Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Open letter to Tom Thurman, SCCA President

Open letter to Mr. Tom Thurman, President of SCCA

This is my response to the post by Tom Thurman on Menifee24/7 a bout how SCCA became 55+:
“Therese Daniels' statements, as quoted, on menifee247.com June 13,2008 are untrue.”
My statements are quite true. If you can prove other wise, I will then an only then take back my words and apologize.
“She is accusing a deceased former SCCA board member of chicanery involved in the recording of the Sun City Civic Association's First Amended & Consolidated Declaration of Restrictions. She even accused her of doing something illegal.

If Ms. Daniels would do a little research she would see that Mrs. Roberge did not sign any recorded documents in 1997.”
May Jean Roberge rest in peace. (Lou Textera) It still doesn’t alter the fact she headed up a project approved by the SCCA Board called “Project 55” for the purpose of obtaining 250 signatures on a petition to get the CC&R’s amended from age 18+ to 55+. According to the SCCA bylaws of that time the petition was required to get the amendment put on a ballot so members could vote approval or not. (everything has been convoluted so many times by the board and its attorneys since then, who knows what they say now) Where is that ballot? Where if there was a ballot is the voting results of the ballot? How come you are not aware of “Project 55”? Why was “project 55” ever begun if SCCA already had a 55+ only status?
What you do not know, Mr. Thurman, is that I saw a document filed with the county recorder signed by Jean Roberge with only her signature on it. My only mistake was to fail to get a copy of that document when I had the chance. If you research the minutes and other documents during the years of 1997 through 2001, you may find abundant information that will substantiate my claim. However, I think you would prefer to make me bad and wrong than admit the mistakes of the SCCA Board.

“The documents were in fact signed by Glen L. Roark President of the SCCA on 03/07/1997 and filed and recorded in Riverside County on 03/11/1997. As the separate tracts in the core approved the amendment requirements they were consolidated under the Consolidated Declaration. The process took a couple of years. The last annexation was dated and signed by Glenn L. Roark 2/1/1999 filed and recorded in Riverside County 2/22/1999. Most of the tracts required an approval vote of 2/3 of the total lot owners.”
Now here is where this mess gets tricky. Where is there a copy of the ballot asking for the approval vote? It may have been sent, but I don’t remember it. The 1997 consolidation to which is Mr. Thurman referring was created by very clever attorneys for SCCA Board Members at the behest of the SCCA Board members. The attorneys were paid with SCCA membership money. Do you really think the membership was consulted about the content of this consolidation document? Who approved it? The majority of the SCCA Board? Or did the 2/3 of the membership approve it-- which is what is required when CC&R’s are being amended? The SCCA Board simply adopted the age 55+ restriction and included it in the consolidation and passed it off on the membership without a ballot and without membership full knowledge and understanding of consolidated declarations of 1997 tracts allegedly signed. Again, I ask where is the ballot asking for an amendment for an age restriction that the membership was to vote upon? Show us that ballot? Show us the ballot that gave SCCA Board then authority to hire Epsten & Grinnel to rewrite the whole enchilada!

“Jean Roberge, President and Betty Jo Adney Secretary of the SCCA signed an amendment to the First Amended & Consolidated Declaration on 08/23/2001.. . . It was filed and recorded on 9/17/2001 in Riverside County.”
Once the Epsten and Grinnel brought SCCA Board legally along that far and this very questionable document recorded, it was all over for the membership to ever hope to fight a legal battle as to what and how they did this. Though at the time, I am certain no one ever thought to fight the Board or the document. Most members just fell into place like sheep.
“. . . The signing of this amendment was authorized by a majority vote of the Board of Directors of the SCCA at a meeting on 08/16/2001.”
Check it out. Mr. Thurman admits the Board-- I repeat the -- SCCA Board of just seven members signed this document. At this stage you can argue that it is the Board’s duty to sign on behalf of the membership. That I would agree. However, at what point did the Board get permission from the membership to do so? I was around then. I don’t remember being asked. Show me where 2/3 of the membership voted approval for and signed an amendment to the age restriction!
“ . . .This amendment was required to maintain compliance with the current requirements of State and Federal law applicable to housing for senior citizens.”
It is interesting that SCCA Board failed to comply with its legal obligations after Jean Roberge obtained her 250 signed petition, to place this amendment on the ballot to obtain a 2/3 membership vote; but SCCA is so concerned about maintaining compliance regarding senior housing. Could it be there is something wrong with this picture?

