March 28, 2014

University Hills Homeowners Representative Board Update

Greetings U Hills Residents, from your friends and neighbors on the HRB!

Background (What is HRB?)

The Homeowners Representative Board (HRB) is an elected* body of volunteer homeowners who serve as an intermediary between ICHA management and residents. The HRB is advisory to ICHA and its professional staff, and serves as a voice for University Hills residents on community-related issues.  (*but see below)

The HRB was originally established as the Architectural Review Board.  Its scope has evolved considerably since then, expanding from the approval of landscaping and remodeling plans to a role that is part resident lobby group, part community watchdog, and part neighborhood council.

Its members are elected on a one-vote-per-household basis to serve overlapping two-year terms.  Presently these terms run March through February. 

Current Status (Weren’t we supposed to have an election?)

This year, we had four seats up for election.  Three members chose not to seek re-election, in order to pursue other opportunities and spend more time with their families.  One new volunteer responded to our requests for candidates.  Due to the general lack of response, the fourth member whose term was expiring agreed to continue serving.  We thus have two volunteers (one new, one returning) for the four open seats. 

The HRB believes that it is important to be fully transparent in its operation, and that, as a matter of form, it would be preferable to hold elections every year, regardless of the number of candidates.  As a practical matter, though, we are not yet positioned to hold elections electronically, so such an election this year would involve physical mailings, at considerable effort and expense, for the primarily symbolic purpose of electing two candidates for four open seats.  We are pursuing implementation of a suitable web-based voting system for future use.  But under the current circumstances, we believe it is reasonable to rely on the bylaw allowing appointment of available volunteers to fill vacant seats, while we continue to solicit additional volunteers.           

Which brings us to the point:  U Hills needs U!

There are still two (2) remaining vacant seats on the HRB.  We meet on the first Tuesday of every month, at 4pm, in the Community Center.  Biographical statements for the current members are listed below, in order to introduce (or re-introduce) ourselves.  Please consider joining us!  Or, if you prefer focusing solely on the fun parts, like planning community events, then you might consider volunteering for the Entertainment Committee, which is currently also in desperate need of help.  The fantastic community events we’ve grown accustomed to in recent years can’t be sustained without energetic volunteers like you.


Steve, Mike, Sandrine, Barbara, and Michele

Steve Cauffman (Chair 1 year remaining)

I am a physicist, and work primarily from home, simulating the performance of high-power microwave sources for a company in northern California.   My wife is a Professor in the Psychology & Social Behavior department.  We have lived on Murasaki St. in phase 8 of University Hills since 2005, and have two children (ages 6 and 10) who attend Vista Verde Elementary.  I am currently halfway through my first term as a member of the HRB.  My top priority has been to ensure that resident input and concerns are accurately communicated to ICHA, particularly during the finalization of plans for the shared common areas to be included in Phase 10.  I believe it is vital that residents have a voice in the shaping of such plans, and will continue to do my best to represent the interests of our diverse population, and to ensure that University Hills remains beautiful, safe, and enjoyable for current and future residents alike.

Michael McNally (1 year remaining)

I have been a home-owner in UHills for 20 years and I have been on the faculty of UCI's Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and with the Institute of Transportation Studies for over 25 years. During this time, I have been involved in a broad range of activity associated with the development of UHills including campus planning and review of projects such as the Toll Road, California Avenue, the Ecological Reserve, East Campus, the Research Park, and the Long Range Development Plan. My primary interest in remaining on the HRB is to continue activity related to the planning and operation of our community.

Sandrine Scherson (1 year remaining)

I have been in the UHills community since 1995, although on a part time basis till 2008 when I moved permanently from France to Irvine. I have hence known University Hills for more than 18 years. I am currently a member of the University Hills’ entertainment committee. The current committee organized for the first time a New Year’s Eve party at the community center this last December 2012, in addition to activities for Halloween and Christmas.  Over time I saw the area change tremendously along with UCI’s growth. The Research Park, additional University buildings, housing for staff and students: the community is growing fast and it is time for us to think forward and find ways to accommodate this growth while preserving the wonderful environment around us to enhance everyone's quality of life. As I am also an avid wildlife photographer, I walk every day around UHills and in the UCI Preserve like many other residents do. I discovered an extraordinarily rich wildlife, amazingly present in this urban area: birds, mammals, reptiles, insects, among so many others, and it is our responsibility to protect and preserve them. It is because I value the community we live in, the quality of life it offers to our families, the safety of our children, that I am interested in continuing to serve as a member of the HRB and represent our interests.

Barbara Taborek (2 year remaining)

I moved to University Hills when my husband, Peter, was hired in Physics in 1989. I was a pretty active volunteer in the Irvine Public schools, in scouts, church and sports teams when our three children were growing up. In the University Hills community, I was involved with the Faculty Associates, the Wine Tasting group and I have been on the HRB twice before, starting 1990 through 1991, and the second time, 2000 through July 2001. At that time, I was offered a one year contract with ICHA to serve as a Community Coordinator. I assisted existing UC Irvine faculty and new faculty recruits get established in the community during the first phase of Phase 8.  I now volunteer for the Registrar of Voters, as an Inspector at the Polls, and for the police department's CERT. 

For the last eight years, I have been the Administrator, and only employee, of a small Newport Beach foundation, the Donald A. Strauss Scholarship Foundation.

I'm grateful for the many people who contribute their time, talent, energy and best judgment to our neighborhood events and governance. I look forward to the chance to serve again on the HRB and represent the interests of our growing community.

Michele Walot (1 year remaining)

I have lived in University Hills for nearly 29 years. This is my 12th year on the board and I love to walk with my dog along these streets that know my feet. Watching the neighborhood grow and develop over so many years has been a great joy and it has been my great pleasure to contribute to the process.