07/15/20 BOD MEETING: SYNOPSIS AND COMMENTARY BY VICKI ROBERTS WITH ASSISTANCE FROM ARTHUR ANDELSON
Posted July 19, 2020. Your Editor provides the following synopsis of the July 15, 2020 Board meeting, with assistance from your Roving Reporter, and with commentary indicated in bold blue brackets.
[Editor’s note: before the meeting Marion stated that Linda could not make the meeting because she had to take her husband somewhere and offered to take the Minutes. Deborah and her assistant Sue offered to do so and at one point, Linda arrived and resumed taking the minutes.]
[Editor’s further note: before the Meeting chatter follows.]
Harvey: I didn’t see the manager’s report. Marion: it’s in the package she sent for the meeting today. The manager’s report was sent as a separate email. Harvey: who’s gonna take the minutes? Marion: maybe Sue will do it. Deborah Balka: I will take the minutes with Sue [Susan Hirsch, her assistant]. Eileen: I’m having technical difficulties.
[Editor’s note: Eileen’s computer froze; while her husband, Steve, worked on it, she accessed the meeting via her iPad and ultimately was able to come back on her computer.]
Harvey: there’s about 41 people; that’s about average.
[Editor’s note: We disagree. We think that’s a low turnout compared to past board meetings. Harvey’s audio still sounds muffled; your Editor sent a note via the Chat function; Harvey asked the Zoom administrator how he sounded; Mike Blackman said he sounded fine. Your Editor notices a distinct difference between Harvey’s audio and everyone else’s audio. Everyone else comes in loud and clear and crisp. Harvey does not.]
Board Meeting: Audio and Video Up and Running; Zoom meeting online starts at 9:34am.
[Editor’s note: between 45 and 52 people were online at the beginning of the meeting. There was a high of 62 at one point during the meeting, and then it petered off. Many residents have told us that they prefer to wait for our synopses and commentaries rather than sit through the lengthy meetings. We are happy to oblige, and indeed our statistics show that the majority of the HOA members and residents click on our reports, and we appreciate and thank everyone for their tremendous support. The silent majority speaks volumes through our diagnostic statistics. In fact, prior to the release of the synopses and commentaries, we see spikes on those pages, which represents residents eagerly anticipating the posting. That’s why we post updates on our intended release days.]
Board Members Present: Marion Weil (President), Mark Goodman (VP), Richard Greene (Treasurer), Harvey Ginsberg, Eileen Olitsky, and Sue Schmer.
Not initially present: Linda Arbeit (Secretary)
Call to Order: Marion Weil. Marion: Eileen will lead the pledge. If you can stand, please do.
[Editor’s note: Hallelujah; we are pleased that there is compliance with 4 U.S. Code Section 4 after we raised the issue of standing for the flag out of respect for our flag, our country, and also because the rule says so.]
Pledge of Allegiance led by Eileen Olitsky.
Marion Weil’s Opening Remarks:
[Editor’s note: Marion does not provide her prepared written remarks to this News Site despite repeated requests so that the HOA members can read what she has to say. This is repeatedly disrespectful to the majority of the HOA membership. Dissatisfaction with this reality is best dealt with at the ballot box. We will note a couple of things that she stated because it is deserving of comment:
Marion stated that they are returning to regularly scheduled board meetings. She also emphasized that the HOA website is the only official Cascade Lakes site, that the Association does not have a Facebook page, and that any other site is not official, and that the official site never has comments or gossip. Our response is as follows:
1. Within an hour of the board meeting’s conclusion, board member Eileen Olitsky posted a post on the Cascade Lakes “unofficial” Facebook page, to use Marion’s word. Board member Harvey Ginsberg has also posted on the Cascade Lakes Facebook page.
2. It is in this News Site’s opinion an insult to the residents to make the statement that the HOA website is the only “official” Cascade Lakes website. The residents know this; they’re not stupid. So why bring it up other than to denigrate other sites?
3. The HOA website’s Message Board has comments and gossip all the time, so this statement by Marion is demonstrably false. There is gossip and trash talk about your Editor and Roving Reporter on it right now, and if you want to see a screenshot of it, click on our Calling Out Bullies page. We asked for this gossip and defamation to be removed and we were denied, and that is why it is still up there on the official HOA website as of press time. They leave up nonfactual and defamatory posts that attack us, but take down our factual posts about their rule breaking and about our report on the coronavirus. This is deliberate, mean-spirited, and spiteful. This type of behavior actually created the need for this News Site.
4. This News Site is not an “unofficial” website of the community or the HOA, nor is it trying to be. It is an official, legitimate, recognized News Site which focuses on Cascade Lakes and occasionally its local environs. It reports on news, it has editorial, and it has feature pages, just like any other newspaper or digital news site. Your Editor is a formal member of RTNA (Radio Television News Association), the Florida Press Club, and the Florida Society of News Editors. Membership in these organizations is not automatic and is not given out like candy; there are application and qualification processes. We admonish Marion on behalf of herself (and the Board for not correcting her) to stop denigrating this News Site forthwith. We reserve all rights.
5. The real reason Marion doesn’t want people going on Facebook or this News Site is because she has no control over either. She is the webmistress and Board liaison to the website. This has always been about control.]
First Residents’ Input Session: [Editor’s note: silence.]
Approval of Minutes: Marion: motion to approve the June 24th minutes. Mark: second. Marion: unanimous.
Treasurer’s Report: Richard Greene: [Editor’s note: it was part of the email to all residents which gave notice of the board meeting and is self-explanatory and will therefore not be repeated herein.]
Eileen: people are raising their hand. Howie Feuer wants to speak and Joyce Winston.
