In This Edition...
GRF Goes Online In Style, it's time to run for the Board, and more in store for GRF on pages 2-4
Third Talks Resident Services, termite techniques, Garden Villas and more on pages 5-10.
United Gives the Low Down on Compliance, Meet Director Andre Torng, talking landscaping, and more on pages 10-14.
The Towers gets a new coat of paint, learn about the Crystal Dining Room and more on pages 14-15
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Village 2017 Election Information
Third Ballot Counting - September 29 at 9 a.m.
United Ballot Counting - September 29 at 1:30 p.m.
GRF Meet the Candidates - November 1 at 10 a.m.
GRF Election and Ballot Counting - November 8 at 10 a.m.
The Towers Election - December 7 at 2 p.m.
A Joint Publication of the Laguna Woods Village Corporations
Have You Visited the New Village Website?
The all-new Laguna Woods Village website is here! After six months of hard work and dedication by IT Director Chuck Holland and his team, www.lagunawoodsvillage.com has been completely redesigned and redeveloped.
Based on years of feedback from Laguna Woods Village residents, the goal of the new www.lagunawoodsvillage.com is for information to be easier to find for residents, while offering a modern and attractive browsing experience.
There are many enhanced features, including live Board Meetings and e-commenting through Granicus, easy to locate forms and documents, and a robust search engine.
Tips and Tricks:
Browsing tip: The new site uses a "hamburger menu" for navigation shortcuts. Just look for the three lines that look like a hamburger at the top right of any page and click for a menu. Menu items with an arrow to the right expand to show you all the subcategories listed under that menu item.
Search Tip: Anywhere you see a magnifying glass, click to search. There is a site-wide search tool at the top right of every page, and many sub-search features (for example, in the minutes and resolutions).
Finding Governance Resources: All community governance-related items are located under Residents, Governing Boards. Click “documents” for agendas, minutes, operating rules, and more.
Finding Club Pages: A few users commented that it was hard to find the clubs on the new website. Clubs are one of our most valued amenities, so we have updated the homepage so it is clear how to get to the club webpages. Simply click “Clubs” below the main navigation bar.
We hope you enjoy the new website! If you have any questions or encounter any broken links, email email@example.com.
Lawn Bowling Green Improvements on the Horizon
Great news—the contract has been signed, and work is set to begin on the Lawn Bowling greens in the upcoming weeks. Improvements will include the replacement of two lawn bowling greens with new greens to meet or exceed the World Bowls Standards. In addition, a new drainage system will be installed to collect and remove water to ensure proper drainage of the bowling surfaces. The carpets will be custom made in Australia and will be shipped for installation upon completion. This project is scheduled to be completed by the end of February.
Time to Apply for the GRF Board
By GRF Director Joan Milliman
September 19 at 5 p.m. is the deadline for applying to run for one of the four openings coming up on the Golden Rain Foundation (GRF) Board. Unlike Mutual candidates, these candidates are selected by the Corporate Members who are the Board Members of the Mutuals – Third, United and Fifty – 27 members.
Basic qualifications for such a candidate are generally the same as for the Mutual candidates.
You must be an owner/resident in good standing:
No more than thirty days delinquent in payment of any sums due to the Corporation
Not an employee of VMS
If elected, not a Laguna City Council Member
If elected, not a member of any other Village Board of Directors
No Conflict of Interest that would impact ability to serve on this Corporations’ Board of Directors
Although not stated in the GRF Bylaws, the Corporate Members look for candidates with previous Laguna Woods Village board and committee experience – candidates who know Village governance, because the GRF Board is made up of members from all of the Mutuals and serves to maintain and improve all the common grounds, amenities and facilities enjoyed by everyone. However, any board experience is welcome.
The GRF Board acts as the Trustee for all of the shared amenities and facilities in the Village. The Mutuals are the Trustors, which provide housing for the Beneficiaries, the owners.
Your talents and knowledge are wanted on the GRF Board.
