April 5, 2016 HRB Monthly Update and Meeting Minutes

Attendance: HRB members: Steve Cauffman, Sandrine Scherson, Hobart Taylor, Richard Haier, Sabine Kunrath, Bill Schmitendorf.  ICHA: Andrew Herndon, Ron Reid. Excused: Brad Conley

Guests: Lara Grady (ICHA), Lt. J. Reiss and Lt. A. Frisbee (UCI PD)


·         Presentation about ICHA financials by Lara Grady (4:10 – 4:50 pm)

·         Conversation with UCI PD officers about questions raised in the report of the police forums and about  community issues (4:50 pm – 6 pm)

·         Other items (6 pm – 6:45 pm): Paint color request/Cervantes; background of the formation of the dispute resolution committee (1st meeting on 4/7); question to the HRB about supporting continuing efforts of residents concerned about racial profiling and police tactics in Uhills.

·         Upcoming events:  Swearing-in of the new police officers at the CC (4/13) – community members are invited; Meet the HRB/Coffee on us at the CC (4/16) 8am-10am. Earth Day Recycling/Cleanup Event at the CC (4/30).  Movie nights at Gabrielino Field starting on Saturday, 5/21, then Friday 6/24 (further dates TBD). Yard Sale (June 4). Cuban Salsa Night (June 4). “Ulympics” Uhills Sports Day (7/3 IF enough volunteers can be recruited). BMX demonstration and bike safety with UCI PD (8/28).


1.       ICHA Budget Presentation by Lara Grady

The budget mailed to the homeowners each year is just a fraction of the whole ICHA budget; Lara Grady gave the Board an overview about the entire consolidated ICHA budget, then she broke the budget down to the different cost centers, and educated the Board on the ICHA reserve accounts for long-term maintenance/replacements. The talk concluded with the long-term cash projections.

The current ICHA budget income side is mostly made up by new home sales (70% of total revenue this year), followed by rental income (17%). The rest comes from maintenance assessments (currently $77 per owned home), ground rents, shared appreciation income (approximately 30 re-sales of homes/year), interest from long term reserve accounts, and resident water and sewer (a pass-through item). The ground rent & shared appreciation are retained by ICHA and re-invested in the community.  There are theoretical scenarios in which the UC could claim the ground rent and shared appreciation, if ICHA were not able to show that reinvestment was necessary.

Expenses in the current budget include the costs of the homes sold, ICHA administration, repairs and maintenance, landscape maintenance, interest expense, net revenue due to UCI (the Las Lomas Apartments are owned by UCI but ICHA manages them), utilities, cost of resident water and sewer, and recreational facilities.

A budget analysis broken down by the cost centers shows how income and expenses are divided across ICHA Corporate, University Hills, the Community Center, Resale & Lease administration, new homes & construction, and the rental program. It was interesting to note that community maintenance costs are covered by several income sources, including a combination of homeowner maintenance assessments and contributions from ICHA Corporate (ground rents and shared appreciation).

The ICHA reserve funds are used to ensure that sufficient funds are set aside for major long-term maintenance and repairs (such as resurfacing roads, repairing sewers, replacing playground equipment, etc.).  Reserves are divided into 4 accounts: UHills Common Areas (44%), Long-Term Infrastructure (29%), Townhomes (3%), and Rentals (24%). Currently, they are at $ 8,200,000 total. The health of reserve funds is determined by the “Percent Funded” which is the ratio of the actual reserve fund balance to the theoretically ideal balance based on detailed analysis by a consultant. A number of 70% is considered “healthy” . The Uhills reserve is 96% funded, the LTI reserve is 84% funded, and the Rentals are 77% funded, indicating that ICHA has adequate reserves.

Ms. Grady concluded with the Cash Flow analysis for the future. Analyses assumed Area 11 will deliver 160 homes from 2017 through 2020, and 140 rental units by Fall 2020, but that no further construction would occur (which could change if the University allocates additional land to faculty housing, e.g. at the North Campus, or elsewhere).  Rental apartments provide a significant source of revenue. Altogether, after the short-term impact of construction costs, a long-term positive cash flow is projected. The cash flow and reserve analyses together underscore the long-term financial stability of the community under ICHA's stewardship.

Some HRB members suggested an annual community meeting where residents can gain insight into the ICHA budget. Ms. Grady will investigate this possibility with the ICHA Board.


2.       UCI PD Conversation

Lt. Joe Reiss and Lt. Anthony Frisbee participated in this month’s meeting. They stressed that they appreciated the continued dialogue with the HRB.  Last month the HRB forwarded the University Hills Community Process Report (summarizing questions raised at the December forums) to Chief Cisneros.  One topic of interest was the training received by UCIPD personnel.   The discussion here focused primarily on training, with some discussion of how officers respond to calls about “suspicious” people, and how officers approach such individuals.  We also discussed ongoing stepped-up stop-sign enforcement.

UCI PD strives to be more visible in University Hills and to build better relations with the residents by being more present at events, by improving communication with the community (e.g. sharing information about crime analyses, like the nature of crimes here, hotspots), and by assigning two  officers specifically to UHills.  Starting soon, Sgt. Jon Sloan (primary) and Sgt. Eladio Acuna (secondary) will be assigned to Uhills.  Another officer recently moved into University Hills, and a second may be doing so soon.

UCI PD would like to educate our community by giving presentations about various topics that are of interest to us (e.g. emergency responses; active shooter; scammers/ID frauds; the nature of investigations; what happens when you call the police). UCI PD already does brown bag lunches on Campus; the Board asked the officers to share the information with our community, too. There are also public police academies that those interested can attend.

