6 thoughts on “Request to Staffordshire Water System (SWS)”

  1. Stephen Gale Short

    I hope that this post is viewed by everyone who has a stake in Staffordshire Estates and that we can work cooperatively to improve our community.

  2. Legalese is not my primary language. Having said that, the words make sense and are often spot on. Is your primary goal to damage the ability of the board to move forward on the transfer fee? Because like it or not that is what is happening now, and what happened in the past. What can you do positively to get the Transfer Fee passed! Please answer my questions specifically. Please feel free to share my comments. Thanks from Judith

    1. Hi Judith,

      Thanks for asking about the transfer fee. The quick and simple answer to your question about my goal concerning the transfer fee is: I am in favor of any legal way to enable the SHOA board of directors and/or the SWS board of directors to collect a transfer fee. (What has happened in the past concerning past failures of the SHOA board to LEGALLY establish a transfer fee that would then be used to replenish the SHOA Reserve Fund is way too complicated to answer here. Here is a small hint as to one of the logical flaws in the previous attempts to get a transfer fee established: First, re-read the last paragraph of either letter that refers to intermingling reserve funds of SWS and SHOA. (Hint: you can’t.) If you recall, the past attempts to pass a $5,000 transfer fee were attempted by ONLY amending the CC&Rs of SHOA (not SWS). So, even if we had legally succeeded in enacting a Transfer fee for SHOA, those funds could NOT be used toward the SWS reserve fund. If you recall, there have been some “big-ticket” repairs of the Staffordshire Water System (SWS) and the prior failed attempts to enact a Transfer Fee to replenish “The Reserve Fund” were referring to the SHOA, not SWS Reserve Fund.) Bottom line: We have 2 corporations in Staffordshire (SHOA and SWS) and these 2 corporations both have reserve funds. I support any legal effort to increase the reserve funds of BOTH corporations. Prior failed efforts were (claimed to be) aimed at the SHOA reserve fund, only. But, if you read the proposed Amendment to the CC&Rs that almost passed, you will see a phrase “and other operating expenses” and you will NOT see the phrase “Reserve Fund” at all. That small phrase (“and other operating expenses”) would empower any SHOA BOD to use the funds for anything, not the SHOA Reserve Fund…and since the SWS is a separate corporation, no monies collected via a Transfer Fee for SHOA could legally be intermingled with SWS.)

      Specifically, what have I done? I have asked my attorneys to help Staffordshire find any legal way to make money for SHOA/SWS, not just this Transfer Fee idea, (at my own expense) and, so far, they have given me some preliminary answers. I am not free to share everything with you about what I have paid these lawyers to determine, but so far, some good news but no great news. (So far…)

      Remember, I am just one member here at Staffordshire who has been spending my own money (more accurately : Michelle’s and my money) to help the community and, so far, my efforts prevented the past SHOA BOD from (allegedly) fraudulently collecting $5,000 each time certain houses transferred ownership. I don’t know what would have happened if the past SHOA BOD had actually collected, let’s say..9 sold houses times $5,000 = $45,000 in Transfer Fees ((allegedly) not legally, remember?) Now, imagine when ((allegedly) not if) those new members of SHOA realized that SHOA had (allegedly) fraudulently taken $5,000 from each of them… Do you REALLY think that when that happened, SHOA could simply give back the $45,000 or more without any legal penalties concerning the (alleged) fraud? Let’s just thank Goodness that SHOA did not commit fraud (allegedly) and we don’t need to learn, first hand, what the penalties would have been for SHOA and perhaps, personally, for individual prior SHOA board members. All of the above speculation is just that and I do NOT assert that my speculations above are legally accurate. For legal answers, please hire your own attorney, as I have done.