Clubhouse 5 Fitness Studio in the Works
Most of you know there is a drop-in Fitness Room at Clubhouse 5. We are expanding the fitness options at the clubhouse to include a new fitness studio. Formerly the billiards room, the new fitness studio will host classes such as spin, yoga, stretching, Zumba, and more. Thank you to the residents who responded to the Fitness Studio Survey in July. Your input will guide the classes the Recreation and Special Events Department schedule for the room. The Clubhouse 5 Fitness Studio will be open by the end of this year.
Village Bazaar Set for October 7
Laguna Woods Village artisans and vendors are invited to sell their wares and second-hand items at the Village Bazaar Super Sale from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday Oct. 7 at Clubhouse Five. The $10 registration fee includes an indoor or outdoor 9 by 10-foot space with an 8-foot table and two chairs; spaces available while supplies last. Registration and more information is available at 949-597-4382.
Village Governance Meetings and Agendas: There's an App for That
You probably know that the Laguna Woods Village Board and Committee meeting calendar is online, anytime: just go to www.laguanwoodsvillage.com and click Resident Links, Boards and Committees. Now, full board and committee agenda packets are posted. Up to four days before the meeting, double-click on a meeting to open up the appointment. In the notes, you will see a link for the agenda packet.
Download the free Teamup app in the App Store on iPhone or iPad, or in Google Play for an Android device. Open the app, and when prompted, enter the Teamup URL:
https://teamup.com/ksd5d83041f695b7b3/ That's it! Now you have access to the governance calendar anywhere, anytime.
By Third Secretary Burt Baum
Election Update–Yes, we are having a Board election, but under very unusual and, to many voters, puzzling circumstances. For the first time that anyone can recall the number of candidates is equal to the number of open positions. After doing the math it becomes evident that everyone running is a winner, so save your money and don’t bet against any of the candidates. We are still asking residents to send in their ballots––and this is the real strange part––because state law would have required us to run the election again unless a quorum (15% of eligible voters) voted. Super-Hot Flash–Preliminary, unofficial results indicate that we should meet the quorum and thereby save some big bucks. Votes will be counted officially on September 29 in the Board Room, so mail your ballots now to be sure we meet the requirement—postage is free. The Board thanks you for your understanding and cooperation. Next year considering running yourself.
2018 Budget–For the past several months the directors have been working with staff on the budget for next year. At the Board meeting on September 19, the final budget was be voted on. After long and careful deliberation, the Board has decided that in order to continue to fix the problems with our aging infrastructure and build our reserves, a small increase (1.4% or $8.56 per month) in assessments will be needed for the first time in three years. Of the $8.56 increase, approximately $4 goes toward the GRF Budget. What many owners in Third don’t realize, also, is that about a third of the assessments goes to GRF. Moreover about half of the expenses Third experiences is related to employee compensation and related costs for services performed. Want to learn more? Go to the Board and Finance Committee meetings.
Strategic Planning–The directors want to make sure that the needs of the mutual (both short and long range) are being met in the most efficient way possible so that owners get their money’s worth. To do this the Board has initiated planning meetings to develop, review and prioritize all programs for 2018 and for the next two and five years. Once this is done we will work with staff to develop a realistic plan with clear objectives, timelines and manpower requirements so that major problems related to dry rot, plumbing, landscaping, parking are resolved without affecting day to day operations.
Reinventing Resident Services
By Third Director Susan Caine
One of the first things new residents learn is to turn to Resident Services when they need help for problems involving maintenance and landscaping issues such as leaking pipes and overgrown bushes. But Resident Services helps people in many other ways, for example, arranging the pickup of an old couch, processing leasing applications and answering general questions about community services. Under the leadership of Chris Spahr, who became its director about eight months ago, these services continue to expand in a much more organized and customer-friendly way, so that dealing with this department has become a more pleasant experience.
Chris has trained and cross-trained her staff to be knowledgeable in the areas most frequently required by residents. New hires are formally trained as well as mentored by senior call center representatives and supervisors. Helping the customer, in this case the resident, is emphasized.
As before, residents can contact Resident Services in three ways: by phone (949–597–4600), email (firstname.lastname@example.org), or by visiting the Resident Services Business Center on the first floor of the Community Center, to the left of the Reception Desk, across from the Board Room.
