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Reaching Annual Meeting Quorum: A Success Story

Does reaching quorum at First Calling for an Annual Meeting sound like a fairy tale? It doesn’t have to be! Recently the Board of Springhurst Townhomes Homeowners Association was successful at reaching quorum at First Calling and was able to vote on a new slate of Directors, approve changes to their CC&Rs, and amend their Bylaws after sending out only one wave of meeting notices! Why is this significant?

“During my 38 years in the industry, this is the only time I’ve seen it happen,” said Cardinal Manager for Springhurst Theresa Hirschman. Attaining quorum at First Calling saves the Association time and money. The agenda for the meeting was set to vote on CC&R and By-Law Amendments and to elect a new slate of Board Members. In addition, all candidates, the Inspector of Elections, and the Association’s attorney and insurance agent were in attendance. What happens if not enough ballots are received or not enough owners are present to vote?
All work to that date has to be completed again. Notices have to be sent to the membership again, a new meeting agenda and date have to be set, and all parties need to attend again. In some cases, if the HOA is still unsuccessful after several attempts, the Board may petition the court to approve the amendment. If this route is available to the Board, it would drive up costs for attorney fees and court costs. The Association’s legal counsel would need to advise the Board if this option is available.

Using Pilera, a software program created specifically for HOAs, “the Board saved time and money not having to go through the processes of second and third calling,” said Hirschman.

Congratulations to Springhurst Board President Deb Kohls and Directors Mark Kohls, Robert Strichart, Gail Pawson, and Scott Dieter. “It was very much a team effort,” said Deb Kohls. “Also, Gail Harriman and DJ Englert helped the Inspector of Elections count votes and help us get out the vote.”

The Directors set the goal of attaining quorum at First Calling and worked diligently to make it happen. Using the new HOA-wide email blast software, the Board sent Town Hall and Annual Meeting notices several times, made phone calls, and went door to door reminding all residents of the meeting as well as its purpose and importance to the Association.

The Town Hall meeting was a success and residents were engaged. To aid in drawing residents to this critical Annual Meeting, the Board sponsored a raffle awarding a $200 assessment credit to two lucky random winners.
“Software that is specific to homeowners associations is constantly being developed,” said Farrah Esquer. “Cardinal keeps up to date on developments of this nature to help our clients help themselves.”


The Hard Truth About Concrete

Concrete Examples from the Past, Present, and Future

The hard truth about concrete is that it cracks. No matter how it is mixed or reinforced, it cracks. Eventually buildings begin to crumble, streets and sidewalks develop fissures that widen with time, and if water intrudes through structural fractures, the steel reinforcements inside can corrode and lead to collapse.

Modern concrete has a durability problem that was not found in the mineral compound used by the ancient Romans. Many of the structures (temples, aqueducts, and early roads) built more than 2,000 years ago still exist despite earthquakes, invasions, and seawater.

Why do these millennia-old examples still exist, many intact, while we have a hard time getting our sidewalks to last more than 20 years? Part of the answer lies in the blending agents. The ancient Romans used chemical reactions to harden their cement. They used lime and volcanic rock to form mortar and then they introduced seawater. The seawater triggered a chemical reaction that hydrated the lime and reacted with the ash to “cement” everything together, resulting in an exceptionally strong product.

Today, the most common modern blend is called Portland cement. Portland cement was so named by Joseph Aspdin, who patented it in 1824, because the final product resembled the stone quarried on the Isle of Portland off the British coast. Portland cement does not incorporate the combination of volcanic ash and lime so it does not bind as well as the Roman version of concrete.

In use for more than 200 years, some Portland cement products have a service life of nearly 50 years before repairs might be needed. According to a research paper written by Paulo Monterro, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, and the lead researcher of a team that is analyzing the Roman concrete, manufacturing Portland cement adds to the carbon dioxide that many industries releases into the air.

So, the recipe from thousands of years ago was better than today. And, according to engineers and environmentalists, the production of today’s cement is bad for Mother Earth. Now what?

Two inventive microbiologists in the Netherland believe they have the answer. Henk Jonkers and Eric Schlanger are researchers at Delft Technical University who have created a self-healing concrete that could revolutionize the way the world builds. They have developed a concrete that can self-regenerate. First highlighted on CNN in 2015, the “living concrete” includes a healing agent—bacteria.

In that CNN interview, Jonkers said he started working on the project in 2006 to crack the problem of the lack of durability and the not-so-eco-friendly manufacturing process used today. The result is something called ‘bioconcrete.” It is mixed just like regular concrete but uses an extra ingredient, the healing agent of bacteria. The bacteria survive intact during mixing and dissolves and becomes active only if the concrete cracks and water gets in.