      Judith, I’ve written a lot above, in an attempt to help you understand the “quagmire” (allegedly) the past SHOA BOD almost put the SHOA membership in. Maybe, now, you can begin to understand my reluctance to place blind trust in any Staffordshire Board of Directors. So far, in my personal experience, I trust only one of the present board members (in addition to me (Yes, I should already be recognized as a board member, but that is another “can of worms” not pertinent to this discussion.), so that makes only two board members that I actually trust to have the best interests of ALL members and residents of Staffordshire Estates in their “heart of hearts”. Please understand that I am NOT saying I mistrust any other board member, I am merely stating that I DO trust one other member who by their actions has earned my trust. Please, understand me: TRUST is earned and no amount of cajoling or intimidation will result in me “blindly” trusting anybody. The actions of the past SHOA BOD resulted in my (inevitable and understandable) distrust of the SHOA/SWS BOD as a body (I’m NOT talking about individual members of the previous BOD, who may or may not be trustworthy; I’m talking about previous SHOA/SWS BOD and the decisions they made and the actions they took that showed me that that particular BOD was not trustworthy.) The “jury is still out” concerning these present SHOA and SWS BODs… I am optimistic that together, well-informed members of SHOA and SWS can see through the half-truths and misinformation of the previous BODs and work toward transparency and honest cooperation from now on.

      As you know, trust is so very hard to regain, if ever, after that trust has been violated. Given that obstacle, I can honestly tell you, I am open to trusting anyone whose actions warrant my trust. While we are on this subject of trust, I hope that my actions will someday gain the trust of enough members that we can then effectively work together for the benefit of the entire Staffordshire community. I publicly thank Michelle for her trust in me. There are a few other SHOA/SWS members who have supported me in various ways…they know who they are and they know I am eternally grateful for their support (do I dare say their “trust”?)

      I have been called an “anarchist” and worse names, but that just comes with the territory when a member finds it necessary to “buck the board”. Maybe you know this about my past, maybe not: I was first a cadet for four years and then graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York in 1978, served in the US Army Signal Corps and Honorably Discharged as a Captain, Regular Army in 1984. During those four years as a cadet, we lived under and embraced the Cadet Honor Code: “A Cadet will not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do.”. Let me tell you that the first three things are easy enough to do, but the part about toleration was (and is) the very hardest part of the code to adhere to! Even after graduation and to this day, I have tried to adhere to the Code. I’m not claiming or pretending to be a “saint”; I’m simply a good man who cannot tolerate what my friend would euphemistically call: “un-neighborliness”. I like his word choice, so…

      Let’s work together to increase neighborliness!

  3. Stephen Gale Short

    These two letters are meant to open a cooperative dialog between the two Staffordshire Boards of Directors and all stakeholders in Staffordshire Estates, especially voting members.

    Please read these letters carefully, and you will know that I am simply asking our present Boards of Directors to govern our Staffordshire community according to Oregon statutes, our Bylaws and other applicable legal governing documents.

    It is my sincere hope that when the boards work transparently with our membership, our community can rebuild lost trust and also chart a clear path toward fiscal stability.

    To rebuild mutual trust and stabilize our financial health requires facts and transparency.

    Addressing these few simple requests and concerns will help Staffordshire Estates begin to build trust and replenish our reserve funds.

    I am conducting a feasibility study that could possibly help to substantially replenish the reserve funds of both SHOA and SWS, but until I am certain that the boards of directors are lawfully and properly executing their fiduciary duties, I cannot in good faith entrust further funds into their hands.

    After we have the boards’ cooperation and assurance to abide by Oregon statutes, our Bylaws and other legal requirements, we can discuss ways to increase our mutual prosperity.

    I have found a possible way to increase the prosperity of Staffordshire Estates that still needs due diligence before I am at liberty to reveal it and I hope that with a more transparent and cooperative community other members will share THEIR ideas, too.

    Stephen Short
    85682 Hampstead Lane
    Eugene, OR 97405

  4. I have been asked about how to get the $5000 Transfer Fee created. (The answer is not simple.)

    There should most likely be two transfer fees; one for SWS and one for SHOA. Problem is that the members have been, dare I say “misled and misinformed” so many times that at this time, trust in the boards has been compromised and for the time being, nothing that the boards say will be believed by anyone who has been paying attention or has not yet been coerced by the existing “powers that be” to “tow the line”.

    What probably needs to happen is that the boards will cooperate with my attorney, Brian Cox, as he seeks clarification of the financial situation of the two corporations by employing a Certified Public Accountant to conduct audits of SWS, SHOA and the “Wood Fund”. Mr. Cox and many other members in addition to me insist that our leaders follow our governing documents and Oregon statutes and , for example, conduct a proper Reserve Study so that the members can understand the true financial situation we are in.

