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Woman Faces Fine for Kissing Her Date : Rules: Grandmother says condominium homeowners’ association threatened punishment if she is again caught doing ‘bad things.’ She said she merely gave a friend a quick buss.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

A 51-year-old woman who said she only kissed her date good night outside her condominium has been threatened by her homeowners’ association with a fine if she does “bad things” again.

At first, Helen (Kim) Garrett said, she thought the warning letter in her mailbox was a prank. Now, she says, she is angry enough to consider selling or suing.

The “courtesy notice” she received from the owners’ association was brief and to the point:

“DESCRIPTION OF VIOLATION: RESIDENT SEEN PARKING IN CIRCULAR DRIVEWAY KISSING AND DOING BAD THINGS FOR OVER 1 HOUR.” The association, it warned, would “demand a fine” if it happened again.

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But Garrett says she only kissed a man good night in his car.

Garrett, a grandmother and financial consultant, says she grew up near Memphis in what she describes as a “strict Baptist” home. She has lived in her condo for two years and has made California her home for a decade. She considers herself “an educated woman of high moral values.”

“I’m sure there are some 50-year-olds out there who are pretty wild,” said Garrett’s employer, Mark D. Berglas, owner of a Tustin-based financial consulting firm. “Not Kim. . . . I don’t think she smokes. I don’t think she drinks. All she does is work. Out of 30 employees, she’s my top producer.”

Representatives of the Town Square association and the owner, Vanco Properties in Long Beach, did not return calls.

Garrett said that on the evening of May 22, she and a friend pulled into the public driveway of her complex and came to an idling stop. She said she leaned to her left, kissed him, opened the door of his vehicle and walked to an indoor elevator. Her friend drove away. It all took no more than a minute.

Still, Garrett says she considers it no laughing matter that the letter was posted publicly at the complex. She says that when she called Vanco Properties she was “given the option” of attending what she understood to be an arbitration to try to get the warning overturned.

“I could go in and let a bunch of people decide whether I can kiss someone good night,” Garrett said. “It’s ridiculous.”

“I feel controlled, I feel watched,” she said. “If they can judge my morals, which are not wrong, they can just keep passing rules. It will be like Russia.”

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