Jonkers further explained to CNN in a March 2016 interview that the bacteria has to be able to remain dormant for years before being activated by water. It also has to stay alive in the dry environment of concrete. In addition, it must produce a strong viable repair material when it becomes activated. Jonkers’ team decided the repair material needed to be limestone. Remember the recipe the Romans used? A key ingredient was limestone. But the bacteria also have to eat to stay alive. They need a food source until called up for duty.

After trying sugar, which resulted in a soft product, the team introduced calcium lactate, a component of milk, as the nutrient. Then they chose the bacillus bacteria, which create calcite, commonly known as limestone. The ancient Romans had the recipe right!

The practical application of self-healing concrete may be only a few years in the future. Jonkers told CNN that the production process is too expensive for immediate use in a commercial environment but early products can replace the human factor in such hazardous repair jobs as nuclear waste containers.

From the Pantheon of Ancient Rome to Angel’s Stadium of Anaheim, it is clear that our reliance on cement has not changed in thousands of years. Only the applications and recipes have been updated.

The modern world is a wondrous place. We already have self-driving cars, and self-repairing concrete is not too far off. What could be next? Only our imaginations know.


“We are combining nature with construction materials.”
Henk Jonkers, Delft University


“China used more concrete from 2011 to 2013 than the United States did in the entire 20th century.”
Bill Gates, “Gatesnotes.”


Mary Wortman is the Director of Public Relations for Cardinal Property Management.
Reprinted with permission from O.C. View, January/February 2017 issue; copyright by CAI, Orange Country Regional Chapter, all rights reserved.


HOAs in the Digital Age: Assessing and Addressing Issues with Social Media and Internet Presence

Farrah Esquer, CMCA, AMS, PCAM
Cardinal Property Management, AAMC

Sandra L. Gottlieb, Esq., CCAL


If you are like most people, you use the Internet or social media in your daily life on a regular basis, either personally or for business.  From paying bills online to keeping up to date with world and entertainment news via numerous social media outlets, many of us would be lost if we were to lose the holy grail of our Internet connection.  If the average person uses the Internet so regularly, should your community be using these online options as well?  A definite MAYBE!

With technology and social media changing so rapidly, it is often difficult for a community association to keep pace with the newest and most hip forms of communication.  While many communities may already be using websites and social media, there are still pitfalls and legal concerns that should be addressed, proactively, to protect the entity and its board of directors.  This article explores both the benefits and challenges of an association’s internet presence and the planning and decisions that should occur before plunging into the ever-changing digital world.

Before making a decision as to whether the association should have a website and/or social media presence, first consider the demographics of the community and the message or image that will be conveyed.  The decision to have an online presence can be different for each community.  Are the community members asking for more online options? Does the association have extensive recreational facilities or other amenities unique to your community?  Remember, the association is a corporation and as such, the board of directors should consider the image or “brand,” as well.

Also consider who will be maintaining the website and/or social media sites.  If the board intends for the management company to maintain the sites, be sure to address this obligation in the management contract, including association protections for the ownership of the sites, and be sure that the manager or company is comfortable maintaining these sites.  The board may also consider a board member or other community volunteer, or even a third-party provider, to create, update and maintain the various sites.  There will likely be a charge to maintain the sites whether the work is performed by a third party vendor or by the association’s managing agent.  A fee for these services is warranted and can be budgeted, considering the brand of the corporation.

Websites can be a beneficial tool to provide communication and resources to the membership, if used properly.  The association may choose to include online assessment payment options on the website, as well as the association governing documents, non-compliance reports, and a mechanism for maintenance request submittals.  The website can also be used to provide updates to the membership on upcoming or ongoing projects and schedules, including maintenance or construction work, and to notify residents of other community events, such as annual meetings, community garage sales, etc.  Documents can include meeting agendas, community newsletters, rules and regulations, meeting minutes (general session and committee minutes, as applicable), CC&Rs, Articles of Incorporation, and Bylaws.  We strongly recommend that documents such as minutes, CC&Rs, Article of Incorporation, and Bylaws be watermarked with either “Draft” or “Not for Escrow Use.” The purpose of this watermark is to ensure that official documents are requested through the normal escrow process and to ensure that the documents presented in escrow are complete.

Websites should not be used in place of current delivery methods that are required by the Davis-Stirling Act.  For example, Civil Code Section 4045 provides that certain documents can be sent by “general notice” or “general delivery.”  This code provision includes that the association can post “the printed document in a prominent location that is accessible to all members.” The question becomes: does posting a notice to the website constitute proper notice under this section?  No, it does not at this time because the code specifies that the notice must be a “printed document” and that it must be placed in a “prominent location.”  However, posting the notice to the website, in addition to posting the printed document on-site, complies with the Civil Code and provides ease of access to those who wish to view the document electronically on the association’s website.

