BOD open meeting july 29, 2023


San Francisco Suites
Board of Directors’ Open Meeting
July 29, 2023


  1. President Meibeyer called the meeting to order at 11:11 am

2. Board Directors present:
Chuck Meibeyer, President
Fred Munroe, Vice-President
Dwight Walker, Treasurer
Geoffrey Bellah, Secretary
Jeff Reichel, Director-at-Large

Others present:
Cynthia Reid, General Manager
Jo Ann Trembath, Owner
Pamela Murphy, Interior Designer

3. Owners Forum: An owner asked the Board to consider installing shampoo, conditioner, and body wash dispensers in the suites.

4. President’s Report: President Meibeyer summarized the current fire insurance crisis in California in which many carriers are pulling out of the state, and not creating new or not renewing policies. San Francisco Suites has been directly affected by this crisis in that Farmers Insurance, which has covered the Suites for over 35 years, has notified us that they will not renew our coverage effective September 1, 2023, – even though we have a sterling record of no major claims and significant improvements in fire prevention/alarm equipment – because our building is over 100 years old. The Suites is now faced with trying to secure insurance coverage, and the prospect, if a carrier is found, of a 50% to 150% increase in the premium. The Board is consulting with various brokers and agencies to find adequate, reasonably priced coverage. (California’s Fair Plan is a possibility but ensures only for fire and tends to be expensive) Once quotes are available, the Board will need to act quickly, as insurance coverage is mandated by the CC & Rs.

5. Approval of Minutes: The corrected minutes of March 11, 2023, were approved unanimously after Geoffrey’s motion was seconded by Dwight.

6. Treasurer’s Report: Dwight stated that the Association’s “cash position is strong.” We have enough cash in the Operations Account to sustain us through the year, which is a positive change from previous years when incoming assessment revenue temporarily covered expenses in the last months. Dwight also suggested that we might consider transferring money from our low-interest Axos account to a higher-interest Money Market account, which could also have the advantage of being more accessible for withdrawals.

7. General Manager’s Report: Manager Reid delivered a beautiful and moving paean to the City of San Francisco, reminding everyone that the city has survived past crises and come through them stronger and better.

  1. Financials – As of June 30, 2023, our Operations Account has $646K, and our two Reserve Accounts have $754K.
  2. Association-owned Shares – The current inventory is 20 shares: 12 Parlor shares have been adopted for the coming year, and there is a Master share up for auction. There will be 7 Parlor shares available for adoption in September. The Board approved a trial listing of an Association-owned share with Red Week to determine if the site could be a valuable resource for marketing and selling shares by the Association and owners.
  3. 2023 Assessment – 14 shares are in foreclosure with VOTA for nonpayment of the assessment.
  4. Insurance – As mentioned by President Meibeyer in his Report, Farmers will not renew our insurance coverage, and the Board is seeking a new policy with various brokers and agencies.
  5. Maintenance Projects – An updated digital fire alarm system that has been mandated by the SF Fire Department will be installed in January 2024. Many of the items identified by the Reserve Study for replacement or restoration have been assessed, including most notably a new hot water tank, new skylights and outdoor flood lights, refurbished Board Room chairs, new Roman blinds, and new grab bars and new stools in the bathrooms. The building’s exterior trim has been repainted. Upcoming are new coffee makers, new carpeting for suites, and new wallpaper in the lobbies.
  6. Houseman Jeffery Bascara is the Employee of the Quarter. Chuck praised Jeffery for his diligence and dedication, especially unusual for a new employee, and presented him with a cash award.

8. Old Business:

A. Interior Designer Pamela Murphy presented the Board with various carpet samples as possibilities for replacing the current in-suite carpeting. One important feature of the samples is their resistance to wine stains, a frequent problem at the Suites. The Board asked Murphy to solicit various price bids for the sample she recommended and which the Board preferred. Murphy also showed samples of wallpaper for the upper and lower lobbies; after some discussion and disagreement about the samples, Fred moved that both of Murphy’s samples be accepted, one pattern in the upper lobby, and a combination of patterns in the lower, subject to the artistic ability of the installer to hang both patterns and approval of total cost. Geoffrey seconded. The motion passed unanimously.

