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Editor's note: The October 7, 2020 Synopsis and Commentary was ready to post on Friday, October 9, 2020. The host server's website building tool was down. We therefore offered this alternative so that you can read the report without any further delay. Here is a direct link to our main site: CascadeLakesResidents.com.
Here is the October 7, 2020 Synopsis and Commentary:
"Three Dog Night"
10/07/20 BOD MEETING: SYNOPSIS AND COMMENTARY BY VICKI ROBERTS WITH ASSISTANCE FROM ARTHUR ANDELSON
Posted October 11, 2020. Your Editor provides the following synopsis of the October 7, 2020 Board meeting, with assistance from your Roving Reporter, and with commentary indicated in bold blue.
The Synopsis is coming! The Synopsis is coming!
Ok, not the midnight ride of Paul Revere, but close enough.
Editor’s Opening Monologue:
This edition is entitled: “Three Dog Night”
Three Dog Night is an American rock band that was formed in 1967. As the story goes, the band’s name originated when vocalist Danny Hutton's then girlfriend, the late actress June Fairchild (best known as the "Ajax Lady" from the Cheech and Chong movie Up In Smoke) suggested the name after reading a magazine article about Aboriginal Australians, in which it was explained that on cold nights they would customarily sleep in a hole in the ground while embracing a dingo, a native species of wild dog. On colder nights they would sleep with two dogs and, if the night were freezing, it was a "three dog night."
Personally, we don’t care if you have three dogs here at Cascade Lakes. We love dogs. The more the merrier. It’s their behavior that is the defining factor. However, our opinion in this regard is irrelevant because the Articles of Incorporation of this HOA and the Rules and Regulations control.
The Articles of Incorporation of this HOA concerning dogs and other domestic animals is found at Article VIII, Section I, pages 1-16 to 1-17. The first part of this section limits residents to two of these types of domestic animals, in any combination (two dogs, two cats, or one dog and one cat), and the right to have them is a “conditional license.” This section also then mandates that these identified animals must be “appropriately licensed by a government agency.”
Obviously, this rule does not refer to fish or birds, because neither of those is required to be licensed by any government agency and those types of creatures are either tanked or caged and don’t require a rabies certificate. Can you imagine trying to get government licenses for your guppies or goldfish? Good luck with that.
In the second part of this section in the Articles of Incorporation it states that the Board, at its discretion, can terminate this conditional license upon a finding that the “dog or other pet vicious, is annoying to other residents, or has in any way become a nuisance.” (We note the missing verb, to wit, the word “is” after the word “pet.”)
And now on to the story.
It was a Dog Day Afternoon – not the 1975 movie starring Al Pacino about a botched bank robbery, but much more localized. One resident claims her next door neighbor has three dogs and that one of them attacked her late husband and also bit her twice, most recently a few weeks ago when it was purportedly off leash (also verboten by our Rules & Regulations, #5b, page 4-5). According to Resident #1, this unleashed dog came on her property and attacked her new puppy and her, traumatizing her puppy and drawing blood from the bite on her forearm, for which she bore the remnants of teeth marks. Resident #1 provided the following photo for this news report:
Resident #1, the alleged victim, initiated contact with this News Site. Resident #1, who identified herself at the September 16, 2020 Board meeting when she disclosed her claims to the community at large, was interviewed. Resident #2 is the alleged dog owner.
Resident #2, who lives next door to Resident #1, declined the equal opportunity given by us to present her side of the story for this news report. We contacted her. We got her voice mail. We left her a detailed message. We introduced ourselves, gave our names, our street address, and the name of this News Site. We then stated, “we’re doing a story about the alleged dog bite and we want to give you the opportunity to present your side of the story.” We asked her to call us back and we left our telephone number. We also stated that if we did not hear back from her, “we’ll conclude that you don’t wish to be interviewed.” Resident #2 never returned our call.
Enter Resident #3, who also initiated contact with this News Site. Resident #3 reports: “Thought you would like to know how long this Board has been ignoring the situation which is years. … this lady has had the third dog for a very long time.”
Resident #4, Board member Harvey Ginsberg, lives across the street from Resident #1 and Resident #2 on the northeast portion Glenville Drive. He is purportedly very tight friends with Resident #2. He purportedly has two dogs. Significantly, while at first blush appearing to have nothing directly to do with our dog story, Harvey’s home abuts Cascade Lakes Boulevard and is directly across from the guard shack. Now you may ask, what does the location of his home have to do with this dog tale?
Could it be that a real connection may be lurking in the background? Let’s see if the facts lead us down that dog path.
Upon information and belief, at least half or possibly all of the back perimeter of Board member Harvey Ginsberg’s home falls within the 316 feet of fence that the Board voted for at the March 18, 2020 Board meeting to have erected at the front exit of the community (the south side of Cascade Lakes Boulevard).
Contrary to Board president Marion Weil’s claim at that meeting which you will read below, the 316 feet extends beyond the beginning of the guard shack island. The swing gate that Harvey wants would necessarily have to go beyond the guard shack and be installed where the exit arm currently exists. Could this be why Harvey wants a fence and gate installed with your HOA money along that area of Cascade Lakes Boulevard that abuts his back yard, to enhance his personal security concerns? Or perhaps there is more to it than that supposition.
In fact, here is the portion of the March 18, 2020 Synopsis and Commentary entitled “Hedging About A Fence” on this very matter and note that Harvey makes no mention of the fact that he lives directly across from the guard house, and that appears, in our opinion, to be at least one reason why that fence and gate is so important to him, because it directly relates to his concerns about his personal safety and security, which has nothing to do with the safety and security of the rest of the community.
This community has been around for twenty years and all of a sudden it’s a problem when he is in his second year as a Board member? That’s a little too cozy for us over here at the News Site. He is certainly welcome to install his own fence along the perimeter of his property line, but of course why would he do that when he can have you pay for essentially the same thing? As you will see below, the total cost of his project is $62,710 according to his own statement. That comes out to be $104.52 per homeowner ($62,710 divided by 600 homes).
So, think of the money he saves by having you pay for his security: it costs him his share, which is $104.52, instead of literally thousands of dollars to a fence company if he did it on his own, along with required permits and ARB approval, the latter two of which are completely bypassed by this Board’s vote, so those hoops that everyone else has to go through are avoided. How convenient.
By contrast, this expenditure doesn’t help those of you whose homes abut the canals where there is no guard shack to offer some security. The common property extends ten feet beyond the back hedges of those homes; we have never heard him suggest a fence around that perimeter. We see men in fishing boats down the canals all the time. We see them fishing on the berm. We see trucks driving back and forth back there constantly. It’s wide open territory.
There is no apparent history that we are aware of concerning hedge jumpers at the front guard shack and yet Harvey is very eager to spend your money ($62,710) on this endeavor. For twenty years this was never an issue, and suddenly, when Harvey joins the Board, it becomes a $62,710 expenditure.
It would have been nice for him to have disclosed the fact that this particularly benefits him prior to this Board vote and in fact, it was incumbent upon him to do so, which he utterly failed to reveal. Here is that section of said synopsis and commentary:
“Item 2: Fence for Cascade Lakes Blvd. Marion: south side of the fountain almost to the island of the guardhouse. 316 feet. $10,550. The north side is 332 feet, $10,820. Three channel, one post. The pedestrian side gates $2,620, mechanical. Alan: One at a time. Eileen: two at the same time, then next year for the gates. Harvey: I agree, we need to plan for the whole project, $62,710. $38,700 swing gates. Some will have to go for a community vote. Marion: we’re not doing the gates.
[Editor’s note: that’s one way to avoid a community vote, do it piecemeal so it doesn’t reach the threshold amount requiring a community vote.]
Harvey: do the fences now, the pedestrian gates next year, the swing gates the following year, if we can get it done so we don’t need a community vote. [Editor’s note: I rest my case.] Marion: Motion to put fences up on the north and south side of Cascade Lakes Blvd. and with two pedestrian gates for now with the caveat that we have money because this is not a budgeted item; we can use the money from the social director.
[Editor’s note: this is the money that was set aside for the social director’s contract which was not renewed, which upon information and belief and my memory was about $25-26K.]
