November 18, 2020

I am submitting the following as a comment on Item 10 in the November 20, 2020 board agenda, “Election Rules 45-Day Notice.”
Please do not vote to commence this 45-day notice process that would make wholesale changes to Tahoe Donner’s Election Rules. This should not be done until a more objective and thorough description of the proposed changes is made available for the membership, such as an honest Redline version illustrating how the revisions would operate and differ from the current 2015 rules. Equally, if not more important, someone needs to better explain the “why” substantive changes are being proposed, in addition to the “how.” Because of the lack of a Redline version, it is unclear which changes to the Election Rules are needed to comply with Senate Bill No. 323 (Wieckowski, 2019) and which ones go beyond the requirements of this legislation. The proposed rule package also does not identify which changes are being sought as a result of the “issues arising during the 2020 (board) election.” For these reasons, I see no justification for rushing or “fast tracking” this rule package now.
The experience of the last 2 board elections — where thousands of dollars were probably spent by commercial STR operators to influence the election outcomes — demonstrates why a major revamping of the TD election rules should also require public disclosure of financial contributions received by board candidates and expenditures made by candidates or by others on their behalf. This information is needed to improve transparency and better inform TD members when special economic interests are attempting to influence their vote in future board elections.
Tahoe Donner is one of the largest HOA’s in California, if not the entire country, with nearly 6500 property owners and more than 25,000 members. Public disclosure of campaign contributions and expenditures by candidates and their surrogates is considered a standard practice for local government elections throughout the state. We should do the same. TD should also consider adoption a requirement that board members annually file statements of economic interests which also commonplace throughout California.

Jeff Shellito