01/20/21 BOD MEETING: SYNOPSIS AND COMMENTARY BY VICKI ROBERTS WITH ASSISTANCE FROM ARTHUR ANDELSON
Posted January 24, 2021. Your Editor provides the following synopsis of the January 20, 2021 Board meeting, with assistance from your Roving Reporter, and with commentary and satire indicated in bold blue.
Editor’s Opening Monologue:
This edition is entitled:
“SAVING PRIVATE IGUANA FROM BONNIE AND CLYDE”
A-hunting we will go,
A-hunting we will go
Heigh-ho, the derry-o,
A-hunting we will go.
(Composed by Thomas Arne, 1777.)
No. We share this planet. We don’t own it.
Killing defenseless creatures who are not bothering anyone is wrong. We are disgusted with the utter failure to respect creatures with whom we share this planet, and we are especially disgusted by the proactive and barbaric killing of these defenseless animals.
Ninety-five iguanas trapped over a year period across the entire community property is not an invasion or an infestation, especially when if you simply attempt to approach one, it will flee in fear, as we experienced firsthand on our property. It scurried back to the canal berm so fast that if you blinked you would have missed it.
We sent the entire Board an email stating that we think this contract should not be renewed and should be cancelled immediately, regardless of the consequences, which should be none, since the contract ends at the end of this month.
We emphasized to the Board that these gentle giants are not disturbing this community, and the manner they are killed is barbaric and cruel. Shooting them in the head with BB gun pellets until they die is wrong. We urged the Board to stop this barbarism and cruelty and certainly not to expand it onto property that the HOA doesn’t own.
Our research indicates that the law requires that the traps be checked at least once every 24 hours, and our understanding is that this iguana company is not doing that. That effectively means that the trapped iguanas are allegedly left in the traps until they are retrieved and cruelly killed. If true, this is disgusting and cruel.
The law does not allow the iguanas to be relocated once they are trapped.
One resident reported that Board member Harvey Ginsberg told her that he has eaten iguana. That’s nothing to be proud of in our opinion.
Here is an unedited report we received via email from a very concerned resident about that resident’s recent conversation with Board member Harvey Ginsberg. “H” stands for Harvey; “Me” is the concerned resident. This is the exact email we received:
“I ran into Harvey when we went down to the barbeque food truck a few days ago.
H. Hi [Resident’s name]. Good to see you here. I saw the letter you sent to the Board. Are you ordering the iguana sandwich?
Me: (Horrified) Of course not.
H. You should try it sometime. Tastes like chicken but with more bones.
Me: It's not funny, Harvey. There are cultures who eat iguana meat and you have no idea if the guy you hired isn't making a profit on both ends by selling it to people for meat or to fishermen for chum.
H. Why would I care? Just so long as they get rid of them.
Me: I guess I'm different, more of a humanitarian...I care about animals and these little critters are harmless and defenseless.
Me: I give him a look and walk away.”
If true, this callous indifference to a concerned resident whom he is charged with representing is despicable. It is a taunting behavior which is a form of bullying. This bullying is made infinitely worse because it is coming from an HOA official Board member and representative of the corporation and all members thereof.
If true, he knew that this subject matter was and is extremely bothersome to this individual because he brought up her letter to the Board about it, and instead of empathizing with her, not only did he utterly dispense with diplomacy, but instead he doubled down and actually threw it back in her face. This is taunting and bullying behavior of the worst kind and unmitigated cruelty.
What the Board is doing is spending thousands of dollars of your and our money to kill these creatures when many of you find this practice to be offensive, abhorrent, and cruel. This is your and our money being used to kill innocent creatures. This is the worst kind of expenditure of your and our money. We are sickened and heartbroken over this.
Should we really be barbarically and cruelly killing iguanas? Is this barbaric practice appropriate? We think this contract should not be renewed at all. These gentle giants are not disturbing this community and the manner they are killed is barbaric and cruel. Shooting them in the head with BB gun pellets until they die is wrong. Stop this barbarism and cruelty.
Further, the law requires checking the traps at least once every 24 hours. Our understanding is that this company is not doing that. If we are wrong about that, please let us know. If we are correct, then the HOA is about to sign and renew an agreement that contains an illegal term.
We certainly oppose in the strongest words possible the expansion of this contract to include off campus locations for a carte blanche hunting expedition which will result in a massacre. We don’t want our money used for non-community property killings of innocent creatures.
When there was a deep freeze last winter, your Roving Reporter rescued two green Cuban lizards (which are often mistaken for iguanas) whom he found immobile in the street and sidewalk and brought them inside and made a makeshift aquarium to nurse them back to health. One made it; one died because its lower back and tail appeared to have been irreparably broken. Once recovered, the survivor was returned to the natural environment. We care deeply about animals.
A number of years ago your Editor was the celebrity ambassador to the SPCA-LA and had the privilege of giving known animal activist Bob Barker an award for his service to the animal kingdom. The award was presented at CBS Studios on the Price is Right set. Here is a photo from GettyImages.com from that presentation:
Caption: Vicki Roberts, Bob Barker, Madeline Bernstein, Esq. (president, SPCA-LA)
Your Editor was also a great supporter of animal causes along with Betty White and others (your Editor worked with Betty White at KTLA Studios in the late 1970’s on a TV show called Liars Club). Happy 99th Birthday, Betty. Here are some great animal lovers in a Wireimage.com photo at an event celebrating Betty’s unwavering commitment to animals (your Editor is third from the left):
Caption: Universal City, California: Betty White Celebrity Roast to Raise Money for Animal Welfare sponsored by Actors and Others for Animals.
Pictured: Ed Asner, Elaine Hendrix, Vicki Roberts (your Editor), Fred Willard, Shelley Fabares, Monty Hall, Gary Owens, Carol Connors, Mike Farrell, Tom Sullivan and his dog Edison, Betty White, Alex Trebek, Loretta Swit, Lee Meriwether, Cloris Leachman, Gavin MacLeod, Nanette Fabray, Suzanne Pleshette, Tom Poston, and Earl Holliman.
