02/17/21 BOD MEETING: SYNOPSIS AND COMMENTARY BY VICKI ROBERTS WITH ASSISTANCE FROM ARTHUR ANDELSON
Posted February 21, 2021. Your Editor provides the following synopsis of the February 17, 2021 Board meeting, with assistance from your Roving Reporter, and with commentary and satire indicated inbold blue and pictures.
Editor’s Opening Monologue:
This edition is entitled: “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere?”
As this Board winds down its term, first and foremost, I want to thank the Board for providing endless hours of humor for me personally and for the News Site. I could rent out the ballroom, go on stage, and literally do hours of comedy off your comments and thought processes. The material that ends up on the Editing Room floor is priceless, but even we have standards.
And as to the few haters out there: That’s ok.
But alas, I digress. Now back to the monologue.
The elections are coming! The elections are coming!
Stay tuned for our exciting Cascade Lakes Election Report 2021! We are busily preparing it for your reading pleasure; we are awaiting the deadline for candidates to register, which is 4:00pm on Tuesday, February 23, 2021.
And speaking of the upcoming community elections, is it just a coincidence that the Board of Directors election always falls around the Ides of March? (Let the backstabbing begin!)
Some individuals are perhaps thinking of running for the Board against their spouse’s advice. Sometimes, it may be better to listen to your wife.
Or, you might just throw caution to the wind and go for it, and the consequences be damned, only to regret it later like a bad confession.
Whatever you decide, have no fear, we’ll be here, one way or the other.
The community anxiously awaits the roster of candidates who will toss their hats in the ring and campaign for your votes. It is important to vote for individuals who will put things on the agenda that will result in positive change for the community.
Because remember, when you elect the right people, you will finally get matters heard on the agenda that are important to you.
And by the way, as an added bonus, this is also a great time to get to know your neighbors who are running to represent you.
In conclusion, we aim to provide you with the best possible information so that you can make an informed decision as to how you want to be governed, i.e., by the individuals whom you trust to make decisions after careful contemplation.
And now the monologue is over as I am being politely escorted out.
Board Meeting: Audio and Video Up and Running; Zoom meeting online starts at 9:31am.
Board Members Present:
Marion Weil (Board member and office of President)
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)
[Editor’s note: No Board member received the required majority vote for vice-president per Robert’s Rules of Order, which the President declared is followed in Board meetings. Hence, the office remains vacant. Any Board member representing to this community that there is a current vice-president is doing so illegitimately. Any Board member taking any actions in the claimed capacity of vice-president is doing so illegitimately.
The News & Views, January 2021 edition furthers this fallacy by erroneously printing the word “Vice President” next to Harvey’s name on page 39. We guess anyone can dream. But remember, saying it is so doesn’t necessarily make it so. There is a difference.]
[Editor’s note: Before we dive into the Board meeting, I wish to thank all the residents who help put these synopses together by doing some of the background research required to report accurately for you. This is not a one-person operation, although it is a one typist operation. And now on to the meeting.]
Call to Order: Marion Weil.
Pledge of Allegiance led by Richard Greene. [Editor’s note: Richard held up a paper with a flag on it which is absolutely fine with us – the flag is the flag; all Board members stood.]
Marion Weil’s Opening Remarks and Announcements:
[Editor’s note: in a desperate attempt to remain relevant, Maid Marion droned on about stuff you’re already aware of or will become aware of in a mass community email, proving once again that it’s lonely at the top, especially when you’re looking down from your faux ivory tower.]
Eileen: “Point of Personal Privilege… It’s with a heavy heart that I’m taking this point of personal privilege. It has been a very stressful year for me, and that is why I have decided to seek, to not seek re-election to the Board and I wanted to dispel any rumors to the contrary. When I was elected to the Board, my objectives were to work with my colleagues with the common goals of maintaining and improving our common area so as to maintain Cascade Lakes as a desirable and competitive place in which to live and in which to buy. Unfortunately, the processes involved in achieving these goals have been disturbing and quite stressful.
As I no longer will be seeking the position of Director, I encourage all like-minded people who share my vision to consider running for the Board and to become an integral part of creating more effective decision-making. There is still time for you to consider making a positive contribution to our community. Please remember the deadline is Tuesday.
In closing, I would like to thank my fellow Directors for their time, energy, and efforts as leaders of Cascade Lakes, and I wish the new Board well as it continues to strive to make Cascade Lakes the best active adult community that it can be. Thank you very much…and no, Steve did not tell me he was going to divorce me if I was going to run again…”
[Editor’s note: well, this is a blow to the community, but we understand and respect Eileen’s decision. Thank you, Eileen, for all your efforts.]
First Residents’ Input Session:
1. Vicki Roberts: [Editor’s note: your Editor asked a couple of questions of Richard, the treasurer, during which Marion interrupted and stated that this was not a debate or a time for question and answer (which is absurd because there are questions and answers that occur all the time during the Residents’ Input Sessions), but with Marion at the helm, we would expect nothing less; at least we can say she is consistent in her inconsistency.