An association website can also be used to reflect a positive image of the community and to show off the brand attributed to the community along with favorable aspects of the community, such as the common area facilities – pool, spa, clubhouse, or other amenities that make the community unique and desirable.  In this way, a well-maintained and planned website can potentially increase property values.

With the benefits of websites also come potential challenges and legal pitfalls.  If the website is used for online payments, even if through a third-party provider, it is important to ensure the site is secure, to the extent possible, to prevent identity theft.  Additionally, board members should be cautious when opening up a message board or other posting board on the association’s site. Message boards can quickly become a place for posting of disparaging comments, which could potentially place the association in the midst of a lawsuit for defamation if it does not act quickly to demand the removal of the offending comments. There have been a number of cases in California in recent years that have shown that, even if the association is successful in a lawsuit with an owner regarding defamation, infliction of emotional distress, or other claims related to the use or misuse of association internet resources, the benefits of these platforms may be far outweighed by the potential costs to an association if they are misused.  For this reason, it is highly suggested that message boards or other similar posting boards not be available on a community website.

Another potential pitfall can occur when, through use of a website or social media account, the association unintentionally burdens itself with the requirements of Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance by inviting the public to the community.  How can this happen?  Does your community use the clubhouse as a polling place for the community and surrounding areas? And do you use the association website to announce the polling place to the community?  If so, this could potentially require the association to comply with ADA regulations since the public is invited into the community.  As a note, “public” as used here does not mean personal guests, family or invitees of owners.  For these reasons, the association should consult with the association’s legal counsel to address any potential legal pitfalls associated with the community website, both before it is launched and when there is a stated claim against the association.

After the board has evaluated the issues referenced above, the board will need to identify who will be responsible for maintaining the site. The next step is to decide in advance what will be posted to the website and who has the authority to post to the website.  Sample recurring items that should be updated on the website would be meeting agendas, meeting minutes, and newsletters.  These documents should be updated regularly, in addition to the association’s documents such as rules and regulations, architectural guidelines and application form, etc. The board should also consider having a standing policy that any notice that is sent by “general delivery” or “general notice” to the community should be added to the website.  This may seem like a fairly simple task, however what happens when a disgruntled committee or board member demands that their statement be posted to the website? Setting the standard postings in advance with a requirement that all other items require board approval at a noticed board meeting can help avoid placing the website administrator in a difficult situation trying to balance requests from owners with competing interests and avoid airing the association’s dirty laundry to the community.  Remember, online postings should be positive and used as a tool to communicate information to owners and provide resources to the community.

The association needs to ensure that the website is kept up to date and timely. There is nothing worse than a website was last updated two years ago. Association members will quickly become disinterested in a site that provides no value, which makes it difficult to re-gain interest.

While websites generally are the most common form of online presence for communities, other social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have also become options for increased communication to owners.  If you use these social media sites in your personal life, you are probably familiar with the negative postings and rants that can sometimes be overwhelming.

The same cautions and predetermined posting rules for websites apply to social media sites, as well.  However, postings change more quickly on social media than a website page.  The postings that can be made by others to, for instance, a Facebook page must be addressed quickly by the association if they are negative in nature.  The party authorized by the board to maintain and monitor the site should have appropriate notifications in place so that postings can be monitored and addressed promptly.  Additionally, if the board will be posting photographs from a community event, a disclaimer should be included with the event invitation notifying the residents that an association photographer will be taking pictures of the event and posting to the association’s website.  This will allows guests the opportunity to notify the photographer if they do not want their pictures posted.

There are many factors to consider when deciding whether to launch and maintain an association website or social media presence including the association’s brand or image, maintenance responsibilities, security issues, and potential legal pitfalls like defamation and harassment claims.  Even if the association does not intend to establish web or social media presence, the board should consider claiming the association’s name for websites and social media accounts to prevent other parties from opening sites potentially leading to their posing as official association communications.  Those domain names and pages should be owned and controlled by the association, when possible, rather than individual volunteers. Always consult with legal counsel before making the leap into the digital world because once association content is on the Internet, it may be there forever.


Reprinted with permission from Connect Magazine, Issue Four 2016, a publication of the Community Associations Institute of Greater Inland Empire Chapter. 

Reprinted with permission from O.C. View, January/February 2017 issue; copyright by CAI, Orange Country Regional Chapter, all rights reserved.


Don’t Let Your Brush Get Your Goat, Let Your Goat Get Your Brush

goats 009

Smokey Bear may be the spokes-animal for the prevention of wildfires but it’s the goats who actually do the work. Before and during fire season, these four-legged fire abatement “machines” can be seen throughout Orange County munching and lunching on our behalf.

