CC&R Amendment Failures
QUESTION: There are several CC&R changes our board has wanted to make for years. However, each time they’re put to a vote, they fail. I believe the reason they fail is that they haven’t been adequately explained to the members. The proposed amendments are simply listed in the vaguest possible terms, such as,”Article IV, Section 24 (g) and (h) regarding maintenance responsibility (drainage and seal and re-stripe).” Is there a way our board can inform members of the rationale of these amendments?
ANSWER: Members should know what they are voting for (or against). That means boards should fully explain amendments with detailed explanations or meaningful summaries. Doing so is not advocacy. In addition, town hall meetings can be held to answer questions. It is common to have the association’s attorney attend meetings to explain the amendments.
Advocacy: If they do so at their own expense, board members can also engage in advocacy, i.e., urging members to vote FOR the amendments. They can distribute flyers, go door to door, send emails, and mail letters, if done at their own expense. Moreover, board members can use the association’s media (newsletter, website, etc.) to urge members for to vote for CC&R amendments provided they give equal access to any member advocating a differing point of view. (Civ. Code §5105.)
Voter Guides: Boards can also create voter guides modeled on the ones the state uses for ballot measures. A mailing can go to the membership with an explanation of the amendment plus arguments for and against written by advocates for each side. If you hold town hall meetings, you should easily find someone opposed to your amendments. Ask the person to draft something for the voter guide. If there are several opponents, ask them to work together to draft their arguments. Make sure you establish reasonable guidelines for such as number of words, no foul language, no personal attacks, etc. Don’t forget to create incentives to vote.
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