Strata owners are like sheep….

Annual General Meetings give voice to the ownership of a strata corporation.

Owners authorize the elected Council to spend collective funds for the maintenance of the common property at an AGM. Owners are provided with a proposed budget for consideration and they make a collective decision to either oppose or authorize the  proposed budget. Most of the time at an AGM is spent discussing expenditures and whether or not the proposed figures are satisfactory to the owners.

Within the Agenda of an AGM owners can discuss issues, add or amend bylaws, and of course elect a Council from among themselves. Working within the parameters of corporation bylaws and the Strata Property Act, an AGM is democracy in action – or is it?

Common themes throughout most of my blogs regarding strata life are of course based upon apathy and  ignorance of the majority of owners. It never ceases to amaze me how conniving,manipulative owners with personal agendas can trample due process with misrepresentation and misspeak and year after year, despite documented errors, omissions and downright abuses of power, continue to control the business of a corporation.

There is nothing so smarmy and sanctimonious as an individual who exceeded their “Peter Principle” at highschool graduation but rises to positions of administrative control within a corporation requiring intelligent decision making simply by pandering to strata corporation “group think”. What’s disconcerting of course is the fact that people who contribute in large measure to society in their day to day work lives, turn their brains off when they arrive home. Knowing where some of these people work and watching their behaviours as strata owners however forces me to question how some of them could possibly even earn a paycheque. A lot of strata owners work for large institutions that are funded through the public purse. WOW! I guess I just answered my own question-warm body syndrome. Ripe pickings for the “Peter Principle” alumni if you ask me.

That brings me of course to the lack of integrity-based business acumen that is insidious in some strata corporations. It is absolutely dumbfounding how people do not question slush funds and outright lies presented to them through operating budgets. It’s as if they just accept an outgoing Council’s point of view without questioning the information presented to them. If strata corporations were  sheep farms we would have a glut of lamb chops and wool that would give the Tourism BC people pause.

Sheep of course are not known for their intelligence.

How do owners allow individuals to misrepresent the facts without raising an eyebrow or two? Owners are like sheep.

How do owners not give a dissenting voice a least an ear out of respect for process? Owners are like sheep.

How do owners not see the damage they do when they abdicate their responsibilities to liars and thieves and imbeciles? Owners are like sheep.

How do owners sit in a room and allow a third party to tell them they have no right to an explanation for an expense because it is a legal matter? Who pays for the legal matter to be initiated, fought and resolved? Doesn’t the corporation have to give Council authority to initiate expenses outside the authorized budget? Must be “sheep think”.

How do owners not say anything when their Council threatens free speech, refuses disclosure and DISENFRANCHISES individuals who clearly are intelligent enough to know they are doing it? Again, owners are like sheep.

How do owners sit through Council’s abuse of privacy towards individuals and say nothing? More “sheep think”…

Sheep don’t know sheep aren’t intelligent!

Sheep don’t know when a wolf is dressed up like sheepdog.

Sheep earned their lot in life and appear to be satisfied with that lot.

Glad I’m not with the sheep.

Think I’ll fire up the barbeque and enjoy some lamb kebabs out of respect to the sheep and to the wolves who herd them to the slaughterhouse.

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Posted in strata corporation
5 comments on “Strata owners are like sheep….
  1. ron says:

    We have had some security issues at our building. The last President worked hard to secure our complex and was open and honest with the strata members about any breaches, but the new President misled the strata during the AGM, saying that there was only one break-in during the year. That was far from true: the lobby was broken into in addition to the suite she mentioned, vehicles were robbed on the street which runs along our building, there was at least one assault, and on and on. I stood up towards the end of the meeting and tried to calmly set the record straight, but was shouted down by the strata council: the President’s partner saying that I was the only one with a problem (not true!), as well as two of her supporters on the council raising their voices to the point I finally just sat down. It was quite an experience. A previous member of council told me there was a strong “anti-police” group in our building and that the current President represents that group. I wish I had known that going into the AGM since that information would have better prepared me for the onslaught of criticism from the council and the President’s partner for what should have been viewed as a legitimate concern of a resident: we need better security.

    Now the AGM minutes have been posted and they echo the President’s comment: “the 2010 year was very quiet with one suite break-in and no other thefts or vandalism reported”. It bothers me that this “untruth” is now on the record.

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    • stratalife says:

      Thanks for reading my blog and sharing your comments.

      I feel your frustration – truly.