More than 6,000 wildfires sweep through California annually. At the time of this writing, our state is engulfed in flames from north to south. Fueled by a lethal combination of dry brush and dry weather, Orange County has had more than its share of deadly wildfires in the past five years. It is understandable that homeowner associations are concerned during this unprecedented drought. One spark can ignite an entire hillside in minutes. As there are many canyons in Orange County, the winds that whip through these ravines feed the fires and drive the flames straight to the brush.

Historically, Boards of Directors wrestle with the ever-present issue of fire prevention and brush abatement. One answer is catching on like well, wildfire. Goats.

Why goats? Goats can be employed effectively on almost any terrain, especially slopes. Man and machines are just not made to hop and navigate steep slopes; whereas, those same slopes are all in a day’s work for a goat. George Gonzales, owner of Ranchito Tivo Boer Goats, based in Chino, said that he has seen men on tractors topple and slide down a slope of sandy soil while attempting to clear browning brush. The potential for human injury and medical costs in addition to equipment damage is high.

This summer, Gonzales and his goats were hired by Window Hill Homeowners Association in Anaheim Hills to create a firebreak clearing on a steep slope. In the past, a landscape crew has been able to clear only 100 feet up the slope due to the steepness of the hill. This year, the goats cleared 300 feet of the slope (all the way up). That is two-thirds more terrain than humans were able to clear. The landscape costs for 100 feet of human clearing were $14,700. The cost for the goats doing the job all the way up the 300-foot slope was $6,500.

Cardinal Senior Account Manager and Director of Property Management Karen Holthe worked with the Window Hill board to procure the goats. “Using the goats was so much safer, and the fire break is a great deal wider than humans could accomplish,” said Karen. “In addition, using the goats greatly enhanced the safety of the community.”

As with any new project or process, one anticipates a few glitches or homeowner complaints. “Homeowners loved the goats,” said Karen. “They told the board that the goats were quiet and they liked watching them. All comments to the board were positive.”

Goats eat a wide variety of plants. “They consider poison ivy and oak to be a salad bar,” said Gonzales. His wife Liz is co-owner and a veterinarian. She keeps abreast of the health of their herds and the potential effects of specific plants on goats. While a human work crew can certainly cut down poison ivy and oak in a day or two, they are off the job for the next two weeks scratching and recovering.

Goats simply eat the problem brush and weeds rather than chopping them down like humans and machines. Hence, there are few to virtually no dump fees. And who wants to haul away poison oak and ivy among the other prickly plants that goats love to eat?

Goats also munch the brush to within four or five inches of the ground before the herdsmen move them along. This ensures the integrity of the slope when the rains return. Sheep pull grasses out by the roots, actually promoting erosion and mudslides later in the year, resulting in a completely different category of damages and cleanup.

Earlier this summer, California Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency throughout California, as wildfires raged in our parched state. Brown said that the severe drought and extreme weather “have turned much of the state into a tinderbox.”

Community associations can be highly risky environments during wildfire season as the brush on communal slopes and hillsides becomes crispy, and homes are densely arranged. “The use of goats is one of many ways to accomplish the required defensible space fire departments need to help defend homes from an oncoming wildfire,” said Nick Pivaroff, Assistant Fire Marshal for the Community Risk Reduction Department of Pre-Fire Management for the Orange County Fire Authority.

Boards sometimes consider herbicides and pesticides to clear plant material from associations. This does work. However, the cost to the environment is high. Consider that multiple varieties of insects make their homes in the brush and weeds. Spraying kills the weeds and the insects. Next come the birds that swoop in for a worm or a cricket. The birds eat the insects full of deadly chemicals and they die as well. In addition, herbicides and pesticides have the potential to render the ground infertile. This abatement option can be expensive and unhealthy.

As the book title tells us, “Everyone Poops.” Oddly enough, goat pellets do not have the malodorous effect that sheep or cow dung have. The droppings are small, odorless, and biodegradable. They enrich the soil and do not have to be cleaned up or hauled away.

If you would like a lawn worthy of a golf course green, don’t look to a goat to get the job done. However, if you need to clear acres of heavy brush infestation safely and efficiently, you might consider putting the kids to work.

Before and After. A moveable electric fence divides the tall crispy brush (on the left) before the goats are turned loose to eat in the Window Hill Homeowners Association in Anaheim Hills from the chomped brush after the goats completed their job (on the right).

Before and After. A movable electric fence divides the tall crispy brush (on the left) before the goats are turned loose to eat in the Window Hill Homeowners Association in Anaheim Hills from the chomped brush after the goats completed their job (on the right).

A dinner-plate sized solar panel powers the battery that electrifies the moveable fence that keeps the herds on the right path.

A dinner-plate sized solar panel powers the battery that electrifies the movable fence that keeps the herds on the right path.