Mark: motion to accept the treasurer’s report. Sue Schmer: second. Marion: Unanimous.
First Residents’ Input Session again:
Howie Feuer: I want to thank Marion and the Board; what’s been happening in the pool – it’s a great relief. The sign-up process is very difficult; sometimes it takes a half hour. This morning on my third try I got through. An online system would be great; perhaps we can sign up for the week…several of us would be willing to assist…one other item, the lake between Grey Birch and Angel Wing, it looks like at times there is algae in the lake. I don’t see them anymore, and it is time for this lake to have a recirculating pump in it as well. I left a message with the office about this; I haven’t heard anything back.
Property Manager’s Report: Deborah Balka: Palm Beach Broward [landscaping company] – mow on the 20th to the 21st, and the 27th to the 28th. Hardwood trim completed…[general PBB work]…utility building, the boring tests were completed Friday; we should have the results today. Then the inspections, then the pouring on Friday or Monday. The lakes were treated for algae on Monday. Mark: the maintenance building [the shed] – there was a last-minute inclusion by the county – we had no idea that they asked for this. We had a permit, and all of a sudden the county came back and said we must do a boring.
[Editor’s note: this failing and additional cost falls squarely on the Boards of this HOA since this debacle began. At the time of the initial contract, there should have been a structural engineer and soil engineer overseeing the project and they should have been part of the project from the get-go. For twenty years your Editor has represented an engineering firm in Los Angeles and they always had as part of every contract experts that oversaw all aspects of a project, and those experts determined anything and everything that would be needed for a particular project.
The boring is necessary because this is a permanent structure, not a temporary (replacement) shed. It is heavy. The soil needs to be able to support the weight of it permanently. This was known or should have been known from the inception of this project. This lack of preparedness is inexcusable.
Boring vs. No Boring:
The Board was remiss in vetting the contractor, in failing to research contractors, and/or in failing to put out RFPs (Requests for Proposals) to contractors, where surely one or more would have had such experts listed. Had they not been so remiss, this would not have happened. We have seen hundreds of RFPs, and each and every one of them lists the proposed personnel contemplated for a particular job, their expertise, their backgrounds, their training, their costs per hour, etc. This includes a multitude of RFPs that were submitted to city governments in and around Southern California. We are very familiar with them.
The Boards spent more time trying to dupe this community by by-passing the required community vote and falsely calling it a “replacement” shed. The Boards knew from the beginning that this was no replacement and this was not shed. If they spent more time vetting the contractors, these additional costs would not be incurred.
The Board who initially voted on this was too preoccupied with erroneously calling it a replacement shed so that they could spend more money than they otherwise would have been allowed to spend absent a community vote. The original sheds were just placed on the lot; this new building is permanently anchored into the ground, which is why boring is required and an additional permit is needed. Not only is this obviously not a replacement, but this actually proves that this was no replacement and was, in fact, an illegal Board expenditure. So, what exactly is the true total cost now for this monstrosity?
In fact, the Board took away the voice of the community (their rightful vote), and our investigation of this matter indicates that the Board also went against its own Engineering Committee’s advice, which was completely against doing it, and instead proceeded in that location at that time. So, the Board failed on its stated goal of fiscal responsibility.
This News Site makes no claims of having expertise about boring tests and when they are required, but common sense tells us that this is something that should have been thought of at the beginning of this project owing to the weight of the structure which will necessarily have to sit on a foundation, all of which needs to be supportable by the underlying earth. This raises additional questions:
1. When should a boring test be done: in the middle of a construction process or at the beginning?
2. When the name of the structure was changed from a “shed” to a “utility building,” did that set off red flags to the county? Sheds are typically much lighter than buildings.
3. What happens if the test fails?
4. Are there back-up blueprints made for this proposed site in case of test failure?
5. What was the result of the test? If the test passed, the community is lucky not to have to incur additional costs.
1.Eco Cleaning – revised approved contract – Marion Weil. Marion: page 10, paragraph 10, second sentence: damage claimed, if more than 45 days after work is completed in that area, should be considered invalid. Total price is $120,000 taken out of reserves in 2021 and 2022. Power wash $13,170 for a total cost of $133,170. Harvey: do we need a vote? Marion: we voted on the last meeting based on the revisions. Harvey: motion to accept the revisions. Sue: second, it was my revision. Unanimous.
1.Incorporated Clubs – Insurance and possible unknown tax ramifications – Mark Goodman. Mark: A number of clubs decided to incorporate. There’s nothing wrong with that. Rich and I investigated what were the ramifications. Number one, insurance: if a club incorporates, they must get their own insurance policy. They will be covered for any problems within the scope of Cascade Lakes, here. A party, a meeting. But if they go off premise, they are not covered under our insurance policy. They must get a policy to be covered. The cost is $500 a year an average cost. For off premise, if they choose to continue, and we have to be an additional insured on their policy.
[Editor’s note: None of this protects the HOA. The HOA will be named as a defendant in any litigation brought by someone, by anyone. And if the allegations in the litigation are intentional torts, as opposed to negligence, no insurance company will cover that. If proven, the HOA may be held liable under the respondeat superior doctrine (a party is responsible for - has vicarious liability for - acts of its agents), with joint and several liability. The HOA is the deep pocket here with a couple of million dollars in reserves. The clubs are essentially judgment-proof.
The HOA may file a cross-complaint for indemnification against the club, but not only will the HOA still have to defend the litigation and hope for reimbursement later from a penniless club, but it will probably lose, because it allowed the club to have these off-premise events and allowed them to advertise these events on the HOA website under that club’s page, and the HOA permitted the club to function without any controls over the club’s activities. The Board on behalf of the HOA has given its imprimatur on the activity. The HOA will share in any liability based thereon.
