Much has been said in previous posts and comments regarding the provision of “Equal Space” for opposing viewpoints on ballot initiatives. For reader information, the Nevada Statue NRS 116.31035 addressing such is quoted below.
NRS116.31035Publications containing mention of candidate or ballot question: Requirements; limitations.
If an official publication contains any mention of a candidate or ballot question, the official publication must, upon request and under the same terms and conditions, provide equal space to all candidates or to a representative of an organization which supports the passage or defeat of the ballot question.
If an official publication contains the views or opinions of the association, the executive board, a community manager or an officer, employee or agent of an association concerning an issue of official interest, the official publication must, upon request and under the same terms and conditions, provide equal space to opposing views and opinions of a unit’s owner of the common-interest community.
It is imperative that unit owners are aware of the rights granted to them under this provision. In past ballot mailings, the Somersett Board of Directors (BOD) has made their opinions and recommendations known without the benefit of opposing viewpoints to assist voters in their decision making process. However, be advised that it is not a requirement for the BOD to request or otherwise solicit alternate viewpoints. This is the responsibility of unit owners or organizations representing them.
Based on issues associated with the CC&R Ballot mailings, the BOD is now acutely aware of the rights granted to unit owners or their representatives under NRS 116.30135 and is adopting as process to handle future requests for “equal space”. What is important here is that any opposing views or opinions be disseminated at the same time as the ballot initiatives, so as to provide the voter the opportunity to consider all sides before submitting their ballot.
As most know, a Country Club Purchase Agreement will soon be disseminated for owner approval. Therefore, those who may wish to submit opposing views or opinions, should keep on top of the on-going process to insure that such views or opinions are included within the initial ballot mailings. Hopefully, as they have previously stated, the BOD will make copies of the finalized agreement available for viewing prior to any ballot mailings.
The “Letter of Intent” containing details of the proposed Country Club Purchase Agreement has been published previously on this website and may be revisited by clicking on the following link:
On February 15th the BOD conducted a CC&R Amendment Ballot Count with the following results:
Number voting for Approval – 999
Number voting for Disapproval – 483
Not having enough votes to determine the final outcome, voting deadline was extended to April 15, with subsequent voter mailings on the part of the BOD soliciting an approval vote.
On April 25, another ballot count was performed with the following results:
Number voting for Approval of the proposed CC&R changes – 1188
Number voting for Disapproval – 544
The vote count required to either approve or disapprove the ballot measure is 1240. Therefore, the voting deadline has been extended to June 13th. However, given that vote counts will now be conducted on a weekly basis, given the trend, it is possible that the required number of approval votes will be reached earlier.
To date, the BOD ballot mailings calling for an approval vote were disseminated without any opposing viewpoints, as is permitted by Nevada Law and discussed in the previous blog article entitled “The CC&R Circus Continues…” An owner request for dissemination of opposing viewpoints was made to the BOD on January 24th, and just acted upon on by the BOD at the April 23 meeting. In this regard, the BOD has agreed to disseminate an opposing viewpoint statement prior to the deadline for ballot submittals. However, it should be obvious to all that this is a little late in the process to have any impact, and that the required number of approval votes may be received before it is disseminated. One can only speculate as to what the vote count would have been if opposing viewpoints had been disseminated earlier.
This is an important lesson to be learned for future ballot initiatives such as is being proposed for the Country Club Purchase Agreement. If one has alternative or opposing viewpoints to what is being presented by the BOD, it is imperative that these be disseminated to at the same time as the ballot mailings to give voters a fair look at both sides before submitting their ballots.
With permission of the authors, a CC&R Amendment Opposition Statement, which the BOD has now agreed to disseminate, may be accessed by the following link:
The Somersett Owners Association Board of Directors (BOD) will be holding their open Board meeting on Wednesday, April 23rd at 5:30 PM in the Canyon View Room at The Club at Town Center. For those interested in attending, the meeting agenda may be accessed via the following link: April 23 BOD Meeting Agenda
Of particular interest are the following Agenda items – SU comments follow:
Item 6 b) “Review and Discussion of SGCC Stipulation with the NRED” – This pertains to the draft complaint generated by the Nevada AG’s office challenging the legality of the current SOA Lease Agreement with the SGCC. It is directly related to the proposed CC&R Amendments and the SGCC Purchase Agreement currently under negotiation. The Stipulation gave the parties 10 months (up mid June) to resolve issues. Perhaps some resolution will be reported on.
Item 7 a): “Ratification of Extending the Vote Deadline for the CC&R Amendment” – Nothing new here. This is the 4th deadline, extending the period for ballot submittals to 7.5 months. One wonders how long this will go on.
Item 7 b) “Review and Approval of CC&R Ballot Opening Process” – The BOD previously approved a process under which they counted ballots and made the results public prior to the ballot submittal deadline. Perhaps the criticism of this previous action has led to a rethinking of the process.
Item 7 e) “Review and Approval of Policy Related to Process for Owners and Organizations to Exercise Rights under NRS 116-31035” – This is the Nevada law that grants “equal space” in opposing those opinions and recommendations set forth by the BOD in official publications (e.g., the CC&R Amendment publications). Perhaps they will explain why the delay in addressing this when the first request was made by a Somersett owner back in January 2014. The delay making it a moot point for any CC&R Amendment opposing viewpoints that may be subsequently disseminated. See previous Blog article entitled “The CC&R Circus Continues…”
Homeowners are encouraged to attend and provide any comments you may have on agenda topics or other issues of concern. If unable to attend you may submit comments to the BOD via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Two new developments in the CC&R Amendment Voting process:
Having not received enough homeowner votes to decide either approval, or disapproval, of the proposed CC&R amendments, the SOA Board of Directors (BOD) has extended the deadline for CC&R ballot submittals once again. This time until June 13, 2014. It is not known what initiatives the BOD will undertake this time around to solicit more submittals. Hopefully, no more duplicate ballot mailings and robo calls to those who have already submitted their ballots. Since the initial ballot mailings on November 1, 2013, the new deadline amounts to a seven and a half month period for obtaining ballots. Although the associations governing documents establish no time limit in this regard, one wonders when it is time to throw in the towel and regroup.
Dissemination of Opposition Statement
In January of this year a Somersett homeowner submitted a request to the BOD, on behalf of himself and others, to include an opposing viewpoint in CC&R Ballot related mailings countering the approval opinions and recommendations being expressed by the BOD in their publications. The homeowner quoted an “equal space” Nevada law (NRS 116-31035), which he believed granted the right to do so. Eleven weeks later, the homeowner received a letter (dated April 10) from the SOA’s attorney validating this right. The letter further stated that the BOD was developing a process to handle such requests and that the BOD would accept a one page document on 8.5 x 11 paper and would disseminate such within a reasonable time frame and while the vote is still ongoing.
Given the eleven week period before notifying the resident of this right, the BOD conducted additional mailings soliciting CC&R ballot submittal and approval, without any opposing viewpoints. Since most of the ballots the BOD is likely to receive have already been submitted, disseminating an opposing viewpoint between now and June 13 will likely have little impact. One can only question the BOD’s reasons or motives for taking so long in addressing this simple request. As it turns out, it’s akin to closing the barn door after the horse has gone!