Tuesday, January 18, 2005


Today, an accident at Luistano and Codro de Caza Drive may be the accident that changes the cavalier attitude of the CZ Board of Directors. At least that may be the way future directors will regards their responsibility of management. This one will cost the community.

At approximately 2:35PM a bus with handicapped children was exiting Luistano onto southbound Coto Drive. Observers said the bus had made a full stop and waited for three cars to pass. When the bus pulled out to make the right turn onto Coto Drive, a southbound SUV vehicle came around the bend on Coto drive and impacted into the side of the bus with handicapped kids.This happened in front of several residents that were walking their pets and jogging in the area.Witnesses stated that the SUV driver never slowed down prior to impact and that she was exceeding the speed limit of 50 MPH by at least 20MPH.The SUV impacted the bus on the driver’s side and bounced over to the left lane where it hit the center divider and rolled onto its side. The driver was treated by ambulance attendants and released after the following statement;"It was impossible to see the bus pulling out in time to avoid collision." I never even knew there was a street there and I drive this every day."The CHP officer at the scene stated that there were two occupants of the bus that were removed by ambulance and the driver of the SUV was cited for reckless driving and released. The officer stated that at 50 MPH, the SUV driver had only three seconds to react and in making an evasive maneuver at 70MPH in the SUV it would have overturned without the impact with the middle divider. The driver of the bus was also treated and released after a statement to the CHP officer. In that statement, the bus driver said that his company would no longer provide service to Coto de Caza area because of the traffic problems and had informed parents of the handicapped children of this fact several weeks earlier. As an owner of the company that provides this service he said that he was contacting his attorney in order to bring litigation against Coto de Caza HOA.Residents had requested that the CZ Master HOA "do something" about the traffic noise and speed in this area for the past year and had "never received and answer" from the HOA. One resident that lives across the street from this accident said that this was the fifth accident to occur in this intersection in the past nine months.The speed limit was increased by the HOA approximately three years ago from 35MPH to the 50MPH discarding an outroar from area residents. Residents said that the increased traffic noise had also lowered their property resale values as an added problem.Coto de Caza is a private community and as such is governed by a Board of Directors that is elected by Delegates who in turn are elected by residents. When the Board of Directors is cited at fault in litigation-- which evidently will ensue as a result of this event-- they are held harmless by their insurance but the resident’s liability increases. In many instances of litigation, the homeowners dues are increased to paid the liability
The CHP and medics responded within twenty minutes to the scene but the Coto Security service, Securitas , never appeared .


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello All: Coto de Caza Concerned Citizens is seeking qualified candidates for the CZ Master Board to run against incumbent CZ Board Members Varo, Mezger and Hill should they choose to run for another term. We will have an organizational meeting at our home on Wednesday, January 26 to prepare for the upcoming Board election in the spring.

Meeting Place: 18 Claremont Lane in Canyon Estates

Meeting Date: Wednesday, January 26

Meeting Time: 7:30 pm

Home Phone: 949 858-5385

It is no secret I believe that Varo, Mezger and Hill must be removed from office one way or another preferably through the electoral process. These Board Members just voted for a dues increase that is the result of fiscal mismanagement. There has been no formal competitive bidding for major supplier services during their term in office which is the key to holding down expenses. This is the real reason for the current dues increase and nothing more. Varo, Mezger and Hill voted to terminate the contract with the CHP exposing our residents to danger from speeders on our streets with no viable alternative in place to provide pro-active traffic enforcement. The result has been a documented 47% increase in serious accidents on our streets including another one that recently occurred at our gates. These Board Members have ignored a legal agreement related to the Oakview/Oakknoll Gate issue which has caused a breach of security and exposed our Members to unnecessary liability. They allowed those gates to remain open for months without any indemnification in place from those sub associations which would still be the case today if we had not made an issue of it.

Varo, Mezger and Hill have lowered fees charged for use of our Sports Park to the point that it might as well be free which is a clear violation of fidiciary responsibility to protect the interests of all our Members. Though difficult to ascertain because they have buried the cost in the Association financials, it is likely that the fully loaded expense to maintain the Sports Park is costing our Members $100,000 or more a year, very little of which is being recovered from users. Varo, Mezger and Hill have commercialized the Association including Board Member Conflict of Interest, using our Members as the basis for revenue generation and then giving away the income that legitimately belongs to all CZ Members not outside groups. These monies should be used to lower our dues not subsidize other organizations. These Board Members have violated our privacy rights by giving out our names and addresses to outside groups without our permission. Varo, Mezger and Hill wasted thousands of dollars of Association money on two ballot measures; the first of which involved cumulative voting and the second was the Delegate Packing Scheme; neither of which passed. They have sent out communications full of errors because on this and so many other issues they have failed to do their homework.

