QUESTION: I am the inspector for our upcoming board election. Can you tell me what my complete responsibilities are? -Natalie K.
RESPONSE: Before SB 323, management companies and volunteers could handle most elections. Under the bill, the duties of inspectors of elections were greatly expanded. They now include the following:
RECOMMENDATION: Because of the expanded duties and higher risk of litigation, finding volunteers willing to serve as inspectors has become difficult. As a result, boards should increase their budgets for annual elections. They will need to hire professional inspectors who know how to navigate the longer, more complicated election cycles created by SB 323. If boards have not yet done so, they need to adopt new election rules.
QUESTION: No one but our current members are running for election. Making quorum requires going door to door to collect ballots and then a team of people sitting in a room to count the returns. In view of the pandemic and since we are mostly seniors, would it be possible for Sacramento to allow us to delay the annual meeting a year, or until the crisis has passed? -Charles I.
RESPONSE: Of late, Sacramento has not offered any practical solutions to anything. You could have a complete turnover of your 55+ community before that happened.
Uncontested Election. Achieving quorum is an ongoing problem for most associations. To address the current situation, you have two options. The first is to announce to the membership that the election is uncontested and declare the candidates elected to another term on the board.
Go through the Motion. The second option is to go through the time and expense of a meaningless election. Because of the coronavirus, you should not go door to door trying to collect enough ballots to meet quorum. Only rely on ballots mailed to the inspector of elections. When you cannot make quorum, announce that the existing board will remain in place for another year.
RECOMMENDATION: I don't care for the second option because it's a waste of time and money. Instead, dedicate your resources to amending your bylaws to eliminate quorum requirements for the election of directors, provide for uncontested elections, and eliminate proxies, cumulative voting, write-ins and nominations from the floor. Doing this will greatly simplify your elections, reduce expenses, and minimize potential litigation.
USE OF THE POOL
QUESTION: We don't have the staff to handle scheduling members who want to use the pool. Does that mean we have to keep our pool closed? -Jeanette M.
RESPONSE: If scheduling is keeping your pool closed, the Pool Management Group has information on how boards can safely open their pools. In addition, there is an online scheduling program through #PoolisOpen that some associations are using. It may be the solution you need for opening your pool. You can learn more about it at www.poolisopen.org.
NorCal Counties. Contra Costa has a new face covering Order to comply with State guidelines.
Madera County is now on the monitoring list and is therefore implementing the 3 weeks' closure of: bars and indoor operations of restaurants, wineries and tasting rooms, movie theaters, family entertainment centers, zoos and museums, and cardrooms. The date of these closings should be announced tomorrow.
Marin County is also on the monitoring list and is closing the above as well. It appears that indoor dining is the only effect this will have.
Mendocino County has a new Order. Among the changes are the reduction of the “social bubble” from 12 to 6 for those who may occupy separate households (this applies to work groups as well). The Order requires establishments that serve alcohol to stop serving alcohol at 8 pm and reduces capacity to allow social distancing. The Order also updates requirements for certain businesses and facial covering requirements.
Monterey County is on the State’s watch list and is therefore closing indoor and outdoor bars, breweries, pubs and brewpubs as well as indoor restaurants, wineries and tasting rooms, family entertainment centers, zoos and museums, and cardrooms.
Sacramento County, San Joaquin County and Stanislaus County have new health Orders that limit indoor operations of restaurants, wineries and tasting rooms, movie theaters, family entertainment centers, zoos and museums, and cardrooms. The Orders also restrict indoor and outdoor bars, pubs, brewpubs, and breweries. The Orders bring these Counties in line with State requirements, due to their presence on the monitoring list.
San Francisco County announced that they are pausing the planned opening on July 13 of indoor dining and outdoor bars. The County is also considering the following reopenings that are scheduled by July 13 and will provide guidance by the end of the week: hair salons, barber shops, indoor museums, outdoor pools, gyms, real estate open houses, and zoos.
Santa Clara County has a new proposed order that would go into effect either July 13 or two days after the State approves the County’s variance if after July 13. The Order would allow hair and nail services, gyms, and small gatherings. It issued a press release that outdoor dining can continue.
Tulare County closed bars, pubs, brewpubs and breweries.
Yolo County is limiting indoor operations of restaurants, wineries and tasting rooms, movie theaters, family entertainment centers, zoos and museums, and cardrooms. The Order also restricts indoor and outdoor bars, pubs, brewpubs, and breweries (alcohol only). Yolo is not on the monitoring list, but is taking these action preemptively to align with neighboring Counties. It issued a press release that they will be increasing enforcement measures.
SoCal Counties. Los Angeles County changed its pool protocols, prohibiting the opening of water slides, rides, and other water attractions. Also, if an association has employees, it must report to the Department of Health if 3 or more contract the coronavirus in a 14-day period. They also updated their multi-family residence guidelines; continued closure of community rooms, and recreation rooms, but allowing limited basketball court opening for skills building activities, but not for pick up or team games.