Harvey: second. Alan: I respectfully disagree. The south side is an emergency to be done immediately. The north side, there is not a significant risk and can be delayed. To approve the entire project now is a mistake. Facilities wants to do a whole bunch of things. It is part of long-term planning; we should not approve piecemeal a long-range plan. Eileen: Rapid Fence – before we sign – talk to him. Marion: he said he would work with us. It is all manufactured in the U.S. Eileen: I would like it in writing now. [Editor’s note: discussion re price ensued, crosstalk.]
Deborah: the north side, it is beneficial to put the gate behind the hedge, not in front of the hedge…Marion: motion for Rapid Fence on the south and the north side of Cascade Lakes Blvd. (not including the pedestrian side gates), Second: Jerry. Board Member: $10,550 south side; $10,820 north side, $21,370 total. Marion: speak with Pedro, to see if he can do much better on the pedestrian side gate and [other] gates. Motion passes, 5-1-0. [Alan opposed; Mark not present.]”
Notice that the motion was made by the tag team of Marion and Harvey; Marion made the motion and Harvey seconded the motion. You remember these two, the “Dynamic Duo” who were the driving forces behind, among other issues, the twice failed Sign-Up Genius for pool reservations (July 15, 2020 Board meeting and August 5, 2020 Board meeting, where Harvey made the motion twice and Marion seconded it twice), and the failed push for electronic voting and paying the lawyer to draft a resolution (September 2, 2020 Board meeting where Harvey and Marion formed an ad hoc committee with Sue and then at the September 16, 2020 Board meeting where Harvey made the motion and Marion seconded it).
By reference to “Dynamic Duo,” we’re not referring to Batman and Robin here.
…Holy ballot machines, Batman!
Does anyone besides us detect a pattern here? We have just shown you three Agenda items in the last few months (with two of the three repeating themselves: fences and gates, Sign-Up Genius, and electronic voting) where this tag team takes turns between making and seconding a motion, and all three Agenda items in our opinion are a frivolous waste of time and your money. And when Richard, another equal Board member, repeatedly asked what the lawyer was charging for the electronic voting resolution, neither one of this tag team which brought and seconded the motion answered his question. Finally, when they realized it was going down in flames, it was tabled to supposedly get more information and now it appears on the October 7, 2020 Agenda again.
But alas, we digress…or do we? … hmmm …could there be a connection to the dog story?
Now, back to the canine chronicle.
Resident #1’s assertion as to Resident #2’s purported position is as follows:
It’s simple Dog Math: One Plus One Plus One Equals Two (1 + 1 + 1 = 2). I have two dogs, Chinese hairless Chin Chins; my sister has one dog, also a hairless Chinese Chin Chin. Her dog lives with me. Ergo, I still have two dogs. But it’s ok anyway, because I watch Board member Harvey Ginsberg’s dogs for free when he’s away, like the time he went to Israel, so I’m safe.
Sounds to us like Harvey wants to pay just $104.52 for a fence along his back perimeter and you subsidize the rest, and also get free dog-sitting, so who still thinks that Board members are just “volunteers?”
Quiz: How many Chinese hairless Chin Chins do you see below? Well, it appears that it depends entirely upon whom you ask.
Now, don’t get too stuck on this new Chin Chin math. We know that at least one Board member, Harvey Ginsberg, wants this Chin Chin story to be gone like the dog days of summer, because he tried to shut it down at the previous Board meeting, and according to our interview with Resident #1 below, allegedly went ballistic after that Board meeting about the fact that it was mentioned publicly. But fear not, this story may continue to dog him.
And while it is true that it was mentioned in the First Residents’ Input Session at the previous Board meeting and should have more properly been raised at the Second Residents’ Input Session, since it was not about an Agenda item, nevertheless, Resident #1 had every right to raise it at the public Board meeting and the President, Marion, who controls the procedure of the Board meeting, let her speak during the First Residents’ Input Session. The Second Residents’ Input Session allows residents to speak on any topic, period. So, either way, this story was coming out.
This Chin Chin story is not going away, “not by the hair on my chinny chin chin!” Oops, those were the three pigs. Sorry, wrong vertebrate.
Resident #1 telephoned your Editor and Roving Reporter on September 19, 2020 at 11:44am. The call lasted for 27 minutes. The following is based on Resident #1’s statements; they are not the statements or opinions of this News Site or its staff unless specifically noted by way of “[Editor’s note].”
Resident #1 stated that Resident #2’s dog [Editor’s note: or dog in residence, if you prefer] bit her late husband two years ago. She stated that the dog attacked Mandy, Resident #1’s dog. Resident #1 stated that she complained to the property manager, Deborah. “She gave me the wrong information; she said the dog belongs to her sister. I said the documents say that there can be no more than two animals at any given time.”
She continued, “At 3pm the other day, on my own property, her dog was off leash and attacked me.” She then stated, “Harvey Ginsberg went to Israel and left her with five dogs.” Resident #1 stated that they were barking, and it was crazy. Because of the incessant barking, Resident #1 advised that she went next door to Resident #2’s house, and stated that Resident #2 stated, “no fucking neighbor is going to make me move” and then closed the door in Resident #1’s face.
Resident #1 stated that Deborah, the property manager, told her that she “cannot bring it up at a Board meeting.”
[Editor’s note: if this is true, that Deborah made this statement, this is flat out wrong; any resident has the right to bring up any matter at the Second Residents’ Input Session.]
Resident #1 stated that Deborah told her to “write an incident report.” Resident #1 stated that she “spoke with Marion,” the president of the HOA, who was “very sympathetic.” Resident #1 stated that Marion told her that “Harvey was livid.”
[Editor’s note: it appears to your Editor that she meant he was livid at the fact that she spoke about it publicly at the Board meeting.]
Resident #1 then stated that this is “Harvey’s free dog-sitter; they exchange each other’s dogs with each other.”
[Editor’s note: now just one dog-gone minute. If this is true, this would mean that during certain periods of time, Board member Harvey Ginsberg has in his possession on his property and in his residence a total of 5 dogs, the three purported dogs from Resident #2 plus his dogs, according to Resident #1. With 5 dogs allegedly in his custody, one might suggest that he’s running a kennel over there. Perhaps this is why he wants you to pay for a fence across his backyard. You see how this all comes together?
Nothing says happy like getting a great deal…
Or, in the words of Mel Brooks playing King Louis XVI in the 1981 film, History of the World, Part I, “It’s good to be the king.”
Later that night, strictly in our imagination: “Martha, I can’t believe we’re getting away with this! Why didn’t I think of this sooner and run for the Board years ago?”
The next day, also strictly in our imagination, Marion to Harvey: “Rule of Engagement Number One: Next time, don’t make it so obvious!”
Your Roving Reporter drove the location where Harvey lives and along Cascade Lakes Boulevard up to the fountain and observed that the hedges are so thick there that no one could hop over them or squeeze through them without getting severely cut up. And who would attempt to breach the community right across from the guard shack which is also the most highly trafficked and lit area? Even stupid criminals are not that stupid to choose a location where they would most likely be seen. It’s well lit, there’s a guard on duty, and there’s unpredictable traffic.
By contrast, the back hedges along Piper’s Glen are easily penetrable and accessible once you traverse the canal. Also, along Grove Ridge Lane and Landon Circle, anyone can walk through almost any area along that entire stretch with nary a scratch and they’re in. The entire fleet of the Spanish Armada could have sailed down the canal, disembarked under the cover of darkness, and taken over the community because there are no barriers or impediments anywhere along there.
For example, prior to COVID19, a nice young man entered the community and was trying to sell candy bars until he was politely escorted out. He most certainly did not enter through Harvey’s hedges because he had no scratches and no leaves dangling from his hair. For the record, he was a very nice person, and your Roving Reporter was pleased to meet him when he was walking with our dog (on a leash), but the gentleman did not have permission to solicit candy sales on campus. By the way, attempting to discipline him by revoking his non-existent transponder would have proven futile.
