09/16/20 BOD MEETING: SYNOPSIS AND COMMENTARY BY VICKI ROBERTS WITH ASSISTANCE FROM ARTHUR ANDELSON
Posted September 18, 2020. Your Editor provides the following synopsis of the September 16, 2020 Board meeting, with assistance from your Roving Reporter, and with commentary indicated in bold blue.
Hear ye, hear ye! Announcing the Synopsis and Commentary of the September 16, 2020 Board of Directors meeting.
Editor’s Opening Monologue:
This edition is entitled: “Lawyers and Losers.”
This Opening Monologue concerns the failed attempt to censure this News Site and its news staff by the HOA attorneys, paid for with your money (fiscal irresponsibility by your Board of Directors). Instead of beautifying Cascade Lakes Boulevard, the Board of Directors spent your money on this frivolity.
At the end of August, we received a “cease and desist” letter from the HOA’s law firm which demanded that we cease and desist “publishing commentary regarding Association actions…”
This attorney’s letter also demanded that we retract certain of our words on this News Site specifically with respect to our report, “Go Ask Alex,” and that we apologize to the Association, the Board, and its managing agent. We’re not sure what we were supposed to be apologizing for, since everything we wrote was factual and opinion, and was therefore protected free speech, so in that regard, we sought clarification from the lawyer who wrote the letter. We received no response.
We take attempts to squelch free speech very seriously. That is why in our response to the attorney, we reminded him of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and other applicable statutes that give us the absolute right to publish our reports and opinions. Needless to say, it is our opinion that if there is any apology to be had, it ought to be from the Board to you, the members of this HOA, for spending your money on this folly. In our opinion, this is complete and total fiscal irresponsibility that the Board engaged in with your money. At the same time, the attempt to try and silence critical voices should be troubling to those of you who value free speech and the necessary “checks and balances” that free speech provides.
We have no evidence that the authors of the critical comments on the Cascade Lakes Facebook page received a similar demand. The selective targeting of your Editor and Roving Reporter apparently continues unabated; the Board tried this nonsense in late 2019, which also was an utter failure for them, as it rightly should be. At that time, we called out the illegal secret Board meetings that were occurring, and which were admitted to by a then-Board member in writing which we have, and the Board spent thousands of dollars of your money trying to shut us down. That was before the birth of this News Site.
We are curious as to which Board members authorized this latest letter we received from the attorney, and if any of them will distance themselves from this failure to guard your money and where it goes.
Each Board Member should either own it or disavow it. What was the vote to spend your money on trying to intimidate and harass your Editor and your Roving Reporter, and trying to shut down this News Site? How did you vote, Marion? How did you vote, Mark? How did you vote, Richard? How did you vote, Linda? How did you vote, Eileen? How did you vote, Harvey? How did you vote, Sue? How much exactly did it cost? Which four Board members (a quorum) or more agreed to this malicious action with your money? We use the word “malicious” because the demands in the letter in our opinion had no basis in law and in fact were completely contrary to law.
This shameful, hostile, and disgraceful display is really the Board thumbing its nose at fiscal responsibility, at transparency, and at your right to know what is going on in your own neighborhood. These tactics are more prevalent in dictatorships, not democracies.
In our Synopsis and Commentary of August 28, 2020, called “Remove Me,” a portion of the commentary provided the Board with a template on how they could recoup a minimum of $72,000 from Hotwire for the latter’s failure to provide contracted services, to wit, voice remotes. It’s actually at least double that amount because most homes have two or more TVs and would be entitled to at least two voice remotes. Many or perhaps most homeowners even have three TVs and would be entitled to three voice remotes, so that would triple that amount. This is not the first time that we have made suggestions for the betterment of the community as a whole and which have been utterly ignored and remain unimplemented. A better use of your money would have been to have the HOA attorney send a demand letter to Hotwire in connection with this theft of funds (taking your money and not providing the service or equipment you paid for).
It is a shame that one or more Board members are instead apparently more concerned about their power and egos as displayed by their attempts at trying to intimidate and harass your Editor and Roving Reporter, and this News Site, and by spending thousands of dollars of your money siccing the Association’s attorney upon us, and without just cause (i.e., making false claims against us and demanding that we cease and desist from exercising our First Amendment rights). These attempts are colossal failures, as they rightly should be, because in this country free speech is one of the hallmarks of our democracy.
This News Site will always call out malfeasance, potential liability that puts us all at risk, fiscal irresponsibility, bullies, the lack of transparency, and perceived favoritism. We will also promote ways to save money, and ways to do things better through negotiations and contracts. We will continue to put forth anything else that would assist in advising the community of ways to improve it for the protection and betterment of all concerned. This community has a lot of wonderful members; we will continue with our monthly recognition of a resident who is warm and kind to everyone he or she meets (our enormously popular Resident of the Month Award).
This News Site is here to stay. This News Site will continue to report on matters related to Cascade Lakes. This News Site will not be bullied by letters from lawyers, by Board members who sic these lawyers upon us, or anyone for that matter. We report the unfiltered truth and we comment thereon, and we will continue to do so with the same passion and fervor as you have come to expect.
And now, a few kindly neighbors have requested that I leave the stage and start the show.
Board Meeting: Audio and Video Up and Running; Zoom meeting online starts at 7:00pm.
Board Members Present: Marion Weil (President), Mark Goodman (VP), Richard Greene (Treasurer), Linda Arbeit (Secretary), Harvey Ginsberg, Eileen Olitsky, and Sue Schmer.
Call to Order: Marion Weil.
Pledge of Allegiance led by Richard Greene. [Editor’s note: Richard had a picture of a flag and all Board members stood.]