      Couple of things: You REQUIRE a paper trail. Anti-police fans and bully councils cannot stand paper trails. Get your facts about incidences at your complex validated with information. It takes some time but it will verify your argument.

      You will benefit tremendously by writing your position and investing in postage and direct mailing your concerns to the other owners in your corporation. As my blog article suggests, owners are unwilling to stand up to bully councils however, they will contribute to the voice of a front man if their security is threatened.

      It is unreasonable to disregard an owner’s concerns about security and safety. The SPA is clear about the duty of Council to exercise prudent, reasonable standard of care in the exercise of their office. Hold them to account and do not be threatened by bullies.

      I am more than willing to help you in any way you see fit. Don’t hesitate to ask.

      Stratalife

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      • ron says:

        Thank you for your offer of assistance.

        The lesson learned here is that a well run building is “well run” because someone or some group is concerned. In our case, we had a reputable developer who got the complex off to a good start and then a group of concerned residents who ran the building well for about two years, setting in place strong security mechanisms while balancing the budget.

        We live near Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, a high crime area. The first strata president put mechanisms in place to protect residents while keeping the budget under control. Nearly all graffiti was removed from the area, trash was carted away and the police were called whenever nefarious activities were spotted. The current president is, in my opinion, basking in the glory of the work of previous councils. As you suggested, I have been keeping emails and other correspondence from council members as a paper trail in the event there is a major security breach due to her negligence.

        One example of her security philosophy which differs dramatically from the past president’s is that she has said that a drug dealer should be allowed to stand outside the building because he is, in her words, “[…] a fixture in our community”. I worked with other residents to throw that fixture in jail. We have seniors, children and other vulnerable people in our neighbourhood and do not need an apparent dealer who is attracting crack addicts to the streets just outside the doors of our building. However, I understand from a former council member that a group of people in our building object to aggressive policing of the surrounding area. In the end, this is a difference of philosophy. The fact that the new philosophy resulted in a record number of car thefts in our parkade and the fact that the current president dismissed any attempts to discuss her new security arrangements during the last AGM indicates to some residents that her philosophy is not successful in keeping us as safe as is minimally required. Other residents feel that the “neighbourhood will change over time” without help from community members and it is best to just let things be. The lesson learned is that a strata is a political organization and, as such, groups with interests counter to your own will take control if they feel their interests are not reflected in the make-up of council.

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      • stratalife says:

        Your owners should meet my owners! It is reckless for any owner to be apathetic with regard to safety and security. Crime is a parasite and once you provide a safe haven it just keeps on feeding.

        I appreciate the efforts of all groups working towards tidying up the area for residents, tourists and business however, your building is private property and security measures are warranted and to be expected.

        The altruistic leanings of some of your owners are to be commended but not at the expense of the corporation. Perhaps your President would better serve your owners if she volunteered her time at a soup kitchen and resigned her position off Council. A strata corporation is all about asset management and the needs of EVERY owner who contributes to that asset management.

        Have you considered initiating an SGM and removing the President?

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  2. ron says:

    We are looking at options. This is a political situation with the current strata president representing a contingent within our building which has been described by a previous council member as “anti-police”; that is, there is a group within our strata who do not want police or policing activities on premises. Right now, we are trying to find how large the anti-police crowd is to determine if it is worth pursuing options such as an SGM. As well, we might just move to another building with a stronger commitment to security.

    By the way, it is important in my opinion to state that there need be no difference between altruism and concern for community safety. My wife and I work at soup kitchens and contribute to the needy, but we will not help further criminal activities. There are many truly needy people in Vancouver who do not sell crack, assault our neighbours or break into our homes. They are the community as we are the community, and they deserve our support. However, criminals who mine our sympathy in order to hurt local residents deserve to be in jail, in my opinion. The drug dealer who stood outside the doors of our building had, from my understanding, a nice place to live downtown, a brand new scooter, expensive clothes and on and on. He did not seem to be hurting for anything. Unfortunately, he was hurting the people in our building as well as those in nearby residential complexes. He was an expert “sympathy miner”, that is, he played a role which elicited compassion from most people then would take advantage of those people in any way possible. A council member told me that the current president saw what he was doing and rode the wave of sympathy he had created with some of the residents in our building in order to gain power within the council. This is how it was explained to me, but not being present at the council meetings, I cannot offer any first-hand information or confirmation. I do know that we reported him to the police after seeing him pass substances to buyers and then seeing crack smokers “light up” around him and that the police came with a paddy wagon and took him away.

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