POA Board candidates discuss involvement in community and how their experience will benefit homeowners if elected to serve

Two of the five seats on the Canyon Lake POA Board are up for election in May. The seven candidates running for a seat on the board are Rita Bendlin, Greg Doherty, Carl Gardner, Kalon Morris, Alexis Prince, Tony Schwarzman, and Bill Van Vleet. Lance Phillips withdrew from the election.

Canyon Lake Insider invited the seven candidates to answer a series of questions in the weeks leading up to the election. During this period, residents will have the opportunity to hear directly from the candidates and learn what they hope to accomplish if they are elected to serve on the board.

The candidates are listed in alphabetical order, which will rotate every week to provide each candidate an opportunity to be heard first.

This week, the seven candidates were invited to answer the following question in 350 or fewer words:

 What is your involvement in the community and how will the experience you’ve acquired benefit the homeowners if you’re elected?

Rita Bendlin

First, I am a resident since 1988 and owner of property since 1974. I know personally many neighbors in the community due to either doing cosmetology services in two of our Towne Center salons when we first moved here and later working in our All Phase Construction business, which we worked on over 40 homes inside Canyon Lake.

All my six children were raised here, in the homes we designed and built with and for them. Many of my 15 grandchildren were raised here.

I work with the local colleges and churches directly with my 30 years of dual diagnosis counselor, and I serve as an advocate on two of the Riverside Behavioral Health Advisory Board committees. I am re-adjusting my schedules to allow for time to stay available for city affairs and free from family commitments. I feel my experience and years of talents in my honest open communication skills will benefit our community.

Greg Doherty

My community involvement involves both serving on POA committees and participation in three Canyon Lake clubs: Pickleball Club, Yacht Club, and Car Club. More about the latter is below.

I have been a member of the POA Finance and Dredge Committees for two years. I am the Secretary of the Finance Committee, a volunteer position. While the Dredge Committee has been somewhat inactive, it still has a long-term mission to guide our community through what will be a very complex project of dredging the East Bay. A lot of thought and research has been generated and catalogued by this committee, and no doubt will be useful in the future.

I joined the Finance Committee because I was curious about how the finances of Canyon Lake really worked. Well, I found out quickly and was impressed with what I saw. The Charter of the Finance Committee is too long to repeat here, but essentially it is:

-Review and make recommendations to the board on the annual budget relating to operations, repairs and maintenance, and capital improvements including roads, and

-Make recommendations to the board regarding budget procedures, financial control and accountability, and the annual budget.

Believe me, a lot of numbers crunching goes on in this committee! The members of the committee are very mindful and sensitive to the fact that CLPOA members are paying hard-earned dollars for access and use of our many fantastic amenities, plus repairs and updates to existing facilities including roads. At the same time, they are compelled to be sensitive to the board’s mission, which is to make spending decisions about where your money is going to be allocated to complete these projects.

I am very proud of my service to the Finance Committee and will bring that “big picture” overview to the board if elected.

As to club participation, my wife and I find that this is part of the glue that holds this community together. Club social events allow us time to communicate about what’s happening in Canyon Lake. It’s a very fulfilling and informative time spent with other Canyon Lakers.

Carl Gardner

I am actively involved in encouraging the CLPOA to adopt reasonable policies that are inclusive of all members and to become more transparent about those policies which will benefit the members’ understanding and expectations. Ask me how: [email protected]

Kalon Morris

My wife, Jessica, and I were both fortunate to grow up in outdoor-oriented families, and Canyon Lake is the perfect place to continue that trend with our two elementary-school-age daughters! We use all the parks, playgrounds, beaches, and amenities our POA offers every chance we get.

My youngest daughter is also taking horseback riding lessons at our equestrian center (older daughter is a competition dancer at JDI) and I’m an avid golfer who loves our course.

As a family, we enjoy boating, water skiing and wakeboarding on our lakes, swimming in our community pool, and playing with friends at Happy Camp. I know what families want out of our community for their children, and I will always work to make Canyon Lake as kid-friendly as possible. And as a Marine Science professor, I can be the ultimate advocate for our lake, one of our most important resources for kids and adults alike.

Alexis Prince

I have served on numerous boards in Canyon Lake. I have been on the Woman’s Club board for five years, serving the last two as president. My husband and I are also involved in Family Golf.

I have been volunteering for the past five years as a member of the POA’a ACC Committee. My background with architecture has enabled me to assist in maintaining our beautiful community and ensuring that our property values continue to rise. Having had my real estate license for 37 years has shown me how important this is.

I have learned great leadership skills and the ability to work directly with members and to listen to their needs and wants. I love Canyon Lake and I look forward to enhancing our community to the best of my ability.  

Tony Schwarzman

My family and I are deeply involved in the community. As CEO of Canyon Lake Mobile, every day I wake up excited to connect and serve our community through my business. My corporate and military experience has molded me to be a leader that serves and produces measurable, accessible and most important warranted value.

Representing the livelihood of this community is a privilege that demands daily interactions with the people of Canyon Lake – to stay in lockstep with the dynamic needs, desires, and future opportunities ahead.

Meeting Canyon Lake needs does not happen in zoom calls or closed-door meetings – it happens at Gault Field at baseball games, on the lake, or at Indian Beach – it happens by being accessible, connected, and concerned.

My connections with the community have allowed me to understand the needs of the growing families of Canyon Lake, the professionals who strike a balance every day to drive commerce, raise a family while giving back to this community.

I aim to preserve our shared legacy built by prior Canyon Lake leaders while representing our future via new entrepreneurial opportunities.

Our homes became our offices in the last two years. Many of us launched businesses and stepped into being entrepreneurs, this has supercharged the energy in Canyon Lake. I’m excited about the unlimited opportunities ahead that derive from new businesses established in our spare bedroom. As one of those corporate “resigners”, I couldn’t be happier that I traded in my daily commute for a cup of coffee with my neighbor.

My bid for POA is to connect us, protect us, and live our best home/work lives in the unmatchable Canyon Lake lifestyle.

Bill Van Vleet

Since moving to Canyon Lake four years ago, I became involved in a number of the POA committees as a volunteer.  Ensuring the safety and security of our community is a top priority for me, so I serve on the Security Committee, which is available to the POA as needed. I am also a member of the Facilities Planning Committee (FPC) to work with the community to maintain and upgrade current amenities and plan for future ones.

I serve as a member of the joint Finance/FPC subcommittee to recommend long-term budgets and reserves to the POA to prioritize our investments over time and keep our dues affordable.

By serving on these three POA committees, I help to keep Canyon Lake a safe community with great amenities that sustain and increase future property values.

Community involvement and engagement are also important to me.  In Canyon Lake, the clubs are the backbone of our community. My wife, Carolyn, and I are members of the Pickleball Club, Tennis Club, Yacht Club, Veterans and First Responders Group, Fine Arts Guild, K9 Club, and Canyon Lake Association of Men (CLAMS). We are also frequent supporters of our beautiful golf course, the country club restaurant, and the Lighthouse at the lodge. 

By being actively involved in the community as a member of numerous clubs, I provide accessibility and have the opportunity to meet a lot of our great neighbors to understand their perspectives and needs.

The five members of the Canyon Lake POA are collectively responsible for the management and operation of the POA’s business affairs. The board of directors are elected for staggered two-year terms by Canyon Lake homeowners.



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