Marion Weil’s Opening Remarks and Announcements:
[Editor’s note: Marion stated that there would be Committee reports after the property manager’s report. Both Sue Schmer and Eileen Olitsky objected owing to the lack of the required 48-hour notice. Your Editor wrote in the Chat function: “NOTICE IS REQUIRED.” The following exchange took place:]
Sue: Point of Order. Were the Committee Chairs informed, and if so, when? Marion: they were not informed. We only have two active Committees. Sue: I object to the fact that they are being added to the Agenda without notice. It is unfair, improper, and against the rules. Marion: one is ready, and we can have it [the other one] at the next meeting. Sue: I want it to go down [in the Minutes] that I disagree; that’s my opinion. Eileen: We have to give 48-hour notice and as a courtesy we should give notice to the Chairs. I know Facilities did theirs. There are a lot of residents watching another video [the Computer Club had a Zoom meeting with a speaker at the same time as the Board meeting]. Marion: I just said I would post it on the next Agenda. One is ready tonight. They can go on the recording to look at it.
[Editor’s note: Marion is stating that those who missed the meeting live can view it later; this suggestion, of course, would necessarily deprive the residents of their right to speak at the Resident Input Sessions on the topics at hand and other matters, so it is not a proper solution.]
[Editor’s further note: And now you see the lack of wisdom of electing Marion as President. Perhaps in March if Marion is re-elected as a Board member, the new Board can elect Sue or Eileen (if she is re-elected) as President. Respect for the rules ought to be paramount for Board members, such as Marion, who expect everyone else to follow them.
And this current Board doesn’t have to wait until election time. You can always replace an officer with a majority vote. This President just shut down two equal Board members without even a vote on the matter and in fact those Board members were trying to follow the rules and notice requirements. If the President thumbs her nose at the rules and other Board members, it is time for a new President. Otherwise, the other Board members are allowing this wayward President to take away their equal power and they are also allowing the Board to conduct meetings without proper notice. Force an immediate Board vote next time when this type of issue arises or whenever there is a disagreement among Board members. All Board members have an equal voice. Board members: don’t dilute your voice which is in fact a voice of the community who elected you.]
Harvey: [Marion’s new best friend]: Committee Reports are the second meeting of every month, traditionally. Unless there’s a pressing need, it should be a standing Agenda item. Sue: this is not the second meeting. [possibly Harvey]: it is. [Editor’s note: regardless, it should be on the Agenda and the required 48-hour notice be given.]
First Residents’ Input Session:
1. Joyce Winston: This Association runs by a Board who selects a Committee to inform the Board…I am Chairman of the Rules & Regs Committee. The Sports Center Rules – I have never seen a copy; my committee has not seen them. I am thoroughly disgusted by this action on your part and I want you to take this off the Agenda. Sue: I take responsibility. The Sports Center item refers to the Covid19 Sports Center rules. You have gotten all the information that will go into our documents…it was an error in transcription…I fully apologize to you … Joyce: I have a meeting with Lee Sinett tomorrow morning…and until he and I meet and I refer to the rest of my Committee, we will be ready…this was a real slap in the face…
[Editor’s note: Sue then apologized again profusely. Frankly, we thought her initial apology was genuine and sufficient; perhaps acknowledging said apology with a simple “thank you” would have been nice.]
2. Stephen Sussman: A couple of things I’m annoyed about. My palm trees have not been cut…Marion: PBB had a problem with a vendor…Stephen: it was peak hurricane season. Marion: the timing has nothing to do with hurricanes. Stephen: Second question, this is a 55 and older community, not a 75 and older community. There are certain things being done not for 55-65 but for the people who are older…The Board needs to take some consideration…decisions about 20 people in the pool, shutting stuff down. Marion: we are in the process of getting the refunds. Deborah: I’ll be discussing that in my report.
[Editor’s note: why is Deborah’s microphone not muted? She is not a Board member. This is a residents’ input session where the residents get to speak to the Board and the Board gets to respond at their discretion. If the Board wants or needs Deborah’s input, they can ask for it. Deborah is an employee of a vendor employed by the HOA. Her microphone should be muted until it is appropriate for her to speak, i.e., when she is called upon by a Board member. This is nothing personal against Deborah, to be clear.
As to the palm tree trimming, one would expect that that should be done before hurricane season, because if it is not done timely and a home gets severely damaged by a flying frond, a catapulted coconut, or other related projectile, and/or someone gets hurt as a result thereof, that homeowner may have a claim against the HOA for not insisting that the trimming be completed before storm season. That is called a failure to mitigate and no one can rightly suggest that the Board does not have notice of this issue, because hurricane season is a yearly event. The members pay for a service which as part of its requirements should have a mandatory timeliness element. Stephen’s comment which was essentially brushed off by Marion was, in fact, an excellent point which the Board should heed for the safety and financial protection of the entire community.
Now, as to the matter of there being individuals in this community between the ages of 55 and 97, and in some cases a few younger than 55 based on another household member meeting the minimum age threshold, the pandemic issue is one about minimizing exposure, and in order to do that, a uniform rule is necessary.
If you open up the pool, for example, as some are suggesting, then you are effectively disenfranchising the older folks because you are relegating them to being prisoners in their homes while you cavort and frolic with abandon at the pool. That is wholly unfair and deprives them of the rights they have. They have a right to use the pool under the safety guidelines without fear, and should not be told, as some people have suggested, to simply stay home.
Punishing equal HOA members by insisting they stay home is unfair. Conversely, the cavorters and frolickers are not similarly punished, because they have the right to use the pool under the same conditions as everyone else. And many of the older folks need the pool as part of their physical therapy regimen because they have pre-existing conditions or other medical issues. It would be wholly inappropriate to expect them to stay home and forgo this necessary protocol for their health and well-being.]
3. Joyce Katzman: Glenville Drive. Problem with dogs…my next-door neighbor. I have been bitten last year. My neighbor’s dog…the other day, my puppy – this dog – he bit my forearm, my puppy, no leash; this person has three dogs…now I am fearful…you’re supposed to only have two dogs…I filed a written complaint. Deborah and Rich Ruskin [former HOA president] can do nothing about it because this dog belongs to her sister…Harvey knows…I was also told by Deborah that the community is not responsible. Deborah: I never said that. Joyce: Deborah said that this was a personal issue between you and her. I called my attorney, and he told me that this community is responsible. I called you today, I wanted her rabies report, you never called me back. My forearm is swollen.
