Welcome to Hidden Valley Watchdog's website for information about the Community and its Association (HVLA). The website is maintained by Steven Greenberg, a resident of Hidden Valley Lake. Questions and comments are welcome. Join Watchdog on Facebook for additional information and discussion.
Hidden Valley Watchdog's Mission
Financial mismanagement, petty politics and parochial thinking have plagued Hidden Valley Lake since its beginning (in 1969).
For the Community to prosper, changes in its governance and operations are essential.
Hidden Valley Watchdog will suggest what these changes should be and why. It will discuss (among other matters):
• Hidden Valley Lake Association’s finances
• Association operations and governance
• HVLA politics and elections
• Community amenities and infrastructure
• Safety and security
• Environmental threats (floods, wildfires, earthquakes)
• Water – its cost, quality, and availability
• The Community's relationship with Lake County
Watchdog's newsletter is published twice a month (or so). Each issue focuses on one or two topics, provides some historical background and recommendations how to move forward.
Hidden Valley Watchdog on Facebook
Because its objective is not just to inform, but also to foster discussion, a Facebook group, "Hidden Valley Watchdog," has been set up to facilitate such interaction. You are invited to join this group, and communicate with other Hidden Valley residents about how best to move the Community forward.
Money Lies at the Root of Hidden Valley's Problems
Residents of Hidden Valley Lake have been squabbling over money for decades. Its Association, HVLA, was born poor and continues to be financially challenged.
Much of HVLA's funds have been squandered on a poorly run golf course and its restaurant. Over 15 years, these two amenities have required nearly $10 million to stay afloat, this despite serving only a very small proportion of residents.
Additional funds have been squandered on expensive equipment that didn't work out or exorbitant severance packages for General Managers who also didn't work out.
See "Hidden Valley's Money Problem" for details.
Poorly Informed Decisions Have Exacerbated HVLA's Problems
The Association's dysfunction is largely the result of successive Boards making poor and often self-serving decisions that harm the interests of most Association members and residents.Most of the General Managers have not worked out for one reason or another. Sometimes it's an inability to work with a Board or an inability to deal with Association operations and management.
A Potential Solution
A first-rate Community Management company (CMC) could solve many of the Association's problems. Why?
• CMCs focus on running Associations well and affordably because it impact's the company's bottom line. They have a reputation to uphold among the many different Communities they manage, so will endeavor to do their best for our Community as well.
• A CMC's key customers are residents and members, NOT Board Directors, making it more difficult for politics to meddle with Association operations and finances.
• A well-managed Association benefits residents hugely. They can depend on the finances being handled prudently (and honestly). The staff will be well trained and courteous. Projects will begin and end on schedule, and so on.
• It will be far easier to attract the volunteers to serve on the Board and Committee because the "heavy lifting" will be performed by the CMC, not Association members. Instead of spending 20-40 hours a week, Directors and Committee Chairs will only have to spend a few hours a month to ensure the Association is performing as desired. They will then be able to focus on a Board's proper role, which is to set overall direction and policy.
• It is far easier (and less expensive) to terminate a CMC's contract if things go wrong than to fire an "independent" General Manager. If problems arise, a CMC has a financial incentive to correct them and quickly.
• A poorly performing independent GM does not have such an incentive because he/she knows that a generous severance package will be offered no matter what. HVLA has never terminated a GM "for cause," which means the Association can be counted on to provide several months' severance in order to avoid legal complications. GM candidates likely know this when they apply.
Past Communications Concerning Hidden Valley
• Whither Hidden Valley? (Member Survey Issues)
Information about Hidden Valley Lake and surrounding Communities is provided via the links below. Hidden Valley is currently run by a homeowners Association (HVLA). Watchdog recommends changing from "independent" management to a one operated by a top-tier Community Management company for reasons enumerated here.
HVLA Board Meeting Summaries & Discussion
Community Information & Conversations