The Morning Commute. Several herds of goats are on their way to their assigned hillside for breakfast in a community association in Orange County.

The Morning Commute. Several herds of goats are on their way to their assigned hillside for breakfast in a community association in Orange County.

Hey, Look At Me! As goats munch their way through acres of crispy brush, they sometimes take a moment to head butt and frolic. The kid in the upper left corner photo bombed the center of attention.

Hey, Look At Me! As goats munch their way through acres of crispy brush, they sometimes take a moment to head butt and frolic. The kid in the upper left corner photo bombed the center of attention.


Cardinal To Fly To Santa Ana

Cardinal Gets New Nest After Three Decades

were-moving-graphicAfter decades of conducting business in Anaheim, Cardinal Property Management, Inc., is moving its headquarters to Santa Ana in late April. The common interest development firm, specializing in the management of homeowner associations, will be located at 825 North Park Center Drive in Santa Ana.

“We have been fortunate to expand our client base and our team over the years and have outgrown our current office space. This central location will put us closer to more of our Association clients to make it easier for them to transact business with us,” said Cardinal President Farrah Esquer.

Cardinal Founder and CEO Susan Naples said, “As the county seat, Santa Ana is a great city in which to conduct business, and we look forward to a long and happy future there.”

Cardinal will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house following the move. More information will be available later in the year.

Cardinal opened its doors in 1981 with just a few employees and one leader, Susan Naples. Today Cardinal has 32 employees, and in 2010 Naples promoted Farrah Esquer to president. Esquer has worked for Cardinal for 15 years, and is immediate past president of the Community Associations Institute (CAI) Orange County Chapter. The firm holds the Accredited Association Management Company designation from CAI.

Naples founded Cardinal on three commitments: 1—to provide the highest quality of services to our clients, 2—to further the professionalism and integrity of the industry and, 3—to participate in education and legislative efforts. Every day for nearly 35 years, each of these three commitments have been met and exceeded.

Cardinal funds industry-specific education for all account managers to ensure that they are the most educated management professionals in the field. All managers are members of the Community Associations Institute, and many are actively involved at the Committee and Board level.

While the Cardinal team of experts strives to ensure that each client association is in compliance with state and national laws, Cardinal Property Management also develops plans tailored specifically to each association. Cardinal’s accredited managers bring to bear their experience and skills to provide unparalleled service.


Don’t Let Ducks Quack Up Your Pool Plans

ducksThe return of spring is just around the corner and with it comes the return of the ducks that have migrated south for the winter. Birders look forward to feeding our fine feathered friends and providing them environments to lay their eggs and hatch their ducklings. However, health experts say, “Keep ducks out of your pools and the area around them. And don’t feed them.”

The environmental health specialists for the City of Anaheim definitively state that our pools and spas are NOT the places for ducks. Jeffery Warren in the Environmental Health Division of the Food & Pool Protection Program is adamantly against encouraging Donald Duck and his relatives to avail themselves of any pool or spa. He told Cardinal that “the main concern about having ducks or any animal in the pool is the fecal contamination. With any fecal accident, the concern is Cryptosporidium—the pathogen linked to causing disease.”

The pathogen in duck feces has a shell around it, enabling it to live for days. The chlorine in our pools does not permeate the shell or nullify the bacteria. This creates a new problem for Associations. Pools must be cleaned in a very specific way after being contaminated by ducks. Many times, they have to be drained first. Due to California’s historic drought, swimming pools that are drained cannot be refilled. Those cute webbed-footed waddlers can cause your pool to be eliminated from the summer fun list this season.

In fact, the Orange County Department of Health can simply shut your pool down by declaring it unsafe for human activity. And this applies to the pool decking as well. Pool maintenance companies are responsible for suggesting products such as “Duck Off,” signs, and shiny objects that are deterrents to ducks that are looking for a place to land, but they are not responsible for residents who feed and encourage them to stick around. In addition, the duck feces and feathers that are deposited on the pool decking is not the responsibility of your pool maintenance company. Associations have to hire a company that specializes in decking maintenance to clean and maintain those areas. Obviously, this adds an expense for homeowners and residents.

“Another issue that is common at pools is that ducks are a protected species of bird and cannot be physically moved,” said Warren. It is much easier to discourage ducks from taking up residence in an area than it is rid the area of the ducks after they have been fed and nurtured by well-meaning people. “Many pool operators place items in or around the pool to discourage ducks from congregating in the pool,” said Warren.

By feeding the ducks, we are derailing their natural abilities to hunt for and gather food. We are interfering with and disabling their instincts. They stop looking for ponds and lakes, and simply forget how to feed themselves from the natural food sources these environments provide. In addition, many times the food residents provide in an effort to “help” the ducks is actually very bad for them to ingest.