So your Editor has a long history of her commitment to animals and the belief that we share this planet equally with them. The iguana contract is antithetical to this commitment and belief. There are many residents who share this sentiment.
Now you will see that one or more Board members is contemplating, per the first listed Agenda item, spending even more of your money to go off campus and hunt them down on non-Cascade Lakes property. The two bozos leading this brigade are of course Marion and Harvey, Cascade Lakes’ own Bonnie and Clyde. Instead of robbing banks, they’re wanting to go off campus hunting and shooting iguanas through their proxies.
This community deserves better and so do the innocent iguanas. On behalf of those of us with a heart, I apologize to our reptilian neighbors on the canal berms and elsewhere.
As you shall see below, the vote on this Agenda item was 2 – 5 with 5 Board members voting against it. The two creatures who voted for this foray into non-community property to shoot and kill the reptiles on the berms were, of course, Bonnie and Clyde (Marion and Harvey). The rest of the Board voted against it. As for Harvey, Elmer Fudd will have to find an alternative food source.
The iguana contract renewal was not on the Agenda, and per the January 6, 2021 Board meeting, we were advised that the current contract ends at the end of January, on or about the 27th of the month. There was no Board vote on the contract itself. There was a very brief discussion about it which included adding two species, but there was no vote on the renewal. There was only a vote not to add $3,200 to go off campus, and that vote failed.
We implore the Board not to renew this contract. If they have signed the renewal (without the expansion onto non-community property), that would be an unauthorized act done without a Board vote. We ask that each Board member search his/her conscience when this item comes up again on the Agenda owing to the failure of the Board to vote on the renewal of this contract, or just let the contract expire per its own terms.
(Iguana photographed at Green Cay Wetlands by Chet Miller, January 1, 2021. Thank you, Chet.)
The monologue is over.
Board Meeting: Audio and Video Up and Running; Zoom meeting online starts at 9:30am.
Board Members Present:
Marion Weil (Board member and office of President aka Bonnie Parker)
Richard Greene (Board member and office of Treasurer)
Linda Arbeit (Board member and office of Secretary)
Bob Dingee (Board member)
Eileen Olitsky (Board member)
Sue Schmer (Board member)
Harvey Ginsberg (Board member aka Elmer Fudd aka Clyde Barrow) *
* [Editor’s note: And now a few choice and necessary words about Harvey Ginsberg aka Elmer Fudd aka Clyde Barrow:
This individual (Harvey aka Elmer Fudd aka Clyde Barrow) and others wrongfully claim that he is the vice-president without having received the required majority vote under Robert’s Rules of Order (Rule 46), which the president specifically stated is utilized and followed in Board meetings. He received only three out of seven votes. Hence, he is not the vice-president and that office remains vacant. Any actions he takes under the auspices and authority of that office, in the opinion of this News Site, are improper and illegal.
Every single Board member who remains silent owns this one. If you are going to flaunt the rules and disregard clear directives from the rules you purport to follow, you’re directly contributing to this farce and fraud.
What’s with this guy anyway?
First he tries to do an end run around the community vote (fence/gate along his property line with your money), then he slanders this News Site by calling it “fake news” and “bogus” for calling him out on fence/gate before finally admitting to it and apologizing to the community two months later right before the vote for vice-president.
Then he improperly accepts the mantle of vice-president without receiving the required majority vote and continues to claim the position after full written notice of this impropriety which we gave to every Board member via email.
Then he hijacks other committees and their respective Board liaisons’ responsibilities (signs and poles).
Then he interrupts other Board members during their presentations, but only if those Board members are Eileen and Sue. Harvey’s sidekick, Marion aka Bonnie Parker, allows this to continue, and controlling Board meetings is in fact one of the few responsibilities she has as president.
And now Harvey aka Elmer aka Clyde is purportedly eating iguanas and taunting and bullying a resident about this very sensitive issue in a most cruel way, and he appears to be excited about the potential search for more iguanas to shoot and kill beyond the community property boundary lines.
Where we come from, we typically call this type of person an a-hole. Note to kind person with whom we spoke on the telephone and who wondered whether we could be kinder in our criticisms: how does one be kind to someone who is acting so abhorrently? Is it even appropriate to be kind when describing this conduct? Sometimes kindness is misinterpreted as weakness and thus taken advantage of. That is unfortunate, but it is also human nature with some people.
It is not possible in our opinion to call out this behavior in a “kind” way that would not offend the offender, and we are not concerned with the offender’s feelings at this point. And how do you sugarcoat honesty and why should one? Put the monkey on the back of whom it belongs, i.e., the offender, not the offended. We and many others are offended by this behavior. The onus is on the offender, not the offended.
If you have any suggestions on how to be kind about calling out awful behavior if you believe that kindness is warranted in such a situation, by all means let us know and we are happy to publish alternative explanations that meet the kindness criteria, although we query if they would then be effective, because whitewashing the behavior only encourages its continuation and sends the wrong message to the community that this behavior is either ok or it is at least marginally tolerable. It is neither.
One final word about kindness: pure honesty is the kindest thing anyone could offer because anything less is a dilution of the truth and dishonest. We decline to be dishonest.]
Call to Order: Marion Weil.
Pledge of Allegiance led by Marion. [Editor’s note: all Board members stood.]
Marion Weil’s Opening Remarks and Announcements:
[Editor’s note: We heard nothing you haven’t already heard or will hear about in an unnecessary e-blast from her that more properly should come from the Property Manager’s office, but which Marion finds the need to do to keep her name in front of you as much as possible. Ergo, we move on.]
EDITOR’S IMPORTANT NOTE:
Based on the feedback we received, the summation method as opposed to the full transcription method is preferred. So “more editorial blue, less boring transcript” carries the day, except, of course, when necessary for context.
First Residents’ Input Session:
1. Jerry Dinerman: [Jerry opposed the hurricane windows for the fitness center being decided without a community vote and that this was a frivolous spending when anyone can get people to put up shutters when needed. He also stated that signs and posts are not a reason people buy here. He then stated that the mailboxes belong to the individual owners and that the Board has no right to change owners’ personal property and it is not for the Association to decide what to do.]
