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“Who’s Your Legislator?” Contest

February 6, 2017

Hundreds of bills heard each year in Sacramento can affect California’s community associations. But how do our legislators know what’s best for homeowners? In addition to CAI-CLAC’s advocacy, it’s emails and phone calls from members like yourselves that have the greatest impact on elected officials. Enter our “Who’s Your Legislator?” contest and find your local legislators at!

Simply visit the site and choose Contact Your Legislator from the Get Involved drop-down menu. Then search by address.

A $50 gift card will be randomly awarded to an eligible winner who correctly identifies their Assembly, Senate, and Congressional representatives. Email the name of your chapter, your address, and the names of your elected officials to

Good luck!

All entries must be emailed no later than Friday, February 10, 2017. The gift card will be mailed or presented at a chapter meeting. All decisions regarding winners are the PR Chair’s. All decisions are final. Rules are subject to change. No cost or purchase necessary. An unknown number of people may participate. You must be over 18 to enter.

SB 814: Discouraging Excessive Water Use

January 23, 2017

California is experiencing the worst drought in over a century. While recent rains bring good news for our water supply, the California Legislature has enacted a number of laws aimed at water conservation that still stand. Existing law requires the Department of Water Resources and the State Water Resources Control Board to take appropriate actions to prevent unreasonable water use.  To further the goal of preventing unreasonable water use, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law new legislation prohibiting excessive water use by residential customers during a drought (SB 814).

Specifically, SB 814, which adds Chapter 3.3 to Division 1 of the California Water Code, requires “urban water suppliers” to “establish a method to identify and discourage excessive water use.”  (Water Code § 366(b).)  Accordingly, a water supplier may adopt one of the following methods: (1) a rate structure using block tiers, water budgets, penalties for prohibited uses, and rate surcharges, or (2) an ordinance, rule or tariff (collectively, “Ordinance”) that defines the procedure by which water suppliers are to recognize and deal with excessive water use.  A violation of an Ordinance is punishable by a fine of at least $500 per one hundred (100) cubic feet of water, or seven hundred and forty-eight (748) gallons, above the established threshold.

In light of the foregoing, Associations should be mindful of the new prohibition against excessive water use, especially in condominium project where the units are not separately metered.

matthew-t-plaxtonMatthew T. Plaxton, Esq.

Matthew T. Plaxton, Esq. is an attorney at Tinnelly Law Group, PC, a law firm which has been devoted exclusively to providing legal representation to California community associations for more than 25 years.  He serves as the CLAC Liaison to the Greater Los Angeles Chapter of CAI, and is Chair of its Legislative Support Committee.

Legal Forum: California Communities – 2016 Keeping the Tradition Alive

January 23, 2017

The following was originally published in Connect Magazine.

The elegant Renaissance Resort and Spa, located in the quiet, yet welcoming, Coachella Valley community of Indian Wells, was the site of this year’s much-anticipated and well-attended CAI-sponsored California-centric legal educational conference.  For those readers who may not already be aware of, or familiar with, the conference known as the Legal Forum: California Communities, is an event sponsored by CAI (Community Association Institute), the largest organization in the country whose primary organizational objective is advocating on behalf of homeowner associations located  here in the United States, as well as a multitude of common interest communities world-wide.

Having taken place this past Oct. 21st , this year’s event marked the seventh time that CAI has brought the conference to California homeowners and managers, and the first time it has been presented in the Coachella Valley.   In past years the event has taken place in San Diego, Temecula, Long Beach (twice), Irvine (twice) and now adding the CV to its list of venues.  The challenge, as always, was to continue the tradition of presenting nothing less than world-class, value-added legal educational sessions to those who had invested the time, energy and finances to take part in this once-a-year event.  I’ll let you know my thoughts at the end of this article.

The actual hosting of the Legal Forum, as has always been the case in the past, falls on the capable shoulders of the Executive Directors of CAI’s eight California chapters, along with CAI’s California Legislative Action Committee, and deals with community association legal issues that are then the focus of a special one-day event designed for community managers, association board members and other interested homeowners.

This year, and again as in the past, the Forum was divided into two categories of session-types, with one being ideally designed for community association volunteer leaders (board members and homeowners), and the second targeting community managers who are tasked daily with managing our common interest communities.   No matter which category attendees preferred, there was no shortage of sessions available for them to attend, and to learn from.