Deborah: I gave it to you yesterday. The Board and I are discussing this. Marion: did you go to the doctor? Joyce: I did not. He sent me medication. I’m a nurse…off the leash…Harvey: this is not on the Agenda; it should not be part of the First Residents’ Input Session. It is totally inappropriate to bring it up. Joyce: I spoke with Marion and was given permission to speak.
[Editor’s note: In no way do we wish to minimize the seriousness of this issue, but we could not help but note that the claim was made that the biting dog was not the homeowner’s dog and this immediately reminded us of a classic scene in filmdom: The Pink Panther Strikes Again is a 1976 fil about Inspector Jacques Clouseau and the attempts to kill him by his former boss. It was directed by Blake Edwards and written by Blake Edwards and Frank Waldman. The scene went as follows, with both Clouseau and the Clerk having the appropriate foreign accents:
Inspector Clouseau: Do you have a rheum?
Munich Hotel Clerk: I do not know what a "rheum" is.
Inspector Clouseau: [ Checks his translation book] Zimmer.
Munich Hotel Clerk: Ah, a room!
Inspector Clouseau: That is what I have been saying, you idiot. A rheum. [gesturing to the hotel's dog] Does your dog bite?
Munich Hotel Clerk: No.
[Clouseau bends down to pet the small dog; it immediately growls and bites him.]
Inspector Clouseau: I thought you said your dog did not bite!
Munich Hotel Clerk: That is not my dog.
4. Vicki Roberts: I agree with Sue and Eileen. Put the Committee reports on the next Agenda; you didn’t give notice.
[Editor’s note: Marion declined to do so and went forward with the one Committee report as she wanted to do. (Whatever Lola Wants, Lola Gets…Damn Yankees, 1955, music and lyrics by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross, most memorably sung by Gwen Verdon.)]
Approval of Minutes: September 2, 2020 – Lind Arbeit: Motion to approve the Minutes of September 2, 2020. Second: Harvey. Marion: all in favor? Unanimous.
Treasurer’s Report: [Editor’s note: this was provided to the community via email and is self-explanatory.]
Property Manager’s Report: Deborah Balka: Palm Beach Broward [landscaping company] – mows left are 21-22 and 29-30…storm clean up completed today…[spoke way too fast]…palm trimming now on common area…irrigation break at the clubhouse…all repairs have been made…flu shot, more than 120 shots were given on Tuesday, returning October 20…Hotwire will be broadcasting on the High Holidays…refunds, the Board has agreed to refund Jessie Hamilton, New Year’s Eve, and the 2021 Series…database has to be completed…expect a good month before checks can be processed by corporate…lights…account balances, emails went out today…October 1 quarterly maintenance is due.
Marion: Committee report from Facilities?
[Editor’s note: Eileen (and Sue) properly objected to this because of the lack of notice, as stated above. Eileen is the liaison to the Facilities Committee. Why doesn’t Eileen have the right to hold off on this report as she requested as the liaison? We understand that the President is in charge of running the meeting, but that does not give Marion carte blanche to break the rules. It appears that Marion snubbed the Board liaison with her insistence on proceeding with this report for which another equal Board member is the liaison to that Committee. Also, there was no vote to allow this addition to the Agenda.]
[Editor’s note: Phyllis Martin-Hirsch is the Chairperson of the Facilities Committee. She was kind enough to promptly email your Editor her report so that the entire community can have a complete record. We thank Phyllis for doing so; here is her report as sent to your Editor:]
“Facilities Committee Report
September 16, 2020
The full Committee met to discuss the budget submission for 2021 and going forward into 2023. Also discussed was the long range plan to upgrade the community and the significant role of this committee in the implementation of such plan. It was noted that committees work in tandem to accomplish such goals.
The Committee voted unanimously to recommend to the BOD that certain items in the budget should be bundled and placed in the 3-5 year program for upgrades and set for a community vote.
Two additional estimates are in the process of submission for consideration: road paving and signage. Both will be submitted prior to meeting with the Budget Committee.
All proposals and estimates will be brought to the full committee for discussion and recommendations.
Facilities is anxious to work with Long Range Planning, Landscaping, Engineering, and all other committees dedicated to the beautification of our community.
Chair, Facilities Committee”
[Editor’s note: Once again, there is not even a discussion about pursuing Hotwire for all the money it owes to the HOA – see the August 28, 2020 synopsis and commentary, wherein in August we calculated a minimum of $72,000 owed plus $3,000 per month thereafter for every month that the voice remotes purportedly required by the written contract remain undelivered. So now, since this is September, we’re up to a minimum of $75,000 and still no action reported by the Board with respect to this issue.
They are purportedly busy scrounging around for nickels and dimes and yet they apparently don’t pursue an obvious source of major funds due to the HOA. Is this another example of fiscal irresponsibility? We ask; you decide.
And by the way, our calculations assumed one voice remote per household. In reality, most homes would have a minimum of two, one for the living room TV and one for the bedroom TV, so theoretically that number should be doubled, thus making the total due as of September 2020 in the amount of $150,000. Why is your Board not pursuing these monies? Why is your Board more concerned about spending your money on lawyers to try and improperly silence your Editor, your Roving Reporter, and this News Site, than on recouping these monies, your monies, which are due back to you?]
1. Food Trucks- Eileen Olitsky. Eileen: 1. I spoke with Philly Grille, they recommend a 4:30 to 7:30 schedule…basically a Hogey…licensed and insured…2. That’s Amore – Italian food- they recommend pre-orders, you pick it up and take it home…3. Outside the Box – sandwiches, tacos, wraps, salads; they want you to pre-order and pick up. 4. Urban Torrie Ice Cream [phonetic] – ice cream truck. All insured and licensed. My motion, to agree to have them twice a month. Linda: Second. Deborah: Question: do any of them do an afternoon event?
