04/16/20 BOD MEETING: SYNOPSIS AND COMMENTARY BY VICKI ROBERTS WITH ASSISTANCE FROM ARTHUR ANDELSON:
Posted April 17, 2020. Your Editor provides the following synopsis of the April 16, 2020 Board meeting, with assistance from your Roving Reporter, and with commentary indicated in bold bluebrackets.
Board Meeting: Audio and Video Up and Running; Zoom meeting online.
[Editor’s note: There were about 60 people who signed in initially, and the number increased throughout the meeting. At its peak, your Editor counted 82 people in total; this included all board members, the property manager, and five households who shared a computer and where two people were clearly present, and thus counted as two persons per each of those webcams: Diane and Jeff Green, Sue Schmer and her sister Sylvia Hechtman, Marion and her husband Walter, Linda and her husband Daniel, who was seen comfortably reclining on the couch behind her, and your Editor and Roving Reporter. There may have been more, but that is what was seen on the videocams. Once again, kudos to Jeff Green for handling the livestream Zoom, which appeared to work perfectly with no glitches at all. In fact, it was much easier and clearer to hear the audio than when the Owl was used in the ballroom.]
Board Members Present: All.
Call to Order: Marion.
Pledge of Allegiance led by Mark Goodman.
[Editor’s note: Mark Goodman held the flag and was the only board member who appeared to stand for the pledge of allegiance; if we are wrong about this, please let us know, but based on our view of the webcams, it appeared that way to us. Here is the Federal law on the matter: 4 U.S. Code Section 4 reads verbatim:
“The Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag: “I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”, should be rendered by standing at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart. When not in uniform men should remove any non-religious headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart. Persons in uniform should remain silent, face the flag, and render the military salute. Members of the Armed Forces not in uniform and veterans may render the military salute in the manner provided for persons in uniform.”
Perhaps in the future all those who are able to stand will actually get up and stand.]
Marion Weil’s Opening Remarks:
[Editor’s note: Immediately after the adjournment of the board meeting, we sent Marion the following email which we cc’ed to all Board members:
We invite you to email us your opening remarks so that we may include them in their entirety, verbatim, in our synopsis that we are presently preparing for today’s board meeting. Please email them no later than noon today for inclusion in the synopsis.
We received no response. Ergo, we move on to the next section.]
First Residents’ Input Session:
Sue Leonard, Haddon Parkway: Pickleball club through a majority of votes agreed to donate $1,000 for the beautification of the sports complex for…the canopy. It will enhance the uniformity and beauty of our outdoor sports facility. Marion: thank you so much, Susan, that’s wonderful.
[Editor’s note: No, actually, it’s not wonderful. As Sylvia Hechtman recognized in the Second Residents’ Input Session (see below), it sets a bad precedent. More on this later.]
Pat Nast: Representing the tennis club, the awning between courts 4 and 5, the tennis club voted to contribute $2,000 towards the awning. Marion: thank you so much. It will certainly help us.
[Editor’s note: Help whom? Help the Board? How? It certainly does not help the dues-paying members of the clubs, as we explain further below. This sets a terrible precedent and is wholly inappropriate.]
Marion: Approval of the Minutes, Linda. Linda: I move to approve the organizational meeting minutes of April 1 and the Board Meeting Minutes of April 1. Harvey: second. Mark: Question: it’s minor, under New Business, nominations, mine, for Vice President, it says Harvey nominated Mark, second by Marion; then on the Board Meeting Minutes, it says the nomination was seconded by Sue…two different…need to correct that. Marion: I seconded it. Linda: I will make the correction.
[Editor’s note: per the April 1, 2020 synopsis, Harvey nominated Mark and Linda seconded it. Contrary to her claim, Marion did not second it. It is unclear whether Linda will be “correcting” the Minutes correctly.]
Richard Greene: Treasurer, my name is spelled with an “e” at the end. Also, on one of the Minutes it says Mark Goodman nominated me and the other page says Marion nominated me. Deborah: use the original Minutes…Marion: take it off the Organizational meeting. Marion: all in favor? Unanimous.