2. Judie Delman: [Judie stated that she dittoed everything Jerry just said, she talked about wants vs. needs; she lamented that people have invested their entire lives to live here and the Board needs to cut back on its spending.]
3. Beryl Goldberg: [Beryl complained that when the Board wants to spend money it doesn’t ask for input from the residents and the Agenda doesn’t say what is being purchased. She wants more accountability to the residents.]
Approval of Minutes: January 6, 2021 Board meeting: Linda Arbeit: Motion to approve the Minutes of January 6, 2021 Board meeting. Eileen [with her hand raised and speaking the word “second” out loud]: Second. Marion: ok, that was Sue. [Editor’s note: Here we go again, snubbing Eileen. At this point, Harvey, the computer Sign Up Genius, lost his computer connection. He came back several minutes later.] Marion: all in favor? 6-0.
Treasurer’s Report: Richard Greene
[Editor’s note: the financials were provided in the email blast and are self-explanatory. One thing is very odd: at the bottom of the report, with regard to delinquent advertisers of the community magazine, News & Views, it states:
“An Allowance fro [sic] Doubtful Accounts was set up for advertisers who are running behind in their payments. The allowance was $2,000.”
Why is the HOA now subsidizing advertisers to News & Views? We thought that when one advertises in a magazine, one pays for said publicity; now it appears the reverse is true: the HOA is now essentially paying for potential vendors to publicize their goods and services or to allow them to advertise their services without paying for that privilege.
Is this the new woke reverse capitalism aka socialism? What’s going on here? How is this fiscally responsible? Why should you allow advertisers to try and sell their wares to you for free? Can you imagine if word of this new protocol got out? You’d have advertisers lined up the wazoo to get in on this steal of a deal.
Furthermore, where was the Board vote to permit this to occur? Who unilaterally decided that the advertisers would get what is essentially an advance of $2,000? And is that $2,000 per advertiser? What is the total of this gift? Who authorized it?
That is a heck of a lot more allowance and forbearance than a member gets for not making a payment on the quarterly dues for which you will be foreclosed upon failure to pay. So, a fellow member having hard times is screwed, but if you’re an advertiser, the HOA will bend over backwards for you.
And what kind of message does this send to the advertisers who are paying? Why should they pay if their competition is not paying and their competition might even have a bigger advertisement on the pages of the magazine?
At the Board meeting, Richard stated this was a “reserve for bad debts.” That’s not clear at all and certainly not what the actual document states.
As a CPA, Richard may be good at running the numbers, but that training has nothing to do with actually running a business. Clearly, this decision amplifies that fact.
To be clear: there was never a Board vote on this. The same individual who verifies every voucher for payment apparently did this without Board authority. You remember Richard’s statements wherein he defended the spending of thousands of dollars of your money to pay the lawyers to go after your Editor and your Roving Reporter for our calling out malfeasance, fiscal irresponsibility, and the lack of transparency. There was never any Board vote for that expenditure either.
What Richard has done is called subsidizing. He is, on your behalf and without your permission or Board vote, subsidizing advertisers. This is neither fiscally responsible nor appropriate. This is not his decision to make. If he made it with one or more other Board members, then it was an outrageously improper collaboration. We note that the liaison to News & Views is none other than our own Bonnie Parker, president Marion Weil. Was this Richard’s alleged collaborator? How do the rest of you Board members feel about having been bypassed on this matter? How does the community feel about this?
Attention Board members who were not consulted about this: after blowing a gasket and then having some chamomile tea to calm yourselves down, consider adding to the Agenda an item that clearly states that no one or more officers or Board members is or are authorized to grant temporary or permanent clemency to advertisers or make any fiscal decision absent a Board vote. This is already the law. It’s time to insist that your colleagues follow the rules. This issue arose in this Board meeting when Sue was discussing change orders under Old Business, Item #4. This needs to be put back on the Agenda after the March elections.
If one of you believes that fiscal forbearance is appropriate, put it on the Agenda, discuss it, and then vote on it. Otherwise, Richard and whomever you allegedly collaborated with, please stop acting as if you have authority to make decisions for 1,140 people on your own. This is the kind of stuff that might just get you booted off the Board when your term is up.]
Property Manager’s Report: Deborah Balka: …final mow…January 28-29…
Facilities Committee: Eileen: Park benches and community signs were ordered.
[Editor’s note: Co-Chairperson Shelly Andreas was kind enough to email your Editor the committee’s report so that the entire community could benefit from it. We thank Shelly and Co-Chair Barry Gordon; below is their report unedited.]
“The landscape committee wishes everyone a Happy and Healthy 2021.
Several members of the committee noticed that the two bridal bouquet plants on Landon entryway were not doing well. PBB was notified and they were replaced with hibiscus at no cost to the community.
The ficus project will begin again this year. This will be addressed under new business.
In the next few weeks the following projects will begin. Weather permitting
1. Winter annuals.
2. Oleander replacements on CLB.
3. The Bull nose between Corbel and AngelWing
4. The remaining pod entryways.
Respectfully submitted by Shelly Andreas and Barry Gordon for the Landscape Committee.”
Marion: add New Business #9: recharge pump for Angel Wing, $4,518, through HydroDynamics.
Editor’s note: NEW FORMAT:
Only new entries will be posted here. Previous entries (those having appeared in a previous synopsis and which still have not been addressed by the Board) are listed by their headings only. Once we raise an issue and discuss it in a synopsis, it will appear only as a heading.