Your Editor reviewed the treasurer’s report and asked about the following language therein: “The Operating Funds includes $111,000 to reduce our maintenance fees in future years” and the following exchange took place.]
Vicki: …where did this money come from and in the 20 year history of this corporation to my knowledge maintenance fees have never been reduced; to the contrary, they’re always going up, so what is this really?
Richard: …you’re only getting a partial picture…we’re a little late in paying some of the bills, some of the bills came in late at the end of the month, so we’re a little behind in paying some of the landscaping bills.
[Editor’s note: well, that was completely non-responsive, wouldn’t you agree? Let’s see if he ever gets to the actual question I asked.]
Richard: The other thing is, this is the first quarter, and generally in the beginning, toward the middle of the first quarter, the cash is usually this high. At this point, most of our expenses haven’t been paid, a lot of expenses haven’t been paid in January. I should actually list the liabilities out there so that you’ll see it.
There are times during the year when our operating fund has been to about $900,000. This is a million which is a little higher, but about a hundred thousand of it is due moneys that we received from Hotwire which we’re gonna use to reduce future maintenance fees.
Vicki: ok, thank you, so that sounds like you were overpaying Hotwire which is a whole other story. Richard: what, what, I’m sorry, no. Marion: Richard, we’re not gonna make this a debate. You gave her the answer, thank you, Vicki.
[Editor’s note: on what authority does Richard include in the report this statement that these excess funds will reduce our maintenance fees? There is none.]
Vicki: wait a minute, I have another issue for Richard. Again, it didn’t answer my question, ok, because the maintenance fees have never been reduced; they’ve always been increased. That did not answer the question. My second issue is, um, last time you showed on your Treasurer’s Report an advertisers’ advance of $2,000. Now did that just magically disappear apparently? What happened to it?
Richard: the $2,000 has nothing to do with the profit and loss at this time. It’s based on when advertisers pay and at this point the advertisers are playing [sic] pretty good. So it’s possible that the reserve will go down.
[Editor’s note: “so it’s possible that the reserve will go down?” Oh, so it’s still there but just not disclosed this time. Good to know.
Later in the meeting Richard called your Editor out by name and stated, “Vicki is incorrect” (how so?) and he further stated that there was a reduction of the maintenance fees in the past. Here are the maintenance fee totals for the last five years and someone tell me when the maintenance fee was ever reduced, because by all accounts it was not.
2016: $1,301 per quarter, $5,204 per yr.
2017: $1,339 per quarter, $5,356 per yr.
2018 : $1,405 per quarter, $5,620 per yr.
2019: $1,437 per quarter, $5,748 per yr.
2020: $1,517 per quarter, $6,068 per yr. (+ $805 Special Assessment = $6,873 yr. total)
2021: $1,625 per quarter, $6,500 per yr. (+ any potential special assessments)
Can anyone prove that there was a reduction of the maintenance fees prior to that time? Until such evidence, we question Richard’s statement that the maintenance fees went down in the past. Further, we dispute the written statement in the Treasurer’s Report that the $111,000 is to be used for the reduction of future maintenance fees because it is completely without foundation.
It would be appreciated if there would be more clarity in both the written report and the explanations. We are not challenging Richard’s inherent honesty; that is not in issue and we believe him to be an inherently honest person. But this lack of clarity is unfair to those in the community who are entitled to it.
And it is inappropriate for a Board member to call out a resident by name in this context, especially when the Board member may be incorrect or at the very least unclear or does not identify with specificity how the resident is supposedly incorrect. Throwing out a statement denigrating a resident without foundation or facts in support thereof is wrong.
This happened when Harvey Ginsberg did it with “fence/gate” when we called him out in our October 7, 2020 synopsis and commentary entitled Three Dog Night and he went ballistic and defamed this News Site and your Editor and Roving Reporter by name during a public Board meeting where he denied the report and called it fake news, only to admit it months later when he wanted to be vice-president.
Board members: the community doesn’t like this. Behaving in this manner is dangerous to your re-election ambitions.
If Richard’s intention was that the maintenance fees were not raised more, that is a different thing and should be clarified. Is Richard saying that but for these additional funds, the maintenance fees would have been more in a designated year and therefore the potential increase was reduced? We don’t know, but we throw it out there to try and compensate for Richard’s failure to adequately clarify what is going on and to find some way to make some sense of what his report is saying and what he is saying.]
2. Joyce Winston: item #4, you must continue to print the phone books. A lot of people don’t know how to use the website…
[Editor’s note: not to worry, this proposal by Harvey could not even get a second and died on impact.]
