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POA Board of Directors candidates discuss the qualities they can bring to the board if elected

Canyon Lake Insider invited the seven POA Board of Directors 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.

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

What personal qualities can you bring to the board? What would make you a good board member? 

The order of the candidates is rotated each week to provide each candidate an opportunity to be heard first.

Tony Schwarzman

First and foremost, I am a servant leader who will continually put the needs of others before my own. As I’ve watched the board establish itself over the last year, I have come to see that it is a collaborative group unlike boards of the past.

I believe what will make me a good board member is that I can carry the momentum that has been built over the last year and carry on the tradition of collaborative solutions for the greater community. My role as a board member is to make decisions on rules and regulations created by the committees not to create rules and regulations.

I am excited to work with our current board and believe that I would be a wonderful addition to that team.
I am a conservative republican and strongly believe in protecting the freedoms that we currently enjoy here in Canyon Lake.

Bill Van Vleet

I believe the greatest quality that I will bring to the board is my depth and breadth of relevant experience. In over 20 years of executive leadership as a CEO, I developed a proven track record of strong financial management. This will be particularly important in the next few years as we experience an inflationary environment. 

Maintaining our community and amenities will require disciplined management of our budgets to manage our costs and prioritize our investments to address the future needs of the community. I faced these same issues in my 10 years as the president and board member of an HOA in Orange County and successfully managed our association dues and expenses to amounts below the growth in the cost of living, maintaining affordability for the homeowners.

I believe in taking action to address challenges directly and the greatest challenge facing our community is security. My 40-year career was dedicated to the defense and security industries and I will bring this experience to Canyon Lake. Our Community Patrol is our only line of defense and we need a broader strategy for homeowners and residents. 

I started a Security Roundtable with members of our community to identify the current issues and develop solutions to implement when elected. When it comes to security, experience matters.

I am open-minded, easy to approach, and open to questions. I believe in being accessible to engage the community to understand your perspective. To that end, in the last 22 days since announcing my candidacy, I have attended 48 different events and meetings which demonstrates my belief through actions. 

You can count on me to be honest and to act with integrity. I will take the responsibility of meeting the community’s needs first. It will be an honor to represent our community and to serve as a steward for current and future generations.

Rita Bendlin

Editor’s note: Rita Bendlin did not submit an answer.

Greg Doherty

As the saying goes, there is no substitute for experience. I have served on two POA Committees for over two years. The Finance Committee in particular has shown me how the money flow — your money — really works.

Your board does not make decisions in a vacuum. Quite the contrary. Issues bubble up to the board from POA staff, which get their input from members like yourself. Likewise, the board has empowered several POA committees to create, analyze, and recommend ideas for the board to consider and vote on.

The Finance Committee members collectively spend hundreds of hours annually, scrutinizing the financial condition of the POA. In early spring, they spend days looking at every nickel — both revenue and expense — and construct a budget for the coming fiscal year. It’s tedious work. Then, the committee monitors the actual results vs. the budget via monthly meetings and monthly financial statement reviews. I believe being a part of this process eminently qualifies me for board directorship.

I am retired. I have the time, energy, and passion to do this job, which is the equivalent of part-time employment.

I was a commercial property/casualty insurance broker for 47 years. I designed complicated risk financing programs for Fortune 500 companies like Nestle USA, Coldwell Banker, Mitsubishi Bank, Interstate Bank, and hundreds of medium-sized corporations. In my business, your word was your bond. I never told a client something I knew to be untrue just because I knew it was what they wanted to hear. Integrity counts.

My wife, Julie, and I have lived here for seven years. We’re on our second home in CL. We have four grandkids. We love it here and want nothing less than to do whatever we can to make this an even bigger slice of paradise.

Like I said, there’s no substitute for experience. That’s true if it’s POA leadership experience or years of honing personal and business skills so our golden years stay golden. Thank you for considering me for the Canyon Lake Board of Directors position.

Carl Gardner

There is a saying, “cooler minds prevail.” When approaching an issue, I would use a cool temper and a reasonable mind to help and not to harm. 

Kalon Morris

I’d be an excellent board director because my personal qualities and values are very similar to most members of our community:

  • I want my family to be extremely safe
  • I don’t want random people in our community
  • I want to enjoy my free time with my family and friends
  • I don’t want to wait in line behind guests with no member present to use our amenities
  • I want Canyon Lake to provide the best childhood possible for my kids and all members’ children and grandchildren (and all the time I get to spend with my young daughters keeps me up to date on what today’s kids want)

I’m especially committed to our safety and security. My family left Oceanside for Canyon Lake partly because the homeless situation and crime had gotten so bad. We could no longer use the bike path next to our house; even the police didn’t go there since the homeless had it booby-trapped. I’ll make sure Canyon Lake goes the opposite direction and becomes safer and more secure as time goes on. Thanks for your consideration. 

Alexis Prince

This is an interesting question. I try to be a humble person and I want to answer the question as accurately as I can so the following are the positive qualities that I feel that I possess that would make me a successful board member. Having said that I will endeavor to list my positive qualities while remaining humble.  

I am a leader, good listener, problem solver, hard worker, play well with others, good team member, very creative, educated, intelligent, extremely dependable, responsible, and enjoy working with youth.  

I am honest, dedicated, and love our community. I always try my best to find a solution to the issues that occur. I look forward to serving our community as your next board member. 

Editor’s note:

The election schedule is as follows:

  • April 4: Notice of Annual Meeting, ballots, and statements were mailed to members. Civil code requires they be sent out at least 30 days prior to the meeting date, which is May 12.
  • May 4: Last day it’s recommended a homeowner mail a ballot.
  • May 12: Annual Meeting of the Members and Election of Directors at 8 a.m. in the Holiday Bay Room at the lodge. The meeting will be called to order and polls will close at approximately 9 a.m.
  • May 14: Alternate meeting date if a quorum is not met on May 12.

Only prime members are allowed to vote in the election. Prime members have one vote per unit/lot/parcel owned.

The Canyon Lake Chamber of Commerce will be hosting a Meet the Candidates Forum on Wednesday, April 13, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the lodge.

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