[Editor’s note: Question: is Deborah the 8th Board member? Again, her microphone should be muted along with everyone else’s except for Board members and if they need her input they can ask for it and if she has a comment she can raise her hand or type in a Chat just like everyone else.]
Eileen: yes, most start at four; my concern, it’s very, very hot… Mark: I’d like to try one to start, to see how it is, how clean up is,, where located…parking lot…the logistics…I think it’s a great idea. Start with one and see how it works…Eileen: a location in the parking lot…that we can work out…once a month or twice…Harvey: we should start with once month. When do you want to start it? ... Eileen: first week in October. Mark: do we have to offer a minimum amount? Eileen: no. One truck. Except That’s Amore – second truck for the pizza.
Sue: this is the age of Covid. Needs to be monitored. Concerned about logistics. This was done by one social director. As a Board, I have a problem with the Board acting like an entertainment committee…Eileen: I’m the Entertainment liaison. We don’t have an Entertainment Committee. I respectfully disagree with you, Sue…
[Editor’s note: why not contact the pickleball club – all they want to do is party. Which reminds us of that Sheryl Crow hit song, released in 1993: All I Wanna Do Is Have Some Fun…Until the Sun Comes Up Over Santa Monica Boulevard…]
Richard: we don’t have to give them any contract of commitment? Eileen: exactly. Deborah: I will offer my assistance to man the event since you don’t have an entertainment person.
[Editor’s note: again, please contact the pickleball club; they are a hardy group of party animals over there and should be more than happy to man and woman the event. You remember these guys:]
Marion: all interested in the food truck as presented? 6 -1, Sue dissenting. Eileen: starting once a month starting the first week in October. [Editor’s note: that was not the motion “as presented” in Marion’s words; the motion as presented was to have them twice a month and that passed 6-1. Pay attention.] Eileen: I asked for Wednesday nights…
Deborah: who is choosing the vendor? [Editor’s note: be quiet. No one called on you.] Eileen: my suggestion would be Philly Grille or Out of the Box, I can’t even say that; they were all good. Mark: we’ll figure one out. Eileen: if successful, do you want to have ice cream? Someone: yeah. Someone: so we’ll add it.
[Editor’s note: don’t you wish they spent a tenth of the time they spent on this on getting your money back from Hotwire for the non-delivery of the voice remotes? Just askin’…]
2. Report from ad hoc committee on Electronic Voting- Harvey Ginsberg. Harvey: Met with Jeff York, a community association manager; they use Becker Ballots. Marion, myself, Sue, Deb, and him. You need to pass a resolution at least 120 days before the election. The lawyers will write this for us…you have to have a hybrid system; residents have to opt in… [lengthy explanation of details] …My recommendation is that we pass or at least start with the resolution to put in the By-Laws that allows for electronic voting and that we adopt the electronic voting system for the next election. Second: Marion.
[Editor’s note: Whoa, Betty. Not so fast, Kemosabe.]
Sue: we were going to ask the lawyer to draft a resolution and not vote on electronic voting. Eileen: I recommend that we table this for now with the pandemic. Legal fees are an issue as far as even doing a resolution…
[Editor’s note: legal fees are an issue? Who sicced the HOA lawyer on your Editor and your Roving Reporter this time? Own it or disown it, each and every one of you. The members of this HOA deserve an explanation and deserve to know who took their money and threw it in the fire pit.]
Eileen: when it sounds confusing, it is confusing. Marion: I would like us to draw up the resolution and it doesn’t expire…I am sure it is boilerplate from the attorney…and that way we can be ready.
[Editor’s note: hmmm. This Board member seems eager to employ the lawyer…does she have a telephone in her shoe a la Get Smart with a direct line to the lawyer?]
Richard: What’s the cost?
[Editor’s note: did you ask that before one or more of your colleagues on the Board, or maybe even you, paid the lawyer to go after your Editor and your Roving Reporter?]
Marion: $1,080 a year.
[Editor’s note: classic deflection; he asked about the legal fee and she answered about the ballot company.]
Harvey: that’s Becker Ballot. Richard: the lawyer’s fee. Harvey: that’s the cost per year. Vicki Roberts in Chat: What is the lawyer charging?
[Editor’s note: Richard’s question was again not answered.]
Harvey: amend the motion. Motion to have the lawyer draft the resolution to amend the By-Laws. Marion: already have it in there. Resolution is required by the State…we shouldn’t consider the pandemic…Fauci…could not have vaccine until the end of 2021 or into 2022. Mark: I’m still confused. What is our initial cost? Attorney – do you know how much? Marion: no. Vicki Roberts in Chat: Ask the lawyer what his cost is!!! Eileen: the pandemic – I want to provide solace, not confusion. Respectfully, I do not think this is the time to spend money, even if it’s boilerplate…Richard: I have a problem. Before I invest in anything, I want to know what the total cost is…cost to me is very important, before I vote on anything.
Marion: resolution, to get it in our docs so if we decide to go with it we can. [Editor’s note: didn’t she just say that it was already in the documents?] Richard: what’s the cost?
[Editor’s note: how many times does the man have to ask? This is the fourth time he has asked or raised the issue on top of the one time Mark wanted to know and neither received an answer.]
Marion: it’s already in there.
[Editor’s note: more deflection. We have not heard what the lawyer will charge so no, it is not “already in there.”]
Richard: so what am I voting for? Harvey: having a resolution to put in the documents. Deborah: I can contact [the HOA law firm] and find out what the cost is.
[Editor’s note: be quiet, you were not called on and you are not a Board member.]
Richard: I would appreciate that. Sue: I agree. There is lack of clarity in the explanation to what we’re doing. Table it. Present it in a coherent manner.
Marion: ad hoc committee; we have to get their full info…we need to do due diligence here.
[Editor’s note: now that the motion is going down with the ship, suddenly Marion is concerned about due diligence?]
Harvey: everybody wants to know what it’s going to cost [the lawyer].
[Editor’s note: they want to know the lawyer’s fee; the nerve of them to get in the way of passing your motion; the other Board members want to know what it will cost before they vote on your motion, Harvey, which Marion dutifully seconded. How pesky of them.]