3. Leonard Tannen: I have a complaint to make, work of February 8. Marion: not an agenda item, wait to the Second Residents’ Input Session. Leonard: No. February 8, Monday to Thursday night…construction on Military Trail, along Dove Hollow, 10pm, 2-3-4 am, lights, rumbles, noises. I sent two emails and phone call to the office and I never got a response. There was a mass email…construction until the 21st.
I called Maria Sachs’ office, Commissioner for our district, lots of rumbling going on because of my complaint and others. Board and the office, I’m very upset. If any of you lived on Dove Hollow, would have gotten more action. If you’re trying to make the communication responsive to the members’ concerns, it didn’t demonstrate it. The Board or the office could have called her.
4. Richard Levy: is the Board going to put out any literature about the importance of changing this percentage to educate the public.
[Editor’s note: is it appropriate for the Board to be taking sides on this issue? Just asking as an interested observer. Further, if you really want the public to be educated, do you want someone like Marion doing that education?
Marion during the Board meeting made a comparison to the United States Congress, stating that the most it requires on certain votes is 2/3 and on most votes it is a simple majority that is required. This political comparison is a false comparison.
The United States Congress consists of representatives from all over the country and each of those areas have their own interests to advance and protect and those interests are often directly contrary to other areas which have completely different economic bases and reasons to lean a certain way in their preferences. Cascade Lakes is one community with one economic base. There is no proper comparison.]
5. Arnie Green: The Y contract is a two year contract with a 4 percent escalation increase for the second year. All of our contracts have three percent. First year, three percent, this year zero percent. Why go to four percent when all others are three percent? It doesn’t make any sense. It’s a stepping stone; bad idea to sign the two year contract.
[Editor’s note: they’re not gonna listen to you…]
Approval of Minutes: February 3, 2021 Board meeting: Linda Arbeit:
Linda: Motion to approve the Minutes of the February 3, 2021 Board meeting. Marion: seconded by Harvey. Eileen: excuse me, my hand was up, I seconded it.
[Editor’s note: Eileen is correct, her hand came up first.]
Marion: [ignoring Eileen’s comment]Marion: all in favor? Unanimous.
[Editor’s note: well, Eileen, what did you expect? Once you made it official that you were not running for re-election, there was no need for Marion to give you any consideration as a fellow Board member. Get it? You aren’t useful to Marion anymore. But Sir Harvey is still useful to her, and she wants his fan base, to the extent he has one. In Marion’s mind, your fan base disappeared when you announced your decision not to seek re-election, so she made such short shrift of your objection that she didn’t even acknowledge it.]
Treasurer’s Report: Richard Greene: the fund is up so high because there is a big surplus; Vicki is incorrect. [Editor’s note: how so? See comments above.] Richard: in the past, when there’s a surplus, we reduce maintenance fees. [Editor’s note: when? Somebody email me and prove to me that this was the case.]
Richard: in 2019 we took a credit of $60,000…every year there is a three to five percent increase on our expenses. Surplus, it’s up to the Board and the Budget Committee how much they want to apply to the maintenance fee. Some of these costs were deferred costs from 2020. Check 2019, we did reduce the maintenance fee by the carry-forward surplus.
[Editor’s note: the fee was not reduced. The fee actually went up by $32 per quarter (see chart above). Is Richard saying that they reduced the intended increase of the fee, not reduced the actual fee? My goodness, if this is true, then we definitely need a Richard-to-English translator for all future Board meetings.]
Richard: Any questions, do not call the office; send an email and all questions will be answered.
Richard: if all advertisers pay bills, could have an income… I don’t think we’ll recoup the whole $2,000; some of the advertisers (have gone) …
[Editor’s note: oh, so we still have this issue outstanding. Earlier he stated on this issue: “So it’s possible that the reserve will go down.” That sounds like future tense to us. Seriously, the membership deserves a lot more clarity.]
Harvey: how much is the surplus? Can it offset the mailboxes?
[Editor’s note: say what? There are no mailboxes to offset.]
Richard: no, it’s an operating reserve. We could reduce our operating maintenance fee and increase our capital by our surplus so the overall maintenance fee would be the same. You can’t use for capital alone.
[Editor’s note: Richard-to-English translator: apparently under some unknown accounting theory the surplus could be split, however unevenly, but not applied 100% to capital. At least that’s what the official Richard-to-English Translator thinks he said.]
Property Manager’s Report: Deborah Balka: … final mow this month will be 25-26… March 25 at 7pm there will be an election; I do have enough candidates…two beehives removed…
[Editor’s note: Co-Chairperson Shelly Andreas kindly emailed your Editor this report for inclusion here so that the community is able to read it.]
“The landscape committee realizes that clarification is needed as to why certain landscaping is being done in Cascade Lakes. Hopefully the following will help:
1. Perennials and not annuals at the pod entryways – The water from our lakes is used to water our grass and plants. We are allotted a certain amount of water per month that can be removed for that purpose by the water company. When we go over that allotment we are subject to a fine. When watering the annuals we are also watering the boulevard grass which does not need to be watered. St. Augustine grass has swallow roots and overwatering can lead to fungal diseases. Perennials do not require as much water as the annuals do. The pod entryways are still a work in progress.
