IF you’d like to see more transparency from your Board of Directors, and more community input on issues that affect us all, please see the videos below to see more on my philosophy. Then join me, and my good friend Frank Sancineto, in making your Board more responsive to you and more proactive in doing things FOR you.
Thanks for your time and consideration!
A CA Homeowner recently asked me the following question:
My responses to the Task Force questions:
Do you believe there is currently sufficient transparency in communications? What does this mean to you? If yes, explain. If no, how would you improve it?
My answer: No. I believe there is a terrible lack of transparency between the Board and the community. This is one of the main reasons I am running for a Board position.
A lack of transparency indicates that the Board is meeting privately and making decisions without informing the community simply because they do not want to face opposition. The Board is operating like a government agency that makes rulings and expects to not have to deal with it afterwards. That’s not the way a “community” should work.
I believe the current Board is *afraid* to directly work with the community because they can’t take the heat from those who may disagree with their decisions.
“Town Halls” with Associa is *not* the same as the Board members directly addressing and working with homeowners.
I would improve transparency by holding regularly-scheduled, open Board meetings, (virtual, if necessary) allowing residents to comment on any and all ongoing issues and respond to their concerns candidly and honestly. I would ensure that the community receives regular updates as to what issues the Board is working on, and what major changes are being considered – BEFORE action is taken on these changes. I would also like to see resident emails answered directly by Board members rather than Associa wherever possible.
a) Do you think the Board minutes submitted to residents should include more detail about discussions as well as identify board members in attendance and how each member voted on each subject?
My answer: Board minutes severely lack details, simply saying “we discussed this, and we discussed that.” I would expand them with more detailed information offering pro and con points - and a ACTION ITEMS section, explaining the Board's next actions. Minutes should be released within 7-10 days after each meeting.
How does the HOA Board intend to establish standards for the community that ensure property values remain strong AND are in step with new energy conservation and environmental practices being implemented throughout the larger community in which CA is located?
My answer: I believe that the framework
for standards to ensure that property values remain strong
are already in place in the form of our CC&Rs.
However, through the dedicated efforts of committees such
as the Landscape and Architecture Review committees, these
standards could be regularly reviewed and improved upon,
to include feasibility studies for implementation of new
technologies. If any of these proven technologies would
enhance our property values, save our residents money, or
make living here a better experience for our residents,
then we should update the CC&Rs to allow for use of
1) Please carefully review
and consider any items the Board tries to explain to
you or policies they enact or modify between now and
The Board *now* publicly explaining how they respond to complaints and develop policies should have been forthcoming to our residents a LONG time ago. Not simply because they are facing pressure from candidates concerned about the Board's lack of transparency.
Notice how we have received more
communication from the Board in the past 3 weeks than we
have all year?
Also notice how these communications are still related to rules, restrictions and policies, rather than what good things the Board is trying to do FOR the community.
2) When the Board says they
respond to "multiple" complaints from homeowners, ALWAYS
ask "How many is multiple?" And, how many
of those "multiple" complaints come from the same
You will never get an answer to that question.
That's why I am proposing an
Arbitration Committee handle the complaints about minor
items from smaller numbers of homeowners and leave the
*big* things for the Board to handle.
3) In its most recent email to the community, the Board included this sentence, which sums up their feelings on getting community input on proposed policies:
"Contrary to some beliefs held
in our community, an HOA Board does not have a duty to
ask individual homeowners their opinions on all
While that may be true, wouldn't
it be nice if they DID solicit community input before
enacting new policies? A simple non-binding survey
through OCA (easily done) would suffice.
There might just be some beneficial information in that community feedback that would prevent mistakes or omissions in that policy.
4) Be wary of "hearsay"
about all of the candidates, their positions, and their
reasons for running for the Board.
There are some very serious mistruths being spread about some candidates based on "I heard that...".
If someone simply says they "heard that," "was informed that" or "was told that," what they heard or were told is probably not true.
Ask the candidate yourself about the issue or their reason for running and get an answer from them directly!
5) Finally, the candidates have
been very limited by the Election Task
Force in the way(s) we can campaign. That's why I've set
up this website.
You're invited to visit often, and tell your friends and neighbors about it as well. It will remain live until the day after the election ends.
- Voting begins October 15th and
runs through Nov. 6. Results will be announced at the
Annual Meeting on Nov. 11.
- If you have any questions about my candidacy or viewpoints, please contact me any time at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Number of years CA Resident: 2 years 7 months
Candidate biographical background summary:
Larry Cohen is married to his wife, Arlene, has three children and 6 grandchildren. He is recently retired after lifelong careers in Journalism, Communications, and IT networking, Technical Support and Technical Writing.
He graduated from Brooklyn College (NY) with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications and has lived in New York, (Far Rockaway and Oceanside), Jacksonville, FL, Atlanta, GA, Davie, FL and Durham, NC.
Larry’s journalism career included writing, reporting, editing, on-air radio and TV news anchoring, and implementing and managing Cable TV News departments. Some of his accomplishments include writing and/or working for such companies for The New York Times, The Miami News, The Miami Herald (Fort Lauderdale Bureau), WHLI and WGSM Radio (NY), The Florida Times-Union/Jacksonville Journal, The Atlanta Journal/Constitution, Cox Enterprises, WSB-TV (Atlanta) and WSVN-TV (Miami). In addition, he was an adjunct faculty member at Adelphi University in Garden City, NY, where he taught college-level Writing for Radio and Television. Larry also used his extensive communications skills as Communications Director for The Super Show, the world’s largest sports products trade show.