[Editor’s note: per the April 1, 2020 synopsis, Mark nominated Richard and Linda seconded. Marion did not nominate Richard. So, for some unexplained reason, Marion was somehow erroneously placed in the center of the nomination process of two officers where, in fact, she was not involved in either of their nominations or of the seconds of their nominations. It is again unclear whether Linda will be “correcting” the Minutes correctly.]
Treasurer’s Report: Richard Greene: This was sent out to the community. Operating fund is not that high; we are just getting in the second installments. These funds are for the next three months; average expenses are $750,000 per quarter. The 2020 budget includes the purchasing of security cameras and tennis pavers; we will be issuing $22,000 to cover fences and the tennis canopy. The general reserve fund, we are expecting a lot of major replacements and costly repairs… [Editor’s note: see the report emailed to all residents yesterday.] Richard: Budgets are submitted to FirstResidents at the end of the year. [Editor’s note: What does that mean? Why? They are not the accounting firm that does the audit, per a prior statement by Mark Goodman, the former Treasurer, at a prior Board meeting.]Richard: the net includes approximately $12,000 more than budget…HOAs are getting an increase in ten to fifteen percent in insurance premiums. News and Views - close to budget.
[Editor’s note: The Entertainment Report was not mentioned; the numbers are clearly listed on the written report all residents were emailed the day before the Board meeting and are self-explanatory. That Committee is still showing a loss; our suggestions on how to turn that around with respect to proper negotiation of entertainment contracts continues to be ignored. We will raise the issue again in the fall when many of the contracts for 2022 will be presented most likely again without proper negotiation. We say that because the Board recently approved a contract for January 29, 2022 based on a claim that the performer was so popular that they didn’t want to lose the opportunity of booking her (Jane Curry; see March 4, 2020 synopsis). However, there is no evidence that there was any negotiation or change in the terms of the contract. For those of you interested, you can find our full January 15, 2020 letter to the Board on our Residents’ Input Page, Message Board HOA, under the date of January 20, 2020; it was completely ignored.]
Mark Goodman: motion to accept the minutes. Eileen: second. Marion: unanimous.
Property Manager’s Report: Deborah Balka: Palm Beach Broward has full crews on site. The sod is suffering without rainfall. We are not replacing any sod at this time. The next mow is April 20-21. Iguana control for March, 11 captured. The Guard House, the vendor installed a new switch; the guards are happy. The shed, the permit is in the hands of Hartzel[phonetic]; more information to come. The draperies will be cleaned…steam pressed $600; there will be wrinkles. Electrical repairs, a separate circuit for the kiln, tennis court #5 electrical box, Bascht Electrical. [phonetic]. Legal – both units in collections are now[resolved]; delinquent accounts quarterly – 20 are not paid and are overdue; special assessment – the first payment, three are not paid.
1.Tennis Awning – Court 4-5 $8425 ($6077.50 less dep. Paid): Marion: we want to thank the tennis club for $2,000 towards the awning. It had to be remade; we got 50% deposit credit from the smaller awning. The cost will be $8,425; we will be paying $4,212.50. Deborah: the cost is $8,425, credit $2,347.50 deposit. Marion: the net cost is $1,865. Motion to accept $1,865. Second: female board member. Harvey: $1,865 after the $2,000 contribution? Richard: yes. Deborah: no. $8,425, deposit $2,347, asking $1,865 equals 50% deposit. Total cost is $8,425. Harvey: how much more do we owe them? Sue: Minus the $2,000 from the tennis club, $1,730 is the cost to the community. Richard: I agree. Mark: I do, too. Linda: I don’t understand. What’s the $1,865? Deborah: still due $2,212.50. Linda: I’m very confused. Can we just go over what’s on the contract? Richard: deduct the deposit already paid. The contract is $8,425, subtract $2,347.50 the first deposit. The Board originally approved $2,347.50 then subtract $2,000 tennis is giving us; therefore, the additional amount…is $1,730. The discount is then applied against pickleball…Marion: all in favor? Unanimous. Thank you, tennis club for helping with us. [sic]
2.Pickleball Awning $2,817: Marion: motion to accept. Mark and Eileen: second. Marion: $2,817 after the discount; it’s close to a 40% discount. Pickleball club is giving us $1,000 so it’s costing the HOA $1,817. Mark: I move to accept. Eileen: second. Linda: I thought you made it and Mark seconded it. Mark: that’s right; doesn’t matter. Linda: I’m still confused. Sue Schmer: can I explain it… [Marion promptly cut her off.]Marion: Let Richard explain it.