We researched and found other HOAs which have as part of their Rules and Regulations strict guidelines on club activities, and we also note that our Rules and Regs are essentially silent except for dress codes and booze issues. The best approach is to disallow the types of unrelated activities that the pickleball club faux and other officers promoted and engaged in, such as their beach get-together during the limited pickleball time permitted by the Board on the HOA courts. For the record, that beach flyer is still on the HOA website under the pickleball club tab as of press time. Here is a screenshot of it:
For a thorough exposé on the malfeasance of the former fake officers of the pickleball club, see our dedicated Pickleball page under our HOA Issues page. We cannot understand why the Board continues to coddle these wayward pickleball club members which puts the HOA members at risk financially.
The first thing any lawyer not asleep at the wheel will do is take a look at the evidence which shows the HOA promoting this activity based alone on the fact that it is promoted on the HOA website. That will be the basis for liability against the HOA, and every single homeowner is going to have to pony up to pay any judgment based on what may have occurred during that beach party event. This is true for any activity of any club which the HOA condones and/or promotes because the HOA permits them to have a charter. The issue of their incorporation in this context is irrelevant.
This shows how ridiculous and lacking in basic business knowledge having an incorporated club really is. The only point for the corporate entity is to protect the individual club members from liability exposure. However, since the club members are also HOA members, they are not protected, because any judgment against the HOA will come out of their pockets by way of depleting the reserves and then having to pay special assessments to replenish the reserves.
Mark: tax ramifications- technically, no, especially if it’s an educational type club. However, you have to make sure that a form is sent in to the IRS, form #990N (non-profit); you must send this in on a monthly basis. If you do not, within two months, the IRS will come here to the president of the club and you will be disorganized, become non-functional.
[Editor’s note: First of all, who cares? That’s the club’s responsibility, not the HOA’s. Also, we believe he means dissolved, as in shut down. Further, our research indicates that this is not a monthly filing, but rather an annual filing: Form 990-N is due every year by the 15th day of the 5th month after the close of your tax year, and if you fail to do so for three consecutive years, the organization automatically loses its tax-exempt status.]
Mark: Other question, I can’t open a bank account – we are looking into some other areas – we are investigating. Personal names EINs. Contact Rich or myself.
[Editor’s note: we already addressed this on our News & Announcements page in the first July 13, 2020 post. Furthermore, by way of example, Stonecrest HOA, located in Summerfield, Florida and also a 55+ community, has a detailed section on clubs on pages 15 and 16 of their Rules and Regs, and they state the following concerning EIN numbers under Section 3.1.5 of their Rules and Regs at page 17:
“Obtaining an EIN Number:
1. Call your local IRS in Ocala (352)-401-0010 and answer the required questions. A Social Security number is not required to obtain a number via the phone. After all validations are done you will get an EIN number immediately upon completion. The IRS will then email you the completed form for you to download, save, and print.
2. Take this information to your local bank to set up a checking account for your club.
1.Go to your local bank to get an SS-4 form or print one out on www.irs.gov by entering “EIN” in the “Search” feature.
2.Fill out the form. This requires a Social Security number.
3.Submit it to the IRS.
4.Once receive form you many then go to your bank to set up a checking account for your club.”
So as we stated, there is a very simple way to open a bank account, since banks require EINs. Go to the IRS and apply for one and follow the simple steps.]
Richard: 990 – is due annually. Mark misspoke. And if you don’t file for three years, they’ll dissolve the corporation. Everything else we agree. Sue: if the club is incorporated and holds activities outside, they must have insurance. What happens if they are not incorporated? Mark: they’re covered under our policy. Sue: I called Bank of America, clubs can be incorporated, they told me clubs are incorporated for liability, to take personal liability away; they said if you want, form a corporation, open a bank account, and then file with the state. It takes a long time.
Eileen: the HOA has approved a function by the pickleball club to have a scavenger hunt on the grounds. Mark: we’re covered on the grounds. Richard: there are ways – the big thing is liability. Clubs, under us, we don’t want incorporated. There are ways to open a bank account without incorporating. The liability is the most important thing. Harvey: at this point, if an incorporated club chooses to have an off-premise activity, they need to provide us with proof of insurance? Richard: they can do whatever they want to; they will not be covered under our policy and we could be secondarily involved. Harvey: we can’t mandate them to get insurance. Richard: no, they’re independent. Eileen: my suggestion is that the pickleball membership seek legal counsel; we’re not attorneys; we can’t guarantee what we’re saying is accurate. If they can be sued, check with an attorney or immediately unincorporate.
[Editor’s note: Bravo. Eileen is 100% correct and so are the others. The best course of action is to immediately dissolve the corporation, and also to never have planned activities or events that have nothing to do with pickleball outside the community gates under the name of the club. This was foolhardy and dangerous.
We sounded these alarm bells when we called out the former and fake pickleball club president Diane Green, former communications officer Sue Leonard, and perhaps others, when they put out a flyer encouraging members to abandon the pickleball courts during limited pickleball play time within the community and join them on the beach under the auspices of the incorporated pickleball club.
They did this to bypass the Board’s emergency COVID-19 rules of limiting social interaction. Some people slammed us for raising this alarm and criticizing this brazen behavior. Roberta Alter particularly didn’t like it. Now you have the Board agreeing with us, Roberta Alter. The best course of action for this community is also to ignore Roberta Alter’s rantings about your Editor and your Roving Reporter.]
[Editor’s further note: as to the scavenger hunt planned by the rogue group who temporarily usurped the pickleball club, it seems to us that there is no scavenger hunt, since no one is running it and it was never voted on by the club membership as required by its corporate documents. So, note to residents: do not commence searching for anything on the date it is scheduled to start and expect to find anything, and don’t wait for the treasure hunt map; waiting for Godot would take less time.]
