03/17/21 BOD MEETING: SYNOPSIS AND COMMENTARY BY VICKI ROBERTS WITH ASSISTANCE FROM ARTHUR ANDELSON
Posted March 17, 2021. Your Editor provides the following synopsis of the March 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 “Bored Meetings, The Amendment, and Hard Courts”
Well, here we are again, where we find ourselves in yet another Board meeting to discuss more issues. Hopefully, the Board members will all be prepared.
Some of you have marveled at the ability to churn out these synopses and commentaries every other week (and in this case, the very next week) with “surgical precision” in the words of one resident, including the juxtaposition of jokes and comedy to the issues or comments where (sometimes marginally) appropriate.
In truth, the most labor-intensive part of these synopses and commentaries is actually the writing and putting together of the comedy; it takes an enormous amount of time because writing jokes is very serious business.
That’s sort of an oxymoron. The definition of “oxymoron” from the Oxford English Dictionary is: “a figure of speech in which apparently contradictory terms appear in conjunction.” Yes, writing jokes is serious business.
That reminds me of a true story: when I was in an English class in college in the mid to late 1970’s, on the final exam the teacher asked the students to define various words, and one of the words was “oxymoron.” I wrote, “giving air to an idiot.” I got an A.
And now back to the matter at hand, unless you’re more interested in spending quality time with your spouse, in which case I totally understand.
And we know that sometimes it can be a little difficult to stay focused during some of these meetings.
But it’s important to pay attention so that everyone can move forward in the right direction.
But sometimes the meetings drag on because, frankly, some issues need to be thoroughly vetted and discussed.
So here we find ourselves laboring through another Board meeting, when in reality, the upcoming Board elections are on everybody’s minds.
In fact, some candidates are so hungry to grab power to assuage their fragile egos they seem hungrier than the Donner party on day five.
Others seem to have a genuine interest in bettering the community and promise to decide all issues fairly and competently.
In any event, is very important to stay engaged when the Board meets on community matters.
Because the bottom line is that we all share this little community with each other, and it’s important to be as neighborly as possible.
So in conclusion, while it is sometimes difficult to share common space with others, it is important to respect boundaries so that at the end of the day everyone can go to sleep happy and content next to the one they love.
As I said, while it is sometimes difficult to share common space with others, it is important to respect boundaries so that at the end of the day everyone can go to sleep happy and content next to the one they love.
I have been advised that I am to immediately leave the building.
Board Meeting: Audio and Video Up and Running; Zoom meeting online starts at 7:00pm.
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: Harvey is really struggling with the end of his term as not-vice-president on the Board. He seems inconsolable.
Too bad Harvey didn’t get the question at Meet The Candidates Night on March 15, 2021 as to whether or not he would follow Robert’s Rules of Order at Board meetings (the question went randomly to Bob Dingee, who answered that he would follow Robert’s Rules of Order because his name is Robert, after which his wife reminded him not to forget to tell the crowd that he is very efficient, and he dutifully did). We thank the resident who put it in the question box (it wasn’t us).
Clearly the question referred to Rule 46, which requires a majority vote to win the office of vice-president, and when the vote for vice-president was made, Harvey did not receive a majority vote as required by Rule 46 and yet not one Board member has said a peep about this farce and each and every one of them has allowed Harvey to improperly assume the office of VP and the apparent perks that come with it, including somehow control over the HOA message board and being a co-liaison to the property manager’s office.
Shame on all of them for defying Robert’s Rules of Order after President Marion Weil stated at a prior Board meeting that Robert’s Rules of Order were followed in Board meetings. Not one Board member spoke up. Not one.
Every single of you: Marion Weil, Harvey Ginsberg, Linda Arbeit, Richard Greene, Eileen Olitsky, Sue Schmer, and Bob Dingee: you each had an independent obligation to speak up and not allow this farce to continue month after month, Board meeting after Board meeting, and not a single one of you has said one word about this. Cat got your tongue? What kind of leadership is this? What does this say about each and every one of you? What in tarnation is the matter with you people?]