[Editor’s further note: why is this being pushed by Harvey and Marion? This is an additional cost of attorneys’ fees and then a yearly additional fee of $1,080 on top of the costs already required to have the voting as it presently exists. How is this fiscally responsible?]
Harvey: …I will table the motion. Marion: all in favor of tabling till the next meeting? [vote unknown, unstated.] Marion: ok, tabled.
1. Discussion of new addition to Rules and Regulations regarding tag and garage sales- Sue Schmer. Sue: …all of you have the proposal. Motion that we approve the prohibition of tag, garage, estate, and open to the public events. Second: Eileen. Eileen: if somebody violates? Sue: I purposely left that out; I wanted to give Linda a break in writing it, and also, if approved, along with other [items], will be emailed to all residents. Mark: let’s say, a spouse passes away, I want to sell my house and I have items here. Estate sales – I am not allowed to sell my merchandise? My furniture? My goods in the house? Linda: you can have a sale, only by private invitation. You can’t call an estate broker and bring in people. Can’t be a public sale.
Eileen: you can’t have open houses but can be by appointment only. Harvey: some consignment people take the stuff out…private sale, similar to showing a house for sale. Schedule people on an individual basis. By appointment only, is acceptable… loss of transponder access for a period of time determined by the Board is too ambiguous. Marion: if we have a specific amount of time it ties your hands.
[Editor’s note: now just a dog-gone minute, people. You cannot take away transponders because you cannot remove the homeowners’ ability to access their home, to ingress and egress for the purpose of getting to and from their residence, you know, like you did with Alex, the erstwhile handyman, except when you wanted him to come back and finish a few things.
And speaking of Alex, the members were informed that he was terminated and not allowed on the property at all, including not allowed to do independent contract work for homeowners. When someone is terminated, they turn in their keys and they are shown the door. However, the members were then told that he was allowed back on the property to complete some work for FirstResidential. So, was he terminated or wasn’t he terminated? If he were terminated, he would never have been brought back in by FirstResidential. If he were not terminated, then why can’t he come in for residents? Since Marion brought this up in the previous Board meeting, the Board owes all members an explanation. At the September 2, 2020 Board meeting, per our synopsis and commentary, Marion stated:
“Marion: Alex was allowed to come back to finish the work he was doing, with his agreement with FirstResidential.”
This necessarily means that he was not terminated. If he came back to do work for his employer, FirstResidential, he was paid as an employee of that company. Ergo, he was not terminated. Therefore, where was the Board vote to allow him back on campus after the Board voted to ban him from the property? And if it were an emergency, where was the ratification of such action by unanimous consent? We know the Board knows how to do that, because that’s how Marion told us he was banned. And since he was not terminated, why is he not allowed on the property for the purpose of engaging in commerce with homeowners?
Now back to the transponder issue. The maximum restrictions that can be assessed against a homeowner are spelled out in the Florida statute and in our own governing documents, and it concerns limiting access to community assets and common areas, not restricting access to and from a home. So, any attempt to pass such a rule would ultimately result in its being void ab initio.
To be clear, Florida statutes and our governing documents specifically detail “violation guidelines.” See our documents, pages 4-16 and 4-17 and Florida Statute 720.305. This new rule is illegal. The Board has no authority to usurp the Florida statute.]
Deborah: we have to state the penalty or determined by the Board. [Editor’s note: be quiet. No one called on you. And you are not part of the “we.”] Deborah: if they’re selling a home, they don’t care if you’re taking their transponder away because they’re leaving. Marion: regarding public garage, estate, tag, or other sales. Sue: it does say “as well as any other public event…” Would you please give me the exact wording…Marion: “to have any public tag, garage, estate, or other sales.” Sue: anywhere within the property of Cascade Lakes. Eileen: we already have no real estate open houses. Marion: yes. Sue: amend the motion to approve the prohibition of…Eileen: Second. How are we going to have family members notified of this rule and how will it affect them? Mark: how about the Caring Committee will notify the family…Marion: that’s not the function of the Caring Committee…Harvey: we can let real estate agents know…Marion: good idea. All in favor of the wording for the prohibition … Unanimous.
[Editor’s note: better take that one back. Transponder access prohibition is très illegal, unless in order to access their homes you want them to jump over the berm and through the bushes, and “over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house we go” or in this case, the Lake Worth Water District Canals.]
[Editor’s further note: to show you just how dumb this is, aside from being heartless to a grieving family who wants to dispose of their loved ones’ items as quickly and painlessly as possible, all you need to do is to have the people have the guard shack call you and then you can invite them in, so now they’re invited, and then once they’re in, and inside your house, it’s no one’s business what business they’re transacting and no one will be the wiser until such time as a nosy neighbor sees someone removing a large wall sconce and two end tables from the home. At that point, the cat is probably out of the bag.
And this brings us to another point: no one should be entering the community without getting past the guard shack. In order to do so, they have to call a resident and get permission. If the guard lets in the “public” en masse, then the guard is remiss. There needs to be a distinction between outside lawn sales, which clearly would impact the quality of the place, versus an indoor “event.” At present, there is no prohibition from someone having a party in their house and inviting 100 people. It’s sort of like having your pre-election teas. No one complains about the cars lined up for those, and in fact, that’s where Marion does a lot of her “Weiling and Dealing,” so you know those will never be prohibited with her at the helm of the ship.]
2. Addendum to existing Rules and Regulations- Sue Schmer. (A)- Sport Center Rules; (B)- Tag Sales. Sue: Sports Center refers to the existing Covid19 Sports Center rules. Motion to add to the existing Covid, that all fans under the tennis court canopies be turned on September 21, 2020. Second: Eileen. Harvey: the wording – should be “may be” turned on. Marion: I agree.