[Editor’s reference: Waiting for Godot is a play by Samuel Beckett, translated from his own original French-language play, En attendant Godot. Spoiler alert: he never arrived.]
Richard: We’re interested in protecting HOA assets from suit; I agree, unless they want to dissolve.
[Editor’s note: the only way to protect HOA assets from suit are to disallow clubs to engage in any activities that have not been preapproved by the HOA, and that would likely include any and all off-site activities that have nothing directly to do with the purpose of the club; any such activity should not be allowed to be conducted in the name of the club period.
We warned the Board many days before the pickleball club beach party that took place on June 20, 2020. We sent a number of emails to the Board ringing the alarm bells on this, urging them to contact the wayward pickleball club officers and faux officers and to instruct them not to have this beach party in the name of the club, and now suddenly a month later they’re first talking about potential liability after the fact? This is outrageous and incompetent to say the least.
The last thing this community needs is a lawsuit which exposes every single resident’s pocketbooks because some former officers/fake officers of the pickleball club who stole the election decided to run the club like a fiefdom with wild abandon and to pretend it was the Entertainment Committee, part deux. See our entire exposè on these rogue actors on our dedicated Pickleball page.
The Board was given ample advance notice by your Editor and Roving Reporter, who implored the Board to disallow that event from going forward in the club’s name, but instead, they did absolutely nothing to protect this community from legal exposure for that event, for which, by the way, there is a fairly long statute of limitations, so keep your fingers crossed for the next couple of years.
Finally, the Board should simply disallow clubs to incorporate. Why is the HOA allowing clubs to incorporate at all? It creates a separate identity within an identity. Clubs should function at the behest of the HOA, not as separate independent legal entities.]
2. FCC and Consumer Protection Agency Complaints – Mark Goodman. Mark: getting phone calls, spam calls. I contacted the FCC; they suggest: 1. Try not to answer; 2. Write down the time and phone number you’re getting the calls [sic]; 3. FCC.com [sic: it’s FCC.gov] – they eliminate the phone calls within three days to a week. Harvey: FCC.gov or .com? Mark: .gov, under consumer complaints, consumer complaints at FCC.gov.
Deborah: Linda, I see you here. We’ll give you what we have. You’re taking over? Linda: yes.
Mark: consumer complaints – in my infinite wisdom, until the boxes - all over -they’re on angles, unpainted, rusting away, very unsightly; AT&T washed their hands of everything. I called the Consumer Protection Agency; they were very open with me. They said if I file a complaint they will call AT&T and Comcast. They’ve called AT&T and gave them two weeks to respond…any complaints you can file and they will follow up. Marion: they are operational; people have AT&T and Comcast. Eileen: we’re not within our rights to remove if they’re being used. Marion: correct.
3. Unanimous Consent – Utility Shed Boring Test - $1200, Roof Repair $6000. Marion: During this crisis…every Board member signs off. First, two boring tests on the soil for the utility building [Editor’s note: previously called a “replacement” shed to avoid a community vote] – signed July 6th; I was wanting to ratify that action. Unanimous.
[Editor’s note: a structural engineer at the time of the contract would have known the need to determine that and it would have been part of the original contract if negotiated properly as we discussed in detail above.]
Marion: Roof repair. An emergency for the clubhouse. There were several leaks, the ballroom, the hallway, $6,000, and that was a true emergency!
[Editor’s note: aha, so the former one was not a true emergency. This is a spontaneous statement which is an admission against interest, that the President and the Board are abusing the emergency powers granted to them per the statute, and even then, as we have cited the statute before, the statute requires 48 hour notice except for true emergencies, such as a sudden roof leak or an accident in the pool. We rest our case.
We have been calling this out for months now: the abuse of the emergency statute to conduct HOA business in a closed-door manner, contrary to statutory mandates that required open board meetings. So, this is an admission by the Board President that the first former action she mentioned (soil boring) was not an emergency and never should have been decided behind closed doors, outside the open board meeting requirement.]
Marion: On July 10th we all signed; unanimous.
4. Pool Reservation System – Harvey Ginsberg. Harvey: Motion to go to an online pool reservation system using Sign Up Genius. Marion: second for purposes of discussion. Harvey: we all have a PowerPoint presentation; Mike Blackman and I created it. We have to pay for it; what we need is not for free...[explains]… anyone can click on the hyperlink and get onto the page, Hyperlink from email or on the HOA website, then bookmark it to your favorites. We need an account, Cascade Lakes name, a username, a password, used by the office staff as administrators. I recommend the Silver Plan for $8.99 a month…you can only see two days in advance and that can be tweaked to three days (two days from today)…with a list, you create a separate sign up, a separate hyperlink, and all the sign-ups are time-stamped, first come, first served. Anyone who signs up before 8am can be deleted. I suggest we start July 26th on a three-month basis. One session a day; couples can be added the sign up. The system will notify them by email. Should be all or nothing, not call-ins…
Sue: one of the problems with all or nothing- I looked up the terms of service, automatically it could go to third parties. With all or nothing you’re not giving anyone the option to opt out. I don’t think that’s fair. I don’t know if that’s legal. How much of a problem is there really with the current system? I’m always into facts and data. How many people actually are complaining against those who don’t make their voices known and don’t have a problem? And how many people use the pool a week? How late is late? Now, call-ins are 8:30. I’m for more data. All or nothing doesn’t work for me as it worked for Frank Sinatra. If you’re as old as me, you know the reference.
[Editor’s note: "All or Nothing at All" is a song originally composed in 1939 by Arthur Altman, with lyricist Jack Lawrence, and is credited as the first song recorded by Frank Sinatra during his professional career.]