The Business Center is where changes are most evident. It is busy but efficient and certainly more comfortable and accommodating than in the past with no long lines to stand in and chairs to rest your weary bones. Not only that –– cookies are available in the on your right as you enter. A special welcome area is now available, too, for new members and residents. Community documents and information are given, as well as a warm welcome with answers to questions regarding moving in, community services, etc.
The Business Center is also where Chris is fulfilling her vision of a ONE STOP SHOP Center. Right now in addition to the desks handling general service needs there is also a window for alteration approvals and permits, where you can also deal with contractor regulations, local contractor lists and licenses. At another desk you can get help with Broadband billing issues.
Service starts at the desks of the Business Center, where computers are used to track your requests. Tickets are created to follow the steps taken and/or needed to solve your problem. Employees in the field are being given devices which will record your needs and report when work is initiated, in progress, or completed. Once this system is developed, Resident Services will be able to track your ticket status minute to minute.
The Business Center is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Call Center is open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., so if you have a problem on a Saturday you can get some action. In the near future, the Call Center will be expanding on the first floor of the Community Center (prepare for more banging) to provide an increased level of service. Residents can anticipate a “one number does it all” with no more special numbers for Security, transportation or clubhouses. Under this new arrangement all calls will be answered 24/7 and then dispatched to various groups as needed.
Chris Spahr, Resident Services Director
Third Takes on Termites
Termites are a big problem—they can cause considerable damage to our buildings, carports and laundry rooms, often without obvious warning signs. Because termites feed on wood, they can compromise the strength and safety of an infested building. Termites can also feed on cabinets, floors, ceilings and wooden furniture within infested homes. The cost of termite damage to a Third Mutual building is shared by all members of Third, which is why it is crucial that infestations are treated without delay.
In most cases of termite infestation, Third Mutual uses whole-structure fumigation (tenting). With this method, all termite colonies are eliminated, even in inaccessible areas such as behind drywall, under floor coverings or within insulation. Localized treatments (such as orange oil) do not treat termites in inaccessible areas, leaving the building vulnerable to future termite damage.
Third Mutual investigates reports of possible termite infestations from residents, from staff members working in the field, and from termite inspection reports generated by pest control contractors initiated during escrow.
Buildings identified for fumigation usually receive fumigation the following calendar year. In some instances, a local treatment is applied as a temporary means of controlling the termites until tenting can be completed. Please be aware that, Third Mutual schedules building fumigations during the months of May through October in order to take advantage of the favorable weather conditions.
If “whole-structure” fumigation is scheduled for your building, Third Mutual will pay for a two-night stay at the Ayers Hotel in Laguna Woods during the fumigation (even though not legally obligated to do so). Staff will send you a notice four weeks before the scheduled fumigation appointment that provides a detailed explanation of the fumigation process, related resident responsibilities and how you can reserve a room at the hotel. No worries! Because we will follow up on the notice with a hand-delivered notice and a telephone call from Resident Services (We don’t expect you to wait by the phone, we will leave a message).
Third Mutual recognizes its obligation to repair, replace and maintain common areas, including treatment of termite infestations; and therefore will also initiate and pay the cost of services necessary to eradicate termite infestations in common areas. Excluded from Third’s responsibilities are treatments of infestations or damage by termites to alterations, modifications or alterations in common area. In cases where the infestation is isolated to alterations, modifications or additions, the owner is responsible to initiate and pay the cost of the required services. If the owner does not initiate recommended treatment of alterations, modifications or additions; then Third Mutual, in order to protect property, will initiate and pay for such services, and bill the costs to the responsible Member/Owner.
Did You Know?
By Third President Rosemarie diLorenzo Dickins
Failing to pay fines or chargeable services can lead to late fees, loss of member services (like cable/internet), and loss of the privileges of membership.
Landscape has completed its fire prevention work, which was a big feat!
Landscape has been implementing a new software called “Arbor Pro” to enhance the tree trimming cycle, based on species information.