    The $5000 Transfer Fee seems to me to have just been a convenient “Trojan horse” meant to deliver a vote that would have substantially changed the CC&Rs to give this and future boards unreasonable power over the membership. I also believe that a lot of our neighbors were misled and betrayed by previous boards and now they cannot admit or accept that they were duped. Remember the quote “it’s easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled” which is often attributed to Mark Twain, even there’s no evidence that the author actually wrote this phrase?(https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/did-mark-twain-say-its-easier-to-fool-people-than-to-convince-them-that-they-have-been-fooled/ )

    When this present board finally gets its act together and promises to follow our governing documents and Oregon statutes, then we can begin the painful and difficult process of establishing truth and transparency in everything we do.

    The $5,000 Transfer Fee (“shiny object”) was never the actual goal of the past couple boards, in my opinion. It was simply a means to get votes to fundamentally change the CC&Rs in a way that would be detrimental to the membership.

    I am doing due diligence on a proposal to the membership and when I have the facts straight, I want to present to the community a possible partial solution to our “dire, unsubstantiated and ambiguous” financial situation. But first, I need to know that this board actually has the best interests of the members and residents as their top priority. (The top priority is not and has never been the $5,000 Transfer Fee, as evidenced by the fact patterns of the past few failed attempts to change the CC&Rs. This is NOT merely my opinion; get the facts straight and it will be clear to you.)

    Right now, it seems that I am going through this alone. This is absolutely not the case. I’m sure that before a year has passed, those who have been paying attention and have done their own thinking will help me to establish a new era for Staffordshire Estates that values trust, transparency and integrity in our leadership.

    This park desperately needs to heal in so many ways.
    “Killing the messenger” is not going to help; Already, the wheels of truth and justice are slowly but surely going to help Staffordshire Estates stakeholders regain their trust in their leaders and create a solid financial foundation that will allow the community to grow and thrive as a whole without the separate “factions” feuding over trivial issues and hurt feelings.

    Cinco de Mayo and Baked potatoes (for example) will soon be enjoyed by all Staffordshire Estates residents who want to participate and those who choose to not participate will not have their dues used for the benefit of the few. (I’m talking about paying at the door for future events.)

    Keep asking difficult questions and keep asking until you get the answers you need.

    Steve Short

  5. The following are my thoughts as a regular member of Staffordshire Homeowners Association. (As a Board Member, I may perhaps, cast a minority vote on a particular issue of official business but I must accept any legally voted-upon decisions by the board. We servants on the board must “speak with one voice” AFTER making an official decision. Before then, healthy debate is a good thing. None of us is completely versed in all subjects pertaining to the governance of Staffordshire, so debate is one way that we can use to educate ourselves. I’m willing to learn.)

    Recently, there has been some “pushback” on my use of the phrase “Cinco de Mayo and Baked potatoes (for example) will soon be enjoyed by all Staffordshire Estates residents who want to participate and those who choose to not participate will not have their dues used for the benefit of the few.”

    I apologize for not making myself clear and therefore my message was not understood. Please allow me to clarify what I hope will be the future approach that Staffordshire will take when planning to use any Staffordshire funds for the benefit of a few: don’t do it. Instead, consider “pay at the door”.

    Did the Association disband the Activities Committee? If not, ask the Activities Committee chairperson for help in understanding how you can get funds for your subgroup of the membership’s use. Is there an Activities Committee fund set aside in a separate account?

    Whenever a subset of the membership of Staffordshire is contemplating using “common funds” to benefit just a few SHOA members, please check the Bylaws. If the Bylaws allow what you want to do, follow the Bylaws and enjoy another benefit of our HOA. If not, maybe our “Rules and Regulations” can help you get access to the funds. If you cannot find any up-to-date “Rules and Regulations”, let’s take a look at whatever we have and bring them up to date. Okay? Maybe consider writing down your concerns in a message to the SHOA or SWS board as appropriate?

    If it seems strange for me to have this point of view, let me give you an example of the kind of thing I’m writing about.

    “Pay as you go” for the privilege of having a space to park your RV, if you need it. How is this example of “pay as you go” fundamentally different from “pay at the door” for a party that is attended by a few members?

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