Eileen: most of the complaints were on the message board, verbally at the pool, the same. Those people seem to go to the pool a lot. The last two weeks I’ve asked – they can’t get through the first time. I pressed redial; at the most I have had to redial six times. It’s been wonderful…most people are not unhappy with the system…
Linda: I try to walk every day at 10am…the 10am session, everybody seems very satisfied with the telephone system.
Linda: I say if it’s not broke don’t fix it. Richard: this all or nothing thing, I don’t think it’s fair for people who don’t know how to use the computer. It’s very unfair to ask a friend or relative to input for you. I’d like a combination of both. Sydney or Cicily could do the inputting for them. Mark: I agree with Rich. I don’t think it should be an all or nothing approach…I think everybody has to sign up for themselves. A daughter can call for a mother or father. I like the idea of a trial but not all or nothing.
Eileen: if everybody has sign-up at 8am, it could be closed by the time people call. The greatest problem are the walk-ins and the wait list – will not change. If the demand grows, then we may have to. And one thing bothers me: we have to take care of everybody; just because a minority complains, doesn’t mean it’s the majority.
[Editor’s note: We’ve been saying that about our News Site for a while now. “Just because a minority complains, doesn’t mean it’s the majority,” in Eileen’s words. In fact, if it were a majority of people who objected to this News Site and didn’t regularly read and refer to it, there would be limited appeal for us to continue with the News Site. It is an incredibly time-consuming and labor-intensive undertaking, which would be somewhat pointless if the readership numbers were negligible or even mediocre. Since the demand is so high, however, we happily march on.
In fact, of all the residents here who are in our database and who get our occasional email blasts, and there are around 1,150 or more individuals who receive them, only a very miniscule, de minimis, paltry, meager, trivial amount of them, approximately a measly two percent, have asked to be removed from our email database. Those few include Board President Marion Weil and her husband, former fake pickleball president and election stealer Diane Green, former fake pickleball treasurer Robin Schmierer and her husband, the ever-hostile Roberta Alter and her husband, and a few others.
Also included in that two percent were two people who requested to be removed because they moved away, and one individual whose son contacted us and advised us that his Dad had passed away and to please remove his Dad’s email from our database. That same son also asked us to kindly add his mother’s new email address, which he set up for her, to our database, which we did. She is still a member of the HOA. We also add new residents as they join our wonderful community, so our list is always growing, and that will further erode the miniscule percentage of individuals who have opted out of our email blasts.
So, the ten individuals specifically mentioned above make up about 40% of the current two percent. That leaves a mere additional 14 people or so, which is 1.2 percent of the total number of people out of a database that continues to grow as new residents and others are added. That’s itsy-bitsy-teeny-weeny-yellow-polka dot-bikini small.
It’s peanuts; it’s a veritable super-minority, it’s negligible and insignificant, and most of them are connected tightly to either Marion Weil or Diane Green. And some of them “secretly” read this News Site anyway. So nobody’s being fooled here. All this being said, we invite you to draw your own conclusions.
Harvey: Third party getting contact information – this is the 21st century; if you’re searching on the internet, Amazon Prime, and then it pops up on Facebook [your personal Facebook feed], it’s happening everywhere. It should not be an issue. You can ignore pop-up ads. I do like the idea; we ask Sydney or Cicily. Deborah: no. You call and give her the message, and someone already took that spot, then we have to call back and say sorry. It’s not going to work. As of now she has just enough time to call the wait list…then she’s back outside. It’s not fair to call her…
Harvey: we’re talking about 100 spots a day. Deborah: absolutely – most days we’re filled all day long. Sue: I don’t do Facebook, my sister does. That is by my own choice. When you are giving people no choice, that’s the issue. I’m always against a hybrid. Unless you have a very clear plan, hybrids lead to more confusion, not less confusion. It will be a nightmare for Deborah and her staff. We have rules in place. If you follow the rules, there will be no issues.
[Editor’s note: and if you follow the rules, you’ll seriously impact our news division over here at the News Site; we’ll have a lot less to write about.]
Sue: when you begin to make exceptions, you will eventually have more exceptions than rules…fix what’s not working first…as a school administrator, Linda knows, [Editor’s note: they were in the same school district], I never had a hybrid plan; one plan, practiced and perfected first. Eileen: another number…Marion: we can’t do it with Hotwire. Eileen: we used to have Comcast. Marion: we don’t have a contract. Deborah: that number is the residential phone number, one line. They can’t get up to the roof. Cicily has no time; right now feels like it’s working. The minority that is complaining is in the pool. Eileen: may not be their time…but correct.
Richard: no installation charge? Harvey: no. $8.99 a month; there is a savings if you pay for the year…you can cancel at any time. Marion: looking at registrations, only one person that might need some help in signing on. Question, couples could sign up: to me, that’s not fair to single people, it takes a spot from them.
[Editor’s note: all of a sudden, Marion is concerned about single members of the HOA. Yet this is exactly what your Editor said about the discriminatory way the HOA message board discipline works: it’s not fair to single people. Here is what we posted on this News Site back on January 16, 2020 as an addendum to our January 8, 2020 synopsis and commentary (this concerned your Editor’s kangaroo court disciplinary proceeding after your Editor was suspended from the message board for 30 days for writing proven truthful posts about the Board having violated the open meeting law, which Marion just admitted to doing again with respect to the soil boring issue:
“Message Board Suspensions are Discriminatory Against Single/Widowed Members:
Here is an excerpt from a letter I sent to the Board and “our” HOA attorney concerning my illegal suspension from the message board contrary to the mandatory procedure of the Florida law that governs suspensions. I sent this letter on December 21, 2019 as part of my demand for a grievance procedure which I never received. In that letter, I talk about the discriminatory effect this illegal policy has against single and widowed homeowners.