[Editor’s note: Why? Why cut off Sue who offered to explain it? What difference does it make that Richard, who is a CPA, is the Treasurer in this context? You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to understand basic math. If Sue understands it, let her speak. Sometimes a lay person can express it better, and she had the floor and clearly conveyed that she understood it and was willing to cogently explain it, so why rudely interrupt her and seize the floor from her and redirect it to another equal board member?
This happened again later in the board meeting, as shall be shown below, where Marion again cut off Sue Schmer when Sue tried to speak and had a legitimate reason to speak. We did not notice any other time during this board meeting where Marion interrupted and shut down another equal board member.
Why is Marion seemingly so concerned about what Sue Schmer, one of the new board members, might bring to the table, that Marion would seek to abruptly shut her down, to muzzle her, and to seize the floor from her to redirect the meeting away from her? Sue spoke the least of any board member, and twice when she began to speak, Marion shut her down.]
Richard: the net amount on the invoice is $2,817 after the discount. Look at the invoice, 4695 on top, 4625, discount of $1,878; look at the very bottom, subtract $1,878 from the $4,695 and that’s the net – that’s the number that we have - $1,878. Full value of the canopy is $4,695 less the $1,878 discount equals $2,817; the pickleball people are putting in $1,000, costing the HOA $1,878 [Editor’s note: that actually totals $1,817.]Harvey: $2,817, you say it comes out to $1,817; I’m seeing $3,817. Richard: they added the $1,000 instead of subtracting; usually when you pay, they don’t add, they subtract. [Editor’s note: arguing about the numbers…] Marion: partial deposit, they added $1,000 instead of subtracting. Eileen: it there is a deposit of $1,000, then where is the contribution from pickleball? Marion: the vendor has no idea about the contract. Eileen: if they don’t know that, why is the HOA not $817 instead of $1,817? Richard: the $1,000 deposit is coming from pickleball. Marion: amend the motion. I approve the awning for pickleball based on the contract from Awning Contractors and Designers.
Richard: it should be $2,817 and giving them $1,000 deposit. Deborah: correct. Marion: everybody okay with $1,817? Harvey: not counting the deposit $2,817, approving $2,817 for the pickleball awning. Sue: I realize there was an error there; the total cost to the community is $1,817 after the donation. Linda: for the Minutes, #1, can you retell me. Amendment, #2, how do I reflect the money? $2,817 at discount or $1,817 after the donation? Marion: $2,817, and then when we get in the $1,000, we will put that money back into the account. Linda: I’ll go over the Minutes with you after.
Marion: we have to put the donation in the Minutes. To approve the amount $2,817 to the awning contract and discount based on the receiving of a corrected invoice from them, and somewhere in the Minutes we need to reflect that pickleball is donating $1,000 and the tennis club is donating $2,000 toward their awning.
[Editor’s note: Their awning? It’s the entire community’s awning, which is why it should have been entirely paid for with HOA money.]
Marion: All in favor? Unanimous.
[Editor’s note: According to reports from the leadership teams, memberships of both clubs overwhelmingly voted “yes” to spend club funds on a common area improvement which is exclusively within the purview and responsibility of the HOA. It is lamentable that so many club members chose to ignore procedural formalities and the clear rules of this HOA. This vitiates the complaints many of you voice concerning how this community’s leadership functions. By doing this, you are endorsing this type of malfeasance.
Also remember that one does not have to be a club member to play on the courts; the clubs are now agreeing to subsidize the use of that common area for non-club members, the community at large, and their non-resident guests.