As ducks are migratory birds, they map out their routes south and back every year. They will remember which pools and ponds to return to for food and shelter year after year. In addition, they tell all their friends about all the great places to stay and your duck population will swell each year. This creates an even bigger problem as ducks are protected in the state of California and cannot be moved once they take up residence.


Pool and Spa Drain Covers Are Set To Complete Their Lifespans

preserverMany suction pool and spa drain covers that were replaced or modified to comply with the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act are now in need of replacement. Depending on their installation date and whether or not the drain covers were modified or completely replaced, your covers’ life span could be over. Faulty drain covers are the cause of numerous entrapment drownings every year.

Unfortunately, these safety devices have their genesis in tragedy. In 2002, seven-year-old Virginia Graeme Baker, granddaughter of former Secretary of State James Baker III, became stuck in the powerful suction of a hot tub drain and was unable to free herself. She drowned by suction entrapment due to a faulty drain cover.

Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Safety Act required the installation of anti-entrapment drain covers and other safety devices. Cardinal reiterates the criticality of keeping current on the lifespan information of your pool and spa drain covers.

According to the USA Swimming Foundation, California led the country in drowning deaths in pools and spas for children younger than 15 in 2014. In California, each commercial pool must have a form on file certifying Virginia Graeme Baker compliance. Throughout the state, drain cover replacements need to be documented with county health departments.

If you don’t know the answer to the question about whether or not your pool and spa drain covers are still doing their jobs, ask your pool and spa service provider to check…NOW!


And the Nominees Are…

2014 CAI Nominees


No, we are not talking about the Academy Awards but we are talking about the Oscars of our Industry.

Please join Cardinal Property Management in congratulating our superlative staff members who are nominated for the Orange County Regional Chapter of Community Associations Institute (CAI-OCRC) esteemed annual awards.

Karen Holthe, Senior Account Manager and Director of Property Management, is nominated for Manager of the Year in the veteran category and for the Outstanding Service award. Karen’s service to CAI and Cardinal are superb.

Theresa Hirschman, Senior Account Manager, has been nominated for Outstanding Service and Speaker of the Year awards. We applaud Theresa and her dedication to Cardinal and our industry.

Charles (Chuck) McNeese, a long-time resident and board member of Orange Park Community Association (one of Christine’s client Associations) is nominated for Board Member of the Year.

Janet Mehan, Account Manager, is nominated for Manager of the Year in the veteran category for her dedication to her client Associations, CAI, and Cardinal.

Christine Santisteban, Account Manager, is nominated for Manager of the Year in the rookie category and for CAI’s Innovative Management award. Christine’s allegiance to her client Associations and to innovative solutions is unparalleled.

Maryanne Hurley-Cicconi, Account Manager, is nominated for the Outstanding Service award. Maryanne is solidly committed to her client Associations, CAI, and Cardinal.

John MacDowell of Fiore, Racobs & Powers, is nominated with Theresa Hirschman as Speaker of the Year.

We congratulate all nominees and look forward CAI’s annual award dinner in early February. Good luck, everyone!  Although in our book, you’re already winners!


Karen Holthe

Karen Holthe, Senior Account Manager and Director of Property Management at Cardinal Property Management, serves on the CAI-OC Education Committee. She is a dedicated manager instructor who taught CLTP series of courses in 2014 and served as a backup instructor. Her classes are always well attended and her course evaluations consistently produce outstanding ratings. Karen has spent her professional career dedicated to education. Prior to her employment with Cardinal, she spent more than a decade training volunteers with the Boy Scouts of America. Karen volunteers to be on CAI’s Education Committee because she believes that “education helps community volunteers to become successful board members and that helps build successful communities.”  When she helps people understand that there is a clear path to managing their communities according to state laws and the laws of ethics, Karen considers herself a success. “Teaching courses through CAI-OC helps me feel successful because I’m helping others gain the knowledge necessary to help their homeowners and communities.”  In addition to taking care of her myriad accounts at Cardinal, Karen volunteers her time to help Cardinal raise funds for its largest philanthropic organization, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.  Karen is also diligently working on earning her PCAM designation.

Theresa Hirschman

Theresa Hirschman, Senior Account Manager at Cardinal Property Management, holds the professional designations of CMCA, AMS, and PCAM. Her continued dedication to CAI-OC is evidenced in her ongoing support through many years. Currently, Theresa actively serves on the Manager Support, Outreach, and Education Committees. After auditing all of the Community Leadership Training Program classes, Theresa now teaches the CLTP courses to board members, managers, and community volunteers. Theresa also serves on the Outreach Committee (she was instrumental in leading the Book Doctors project in 2014) and has served on the Community Manager Support Committee as well.  Theresa’s commitment to CAI-OC has been unwavering over the many years she has been a member. She continuously encourages the Directors of her Associations to become part of CAI and explains how their membership and participation can enhance their knowledge of everything from parliamentary procedure to how to collect on delinquent accounts. She is a walking advertisement for the benefits of CAI membership to the Directors, communities, and homeowners of her client Associations.