Larry’s technical career included working as a Novell and Windows Network Administrator, Systems Engineer and Technical Support Specialist for companies such as Mayor’s Jewelers, DataCore Software and Ultimate Software, all based in Florida. Larry retired after 15 years with Ultimate Software, where he completed his tenure as a Technical Communications Specialist.
Larry’s interests include collecting stamps and keeping and breeding tropical fish. He is currently a member of the Raleigh Stamp Club and the Raleigh Aquarium Society.
What key qualifications do you feel you have to be a member of the CA HOA board?
I believe my journalism background uniquely qualifies me to be a board member because I have been trained to gather facts and present those facts in an informative, unbiased manner. This quality is especially important in a community of diverse opinions and sometimes heated disagreements. It all comes down to being able to examine the facts, present them and come to common sense decisions within existing guidelines, to make this a better place for all.
I also believe my communications background equips me with the experience to clearly and concisely communicate with our residents. Consistent, transparent and timely communication between the Board and homeowners is a critical element that all homeowners demand and deserve.
My managerial positions provided me with experience in staffing, developing and implementing budgets, and the fiscal responsibility that goes along with keeping my departments within budget.
My technical positions have provided me with the ability to understand and implement some of the latest technologies. This is a necessary skill to be able to carry on both Board business and resident communication particularly in this time of social distancing.
Why do you want to be on the CA HOA board?
I have lived in CA for two-and-half years now. I’ve seen this community at its best and worst.
While this is a wonderful community, there is an enormous potential here to make it even better. A model community within the City of Durham where all CA residents are happy living here, and outsiders envy.
I see an opportunity to do a lot more FOR this community. Rather than spend countless hours regulating and enforcing minor issues that have no effect on the community as a whole, I would prefer to spend time developing community-sponsored events that all residents can take part in and look forward to.
I want to be in a position to be able to say “YES” more often than “NO” to homeowners’ requests to live a better life here.
What is your philosophy or vision for the CA HOA?
I believe an HOA is elected to represent the residents it serves, and, as such, should be completely transparent with its residents at all times. Board members should be willing to put themselves “out there” interacting directly with the community rather than just leaving communication up to the management company. I believe in open monthly Board meetings, with input and discussion from community residents, and the release of detailed meeting minutes, voting records and clear action items after each meeting. I believe that Board activity is not a secret that should be kept from residents for fear of opposing viewpoints, but rather proudly discussed with the community to keep them informed and invite their opinions on. Ongoing communication between a Board and its residents is crucial to making this a better place to live.
My philosophy would be one of common-sense governing, using the CA covenants and existing rules, regulations and processes as guidelines to build upon, improve and modify as needed and required.
My vision would include working with fellow Board members who not only uphold the highest standards of respect for our residents and their views, but those of the other Board members as well.
What are your top priorities, issues and concerns for the CA HOA?
1) Ongoing communication and complete transparency with the residents of this community. Meetings of the Board are not secret and should include resident comments and discussion, and not simply be a forum to read Board pre-scripted material. Discussion by Board members of items that affect the community should be made public at least in the form of meeting minutes disseminated in a timely manner. Address resident concerns in a timely manner with personalized responses directly from Board members, not the management company, wherever possible.
2) Plan new events for this community paying particular attention to staying within budget. Most living here are on fixed incomes and don’t want to see annual increases in their HOA dues that will cause them hardship.
If elected to the Board, I would like to see and would work toward:
1) The establishment of a Mediation Committee where complaints or disputes between homeowners can be discussed and resolved without anonymous complaints leading to threats of violations, fines and liens. In my opinion, those measures, while at times may be necessary, should only be invoked when other attempts to resolve an issue fail. First attempts to resolve resident issues should NOT be to invoke laws and punishments by the Board. All that does is pit neighbor against neighbor and make CA a less than appealing community in which to live.
2) The establishment of a Rules and Regulations Review Committee which would review the regulations that Pulte left us and find areas for improvement. I believe a number of existing regulations are outdated, impractical and leave great room for improvement.
3) The establishment of Phase Captains who would report to the Board on a regular basis with concerns specific to residents in their phase. This is a large community, and establishing Phase Captains allows each phase to be heard on their issues.
4) The establishment of a Utilities Committee, which would work directly with Durham utility departments (such as water, roads, etc.) to ensure that all city projects in CA either underway or planned are undertaken and completed in a timely, efficient and acceptable manner.
5) Working closely with the IT Task Force to further enhance OCA to include the features that our residents have asked for.
6) Working closely with our hard-working committees to provide them with the support they need to do their jobs.
What activities, CA or outside, do you enjoy and participate in regularly?
After many years of resisting going to a gym, I finally decided to make use of this great amenity here at CA (until the virus hit).
I also enjoy visiting my grandchildren in Charlotte, and in New York.
I am a big Durham Bulls fan, have season tickets and really look forward to attending their games.
I regularly attend meetings of the Raleigh Aquarium Society and the Raleigh Stamp Club, and other events sponsored by both of these organizations.