Further, the yes/no portion of both ballots was patently unfair and manipulative. For example, one might be in favor of the canopies for both areas, but then faced with the wording of the ballot, left in a dilemma because wanting the canopies was inconsistent with a “no” vote as phrased. One may believe that the screw-up should fall squarely on the HOA to negotiate and fix the problem, and still want the canopies.
It appears that the leadership teams of both clubs were so afraid that an honest and straight up “yes/no” vote would result in the clubs rejecting the proposal, that they worded the ballot in such a way as to insure its passage. If this is what you want in your leadership, then by all means vote for them again at election time.
It also appears that this exercise was meant to buy favoritism with the Board, as evidenced by the repeated claims that a “yes” vote would be a vote of “goodwill toward the Board.” The Board represents the HOA members, and it owes fiduciary duties to the members. Sucking up to the Board in this blatant and embarrassing manner does not promote good will; rather, it promotes the exact type of wheeling and dealing that we have consistently called out as being a violation of the Board’s fiduciary duties to the entire HOA membership. It improperly promotes favoritism; that’s fine and dandy when it suits your purposes, but you may rue the day when it suits someone else’s purposes and you are left holding the bag.
In the meantime, it is obvious that the dues required for club membership are way too high, since apparently the clubs have thousands of dollars to spend on common area improvements, as opposed to club member amenities, club member social events, scholarships to worthy students, and other more appropriate uses of those dues which are supposed to be specifically geared toward actual club membership.]
3.Pandemic Resolutions: March 13 clubhouse closing, staffing hours: Marion: Per the Florida statute, the Board can have actions by unanimous consent; we are ratifying our previous action, closing up the clubhouse and fitness center as of March 19 [13?]until further notice. Staffing is reduced 9-4 Monday through Friday. We don’t need a motion; this is ratification. Deborah: we will have a form for you to sign at the clubhouse. Harvey: Jerry and Alan were on the Board. Marion: we will try; if not, I will sign with a notation that they are not current board members.
1.Tennis- Har Tru $2,457.42: Linda: invoice from Tennis Supply $2,457.42 for the materials. Marion: for pallets for all the courts. Linda: motion to accept. Eileen: second. Sue: I think I was first. Harvey: is this a budgeted item? Marion: yes, this is done every year. Marion: all in favor? Estimate from Tennis Supply for $2,457.42, unanimous. Linda: one question: you refer to it as an estimate; why? Marion: he has that the price expires April 25th, it is an estimate until we approve it, then it becomes the invoice.
[Editor’s note: that really makes no sense as phrased; it sounds as if it is more properly a firm quote which is good until April 25th; it is distinctly not an estimate, but rather a firm quote good until the expiration date. A firm quote is essentially the opposite of an estimate.]
2. APC – Sidewalk repairs on Landon $1,120: Deborah: Landon Circle, removed three hardwood street trees, lifted the sidewalks. Had to be fixed. We replaced with six trees and now we have to fix the sidewalk, $1,120. Mark: motion to approve. Second: a couple of board members. Marion: all in favor of APC Community Association Services replacing the sidewalk? Unanimous.
3. Ficus replacement - $1,170: Harvey: without from the residence behind 5335 Grey Birch. Palm Beach Broward examined the ficus, and it needs to be replaced. Fifty-four linear feet, arboricola, $1,170. Harvey: motion; Linda: second. Marion: all in favor? Unanimous. Harvey: were they offered to get the larger? Deborah: they will be once it’s approved.
4. Glenville irrigation pumps/motors $16,710: Marion: we need to replace; we’re being proactive; we’re ratifying our action. We are replacing the Glenville east and west pumps, 2 pumps with 20 horsepower pumps; one of the 10 horsepower pumps died. I make the motion for Hydrodynamics proposal for $16,710, it comes under repair and replace. Richard: it will come out of the general reserve. It’s pretty close to the expiration date so we’re not going to be hurt that much. Mark: what life? Richard: approximately 12-year lifes [sic] on them. The remaining life is pretty close; close to the expiration date. Harvey: I’ll second the motion. Eileen: what is the warranty? Marion: one-year manufacturer. Eileen: ok, yes, I noticed it. Harvey: we’ve already signed this as an emergency repair. Mark: did we bury the dead pump at the bottom of the lake? Marion: it’s a ratification. All in favor? Unanimous.