Failing to vote can cost Third Mutual upwards of $40,000, because another election would be required? Third has four experienced members running for four vacancies. Mark your ballot, and mail it to the address on the envelope or deliver it to the Community Center on or before Wednesday September 27 at 5 PM.
Southern California Edison will notify you if there is going to be a planned power outage by placing a notice on your door, but sometimes the power goes out unexpectedly. Check the status of any power outage (planned maintenance outages or unexpected outages) by visiting www.sce.com/outagecenter; or call 800-655-4555. If you live in a three-story building and rely on the elevator to get to your manor, CARE Ambulance offers assistance maneuvering stairs during a power outage. Call CARE Ambulance at 844-401-4732 or Village Social Services at 949-597-4267 for more information.
Do You Know Your Mutual?
By Third Director Susan Caine
Third Mutual is a housing mutual of condos. Condos are many designs, including single, two and three-story buildings; shared configurations and single-family homes. Not sure if you are in Third or United? Check this handy map (larger version available by clicking here). Blue is Third, green is United, yellow is the Towers, and pink is GRF.
DON’T MISS THE NEXT MEETING and other Garden Villa News
By Lynn Jarrett, President of the Garden Villa Association)
The Garden Villa Association (GVA) is stronger than ever. While nearing 25 years in existence, it is, and has been, an integral part of Third Mutual and Laguna Woods Village as a whole. The GVA board positions consist of the President and eight regional representatives. The 53 Garden Villa buildings and the 28 LH-21 buildings have an average of 22 manors, comprising a third of Third Mutual membership. Each of the 81 buildings has one GVA captain and several have co-captains, all of whom coordinate problems, maintenance issues, proposed projects and socials within each building. A training workshop is held twice a year to give new and current captains the tools needed to help navigate the rules and guidelines set forth by the Board, VMS, and Security and Compliance. A great deal of maintenance work is always underway, and communications with Staff is better than ever. Want to get the latest? Come to a GVA meeting on November 9, 2017, at Clubhouse 5 at 10 a.m.
United Board Actions
By United Secretary Maggie Blackwell
Final Approval: A Good Faith Deposit will be required by the Standard Manor Alterations Committee, ensuring that illegal dumping of construction materials, excessive noise and smoking, work after permitted hours, and parking in residents’ spaces, etc. does not occur.
Final Approval: United approved the removal of the waiver of secondary financing; i.e., your bank loan. Therefore, if you obtain a loan, you must still meet United's minimum income and asset requirements.
Final Approval: Drones are prohibited in the Village unless flown by staff or an individual commissioned by staff. A drone may not operate without a permit from the Chief of Security or his designee for approved Community events or purposes.
Final Approval: Hot tubs in atriums with common walls or on balconies are prohibited. A hot tub must have United Mutual’s consent for Major Alterations, be covered when not in use, be portable, be drained only into the sanitary sewer, not create a nuisance or unreasonable interference with another resident’s use and enjoyment of their manor. Hot tub owner must carry $200,000 of insurance per occurrence.
Final Approval: Amendment to Qualifiers for Subleasing Manors – subleases must be not less than 90 days and not more than a 12 month maximum and must be approved by the Board. Renewals may be granted by Board approval. Should a Certificate owner wish to advertise, please don’t do it for less than 90 days or you may be subject to disciplinary action.
Disciplinary Report: Most numerous offenses per month:
20-30 abandoned vehicles
50-60 carport clutter
50-60 illegal occupancy
20-30 patio clutter
30-40 unauthorized alterations
28-30 landscape violations
Smoking violations went from 0 to 19 in one month!
Good News: Case numbers are up because residents care and take the time to call Compliance when there is a violation. Kudos to our responsible citizens, and keep calling 949-268-CALL, anonymously.
Brad Hudson: Work on automated gate entry for Gates 1 through 4 is expected to begin before the end of the year. These gates will be disrupted for shorter periods of time than Gates 5 and 6 were, and gate ambassadors are trained and ready.