So, the real security issue is nowhere near Harvey’s hedges; it’s where you keep your wallet, which may be the most unsecure item in your home when you have this type of leadership at the helm of this community. It is worth repeating what Harvey stated at the March 18, 2020 Board meeting as quoted above:
“Harvey: do the fences now, the pedestrian gates next year, the swing gates the following year, if we can get it done so we don’t need a community vote.”
How does that make you all feel? He wants to get this done and do an end-run around your voting rights by splitting it up as separate expenditures so that each individual expense does not exceed the Board’s legal limit of spending your money without the necessity of a community vote. And in our opinion, he is so arrogant that he says it brazenly out loud without regard to the consequences of his words. Needless to say, this is quite disturbing. There are only five houses there, and he is the only Board member that lives in that area, and he is the one who pushed this through along with his tag-team partner, Marion, and piecemealed it to bypass an otherwise required community vote.
That being said, in our opinion, if Harvey wanted a fence for his backyard for his alleged doggie dare care/playground/dog park or for his alleged so-called “security” from non-existent hedge jumpers, he could have done what the rest of you would have been required to do: put in an application with the Architectural Review Board (ARB) of this HOA, get approval, and pay for it out of his own pocket. That would have cost him a few thousand bucks. This way, he pays $104.52 for his backyard perimeter. So much for claiming that a Board member is a “volunteer” when they can vote to obtain thousands of dollars of benefits to allegedly operate a non-profit kennel, which is actually an alleged barter system in this case so it’s not really non-profit, and allegedly obtain a benefit which otherwise would have cost thousands of dollars.
So, as it turns out, it appears to us that this Board vote on a fence and gate for that area is directly related to the dog story. Who woulda thunk it? Now back to the interview.]
Resident #1 stated that “if your mailbox is dirty, you get a letter from Deborah.” She stated, “I had a bamboo rack outside of my garage for a bathing suit to dry off and received a letter and a photo from Deborah.” Resident #1 went on to state that “if you allow her to have three dogs then everybody can have three dogs;” Resident #1 queried, “How come she is exempt from the laws of this community, and why did Deborah allow this to go on?”
Resident #1 then stated about the three dog issue, “I will start a petition. I will go house to house if I have to.” She continued, “I will sue the Board if I have to. I spoke to my lawyer; the Board is responsible to carry out the By-Laws and laws and the well-being of its residents. I wanted to give the Board a chance to address this themselves.”
Resident #1 stated, “I was holding the puppy and hurt my back. I have a picture… bleeding…broke the skin.” Resident #1 stated that the dog bit her on Sunday, September 13th and that she sent a “written complaint to Deborah on Monday, September 14th. I then called Marion to speak with her.” Resident #1 stated, “Deborah said ‘this dispute is between you and the neighbor’ and then denied that.” Resident #1 stated she spoke with Board member Sue Schmer, and stated, “she pulled the Articles, can’t be changed, says nothing about ownership, there can be no more than two dogs on a given domicile at any given time in this community.”
Resident #1 stated, “I’m gonna wait for the written response a reasonable time.” She then went on to state, “Harvey needs to be recused.” She stated that Resident #2 and “Harvey and Martha, they’re best of friends.” She stated, “At the next meeting, I will pose the question in the Second Residents’ Input Session, are you aware that the property manager has been aware for three years and has taken no action. It’s in the By-Laws.”
Resident #1 then stated that Resident #2 “spoke to Mark Goodman.” [Editor’s note: Mark is another Board member; it is not clear how Resident #1 knows this or learned of it.] Resident #1 stated that Resident #2 “told him it was only a scratch. I was standing there screaming, ‘Help!’ and the dog was loose for the third time. Two times it bit me and once my husband. The last time, it had me by the thigh, my jeans. The dogs are three hairless Chinese Chin Chins. They are known for not having nice dispositions. It was the same dog that bit me before.” [Editor’s note: Your Editor then asked the following question: “how do you know it was the same dog if they are all the same breed?”] Resident #1 responded, “Milo. Different colors. He’s the male.”
Resident #1 stated, “I blame the Board. They’ve had prior notice. The dog was unleashed. They are protecting Harvey’s friend.”
She continued, “Marion said they wrote her a letter. To me, get rid of one dog or she moves. She’s by herself. She’s here about 4 or 5 years. She moved in with two dogs and got this dog. On September 13th I asked for the registration of the three dogs and their history of rabies. They have to be registered in someone’s name. They are probably registered with the AKC.” [Editor’s note: American Kennel Club.]
Resident #1 stated, “that dog has probably been here for four years. If all three dogs are registered with Deborah, I’m calling for Deborah’s resignation. It’s certainly a deviation of policy.” [Editor’s note: we believe she meant a deviation from policy.]
“Coco is my dog,” she stated. “Older dogs love a puppy.” She stated, about the puppy, “She was terrorized. Tuesday at puppy school the trainer said, ‘the dog is traumatized, you have to pay a private trainer, she is terrorized by other dogs in the class.’ She is five months old.”
Resident #1 concluded by stating that “Deborah said this was the only one complaint. That’s not true.” She then stated that a woman whom we will identify as Resident #5 “said that last winter she walked by and it attacked her dog.”
Your Editor then made it very clear that she would not comment and stated: “I’m not giving legal advice.” Resident #1 replied, “Absolutely not; I called my lawyer already.”
That concludes the interview portion of this news report.
Analysis: The issue is not really the number of dogs, because clearly that is not being enforced by the Board; the issue appears to be the alleged leash-less dog’s alleged behavior. If none of the alleged three dogs allegedly misbehaved, there would likely be no story and no one would complain, i.e., they would merely let sleeping dogs lie.
There is, however, real potential HOA exposure if the claim is found to be true and damages can be established, because the HOA Board has clearly been put on adequate notice based on Resident #1’s statements and the historical record if adequately established and proven. So, will someone end up in the doghouse? As this story is still unfolding, we will update you when we have something to report, notwithstanding Harvey’s purported apoplectic outburst. (Hark! Did we just hear a searing scream from the northeast side of Glenville Pod?)
A somewhat larger issue is one we have raised before as a general observation: all residents are created equal, so why is there is an Orwellian appearance that some residents are more equal than other residents?
Excuse me, but the monologue is over as I have been unceremoniously escorted to my room.
Board Meeting: Audio and Video Up and Running; Zoom meeting online starts at 9:30am.
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 Mark Goodman. [Editor’s note: Mark had a flag which he showed prominently, and all Board members stood.]
Marion Weil’s Opening Remarks and Announcements:
[Editor’s note (in our imagination): Marion: “That News Site is still here! Urgggh!!!!”
Others who have sworn to their spouses that they will not read this News Site:
…Hello? Yes, I would like to come over for a short while and borrow your Wi-Fi…
Marion did not provide her written opening remarks to this News Site, so we move on, but not before we note Eileen’s point of personal privilege, which is her right.
Eileen: point of personal privilege. The food truck is coming this evening. As of yesterday, 60 meals were ordered already. They’re good for another 15-20 more meals…starts at 4pm…
This is a new feature of the synopses and commentaries that we will have as warranted and so that your voices can be heard and preserved. Our first entry is from a resident who contacted us on Monday, October 5, 2020 about a particular concern as follows:
A recently widowed resident reported that she is elderly and in a lot of pain and has difficulty walking, especially when having to carry or lug something. She is struggling to put her garbage out to the curb. She reported that recently she put her garbage out at 6:45pm because it was starting to get dark out and she was concerned about falling in the darkened driveway. She stated that Board member Eileen Olitsky, who lives three doors down, happened to be walking by with her husband and screamed at her, “Not until 7pm!” She reported that another resident who was about to do the same with her garbage ran back into her garage and closed her garage door when she heard the alleged scream presumably for fear of also getting caught and screamed at. Shortly thereafter an email blast to the entire community was sent out reminding everyone of the strict 7pm rule.
It is noted that in a short amount of time, the clocks will be turned back, and it will likely be dark at 7pm. Elderly residents face an added danger in having to place their garbage out at the 7pm time when darkness will have fallen. The alternative is to get up early in the morning to do it, but it may still be dark at the morning hour as well.