At the police forums, questions have been raised about the training of UCI PD officers. Lt. Reiss and Lt. Frisbee gave an extensive overview on the training activities of the officers. Officers receive their 6-month basic police academy training at the Orange County Sheriff’s Regional Training Academy (more information at http://www.sac.edu/AcademicProgs/HST/CJA/Pages/OCSRTA.aspx). At the end of the Academy they undergo rigorous testing and a certification. After that officers receive 6 additional months of field training at the Department; after that they are closely monitored for another 6 months, with monthly evaluations. The officers mentioned that UCI PD recruits have been among the top graduates of the Academy. 20 – 30% of the officers and approx. 40% of the PD’s staff are UCI graduates. Thus, officers are typically passionate about keeping UCI safe and very committed to the community they serve. (A note: There has never been a shot fired by UCI PD in UHills.)

All officers undergo continuing training, as well. There are trainings that are mandatory by the state; UCI PD also has an extensive training guide for the officers.  There are also quarterly department-wide trainings.

Examples of  training topics include:

–          sexual violence training (every 2 years)

–          domestic violence

–          high speed pursuit

–          arrest and patrol techniques

–          firearm training (bi-monthly)

–          force options training (shoot/don’t shoot scenarios)

–          tactical communication/de-escalation training (every 2 years)

–          first aid/CPR (every 2 years)

–          racial profiling training

–          bias-based police training (through UCLA)

–          drug enforcement

–          police contacts with the mentally ill

–          conflict resolution training (2 days, completed last month)

–          upcoming quarterly department training in April will include:

–                           implicit bias training by Song Richardson

–                           trauma-informed interviewing of sexual assault victims by Mandy Mount

–                           perceptions of police (influence of dress, behavior, demeanor) by Rylan Simpson

–          conferences, e.g. UC Davis “Leave no Victim behind” conference

The officers explained to the board what happens when dispatch receives a call about “suspicious” activities in University Hills. First of all, the dispatch asks follow-up questions to find out about the suspicious behavior (the dispatcher attempts to establish the specific behavior that the caller finds suspicious). However, department policy is to respond to all calls.  Thus, even if someone calls based solely on a feeling that someone “doesn’t belong”, an officer will drive out to assess the situation.  Some responses are for “welfare checks” to assess if someone needs help.  The level of engagement would vary depending on what was observed.   A typical “soft contact” (not an enforcement action) involves greeting a person and asking to see their ID.  The police are trained to ask for ID to open up the conversation.  Compliance is not mandatory (and we are not required to carry IDs with us at all times), but the idea is that people are less confrontational when they are not anonymous. Board members pointed out that this can be viewed as offensive and accusatory by the person asked – depending on his or her personal history and provenience.

Altogether, the police support the “See something – say something” approach. Reporting even minor incidents to the police helps to solve crimes. Recently, about 30 cars were rifled in certain parts of UHills, but only two were reported directly to the police.  (Andrew proactively compiled information from listserv reports and generated a map, which helped the PD identify a person of interest.  A simpler approach would be for residents to report incidents directly to the PD.  The listserv is very useful for alerting neighbors, but is not an official method of communication with the PD, ICHA, or the HRB.)  The pictures of the package thief and his vehicle, which a resident forwarded to the PD in December, were shared with other Police Departments in Orange County.

We briefly discussed recurring parking issues and stop sign enforcement. Student vehicles parked illegally typically receive a warning before they are cited.  All UHills entrances have posted signs regarding parking, but these may be supplemented by A-frame signs at the start of the quarter. Regarding stop signs, the police have increased enforcement in the past weeks. So far, about 65% of offenders have been non-UHills residents.

The HRB requested an update on when the official investigation report regarding the September 1st, 2015 incident (in which guns were drawn and a resident was commanded out of his own home).  The investigation has been completed.  Chief Cisneros has received the report, and is in discussions with Administration staff, but the report has not yet been shared with either the affected residents or with the community.  The officers were unable to comment on whether a formal apology or acknowledgement of the harm that was done would be forthcoming.

The community is invited to attend the swearing-in of new officers on 4/13 at the Community Center.


3.       Other items


–          The Board discussed a paint color request on Cervantes.  The prevailing color scheme on the street consists solely of various shades of brown, so the desire to add bright accent colors on doors and garage doors is understandable.  The board leans (slightly) toward supporting such accents, but there was some concern that the specific color choice in this case might cross the line from “bold” to “garish”, so, given the lack of consensus, we suggested that Andrew ask a designer to identify possible alternatives that the homeowners themselves might also be happier with.

–          The entertainment committee presented the upcoming events that are being planned.  (Please refer to the list above.)

–          Steve explained the background regarding the joint ICHA/HRB effort to develop a more formalized dispute resolution process for situations in which informal methods are insufficient.  The Dispute Resolution Process Development Committee will include HRB and ICHA representatives, and will hold its first meeting on 4/7.

–          Steve mentioned a request that the HRB provide support for continuing efforts of residents concerned about racial profiling and police tactics in Uhills.  Due to the lateness of the hour, there was insufficient time to have a full discussion.

–          Other postponed topics that remain pending: 

o   formal request that ICHA request a traffic study to identify possible improvements that would have traffic calming effects.

o   pending request for two HRB observers at ICHA board meetings (currently 1)

o   continued efforts to get a locking mailbox option pre-approved by USPS

o   facilitating housing trades within UHills

o   proposal for 8-ft bike-loop around perimeter of Gabrielino field (along fence)

o   ICHA and HRB website revamping (should do survey on valued features?)

o   plan to review pool temperature settings after area 10 pool is built

 The meeting was adjourned at 6:45pm.

Here ends the April HRB update.  Prepared by Sabine Kunrath. Respectively submitted, Steve Cauffman