Call to Order: Marion Weil.
Pledge of Allegiance: led by Sue. [Editor’s note: Sue had a flag and all Board members stood.]
Marion Weil’s Opening Remarks and Announcements:
[Editor’s note: this was Marion’s last Board meeting as president of this Board. She noted that the Zoom program now has a closed caption feature for those who need it. Richard Riemer of Pelican Cove Drive suggested it and Harvey and Mike Blackman set it up. It’s at the bottom of the screen. You can use it or not, just click on it.
Marion also added an important item to the Agenda under New Business entitled “Clubs and Politics” which is worth the read because she raised a very important issue, which was apparently lost on the rest of the Board members, but one in which she was 100% correct. See our discussion under that matter’s heading below.]
Residents’ Corner: The Amendment and Hard Courts, Part I:
A resident posted on the Cascade Lakes message board a comment which falsely stated that the state of Florida recommends 66 2/3 percent for passage of matters requiring a community vote, and that when the 75% was voted in here, the residents were “tricked” and “duped” by the Board at that time. In response, your Editor posted the following on said message board:
“Let's get the facts straight: 720.306(1)(b) does not "recommend" anything. Statutes do not exist to make recommendations. They are laws. The statute in question merely states that if the governing documents are silent on the matter, then 66 2/3% applies.
Second, nobody "duped" anybody and nobody was "tricked." This assumes people are stupid, which they most certainly are not. The community voted to increase the percentage to 75%. This was totally legal and it was totally transparent because the actual amendment went to every single member for review. Every single person who purchases a home here is given a packet which includes the governing documents.
Now some people want to change the 75% back to 66 2/3% and the real reason is that they want to make it easier to get hard courts for pickleball. That is ok, to want hard courts for pickleball; we just wish those who are pushing for this amendment would be more transparent about it and would be nicer and more respectful to those in the community who disagree with them.”
First Residents’ Input Session:
1. Roberta Alter: issue on the streets, cars are parking on both sides…no way an ambulance can get by…around the [Glenville] curve especially.
2. Judie Delman: when are they finishing the landscaping entrance to Glenville? Marion: in process right now. Judie: no, not on my side it isn’t. Marion: I promise it’s being done. Judie: if someone new is moving in, what is the fee they have to pay? Marion: $300. Judie: what do you do with the money? Deborah: it goes into the operating fund and each pays $1,625 into working capital. Also goes into operating. Judie: is it a separate item on the budget? Deborah: in the income. We budget every year. Judie: a lot of homes moving in this year; it could amount to a considerable amount of money.
Approval of Minutes: March 3, 2021 Board meeting: Linda Arbeit:
Linda: Motion to approve the Minutes of the March 3, 2021 Board meeting. Marion: seconded by Harvey.[Editor’s note: he really rushed right in there, again.]Marion: any discussion? All in favor? Unanimous. Linda: Motion to approve the Minutes of the March 9, 2021 Board meeting. Marion: seconded by Sue. Any discussion? All in favor? Unanimous.
Treasurer’s Report: Richard Greene.
[Editor’s note: the report is self-explanatory. We are curious, though, about the News & Views comment in the report concerning bad debts having been written off. It seems to us that those non-paying advertisers were still permitted to advertise in the News & Views notwithstanding their failure to pay. This is patently unfair to the paying advertisers.]
Property Manager’s Report: Deborah Balka: we have a quorum for the vote. More than 180 votes coming in… final mow, 25th to 26th.
Engineering: Bob Dingee: roof update, tiles are being delivered this week. Problem…adhesive…factory in Texas…ice storms, factory had to shut down…waiting for our contractor to be able to receive the foam from Texas, could be three to six weeks for the factory to start up again. The facia has been painted. Larry Jacobowitz, myself, and Deborah – meeting for the road contractors. Waiting for four quotes…at least three to four weeks before we get that report done.