Perhaps Eileen’s husband could volunteer to help this widowed resident who is in pain, and take her garbage to the curb for her at the appointed hour. Your Roving Reporter has already made that gesture. Mr. Olitsky appears to be hardy and in good health and the Olitskys live a mere three houses down.
The resident who reported this alleged incident also stated that the fountain which was installed a couple of years ago in Lake #1 between the clubhouse and Spring Oak Avenue, where the resident and the Olitskys live, is not in the center of the lake but rather is directly in line with the Olitsky’s home for their optimal viewing pleasure. Your Roving Reporter checked the location and found this not to be true. The resident also reported that the lake is overridden with weeds. Your Roving Reporter checked the location and concluded that it appears to be water grass and lily pads.
So concludes our first edition of our new feature, Residents’ Corner. Any resident who believes they have a relevant story to report or a rebuttal to a story is always welcome to contact your Editor and Roving Reporter to schedule an interview. Publication is strictly at the discretion of the Editor.
And now on to the First Residents’ Input Session.]
First Residents’ Input Session:
1. Arnie Green: the electronic voting resolution, $250, you don’t need the Board’s approval…but last year…wants and needs…we have 600 homes, more than 400 ballots; why do you have to spend $250 for a lawyer for something we don’t need? It takes an hour and a half to count the ballots. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
2. Chuck Cramer: I submit a motion on opening the pickleball courts for open play…we’d like to be open in the evening…Palm Beach County, they don’t require monitoring…Lee has a lot on his plate…rules of mask on and social distancing are being adhered to…why can’t we play at night…consider us having open courts at night.
3. Barbara Gordon: I had the opportunity the other day to speak with the Supervisor of Palm Beach Pools, Lynn Wonisky [phonetic], all restrictions have been lifted…this includes HOAs and 55 and over communities…increase the number of people per session to 30 or 40…there is ample space…Lynn told me these rules were sent to all property managers…so, an additional minimum of 10 people at each session.
Approval of Minutes: September 16, 2020 – Lind Arbeit: Motion to approve the Minutes of September 16, 2020. Second: Harvey. Marion: all in favor? Unanimous.
Property Manager’s Report: Deborah Balka: Palm Beach Broward [landscaping company] – mows: [October] 13-14, 22-23, and a double crew on the 30th. Palm trimming now completed…work orders will now be processed… [Editor’s note: the rest is via mass email blasts from management or otherwise stated elsewhere.] …The budget meeting is Monday, October 19th at 7pm via Zoom. November 4th at 9:30am is the vote on the 2021 budget.
1. Joyce Winston, Rules & Regulations Chairperson:
[Editor’s note: Joyce was kind enough to email your Editor her report so that the community can benefit from seeing everything she stated. Thank you, Joyce. Here is her report, copied and pasted exactly as provided:]
COMMITTEE REPORT OF THE
RULES & REGULATIONS COMMITTEE OF THE
CASCADE LAKES RESIDENTS ASSOCIATION - October 6, 2020
My name is Joyce Winston, and I am the Chair of the Cascade Lakes Rules & Regulations Committee. Over the last few months our Committee was called upon to freshen up some of the language in the Association’s Rules & Regulations that were approved in June 2019.
Some of the language that needed to be refreshed were regarding generators, general rules and rules concerning the use of the large card room. These rules, after being approved by the Board of Directors, were sent out to all members of the Association and may have been placed on the Association’s website.
In addition, now that our Tennis Center has been renamed the Sports Center, it was necessary to rewrite the rules that previously addressed only Tennis play. Our Committee worked with the Sports Director, Lee Sinett, for several weeks to reach a final, eighth version of these new Sports Center Rules. These Sports Center rules address both the Tennis play and Pickleball play and, if approved by the Board of Directors of the Association, will replace the rules that began on page 4-12 in the Rules & Regulations passed in June 2019.
This past Monday, it was brought to my attention that the Pickleball Club promulgated another set of rules for their club, entitled “Policies and Rules.” These rules were not sanctioned by the Board of Directors of the Association, nor are the rules of the Tennis Club, which has been operating with a set of Bylaws that is illegal inasmuch as it is not a corporation. I believe they may have changed the title of Bylaws by now. All that is ever required of clubs and committees of this Association is a Mission Statement to be presented to the Board of Directors each year after a new Board is voted in - and nothing else. Should these rules differ in any way, manner or form from the official rules and regulations written by the Sports Director, in conjunction with the Rules & Regulations Committee of the Association, they will not be considered valid and do not supersede in any way, manner or form how the Pickleball Club may operate under the banner of the Association.
My Committee is asking the Board of Directors to vote on the new Sports Center Rules that were written by the Sports Director and our Committee. Furthermore, we are asking the Board to take under advisement the subject of whether clubs or committees may operate with rules or policies that do not fall under the documents of the Residents Association, especially when a rule may involve “guests” participation at either the Tennis or Pickleball courts. Rules have responsibilities associated with them. We are a Residents Association that follows the rules of the Florida Statutes. Clubs and Committees are governed by the Association and not by themselves.
Joyce Winston, Chairperson, Cascade Lakes Rules & Regulations Committee
2. Shelly Andreas: Co-Chair with Barry Gordon, Landscaping Committee: for myself and Barry Gordon. The Landscaping Committee is working on improving the look on the pod entranceways and Cascade Lakes Boulevard. Mark Goodman will address in item number 6.
3. Sue Schmer for Chairperson Mike Gentry, Long Range Planning Committee:
[Editor’s note: Your Editor emailed Sue Schmer and asked her to email a copy of Mike’s report for this synopsis, which she read out loud on his behalf. She refused via reply email; Your Editor wrote her back: “Why are you forcing me to listen to the recorded tape and have to stop it every three seconds so that I can get down every word, which will take me an additional hour and a half, when you can simply email me the committee report and the motion for me to copy and paste it into the synopsis. Why would you make me do that?” Your Editor received no response.
Your Editor then went to the source. Mike Gentry was kind enough to immediately email me his report for the benefit of the community; thank you, Mike. Here it is copied and pasted exactly as provided:]
Long range Planning Committee Report – Oct. 7, 2020
The Long Range Planning committee held its first and only meeting in early September and outlined its responsibilities and priorities for both 2021/2022, and, in the longer term, 2023 through 2025.
Long range Planning is currently awaiting from the Budget Committee, the completed document listing proposed budgets from every committee so as to begin the process of organizing, analyzing and presenting a comprehensive plan to the Board of Directors with and initial focus on projects to be undertaken in 2021 and 2022.
Further, Long Range Planning coordinated activities and plans with other committees such as Facilities and safety and Security, including information gathering regarding mailboxes, road resealing and signage. While various options regarding how best to accomplish this were discussed, the decision as to how to move forward resides with the Board of Directors.
I would like to thank all LRP committee members for their efforts in implementing a successful long term plan for Cascade Lakes.
Mike Gently – Chairman – for the LRP committee
4. Phyllis Martin-Hirsch, Chairperson, Facilities Committee:
[Editor’s note: Phyllis Martin-Hirsch was also kind enough to email me her report for the benefit of the community; thank you, Phyllis. Here it is copied and pasted exactly as provided:]
Addendum to last Facilities Committee report.
1. All estimates and comments on road work now in the hands of the Board.
2. Awaiting final two estimates on signage. After receipt of additional estimates the committee will discuss and recommend.
3. In the process of forming a sub-committee of members with specific knowledge of roads. Recommend to hire an engineer to consult with this committee to produce a professional recommendation to the Board.
4. Regarding crooked cable boxes, the count is not completed as yet since not enough committee members have volunteered to finish the job. Thank you to those members who have done so. I will make another formal request.
5. Jeffrey D. Green: Chairman, Recreation Committee: the committee has been pretty quiet…budget…we’re not planning on much until reopen…
[Editor’s note: every Committee Chairperson that had written notes prepared for this Board meeting immediately emailed them to your Editor for the benefit of the community at large. Playing “hide the weenie” with a committee report is uncalled for. Providing these written committee reports to this News Site provides transparency and we thank these Committee Chairpersons for doing so.]
