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The town of Locke, CA is a unique historic town, claimed to have been "built by and for the Chinese". George W. Locke's 490 acres of land including the Town of Locke was sold out of Probate to Clarence Chu's sister Fan Chu Tai and brother-in-law Ng Tor Tai in 1976. At this time, the property owners in Locke did not own the land under their properties. The Tai's were later involved in a lawsuit with the County of Sacramento in which they claimed that land zoning changes made by the County prevented them from developing this land. The County won this case and went on to purchase the Town of Locke about ten years later, claiming they bought the town to repair its failed sewage system. Under a Joint Powers Authority with the Sacramento Housing Redevelopment Agency, the County created two public corporations for Locke. The Locke Management Association ("LMA") is a Homeowner's Association, created to "improve and promote the economic well-being, preserve the cultural and historical integrity, and manage the Town of Locke". The Locke Foundation ("LF") is an educational charity organization created to "educate the public about the Town of Locke, work to preserve and enhance the historic Town of Locke, and conduct activities that will benefit the Town of Locke". Since LMA was created there has been heated discussion over its management. Chinese Associations voiced concerns as did other members of the community. A Right of First Refusal ("ROFR") was proposed and created initially to give LMA the right to purchase any property that went up for sale in Locke, for the same offer given to a buyer. The problem with the ROFR is that it's discriminatory based on ancestry and race. The ROFR as it is worded in the CC&Rs, is not discriminatory itself because it only specifies exercising the ROFR "as per the Bylaws". The CC&Rs are mandated by the Bylaws which afford consideration to one list of persons "Prior Residents, Descendants and Ascendants List", over a second list of persons "Any Individual that Would Like Notice of Available Properties" before proposing to combine members of both lists into one. Of the two separate lists, only the Prior Residents, Descendants and Ascendants List is given consideration as a factor in the assignment of ROFR.
In 2011 Martha Esch purchased 1265 Levee Road in the Town of Locke for $21,000; it was uninhabitable, moldy and rat infested. 13931 Main Street was up for sale at the same time with an asking price of $39,000; it was habitable, on a tourist street/map, was income producing and had two rental units occupied. LMA voted to exercise ROFR on Martha's purchase, never having discussed or compared the second property. Martha's escrow closed one week after LMA failed to exercise ROFR timely. This sale spurred litigation that is ongoing today. LMA sued Martha and the seller claiming its right to exercise ROFR was violated. LMA repeatedly claimed Martha was not the rightful owner under their ROFR policy. In March 2016, 1265 Levee Road was deeded to LMA. Many argue that Martha's attorney never properly defended her. Martha and her children lost their property and a great deal of investment they made in making 1265 Levee Road habitable and wheelchair accessible; she received $21,000.
What needs to change? LMA needs to be dissolved.
SHRA has fulfilled its main purpose which was to transfer the land under the properties, to the owners of the properties above the land. Currently, property owners in Locke are not happy being double taxed by the County and LMA. LMA and LF have nearly the same directors on both boards who are friends who rent from one another, buy property from one another, live together. In the process of running the Town of Locke a historical property nearly burned down, roads and walkways remain in poor condition and community areas are privatized for directors and their friends. Federal money has been given to Locke but it's not clear where that money has ended up. Directors get discounts on assessments. Directors actively purchased property in Locke while seated on the board. In some cases, straw buyers were used and properties were flipped. Director property purchases in the Town of Locke violated ROFR and/or the Davis-Stirling Act. LMA increased assessments 20% in January 2012 without a public vote. LMA directors have been paid to perform work for the Board without public bidding. Board members play musical chairs going between LMA and LF boards. Clarence Chu, Dustin Marr current directors own Locke Water Works, a public benefit corporation set up for Locke in 1982. Unfortunately, the activities of the Board directors are self-serving. Specifically, their Bylaws state that "NO PART of the profits or net income of this Association shall ever inure to the benefit of any director, officer, or member thereof, or to any individual."
Please sign this petition to dissolve LMA.
On Tuesday, November 14, 2017 3p.m. Sacramento County is set to discuss changes to LF's Bylaws. The concern is that they propose to remove restrictions increasing LF's ability to vote on assessments; LF is an educational charity that should not have the ability to vote on assessments. We want them to remove any ability of LF to vote on assessments. In addition, they are proposing to change the structure of director seats that would discriminate against the current demographics of the town (instead of hiring Chinese consultants, they are recommending preserving two seats for the Chinese community when the board should be diverse; highest population of residents in Locke are Latino). The County proposes to remove the nepotism clause from LF's Bylaws that removes restrictions on directors being related persons. The County proposes removing the requirement that annual reports be sent to Locke property owners. The County proposes to remove the requirement that 48 hours advance notice be posted in Locke prior to a special meeting and removes the waiver of notice provision (Brown Act requirements).
WE OBJECT TO THESE RECOMMENDED CHANGES. LF should function to promote charity and education in its mission to educate, preserve, enhance and benefit the Town of Locke. Removing public transparency allows the abuses of power to continue and empowers the wrong group of people.
Dear Governor Brown, Sacramento County Board of Supervisors, Sacramento Housing Redevelopment Agency, State Attorney General, LMA and LF:
We want you to:
1. DISSOLVE LMA.
2. DELETE LMA's ROFR in Bylaws and CC&Rs.
3. DELETE LF's ROFR in Bylaws.
4. Do not allow Sacramento County to modify the LF Bylaws in any manner that would eliminate transparency, inure to the benefit of its directors, or discriminate against or for anyone based on race or ancestry.
As taxpayers, we want equal protections under the 14th Amendment Equal Protection Clause and Govt. Code Section 12955(1) to be honored, respected and available to the property owners, residents and public visitors of the Town of Locke, CA.
Today: Martha is counting on you
Martha Esch needs your help with “Jerry Brown: Dissolve LMA”. Join Martha and 158 supporters today.