[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 HAS BEING EXPANDED TO INCLUDE SECOND VIOLATIONS; THERE IS AN 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-- MOOT AS OF MARCH 25, 2021
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?
N. Message Board Suspensions: any suspensions from the HOA message board that were never voted on by the Board at an open meeting need to be removed from those residents’ records. Suspensions are strictly governed by statute and the HOA governing documents. Webmasters have no authority to issue suspensions.
NEW ENTRIES ON THE LIST:
[none at this time.]
1. Unanimous Consent: Regarding landscape proposal – Marion Weil
[Editor’s note: well, that’s interesting, a landscaping proposal which was deemed an emergency. What was the emergency since March 9, 2021, the last Board meeting, eight days before this Board meeting? As it turns out, there was no emergency, but they did it anyway.]
Marion: proposal March 3 for landscaping for removal and disposal of existing ficus hedge and replace with 3 gallon Calusa, $1,510. Glenville West corner. Revised proposal is 7 gallons, $2,535. We already paid $1,510, balance $1,025, the Board signed off.
2. Resident Phone Book Directory – Marion Weil
[Editor’s note: The Board voted to go with the spiral bound version, similar to the current one. Your updated telephone directory entries are due May 30, 2021 without which you will not be included in the book. Also, you should make sure your information is updated on the HOA’s website; if you need help in doing so, just ask, and the webmasters should be able to help you in between the time periods they are improperly suspending people from the message board.]
The Amendment and Hard Courts, Part II:
1. Discussion: Amendment process at March 9, 2021 meeting – Sue Schmer
[Editor’s note: your Editor offered both Sue and Eileen the opportunity to email their written remarks (which they read at the Board meeting) for inclusion herein and they each did; we reprint them here verbatim.]
“The reason why this item is on the agenda is that Eileen, Linda and I regret what occurred during the March 9 meeting. Our purpose was to explain the amendment and the rationale for it. The intent was to have more transparency, to limit or curtail any Bd’s ability to spend more money without community approval, to give residents a greater say in how their money will be spent, and to reduce the percent necessary to make that possible.
A Q and A was to follow after Eileen and I made our presentations so as to address any concerns residents might have. Unfortunately, this did not happen as another issue was raised that was not formally voted upon nor relevant to the proposed amendment. This caused more confusion, led to unnecessary divisiveness based upon false rumors and instilled anxiety and fear that existing amenities would be repurposed. Additionally, it did not allow for full resident discussion of the amendment.
It soon became evident to us that the process was flawed and improperly implemented. As a result, more discord ensued that was neither healthy nor productive for our community. We all can and must do better. All issues that our residents raise need to be addressed in an honest, respectful and credible manner. Let me at least clarify the issue of bundling. These are your choices if you do not put both changes together in the amendment:
Change to ½% and 3%, but keeping the 75% threshold.
Change the 75% threshold to 66 2/3%, but keep the 1 and 5 % thresholds.
Whichever one you choose will necessitate another separate mailing if you want another change.
It is our hope that the new Bd. will learn from this experience and will be successful in the manner in which it conducts association business.
We encourage our colleagues to express your thoughts and weigh in on this issue so that residents are very clear that Bd. actions are not misinterpreted, and while there may be differences of opinion among us, our decisions should always be intended to reflect our desire to sustain and improve our community.”
Eileen: [Eileen sent her comments in a .jpg format which we post as presented.]
[Editor’s note: Linda also stated that the Amendment was not a “bundling” and that the community didn’t understand what the Board was trying to do. Nonsense: give your constituents more credit than that.
Harvey echoed this sentiment that it was not “bundling” and rationalized it by saying the issues are in the same paragraph in the governing documents. These propositions are silly because clearly the issues are separate: one calls for a community vote threshold and the other calls for a Board spending threshold. Forcing an all or nothing vote on both is bundling. Linda also stated that it is “impossible to vote on them separately.” This is blatantly untrue.