2. Cascade Lakes Boulevard – The builder blessed us with trees all along the boulevard. When a lot of us moved in the trees were small and plants thrived and were easy to grow. As time went on these trees grew along with their roots and canopies causing problems such as major shade, uprooted pavers, sod that does not do well in shade and difficulty in picking plants that grow only in the shade.
3. Ficus – Our ficus was infested many years ago with white fly which devastated a lot of our ficus. Prior to that infestation our ficus was treated with fertilizer and pruned routinely. A 5 year plan was put into effect which is now way beyond the 5 years. As we remove the ficus we reduce the need and cost of the white fly treatment.
4. The oleanders on CLB were removed for two reasons – The shade from the trees were causing them to reach for the sun and their flowers were landing on the sidewalks which became a hazard to residents walking when they got wet and became slippery. The second reason was the female caterpillar who began to lay her eggs, eggs hatched, babies starting eating the leaves and defoliation began causing destruction of the plant. The oleanders were sprayed several times but to no avail. The damage was done and it was time for the oleanders to be removed.
Shelly Andreas, Barry Gordon for the landscape committee.”
Sue: do I have your permission with Long Range Planning to submit for the record? Shelly: no objection, thank you for asking.
Long Range Planning:
[Editor’s note: Chairperson Mike Gentry kindly emailed your Editor his report for inclusion here so that the community is able to read it.]
“LONG RANGE PLANNING COMMITTEE
PROJECT TIMELINES & RESPONSIBILITIES
Year of Start/Completion: 2021
Change documents to reflect ownership of both the box and the posts to the HOA. This will require a community vote. (BOD) (tbd)
Secure estimates for one box per pole vs. two boxes per pole (except in instances where there are three or four boxes per pole. (FACILITIES) (two weeks)
If considering two boxes per post, there will be two old post holes that will require filling with dirt and covering with mulch. An estimate for same will be required. (LANDSCAPING) (two weeks)
Procure from the post office approval of two boxes per post. (BOD, MGMT) (two weeks)
Award contract. (BOD) (one month)
Total duration before commencement of work: THREE MONTHS
Year of Start/Completion: 2021
Secure estimates for resurfacing to hard court surface. This includes removal of existing tennis net and the addition of four permanent pickleball nets. Also weigh options for different surface thicknesses and cushioning. (FACILITIES, ENGINEERING) (two weeks)
Consider needs for proper drainage and estimates for same. (ENGINEERING) (one month)
Consider needs for additional landscaping (LANDSCAPING) (one month)
Review bids and award contract. (BOD) (one month)
Total duration before commencement of work: THREE AND A HALF MONTHS
Year of Start/Completion: 2021
Estimates for the resealing of all roads within the community. The benefits of Asphalt Sealcoating, in addition to beautification and curb appeal are long-term durable protection from sun, water, and damaging petrochemicals. Money-saving proactive maintenance which will drastically reduce the overall cost of maintaining (and eventually replacing) with paving of our roads.
A Specification sheet needs to be prepared so that all vendors are bidding on the same specs. (ENGINEERING) (one month)
Review bids and award contract. (BOD) (one month)
Total duration before commencement of work: TWO MONTHS
NOTE: These three projects above are not to commence until completion of new roof installation on the clubhouse and fitness center which will presumably be April at the earliest.
NEW ROOFS (Clubhouse, Fitness Center & Guard House)
Year of start/Completion: 2021
This project has already been approved by the board and is in the works.