[Editor’s note: is anyone besides us noticing a pattern here in terms of Board member alignments? Let’s just throw it out there: there’s Marion and Harvey and then there’s Sue and Eileen. We also noted on more than one occasion during this Board meeting that Marion appeared to momentarily lose control of the meeting. We don’t mind one bit going on the record as being on team Sue/Eileen and the reason is that they have consistently insisted on everyone following the rules, especially other Board members, and they have been transparent. Harvey was doing a great job at this until for some unknown reason he decided to align himself with Marion. And so far, Harvey’s motions have consistently failed, to wit, the pool Sign-Up Genius and now the Electronic Voting. He also demanded to be removed from our email database, following Marion’s lead. Maybe Harvey ought to rethink his alignment.
And we’re going to go out on a limb here and suggest that perhaps Eileen and Sue didn’t have a clue that the lawyer was sicced on us. And Richard and Mark who are so concerned about the financials: did you two know and are you two concerned about a malicious prosecution? Anyone else want to distance themselves from that costly decision using HOA moneys to try and shut down a News Site which calls out poor decisions and fiscal irresponsibility, and which demands transparency and fairness for all members of the community?
And for the record, this News Site is not just your Editor and your Roving Reporter; there are many members of this community that contribute to this news site and they are so happy we are here because they don’t want the exposure, the bullying, and the shunning and ex-communication, so we take the hits for them because to us, having a voice is more important than any of that.]
Harvey: tread blasters and water fountains I suggest we continue not being used. Eileen: the motion is as stated by Sue. [Editor’s note: well said; we rest our case.] Harvey: why not start tomorrow? Eileen: because that’s the motion and Lee has agreed to it. [Editor’s note: right on.] Sue: because that was the date suggested by the tennis pro to get everything working properly…I made the motion; it was seconded. That motion needs to be voted on as is and if voted down, I will make another motion. [Editor’s note: bravo!] Harvey: can I ask a question, Sue? Sue: you can always ask a question; you can’t ask an answer. Marion: we cannot micromanage how the pro manages the Sports Center. Richard: he’s running the whole thing; let’s rely on what he has to say. Marion: all in favor? Unanimous.
Sue: Motion for the documents dated June 2019, motion to accept the addendum to include the prohibition of tag sales with amended wording, the addition of the permanent generator time use which was previously passed by the Board on September 18, 2019 and the change in the large card room use where we prohibited guests from using the card room from November 1 through April 30. That will be deleted [rescinded]. Previously passes November 6 [or 16], 2019. If approved, will go out in an email blast and will be placed on the Cascade Lakes website so that all residents know what the three addendums are. Second: Harvey…Vicki Roberts in Chat: “was the card room rule rescission voted on?” Marion: all in favor? Unanimous.
3. Discussion: Palm Beach Broward Landscaping Company- Mark Goodman. Mark: concerns came in…flowers…the annuals are not taking…we have over-exceeded on the watering budget…PBB gave us a credit for these flowers…problem with the trimming of the trees…we had several companies come in and gave us proposals. One was $100,000 more; one was $60,000 more…they weren’t anything even major better than what we have here…PBB also said “we admit that we fell down this year…” Got rid of the trimming crew and bringing [brought?] in a whole new crew for the trimming…we just had another major water leak that we paid for…where is this money coming from…
[Editor’s note: you would have had more money if you hadn’t spent it on your vicious campaign of siccing the HOA lawyer on your Editor and Roving Reporter repeatedly over the course of the last year.]
Mark: There’s a lot to look forward to…money is the number one problem…the shade trees are a problem…the Landscaping Committee is doing the best they can…it will happen, I promise.
[Editor’s note: what will happen? What are you promising? Board members ought not be promising anything. Marion did this via email last year to the pickleball club. Stop making unilateral promises. Not only can’t you fulfill a unilateral promise, but it makes you look compromised, and it smacks of elitism and suggests that you think you have more power than the other Board members. News flash: all Board members are created equal.]
Marion: don’t we get fined if we go over our water usage? Mark: yes, we do. Eileen: Landscaping Committee – if anybody was offended, you truly have my apology. My intent – PBB is not doing their job… [litany of issues recited.] … I’m asking for better work style from PBB, that’s my concern. Mark: they are aware we are not happy, and are getting the message. Sue: three one-year proposals. In the contract. Why are these separate? …
[Editor’s note: we have raised this issue for many months now and it is also on a dedicated page on this News Site, Landscaping Issues. It was also repeated in more than one of our synopses and commentaries. We thank Sue for taking the time to see this for what it is: a failure to properly negotiate all potential landscaping issues with one contract with an attached Schedule A, attached to the main contract, as we set forth with specificity. It should all be under one contract with the same expiration date. Failure to do so will continually cost this community more and potential perpetuate inadequate service because we are beholden to different contracts at different time schedules so we cannot negotiate the best rates.]
Sue: 2018 mulching proposal - I could not find a price…any ever sent for bidding? Mark: it always goes out for bidding. Deborah: we’ve used two other mulching companies.
[Editor’s note: be quiet. No one called on you or asked you and you are not the 8th Board member.]
Sue: maybe we should look for other vendors…I agree with Eileen: they’re not doing their job. Eileen: other companies, did they include the tree trimming? Apples to apples? Deborah: Apples to Apples – we gave them specs. Eileen: when we were looking for new vendors – Mark: $100,000 and $60,000 – just tree trimming. Sue: where is the cost. I couldn’t find it in the contract. Richard: it’s a proposal; every year they give us a price; we accept it or we don’t... Sue: we did accept it; how can I find out what we paid? ... How much did it cost? Richard: $95,000.
[Editor’s note: oh, so it wasn’t a proposal. It was an actual contract or contracts. And by the way, we have unsigned copies of these separate proposals which became contracts according to the above testimony, because we demanded them as is our right under the Florida statute. The 2019 mulching “proposal” was $4,420; the 2019 Hardwood Care “proposal” was $46,000, and the 2019 Palm Trimming “proposal” was $46,200. The total was $96,620.00 to be exact. Any Board member is free to contact us with any questions about the details because, among other things, we specialized in small city government contracts and RFPs (Requests for Proposals) and in school district contracts, and all of those entities were a heck of a lot larger than our little HOA. These contracts are peanuts compared to the ones we dealt with.]