In the category designed for association volunteer leaders, there were sessions that dealt with subjects ranging from Short-term Rentals to everything you wanted to know about Drones, as well as subjects like Social Media and Internet Presence in Associations.  

Running concurrently and for the manager-types in attendance, there were sessions that were unquestionably California-specific when it comes to the latest trending topics dealing with association law.   Topics that included learning how to Maximize Directors and Officer Liability Insurance Coverage for claims against Managers, Directors and even volunteer committee-members were presented and discussed, along with topics such as The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly: A Guide to HOA Law,  as well how to correctly identify Defamation and What to Do About It.   No doubt that there were sessions that were designed to appeal to just about every attendee-type that was there, and the “good news” was that each and every session was presented by extremely qualified and capable presenters who themselves were acknowledged experts in their fields.

As an added bonus, the keynote address was an enlightening presentation by Dawn Bauman, CAE, Senior Vice President Government & Public Affairs, Community Associations Institute, entitled Community Next: 2020 and Beyond   Envisioning the Future of Community Association Living, in which she described for the audience the results of CAI having embarked upon an initiative to forecast the future of community associations, by engaging fifty volunteer stakeholders and subject matter experts from around the world for a year-long deep dive on issues related to community association governance, management public policy, and external influences.   The audience listened attentively to what she had to say, and left the session with a greater awareness of what life in associations just might look like for the next generation of residents.   Fascinating stuff?   You bet!

And, of course, what would a well-managed conference be without the supportive industry business-partners, who represented the variety of experts that each and every association relies upon to make sure that all goes well within their communities, whether its the landscapers, the painters, the general contractors, the bankers, the pool specialists, the fence-builders, the security-providers, the attorneys, the reserve specialists, the insurance carriers and all the other service providers we all rely upon to keep things running smooth and hassle-free.   They were at the Forum as well, and offered their services and products for those in need of them, and in a professional way that spoke volumes about how much they care about how they are portrayed within this industry.  In other words, they were all ‘class-acts’ in their presentations.

Our California Legislative Action Committee (CLAC) also participated in its annual role of creating a warm climate for encouraging donations targeted for use in continuing advocacy efforts on behalf of California common interest communities, with their fundraiser event that took place the evening before.  With the “Rat Pack” as its theme, we were treated to several amazing reincarnations of Frank, Dean, Sammy, Marilyn making their presence felt, and even Anne-Margret was “in the house”.   All in all, the committee proved again, that when it comes to fund-raising, few do it better.   And this year was no exception.

Wrapping up, I’m drawn back to the title of this article and what my thoughts are on whether or not CAI was successful in keeping the tradition alive.  Not enough can be said about how well this year’s Legal Forum was managed, and equally not enough can be said about the elevated enthusiasm expressed by those who were in attendance.   Having had the opportunity to speak with several of those who were there, I was left with an unmistakably-positive impression that this year’s Legal Forum was not only the best-attended one in its so-far brief seven-year run, but it was also the most informative (based on the variety and content of the sessions offered) Legal Forum that the California Communities has been offered.  Did it keep the tradition alive, of providing superb sessions?  Yes!   Did it keep the tradition alive, of providing nothing less than the cream-of-the-crop in speakers and presenters?  Absolutely!   And, did it keep the tradition alive, of providing to those in attendance an exceptional return on their investment of participating in the Legal Forum?   You Betcha!  Did the chapter Executive Directors do an outstanding job of managing the event?   But, of course!  And lastly, did the attendees, both community association volunteer leaders, as well as managers, leave with invaluable knowledge that they could use immediately?  No question about it!   They came, they learned, and they left ready to employ a refreshed and ample amount of knowledge that can and will make all their future endeavors for improving the quality-of-life within their association-living that much easier…….

robert-riddick-cmaRobert Riddick, CMA

Robert is the current President of Sunnymead Ranch PCA, and past GRIE-Chapter President. He is a past Chair of the CAI National CAVL committee, and past National Board of Trustees member.  He is also a past member of the GRIE-Chapter Board of Directors, and currently serves as the CAI-GRIE chapter CLAC Liaison, as well as its LSC Chair.  He is also currently serving as a Board member for the  CAI Foundation for Community

CAI’s California Legislative Action Committee Honors Three Leaders for Years of Dedicated Service to their Profession

December 22, 2016

The following is a press release distributed on December 2, 2016.

Sacramento, CA – Community Associations Institute’s California Legislative Action Committee (CAI-CLAC), the nation’s largest advocacy organization dedicated to monitoring legislation, educating elected state lawmakers and protecting the interests of those living in California homeowners associations, announced today the designation of three of its long-serving members as Delegates Emeritus.