[Editor’s note: What? Again, no Hotwire discussion to recoup potentially several hundred thousand dollars of your money?]
[Editor’s further note: The blowback from the payment to the attorneys to go against this News Site and its staff with your HOA money was and is substantial. It is incumbent upon the Board to advise this community who made that fiscally irresponsible decision and why. To date, not one Board member has disavowed that fiscally irresponsible decision and outrageous abuse of power.]
[Editor’s further note: Transponder seizure for having an estate, tag, or garage sale: this was made a new rule and regulation at the last Board meeting. This item is not back on the Agenda. On September 24, 2020, your Editor sent the following email to all Board members and the property manager (receipt of which was promptly acknowledged by President Marion for the Board):
Your Rule & Reg seizing or disabling transponders for violation of your rules (tag sale rule) is 100% illegal under Florida Statute 720.305 (2) (a):
(a) An association may suspend, for a reasonable period of time, the right of a member, or a member’s tenant, guest, or invitee, to use common areas and facilities for the failure of the owner of the parcel or its occupant, licensee, or invitee to comply with any provision of the declaration, the association bylaws, or reasonable rules of the association. This paragraph does not apply to that portion of common areas used to provide access or utility services to the parcel. A suspension may not prohibit an owner or tenant of a parcel from having vehicular and pedestrian ingress to and egress from the parcel, including, but not limited to, the right to park.
As I stated in my Synopsis and Commentary to the September 16, 2020 Board meeting, this new "rule" must be immediately rescinded because it is illegal and you cannot limit access to, or ingress and egress from, one's parcel. Seizing a transponder does just that and is absolutely not allowed.
I am including the Property Manager on this email because presumably she would be the one enforcing this illegal rule at your behest.
Thank you for your immediate attention to this matter.
Under this completely illegal rule, if a transponder is seized or disabled, and that resident leaves the community in their vehicle to buy food at Publix, they cannot come back in through the immediate access gates in the front or the back of the community. Can they get themselves a day pass from the guard shack? Or, will they need to find a place to leave their car and then somehow walk home in the heat and humidity with their groceries, or perhaps call a taxi or a neighbor to come and get them and their perishables. Definitely don’t buy any ice cream because by the time you get home, it will have melted.
The fact that the Board spends their time making up illegal rules and regulations (which would never withstand scrutiny in a court of law) while ignoring real issues, like Hotwire’s alleged debt to the HOA in the hundreds of thousands of dollars which they flatly refuse to pursue, tells you all you need to know about this Board.]
1. Electronic Voting Resolution- $250.- (O) (1,2) Harvey Ginsberg
[Editor’s note: Why is this so darn important to Harvey? How does it benefit the community? There is one community-wide vote per year and the system “ain’t broke,” as Arnie Green pointed out in the First Residents’ Input Session, and the HOA members are already paying FirstResidential to manage it, so why is Harvey pushing so hard for this? Are there no other issues important enough for Harvey to address?]
Harvey: Deborah contacted our attorney and got an estimate of $250 to do the resolution. Arnie has a good point; at this point, given the budget circumstances, we should table this indefinitely. Marion: can’t table until you make the motion. Harvey: motion to table indefinitely until we decide on electronic voting. Second: Eileen. Marion: all in favor? Unanimous.
[Editor’s note: ok, we all know what’s really going on here. This motion didn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of passing, and that’s why Harvey wanted it tabled. Here’s an idea: rather than go through the rigmarole of making and tabling a known failed motion, why not simply take the Agenda item “off calendar” and move on?]
[Editor’s further note: there didn’t seem to be any objection to spending a heck of a lot more money on legal fees in the futile and wasteful effort to go after your Editor and your Roving Reporter and this News Site because of the displeasure with our commentaries. Is that something that Marion did on her own? Per the April 1, 2020 Synopsis and Commentary, Marion mentioned that as president she has a $1,000 discretionary amount per month to spend of your money. We have a dedicated page on this News Site, Presidents Get $1K/Month?, calling that out, since we could find no reference to it in any of the HOA’s governing documents or in the Florida statutes. Where exactly is that written and authorized? Other Board members: why so silent?
In fact, if Marion has this monthly $1,000 discretionary fund of your money, she can go after several residents a month by instructing the HOA lawyer to send them a letter, say at $250 a pop, and in this way, Marion can effectively scare them, bully them, silence them, or do so for whatever reason she feels like, at her whim. Everybody knows that getting a letter from a lawyer is a scary thing, unless you’re the Editor and Roving Reporter of this News Site, in which case, it’s an opportunity to call out this abuse of power and a further opportunity to hone our legal skills.
This has been done to your Editor and Roving Reporter on two separate occasions. Let’s get an accounting of how many times Marion sicced the HOA lawyers on residents that displeased her for one reason or another.
Any other Board member would need Board approval to sic the lawyer on a resident because they don’t have this monthly $1,000 slush fund of your money. And since all Board members are created equal under the statutes and our governing documents, how is this allowed? To date, not one Board member has spoken out about this outrageous abuse of power toward the members of this community. In this situation, every single Board member is not being transparent. So, Board members: are you afraid to speak up or are you ok with this? It’s one or the other, and each time you remain silent, in this News Site’s opinion, it is a dereliction of your duty to the HOA membership at large, and all you are proving is that you are protecting each other, and that’s neither fiscally responsible nor transparent.]
1. Emergency Repair of North Fountain- Cucinotta Pool- (R) (1,3) $1,700 – Richard Greene
Richard: pump burned out, we had to replace it. It was an emergency. Motion to approve $1,700. Second: Harvey. Mark: reserve? Richard: reserve item because we’re replacing an existing pump. Harvey: what’s the warranty…Richard: I don’t know. Deborah, do you know? Deborah: he doesn’t have it on here. I can’t remember. I will find out. Marion: no need to vote, it was an emergency and every Board member said go ahead; this [Agenda item] is just for the community.
[Editor’s note: no ratification of this emergency vote? Why not? This was an expenditure that was over $1,000, so it exceeded the property manager’s $1,000 monthly allowance and Marion’s $1,000 fake presidential monthly allowance. So where is the ratification of the unanimous consent?]
2. Roof Replacement- (R) (1,3) Mark Goodman [Editor’s note: clubhouse]
Mark: We had some leaks. Some ceiling falling down a little bit. We will be needing a new roof…we are going to wait until the end of the hurricane season…we had six bids…we came down to two…will speak to the engineering committee…$380,000 estimate plus one lower; both will come in and discuss with the engineering committee. We’re postponing the motion until I meet with the engineering committee one more time…second strapping not needed, so the estimate came down to $344,000…it includes the fitness center and the guard house…includes gutters… [Editor’s note: more talk about the estimates.]
Eileen: on Pegasus, there is no product warranty, and permits are not included…maybe get three bids, not just two. Deborah: we have all the contracts, six; all will be given to the committee. Sue: anyone check out if other communities have used them…feedback…as my Mom used to say, “sometimes cheap is dear in the long run.” … Mark: that’s why we have an engineering committee. Richard: the engineering committee is getting a detailed contract of what is included and will interview them…Sue: this is one of the largest expenditures…every detail should be listed and negotiated from an advantage point of strength…Deborah: this is all preliminary … Marion: I’m putting this on hold until we get further information.
3. Palm Beach County Phase 3 reopening- (1,2) Marion Weil
Marion: State of emergency still exists…there’s no multi-player games [Editor’s note: someone said, “except members of the same household”] … re-opening we can move on and start to reopen our facilities…Harvey: [clubhouse] - wintertime indoors during flu season is very conducive to the virus; don’t consider until next Spring when hopefully a vaccine is available. Eileen: [fitness center] The CDC said we can have five people in the weight center. Deborah: five on one side, three on the other. Eileen: five in the weight room. Deborah: five on the aerobics side and three in the weight room … Eileen: every other machine would have to be tied off. Marion: we have a small fitness center.