Second Residents’ Input Session:
Diane Green, Entertainment: We are livestreaming table selection [New Year’s Eve and Brunch] on April 20th at 9:30am…you can print it off the HOA website.
Marion: anyone else? Sue Schmer:[starts to speak] Marion: not yet, Sue.
[Editor’s note: Once again, Marion cuts off Sue.]
Sue: my sister wants to speak.[Sue gets up and Sue’s sister then approaches their shared webcam.]
Sylvia Hechtman: Can you tell me why clubs need to pay for any improvements to the common area? Pickleball Club and Tennis Club are just like any other area; it’s the responsibility of the whole community to do it.
[Editor’s note: we concur wholeheartedly; see our comments above which we also posted on this news site under HOA Issues, under the sub-page on Awnings.]
Richard Greene: They volunteered.
[Editor’s note: Did they really? Or was this concocted between the leadership of those clubs and some board members who behind the scenes made it crystal clear that ponying up the dough would result in a favorable resolution? We suggest that that is exactly what happened based on what Richard said next.]
Richard: They wanted to make sure; it was possible they would not get it, the canopies, so they made the contribution to guarantee it.
[Editor’s note: Wait a moment: stop the presses! Per Richard, “they made the contribution to guarantee” a favorable board vote. How would the club leadership know this? Which board member assured them of this outcome? That sounds like a classic quid pro quo. This also sounds like a de facto shakedown: take your club dues and pay for this or we might vote it down; if you pay, we guarantee we will approve it. This is exactly what he is saying, folks. It is clear from this exchange that the leadership teams of the clubs got together with one or more board members and orchestrated this scheme whereby club dues would be used to grease the wheels and do the deals.
Who planted the seed for this scheme? How did the leadership teams even come up with the idea to pay for these HOA common area obligations with club money? Recall that the emails from the leadership teams clearly stated that they were trying to obtain “good will” with the Board (see the Awning page on this news site under the HOA Issues page for the emails). The Board represents the owners and owes the owners a fiduciary duty and to always act with good will, not the other way around. It is utterly unnecessary and improper to try and buy the Board’s good will when they already owe that to the community.]
Richard: No one asked them. They’re getting the benefit of it. It doesn’t mean that someone that’s not a member can’t utilize it.
[Editor’s note: And non-resident guests can utilize it, too, Richard, so why is club money even accepted for this common area amenity? And you say, “no one asked them?” How did they find out about it and how did they come up with the dollar amounts to offer? And how did they know that the Board meeting was occurring on Thursday instead of the usual Wednesday? And you further say, “they’re getting the benefit of it” but in fact they are not getting the benefit for themselves alone; they are in fact relieving the Board of its obligation to the HOA at large.
The Board should have more rightly rejected these improper offers, whether they germinated with the leadership team(s) or whether they germinated from a Board member who suggested it to the leadership team(s). This was the Board’s error or incompetence in finalizing the measurement of the canopy. More likely than not, this germinated directly from the Board, because the awning company surely did not contact the club leadership; they would have contacted the property manager, or the property manager would have contacted the awning company and worked in conjunction with the Board to deal with the issue of the improper measurement.]
Sylvia Hechtman: Why couldn’t it go to the Board first? I’m concerned that you’re setting a precedent.
[Editor’s note: Excellent two points in Sylvia’s last two sentences. The Board should immediately put this back on the Agenda to rescind and correct this dangerous precedent. No club moneys should be accepted for a common area expense: it promotes the exact type of wheeling and dealing behind the scenes that is unfair to the community at large and creates an underground sub-culture where special interests cozy up to board members and offer money to offset pet projects. Taking this money incentivizes and promotes this behavior, and sets a very dangerous precedent that if you have money to offer the Board, your pet project will pass.
