January 29, 2012 |
Question: I was elected to the board of directors because owners were fed up with a controlling manager. After election, the manager handed me a "board member tool kit," which instructs how to join in lock step with other directors and not make waves. It espouses the importance of listening to industry "experts" such as property management companies and attorneys who, it says, know much more than board directors about how to run an association. One disturbing instruction says board directors should "stand united and back the board's own majority decisions even if you voted against them.
January 24, 2012 |
The nation's largest public pension fund, the California Public Employees' Retirement System, posted a 1.1% return on its investment portfolio in 2011, Chief Investment Officer Joseph Dear told his board. The 2011 performance was well below the estimated average annual return of 7.75% that the fund's actuaries say is needed to meet current and future obligations to its members. The $229.5-billion CalPERS provides retirement and other benefits for 1.6 million state and local government employees and their families.
January 15, 2012 |
Question: We are a small homeowners association over 35 years old. As original owners sold their units, our association demographics changed. Our association is now composed of various cultural groups speaking several different languages and dialects. The majority of current owners cannot read our covenants, conditions and restrictions and other governing documents. They show no interest in the association. As a result, we no longer have a board of directors. The last board meeting minutes were published just before the secretary sold his unit and moved away last year.
December 22, 2011
The way Trent Arsenault touts himself, he's a tall, healthy and educated altruist who helps others by donating his sperm (sans sexual intercourse) on a fairly large scale. The way the U.S. Food and Drug Administration sees it, he operates a sperm bank, albeit an informal and unpaid one, that fails to meet federal regulations. From our perspective, the FDA is overreaching. Arsenault, an electronics company engineer in the Bay Area, promotes his service through the Internet to women who want to get pregnant without paying the $400 to $600 fee that a commercial sperm bank would charge.
December 11, 2011 |
Dear Liz: Several years ago, we were talked into getting what I believe was a predatory loan - a negatively amortizing mortgage for 100% of the purchase price of our home. The loan broker assured us we could refinance the following year to a more traditional mortgage. We paid the minimum monthly payment required, which didn't cover all the interest owed, so that amount was added to our mortgage balance. Like others, we have experienced the nightmare of the current housing market, and with the negative amortization adding on even more debt, we are severely underwater.
December 3, 2011 |
A hush fell upon the embalmers at Thibodaux Funeral Home as the gurney with the black body bag was wheeled into their room. They stopped what they were doing and drew near. Glenn Bergeron had been dreading this moment. Eight years as an undertaker, and he had never attended to anyone who had died so young, so violently. He made the sign of the cross. One of the newer members of the staff, a student at mortuary science school with a kindergartner at home, held back. She had to be encouraged.
November 27, 2011 |
Question: We have been renting a condo and are in the process of buying it from the owner. My husband went to a board meeting to complain about the speeders on the association's road in front of our condo. We made the board aware that vehicles speed down the street in early-morning hours going two or three times the posted 15-mph speed limit. We asked the directors if they could install speed bumps where this is occurring. The board said no. The meeting minutes reported: Renter "expressed his concern about cars speeding in the streets by his home.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 26, 2011 |
Does the endgame loom in the decades-long tussle over Santa Monica Airport? In 2015, all land and building leases at the airport expire, and city officials — and thousands of Westside residents weary of life in the flight path — say the obligation to operate the facility as an airport ends too. Santa Monica has hired consultants to study the 227-acre campus and early next year will begin asking for the public's input on potential future uses....
October 30, 2011 |
A recital without an encore is like a meal without dessert. Orchestral concerts usually skip dessert, unless the orchestra is on tour. (On the road, Valery Gergiev, conductor of the Mariinsky Theater Orchestra, always has five or six popular short pieces ready.) Sometimes encores are given after a concerto. Some conductors, however, think it's rude to make an orchestra (and maestro) wait while a soloist basks in extra applause. In fact, the whole art and practice of the encore is rather complicated, and subject to debate among performers.
October 13, 2011 |
When is it OK for you, at a college game, to boo your home team's starting quarterback for the simple act of entering a game? The correct answer is "never," but that didn't stop UCLA's unfaithful Saturday night at the Rose Bowl. Kevin Prince was forced into the thick of the Washington State plot only because starter Richard Brehaut broke his leg. Prince, last ridiculed after three first-quarter interceptions against Texas, was greeted with derision before even being allowed the chance to throw another pick — which he quickly did. The song, remember, says be true to "your" school.