“It is my opinion that Ms. Daniels has self-interest in her desire to open the core to all ages as she is a real estate person, and her primary concern is her pocket book and not the welfare of the homeowners in the core.”
Isn’t this a standard response when people don’t know what else to say. She is a real estate agent and has self interest and wants to make a lot of money. I normally ignore such stupidity but I am going to answer it this time in hopes it enlightens people to reality. The majority of the years I practiced real estate was in Los Angeles where the big money is. A realtor isn’t confined to one little tiny area like Sun City Core where the property values are among the lowest in California and the deals are the most difficult to close. The real money properties are built all around and right to the borders of Sun City. They sell for more money, less aggravation, and none of the added problem of age restrictions. Any realtor can make a great living without ever having to sell one 45+ year old property in the core when the market is just a little better than the one we are in.

“Stupid is what stupid does.” Forrest Gump
So Mr. Thurman, take your head out of the sand and look around. After that, take a Fleets enema, to clear your head. Sun City is obsolete with its 40+ year old properties, perma rock landscaping, and oleander bushes cut to only six feet. I have no personal agenda to get rich on the poorest, most difficult properties in the state of California.
Yes, it is true. You bet I would like to see the core opened to all ages. So would a whole lot of other SCCA members. This would be in the highest and best interest of every property owner and member in the core. It will also bring fresh and new energy to this tired old core. It will help us transform into the new Menifee City and the 21 first century. In case you haven’t noticed, Mr. Thurman, times, life styles, attitudes, and needs have changed since 1964. It is time SCCA awaken, step out of its time capsule and change. Come into the 21 first century. If you want to accuse me of ulterior motives, Let me go one better. I would like to see entire SCCA dissolved. It is no longer needed and except for the 300 to 500 people who still use the facilities you so affectionately call “the Campus”, no one cares about the activities. This is a different world. People are into computers and gyms. SCCA is nothing but a money pit. It offers no services of any value to me and over 4,000 of the rest of the members. Yet we are forced to pay for the rest of the dinosaurs who are still living in prehistoric times.
Housing is the economic backbone of America. When the housing market gets in trouble, the entire economic balance of the country tumbles down with it. Home ownership is the great American dream. It is family shelter and its investment. For most people it is the greatest investment of their life time. People are entitled to get the highest and best value from their properties. This is not only good investment, and the American way, but it is moral, ethical, and right. Any one will agree with these thoughts except for the SCCA Board and a handful of recalcitrant members.
SCCA is the perfect example why deed restricted titles are inferior to all other titles. People cannot control their investments because the investments are in the control of Boards of Directors who think they know-- but don’t know the first thing about property value.-- The SCCA’s board
minimized, depreciated, and devalued
the real estate of its own members when it imposed the 55+ restriction. Isn’t it disgusting, Mr. Thurman, that the people who bought into this community with their life savings trusted the SCCA Board of Directors to safeguard their investment only to see it fail? Isn’t it pitiful, Mr. Thurman, that people bought into Sun City Core hoping it would be a good plan for their old age only to lose it in foreclosure because of a minimum market created by age restriction? Isn’t this, Mr. Thurman, the ultimate betrayal of the SCCA Board to its members? Where is your concern for the welfare of the members. Money is a very real need. Without it, people soon become homeless. You know what happens to the homeless. Where have all the members gone who used to live in these abandoned homes?
The sad reality is SCCA members have been harmed by the 55+ restrictions in many, many ways. There are families whose older children who have fallen upon hard times these past few years who can not help their children by sharing their home because of the age restriction. There are others who were counting on the sale of their property to take them into another life style who couldn’t sell their homes and lost them in foreclosure. There are several abandoned homes because it is easier to just let them rot than to attempt to sell or rent because of the age restrictions. The people in the core cannot refinance because values are so low. The families with gorgeous homes at the borders of the core cannot refinance either because the core neighborhood depreciates the value of their property. These are just a few reasons why age restricted communities are not in the highest and best interest of titleholders. The horror stories go on and on and on. What about the welfare of these good, innocent and somewhat na├»ve families, Mr. Thurman? Don’t you care about them? I do.

“We are allowed to discriminate based on age as a Senior Community in fact, it is encouraged by State and Federal laws.”

That statement is a crock of manure. This is a classic example of how facts are twisted and convoluted to suit any one’s purpose. No wonder it is so difficult to get accurate information about anything. The state and federal laws neither encourage nor discourage age discrimination. It is merely a permission given by state and federal for those seniors who choose to create a senior community. If you really understood anti discrimination laws, you would know age discrimination is forbidden unless a community has met the standards to be an age restricted community. Sun City Core failed to meet the required standards to qualify for a senior only community. However because Sun City was built prior to the Unruh Act, the standards were waived!
“There are no laws that would allow us to lower the age limit to 18, 25, or 45. This would be illegal discrimination and we would be in violation of the Federal Fair Housing Act of 1988.”

Tom Thurman

SCCA Member
You are quite correct when you say there are no laws that would allow SCCA to return to the original adult only age 18+ status when Sun City was first developed. The Unruh act erased that. However, there is nothing stopping Sun City From removing the 55+ restriction and start to restore property values so members could enjoy some equity.

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