At the last board meeting on January 8, 2020 where the issue of my suspension was addressed, the attorney literally cut me off when I raised this issue and attempted to advise the community. He shut me down and stated over me: “We’re not talking about that.” Here is what he did not want you to hear:
“Now let me explain why this entire process is actually discriminatory. I am not here talking about myself; I am addressing all of the disenfranchised single Member/Owners who are deprived of community access to the entire message board if/when you suspend that Member’s access. A married Member still has access to the community asset, the community Message Board, through his or her spouse, by simply inputting the spouse’s username and password into the system. But the single Member is 100% locked out. You have not merely disallowed them to POST a message, you have locked them out of the entire community asset, and prevented them from viewing other posts, and this is discriminatory in the application of your illegal discipline, as it is based on marital status and numbers of Members in a household. You have prevented those single Members from knowing what is going on in and around the community, and that by itself is a safety issue. That is the discriminatory effect of this asinine policy.”
That is what “our” HOA lawyer did not want you to hear.”
So it is interesting that Marion states that she is concerned with fairness to single residents but in fact she was and is totally unconcerned about fairness to single residents for purposes of meting out discipline, which discipline itself is done at the whim of a very few without any proper oversight by the Board as a whole and without following the mandatory grievance procedure specifically set forth in the Florida statutes and this HOA’s own governing documents. Marion’s statement, “it’s not fair to single people,” therefore most certainly rings hollow.
The HOA website’s message board is essentially run by Marion Weil, the webmistress and Board liaison to the website all in one. The only way to ensure that you are not a target of her indiscriminate discipline, which itself is discriminatory, is to refrain from posting on the HOA message board. And if there is a post on the message board that is inflammatory which Marion refuses to remove, you can always bring it to us and we will, at our discretion, report on it.]
Marion: One person cancels the spouse and puts someone else. Harvey: the administrator can not allow a swap…Marion: I’m for trying for a while. I do believe in the all or nothing…Deborah: that resident, her daughter is making calls for her, so it will not be a problem. We also need clarification if someone doesn’t show up after an amount of time, 15 minutes? 20 minutes? I need some clarification. After what period of time is your slot given away or attempted …
Harvey: ten or fifteen minutes. We need a vote. And how many times and then we sanction them for a week or two. We have to print it out. And a wait list. Deborah: sometimes we don’t have enough time or people can’t get their that quick. [sic] Mark: how do you cancel? Harvey: you go to the sign-up edit and delete. You take yourself off and the administrator gets an email that you deleted. Marion: all in favor of trying out online Sign Up Genius: Marion, Mark Harvey in favor. Richard: I’m against doing it at all. Eileen: the vote just took place. Marion: Four against three. Richard, Linda, Eileen, and Sue against it; Marion, Harvey, and Mark for it. It does not pass.
Marion: continue using the phone call system. Deborah needs to know how long reservation to be held for. Mark: 10 minutes. Sue: second. Marion: all in favor? Unanimous. Marion: it’s 10 minutes, Deb. Deborah: Cicily goes out for 10 minutes to let them in, so that gives them 20 minutes. Harvey: no call/no show – if two times in a week, then they need to be sanctioned for two weeks of no pool. Eileen: I would agree. Deborah: if no call and they don’t show and the space remains empty unless it’s an emergency. Harvey: we can consider extenuating circumstances. It’s discourteous. Marion: All in favor of no call/no show, two times in a week, the penalty is two weeks no swim. Unanimous. Second: Eileen. Marion: Harvey made the motion. Deb, put out an email blast.
5. Stormwater Cleaning – S.O. pod and Cascade Lakes Blvd. -Eileen Olitsky-$5,720: Eileen: this is an annual event, clean out the storm drains. Motion to agree. Mark: second. Marion: Any discussion? [silence] All in favor? Unanimous.
6. Fire Alarm Contract Vendor- $1225-1692 – Eileen Olitsky: Eileen: We have a contract with Contractors Alarm Services; trying to get a hold of them since January. Deborah: they’re not responding. This is for the clubhouse doors and the fitness center. The fire department says that the doors have to open automatically in case of fire…he has not done any of the work. The fire department has come in. We want to change our vendor, for good reason. Cancel in 30 days, $1,200. We’d like to go with Advance Fire $1,692 including parts and labor. United Fire is 24/7 but it’s almost $3,000. Eileen: it’s rare you’ve called off hours. Deborah: in ten years, one time and even then, Contractors Alarm didn’t want to come from Jupiter.
Eileen: they’re for three years. Advance Fire charges $142.50 an hour, parts and labor included. It’s a savings. Deborah: our equipment is 20 years old. Marion: your motion. Eileen: motion for Advance Fire. Second: female board member. Marion: it says $1,692 a year but the contract says $116/month is $1,392. What’s the $300 extra for? Deborah: there’s monitoring. Eileen: there’s a contract and there’s monitoring. Marion: $25/month for monitoring. Harvey: that’s different. $300 is the yearly monitoring fee. Deborah: $1,692 is inclusive: Monitoring 24/7 and maintenance. Richard: clarify, we have to add sales tax to that. Eileen: the monitoring agreement says standard. $25/month; we just have to clarify it’s included.