The best example of failing to do their homework is the botched Welcome Home Center acquisition deal. Varo, Mezger and Hill along with other Board Members voted to approve the acquisition of the Welcome Home Center without definitive documentation in place and then implemented a $100 Special Assessment when there was no deal. If this was happening in business, these people would all be fired. While many expenses are out of control, Varo, Mezger and Hill have never been able to develop comprehensive goals and objectives to manage our Association which is best exemplified by the lack of planning to control our water costs which are sky rocketing. Varo, Mezger and Hill have stone walled on the disclosure of pertinent financial and other information that they need themselves to properly manage the Association. Now there may be an insurance issue involving $500,000 that requires more explanation.

For all of these reasons and many more, Bob Varo, Jerry Mezger and Mitch Hill must be removed from office sooner than later. We need CZ Board Members in place who fully understand the concepts of fidiciary responsibility, prudent fiscal management, strategic planning and transparency in governance. Though I am sure Varo, Mezger and Hill are well meaning and smart people, I am sorry to say that Bob Varo, Jerry Mezger and Mitch Hill have failed us in all of these areas because they just don't get it. Hopefully, Varo, Mezger and Hill will not run again; but if they do we must organize to defeat them. Regards, Joe Morabito

P.S. Please feel free to pass on this e-mail to your friends and neighbors in Coto.

January 24, 2005 at 9:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


interesting perspective on ath AC ...as a former member i can assure you that i have shared your concerns about varo for a long time...when he joined the board and went on the AC he had a clear agenda to dismantle it...but of course no idea how to really re-organize it...he repeatedly tried to run rough shod over other members while pretending to care about their opinions and spent an inordinate amount of time aparently talking directly to any homeowners who had "issues" with the AC to be sure that they would get their way....and his attitude was that everything had to change..if a homeowner was upset then his first reaction was always that the rules had to be wrong..

i am the one who regularly published those reports to the board on the % of approvals and denials for the AC...the purpose was to let facts dictate the process not inuendo and speculation... varo's perspective that approvals took too long and the % of denials was "out of control" was just not accurate...even when he received a copy of the "facts" he would not alter his rhetoric or his opinion..he (my opinion) was almost angry that facts did not support his opinions..

too bad for coto but if the homeowners want to elect or re-elect an egotistical dictator then they can live with the results..as is usually the case, the usual coto whiners and complainers are mainly people that have a personal agenda and want to make the decisions without taking accountability and consistency into consideration...

my personal opinion anyway..

john smead

February 28, 2005 at 8:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello All: The Feel Good Deficit CZ Board, under the leadership of Bob Varo, has implemented a confusing Architectural Review Process that is just plain goofy. Let me count the ways:

1. We are doing a major hardscape renovation project (about $65,000) worth of work which includes all new pool facing/tile/plaster, new coping and bands, ledger stone facing on our planters and barbeque with granite top, some ledger stone on our home and replacement of the wrought iron fencing with an aluminum version. We called Keystone three times to submit plans only to be told that since we were not moving anything, no plan review was required and no completion deposit. While we are not doing anyting to negatively impact our neighbors, and we are improving our property, if we were not the honest people that we are, if any of our neighbors complained to the Association, CZ would have no clue how to respond because there is nothing on record concerning this project. And, we have had workmen at our home since December. They will be at our home for several more months with the potential to damage common area for which there is no deposit with CZ.

2. We were told, however, that we will need to submit for Architectural Review and Approval for softscape Landscaping Renovation

(probably about $8,000) worth of work. Not sure if there is a fee or not for this review.

3. We were also told first that to change out our mail boxes to like boxes that lock we would have to get the approval of all 57 Canyon Estates Homeowners. When I pointed out that one of our streets had already changed out boxes to a very ornate style most likely without any approval, the rule became just get your other three neighbors to agree with you on what you want and submit for Arch Review and Approval; but there would be no fee for the review. Apparently, the ARCH Review process is a work in progress.

4. And finally, the best of all. We are going to repaint our home. I asked Keystone the question, if we use two of the existing three colors on our home to repaint, do we need to submit for ARCH Review and Approval. Word back is Yes; but there will be no fee.

Folks, all of this is just plain goofy. We are doing a major exterior renovation project with no Review Process or Completion Deposit; but we have to submit to change our mailboxes and basically paint our house the same colors. It is down right hilarious.

First, any major exterior work should require Review, Approval and an Appropriate Completion Deposit to protect the Association and our neighbors interests. It is nice that the CZ Feel Good Deficit Board has eliminated some of this process probably because Mr. Varo personally did not have a good experience with the ARCH Review process. However, I can tell all from serving on the Board that not all people in Coto are honest. We had many situations where the Plans that were approved described one thing and the actual work was something that did not conform to Association standards which would never have been discovered with a Completion Inspection.

And, user fees should be charged for all these Review Processes so that 3,500 CZ Members are not forced to pay for the work that is caused by an individual Member. The Association had a $229,000 deficit in 2004 because the current CZ Board spent too much and did not collect enough in revenues to cover the Association's operations. This is not brain surgery; but it is sound fiscal management that continues to be lacking under the management of Varo, Mezger, Hill, Thagard and Larkin. The current goofy Architectural Review process is one more example of many of the current CZ Board not thinking through the implications of its actions. We are all paying the price in higher dues because the current CZ Board is just not minding the store. Regards, Joe Morabito

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