Photo by Mark Rabinowitch
The Architectural Control and Standards Committee
By Chair Janey Dorrell
Standard alterations examples are: skylight installations, window and exterior door replacements, block walls, and water heater relocation and replacement. Several alterations have become standard and are specified in the United Mutual Alteration Standard Policies. You can obtain a copy at the permit window in the Community Center. Variances are required to be approved by the Architectural Control and Standards Committee and ultimately approved by the United Mutual Board of Directors. If an alteration does not fall under a category of the Mutual’s approved standards or standard plans, a variance is required.
An applicant must submit a request for a variance, in writing, to the Manor Alterations Division. The submittal must thoroughly describe the proposed alteration; include pictures and detailed plans to illustrate the alterations. The request must be submitted 30 days before the next scheduled United Mutual Architectural Control and Standards Committee meeting, in order to be expedited, and must conform to California Building Codes.
Once the staff receives all necessary documentation, a report is prepared and sent to the Architectural Control and Standards Committee. The Committee reviews the request and forwards a recommendation to the United Mutual Board for final decision.
With any request for an alteration or variance, all costs and maintenance of the alteration, present and future, are the responsibility of the Mutual Member.
Each month Compliance tickets 30-40 unauthorized alterations and 10 or more alterations which are not being properly maintained. Be sure to go to the Manor Alterations Division window at the Community Center before you start a project. Failure to do so may result in aggravation and discipline.
United Director Profile Andre Torng
By Village Breeze Volunteer Carol St. Hilaire
United Director, Andre Torng, has lived in Laguna Woods for nearly four years. He moved to the Village because of the clubs. He plays table tennis, owns a RV, photographs iconic images, plays guitar and sings with friends, bikes the countryside, and talks with ethnic groups to share cultural backgrounds. He and his wife have three children who live in San Diego, and siblings who live in the Village. He believes that one way that people will love and remember you is to make their life happy.
Director Torng has degrees in mathematics, statistics and management science. With 40 years in the computer industry, he is experienced in setting up user-friendly systems and producing measurements to monitor and ensure efficiency. His MBA background allowed him to transition into business system implementation, moving from projects to senior management. As a board member, Director Torng reads agenda items, researches documents, talks and listens to residents to understand their points of view, relates current issues to his past working experience, and works with others to reach a compromise. He brings enthusiasm to service, and desires to make change while improving residential life. It is important to him that our community is not over-enthusiastic in ideology and inexperienced in execution. His assets as a Board member are strategic planning, executive management skills, and organization development and team building. The VMS four pillars of excellence speak to his heart.
Stop Abuse of Our Bulky Item Pickup Service
By United Director Maxine McIntosh
We are very fortunate in the Village to receive monthly, free bulky-item pickup. However, some residents abuse the privilege. Sometime this happens when family members or hired help clear out a unit when a Member passes or moves out. If you see someone dumping materials in Village dumpsters please call Security at 949-580-1400, immediately.
Additionally, every contractor is required to remove construction waste/job debris from the Village. No dumping is allowed in Community trash bins, if you see it, call Security or Compliance at 268-CALL, anonymously.
The third Saturday is bulky item pickup day. Items must be set by the trash dumpsters Friday evening or Saturday morning before 7 a.m. This is a wonderful free service.
Free in-home bulky item collection is available twice a year, maximum five items per visit. Call Waste Management at 949-641-1191 for an appointment.
Please call to report a pile up. Waste Management will not remove bulky items or collect if bins are overstuffed; our VMS staff has to be called off their regular jobs to unload bins.
For Green Thumbs and Sensitivity of Such…
By Landscape Committee Chair Maggie Blackwell
In August, the United Landscape Committee reviewed a draft of a “Red Stake” program for limiting herbicides such as Roundup applied near manor walls, windows and doors. People who wish to limit these applications and maintain shrub beds or planting areas immediately next to their manor walls should make an appointment with the Landscape Supervisor to discuss the options and potentially obtain red stakes to mark the area. In red staked areas, the resident is responsible for all weeding. If the area is not kept weeded, the red stakes will be removed, weeding will be performed as a chargeable service, and herbicide will be applied. Full responsibility for “Yellow staked” and non-standard areas requires a Member to completely care for plants and area; including watering, fertilizing, trimming, weeding, and removal of litter, debris and planting materials. If the area is left unattended or cluttered with personal items, compliance will be notified.