Year of Start/Completion: 2021
Look into options for replacing existing faded, crooked and mildewed wooden informational signage (FACILITIES) (one month)
Secure estimates for new signage using materials that will last longer than existing signs and be more maintenance free. (FACILITIES) (one month)
Award contract. (BOD) (one month)
Total duration before commencement of work: THREE MONTHS
FRONT ENTRY ENHANCEMENT
Year of Start/Completion: 2021
Look into options for improving the overall look of our front entry. This includes the potential of using a second paint color like the guardhouse and clubhouse to enhance the areas with the tiles that were added two years. [sic] More colorful landscaping. Consolidation of signage on entryway into the community and at the guardhouse. (FACILITIES, LANDSCAPING) (two months)
Review and award various contracts. (BOD) (one month)
Total duration before commencement of work: FOUR MONTHS
FITNESS CENTER REPURPOSE
Year of start/Completion: 2024/2025
Secure bids from architects to repurpose facility. (ENGINEERTING) (one month)
Hire architect to redesign the fitness center to accommodate the changing needs of the community. Smaller reception area, larger group exercise room along with any other changes deemed necessary. (FACILITIES, ENGINEERING) (two months)
Secure bids from general contractors for construction based on approved architect's plan. (ENGINEERING) (two weeks)
Board Approval (one month)
Total duration before commencement of work: FOUR AND A HALF MONTHS
Year of Start/Completion: 2024/2025
Needs: Create standard specification sheet so that all vendors are bidding on the same exact specs. (ENGINEERING) (one month)
Send out bid sheets to three vendors (ENGINEERING) (one month)
Make recommendation of selected vendor to the board (ENGINEERING) (two weeks)
Board to make final decision (BOARD) (one month)
Total duration before commencement of work: THREE AND A HALF MONTHS
Year of Start/Completion: 2024/2025
Determine whether or not the clubhouse should be refreshed to the extent it was done several years ago, or whether it is time to repurpose some rooms to accommodate, as an example, a mini cafe, or a larger card room. (FACILITIES/BOD) (two months)
Visit recently refreshed community clubhouses and new construction communities to ascertain color schemes, furniture types (transitional vs. contemporary), etc. (FACILITIES) (one month)
Create specification sheet so every vendor is bidding on basically the same parameters. (FACILITIES) (two Weeks)
If refresh only, get competitive bids from several interior design firms. (FACILITIES) (one month)
If repurpose, first get bids from architects, general contractors, then interior design firms, in that order. (FACILITIES, ENGINEERING) (two months)
Review various bids and award contracts. (BOD) (one month)
Consider hiring a project manager. (BOD) (one month)
Total duration before commencement of work: EIGHT AND A HALF MONTHS”
[Editor’s note: Respectfully, it would be wholly improper to seize ownership of an owner’s mailbox, even temporarily, and any such community vote in the opinion of your Editor would be equally improper. What’s next? A community vote to seize part of your backyard? How about a community vote to seize your garage coach lights? Or better yet, let’s seize the Landon Circle generators so everyone can use them. This is a non-starter; any move to transfer ownership of the mailboxes to the HOA ought to be DOA (dead on arrival).]
[Editor’s note: Chairperson Phyllis Martin-Hirsch kindly emailed your Editor her report for inclusion here so that the community is able to read it.]
The benches ordered for the dog park area have been installed.
Three more benches were ordered by the Board, one for the park and two for the bocce court.
Picnic Tables for the new patio area
Ordered by the Board. They have arrived but need to be assembled, followed by the landscaping project.
Signs ordered have not yet arrived. Update: they are being worked on.
Signs on today’s agenda: there initially was confusion as to which committee had jurisdiction – Safety and Security or Facilities. As of today’s meeting it has been determined that Facilities has the responsibility. The committee voted in favor of bringing the issue to the Board for consideration and highly recommends the purchase of these additional signs, which are needed and which compliment the previously ordered signage for a uniform and attractive look.
The task of communication with the FCC is now with Marion, as I understand it.”
COBWRA: Marion: report from Bruce Brodsky. [Coalition of Boynton West Residential Associations]
[Editor’s note: regarding the Amazon project: the Village of Golf has put off the vote; Publix will be the anchor, Amazon will be no higher than Publix, the 7/11 will move across the street, 16 pumps, Chipotle and Starbucks approved, Amazon only building one distribution center, not seven; decorative sound wall will be installed; no customer pick-ups; no drones; Amazon is setting aside 2.5 acres for open space. The tract was approved by the County, the rest is not yet approved by the Village of Golf.]
[Editor’s note: These items are still being ignored. Details are found on our page entitled “Agenda Items.”]
A. Road Resealing
B. Rescinding illegal “Take Away Your Transponder If You Have An Estate Sale”vote.–THIS RULE IS BEING EXPANDED; SEE NEW AGENDA ITEM 7, SECOND VIOLATIONS FOR THIS APPARENT OBSESSION WITH TRANSPONDERS.
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-- HANDLED; CLUB RULES NEUTERED; AWAITING NOTICE TO COMMUNITY, NEW RULES TO BE EMAILED TO ALL RESIDENTS, REMOVAL OF BOGUS PICKLEBALL CLUB RULES FROM HOA WEBSITE, AND ADDITION TO BY-LAWS TO BE POSTED TO THE HOA WEBSITE
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-- PRESENTLY VACANT
L. Eliminate Liaisons To Vendors;Property Manager and HOA Attorney To Report To All Board Members
M. Expenditures That Are Not Revealed To The Community Need to Be Openly Disclosed; Where Does Your Money Go?
NEW ENTRIES ON THE LIST:
[Editor’s note: none at this time.]
1.YMCA contract for 2021 - Linda Arbeit/ Richard Greene
[Editor’s note: the new two-year contract negotiated by Richard starts on March 1, 2021…$35,000 per year…10 classes discontinued now because of the pandemic. Four percent escalation clause. Motion to approve contract with the provision that the indemnification clause is ok with the attorney. Harvey seconded. Richard proposed three percent escalation, they came back with 5 percent; Richard was concerned about losing such a good contract.]