We have added a new page to our News Site entitled “Agenda Items” where you can read about all these matters that the Board has not addressed, in detail and with full explanations, and that we, and a lot of other people, believe should be addressed. Here is the list from prior synopses:
A. Road Resealing
B. Rescinding illegal “Take Away Your Transponder If You Have An Estate Sale” vote.
C. Rescission of the improper banning of Alex from the community
D. Improper use of HOA funds
E. Improper expansion of Presidential powers
F. Disabling of the Zoom meeting Chat function
G. Clubs and Their Asinine Rules -- being handled in Item #8 below.
H. Two incident reports
I. All incident reports are to immediately go to all Board members
J. Weekly email blasts; News & Views dedicated page for president; president assuming too many liaison positions that target communication and final decisions
K. Re-Vote for the office of Vice-President
NEW ENTRIES ON THE LIST:
[None at present.]
1.Iguana contract –LWDD to be included at additional $3,200 - Marion Weil
[Editor’s note: see Editor’s Opening Monologue. This Agenda item brought to you by the other member of the tag team, Marion Weil aka Bonnie Parker.]
Marion: I move that we select doing the iguana removal from the Lake Worth Water District canals. Harvey: Second.
[Editor’s note: the motion was solely for the canal killings; there was no motion to renew the expiring contract. Eileen objected to doing the job of the Lake Worth Water District. She said the iguanas are not bothering us at this point. Sue said this would be “spending a heck of a lot of money on stuff not in our community areas. The only responsibility of the Board is community areas.” Eileen queried why we would kill something not a nuisance to us.
Harvey claimed they come out of the canal and onto our property. Deborah chimed in, “if they can get them out in the open, they can shoot them much easier.” This is disgusting.]
Eileen: it is an inhumane act. Marion: I liken this to rat traps…poison…nuisance, they bite, dirty…” [Editor’s note: in fact, the iguanas are afraid of humans and run madly away if you try and approach them.]
Eileen: but we don’t kill them on the sidewalk; where do you stop? You don’t kill rats not on community property… Harvey: this is an invasive species…the object is to get rid of them, being proactive in doing this…worth it to spend the money.
Marion: All in favor? 2-5. The motion fails.
[Editor’s note: Marion and Harvey were the only two Board members who voted for this monstrosity of a motion. Again, the motion Marion made was limited to the $3,200 to kill iguanas on non-community property. There was no other motion made concerning the iguanas.
If the contract expires before the next Board meeting, you all better not claim it’s an emergency and do a unanimous consent with a ratification later. It’s not an emergency. The whole damn contract is discretionary. Deborah even mentioned at the previous Board meeting that it was expensive for only catching and killing 95 iguanas and was it worth it. Let it go.]
2.Traffic Signs & Posts $8,449.49-$8,986.81 - Harvey Ginsberg
[Editor’s note: next up we have Harvey Ginsberg aka Elmer Fudd aka Clyde Barrow ready with his iguana-killing BB gun in preparation for his next meal.
The Board voted to replace the chicken coop green U-Channel posts which they approved at the last Board meeting with galvanized steel posts. The vote was 5-2. Sue and Eileen opposed it.
While Sue was showing the community a picture of the posts, again Harvey usurped her presentation without her permission and forced everyone’s screens to look at his enlarged pictures of the items. This was again rude. We called this out when he did this to Eileen at the last Board meeting. It was so sudden this time that Sue gasped. Nothing says classless like hijacking your colleague’s presentation.
Sue noted that these galvanized poles are not aesthetically pleasing. Eileen agreed.
Eileen: I moved to Cascade Lakes eight years ago; everything looked really beautiful… now, mailboxes look horrible. Marion: we’re talking about posts. Eileen: just a minute please. Harvey, could you put your hand down please…
[Editor’s note: the disrespect shown to Eileen by Marion and Harvey aka Bonnie and Clyde is palpable and is a reflection of their lack of class and lack of leadership skills.]
Eileen: we’re going to replace ugly with ugly… if we can’t afford it this year, why put $8,000 into cheap. Wait till next year…
Richard: aesthetics, too gaudy for me, but the fact that it doesn’t rust appeals to me.
[Editor’s note: galvanized steel is too gaudy for this fellow? Wow.]
Bob: I like the utilitarian approach. The vendor guaranteed it wouldn’t rust.
[Editor’s note: the utilitarian approach is good for prisons; we ought not be striving for it for the community. As stated above, only Sue and Eileen opposed the motion; it passed. Galvanized poles coming your way.]
On January 22, 2021, your Roving Reporter sent the following email to the entire Board with the subject heading: “Galvanized Poles: Chicken Coop to Dog Park:”
This concerns your most recent change and approval of the community street signs and poles.
I was under the impression that the goal of the community through the Long Range Planning and Facilities Committees was to upgrade and modernize the community. We are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on landscaping, thousands of dollars on pavers, thousands of dollars on benches, etc. However, when it comes to street signs and their poles, the board cheaped out and used the excuses that this expense was not budgeted for and that the galvanized poles don’t rust.
If that were truly the case, why didn’t the Board vote for galvanized circular trash cans because they would have matched these new galvanized poles, would have been significantly cheaper, and also would not rust. The same goes for all the fencing around the community: instead of black wrought iron fencing, under these excuses, the community should have ordered galvanized steel poles with a chain link fence. These are the same galvanized poles that you see in dog parks. We have gone from looking like a chicken coop to looking like a dog park.
When entering the front of Cascade Lakes, there are fancy black streetlights with black poles that match. When exiting through the back, there is a black gate with a matching black fence. When driving through the different pods, there are black streetlights with matching black poles. There are fancy black trash cans throughout the community and the benches have black frames. Even the $67,000 fence/gate debacle was going to have black gates and black fences.
So the Board decided to choose a recommendation from a Committee (Safety & Security) that had nothing to do with long range planning or facilities for the beautification of this community, and the Board chose poles that are cheap and are used for chain link fences. Now we have upgraded the community from chicken coop poles to dog kennel poles that do not match any of the prior upgrades of and throughout our community.
What happened to the $67,000 that was budgeted for fence/gate? Regardless of the fact that it was going to be done piecemeal, it was still budgeted to get it done. If there is no money for the black poles as the Treasurer claims because he thinks they are ugly (first he said they were ugly and then he said there was no money for them), then wait until the signs and poles are properly budgeted as opposed to going with these cheap and ugly ones which this community will be stuck with for decades to come.