The vote question is self-explanatory: should the required percentage for a community vote to pass on an issue be reduced from 75% to 66 2/3% and should the amount the Board can spend without a community vote be reduced to a smaller percentage of the budget. You either vote yes, no, or you leave it blank. Those are your choices. Vote well.
The lengthy presentation, which was made at the March 9, 2021 meeting, in our opinion, was to convince you to vote a certain way, and that’s why we refused to report on it. It was stated at the March 9th meeting that since Eileen was not running for re-election and not a candidate, that she should do the presentation and that therefore somehow any conflicts of interest were thereby avoided. Hogwash. She was a current Board member during that entire presentation. Her future status is irrelevant.
As a current Board member, she presented a lengthy dissertation on how the community should vote on the matter pending. If the entire Board approved of this presentation, then shame on all of them. We believe you should decide without the input of these individuals because they have a unique platform as Board members, and their obligation is to represent the interests of all residents equally, including those residents who don’t agree with them on this issue.
We don’t think Board members ought to be touting their position on this matter during an official Board meeting. Official Board meetings are specifically for the purpose of conducting official HOA business, and they are not to be used as propaganda opportunities for individual Board members to urge a specific community vote, especially on a hotly contested issue such as this one.
This is not a Board vote where discussion and opinions are welcome. This is a community vote matter, where each Board member’s vote counts the exact same as every other household’s vote. It is the one time that a Board member’s vote is not worth more than yours or mine. That is why it is wholly inappropriate for a Board member to use his or her bully pulpit in this manner.
The right to speak at Board meetings on one’s opinion on this matter should be during the Residents’ Input Sessions only. If a Board member wants to opine on a community vote issue, do it the same way the rest of the members are required to do so, at the Residents’ Input Session, because that’s where your opinions on a community vote issue belong.
The argument in favor of the Amendment is that without it, nothing will get done and the place will continue to deteriorate, and the community will be less desirable to potential buyers. This is a false argument. The streets are budgeted for, the landscaping is budgeted for, the signs are budgeted for, the roof is budgeted for, even the hurricane windows for the fitness building were budgeted for.
There are actually very few issues that require a community vote and few if any will affect the value of the community and here’s the proof: In Richard’s Treasurer’s Report for this Board meeting, it states that there were so many home sales in a mere two months’ time period that the revenue from those home sales alone already equaled 50% of the annual budget. Those are his words, not ours. Read it: it is attached to your meeting notice.
For those of you who don’t have your notice handy, here is exactly what he wrote under “Association Total Revenue:”
“The reason that the Revenue is higher than the Budget is house sales are running higher than was anticipated when the Budget was prepared. In two months the number of houses sold already equaled 50% of the annual budget.”
Wow. So the community is not, in fact, lacking in competitiveness in the marketplace, screams to the contrary notwithstanding.
Therefore, obviously the argument that we need hard court surfaces for pickleball in order to remain competitive in the marketplace is not borne out by the facts. Hard courts for pickleball should be considered on its own merit, standing alone, without regard to real estate sales, because the facts show that the sales are brisk without hard courts. You either want hard courts or you don’t, but that’s strictly a pickleball issue, not a real estate sales issue. Don’t be fooled by false arguments to the contrary.
Finally, Linda wanted the voting to be declared null and void. Marion objected, noting that 180 ballots already voted, and it would be inherently unfair to pull their votes. Deborah suggested that people do understand it and that she received over 30 loose proxies and they did it correctly. Linda bemoaned that the Amendment meeting of March 9th was a “sham” and an “embarrassment.”
Harvey and Bob thought the Amendment vote should not be pulled and Bob further stated, “I trust the residents to do what they think is right.” Eileen moved to remove the Amendment vote and Linda Seconded it. Marion called the question: “all in favor to take the Amendment off the election ballot.” In favor of doing so: Eileen, Linda, and Sue. Opposed: Marion, Harvey, and Bob. Richard abstained. The motion failed.