Sue: …the assumption on the raise is predicated on the minimum wage going up and what if it doesn’t…. Linda: over 60 people use the Y over time. You lose a contract over that? We need a fitness program at Cascade Lakes…wonderful programs. Sue: can we put something in the contract that the four percent is not indicative for future contracts? Richard: I don’t think that’s appropriate. Marion: All in favor? Unanimous.
1. Vote to change 75% to 66 2/3% - Marion Weil
[Editor’s note: this will make it easier to get projects passed which require a community vote. You might like that; you might not. That’s a judgment call. This change in percentage required to pass these items would also require a community vote, and that vote would have to pass by 75%.
The most obvious targets of this proposal are the mailboxes and the pickleball hard courts, notwithstanding the fact that the mailboxes are not properly subject to such a community vote and some people believe that the pickleball courts do not require a community vote. We’ve been down this road before about the mailboxes; see our dedicated Mailboxespage. The Board voted unanimously to bring this matter to a community vote; per Marion, it will appear in the mailing for your election ballot.
Per the governing documents, 75% of the voting households would have to approve reducing the required passage rate to 66 2/3%, and a majority of households would have to have voted on that specific topic before this could be implemented. There are 600 homes which means there is a maximum of 600 votes. This means that at least 301 houses need to cast a vote for the vote to even count. If 301 or more houses vote, then it would require 75% of those voting to pass such a resolution.]
Marion: typically, about 422 votes are cast. 75% is 315. 66 and 2/3% is about 280. The difference is 35 homes, a huge hurdle to overcome.
[Editor’s note: there was a lot of discussion about this issue and the wording of the motion. It was amended and Harvey seconded it. Harvey likes to second motions, even when he’s second in seconding them.]
Marion: motion, Article 3, Alterations to the common area where the costs exceed one half percent per project and where the costs exceed three percent which covers all projects in a consecutive 12-month period including all similarly related costs associated with each project, a vote of 66 2/3 percent be of the level needed to approve. All in favor? Unanimous…will be part of the election vote.
2. Replacement of signage on back gate - $1,864.59 Eileen Olitsky
[Editor’s note: the motion changed after a lot of endless discussion: The final motion offered by Eileen came after it was clear that there would not be enough votes to pass a motion offering four signs. Eileen noted that “it was decided that Safety & Security would not” be involved with this and it would be “Facilities.” I think that’s what we complained about in our January 6, 2021 synopsis and commentary entitled Vacancy At The Bates Motel, Benched, and Pole Dancing.]
Richard: Budgeted for $11,000, already approved $15,000. Vicki was talking about using the surplus against next year’s maintenance; so reduce the surplus, therefore increase next year’s maintenance. At this point, it’s not necessary. Coming out of our surplus; people might want to reduce the maintenance fee. Could wait a year.
[Editor’s note: I never said that. I literally read what was written, word for word, in the Treasurer’s Report prepared by Richard and I asked for clarification which was never actually given. Now again Richard invokes my name and words are being put in my mouth.
The motion was to replace the signage at the front entry with one sign, to remove the words “no trespassing” because the trespassing sign will remain, with the new sign stating that a driver’s license is required for entry, that the place is monitored by ADT, and that there are security cameras at the front gate. There will be no posts. The sign will be attached to the guard house wall.
A second sign will be attached to the back gate itself, not on a pole, and also taking out the words “no trespassing.” Second: Harvey. It seems that Harvey has expertly trained himself to second motions. Pavlov would be proud.
The motion passed 6 to 1 with Richard opposing. The signs are $97.21 each.
This time Harvey asked permission from Eileen and received it in lieu of hijacking the screen to show the Zoom audience what the signs looked like… third time’s a charm.]
3. Replacement of 3 benches- $1,506.09 Eileen Olitsky
[Editor’s note: This concerned bocce court benches plus one additional bench in the park. The cost was $1,506.09 but Deborah had a 15% off coupon (yay, Deborah!) so that brought the cost down to $1,379, shipping included.
Harvey once again seconded the motion. Either that, or he has a twitch every time a motion is made.
Harvey said the other benches are in good shape. Richard stated that there was $3,000 in the budget for benches and $2,000 was already spent. Marion called the motion and it passed 5-2 with Richard and Bob opposing.]
4. Community Phone books: Printing vs Website- Harvey Ginsberg
[Editor’s note: Harvey moved to do away with the phone books and just have the online address book on the HOA website. Because it was Harvey’s motion, much to his chagrin, he was unable to second it.
And so he waited. And waited. And waited. It seemed as if waiting for Gadot would take less time.
(Reference: Samuel Beckett play, Waiting For Godot, 1948-1949, originally written in French, about two vagabonds who meet at a leafless tree to wait for the elusive Godot.)