This sounds like classic vote-buying. Here are the statutes on commercial bribery; we are specifically not stating that this conduct falls within the statute, as we leave that for Florida lawyers and judges to decide [emphasis supplied in red]:
“838.15 Commercial bribe receiving.—
(1) A person commits the crime of commercial bribe receiving if the person solicits, accepts, or agrees to accept a benefit with intent to violate a statutory or common-law duty to which that person is subject as:
(a) An agent or employee of another;
(b) A trustee, guardian, or other fiduciary;
(c) A lawyer, physician, accountant, appraiser, or other professional adviser;
(d) An officer, director, partner, manager, or other participant in the direction of the affairs of an organization; or
(e) An arbitrator or other purportedly disinterested adjudicator or referee.
(2) Commercial bribe receiving is a third degree felony, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
History.—s. 1, ch. 90-301.
838.16 Commercial bribery.—
(1) A person commits the crime of commercial bribery if, knowing that another is subject to a duty described in s. 838.15(1) and with intent to influence the other person to violate that duty, the person confers, offers to confer, or agrees to confer a benefit on the other.
(2) Commercial bribery is a third degree felony, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.”
Richard: We didn’t want to lose the discount. The vendor had a customer, and that’s why the vote was taken when it was.
If the Board is now claiming that there was an urgency about losing a supposed discount on a second canopy that was never on any Board Agenda to being with, but appeared out of thin air because of the Board’s incompetence, then this community has been snookered again, and the Board now wants to rob the piggybanks of the clubs to lessen the impact of the Board’s error and/or its incompetence. The onus of that error was on the Board, regardless of who made the error, because the buck stops with the Board, and the club leadership should not have been exclusively privy to that issue. If the Board signed a contract and there was an error, the Board on behalf of the HOA is obliged to correct that error, and not rely on or accept club money to offset that error, regardless of where or how that error germinated, because ultimately it was the Board that signed the contract. The Board has no right to use the club monies as a piggybank to fix its mistakes.
And further, Richard, when you stated that “they made the contribution to guarantee it”you proved that there was collusion behind the scenes, which was done between one or more board members and team leaders without the knowledge of or participation of the club memberships or the HOA members at large. The only way that the club leadership would have even known about the approximate dollar amount necessary to buy the awnings were if the details were shared with them by one or more board members. Why was that done?
Somebody at some point suggested a scheme whereby funds would be used by the clubs to subsidize these expenditures. Furthermore, recall that the club leadership was initially going to spend the clubs’ moneys without taking it to a member vote until they were called out about their improper attempt to raid the clubs’ piggybanks by this news site and others. That essentially forced the vote and even the ballot was manipulatively dishonest as we have previously pointed out on the Awning sub-page to the HOA Issues page on this news site.
To be clear, when the club leadership got caught, and they were forced to put the matter to a club vote, the “vote” itself was skewed as described in detail on the Awning page elsewhere on this news site. For example, the Pickleball “no” vote was phrased, “No – I do not want the Pickleball Club to contribute. I do not want the canopy.” Mierda de toro again (see translation and description above). In truth, the “no” vote was whether club funds should subsidize a canopy, not that the member did not want the canopy. Your Roving Reporter voted no for the club subsidy even though he is in favor of a canopy at the pickleball courts because he was getting tired of constantly raising and lowering the two umbrellas due to sun and rain and because it is a good investment for the betterment of the community. Your Editor also voted no to the club subsidy but also supported having a canopy there even though she has never raised or lowered the umbrellas due to personal height restrictions.
This shameful process is not leadership, and it is deceitful, manipulative, and dishonest. And if there were such a concern about losing a “discount,” what discount is being referred to, the fact that they are selling the HOA a second awning at a reduced price because the Board gave them the wrong measurements? Why not at least shop it for bids? And how did the club leadership find out about that anyway? And the second awning was never part of any prior Agenda item. The entire scenario doesn’t pass the sniff test. Welcome to business as usual at Cascade Lakes; buyer beware.
And lest there be no misunderstanding, again, we here at the news site believe that there should be a canopy at the pickleball courts; that is something that could have easily been added to any Agenda at any time and could have been properly dealt with at any of the bimonthly board meetings.