B. President Meibeyer reported that the Board has approved a competitive bid for a new digital fire alarm system, an upgrade that has been mandated by the city of San Francisco and will be installed in January 2024.

C. The Tax Collector for the City of San Francisco held an auction for shares delinquent in paying property taxes; the Association purchased a SFS Master share with a large tax bill for only $100 and has placed that share up for auction.

D. Grab bars have been installed in the baths, and shower stools have been purchased for those needing them.

9. New Business:

A. President Meibeyer described a situation in which the Association might pay the back taxes on 14 foreclosed shares to return the shares to our inventory so they might be sold.

Chuck asked the Board for a motion of approval. Fred moved that only Parlor shares be included, Geoffrey seconded the motion. The motion was held, pending more information about cost-effectiveness, but soon after passed unanimously.

B. The Board of Directors’ Summer Auction of one Parlor share and one Master share elicited no bids.

C. The next Adopt-a-Share opportunity will be in September.

D. Manager Reid presented the Board with the 2023-2024 Reserve Study. Reid showed that several of the items required for replacement or refurbishment had been completed; others were appropriately and sensibly deferred.

10. Forward Planning: Two major projects, lobby wallpaper replacement and in-suite carpet replacement, are tentatively scheduled to be completed in January 2024, when the Suites will be closed to guests.

Adjournment: The open meeting ended at 3:02 pm

Respectfully submitted,
Geoffrey Bellah, Secretary

Presidents Letter September 2023

I hope everyone had the opportunity to read the General Manager’s Letter that was circulated yesterday, which reminded us all how wonderful San Francisco has been, and continues to be, despite many challenges.

Today’s letter will not, however, be as uplifting as Cynthia’s. In advance of Saturday’s Board of Directors Meeting, the Board wanted to inform its ownership of some challenges we’ve recently faced in obtaining insurance coverage for the Suites.

At the beginning of July, Farmers Insurance notified us that the insurance for the Suites would not be renewed on September 1st, although we had been a loyal Farmers’ customer for decades. The “official” reason the insurance was not available was because the Suites no longer qualified because the building is more than 100 years old, but that cancellation was really based on a massive failure in the insurance industry, particularly in California, where many carriers such as State Farm and Allstate have abandoned the state. In previous times, many carriers were able to share risks by buying “reinsurance” — we learned, however, that market has collapsed, and carriers are much less willing to take on risks and have substantially increased the cost of insurance if you are lucky enough to find it.

We asked our existing agent to seek out substitute coverage, but we knew that we needed to pursue other alternatives. Through our Treasurer Dwight Walker we were fortunate to get help from Gallagher, one of the largest insurance brokerage companies in the United States – which ordinarily would not have helped a small time share like the Suites. During August we worked exhaustively toward finding possible coverage through both agents and sought ways to lower costs. Gallagher was able to find all the needed coverage but at a substantially increased cost. We received indications of a possible smaller increase from our existing agent, but that coverage failed to be available at the last minute. Fortunately, we had a backup from Gallagher.

Our property and business insurance from Farmers cost us $39,606 from 9/1/22 to 8/31/23. Despite efforts to reduce costs, the premium for the next year will total $140,284 – almost exactly a $100,000 increase. When divided among the 816 shares, that is an annual cost increase of $123 per share (and that’s before accounting for other cost increases, we face due to inflation and continued supply chain disruptions).

We want all Suites owners to know that the Board will continue doing everything it can to keep costs down to minimize the financial burden for our owners during these challenging times.

My very warm regards,

Chuck Meibeyer,
President of the San Francisco Suites

I Left My Heart In San Francisco

San Francisco is a difficult city to leave. I tried twice but was so homesick for the sound of the cable cars and the moaning of the fog horns on the bay that I finally returned to claim back a part of my heart.

As usual, there was controversy over which famous song about San Francisco would become the official song. Would “San Francisco “from the 1936 movie with Clark Gable and Jeanette McDonald about the 1906 earthquake stay or should it be replaced with Tony Bennett’s “I left my heart in San Francisco”?