No one seconded Harvey’s motion, in fact, it was so quiet you could hear a pin drop.
5. Plan of Action for Cascade Lakes Election- Marion Weil
[Editor’s note: Marion wanted the candidates in the clubhouse ballroom and to use the Owl system and Zoom. The tech-savvy people, including Mike Blackman, our wonderful Zoom operator, did not like this idea. We agree with Mike. Marion then amended the motion which Linda seconded. Harvey was devastated.
Harvey then wanted another option. Eileen objected by stating that Marion took the initial motion off the table and now we have another one pending. Marion then called the amended motion and it passed unanimously.
The result is that both the Meet the Candidates Night on March 15, 2021 at 7pm and the Annual Meeting and Election Night on March 26, 2021 at 7:00pm will occur via Zoom. Mike Blackman noted that the Zoom can be recorded which you can’t do with the Owl. We thank Mike for his critical input on this critical matter.]
6. PBB – Ficus removal per work order – $1,170 – Marion Weil
Marion: per the work order, landscaping proposal 11-21, ficus behind 11814 Haddon Parkway, remove and replace with green arboricola. Eileen: Second.[Harvey then raised his hand to once again lay claim to a motion’s Second.] Marion: Eileen’s hand was up first, Harvey, it’s like a little contest, haha.
[Editor’s note: Eileen was not smiling, and neither were we; it’s not a contest and it’s not funny because there have been occasions when others have in fact beat Harvey to the punch and yet the so-called credit was given to Harvey. This is all ego bullshit and favoritism shown by the president to her faithful foot soldier, her “second” in command, no pun intended.]
Marion: all in favor? Unanimous.
7. Second Violations – Marion Weil
[Editor’s note: a somewhat lengthy discussion was had about what to do about violators who don’t pay which seemed completely unnecessary to us because the statute (720.305) and our governing documents already provide for the remedies. Marion stated that the residents will ignore or don’t correct the issue.]
Sue: …it doesn’t conflict with the rules, doesn’t prevent ingress and egress. My concern is you do have an option. You fine them or impose a penalty of not using the common areas. 720.305 – after 90 days, then you can impose limitation of common areas…we have enough existing penalties…
Marion: we can impose a sanction in the second violation letter. Sue: you cannot impose – you can tell them what it will be.
Sue: people are given 14 days to go to the grievance committee. Marion: hearing committees are only for fines, told to us by our attorneys, no hearing committee for any other sanction unless you request one.
[Editor’s note: perhaps Marion is just making this up, because we cannot believe that any lawyer would make that statement because the statute is very clear that the grievance procedure is most certainly not limited to fines only, it specifically refers to suspensions, and it is not only if the alleged violator requests a hearing:720.305(2)(b)states:
“(b) A fine or suspension levied by the board of administration may not be imposed unless the board first provides at least 14 days’ notice to the parcel owner and, if applicable, any occupant, licensee, or invitee of the parcel owner, sought to be fined or suspended and an opportunity for a hearing before a committee of at least three members appointed by the board who are not officers, directors, or employees of the association, or the spouse, parent, child, brother, or sister of an officer, director, or employee. If the committee, by majority vote, does not approve a proposed fine or suspension, the proposed fine or suspension may not be imposed. The role of the committee is limited to determining whether to confirm or reject the fine or suspension levied by the board. If the proposed fine or suspension levied by the board is approved by the committee, the fine payment is due 5 days after the date of the committee meeting at which the fine is approved. The association must provide written notice of such fine or suspension by mail or hand delivery to the parcel owner and, if applicable, to any tenant, licensee, or invitee of the parcel owner.”[underlining supplied.]
No lawyer is that dumb (and if they are, then we shouldn’t be using them). Therefore, we conclude that when Marion stated the lawyers told her no grievance committee is required for matters other than fines unless requested, she either lied or was unconscious when the advice was given and/or misheard it.
The statute clearly mandates that the Board give the alleged violator an opportunity for a grievance hearing for fines and suspensions, not just fines, and not just if the alleged violator requests a hearing; the onus is on the Board to provide the person an opportunity for a hearing. It’s clear and unambiguous.]
Eileen: your motion…HOA gives them notice…HOA will then charge them, if they don’t pay, fine and loss of transponder then three months send to legal. Marion: legal will cost us more. Eileen: no use of transponder. Marion: Linda, can you reread the motion? Linda: no. Eileen: it’s your motion.
Marion: if someone doesn’t pay or fix the second violation, we can correct the violation and bill them, if they don’t pay, they lose their transponder until the bill is paid. Harvey: Second. [there he goes again]Marion: all in favor? 6 – 1. [Sue opposed.] Sue: something else in 720 needs to be added, so no.
[Editor’s note: the obsession with transponder seizure is noted. The argument raised is that the resident/owner can enter through the guard shack. We don’t believe this is appropriate; we called it out previously and we are calling it out again. Just follow the statute and the governing documents which are clear, and they don’t involve transponder seizures.