Marion: As a Board member you can look at every contract, every bill paid.
[Editor’s note: as an HOA member, all of you have that right, too. That’s how we got copies of the contract, the addendum, and the proposals. All residents are allowed to see all vendor contracts by law. You’re paying for it; you have the right to see what you’re paying for. In fact, even the lawyer’s contract is subject to discovery; it’s a vendor contract just like any other vendor contract. The itemized billing might be redacted in part with respect to purported privileged matters, but that’s a different issue.
So, how much did you pay for Marion and perhaps others on the Board to go after your Editor and your Roving Reporter, this time, and the last time (in October 2019), and at the kangaroo court hearing regarding your Editor’s outrageous suspension from the HOA message board for 30 days for posting the truth about the fact that Marion was conducting secret board meetings contrary to statute, which hearing said lawyer attended (see the January 8, 2020 synopsis and commentary for a refresher). All of these instances were colossal wastes of money and actually potentially have exposed the HOA to a lawsuit from us for harassment and other damages that the HOA might have to pay if they were foolish enough to try and pursue such frivolous litigation. How much? And what did you get for all those thousands of dollars spent on these specific legal fees? Now you know where some of the money for the flowers on Cascade Lakes Boulevard went.
By the way, we recently named that January 8, 2020 synopsis and commentary: “Death of a Canary and Rise of the Phoenix.” While your Editor has full access to the HOA message board, that bird has voluntarily flown into the mine; from the ashes of that pyre rose the Phoenix – this News Site. Credit to your Roving Reporter for coming up with that title.]
Richard: Give me a list of items you want to know what we spent, and I will give you the exact dollar amount. Sue: Great. I think the residents should be aware of what we’re spending and what we’re getting from our vendors.
[Editor’s note: Great. What was spent on the lawyer to go after us in October 2019, then when he showed up at your Editor’s bullshit message board disciplinary hearing aka kangaroo court on January 8, 2020, and most recently in late August 2020 when he was again sicced upon us? We have a right to know and so do you. You paid for that lawyer on at least three separate occasions and remember, at the February 19, 2020 Board meeting, they were referred to as a “Cadillac” law firm, so you paid a pretty penny (see our February 19, 2020 synopsis and commentary, affectionately called “Ringers and Cadillac Lawyers” in homage to the pickleball club’s use of outside non-Cascade Lakes ringers in lieu of paid members who were on a waiting list to play and in homage to said law firm).]
Mark: every resident is able to look at…Sue: I need to get the info so if I’m asked... [Editor’s note: we’re asking.] Marion: every year, a financial statement is available for every resident.
[Editor’s note: that does not break down the lawyer’s fees in terms of particular issues, and you know it, Marion. This is another deflection. What did you spend on the lawyer to go after us and when and where was the vote to do so? The members of this HOA have a right to know how you spent their money, your justification for doing so, and the procedure by which you did so.]
4. APC- Sidewalk Replacements $1,600.00 -Marion Weil. Marion: sidewalk replacements - $1,600 – to remove and dispose of cracked slabs on Landon Circle and Cascade Lakes Boulevard…dangerous…motion we approve; Second: Mark. Marion: all in favor? Unanimous.
Second Residents’ Input Session:
1. Joyce Winston: 1. Sales events: no mention if transponders were going to be banned issue. Is that part? Since I’m typing them up. This “may” result in owner’s transponder being taken away…2. Harvey, electronic elections – it was not clear…pubic elections, they can see you already voted…how can you tell…Harvey: they know. 3. Large card room – I’m a little bit confused. The motion was never removed…if you’re rescinding it, on what basis? Marion: November 6, it was deleted. Joyce: so it’s in the record. Marion: yes. Joyce: I would like to be included. Marion: you will.
2. Judie Delman: If a resident passes away and is single and no one is living in the house or the resident leaves…and need to get rid of the furniture…do they do that on the computer? How do they actually get rid of the stuff? ... Marion: a lot of people will come in and take all the stuff at once. By appointment is ok.
[Editor’s note: as we stated above, they could simply be instructed to tell the guard shack that they are here to see so-and-so, the guard calls the homeowner, and they’re “in like Flynn.”]
3. Roberta Alter: 1. I am against electronic voting. $1,100 and confuse people…2. Tag sales – some of your wording says no outside sales; we sell tickets to shows. 3. Food truck- Miles recommended it 15 years ago. I don’t think one time a month for 1,100 residents with one type is good…Eileen: we’re just testing the first one…vendors are very agreeable to working time frames…if success, I’ll do it two weeks later…
4. Barbara Gordon: I’ve listened to a ton of expenses coming up…to now spend $1,100 for electronic voting and to pay a lawyer to draw up…is a tremendous waste of money. It shouldn’t be tabled for the next board meeting. It should be tabled for a good year.
5. Vicki Roberts: I think Joyce covered this, but was the card room rescission previously voted on? Marion: yes. Vicki: thank you.
6. Jeffrey D. Green: Wycombe. 1. I’m all for food trucks. Chairs in the parking lot – won’t work…need clean up…you’re gonna move the clocks ahead – it’s gonna be dark at 5:00. 2. Electronic voting – once you start dealing with the attorney, you know the cost is going to be great.
[Editor’s note: what did they spend going after us on at least three separate occasions? Let’s get the accounting on that and find out who authorized it, with or without a vote.]
Jeffrey: 3. Phase Two – has the Board discussed adding more people to the pool?... 4. Is anything happening with universal telephone? Mark: I’ve been speaking with Magic Jack and Ooma, working on proposals…
[Editor’s note: make sure that you don’t shove it down all of our throats and make sure it’s an optional opt-in only. Let’s not practice socialism here under a “spread the wealth” policy by forcing many residents to subsidize other residents’ desire to have a “land line.” And who is working on the Hotwire refund?]
Eileen: food trucks – the motion, I didn’t mention eating there…I agree with you…I didn’t make a motion of people eating there…for now, primarily for picking it up and taking it home.
