SMPOA Meeting Minutes, August 5, 2018

President Ed Weitzer called the meeting to order at 8:04pm at his home at l8428 Clifftop Way.

In attendance were the following members of the Board: Ed Weitzer, Sara Epstein, Paulette Silver, Larry Klein, Howard Gould, Albert Chang, Seth Tuckerman, and Martin Legowiecki. 

Also in attendance were Parliamentarian Rick Silver and Len Osviowitz.

1. Flock Security

The first order of business was to discuss the proposed two-year agreement with third-party company Flock Security to install a dozen video surveillance cameras throughout the neighborhood at an annual cost of $18,000, which agreement had been approved by the previous SMPOA board in early June and which was the subject of a detailed presentation at the June 2018 SMPOA Annual Meeting. 

Seth Tuckerman, chair of the Security and Crime Prevention Committee, described a meeting he recently attended with certain members of the Sunset Mesa Safety Committee (“SMSC”), a group that is currently separate from the structure of the SMPOA board and which is focused exclusively on community safety and security. The purpose of the meeting was to determine whether the SMSC would like to merge with the SMPOA Board’s Security and Crime Prevention Committee, as well as to discuss the Flock Security proposal. The group reviewed a copy of the current contract proposed by Flock Security, which has not yet been signed by Flock Security or the SMPOA. Among other things, the group discovered that the total penalty for early cancellation of the Flock Security contract after the first year would be $6,000 (i.e., $500 per camera), rather than the $500 penalty that had been discussed at previous board meetings.  

In addition, Ed Weitzer described a telephone conversation he had recently with Billy Wilkes, one of the owners of Flock Security. Ed learned that Flock Security is a two-person startup company based in Georgia and that, to date, Flock Security has only provided surveillance systems to single family homes, but does not have experience executing a surveillance system on the scale of an entire homeowners’ association.  Ed also confirmed that no contract has been entered into between the SMPOA and Flock Security, and that Flock Security has not yet taken any steps towards the implementation of the camera system that had been proposed. 

Rick Silver separately confirmed with Sherriff Wynn that, contrary to information previously relied upon by the board, Los Angeles County sheriffs will not be able to synchronize their patrol cars with data from the Flock Security system.

During a larger discussion of these issues, various members of the board noted that there are still a number of unanswered questions about the Flock contract. For example, what is the risk that the cameras could be damaged or vandalized if they are only 8 feet above the ground? Where will the cameras be mounted? Would Flock require permits from the County or various utility companies in order to mount the cameras? How will the system work if cellular or WiFi coverage is inconsistent in the neighborhood?

Based on the above-described information, it was concluded that there is no present obligation for the SMPOA board to proceed with the Flock Security contract, that the prior SMPOA board had not performed sufficient research before it voted in early June to approve the contract with Flock Security, and that the SMSC and members of the SMPOA board should gather additional information and engage in a more deliberative process to solicit bids from a variety of experienced security companies before selecting a video surveillance provider. The board members also discussed the importance of continuing to pursue a community-wide surveillance system.

A motion was voted on and unanimously approved to rescind the board’s prior vote to approve the Flock Security contract, on the basis that the issues require further analysis and that the board should engage in a more formal process to research and vet potential surveillance system providers. It was agreed that this issue will need to be brought to a new vote at a later time once it has been studied more thoroughly.

2. Architecture Committee

Martin Legowiecki will be the incoming chair of the AC and will replace Linda Kaye.

Rick Silver noted that the Bylaws require that the AC have between 5 and 9 members, and that there should be a focus on building up the committee. He also noted the importance of making sure that requests made to the AC are responded to within 30 days and suggested the SMPOA website should provide the email addresses of at least two AC contacts, in order to ensure that AC requests are promptly addressed.

3. SMPOA Website

Ed Weitzer noted that there is a need for a qualified person to run the SMPOA website. It was discussed and agreed that a “help wanted” advertisement would be placed in the Sunset Mesa-ge to seek assistance with the website.