Deborah: there’s two agreements. Harvey: monitoring and system. Seems pretty straightforward. Do we need a separate motion to give 30 days’ notice to Contractors Alarm? Motion. Marion: Second. And Mark. Marion: All in favor? Unanimous. Deborah: ok. Harvey: send certified and return receipt requested if he’s not answering the phone. Marion: we already have a draft letter. Motion, Eileen; Second, Linda. Advance Fire fire alarm contract, motion to use Advance Fire for fire alarm contract in the total amount of $1,692 plus 7 percent sales tax per year - $1,392 parts, labor, etc., $300 monitoring. Two separate contracts. Eileen: $142.50 only for after hours. Harvey: sales tax, on the monitoring or everything else? Marion: on everything. Unanimous.
7. Palm Beach Broward – 3 Tree removals $2,155, Mark Goodman. Mark: our favorite landscaping company. First, #31-20, hardwood removal on common property on Bristle Wood, removal of oak tree and stump grind. And then 5258 Landon Circle remove. Total $2,155. A lot of roots are going into the properties. I recommend approval. Second: Harvey. Harvey: what are we replacing? Two for one? Mark: in due time, eventually, let’s get through hurricane season. Deborah: it doesn’t have to be in the same area. Marion: #31-20. Deborah: it’s always best to do it while tree trimming, so now is the time to do it to keep the costs down. Marion: All in favor: unanimous.
Mark: Added 7B: Proposal #34-20, a number of trees, common area trees, are very close to the following homes on this list near pools; it will cause more of a liability problem for the HOA. The total is $7,488 and it includes three removal of trees, 11739 Grove Ridge Lane, $2,285, remove mahogany trees close to a pool, 11835 Grove Ridge Lane, and one near a pool at 11341 Grove Ridge Lane, mahogany trees $2,285; and 11847 Grove Ridge Lane, prune and install root barrier, $360; and 11849 Grove Ridge Lane - $795 removal and prune/root barrier $288; and prune and root barrier at 11865 Grove Ridge Lane at $24 per root equals $480. That equals six addresses on Grove Ridge Lane for a total of $7,488. Deborah: all of the residents will be notified by email. Mark: I recommend 34-20 for $7,488. Second: Linda.
[Editor’s note: see what happens when you don’t pre-negotiate this stuff beforehand, as we have repeatedly stated? See our dedicated Landscaping Issues page under our HOA Issues page, wherein back on March 4, 2020, your Roving Reporter spoke at that Board meeting and suggested how to avoid repeated spending of thousands of dollars time after time after time because none of this was properly negotiated to begin with and still is not being properly negotiated or sent out to bid. Where are the bids? Why is Palm Beach Broward landscaping company continually given a monopoly on matters not in their contract? Where is the fiscal responsibility? Perhaps it’s hiding behind a tree that is yet to be removed.]
Marion: All in favor? Harvey: where’s the money coming from? Richard: it’s coming out of the operating budget. It’s part of landscaping. But it has to be done. Considered part of my projected loss. Marion: Unanimous. Eileen: I wasn’t aware we voted.
[Editor’s note: Eileen is correct. There was no vote when Marion proclaimed “unanimous.”]
Marion: All in favor?
[Editor’s note: this time, for the first time on this motion, they raised their hands.]
8. Fire Sprinkler Contract - $1025, Eileen Olitsky: Eileen: it’s a renewal. Four times a year. Motion to renew the contract for $1,025. Linda: Second. Sue: what’s the term? Eileen: one year. Deborah: on-going summer sprinkler – has been our vendor since I’ve been here. Marion: all in favor? Unanimous.
9. APC – Drainage on side of ballroom, $920, Linda Arbeit.
[Editor’s note: we understood from previous Board meetings that the property manager had a spending limit of $1,000, so we do not understand why this item is on the Agenda.]
Linda: erosion between the end of the sidewalk and the beginning of the lawn plus some of the pavers are being compromised - $120. And piping under the sidewalk on one side, then the end of the concrete, some erosion, remove and replace slab and reinstall pavers $920. Linda: motion to accept. Harvey: second. Marion: discussion? [silence] All in favor? Unanimous.
Second Residents’ Input Session:
1. Joyce Winston: Mike Blackman: you can unmute yourself. [no audio was heard.]
2. Phil Berman: I’m confused about the Eco Treatments. Year 2021, roof treatment, then $13,000 charged for 2022, what is that? Marion: for pressure-cleaning of the sidewalks and the common areas. Phil: additional charge per residence? Marion: no. Eileen: there’s an option, $45, you can opt to do your sidewalk and driveway. Phil: $13,000 is for the common areas? Board member: yes.
3. Howard Feuer: As a resident, I provided some feedback to Marion and Deborah. Two weeks ago, Saturday, it was 53 times before I got through; the following Saturday, 40 times, then 26 times two weeks ago, and Monday 14 times the following Monday and so forth. Generally, if one person is having a problem, there are others. I don’t care what system you use, if the system isn’t working efficiently, that’s a problem for all of us. If you can’t get through on the pool number after time, a number of times, maybe call on the Cascade Lakes number should be a remedy. We come three times a week. Deborah: what time are you calling in? Howard: I start at 8:30am. Rosalie Feuer heard in background: you can’t get in. Deborah: you can get in. You’re getting in three times a week on average. The system is made to allow other people as well. Howard: I’m spending minutes, 10, 15, 20 minutes, 1 day 30 minutes; my time counts as well. Feedback – constructively, I’m not criticizing, but pointing out there’s a problem. I’ve spoken to other people. That’s my experience.
[Editor’s note: why was the providing of feedback limited to Marion and Deborah? Why wasn’t the feedback given to the entire Board? This is part of the problem, when you limit the information to one or two individuals, you give them the power to do with that information what they want, including not advising other equal board members of your feedback. And for the record, it’s ok to constructively “criticize;” we don’t understand why that’s a dirty word to some people.]