We repeat the last part of our comments above targeting the tennis and pickleball clubs:
It is obvious that the dues required for club membership are way too high, since apparently the clubs have thousands of dollars to spend on common area improvements, as opposed to club member amenities, club member social events, scholarships to worthy students, and other more appropriate uses of those dues which are supposed to be specifically geared toward actual club membership.]
Sue Leonard: Our leadership team is made up of active members in the community… [talked about all the different clubs and committees where the leadership team members are involved] …We are offering our help and support where we can. There is nothing more to it than that.
[Editor’s note: There’s a heck of a lot more to it than that. Nice spin on attempting to justify it, Sue, but we’re not buying what you’re selling, and your statement has nothing to do with the impropriety of what you actively participated in doing behind the scenes. Your statement, along with your leadership team’s email pining for good will toward the Board, also proves that the Board went to you and your well-connected group of insiders to create this scenario because otherwise you would not have known about it. The Board willingly used you and your team to get club funds to cover their incompetence.
Here is the definition of “opportunist” from the Oxford Dictionary: “a person who exploits circumstances to gain immediate advantage rather than being guided by consistent principles or plans.” The Board, like true opportunists, suckered you, your pickleball leadership team, and the tennis club leadership team into wresting club funds away from true and proper club expenditures and instead snookered you into using club funds to pay for the Board’s error and incompetence. Here is what the Board essentially said to you: you’ll get your awning if you pony up $1,000, and tennis club, for good measure you get to kick in $2,000, and we’ll call it a donation. Simply put, Sue, you’ve been played.
The Board did a great job negotiating with club leadership teams to get money for this HOA obligation incurred by the Board’s incompetence. Too bad they don’t use these negotiating skills to negotiate with vendors on the big contracts to save the community hundreds of thousands of dollars, as opposed to the $3,000 they saved by conning you and the clubs.
The leadership teams and the Board are all very proud of themselves for their supposed accomplishment of getting two canopies in this manner. Rather, they should all be ashamed of themselves. You all sold out the clubs for a lousy $3,000 to an HOA Board which has a budget in the millions and which in a free-wheeling way decided to spend $130,000 on a shed without a community vote (see Shed sub-page under the HOA Issues page on this news site). This is only the second board meeting of the new Board and it is, once again, keeping this news site very busy.]
Round Table Discussion:
Linda: [nothing audible] Eileen: I’ve gotten a few calls; long term events, such as New Year’s Eve, they’re worried, if there is an extended quarantine, how will it affect New Year’s Eve? I know we put down some deposits for entertainment; what should we do going forward, maybe put three of us together; I’m worried about losing money should this continue; what do we do concerning the contracts, they’re already signed, and if it doesn’t happen, what do we do?
[Editor’s note: If you had listened to us before, Chicken Little (“the sky is falling! The sky is falling!”), you would have zero worries, because we explained to you how to negotiate your contracts without having to put down any large deposits: see our January 15, 2020 letter to the entire board, which we posted on our Residents’ Input Page, Message Board: HOA under the date of January 20, 2020. Again, we were totally ignored, but what else is new? So now reality bites and it may cost this entire community beau coup bucks, when had they considered our suggestions, having decades of experience in contract negotiation and entertainment contracts in particular, there would be no potential exposure: that’s right, zero.
In the words of Rhett Butler from Gone with The Wind (1939), as to your sudden worries of your own making, “frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.” (Reference: "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn" is a line from the 1939 film Gone with the WInd starring Clark Gable ad Vivien Leigh. The line is spoken by Rhett Butler (Gable), as his last words to Scarlett O'Hara (Leigh), in response to her tearful question: "Where shall I go? What shall I do?"]
Marion: we can all email each other our thoughts to you. [sic]
[Editor’s note: Apparently Marion permits Eileen to run on about her self-induced worries, but when Sue Schmer opens her mouth, without even knowing what Suegoing to say, Marion cuts her off, as evidenced herein on two separate occasions.]