Harvey: the pool, the month of September, on average, approximately 22; 21.75 people are making reservations are making reservations at least four times a week and many…more. We should consider limiting to three times a week… Mark: I’d be totally against that one…wait list…by increasing the number by five or ten suggested by Barbara [Gordon, as stated in the First Residents’ Input Session above], would eliminate that…so I’m for increasing the number…
Sue: Harvey, I do appreciate your efforts, but 22 people at four to five times a week based upon the number of spots available comes to around 15% … if people do not get their first choice, they’re on the phone asking what sessions are available, and that lengthens the wait time for other people to call in. Have people state their preference and one other preference … it will be almost impossible to track if someone is using the pool more than three times a week … we should consider the number of choices people have rather than tie up the phone.
Eileen: I’m totally against this. I’m against penalizing them if they’re only allowed to come three times a week … most of the time, 18 people, some people aren’t even showing up … I’m not opposed to increasing the amount of people … I have people all the time telling me to thank the Board for having the pool … many of the people that are complaining, I don’t understand it. We can all multitask and [Editor’s note: words to the effect of - keep trying to get through on the phone line].
Richard: I like Mark’s suggestion of increasing it. I would like to increase it by ten people… Harvey: I am not insane. I did this as a research thing. I agree with Mark and Richard, propose to increase by ten…and look at using the indoor pool. Motion to increase to ten. Second: Mark and Richard.
[Editor’s note: now pay close attention; Harvey just made a valid and proper motion to raise it to ten, which was duly seconded by not one, but two other Board members. Now watch what happens to that motion.]
Linda: there is no social distancing in the pool … I stopped going to the pool … there is no social distancing … you can increase but not by ten; start by increasing by five and see what happens with that. We are not a public facility; we’re a private community … we should be very careful … increase the pool by three to five, not ten; I do think we can open up the inside pool; it’s open.
Marion: the Health Department told us – if virus, it’s holding up in the air and there is very little room for the air to go out because of the waterfall … Linda: what if we turned off the waterfall? Mark: you have to keep it because all the hot air goes in, and it’s very costly to turn it off. Linda: the YMCA – the fans are on, the pool is completely closed off … Deborah: the fans are going because the chlorination would be horrendous … Marion: [our pool] is considered indoors by the Health Department. Eileen: can we have an inspection? [Editor’s note: Health Department opinion.] Mark: that makes sense …
Sue: COVID is rising in Florida … we are still operating under the State of Florida emergency powers until November 3rd … it is our responsibility in state law and our covenants to maintain the security and safety of our residents … Marion: people are not doing social distancing … if anyone comes down with COVID, please let the office know so that we can protect the rest of the residents … I recommend raise it to three people … I make the motion to raise it to three people. Eileen: Second.
[Editor’s note: hey, Marion, remember Harvey’s proper motion above to raise it to ten people which was seconded by two other Board members? It just disappeared and was usurped by Marion’s new motion. This is totally improper. Harvey has a right to have his motion voted on. This is no way to lead a Board meeting, by usurping other equal Board member’s motions and replacing them with your own.]
Harvey: point of order. There is a motion on the floor. It has to be voted on before yours.
[Editor’s note: there you go.]
Marion: all in favor of ten people: three to four. Harvey, Mark, and Richard [voted for the motion; the rest voted against it: Marion, Eileen, Linda, and Sue].
[Editor’s note: further discussion ensued and cross-talk.]
Sue: [Editor’s note: words to the effect of, “start low because if you go high you can’t go back.”]
[Editor’s note: technically, that’s not true. You can always make any adjustments you believe are in the best interests of the community at large.]
Eileen: I agree with Sue, you start slow and go up… Linda: I would increase the number to five. Marion: right now, the motion is three.
[Editor’s note: note how Marion gets the procedure right when it is her motion; so now we have established that she knows the procedure. It appears, therefore, that with full knowledge, she tried to usurp another Board member’s duly made and seconded motion. Perhaps her motto is, “procedure for me, but not for thee.”]
Harvey: you have to amend the motion to go from three to five. Marion: I could amend the motion we put in four people, splitting the difference. Second? Eileen. Harvey: I’m not happy with it. Marion: all in favor to add four per session basis? Six. Harvey: abstain. Marion: you know that an abstain means no. Harvey: no. Mark: no. Marion: he’s abstaining; in effect that means no.
[Editor’s note: An abstention is not a no vote. It is neither a yes nor a no vote. If the President of the Board does not understand basic voting rules at this point in her long experience of being on Boards, both this one and her prior one, which from memory your Editor recalls she boasted twelve years of prior Board experience at a different place when she submitted her bio when she ran to be a member of this Board, we wonder why she is still at the helm.]
Mark: as soon as possible. Deborah: as of today, if we can get them in, and if not, then as of tomorrow.
4. New Sports Center Rules for documents-(1,4) Sue Schmer
Sue: Joyce [Winston, Chairperson of Rules & Regs Committee] pretty much summed it up… Motion to accept the Cascade Lakes Sports Center Rules and Regulations to replace the existing tennis center rules in our documents dated June 2019 and that these documents supersede any other rules, regulations, and/or by-laws including those established and/or adopted by any Cascade Lakes organizations or clubs that conflict with these Cascade Lakes Sports Center Rules and Regulations as established by the Cascade Lakes Board of Directors. Mark: Amen. Eileen: I’ll second that. Marion: discussion.
Richard: you say court six for teaching purposes; he uses court one. Sue: oh, yes. Richard: pickleball you say on Saturday is league play. When we get hard courts, that might be league play, so I suggest the ladder not designate a particular day…suggest the Pro… Sue: rules pertain to existing situations… these rules can be amended by the Board and ONLY by the Board – common areas… Lee may have made a mistake; accept to change to Court one.. Richard: ladder, leave up to the Pro’s discretion. The Sports Pro determines the day so it would be flexible.
Sue: in the statutes and in our documents, it is the Board ONLY that determines the use of the common areas and any violations from them. [emphasis supplied by Editor]
[Editor’s note: this comment is likely in direct response to the pickleball club’s bogus “policies and rules” which they are circulating and voting on now, since they have dissolved the club’s corporation. They are back to their old tricks, however, and are still acting as if they are a separate entity, which they most certainly are not. Alan Silver, the Vice-President, erroneously referred to the club as a “fraternal organization” during the club’s last Zoom meeting on October 6, 2020. They are not the Elks or the Knights of Columbus or the Shriners. Pipe dreams notwithstanding, the club is specifically not a fraternal benefit society under Florida statute 632.601, which requires such an organization to be incorporated, which this club is no longer.
These “policies and rules” are pure hogwash, and the entire document should be disregarded and immediately stricken by the HOA Board. The Chairperson of the Rules & Regs Committee has essentially said so, correctly stating that they should have a mission statement only, and now a Board member is commenting on the purported “policies and rules” that this wayward club is promulgating. As Sue states, “it is the Board ONLY that determines the use of the common areas and any violations from them.”
The pickleball club’s proposed rules immunize its officers from their own potential future malfeasance and state that they can expel a member for “criticizing” them, whatever that means, but it would clearly include calling them out for any of their behavior, including, for example, embezzlement and/or election fraud, if they were to engage in either of those activities.
Yes, that’s right, if you “dissent” or “criticize” them they can boot you out, and they demand in these rules that in order to play in the league you must be a club member and abide by their rules. So, if they expel you, under their rules, you cannot play in the league, and make no mistake, the Cascade Lakes league team is a community asset which represents the HOA, not the club.
The rules they created also give their officers the right to reject a request for club records, including financial records. Therefore, if there were an embezzlement, no one would know. How convenient of them. These are some of the same people who engaged in the previous election fraud that occurred in this club for which people resigned and a special election had to be called. So, these are the last people we trust, and with these new bogus rules, they want to ensure that there is no transparency.
They also demand that you waive all your legal rights against any claims you may have against them in order to be in their little club. The Board must immediately take their Rules & Regs Chairperson’s advice and declare these so-called “policies and rules” void and of no force and effect. This club has created a little fiefdom, a mini-HOA within the HOA, where these officers, who were never elected by the HOA members, get to mete out discipline at their pleasure and without redress.