Orange County issued revised order on July 3, 2020 and provides for closure of bars, pubs, breweries and brewpubs that do not offer meals, and closure of indoor operations. Further, the following indoor operations are closed: indoor dining; wineries and tasting rooms; movie theaters; family entertainment centers; zoos and museums.
Riverside County, the City of Palms Springs extended its eviction moratorium due to non-payment of rent in relation to coronavirus pandemic to July 31, 2020.
San Bernardino County issued a new order on July 2, 2020 closing bars, pubs, breweries and brewpubs, and indoor dining; also, movie theaters, family entertainment centers, zoos, museums, and cardrooms are prohibited from operating indoors.
Santa Barbara County issued an order closing bars, pubs, breweries and brewpubs for both indoor and outdoors. Also, movie theaters, family entertainment centers, zoos, museums and cardrooms are prohibited from operating indoors.
Ventura County has a new order on July 2, 2020 closing bars, pubs, breweries and brewpubs and indoor dining. Additionally, movie theaters, family entertainment centers, zoos, museums and cardrooms are prohibited from operating indoors.
Updated Chart. For a list of County restrictions and links to Health Department Orders, see County Chart 7-7-20. The chart is also posted on our website. Thank you to readers for sending us information about their counties. If we missed anything, please contact us.
Adrian, I really appreciate you, your newsletter and the Governor for stepping up to the plate by providing so much good information concerning the COVID-19. Thank you all for your time and hard hard work in keeping us all updated. -Paulette K.
I'm grateful to you for pointing out the HUD ruling. Board members need to be educated (the point of your undying efforts of the newsletter I presume). I see another side to the HUD "burden." As board members, we ARE leaders of our community who set the tone through actions and policies like a Code of Ethics. Not all issues of members will fall under HUD and warrant a full-blown investigation but the board is now at least "can" address and are "provided the opportunity" to review and determine how they choose to proceed forward. -Lisa
Adrian, thank you so much for reminding that distancing and not masks remains "the gold standard," as Dr. Fauci recently termed it. Masks are to be worn when distancing is not possible — a mandate from the old days? Fully support wearing masks when needed, but who are these people wearing them when walking alone? And when another person comes along, why don't they both just move to their respective sides and thus make distancing possible? Thanks, too, for all the informative, interestingly-written (and hey, often downright funny — love the sarcasm!) columns over the past months and years. -Sherry N.
Love your newsletter — it is filled with common sense and legal, especially in this new world. And humor is always welcome. -Merle R.
Love your newsletter with all the good advice particularly like your suggestion for HOA Nation. Would love to do it, could then declare myself Dictator for Life, charge exorbitant fees and request foreign assistance from the U.S.A. -Larry D.
Adrian. More common sense. An oasis in a sea of discontent. Thank you. Last week, we totally closed our pools and spas as well as tennis and pickleball courts. Cable chains on gates, combination locks so the maintenance people can get in and a big red sign about being closed for the duration due to Covid-19. Seeking loopholes to the two at a time rules and the kind of masks needed and the inability to of monitoring of wipe down...basically impossible and even more prone to liability. And yes, you can walk or bike around our streets unmasked if you keep the six foot distance. The bickering about the health of others is a distraction and unnecessary sideshow. I know we cannot protect people from themselves but we surely can protect others from the few people who have made the anti mask thing a movement. -Earl R.
What a hoot. I see people in cars windows rolled up with masks. I can but shake my head. -Kathy D.
Regarding your comments about people wearing masks while driving their cars with the windows rolled up: when wearing a mask, which I do, I have to deal with mask loops (the tie kind don’t work for me), my glasses, and hearing aids. Removing the mask is a hassle as the loops usually tangle with my hearing aids which knock them from my ears. Sometimes it’s easier to wear the mask, instead of putting it on and taking it off, donning it again, while out and about. -Virginia M.
NOTE: I receive far more emails than I can possibly respond to. Feedback on the coronavirus ranges from demands that boards force everyone to follow every dictate of State/County/Local authorities, to wanting boards to sit on their hands and do nothing. Watching the news does not help, since medical recommendations depend on the news outlet you watch. Moreover, the recommendations seem to change daily. Somewhere in the middle is a balanced approach. Everyone seems to agree that social distancing and wearing masks in common area hallways, elevators and lobbies makes sense. Fining bicyclists is not a priority. Each board should decide what emergency rules to adopt and enforce. They should do so in consultation with legal counsel.
Boards can contact us for friendly,
Adrian J. Adams, Esq.
Founder & Managing Partner
DISCLAIMER. Our newsletter provides commentary based on sketchy information we receive from readers. From time to time, we add a little humor. Some find it amusing. Others are appalled. Some readers are excited when they score free legal advice. Not so. Our newsletter provides commentary only, not legal advice. You need to pay real money for an attorney to review all the facts and give you a legal opinion. We do that too, but you have to actually hire us. It's okay, we're friendly. You can call us. Keep in mind we are corporate counsel to associations only.