Commentary: Vote no on THCA bylaws change

We urge all residents of Temple Hills to vote no on the new Temple Hills Community Assn. bylaws. Ron Chilcote has been the president of THCA for 40 years.

THCA is not a community association. Its Articles of Incorporation (not posted on its website) state its purpose is: "To work with other neighborhood associations, and together provide community input to city decision-making by assisting with the development of guidelines and the establishment of criteria for zoning and future development of the city of Laguna Beach and its environs."

THCA is a political advocacy group that teams with other groups and intervenes in public matters at City Hall, not just in Temple Hills, but throughout the city. They certainly do not welcome "community input."

We have been members of THCA for nine years, hosted an annual party and attended every annual business meeting since 2003.

Prior to the December meeting, we submitted a motion making a general statement to amend the bylaws to include democratic voting procedures and other changes that would reform THCA into an open association that welcomes all points of view. Chilcote refused.

At the meeting, 19 unidentified people voted once to elect a single slate of 23 members to the board by a count of raised hands. The bylaws say: "The number of directors shall be three (3)." The ballot that was mass-mailed to residents says there are 14 board members.

At the meeting, a single slate was moved for a vote — no debates, no voting for individual candidates, no discussion. A group of us tried to challenge this rigged election, but we were shut down.

Chilcote states in the ballot: "Consistent with the original bylaws, all residents are members of the association, but only dues-paying members are entitled to vote on association business."

Nowhere in the bylaws is this stated. Article 2.3 of the existing bylaws states, "Each member shall be entitled to one vote on each matter submitted to a vote of the members."

Members are defined as residents of Temple Hills. Dues are voluntary. Chilcote's pro bono attorney has stated the bylaws are vague. A simple read says they are very clear.

Now Chilcote states, "... only dues-paying members are entitled to vote." Then in contradiction, he states, "Voting for approval of the updated bylaws is open to all residences within our geographical area, but there can be only one vote per residence."

The ballot then states: "75 votes are required to constitute a quorum." Because 10% is required to establish a quorum, Chilcote must think there are 750 dues-paying members or maybe they are lot owners.

In fact, there are about 1,000 persons living in Temple Hills. A quorum of at least 100 must be present to conduct an election. This means that the December election of the board with only 19 strangers voting for the board is voided.

We don't believe Chilcote, or his handpicked board, is authorized to act on behalf of THCA. Having attended annual meetings since 2003, we have never seen a quorum present or accounted for.

The ballot states ballots must be in by May 1. Later, it says May 15. This alone has tainted this election.

Chilcote's pro bono attorney has stated, "Although THCA is not covered by Davis-Stirling, we used the closest concept under Davis-Stirling for who is entitled to vote."

Davis-Stirling applies only to condominium associations. THCA is a political advocacy group. We believe in one person, one vote. Voting by property ownership disenfranchises renters, vacation homeowners, wives, roommates, domestic partners, adult children, etc.

Davis-Stirling rightfully contains an extensive section on of elections, which requires open meetings, advance notice, independent inspectors, secret ballots, etc. None of this is in the proposed bylaws.

We have no problem with a small group forming a political action committee and fighting for what they believe in. But THCA falsely claims they represent the 1,000 people in Temple Hills when they lobby City Hall.

This is wrong and we urge the people to mail in a protest vote of no before May 15. Please include a note in your ballot declaring you are a member and demand a notice from the inspector if your vote is thrown out.

We hope this protest vote will result in a new and honest community association that is run openly, welcomes all members with all points of view, avoids taking divisive political positions, and serves to unite our community.

If anyone needs a ballot or more information on THCA, email us at THNA@cox.net.

Doug Cortez and Phillip LeBlanc are residents of Temple Hills.

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