The use of the common areas of this community is solely and exclusively controlled by the Board of the HOA, not these power hungry faux wannabe but naked emperors trying to control club business and use of the facilities and community assets. These “policies and rules” were created to shut down speech, specifically the speech of your Editor and your Roving Reporter, as described in our September 2, 2020 Synopsis and Commentary entitled Togas and Tantrums. We will not be silenced, and we do not agree to waive our legal rights against these bozos.
The Board needs to act immediately to protect the HOA membership at large from these people who are out of control and who are attempting to usurp the Board’s authority, and who will also by these “policies and rules” attempt to control who plays pickleball at Cascade Lakes and who doesn’t. If they don’t like you, you’re out, but these “policies and rules” also allow for an unlimited amount of non-resident guests to be members of the Cascade Lakes Pickleball Club. Under their rules, a non-resident could be an officer of the club. So, you could have a non-resident/non-member Officer kick a resident/member of the HOA out of the club and off of league play at whim under these rules.
The members of this community also should not be subsidizing non-community members’ use of the common areas which also impacts the wear and tear on community assets, which you all pay for.
On October 9, 2020, pickleball club vice-president Alan Silver sent all club members an email encouraging them to vote on these “policies and rules” and stated: “Today is your last opportunity to vote on the rules which will govern the pickleball club.” In fact, these “policies and rules” do not govern the pickleball club; only the HOA Board governs the pickleball club, and the pickleball club may only follow their mission statement as approved by the Board, which does not include the impermissibly added phrase “and parties” as seen on the club’s page on the HOA website or the impermissibly added phrase “and social events” as seen in these fake “policies and rules.”
The leaders of the pickleball club, Chuck Cramer, the president, and Alan Silver, the vice-president, are leading the pickleball club down a wayward path with these garbage rules which are best left for the compost bin. On an (un)related note, here is a picture of two dung beetles obsessing over a meal of manure:
(photo courtesy Rafael Brix.)]
Harvey: ladder play is not league play… Richard: if the pickleball club… wants to join a league that’s only on Saturday, you won’t be able to join the league… make the ladder flexible… Sue: it is in there, in number 5 …Sports Director has the discretion… Marion: take out “on Saturdays” and leave that up to the Sports Director. I see some Chats. Sue: ok. Marion: that makes it very flexible. And the Sports Director has the use of a court of his choosing. Sue: that would be number 4. Could you repeat it. Marion: the Sports Director has exclusive use to choose a court for teaching purposes…
Harvey: pickleball, win by two, change number 4 to – says have to win by one. Should be two. Sue: I will amend the motion to include all the changes in number 4…and under…games, eleven people to win by two, and number 5, delete on Saturdays. Harvey: except for a ladder play, it’s win by two. Marion: amend your rules and say, “subject to.” Sue: subject to verification by the Sports Center Director. Harvey: win by one if nine points, two if eleven. Marion: second your amendment. Linda: email the motion to me. Sue: sure. Marion: all in favor of the new amended Sports Center Rules? Unanimous.
Marion: Phase Three rules for tennis and pickleball. Sue: …Sundays – I did speak with Lee; he suggested three tennis courts, 1, 2, and 3, and two pickleball courts, A and C. Two sessions would be sufficient, the first 8 – 9:15 and 9:30 to 10:45 for both pickleball and tennis… There will be monitoring but it will not be done by Lee and on the seventh day he rested…
Harvey: if you ask three lawyers for an opinion, you’ll get four.
[Editor’s note: and if you don’t ask a lawyer for an opinion, you might need one later.]
Harvey: the letter we got from Caplan [the lawyer] doesn’t mention anything about the monitoring. Sue: that’s why we have a Board… we’re still under emergency powers until November 3rd… best interests… gradually expand… if you think it’s difficult to sue an Association, think again…”
[Editor’s note: case in point: LaGrasso v. HOA of Seven Bridges Homeowners Association, Inc., currently pending in Federal court. That particular HOA is located in Boca Raton. For the story, check out the Palm Beach Post, September 13, 2020, Local section of the paper, starting on page B1. Or just google it. For ease of reference, here is the case number: 9:20-cv-81163. It was filed on July 16, 2020, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. That’s Federal court, folks, as opposed to state court, because there are allegations of the violation of the Federal Fair Housing Act.
You remember the Federal Fair Housing Act, the one we told you all about in 2019 and referenced in our Synopsis and Commentary of February 19, 2020 entitled “Ringers and Cadillac Lawyers;” we had previously written to the HOA attorney on December 4, 2019 about the requirements of the Fair Housing Act when we were demanding that the Board meetings be made available to disabled residents who could not physically get to the clubhouse. Our efforts at that time resulted in the meetings being live streamed, but not until we pushed the issue and got a lot of blowback. So, to those of you who pooh-poohed us, we rest our case.]
Marion: Every community is maintaining the monitoring. We have Sydney, Board members. Harvey: webinars…Board members should not be monitoring… Sue: they don’t want Lee to work [on Sunday] … we will work out a reasonable way of … [monitoring] … Richard: listen to Lee… Marion: the border between the U.S. and Canada is closed; our Canadians can’t come back… Sue: Lee has suggested we use tennis courts 1, 2, and 3 and pickleball courts A and C for two sessions, 8-9:15 and 9:30 to 10:45 and there will be monitoring and all COVID rules and regulations will still be in effect. [for Sunday] …
Harvey: we need to talk to Lee and see if we can go to four courts. Marion: we can’t at the beginning…see what happens… Sue: I make a motion, effective Sunday, October 11, 2020, tennis courts 1, 2, and 3 will be used for two sessions of play, 8-9:15 and 9:30 to 10:45, and pickleball A and C will be used for two sessions of play 8-9:15 and 9:30 to 10:45 and there will be monitoring of the courts, and all previously established COVID Sports Center rules… [remain in effect]… Eileen: second. Richard: Lee wants the courts to be separated – courts 1, 3, and 5. Sue: ok, I’ll change that. Marion: for Sundays, all in favor? 6-1, Harvey dissents. Marion [Chat – already scheduled this Sunday]: Start on the 18th. [motion amended.]
5. Poker Tables – Recovering $1123.50 – (R) (1,4) Eileen Olitsky
Eileen: the tops are very bad, need to be replaced, should we open the clubhouse… while the clubhouse is empty; this is a reserve item; six poker tables, felt in the middle is thread bare. Linda: Second. Harvey: I can’t imagine the price will go up. Why do we need to spend the money now? Table it until the next fiscal year. Richard: it’s coming out of reserves. It’s not gonna affect the operating budget. Linda: the best time is while the clubhouse is closed, the best time to do it. Marion: all in favor? 6-1. No – Harvey.
6. PBB Landscaping– $37,743.50 (O) (1) Mark Goodman
Mark: Able to put in some beautiful colors along Cascade Lakes Boulevard this year as opposed to next year. The total is $37,743.50 ….1. On the north side of Court 1, removing infected…replacing…$2,290.50. 2. Next, proposal number 56-20, remove and replace 38 oleander trees and roots, $3,998, along Cascade Lakes Boulevard, replacing with sod. 3. $3,489 on the north side of Corbel Lake entry… 4. Landon entry… [$ not stated] 5. Angel Wing entranceway north corner… [$ not stated] 6. Cascade Lakes Boulevard ..fern beds… install… flowering bushes… we’re putting in perennials instead of annuals which go over the budget on watering… so we’re going to a lot of permanent …$5,350. 7. North side of Spring Oak, northwest corner… $6,986. 8. Northeast corner of Spring Oak, $4,953 and change… proposal number 62-20. 9. 63-20 Glenville on two corners [$ not stated]. Total $37,743.50 will be to start as soon as possible…
Motion to approve all these proposals for $37,743.50… Second: Eileen. Eileen: Sue and I and Marion met with Palm Beach Broward [landscaping company] and I was not aware that you have to file water permits and they made it harder for us, so any overuse now we’re being penalized… Richard: we’re in a budget crunch, and this is large… I’m using the August financial statement to see if we have the money… it will put us $50,000 over on the landscaping budget… we have a lot of unexpected problems with engineering and landscaping, $35,000 and $40,000 sidewalks and increase in insurance; we’re overbudget by $135,000.