Since there was a quorum of residents who already voted, the Board actually had no authority to even entertain such a motion. Once the HOA members create a quorum, it is out of the Board’s hands. This concept seems to have been lost on some Board members.
2. Benches for Bocce Court & Polly Park - Eileen Olitsky
[Editor’s note: There was an email circulated among Board members to change the location of the new benches which were to be at the bocce court and one on Polly Park, and put them instead on Cascade Lake Blvd., and move the current ones on Cascade Lakes Blvd., which just need bolts, to the bocce court.
There was an objection raised to doing it via email instead of by an open meeting of the Board. Sue complained about the intention of other Board members to do it via email and she responded to that Board email admonishing her colleagues on the Board not to do it and that it is against our Rules and Regulations. Eileen joined in the objection and stated that one of the reasons she decided not to run for re-election is the “tension and stress of the Board meetings and there is wheeling and dealing behind the scenes to change votes and that’s shameful.”
Harvey made the motion to amend the placement of the new benches to Cascade Lakes Blvd. and move the Cascade Lakes benches to the bocce courts; Bob Seconded it. Marion called the question: Harvey and Richard voted for it; the rest opposed it except for Bob who abstained.]
3. Power Point Presentation – Election packet- Harvey Ginsberg
[Editor’s note: Harvey made an excellent presentation. It was short and clear. We believe that residents understand how to mark their ballots and what to do with them.]
4. PBB – W. Glenville entrance - $1,420 (O) (1) – Marion Weil
E. Glenville, S. CL Blvd - $7,550 (O) (1)
Corbel N. Pod Entry - $860 – (O) (1)
[Editor’s note: once again, by not having a Schedule A to the landscaping contract, things are continually done piecemeal, which most certainly is not cost-efficient. By the way, when these proposals are presented to the Board by the landscaping company, does anyone at that point call up PBB and negotiate the prices, and if not, why not?
These proposals all passed unanimously. The first was proposal number 26-21 to install Panorama Rose seven gallon plants and 30 bags of mulch. Marion made the motion, Linda Seconded it.
The second one was proposal number 28-21, revised east side, includes both sides with new hedge, pallets of sod, 3 gallon Calusa and 12 cap palms at seven gallons. Marion made the motion, Harvey stated he would Second, Marion stated “Seconded by Eileen.”
The last proposal, number 27-21, north entrance bed, install additional plants and remove Trinettes. The motion was made by Marion, Seconded by Harvey (again forcefully asserting himself before anyone else could get a word in edgewise).]
5. Clubs and Politics:
[Editor’s note: Marion added this to the Agenda. Marion lamented that the pickleball club officers sent out an email to all club members on their endorsements for the upcoming Board election and that this act went beyond the club’s charter or mission statement which is strictly to play pickleball and do fun things connected therewith.
Harvey made a “motion to send a letter of reprimand to the pickleball club leadership for overstepping their bound because endorsing candidates is not part of their mission statement,” admitting that it wouldn’t have any bite to it anyway, and Marion Seconded it, but after the Board’s discussion, he rescinded his motion and so the matter died. Some on the Board felt it was a free speech issue, and Linda erroneously compared it to our endorsements on our News Site.
It is not similar to our endorsements at all. Marion is 100% correct. The email sent on behalf of the pickleball club officers was completely improper and went beyond the club’s mission statement. We have been warning you about this club’s exceeding its mission statement for quite some time now, and now you’re seeing it come home to roost.
The First Amendment applies to our News Site which is independent from the HOA. The First Amendment prevents the government from interfering with free speech (with limited exceptions). This means a court (an arm of the government) could not stifle our speech here on the News Site, and any attempts to shut us down by legal action would fail miserably.