The board was also informed that exciting new updates are being made to the SMPOA website that will permit members to pay HOA dues via PayPal, Venmo and credit card.

4. Increase in SMPOA Annual Dues to $150 Next Year

Treasurer Larry Klein indicated that the board previously voted to increase annual SMPOA dues from $100 to $150 per home in order to help support the neighborhood’s new video surveillance system (whether from Flock Security or another service provider).

A discussion ensued regarding the importance of educating the community regarding what the SMPOA does with community members’ dues and the reasons why the SMPOA maintains a reserve of funds. For example, Larry Klein discussed the relationship between property value and the maintenance of a sufficient per-home reserve in order to prevent the need to seek special assessments from homeowners.

Rick Silver, the Board’s parliamentarian, also noted that the payment of annual dues is mandatory and not voluntary.

Seth Tuckerman suggested that on the SMPOA website and in upcoming editions of the Sunset Mesa-ge, it would be helpful to include an interview with the Treasurer, in which the Treasurer can answer certain frequently asked questions about SMPOA dues to help inform the community about where their dues go and how they are invested.

Larry moved for the SMPOA dues to be raised to $150 per home for 2019-2020 fiscal year (beginning in June/July 2019), and that the raise in dues would be formally announced sometime in January 2019. The motion was seconded and passed by a majority of the board members in attendance.

5. Sunset Mesa-ge

The board brainstormed regarding how to add more interesting content to the Sunset Mesa-ge monthly newsletter. Suggestions included the following:

  • Each committee of the SMPOA could write a paragraph describing the committee’s role and its goals for the coming year. 

  • Reports contributed by CHP officers and/or Sheriff Wynn, our community liaison at the County Sheriff’s Department.

  • Profiles on neighbors and their accomplishments.

  • Excerpts from historical editions of the Sunset Mesa-ge and vintage photos of the area.

There was also a discussion regarding the function of the Sunset Mesa-ge as a means to provide the community with legal notice and important information, and whether it might be possible to password-protect certain sensitive information that is posted online (such as names and addresses of homeowners who have requested AC site visits) for privacy purposes, such that members of the SMPOA would only be able to view the information online using a password, and such information would not be available for the general public to view online.

6. Fire Road on Malibu Vista.

The board discussed the existence of a secondary emergency road that leads down to Topanga Canyon Boulevard from the back of one of the flag lots on Malibu Vista Drive. With an eye towards emergency preparedness, several members of the board recently contacted the office of County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl to inform her that the road is currently in poor condition and should be repaired. They were informed that the County is looking into the issue, but that the current budget may not be able to support renovation of the road.

7. Campers on PCH.

Howard Gould summarized the recent efforts of various SMPOA community members to obtain signage limiting overnight parking on the stretch of PCH immediately below our neighborhood, which is currently overrun with camper vans. The Coastal Commission has objected to the implementation of such signage out of a concern that it would limit beach access. Although a hearing had previously been scheduled to consider evidence from Sunset Mesa neighbors regarding the safety hazards presented by the campers, such hearing was postponed indefinitely by the Coastal Commission.

It was discussed that homeowner Clarence Chapman is in the process of monitoring activity of the campers below his property in order to re-accumulate evidence for a future Coastal Commission hearing. 

Paulette Silver also informed the board that the Coastal Commission may be required to install “No Parking” signage on PCH based on an old Cal Trans order for such signage. Certain individual homeowners are working to obtain a copy of the Cal Trans order in order to help move this issue forward.

8. Treasurer’s Report.

Larry Klein circulated the attached financial summary to the Board, dated as of July 31, 2018.

9. Closing Items

It was agreed that the next Board meeting would take place on September 6, 2018 at 8:00pm at the home of President Ed Weitzer, at 18428 Clifftop Way.

The President adjourned the meeting at 9:38 pm.

Minutes Certified as of August 7, 2018