Eileen: I’m very sorry. I don’t know where the problem is for you. I’m having a completely different experience. My total calls for the last five days are approximately 25 calls. This morning, at 8:43am, I had to redial five times. Howard: I’m bringing it to your attention. Do with it what you feel is appropriate.
4. Anne Friedlander: question about the phone. When you are taking the 8:30 class, how can you call early enough so they can call somebody who is on a wait list if you want to cancel?
Deborah: If someone wants to call, call the regular line. Anne: Monday, Wednesday, Friday, early class, there is no flexibility. We can’t say we’ll take other times. Cell phone – 72 hits – I was on for one hour and 40 minutes for this past Monday or week before. Deborah: It would have been on the weekend. Anne: yes, it was. Deborah: on weekends, only one person is here. Ten minutes prior to the session and until everyone is on deck, Sydney can’t answer the phone. Anne: you’ve seen – right in front of her. Deborah: she was on the line with someone else. Anne: everybody on the Board: see what’s going on. It’s frustrating. My little paper is getting ripped up. Thank you all very much.
Harvey: Deborah, send an email blast, if you cancel, call the office number, not the pool reservation line.
[Editor’s note: excellent instruction to the property manager, Harvey. We have your words here in the synopsis as well, so the word will travel rapidly.]
Harvey: other than that, we’re not perfect; maybe try Sign Up Genius down the road.
Round Table Discussion:
Marion: we’ll go in order of how you appear on the screen. Harvey.
Harvey: think about 7pm meetings. Many people are playing pickleball, golf, whatever, in the morning; probably get more people. Marion: next meeting, but not every meeting. Next meeting, 7pm. All ok? August 5th. 7pm. Harvey: we can alternate. Mark: no. Marion: let’s see what happens.
Richard: I have no problem with people complaining about how the Board is spending money because it’s their money. One thing I don’t like is personal attacks. That really bothers me. There’s two sides to every story. [Editor’s note: he then referred to an anecdotal tennis story about someone who doesn’t want to play with you…]
[Editor’s note: sometimes, there aren’t two sides to every story. Sometimes people are just hostile: case in point, Roberta Alter, whom we have never said a word about to anyone but who has been spewing hate about your Editor and Roving Reporter since we arrived here a year ago. We have called her out for her bullying which she engaged in on the HOA website message board twice as of this writing (see Calling Out Bullies page) but the Board refuses to call her out. So, it’s one thing to claim that you don’t like personal attacks, but it’s another thing to complain about that and then not do anything about it when it is brought to your attention.
Personal attacks require a response because otherwise they tend to metastasize. Public personal attacks once learned of require a public response; remaining silent fuels the fire.
There is also a distinction to be made, which we previously made, which concerns calling out someone in their official capacity versus lobbing a grenade at someone on a personal level. There seems to be a fundamental misunderstanding about this and/or a fundamental unwillingness to appreciate this distinction. Calling out someone in their official capacity is part of “checks and balances” and is required so that any aberrant or questionable conduct can be brought to light and the errors or issues can theoretically be fixed. Silence in the knowledge of official malfeasance or mistake is sometimes construed as acquiescence to it. That is totally unacceptable to us. Others are too fearful to speak up and wish they had a voice to object. We provide that voice.
We get grenades lobbed at us by a few loud residents; those are unprovoked personal attacks and you should call them out, and when given the opportunity to do so as in the case of Roberta Alter, when we informed each and every Board member of both personal attacks on us, all of you in fact remained silent and continue as of press time to remain silent. By not handling this, the Board actually puts its imprimatur on these unprovoked attacks, which makes these attackers proxies for the Board. We will respond to these unprovoked personal attacks as needed and as we see fit.
Otherwise, our criticism has only been when an individual is acting inappropriately in his or her official capacity in this News Site’s opinion, and it is always based on demonstrable evidence as opposed to hearsay and/or gossip. This distinction is lost on some people.]
Sue: The deadline for signing up for Committees is August 3rd; we welcome everyone.
[Editor’s note: Except for your Editor for the Legal Advisory Committee, per my experience last year when I offered my services and was completely rebuffed. I am no longer interested, however, because this News Site is much too important to the majority of the residents here, and most of my time and efforts in service to the community will remain in this capacity, Roberta Alter’s bristling notwithstanding.]
Sue: there is a short application process. I’m encouraging everybody to help the Board help us make the best decisions we can.
Mark: I have nothing today.
Eileen: During COVID-19, I just wish we could bring ourselves together as a Cascade Lakes community instead of in-fighting among the residents…
[Editor’s note: you could start by acknowledging the residents; neither you nor your husband acknowledge either your Editor or your Roving Reporter at all, including the time your Editor personally said hello to your husband and he refused to respond back. So, what you are saying is lovely; it would be even lovelier if you practiced it. It’s really easy; it’s a two-syllable word, and it’s phonetic: “hello.” You can follow it with a smile.]
Marion: I totally agree. My way of helping myself is to totally ignore the other person; don’t have your friend come to your rescue, just ignore it, it will go away…
[Editor’s note: Marion, you have a responsibility not to ignore the residents of the HOA whom you represent. As a private citizen, you can do that, but as a Director who controls residents’ money and their way of life, you have an obligation not to ignore any member of this HOA. If your way of helping yourself is to ignore the people you represent, then step down.]
[Editor’s note: Deborah should not be part of the Round Table; she is not a Board member; she is an employee.]
Deborah: I’m fine, thank you.
Linda: can I call…Deborah: I will send the Minutes to you. Marion: thank you, Mike Blackman on Zoom.
Harvey: adjourned. Marion: Second. Done. Deborah: 11:25am.
[Editor’s concluding comments: And so concludes the board meeting of July 15, 2020; next Board meeting: August 5, 2020 at 7:00pm. Cheerio until next time.]