The First Amendment, however, does not apply to private corporations such as this HOA. The clubs exist at the pleasure of the Board and must conduct themselves within the purviews of their mission statements. If they fail to do so, their charter risks suspension. The fact that most Board members don’t understand this is troubling.
Anyone can send an email to people on their private email list endorsing whomever they want. That is not what the pickleball club did. The pickleball club, invoking its name and its officers on behalf of the Pickleball Club of Cascade Lakes, sent out an endorsement email to the entire club. This was wholly improper and should have resulted in a fine or suspension. Allowing this to continue gives the impression that the Board approves it, and therefore you can expect more deviations from this group’s mission statement in the future because by not calling it out, you empower these rule-breakers to continue to defy the rules.
The fact that the Board still has not removed their lame and unenforceable “Governing Documents” from the pickleball page on the HOA website sends a clear message to this group that they have carte blanche to do whatever they please. I’ve said it before, and I will say it again: the politics of appeasement never works. Until the Board does its job and reigns in this aberrant group, they will continue to engage in this type of inappropriate behavior.]
Second Residents’ Input Session:
1. Roberta Alter: [Editor’s note: Roberta said that the individuals who circulated an anonymous flier on the Amendment vote are cowards for not identifying themselves. The flier, for those of you who did not get it, was resoundingly against the Amendment.] Roberta: second, any club, and the pickleball club made their recommendations on Facebook also, very self-purposing of clubs…wrong… [Editor’s note: we agree on the issue concerning the pickleball club for the reasons we stated above.]
2. Linda Bennis: [Editor’s note: Linda asked if all residents had to submit the phone book form if they are already in the book and Deborah said yes, if you don’t submit the form you will not be in the new book. That was an excellent question by Linda. Linda stated she was also bothered by the flier left in her birdcage.]
[Editor’s note: the flier issue disturbed Harvey as well. We are curious, though, if the backlash by a few would be as vocal if the flier had favored the Amendment.]
3. Judie Delman: I have to agree with Marion, I have checked off many clubs so I know what’s going on, but the email fostered by the group – already had their own agenda…then everybody starts to take advantage of it. These people should be talked to so it’s frowned upon.
[Editor’s note: these people (the current pickleball club Dons and Doñas) don’t give a rat’s ass about anyone and everyone who disagrees with them. Talking to them is a waste of time. Reprimands are a waste of time. The only thing that will get their attention is to pull their charter. Perhaps the new Board will be wiser in their approach to this.]
4. Giora Baram: I live on Haddon Parkway. The lanai, we face the pond. To beautify the place…request that the aerator in the pond which has electric already, will be replaced and have a light in it and also the ability to spray water, similar to the one we have near the clubhouse. It would beautify Cascade Lakes…
[Editor’s note: yes, it would. What a lovely idea from a lovely man. What is the cost, Board members, and who is interested in following up with this? My recollection is this is not the first time Giora has raised this issue at Board meetings. Stop ignoring him.]
Round Table Discussion:
[Editor’s note: all Board members thanked Eileen.]
Eileen: I want to thank the Board…all interested in the well-being of the community…thank all the committee members…and property management, Deborah, has gone above and beyond… [and her staff] … I am not gone, I’m just retired…
Sue: I would like to encourage everybody to vote…choose the people who you think represent your values… [Editor’s note: you’re assuming there are four of those, which is a big assumption.]
[Editor’s note: One final comment about Eileen. While we have not always agreed with her Board votes, and we sometimes vigorously disagreed, we want to thank Eileen very, very much for her dedication toward making our community as best as it can be. Eileen worked tirelessly and with her heart and soul to help all of us, and we want to thank her very much and state that we appreciate her very much. Thank you, Eileen.]
[Editor’s note: Harvey moved to adjourn; Eileen Seconded.
Marion: Adjourned at 11:26am.
[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 March 17, 2021; next meeting: Annual Meeting, March 25, 2021 at 7:00pm. Cheerio until next time.