be garnered in the area of solar power. Should one building buy solar power for each unit we would end up with 12 installations on each roof and separated savings for each unit within that building. It would be over-kill and way over-costs. I suspect that our roofs may not even be strong enough should each unit within the same building buy solar power.

With proper planning, however, this entire community could enjoy solar power, even on the community buildings, and probably sell enough power back to the grid to reduce our electrical cost to almost zero.

We probably have enough roof space on the parking structure alone to accomplish the entire project, and thus never have to use our residential roofs. Most of which probably have too many skylights on them to allow a fully realized project of this scope.

We really must stop thinking of this community as a bunch of independent mutual corporations and use the power of our size to ensure the benefits that should be available to any corporation of our size and combined power. This community, acting as one, could probably control the entire community—although I would not advocate that any time soon.

It is long past time for Leisure World shareholders to get serious about the management of this community. The combined asset value of this property is in the hundreds of millions of dollars. It is far too much to put into the hands of retirees with the best of intentions and honesty, but with little or no experience in the management of the huge amounts of money under their control.

R. James Williams

Leisure World

City manager defended

For several months prior to the (SUN’S March 9, 2017 edition) whose front page headline read, “Seal Beach Police Department chief resigns,” there were in the weekly issues of the SUN prior to the March 9th edition, in the Letters to the Editor and the Opinion section, barrages of vitriolic articles and letters of condemnations leveled at the city manager, Jill Ingram.

The letters were regarding her refusal to discuss or make known any details of the complaint received by the city involving former Police Chief Stilinovich’s administrative leave, or the investigation as to the allegations and his eventual resignation.

I am in full agreement with my community in recognition of the former Chief’s stellar reputation and service to our city; however, we live in a culture where there is an expectation and insistence that all City employees particularly those in high profile positions be held to a very high level of conduct and behavior … 24/7 … on or off duty!

Additionally, we are also living in a litigious society which would leap at the opportunity to engage in a “Wrongful Termination” or “Slander,” lawsuit against our city; but only, … if there is JUST CAUSE!

I do not think that Ms. Ingram’s maintaining a taciturn stance of silence regarding release of details of the complaint or results of the investigation on former Police Chief Stilinovich’s was unilaterally devised but rather done following extensive collaboration with consultants and counsel.

Ms. Ingram, many in our community join with in lauding you for your tactful and decisive handling of the former Police Chief Stilinovich issue and shudder at the thought of what a wrongful termination or slander lawsuit could have cost our city should the indiscriminate early release of information or details later proven to be false!

My name is John R. Vento. I have been a resident of Seal Beach for the past 11 years, and served on the city’s Environmental Quality Control Board (EQCB) for the past six years and, was chairman for the last three. I was appointed by the EQCB by then-Mayor David Sloan.

John Vento

Seal Beach

Letters to the Editor: Thursday, April 20, 2017