HRB Meeting – February 2, 2016

HRB members present were Hobart, Jan, Brad, Steve, Katie, Sandrine, Barbara. ICHA members: Andrew Herndon, Ron Reid, and Nahid Greger. UCIPD in attendance were Assistant Police Chief Jeff Hutchison and  Sergeant Frisbee.  Declared candidates for the upcoming HRB election were invited to attend, and those in attendance were: Bill Schmitendorf, Andy Yun, Richard Haier, Sabine Kunrath, and Greg Sarnecki.

Assistant Chief of Police Jeff Hutchison came on what was his last day with the UCIPD. He explained that it takes 18 months to replace an officer, after they’ve hired him/her. There are a total of 41 police officers and 8 in training. Asked about diversity, he said that those in training include one female officer,  three Hispanic officers, one officer of color. While these are all graduates of the police academy, often with experience elsewhere, the training for UCIPD takes over 1000 hours over an 18 month period: 6 months of academic study, 6 months field training, and 6 months of probation.

An outgrowth of the University Hills Police forum is the formation of a committee which will include citizens and academics to generate input from outside the police department. Also, the police department has hired a consultant who will help build and maintain a safe, respectful and inclusive work place. They plan to have L. Song Richardson make her presentation on implicit bias to the police force, and offer the Department of Justice training in Restorative Justice. The Facilitators have just finished their report on the University Hills forums that were held in December, and delivered it to the forum planning subcommittee of the HRB.

Regarding the specific incident that occurred on 9/1/15, Hutchison reported that everyone has been interviewed for the formal investigation that is being conducted, and the report is being prepared. Sergeant Frisbee arrived and provided some neighborhood statistics on police calls. There were 629 incidents last year, i.e. calls for service, medical assistance, patrol checks.  89 Police reports were taken, including 5 domestic violence calls, 6 for criminal threats, 2 fires, 15 burglaries/thefts, and 2 reported traffic accidents.  Cars continue to pass school buses and not stop at stop signs.  Mail theft and vehicle tampering spiked in December.

In response to reported vehicle tampering incidents, patrols were increased, including plain clothes police in unmarked cars. HRB members asked if some recent neighborhood concerns (such as seemingly fraudulent door-to-door solicitations) rise to the level of warranting a call to the police.  The Chief said that they should be reminded that solicitation is not permitted in the neighborhood, and asked to produce their business license; the police don’t mind being called, since some of these people are actually casing homes in order to determine when people are or are not home.  In another recent incident, about 20 people said on the Listserv that the contents of their cars had been gone through, as evidenced by open glove boxes and car doors. But only 2 called the PD, likely since little had been taken. Andrew plotted the activity on a map, based on the listerv reports, and gave that to the police. Chief Hutchinson said that this pattern helped them identify a person of interest, and that the vehicle tamperings ceased shortly after that person’s family was contacted.   Chief Hutchison emphasized that there is value in reporting these kinds of incidents, even if nothing is taken, or even if the car was unlocked, because the data are useful in establishing patterns.

Nahid Greger, Director of ICHA’s sales and Marketing, joined the meeting to answer questions on the recently established ICHA/Provost "Move-Down" policy. Existing homeowners who would like to move to a smaller home, have, from time to time, requested assistance from ICHA . There is a long wait list for resale homes, and since priority goes to new and current faculty, few houses are ever offered to those on the list who already have a UHills home. To increase the supply of larger homes available for resale to new recruits, ICHA and the Provost’s office have established a written policy for homeowners interested in downsizing. This “move-down” policy was presented.  Move-downs are subject to Provost Approval, but will be considered when the request is to move to a condo or one-story home under 1450 sq.ft, and after the home have been offered to all newly recruited or currently renting senate members on the waitlist.  This new policy will be on trial for one year, after one year it may be revised if needed.  Historically, there have been about five pairs of homeowners who have traded homes. The two parties need to find each other outside of ICHA, the university must approve the swap, and typically the university requires that it be rank to rank. Many more have looked into trading, but then negotiations often break down due to pricing and other factors.

After the HRB elections, Steve would like volunteers to form a subcommittee to work with ICHA on establishing a clear procedure for handling disputes.  Hopefully, most issues can continue to be handled informally, as they always have been, but a clear process will help when the  parties are not satisfied with informal efforts.