7. Stephen Sussman: since the trimming crews had to be replaced, has the Board gotten a credit from them for their poor service? Marion: no. Deborah: absolutely not; trimming has been very good this year. They are behind schedule. [Editor’s note: be quiet, no one called on you or asked you and you are not the 8th Board member; again, nothing personal.] Stephen: I’m in Glenville pod. We don’t have flowers, we always go last…Deborah: you and I discussed this earlier today. Stephen: but the Board hasn’t. We’ve always been the last pod…maybe it should always be rotated…
[Editor’s note: that sounds reasonable and fair. I believe Deborah then stated that they do rotate the order and Stephen strongly disputed that; but either way, if this is not being implemented then it should be.]
Marion: we’ll look at it, Stephen.
[Editor’s note: don’t hold your breath, but do keep us apprised of the matter going forward.]
8. Phil Berman: At the August 28th [Board] meeting, a motion with strong wording passed, demanding that they give us the upgrades and the voice remotes. Has a schedule for distribution been received? Marion: no, they are protecting their technicians. Only if there is an emergency. So we’re putting them off.
[Editor’s note: Marion, you ignorant fool (which is our opinion; don’t waste any more of the members’ money by complaining to the lawyers again. In our opinion, we’re not making you look like an idiot – you’re doing that all by yourself, and it’s our money that you are mishandling). Your statement that “we’re putting them off” is outrageous and no way to run a business. By affirmatively “putting them off” you are potentially waiving the HOA’s rights to recoup what we have now calculated to be upwards of $150,000 and counting as we explained above. Many or perhaps most homeowners even have three TVs and would be entitled to three voice remotes, so that would potentially be closer to $225,000.
And this failed distribution and contract breach occurred over a year before the pandemic hit. It appears as if you are protecting Hotwire to the detriment of the members of this HOA. It seems as if you have your allegiance backwards. Or perhaps you simply do not know what you are doing. And who is the “we” to whom you refer when you stated: “we’re putting them off” and who voted on that course of action?
Furthermore, the pandemic has nothing to do with a contract provision that was already breached. It is also a fact that we see the Hotwire trucks all over the neighborhood frequently. So, this excuse is nonsense.
You have no business waiving anything: you have no authorization to do so, you are a simple Board member just like every other Board member, and there was no vote. You get to control the meeting and sign documents, and that’s it. And those documents can only be signed after you have appropriate approval from a quorum of Board members at a duly noticed meeting. There should be an emergency Board meeting to address this because Marion has been out of line too many times and enough is enough. Board members: reign her in and vote for a new President. Put in Sue or Eileen, because they have shown to respect the rules and to follow them and they are trying to be fiscally responsible.]
Marion: It has to be set up with a new box. It takes 20 to 25 minutes.
[Editor’s note: not our problem; it’s their problem.]
Phil: I just got a completely new system from Comcast – they FedExed me the boxes, and I was able to set it up myself. Marion: Hotwire runs different.
[Editor’s note: not our problem; their problem. Stop enabling them to continue to breach the contract and screw this community out of what the community paid for and stop letting them off the hook for the $150,000+ they owe this HOA as we described. And the rest of the Board members: why so silent?]
9. Shelly Andreas: [Landscaping Co-Chair with Barry Gordon]: Sue, three things you are discussing are not contracts. The mulch was passed in November…Sue: I know. Shelly: What we have is just as good as everybody else…Sue: the problem is the oversight with the vendors…
[Editor’s note: Sue, thank you for reading our News Site where we pointed this out specifically; there is no follow through or follow up, over and over again, and no final payment should be paid until that process is complete and signed off and it should be part of every single contract.]
Shelly: we have been trying…so many shade trees that things do not grow…annuals, we spend too much in water…[Editor’s note: weren’t we using recycled water from the lakes?]…we are trying for perennials and different sod cover…and it’s the cost…tree removals…
10. Roberta Alter: October gets dark at 7, not at 5. I’m in the pool, 20 [people] is still crowded…indoor pool with the fan…Marion: has to have fans on; the virus in the air stays there. Roberta: Hotwire – there is no call-waiting…Deborah: email me. [Editor’s note: be quiet. No one called on you. You are not the 8th Board member.]
11. Sylvia Hechtman: we are very…what our community looks like – we take the prize for needs improvement. Can we bundle things together with a special assessment – roads, mailboxes…our property values have gone down…go to Ponte Vecchio…beautiful job… [Cascade Lakes] looks terrible…
[Editor’s note: we love it here, with all its flaws! This News Site exists to try and make it even better. We don’t like bundling for special assessments, because some people may like one aspect of the bundle but not others; it is better to keep issues separate. The mailboxes are not subject to a community vote; they are submitted for approval to the Architectural Review Board: read our dedicated Mailboxes page. Road resealing was previously calculated by a resident to come to about $75 per household, and we believe it is well worth it; read our Road Resealing page. As to the claim that the property values have gone down: are you moving? We would hate to see you go, as we adore you! And property values are dependent on many different factors, not just appearance. Anyway, please stay.]
Round Table Discussion:
Sue: my sister said it all. [Editor’s note: Sylvia Hechtman is Sue’s sister.]
Richard: the process of doing the 2021 budget – 80% of the operating budget is contracts – all except for the Tennis Pro have escalation clauses 2 to 5% and Lee is now working seven days a week and not asking for additional compensation.
[Editor’s note: we will all stipulate that Lee is a mensch!]
Harvey: To all who observe, have a sweet and happy New Year.
Marion: motion to adjourn? Mark: motion to adjourn. Eileen: Second. Sue: do we need a vote? Marion: we’re taking it as a silent vote; everybody raise their hand. 8:58pm.
[Editor’s note: Once again, a big shout-out to Zoom operator Mike Blackman and his faithful assistant, Arnie Green, for doing a great job administering the Zoom meetings. We thank them for their continued service and volunteerism.
And so concludes the board meeting of September 16, 2020; next Board meeting: October 7, 2020 at 9:30am. Cheerio until next time.]