Your Rights as a Shareholder

As a property owner in the Palo Alto Park Mutual Water Company area, you have shares in the company. You have one share for every 2500 sq ft of land you own, and these shares give you certain rights. However, for rights to matter, you must exercise them. Here are some we know about, but its not an exhaustive list.

Vote at the Shareholder Meeting

Your shares give you votes at the annual shareholder meeting. You can vote on board members, on changes to the bylaws, and on various matters that come up at the meeting, like approval of minutes, agendas, etc.

If you cannot attend a meeting (or don’t want to), you can allow someone else to vote on your behalf by appointing them as your proxy using a proxy statement.

Shareholder meetings must be noticed at least 10 days before the meeting is to take place, and the business of the meeting must be clearly stated.

Attend and Know About Board Meetings

Assembly Bill 240 (AB240) put certain requirements on the boards of mutual water companies. In particular, it makes all board meetings into public meetings similar to how the Brown Act works for governmental meetings.

AB240 does the following:

  • Requires that all board meetings have an agenda that is publicly posted before the meeting. The board must stick to the agenda, except in exceptional or emergency situations.
  • If you request it, the board must send you a notice of all board meetings. You can ask to be notified by mail or email.
  • If you have a fee or penalty, you can demand that the board meet with you in closed session to discuss it.
  • Requires that the minutes of all board meetings be sent to any shareholder that asks.

Inspect the Accounts of the Company

Both the Bylaws of the company, and California Corporations Code 1601 give you the right to inspect the financial records of the company at any reasonable time upon written request.

Inspect the List of Shareholders

California Corporations Code 1600 allows any shareholder with cause (a good reason) to get a list of all the other shareholders in the company. 5% of the shareholders can join together and request a list of the shareholders for any reason at all, and get them within 5 days of the demand.

To make requests of the board, you should send your requests directly to the members of the Current Board, since we have some evidence that the central office is not forwarding mail on to the board members.

Unfortunately, our current board of directors has denied us ALL of these rights. That is one of many reasons why they must be removed.

Author: shannon

Shannon and his wife April have lived in East Palo Alto since they were married in 1991. He is the Executive Director of the Ravenswood Youth Athletic Association, which oversees the soccer club that plays at Cesar Chavez school in East Palo Alto.