Brad, Barb, Jan, & Katie's HRB terms are ending.   Candidates currently include:  Brad Conley, Jan Fisher, Bill Schmitendorf, Harry Briggs, Sabine Kunrath, Richard Haier, Greg Sarnecki, and Andy Yun.  Steve gave a brief review of the on-line voting process which was developed last year. Using the ICHA master email list, all households will receive a voting code in an announcement with a link to a google form where 4 votes per household can be allocated among the various candidates for the 4 open seats.

Hobart suggested another way that the HRB can strengthen the UCI community: by encouraging people to attend faculty events on campus. He requested funds to buy 2 pairs of tickets for each of the two performances on February 19th and 20th, of the world famous jazz pianist, Kei Akagi . These tickets would be given away by randomly drawing winners from all who respond to the announcement. This was approved.

Andrew summarized his continuing conversations with USPS about locking mailboxes. Retrofits of existing mailboxes must conform to height requirements, and must maintain or increase the number of any group. All mailboxes on a given street must be of the same class, i.e. no mixing of cluster box units (CBUs) and individual boxes on the same street. Unfortunately, the supporting structures in phases 1-8 are too small for most individual locking mailboxes, so significant modifications to the support posts would typically be involved.  We hope to get at least one locking mailbox style pre-approved by the post office, but personnel there need to see and examine a prototype before agreeing.  No architectural applications for mailbox modifications have been received.

The construction of the new pool in Area 10 is expected to start in March. It will be finished near the end of summer or early fall. Drought tolerant plants will be in the landscape.  The plans for developing the remaining 30 acres of Area 11 continue to proceed through the various required government and university approvals, despite the HRB’s general annoyance and persistent whining that not enough room is being reserved for park space (only 0.75 acres, which is well short of the 4 acres mandated by Irvine City guidelines, based on the anticipated number of residents).  Taken together, Areas 10 and 11 will have about 4.5 credited park-acres, compared with an Irvine requirement of 7.4.   Rectifying this shortfall would involve building fewer apartments and prioritizing quality of life over quantity of housing.  Construction of Area 11’s 160 homes and 140 apartments will occur in four phases, beginning with grading this July, and with clusters of homes the being delivered in 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020.

Brad is spearheading the Vista Bonita playground review committee which will meet Thursday. HRB candidates Andy Yun and Sabine Kunrath and four other resident volunteers are serving on that committee.

Steve gave a final call for any additional comments on the previously circulated draft of the Park survey from Summer 2015.  It will be finalized and released within the next few weeks.

The new signage for the tennis courts, which was developed in the Fall-Winter of 2014-2015, in order to clarify the existing policies regarding instructional use of the courts, is ready for installation.  Instructors will be required to display an ICHA-issued permit, and will need to agree to a “code of conduct” as one of the requirements to receive a permit.

A tennis instructor’s four-month suspension (a consequence imposed by ICHA for providing private lessons to non-residents at UHills facilities while on probation due to reports of aggressive and confrontational interactions with residents) ends at the end of February.  Another instructor inquired about starting an academy, but it was decided that his ambitions exceeded our courts’ capacity.

The website is due for an upgrade.  A web redesign committee should determine requirements, and assess whether to continue with the idiosyncrasies of the current platform or transition to a new one that is easier to navigate and administer. 

Residents have expressed dissatisfaction with internet service options in the neighborhood, and asked why we can’t get campus high-speed network access. There are rumors that Google Fiber will be coming to lay fiber throughout Irvine, which could incent other providers to improve their service, too.  Extending campus network access throughout the neighborhood would be a daunting project, both logistically and administratively, so the current strategy is to wait and see what Google does.   

The Back-to-Natives event was a big success. 30-40 people came, including families, who also enjoyed a slide show of Sandrine’s nature photographs. “California Natives” are distinct from “drought tolerant”.

Ron and Andrew continue to struggle with managing requests for "resident" events vs. "outside" events at the Community Center (for which different rates apply).  The website’s explanation of the rate structure is confusing, and should be clarified. Residents andUCI-related non-resident groups keep it fairly consistently booked.