I first heard Tony Bennett sing “I left my heart” at the Venetian Room at the Fairmont. Years later, a statue of Tony Bennett was erected in front of the Fairmont and the road in front of the hotel was changed to Tony Bennett Way. The song is played at the beginning of every Giants game, however “San Francisco” won as the official song and “I left my heart” was chosen as the official city ballad.

So, whether you hum,

“San Francisco, open your golden gate. You’ll let nobody wait outside your gate.” or

“I left my heart in San Francisco.

High on a hill, it calls for me.

To be where little cable cars, climb halfway to the stars.

And the morning fog will chill the air.”

You can feel a part of the magic of San Francisco.

The new CEO of the SF Hotel Council, Alex Bastian, has returned to his hometown to take on the new job of bringing the hotel industry and the City back to its glory. He talks about working with civic leaders to face the problems of the City with common sense by taking steps to implement plans with significant investments in public safety, and cleanliness and restructuring the taxes to encourage business to return to the City. He explained how important the hotel industry and tourism are to SF. We have always been a top tourist destination. We are #8 in the world. Hotel occupancy was down last year to 25% and this year occupancy has climbed back up to 68%. We still have room to improve as the typical occupancy prior to the pandemic was 80%.

Here is the good news. Dreamforce returns this week on September 12-14.

The APEC Conference will be held November 12-18

Conferences are good for the hotel sector and when the hotels succeed so does San Francisco.

The City endures constant bashing from the media. Much of what is said is not factual but with civic pride leading the way, San Franciscans will bring back the best of SF and we will come back even stronger.

We have endured two earthquakes, fires, tech bubbles and bursts, and now the pandemic.

As Alex Bastain states, ‘SF will survive with resilience in face of doubt and uncertainty. We have shown the ability to flourish after floundering and will come back stronger.

The SF City flag, which shows a phoenix rising from the ashes, is again flying outside the entrance of the Suites to remind us of all that San Franciscans do not give up, ever.

There is no other great city in the world that has the architectural beauty, hilltop vistas, finest hotels and restaurants where you can also spend the day outdoors sailing on the bay, walking along the Pacific Ocean on the beach, or strolling under the towering ancient redwood forests after driving across the Golden Gate Bridge.

San Franciscans will save San Francisco. SF Suites have partnered with the hotels on Nob Hill to watch over the streets, keep them clean and free of encampments and if necessary, report a repeat offender to the hotel’s security department so all hotel partners can be on the lookout.

The City has celebrated quite a few milestones during the last few months.

In August, the cable cars celebrated 150 years in operation while the SF Ferry Building celebrated a mere 125 years. Not to be outdone by these historic celebrations, our two owners at the Suites celebrated their 50-year anniversary by going to the SF Jazz.

Speaking of owners, Paul Gartner and Linda Nicolay were looking to create a new lifestyle out of retirement and have written a book called, “Where to next?” The book is at the front desk for you to check it out or you could go to their website… to purchase the book.

The celebrity chef, Tyler Florence, of one of my favorite restaurants, Warfare Tavern, has partnered with the City to open two restaurants on Union Square Plaza. One restaurant will serve hearty cuisine and the second will serve lighter fare and desserts.

Don’t forget to visit the Gardens of Golden Gate Park to enjoy the return of the Flower Piano from September 10-12 at 1199 9th Avenue.

If you are not a SF resident, you will need to book tickets online at SF Botanical Gardens website.

The SF Board of Directors are working hard to increase the beauty and safety of the Suites.

The SF Fire Department has mandated that condos and timeshares must install a digital fire alarm system. The Board decided to close taking reservations for the month of January 2024 in order to install the new fire alarm system so as not to disturb our guests. The lobby wallpaper and guest room carpets will also be replaced.

So don’t forget the magic of San Francisco. Please call the front desk to book your holiday events, order concert tickets to the Symphony, tickets to the Nutcracker or the latest musical.

If you are looking for a special wedding or birthday gift, there are still shares to be adopted or purchased.

As a San Franciscan, leave a little of your heart behind at the Suites to recover on your next stay.

Remember, San Franciscans never give up. I won’t give up and I hope you will not.

Warmest wishes,
Cynthia Reid
General Manager
San Francisco Suites