[Editor’s note: you wouldn’t be in a budget crisis if you went after Hotwire for several hundred thousand dollars for not providing the contracted-for voice remotes; we already went over this in the August 28, 2020 Synopsis and Commentary. We mentioned it again in the September 2, 2020 Synopsis and Commentary and again in the September 16, 2020 Synopsis and Commentary.]
Richard: We’re saving $25,000 with no social director. The common property, saving $15,000 on sod. The electricity is 15% less than the budget, $20,000; we’re saving $12,000 on the Y contract and maintenance costs are down. The savings equals $100,000; therefore, the shortfall is $35,000. The Special Assessment includes $25,000 to apply against operating expenses. $10,000 contingency for hurricane…. We could break even. At this point, we should be all right. Landscaping is operational.
Harvey: Doesn’t need a community vote over $35,000? Multiple Board members: no. Marion: five-year plan; we’re in year 2 of getting rid of the ficus… all in favor for beautification of the community? Unanimous.
7. Sidewalk Repairs – APC & Polylift – $2080 – (O) (1,3) Eileen Olitsky
Eileen: this is an on-going twenty year plus community; we have sidewalks that are lifting. APC for the sidewalk replacement on Landon, four homes, $2,080. And Polylift, for lifting, also on Landon…and Brooklawn… comes to $2,080. Deborah: $1,000 for Polylift plus $2,080 for APC. Mark: Second … Marion: all in favor, $3,080 total? Unanimous.
Second Residents’ Input Session:
1. Judie Delman: The roof situation, this or next year’s budget? Richard: reserve item, doesn’t affect the operating expenses. We have money set aside, over $200,000 set aside for the roof…we can take it from other pool reserve… Judie: and you have companies in mind… would you consider calling the Better Business Bureau? Mark: absolutely… the Better Business Bureau and my investigation – go deeply into their financials. Judie: Hotwire subject: I’ve been comparing a company I’ve had for 15 to 20 years, T-Mobile… taxes and fees absorbed in a different way; Hotwire taxes and fees and surcharges are $12.48 … has anything been discussed with them… Marion: we’ve been talking to them on and off, letting them know how disappointed we are…and I wrote a letter to the owner, so we’ll see what they come back with…
[Editor’s note: Do you mean Kristin Johnson Karp who is the co-founder and CEO of Hotwire Communications? What did your non-legal mind write to her? Did you write on behalf of yourself or on behalf of the HOA? Did you get permission from the Board to do so? Was there a vote? Answer: no. What was in the letter and what rights of the HOA members did you unknowingly waive as you alluded to in a previous Board meeting? Your letter is now evidence against the HOA which any Hotwire lawyer who is not unconscious will immediately scour for waivers and language that he or she can use to refute your claims. Marion, you don’t know what the hell you’re doing in this situation, in our opinion, which may cost this community hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost refunds.]
2. Joyce Winston: Hotwire went down $28 to $19 and change so I’m staying with them.
3. Jeffrey F. Green [Editor’s note: this is a different Jeff Green from the Committee Chairman of Recreation.]: I’m very angry and disappointed at the mindset of the Board who thinks they’re parents and we’re children… now that we’re allowed to open back up, you’re reluctant to do so… there are a lot of people here very upset and do not need to be treated like children.
4. Diane Green [Editor’s note: wife of Jeffrey F. Green who just spoke]: It’s just not fair; the law changed on September 29th, all businesses can open at 100%. You just have to follow the CDC guidelines for social distancing. It’s not fair and we’re tired of it.
5. Chuck Cramer: only two pickleball courts are open on Sunday. I think that’s a tremendous disservice to the pickleball community… Lee’s got a lot on his plate… nobody’s watching and we’re adhering to all of the guidelines… you are going to be upsetting a lot of people…
6. Jeffrey D. Green [Editor’s note: this is the Jeff Green who is the Chairperson of the Recreation Committee; thank goodness these gentleman have different middle initials to keep them straight]: I’m agreeing with Chuck to a great extent. We’re not moving forward, we’re moving backwards… I’m out there every single day… people work… Sundays [their day off] … and the same thing with the pool… we should be going to ten… it’s getting ridiculous already and I fully agree with what you’re doing with the fitness center because it’s small and too tight… The pickleball club, there are more people working than the tennis people…
Sue: It was not the Board, it was the Tennis Center Director… Jeff: there are two Canadians that play tennis… Sue: we have until next Sunday to make adjustments if necessary… Jeff: there are members of you on the Board that go to restaurants, and a fan going… Sue: when people go to a restaurant, that’s an individual choice; when dealing with the community… Marion: you’re over 3 minutes, Mike [Blackman, Zoom operator], cut him off. Jeffrey…
[Editor’s note: we went back to the tape and in fact, it was at the approximately four minute mark when Marion ordered Mike, the Zoom operator, to cut him off. However, a lot of that time included a Board member (Sue) engaging him and speaking, which should not be counted against his time. After this order, his microphone was not cut off and he continued to speak for a short while.
This is in contrast to when Marion, just prior to her hip surgery, cut off your Editor at a Board meeting in 2019 prior to the three minutes permitted by statute, and was so intent on doing so that she left her cane at her table and ran to the speaker’s podium so fast that we thought there might be wake turbulence behind her, to try and physically grab the microphone from your Editor. That was because she had illegally declared at the onset of the meeting that each resident would only have two minutes to speak, and when challenged by your Editor, stated “because I said so.”
This was completely contrary to the three minutes required by the Florida statute and our own governing documents which mirror the statute. In fact, our governing documents may not lessen the amount provided by statute; they may only expand it if the Board so chooses. We have Marion’s outrageous display on tape.]
7. Judie Delman [again]: I think this Board is being very careful. We’re in a pandemic, coming into the flu season, there are not as many snowbirds as you think. Better to err with caution because there are a lot of children in here, I’m sorry to say it, I observe a lot of people in this community that are not social distancing and not wearing masks. Better to err on the side of caution.
Marion: Michael [Michael Feinberg in the Chat function], yes, the Board is listening.
[Editor’s note: The Chat function in the Zoom meeting allows residents to type comments in real time during the Board meeting; everyone is able to see those comments on their computer screens in real time. Your Editor saved the entire Chat thread so if there is any question about what was said in the Chat function, we have it.]
Round Table Discussion:
Harvey: the community is frustrated… we need to take steps… start being a little more flexible as a Board, loosen restrictions – the pool and the courts… not keep staying stagnant… we have a fiduciary obligations to maintain a health environment, not only for the 55 year olds but also for the 95 year old but we can’t stay stagnant which is what we’re doing… stop listening to all these people on all these webinars… be more proactive…
Sue: …we are moving forward… there is a delicate balance… this is an indirect democracy, we work by majority rule… I’d rather react and do things in what are the best interests of everyone…
Linda: I have nothing, thank you.
Mark: I still think we should have gone to a higher number in the pool… court time, I only voted no based on those that spoke to Lee… he’s the one that should make that decision… but I would be inclined like Harvey to have some trust in people…
Richard: we have four months left in the year –
[Editor’s note: we have two and three quarters months left in the year; this is the treasurer and the numbers guy?]
Richard: We have to be very careful that we don’t spend any money over the budget. I agree with Mark, adding the number of people and also – Lee is the Sports Director, I go with his advice, he always gives us great advice…
Eileen: Lee gave his opinion as a professional… I express my desire to move forward but not too quickly. Slow increments will protect our community… we can always review… acting out in my humble opinion is not going to change things that much…
Marion: I agree with Eileen, move forward step by step. Our observation in the pool there is no social distancing…play for tennis and pickleball, I totally respect what Lee has to say; believe it or not, he’s more conservative than this Board is…The average age here is probably 72 so we really need to work for everybody, not just ten or twelve we hear from.
Deborah: I spoke to Tom Cucinotta, the pump warranty is one year…
Marion: motion to adjourn? Mark: motion to adjourn. Marion: Richard as the second. Adjourned 11:34am.
[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 October 7, 2020; next Board meeting: October 21, 2020 at 9:30am. Cheerio until next time.]