3. Palm Trim - $26,350-$52,700 – Marion Weil
[Editor’s note: Linda seconded the motion. This passed unanimously.]
4. Utility Building – Electrical – Sue Schmer
Sue: I’m very upset I have to even present this. On November 6, a motion for electrical wiring was taken off the agenda…question, is it the responsibility of the vendor or of the HOA…why is the HOA spending $3,431.40? I do not recall it ever being done by unanimous consent or voted on. Therefore, I make this motion. With the exception of emergencies, all change orders to existing contracts must be approved by a majority of the Board by an open community Board meeting. Eileen: Second.
[Editor’s note: well, this seems like a no-brainer, and yet this motion failed. Linda, Sue, and Eileen voted for it; the other four Board members voted against it. Please note that fact when each and every one of them comes up for re-election. They don’t believe you have a right to know what they’re doing behind your backs. This is a perfect example.
This is just like Richard’s $2,000 advance fund to News & Views advertisers. You have one or two Board members making decisions with thousands of dollars of your money, not only without a Board vote, but without all Board members’ knowledge. And this somehow is ok with 4 Board members: Marion, Harvey, Richard, and Bob.]
Harvey: I’m not so sure what the issue is here. The change order was approved by Mark. Every little change order should not be voted on…it was already paid and done. Sue: that’s the point, Harvey: $3,431.40 was done without Board approval. [Editor’s note: I believe they stated that former Board member Mark Goodman approved it on his own.] Linda: I was told it was in the contract; if there was a problem, that is not the responsibility of Cascade Lakes, that’s the responsibility of Hartsel. That’s a problem between Hartsel and the electric company they contracted, therefore, we should not have been charged $3,431.40. They are responsible.
Marion: and the work was done. It didn’t say there can’t be a change order. It’s already been decided.
[Editor’s note: you fool. There you go again, being all Machiavellian with the ends justifying the means routine. You do this often: you try and justify an expenditure after the fact. You did it with the payment to the lawyer to go after us. You and Richard kept talking about getting invoices and paying them, all after the fact. This is a deflection and it is dishonest, because it rolls over the initial decision which was made without a Board vote or the knowledge of all Board members.]
Eileen: if there’s ever another amount of money that we have to pay, it should be brought up before the Board. No one Board member should make that on their own… [Sue gave a thumbs up.] Harvey: only vote if there is an increase in the contract amount. Sue, maybe you can amend your motion. Sue: no, I will not, and I will defer to Linda.
Linda: it did increase the contract amount. Marion: do it didn’t. Richard: there were credits issued, too, for work that they didn’t do. Yes, we have a basis for disputing the electric, we have a credit for $5,000. There’s always contingencies with construction, always change orders…it’s not dollar for dollar… built into any contract… Linda: the contract says …credit… don’t you think the Board should have been aware of the credits? I think it’s important for the Board to have known… we’re not aware of the credits; causes a problem for Board members.
Marion: All in favor? 3-4. Motion fails. [Sue, Eileen, and Linda voted yes, the rest voted no.]
[Editor’s note: NEW FORMAT:
Only new entries will be posted here. Previous entries (those having appeared in a previous synopsis and which still have not been addressed by the Board) appear on our Agenda Items page on the News Site and will be listed by their headings only in the synopsis.]
NEW ITEMS ON THE LIST:
L. Eliminate Liaisons To Vendors; Property Manager and HOA Attorney To Report To All Board Members:
There should not be liaisons to vendors. Liaisons are appropriate for Board Committees. It is inappropriate to have liaisons to vendors. This matter should be on the Board’s Agenda.
For example, there should not be a Board liaison to the Property Manager. The Property Manager should always report to all Board members because she gets her function and duties from the entire Board, not just from one or two members of the Board. She is an employee of a vendor. This is unlike a Committee where there should be a liaison. The Property Manager has responsibilities that have been granted by the full Board. The idea of a Board liaison to the Property Manager should be rejected immediately.
The same is true for dealing with the HOA attorney. He is also an employee of a vendor. All Board members should be involved in any discussions with the lawyer. The lawyer should not just be dealing with the president or one other Board member. The HOA should not be incurring legal fees because Marion at whim decides to run to the lawyer to complain about a resident or any topic for that matter.
M. Expenditures That Are Not Revealed To The Community Need to Be Openly Disclosed; Where Does Your Money Go?:
There are too many of these popping up. This is similar to the just-defeated motion concerning change orders.
At the January 6, 2021 Board meeting, $2,200 was revealed as having been paid for a fountain leak. Another $6,052.35 was revealed through our investigation for the HOA attorneys to harass us. Now we have a $2,000 allowance to advertisers without a Board vote, which is not a payment per se, but certainly inures to the financial benefit of advertisers and necessarily to the financial detriment of the HOA. And that doesn’t even include all the change orders. We are likely talking tens of thousands of dollars here in the aggregate.
This strongly suggests that there are more of these types of expenditures that total thousands and thousands of dollars but are never brought forth to the members. These expenditures which get paid and then disappear never make it into any Minutes because they are not part of any Agenda.
The owners of this corporation are entitled to a list of every item that was approved in this manner that just disappeared and for which there are no Board Minutes referencing said expenditures. This should also be added as an Agenda item. Where does your money go?]
1. Pool Rules revisited - Linda Arbeit
[Editor’s note: there was a lot of back and forth; the end result is that the number of people at the pool is increased from 24 to 30. The vote was 5-2 with Sue and Eileen dissenting. Eileen was concerned about the three new variant virus strains and that people are getting very close to each other and tend to congregate. This rule goes into effect Monday, January 25, 2021.]
2. Pavers for old tennis shed area - $1800 Marion Weil
Marion: the sheds are gone. Getting an extra parking spot. I recommend two picnic tables there…Palm Beach Broward lunch breaks. To install 300 square feet of pavers. The pavers are free, used… Deborah: directly behind the dumpster area. Harvey: Second. Sue: extra cost to remove the sprinklers? Marion: no. All in favor? Unanimous.