Roses, fruit trees, and bedding plants are not allowed in yellow stake areas. If a resident does not maintain their yellow staked or non-standard planting area, the Landscape Division may give notice to the resident, remove the plantings, and replace them with standard plantings at the resident’s expense.
Preparedness for Disaster Task Force
By Committee Chair Andre Torng
In July, the Task Force welcomed 25 new Good Neighbor Captains (GNC), as a result of outreach which included email notices, electronic news, word of mouth, and flyer distribution. United needs about 400 GNC, with a total of 1,000 needed Village-wide.
Retention is a key factor. With a 10 percent turnover rate, 40 new GNC are needed annually. So recruitment by the Task Force will be a nonstop effort in order to have volunteers to assist residents in the event of a disaster. Interested in becoming a GNC? Please join us on October 3 at noon in Clubhouse 7. Everyone who signs up as a GNC will receive two complimentary tickets to a Performing Arts Center show, in addition to all the related training to keep neighbors safe.
The Towers Gets a New Coat of Paint
By Towers President Ryna Rothberg
Anyone driving on Santa Maria from Moulton can see (if you take your eyes off the road) a 14-story building looming on the left. It’s The Towers, of course, and it’s sporting a new paint job. The buildings are scheduled to be painted every 10 years, so in 2015 the Board initiated the process of developing a scope of work to completely repaint the textured block and stucco as well as the decking and metal work on the balconies. We found out from a contractor with experience in painting concrete and high-rise buildings that it was no easy task. As any homeowner knows all too well, any undertaking always uncovers other things to be done, in our case it was roofing work. The actual painting finally began in January, despite unusually rainy weather. As of this writing the back side of the building has been completed and the crew is preparing to move their equipment around the corner to the front. The anticipated completion date is the end of this year, 2017.
Around the same time the scope of work was being developed, the Board hired Borders Architects to create a color palette for the buildings. Out of the four palettes presented, the Board, with resident input, selected one. However (and isn’t there always a “however”) a test painting revealed the need to adjust the color previously chosen for the body of the building. An alternate in the same family of colors was picked; the result is what you see.
More Info on the Dining Room
By Ryna Rotheberg, Towers President
To anyone who has seen the Crystal Dining Room, it’s obvious why that room is called “crystal.” But what about the California Dining Room? No one seems to know the origin of that name. Until now, that is. Walking into the reception area you will see a golden print of the state of California on the throw pillows and an appliqué outline of the state on the hostess stand.
Other “surprises” include a new hot buffet, that matches the refrigerated salad bar, a new feature where diners will be able to order their dinner and watch while a chef plates it. Symbols of the Golden State will be found throughout the dining room, such as the original artwork by Susan Baker depicting native flowers and plants. Accentuating the informality of the room is the removal of table clothes which have been replaced by bamboo basket-weave vinyl place mats by Chilewich.
New plates and glassware were on display at the August brunch. Replacing the heavy, institutional dishware is a beautiful porcelain in a Twill pattern. The new glassware by Excalibur is made of tempered, chip-proof glass, and the new, insulated water and coffee servers are a brush-finished stainless in a sleek, classic design.
Laguna Woods Village Community Center
24351 El Toro Road
Laguna Woods, CA 92637
This newsletter is put together by all of the housing Mutuals and GRF. If you have comments about this newsletter, please contact JoAnn diLorenzo, GRF Secretary, at email@example.com, Burt Baum, Third Secretary at firstname.lastname@example.org, Maggie Blackwell, United Secretary at email@example.com, or Katy Howe, General Manager at the Towers at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Village Breeze Editor-in-Chief: GRF Director Joan Milliman
If you have problems or concerns about your manor, please contact VMS at the
following email addresses:
Or, go to lagunawoodsvillage.com and click on "Contact Us" on the left side of the page.