Theresa Hirschman and John MacDowell co-instructed a vitally informative seminar at CAI-OC’s Annual Spring Forum to board members, community managers, homeowners, and industry professionals about the inner workings of association elections and how to avoid some of the pitfalls. The seminar, “Elections, Votes, Recalls: What Can Go Wrong Will Go Wrong” was part of annual spring education seminars and trade show. The educational sessions are specifically geared to the community association manager and volunteer board member to aid in the smooth running of the election process. As a member of CAI-OC’s Education Committee, Theresa considers it her personal duty to help board members understand the myriad tasks, sensitive relationships, and complex network of living and thriving in a successful Association.  Both Theresa and John received compliments and accolades from seminar attendees, who told them that the information was “priceless” and their presentation helped them “understand exactly how to run a fair and ethical election.”

Charles (Chuck) McNeese

Charles (Chuck) McNeese, a long-time resident and 4-year board member of Orange Park Community Association, worked diligently with a consultant and a landscape company (Bemus Landscape, Inc.) as a liaison among the residents of 237 homes of Orange Park, the consultant, and Bemus during their large-scale turf replacement project designed to curtail the Association’s water use during California’s dire drought. Director McNeese not only worked with the consulting company and Bemus every day, he gave each resident of Orange Park his personal phone number and an invitation to call him any time night or day so that he could answer questions and educate the residents about the purpose and scope of the project and to field complaints about the loss of turf and removal of all irrigation around their lake. It was a sensitive and complex project, and due to Mr. McNeese’ dedication and hard work, the residents gained a clear and ongoing understanding of the work being performed for the Association. By the end of the first phase, 168,000 sq. ft. (approx. 4 acres) of turf had been removed and the associated irrigation had been shut off and removed. Mr. McNeese is now drafting a plan to replant the area with drought-tolerant plants. His daily work with the residents and vendors was instrumental in the successful completion of Phase 1 of this project. Mr. McNeese goes beyond serving his community and the board on a project-by-project basis. He also serves as the liaison to the board for the Stables, Lake, Landscape, Pool and Patrol Committees.

Janet Mehan 

Ms. Mehan began her career at Cardinal in 2008. She holds the professional certification of Certified Manager of Community Associations (CMCA) and the Association Management Specialist (AMS) from the Community Associations Institute (CAI). Ms. Mehan holds a Bachelor of Science degree from California State University at Long Beach.  Janet manages a portfolio of accounts consisting of single family homes, condominium and townhomes in which she is dedicated to providing superlative service and expertise.  Ms. Mehan also serves on CAI-OC’s Mini Trade Show Committee in which she plans and prepares the table centerpieces for the mini trade shows based on the theme of the education program.  She actively supports CAI’s education program for both community managers and community association volunteer leaders and encourages her client Directors to attend education programs and become members of CAI.  Janet also assists Cardinal in its philanthropic efforts by volunteering for fundraising events to raise funds for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Christine Santisteban 

Christine Santisteban has been a high contributor with Cardinal for nearly 5 years. She started as an Administrative Assistant and gained knowledge and experience of the industry from within the company, and was promoted to Account Manager in 2011. She is proud to hold the professional designation of Certified Manager of Community Association, and was nominated for CAI-OC’s Rising Star Award for 2011. Christine manages a widely diverse portfolio. She oversees the management of such unique environments as stables, fishing lakes, and equestrian trails.  Christine is a member of CAI-OC’s Outreach Committee and has spent innumerable hours in support of CAI’s philanthropic endeavors, such as the annual toy drive. Bringing her Outreach experience with CAI into Cardinal, Christine leads Cardinal’s team for charitable fund-raising. She heads up the annual activities to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, an organization Cardinal holds dear due to the number of Cardinal employees and family members who are fighting or have lost their battle with blood cancers. Christine manages a concert/dance, a Cinco de Mayo function, and a Bingo and silent auction party with clients, vendors, and business associates throughout the year. All the fund-raising culminates in Cardinal’s ultimate activity, the annual Light the Night walk at Angel Stadium in memory of all.

Throughout 2014, Christine worked hand-in-glove with one of her Board members, a consultant, and a landscaping company to remove 168,000 square feet of turf and an outdated irrigation system in one of her client Associations. She worked with the Board member to keep homeowners well informed, thus supportive of the massive project. Due to the dire drought conditions in California, the Association approved the removal of four acres of turf. Working with the Municipal Water District of Orange County, Christine was part of the team that helped the Association receive $185,709 in reimbursement funds for the project. Now in its second phase, Christine is working with the same team to identify and place drought-tolerant ground cover and plants in the area.