3. Two ramp removals by APC- $1300 Bob Dingee
Bob: motion to spend $1,300, accept the bid from APC to allow the landscaping effort to take place. Harvey: Second. Marion: all in favor? Unanimous.
4. Palm Beach Broward- ficus removal –$14,445 -Marion Weil
[Editor’s note: Miss Bonnie Parker will now demonstrate the proper method for removing ficus.]
Marion: …the hedge on Cascade Lakes Blvd from Glenville to Military Trail, where the Board voted down the fence… Linda: Second.
[Editor’s note: discussion ensued, including replacing the ficus with clusia and arboricola.]
Harvey: is it already budgeted in landscaping? Richard: some is budget, some in the $55,000, so I accounted for this.
[Editor’s note: notice how Richard is able to account for items that he deems necessary but fights like tooth and nail on items that he’s not impressed with? He seems to have a lot of wiggle room and money maneuvering ability when it comes to projects he likes.
There will be buckets of different sizes that the homeowners can purchase individually; Deborah will send out a letter to go to all residents.]
Harvey: I’m gonna get one because it’s right behind me.
[Editor’s note: aha! Here we have another admission by Clyde Barrow, that the area in question is right behind his home. That’s what we said in our October 7, 2020 synopsis and commentary entitled Three Dog Night when we noted that Harvey/Elmer/Clyde wanted to do the fence/gate project piecemeal to avoid a community vote. He excoriated us for telling you the truth.
The ficus motion passed unanimously.]
5. Fitness Center- Hurricane Windows $69,000-$73,975 Bob Dingee
Bob: …seems like a reasonable number…
[Editor’s note: the discussion included statements about the doors having to be replaced and the windows leaking. It was $69,000 plus two additional restroom doors for $4,975 for a total of $73, 975.]
Eileen: is this a need or is this a want? Upgrade? Repair? Marion: if you replace the windows in a commercial building, you must use hurricane windows…Sue: Marion, you just mentioned that commercial buildings have to have…is the fitness center a commercial building? Marion: yes.
[Editor’s note: further discussion ensued; the motion passed unanimously.]
6. Paver Installation at Rosetree Park- $3,900 Marion Weil
Marion: …installation, parts, labor. Second: Harvey. Marion: all in favor? Unanimous.
7. Rules/Reg Audit Committee Recommendation – Richard Greene
Richard: One percent and the five percent is too high. This is the community’s money; they should have more input…and we should [not] be dissecting projects… [doing them piecemeal] …this only applies to new capital improvements; if it’s a replacement or necessary for security or health reasons, don’t need a community vote. We’re cutting what the Board could approve in half; that’s what the Audit Committee is recommending.
[Editor’s note: there was a lot of discussion about several things. The bottom line is the following: the Board agreed to put to a community vote the issue of whether or not the threshold requirement to seek community approval should be reduced from 1 percent to one-half a percent per item and reducing from 5 percent to three percent over a one year period. Marion seconded Richard’s motion.
They also discussed putting to a community vote a change to the 75% rule back to two-thirds for community approval. This has to do with alterations to common areas such as a pickleball hard court. Richard amended his motion to include the phrase “subject to review by the attorney” and Harvey seconded that.
Harvey at one point started to speak at which point Eileen stated, “Linda raised her hand” to which Harvey replied, “but she called on me” to which Marion responded, “I did. Go ahead, Harvey.”
Marion allowed Jeff D. Green (Audit Chair) to participate in this discussion even though he is not a Board member. This is consistent with her letting Joyce Winston speak at a prior Board meeting (Rules & Regs Chair) but inconsistent with her shutting down Mike Gentry (Long Range Planning Chair). This selective favoritism is unbecoming of the current Board president. Allowing some Chairs to participate but shutting out other Chairs is not leadership.
Marion then tried to cut the conversation off by saying “last person” to which Sue responded, “Marion, if a Director wants to speak, you can’t unilaterally say ‘last person.’”
Finally, Marion called the question. Marion: all in favor of the proposal to change Article E from the Declaration of Conditions and Covenants, Easements, and Restrictions from 2019 to lower the percentage from 1% to one-half and it will not exceed up to 3%, not 5%, all in favor? Unanimous. [Editor’s note: this will now go out for a community vote.]
Richard: next change. By-Laws, Section C. Special assessments, make it very clear – assessment- can’t use the money for any other purpose other than what we assessed for… and Section G, if we’re borrowing money and obtaining a loan, has to be approved by the community …I’m not talking about an emergency loan…you can get a bridge loan…hurricane damage… and my third recommendation, last thing, any project greater than $25,000, get three proposals to be given to the Board for review.
Marion: Second Bob. Eileen: I believe I seconded it, Marion. Bob was after the fact. Harvey [chuckling] It was seconded.
[Editor’s note: here we have Marion snubbing Eileen again – this is getting redundant – and Harvey throwing it in Eileen’s face by snidely chuckling about her comment in a dismissive way. Marion and Harvey display absolutely despicable behavior and if this is ok with all of you reading this, then by all means vote for their reelection in March. If, on the other hand, you are offended by this behavior, then you have the power to do something about it when you cast your ballot.]
Richard: Section C, G, and M, we’re voting on now. Deborah: Section C, By-law, assessment, what it’s for. Marion: all in favor, proposed By-Law changes, do not require a vote of the community – levying collection of regular and special assessment, borrowing money, and bids for projects? Unanimous.
[Editor’s note: we are interested in seeing how Linda writes up these Minutes.]
8. Addition to Club Rules – Sue Schmer
Sue: first motion, to be added to Section P of the By-Laws as #3: clubs cannot legally enforce their own rules and regulations. This wording comes from our attorneys. Second: Eileen. Harvey: can’t be legally enforced by the clubs, only by the Board. Sue: the original motion stands as it is. You are going into muddy waters…the Board controls the use of the community areas. Harvey: ok. Sue: can we call the motion? Marion: All in favor? Unanimous.