This remedy of transponder seizure is clearly outside the scope of allowable punishment. Seizing a transponder is neither a fine nor a suspension. It is wholly unauthorized by the statute and by the HOA’s governing documents (pages 4-16 and 4-17).
If you went to court on this issue and the judge assigned to your case met your minimum expectation of competence, you, the deactivated transponder holder, would likely win. And underFlorida Statute 720.311(2)(a), you could go to court (without first having to mediate the dispute) so that you could obtain emergency injunctive relief to prevent the imminent seizure of your transponder or to have it ordered re-activated forthwith:
“…Disputes subject to presuit mediation under this section shall not include the collection of any assessment, fine, or other financial obligation, including attorney’s fees and costs, claimed to be due… Also, in any dispute subject to presuit mediation under this section where emergency relief is required, a motion for temporary injunctive relief may be filed with the court without first complying with the presuit mediation requirements of this section. After any issues regarding emergency or temporary relief are resolved, the court may either refer the parties to a mediation program administered by the courts or require mediation under this section.”
This type of punitive seizure also punishes and causes inconvenience to other innocent residents because it causes a backup at the entrance for residents and their guests, especially during league play when visiting teams come here to play.]
Marion: On February 5, the Board approved without a Board meeting by unanimous consent allowing the replacement of the south west community entrance $1,100 due to liability. If you haven’t signed the unanimous consent form, please get to the office.
[Editor’s note: how could there be unanimous consent if all Board members have not yet signed off?]
Second Residents’ Input Session:
1. Joyce Winston:I wish I could have spoken as the Chair of Rules & Regulations. 720 always allowed for a hearing. Taking away transponders is terrible. If there are two cars behind them, it’s a real problem at the gate.
[Editor’s note: Joyce is 100% correct. This punitive and inappropriate intended seizure of the transponders needs to be reversed once the new Board is installed. The same issue is involved concerned violations for having tag or estate sales (see our Agenda Items, #2B above).]
2. Howard Feuer: there was a situation this past Friday after the lawnmowing, the lawn is now totally ripped up…I put in a work order…said the reason was all the weeds. I’m not an agronomist. What is my recourse? Marion: get with the front office. Deborah: you had a lot of weeds, the association sprayed… Marion: Deb, get with Howie after the meeting.
3. Dorothy Waxman: the benches, Mr. Ginsberg said they’re in good shape. Get new ones; we don’t have enough benches around. Marion: that’s what we’re doing.
[Editor’s note: I think she meant more benches than already exist here plus whatever the Board approved this time.]
Round Table Discussion:
Harvey: Thank you, Eileen, for your service. We will miss you on the Board.
Bob: same thing, Eileen, pleasure working with you.
Eileen: I’m not saying goodbye…got two more meetings to go.
Richard: Thank you, Eileen, we’ll miss you. It’s very difficult for the maintenance fee to go down; contracts are three to four percent increased; when there’s a surplus, the Board and the Budget Committee usually see about the maintenance fee. It might not go down, but should be a reduction…
[Editor’s note: ok, so now we have Richard trying to articulate a better explanation, at the end of the meeting during the Round Table Discussion, because perhaps he sees that his previous explanations and what is written in the Treasurer’s Report is misleading. It’s still not spelled out as far as we’re concerned: if you mean that the fee won’t increase as much as it otherwise would, then simply say so.]
Sue: I’m devastated. When I listened to Eileen’s remarks, she’s been invaluable to this community and this Board. Food trucks is one of the most successful activities…My personal thanks. The 75- 66 2/3: please remember that nothing is going to move forward - improvements and beautification – unless you have a reasonable number to effectuate change. Change comes from the bottom up. This is your opportunity…
[Editor’s note: we never thought of ourselves as at the bottom, but ok.]
Eileen: Thank all of you for your kind words. Keep doing the good work…I wanted to maintain our visibility… consider doing these things… I’m planning on spending more time with my family.
[Editor’s note: Linda was not called on to make any closing remarks.]
Marion: We really will miss you. It may seem to people that we’re always fighting; we’re not fighting…
[Editor’s note: sure you are; who ya’ jivin’? Own it.]
Marion: We cannot move along with any improvements without 66 2/3…there are 53 people still on including the Board members.
[Editor’s note: that’s only 45 devices not including the Board members and the property manager; they’re waiting for the synopsis and commentary. We know because many of them have told us.]
Marion: thank you, have a great day. Bye-bye everybody.
[Editor’s note: once again Marion forgot to adjourn the meeting. Harvey moved to adjourn, and Bob seconded. Sadly Harvey couldn’t second it because he had already firsted it. Then Sue stated, “we need to vote” and Marion stated, “I always forget that part.”]
[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 February 17, 2021; next Board meeting: March 3, 2021 at 9:30am. Cheerio until next time.