Honorees include:

  • Wendy Bucknum, Vice President of Business Development for Associa Professional Community Management, AAMC
  • Judy G. Campion, Principal, Campion and Company
  • Dick Pruess, President, Castlegate Homeowners Association

The Delegate Emeritus honor is awarded to CLAC delegates who have worked tirelessly to advance the committee’s goals and legislative objectives.

“CAI-CLAC would not be where it is today were it not for the vision, dedication and leadership of these three fantastic committee members,” said John MacDowell, Chair of CAI-CLAC. “We greatly appreciate their contributions through the years and welcome their continued support and guidance moving forward.”

Wendy Bucknum, CMCA, AMS, PCAM, serves as Vice President of Business Development for Associa-PCM. An employee with the company for over 23 years, Ms. Bucknum spent much of that time as Governmental and Public Affairs Manager onsite at Laguna Woods Village. She is Past President of the Orange County Regional Chapter of the Community Associations Institute and currently serves on the Chapter’s Legislative Support Committee. She is also a Delegate at-large on CLAC and serves on the Federal Legislative Action Committee.

Since November 2014, Ms. Bucknum has served on the Mission Viejo City Council, currently serving as Mayor Pro Tem. In this role, she also serves as commissioner on the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) and chairs the Jobs and Economic Development Committee of the Association of California Cities, Orange County (ACC-OC).

Judy G. Campion, AMS, PCAM, established Campion and Company, a portfolio management firm specializing in service to community associations, in 1990. A member of CAI’s Greater Los Angeles Chapter (CAI-GLAC) since 1982, she served as a member of CAI’s National Faculty from 1998 to 2013. An outgoing Delegate to CLAC, she served as the Committee’s Treasurer for nearly 10 years. She also chaired GLAC’s Trade Show, Education and Programs Committees and is past winner of the “Volunteer of the Year” award as well as the “Outstanding Service Award to the Homeowner Interest Group” for CAI-GLAC.

Ms. Campion is known throughout the industry for the workshop she created and presented at multiple national and local CAI conferences entitled “How to Deal with Difficult People.”

Dick Pruess, currently president of the Castlegate Homeowners Association in Pasadena, has served on the Executive Committee of the California Legislative Action Committee (CLAC) for seven years, including two as Chair. In 2009, he was recognized as “Volunteer of the Year” for his role helping revise the Davis-Stirling Act, the law governing every community association in California.

In 2004, Pruess received the CAI Award for “Excellence in Chapter Leadership” and the GLAC President’s Award following his year serving as CAI-GLAC Chapter President. In 2013, he was awarded the CAI National “Award of Excellence in Government and Public Affairs.”

Bucknum, Campion and Pruess are among 15 individuals that have been named Delegate Emeritus since 1973.


New Year Brings New Laws that will Impact California Community Associations

December 22, 2016

The following is a press release distributed December 20, 2016.

Sacramento, CA – Community association managers, board members and residents living in the nearly 50,000 community associations throughout California will be directly impacted by several new laws when they wake up January 1, 2017.

AB 968 (Gordon)

Chief among them is Assembly Bill 968 (Gordon), which amends the Davis-Stirling Act governing common-interest developments, or community associations, as it relates to exclusive use common areas.

Prior to AB 968, individual homeowners in community associations were responsible for the maintenance of exclusive use common areas. Meanwhile, the association was responsible for the maintenance, repair and replacement of non-exclusive use common areas such as swimming pools and landscaping.

AB 968 clarifies the association is responsible for the repair and replacement of exclusive use common areas. The homeowner will still be responsible for maintaining such areas.

“Think of a patio or deck,” explained John R. MacDowell, attorney specializing in community associations with Fiore, Racobs & Powers, and chair of the California Legislative Action Committee of the Community Associations Institute. “Homeowners will still be responsible for keeping the area clean and maintaining trees, plants and other items.”

“But the association will now be responsible for repairing the structure of the deck; repair of common area walls and fences in patio enclosures; repair of utilities that serve just one unit, as well as anything else designated as “exclusive use.”

AB 918 (Vidak)

Assembly Bill 918 (Vidak) requires that owners in community associations keep their board informed as to whether or not their home is owner-occupied, vacant or rented out. Additionally, they must notify the board as to the primary and secondary addresses where notices are to be delivered, as well as the names of owners’ legal representatives or other contact persons in event of the owners’ extended absence.