Sue: Second, I’m going to credit Bob, he revised the wording and made it much more succinct; add to the Sports Center Rules from October 20. The Sports Center Director shall determine the composition of teams engaged in inter-community competition. Club membership will not be a requirement for team participation. Eileen: Second.
Marion: I have a problem with that. If club membership is not required for team competition – Sue: it should be league competition, I will amend it to say league. Harvey: make it intercommunity competition. Marion: I’ll play devil’s advocate. What if I’m not a member of the pickleball club, I have to be a resident here? Sue: yes. Residents only can be members of clubs, leaving to the Sports Director…intercommunity competition. Marion: what would be the incentive for anyone to be a club member if you can play anyway?
Sue: the tennis club does other things besides league competitions – social, special events… Marion: opposite viewpoint, I want to play in a league, I don’t want to pay dues to the club. Eileen: I could be a tennis player, not social, but I want to play in the league…you don’t have to be a member in a club… Marion: so when the tennis club has a celebration, that comes out of the money from the people who are members; a non-member gets the benefit.
Richard: I don’t think it works that way. If you’re not a member of the club, you’re going to pay a portion of the entrance fee. Eileen: right, and most of the social activities you pay [more if you are not a club member] … it’s taken care of. Harvey: same thing with the pickleball club, you don’t have to be a member to play on the ladder. Eileen: why can’t you just pay extra…tennis club dance, you don’t have to be a member, you just pay… Harvey: you’d have to ask the officers of the pickleball club.
[Editor’s note: you don’t need to ask the officers of the pickleball club anything after this Board vote. Their little fiefdom is over.]
Marion: if Lee has been doing this, why do we need this? Sue: if it’s not in writing, it doesn’t exist. Clubs cannot determine who is playing in the league. Lee is a vendor. This is a policy. Policy is determined by the Board. Bob: at the last meeting, we voted that outside people cannot be members of a club. If a club needs outside people, Lee can add them…this does give Lee… he’ll go along… Marion: All in favor, club membership not a requirement for intercommunity competition?
[Editor’s note: that was not Sue’s motion. That was Harvey trying to change her motion which she declined. The word was league, not intercommunity competition. Marion called the question and changed the word from “league” which was Sue’s amendment to her motion and instead used Harvey’s suggestion which was “intercommunity competition” which was not adopted by Sue. So we hope that the Minutes will properly reflect the correct language to include the word “league.”
Intercommunity competition with pickleball is more of a social-type structure among communities whereas if a community does not have enough players, a Cascade Lakes resident may play on the opposite team against Cascade Lakes and vice versa, for fun. This is different from league play. In league play, if there are not enough players, they forfeit that one game. So as Sue often says, words matter. The motion was for “league” play, not for intercommunity competition which Marion erroneously stated. THIS NEEDS TO BE WORDED CORRECTLY.]
Marion: six. I abstain. 6-0-1. Thank you, Sue. Sue: you’re welcome.
[Editor’s note: there are no fiefdoms allowed in this HOA. Kudos to the Board for finally recognizing this, after we relentlessly pointed it out over the course of the last year, and then doing something about it.
Community assets are for all members to use, not just members of clubs who seek to penalize members for not bowing to their asinine rules. Club rules cannot be legally enforced per the Board’s decision; this effectively means that club rules have been totally vitiated, and they are officially of no force and effect.
For those of you in the pickleball club who are still perplexed by this, in layman’s terms, your rules are dunzo. You have no rules because the ones you have cannot be enforced. A rule without an enforcement mechanism or where enforcement is prohibited is equal to no rule. Therefore, tear up your worthless, elitist, and bogus by-laws. See you all at league play.
For those who question, why have a club? We have a better question: why should people who pay $20 a year for membership in a club have more rights than each and every member who pays $6,500 a year for HOA membership which is supposed to include equal access and use of the common facilities?
Answer: every member who pays HOA dues is entitled to avail himself and herself of every single amenity free of the fake constraints created by some members whose need for power appears to have clouded their vision. We are all created equal and these individuals cannot handle or accept this fact. These club members erroneously think that certain facilities belong to them. This is false. They belong to all of us equally. Those who seek to dictate rules within the HOA framework for certain clubs are officially prohibited from doing so.
And now a word about Lee, the Sports Director, whom, by the way, this community is lucky to have. He does not work for the clubs. He works for the HOA and he reports to the Board. There is no wiggle room concerning this reality. He is now also prohibited from enforcing club rules.
Now that all club rules are officially scrapped, hopefully these individuals who tried so desperately to usurp the rights of other equal members of this HOA will focus more on the community at large than on themselves and their obsessive need for power.
Pickleball is not more important than this community. It is a part of this community just like many other activities. The attitude of these people has caused separation and discord in the community, and that goes for some of the individuals in the tennis club as well.
Know this and know this well: they are not your courts; they are community courts. It’s time to start treating your fellow HOA members equally. Since you refused to do so willingly, the Board has now forced you to do so. We are all equal under one umbrella, governed by the Board of Directors. And remember, if you defy the Board, they can pull your mission statement and shut you down because your very existence is at the Board’s pleasure. Equality: what a concept some of you just can’t stand.
All of this being said, perhaps we shall see you at league play. We resigned our membership in the pickleball club last fall because we refused to be subject to that club’s draconian rules which the Board just eliminated.
As of press time, the pickleball club still has on the HOA website on its page a link to its “Governing Documents.” It is incumbent upon the Board to take this off the website forthwith. In fact, Marion, who as president is charged with carrying out Board orders, and who is also the website liaison and webmistress, should immediately delete the link from the HOA website.
If Marion doesn’t do it, then any Board member must do it immediately so that the entire community knows that those documents have no force and effect. Failure to immediately do so will confuse the community and cause conflict with the new rules.]
9. Add On: Recharge Pump, Angel Wing Drive, HydroDynamics, $4,518:
Bob: Angel Wing pump, let’s us keep the ponds full…problem with it… replacement for that pump; motor, pump, wiring, labor, $4,518. Second: Harvey. Marion: all in favor? Unanimous.
