HILLBILLY JUSTICE IN CLEARWOOD?
Theres a new Sheriff in town with newfangled ideas about following the law. The old-timers are mightily upset. They prevailed in Clearwood until the 2010-2011elections when Bob Owen and John Moore became President and VicePresident, and in retaliation for losing member votes they are attempting to REMOVE Bob and John from the Board. Deborah Baker, past president, wrote to the
Nisqually Valley News in defense of the old, illegal democratic way of voting versus following State Law RCW 64-38-25. What is that all about?
In 1995 communities like Clearwood, built in the 1960s and 1970s were running down after thirty years of use and abuse, without Reserve Funds for the repair and upkeep of amenities. Members balked at Assessment increases. Maintenance was deferred and Property values tumbled. This was a problem for communities that manage their own water systems. Some communities, unable to properly maintain their water systems, have were subjected to a State mandated takeover costing their members dearly. Other communities are borrowing to fund repairs. One option in Clearwood is to impose a Special Assessment on all members, but if we follow the RCW it will not be necessary.
The State enacted the RCW 64-38-25 (3) (ratification of the budget) to protect the rights of property owners in such communities, against a lawless hillbilly takeover, deferred maintenance, and falling property values. The Law allows members the RIGHT TO REJECT any unfair Budget increases with 50% (plus one member) voting against the increase. Members opposed to Budget increases need to get out and vote.
By failing to follow this RCW Clearwood has been unable ratify Budget increases taking it back to pre-RCW conditions: the Reserves are underfunded, dues barely cover employee salaries and the Board has deferred maintenance to the infrastructure. A/C (asbestos concrete) water mains lying under the roads must be replaced, roads repaved the and old wooden docks, cabanas and bathrooms replaced.
Most HOA communities in WA State follow the RCW. A few are testing the RCW in court. So far the law has prevailed. Deborah Baker spent thousands on attorney fees seeking a lawyer who agreed with her definition of the law. She failed.
In their letter to NVN Deborah Baker and Vic Espinosa wrote
Its disappointing that, while we fight in foreign countries to protect our democratic process, we, in Clearwood, could be giving ours away. The reality is that Clearwood Community is the home to many of the overseas military personnel, they represent sixty percent of our voting power. They voted for change in 2010-2011 when they put Bob Owen and John Moore on the Board. Should we deny them their democratic rights by failing to follow the law intended to protect them or should we go back to the other democratic way of voting?
Read more from the Clearwood Owners Group on their FB page.