“Many residents, board members and managers grow frustrated when the owner of a home can’t be reached either because they don’t live in the area or have moved and they can’t reach the renter,” explained MacDowell. “This can also be a public safety or maintenance concern if there’s ever a problem such as flooding or after an earthquake.”

Other new laws that will likely impact residents and managers of community associations include:

AB 1978 (Gonzalez) – Creates additional registration, investigation, enforcement, training and criminal liability on employers and individuals in the janitorial business as well as joint liability for those who contract for janitorial services. This includes community associations and community management companies who often contract such businesses as vendors to maintain common areas.

AB 814 (Hill) – Prohibits excessive water use by residential customers, including those living in multi-unit housing complexes during prescribed periods such as water emergencies and drought.

AB 2362 (Chu) – Details the process by which owners in community associations are to be notified regarding the application of pesticides. Associations, for example, must provide notice to a homeowner and, if applicable, the tenant if pesticides are to be applied without a licensed pest control operator. It also authorizes owners and/or tenants to agree to immediate pesticide application.

Community association boards are encouraged to review their rules and procedures to ensure they are in line with these laws, which go into effect at midnight on January 1, 2017.

About CAI’s California Legislative Action Committee

Community Associations Institute, or CAI, is an international organization providing education and resources to community associations, their volunteer leaders, and the industries that serve them.  CAI’s California Legislative Action Committee, CLAC, advocates the interests of the over 50,000 community associations in California and educates legislators about homeowner association living and governance.  CLAC’s delegates, appointed by the eight CAI chapters in California, include homeowner volunteers, community association managers, and other industry professionals. Visit to learn more.

In addition to state and national legislative advocacy, CAI provides information, tools and resources to community association volunteer leaders, community managers and management firms and other professionals who provide products and services to community associations. For more information, visit or call (888) 224-4321.

Communities Contribute a Buck-A-Door

December 22, 2016

Through the efforts of community managers and community volunteer leaders, we are happy to report that over $60,000.00 was raised for the 2016 Buck-a-Door Campaign.

With the Buck-A-Door donation program, community associations can fund CLAC efforts by contributing just one dollar per residence each year.  CLAC relies on support from millions of people who own homes in California community associations to continue its work on their behalf.

When attending community meetings and presenting the program to board members, there are always questions raised by boards concerning political motivations of CLAC.  That is why it’s so important for managers to become more involved with CLAC and better understand what the legislative action committee does.

Managers who are more involved with CLAC can better educate their boards of directors and get the support needed for this important program.  It’s also beneficial for managers to update their board members in their monthly reports to show how pending litigation monitored by CLAC can impact community associations and its residents.

CLAC has numerous resources available to members who want to stay informed and educate their board.  We encourage managers and board members to sign-up for the CLAC-TRAC email newsletters. The following resources are also available to create awareness of CAI-CLAC’s efforts. These can be found under the “Donate” tab on CLAC’s website:

  • Recent CLAC Accomplishments – recent activities and successes of CLAC’s legislative activity for the benefit of California’s Community Associations.

If you have any issues downloading these documents, simply send an email to office@CAICLAC.COM and request that the documents be emailed to you.

Morgen Hardigree is the Vice President of Business Development and Transitions at Optimum Professional Property Management, Inc., sits on the CAI-OCRC Legislative Support Committee, and is the Vice-Chair of the California Legislative Action Committee (CLAC) PR Committee.  She is also a Member at Large CLAC Delegate and holds the office of Secretary of the Executive Committee.

Who’s Your Delegate Contest

December 5, 2016

At the California Legislative Action Committee, delegates representing each chapter ensure that each decision reflects the interests of all our members. But who are they? Time for a contest! Please share this opportunity with your friends, association and community members.

A $50 gift card will be awarded to eligible winners who visit the CAI-CLAC website and access the Delegates, At-Large Delegates, Liaisons and Emeritus Members page. Once you find it, locate your chapter and your two delegates. Send the name of your chapter and delegates in an email to Correct submissions will be entered in a drawing for the $50 gift card.

Good luck!


All entries must be emailed no later than Friday, December 9, 2016. The gift card will be mailed or presented at a chapter meeting. All decisions regarding winners are the PR Chair’s. All decisions are final. Rules are subject to change. No cost or purchase necessary. An unknown number of people may participate. You must be over 18 to enter.