Second Residents’ Input Session:
1. Arnie Green: …Rosetree pavers are shifting from the center, there is no concrete holding them together…fix it up…
2. Judie Delman: watch the budget… Harvey, 75% again, voted down, he wants 66 2/3 percent, Marion said no problem with mentioning a percent… total deception of the community, the community should know, be outright and open about it. You don’t save us any money by not telling us. Do not do this. Marion: I think you misunderstood.
[Editor’s note: a short discussion ensued, and Judie demanded transparency. What we are concerned about is if the matters which require a community vote are lumped together rather than questioned separately, that really is unfair to the community and suggests an ulterior motive.
Each question should have a separate place to mark the ballot so that residents don’t have to hold their nose on one item and vote for it because they really want the other thing being offered but are forced to take both or neither. Each item must have its own ballot question, or the process is inherently unfair. Combining serious matters together and forcing a “take all or none” vote does a disservice to the community.]
3. Linda Bennis: [Editor’s note: Linda wanted clarification as to the ficus location and the replacement buckets; Marion advised that the community will be informed as to the schedule.]
4. Phil Berman: …is there anything in your rules that say that Lee must first take residents and not take non-residents who may not be that skillful? [in other words, prioritize better non-resident players]. Sue: residents always take precedence over guests, whether you’re a member of a club or not. There will never be a time when a resident will be displaced. Next meeting, I can propose it… Phil: is this in writing? Eileen: this is competitive play…it’s at Lee’s discretion. A player, a resident new player, will not happen, Lee will not put you on that team [an A team, for example, if you are a D player]. Phil: that’s fine.
5. Janet Lederman: the picnic tables, who’s responsible for cleaning the tables and making them sanitary? Harvey: maintenance. Janet: the windows leaking, why not call back to repair? Marion: leaks everywhere.
6. Stuart Rosenberg: [Editor’s note: Stuart was happy that the Board increased the number of people allowed at the pool at one time. He then stated that he has personally clocked people coming down Angel Wing Drive at more than 40mph.]
Stuart: when it says stop, whether it’s ugly or not, you have to stop.
7. Vicki Roberts [your Editor]: I want to piggyback on what Phil said. Not talking about for competition, but for league, you do not have to be a member of a club. Is that correct, Sue? Sue: yes, it is. Vicki: Thank you very much.
[Editor’s note: I clarified this because Marion called the question and changed the word from “league” (which was Sue’s amendment to her motion) and instead used Harvey’s suggestion which was “intercommunity competition” which was not adopted by Sue. So I hope that the Minutes will properly reflect the correct language to include the word “league.” We explained the difference above in that section of the synopsis.]
8. Jeffrey D. Green: [Editor’s note: Jeff appeared to be somewhat apoplectic about the new rules concerning clubs. He queried why anyone would join a club with these new rules. He mentioned the $2,000 the tennis club gave the HOA for a canopy. What does that have to do with anything? It should not have been paid for by the club in the first place, and it was not supposed to be a quid pro quo for anything, so we don’t understand why Jeff even mentioned this taxable event.]
Jeff: I’m not gonna pay, don’t have any other reason to join the club…we’re not gonna have money…you’re making a big mistake. Sue: I gave you the explanation…adults make choices… you are making assumptions… in my judgment, it is illegal to restrict any resident’s right to participate in any activities under the auspices of the Board…
[Editor’s note: Jeff argued about it at which point Sue stated she would not debate it and they would agree to disagree, reminding him that she was not the only one who voted yes.]
Sue is 100% correct. It is illegal to restrict a resident’s right to participate in any activities under the auspices of the Board, and that includes all activities in the common areas. Forcing a person to join a club and obey club rules which that person objects to and for good reason is in conflict with the resident’s primary right to use common facilities.
The resident is already paying through their HOA dues for the right to use the common areas unfettered. The resident agrees to follow all rules in the governing documents and those properly instituted rules made by the Board. That means that decisions concerning the courts are by the Sports Director who reports to the Board and who also must follow the governing documents and Board rules. That also necessarily means that the Sports Director is prohibited from following or enforcing club rules because the Board just neutered them.]
Round Table Discussion:
Sue: we need to do something about the AT&T and Comcast boxes. They look disgusting One other thing, think twice about Bougainvillea – iguanas love them.
Linda: the YMCA comes up in February…put on the agenda…get together with Deb and Arnie. The hurricane windows, four years ago, weren’t put up for beautification; we were getting leaks… windows, doors are warped…replacement… I don’t understand why JD thinks that was wrong… we did go to counsel, replacements are within our rights…
Eileen: I’m good, thank you.
Richard: I pass.
Bob: I’m ok.
Harvey: 75 vs. 66 2/3…time Sue works with Rules & Regs and try to revisit and get it on the ballot; more in line with communities around us and 720. Nothing to do with sneaking something by.
Sue: it’s already written. All you need to do is make a copy of it. It failed the first time. Harvey: can we bring that up? Sue: be free to bring it up; I will send you the info. Harvey: you have it. Sue: everybody has it, Harvey, it was in the packet.
Marion: Linda, can you put it on the Agenda for next time [Board approval for a community vote]. Linda: I’ll put it on the Agenda.
[Editor’s note: when we asked last year how items get on the Agenda, a former Board member told us that “Marion has veto power over Agenda items,” which is completely absurd in and of itself. We were then subsequently told when I asked again at a Board meeting that Board members email their Agenda items to the Property Manager who then puts the Agenda together. Now it appears that Linda is putting together the Agenda. Have things changed without notice?]
Marion: Motion to adjourn? [a number of people made the motion]. Second: [possibly Harvey]. All in favor? Unanimous. 9:42pm.
[Editor’s note: A big shout-out to Zoom operator Mike Blackman and his faithful assistant, Arnie Green, for doing a great job administering the Zoom meeting. We thank them for their continued service and volunteerism.]
And so concludes the board meeting of January 20, 2021; next Board meeting: February 3, 2021 at 9:30am. Cheerio until next time.