Richard: The big dollar contracts, we didn’t put deposits down. Some of the smaller ones, $500. New Year’s Eve, no deposit. Mark: you have Acts of God clause.
[Editor’s note added April 19, 2020: Mark stated in connection with the issue of entertainment contract cancellations: “you have Acts of God clause.” No, Mark, the coronavirus outbreak was not an Act of God; it was an act of man. Coronaviruses occur naturally but its release was not a natural occurrence. That is why, according to Newsweek, there were four class action lawsuits filed against China for the fallout from this coronavirus; there were no class action lawsuits filed against G-d.
An Act of God is defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary thusly: “an extraordinary interruption by a natural cause (such as a flood or earthquake) of the usual course of events that experience, prescience, or care cannot reasonably foresee or prevent.”
Examples of acts of God include: an earthquake, a hurricane, a lightning strike, a volcanic eruption, or an asteroid hitting the earth. These things occur in the usual course of natural events. There was nothing usual or natural that occurred with respect to the release of this latest coronavirus. (Per the Oxford Dictionary, the term “coronavirus” is defined as: “any of a group of RNA viruses that cause a variety of diseases in humans and other animals.”) The term “coronavirus” is a generic word and is not specific to this particular culprit.
A report was filed on April 16, 2020 by NBC News which began as follows:
“By Ken Dilanian and Courtney Kube
WASHINGTON — The U.S. intelligence community is examining whether the coronavirus that caused the global pandemic emerged accidentally from a Chinese research lab studying diseases in bats, current and former U.S. intelligence officials tell NBC News.”
Thus, what may have been an accidental release of the Chinese virus (its clear country of origin which is not in dispute), not from a “wet market,” but rather from a virology lab in Wuhan (which as it turns out both U.S. and Canadian tax dollars funded by way of multi-million dollar research grants according to the latest news reports) was an act of man: a negligent and/or reckless act, to be sure, but one caused by human(s) doing bat research in that lab, where a researcher may have caught it there and then left the building, and it spread from that point forward. If this proves to have been the case, then it was in fact specifically not caused by an act of God, but more likely caused by shoddy and sloppy research protocols entirely within the control of human beings.
Separately, even a Force Majeure clause would not work, because the current government lockdown will likely no longer be in effect in a few short months, so there will be no overriding force that prevents the occurrence of the entertainment events.
[Editor’s note: we stand by our comments above.]
Eileen: Because we all our quarantined, maybe one-two-three pod leaders in each pod can check on our neighbors with phone calls perhaps once a week. Marion: we have pod leaders in our CLERTS [Cascade Lakes Emergency Response Teams], Rich Levy. Eileen: And we also talked about the caring committee as well. I’ll call him. Harvey: I’ve dealt with Richard with that, and he said that none of the pod leaders got back to him. Nothing ever came of it. Eileen: maybe send an email out and ask for volunteers willing to check on neighbors, to spend some time on the phone; there are a lot of single people that you never see. Marion: ok, I will work on that with you. Mark: I’m ok today.
Sue: I respect every opinion whether I agree or not; I’m glad my sister expressed her opinion.
[Editor’s note: We agree, and bravo to both of you. It’s okay to listen to differing opinions without demonizing and bullying those who differ; otherwise, there’s no growth, just toxic stagnation, and we speak from experience of being constantly demonized and bullied by some vocal haters in this community who act more like a lynch mob than polite and sophisticated neighbors. There is nothing sophisticated or classy about bullying.]
Richard: [nothing to add.]
Harvey: What’s the status of the Angel Wing pump? Deborah: It is up and running. Harvey: what about Eileen’s email of this morning? Eileen: One of the resident’s son is a virtuoso piano player; whether Entertainment can send out a flyer, will be entertainment through Facebook. Mark: I’m for that; he appeared here in person and he is terrific. Eileen: I’ll let Diane know that she can send out the flyer.
Mark: motion to close. Harvey: second.
Jeff Green [resident and Zoom meeting Administrator]: 10:21am[meeting concluded].
[Editor’s concluding comments: And so concludes the board meeting of April 16, 2020; next Board meeting: presently unknown.]