Maryanne Hurley-Cicconi 

Maryanne Hurley-Cicconi has been a member of the Cardinal Property Management team for more than 8 years. She has diligently served on CAI-OC’s Programs Committee for five years and has been Co-chair for three years. Due in part to Maryanne’s dedicated efforts with the Programs Committee, the educational luncheons were often sold out, received outstanding reviews, and were among the largest in the state. As Co-chair, Maryanne volunteers her time and energy to ensure that the coordinators for the luncheons have met their deadlines, provided Powerpoint presentations and outlines on timed, and has filled in for coordinators on many occasions. Maryanne continuously encourages the Board members of her client accounts to join CAI-OC by illustrating how CAI-OC can help them first learn to operate as effective Board members then to continue to build on their new-found knowledge. Maryanne has been responsible for recruiting countless members to join CAI-OC, and considers it part of her day-to-day duties to advertise the benefits of CAI membership. Maryanne received 2013’s Manager of the Year award in the Portfolio Category from CAI-OC. She is an exemplary member.



Cardinal Hosts Class to Aid Boards in Collecting Delinquent Assessments

Cardinal Property Management was honored to host Sandra Gottlieb, Esq., of SwedelsonGottlieb, recently as she taught 17 members of a variety of community association boards in Orange County about collecting delinquent assessments after a judgment has been obtained.

Before the seminar, Cardinal provided dinner and soft drinks for the attendees as they mingled and became acquainted.

Kathy Gonzales, executive director of the Orange County Regional Chapter of Community Associations Institute (CAI-OCRC), talked with the group about the benefits of CAI-OCRC membership before introducing Ms Gottlieb.

Ms Gottlieb discussed the steps that can be taken when an association forecloses on a property and becomes the owner.

After the hour and a half seminar and a lively question and answer session, Cardinal held two drawings

Casitas Californias Townhouses Association Board Member Mike Connell’s name was drawn for a $50 gift card for dinner at a local restaurant. This gift was awarded compliments of Cardinal.

Orange Park Community Association Board Member Charles McNees won a gift package of reference books for community leaders and a Starbucks gift card. This gift was sponsored by CAI-OCRC.

Ms Gottlieb thanked Cardinal at the conclusion of the class. “It’s amazing that Cardinal gives board members the opportunity to become educated in these areas so you all can make informed decisions for your communities,” said Ms Gottlieb.

Cardinal has a long history of hosting classes for new and seasoned board members as well as members of boards whose communities Cardinal does not manage. The educational seminars are also open to community members. Why does Cardinal focus on educating boards and community members?

According to Cardinal President Farrah Esquer, “The more people understand about community laws, the more they can make sound decisions and better the community living experience for all. We are partners with our communities. When a community is successful, Cardinal is successful.”

The final class of the year will be in October. This course will touch on Hot Topics such as nuisances, patrol, security, parking issues, new case law, and other hot topics affecting your communities.

Please visit to read the course flyer and register.


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Sign In: 6:00 p.m. (Refreshments will be provided)

Class: 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.











Black and White Soirée Benefits Leukemia and Lymphoma Society

Ebony + Ivory Soiree20

No doubt about it, Cardinal’s Ebony and Ivory Soirée was a success. It was all there in black and white.

Although the path to a cure for leukemia, lymphoma, and all blood cancers is not as clear as black and white, Cardinal hosted a black and white fundraiser in early May to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS).

For many years, Cardinal has been dedicated to supporting the efforts of LLS to fund research for cures and to support people who are in treatment. The Cardinal family has both lost members to these devastating diseases and is proud to have survivors as part of its team.

Thanks to the generosity of its business partners, Cardinal threw a bash to remember at the Anaheim Community Center. Guests wore black and white attire, and enjoyed hors de ’oeuvres and drinks. Cardinal’s own Irene Neelis’ homemade sangria was a hands-down hit.

The evening featured dancing to two bands, Power of Blues and Eastside Groove. Both bands featured family and friends of the Cardinal team, some of whom are in treatment for leukemia.

Business partners kindly donated gift baskets and tickets to local events for raffle prizes. Attendees donated to LLS to receive entry into the raffles that were called throughout the evening.

The evening resulted in moving Cardinal ever closer to its $15,000 annual commitment to LLS. Thank you to all!

A special thank you goes to:

  • Bemus Landscape for sponsoring the bar
  • 24-Hour Restoration for sponsoring the bar
  • Phoenix Patrol, who donated security services
  • The Termite Guy
  • Empire Paint
  • PacWest Painting
  • Las Flores Landscape
  • Advanced Painting
  • Pilot Painting
  • Greg Lerum Insurance