Editor’s note: We received a lot of positive feedback to our December 16, 2020 Synopsis and Commentary entitled “Can’t Touch This.” Here is a small sampling of what we received:
1. “Brilliant and appropriate coverage.”
2. “Again...superb coverage of some out of control people. Your editorials and facts are so needed. I just hope everyone keeps their eyes open! You know...watch what they do, not what they say!!”
3.“Thank you...thank you. Your analysis is the highlight of every meeting.”
4. “I think your report on the board meetings should be required reading for every resident that cares about this community.”
5. “I think that you should write something to the effect that when you call out people it’s not personal but for the betterment of the community.”
6. “So CL folks who engaged in the political signage event --forgot how to peacefully protest. And the incident report submitted about the event was handled "willy-nilly"--if that still means haphazardly. We await the full BOD response to this incident report…
Yes, we at CL are to blame for directing inquiries et al.--to Marion, rather than to the full BOD. Our mistake is treating Marion "as if" she was the Queen of CL, rather than as one among equals on the BOD.
In addressing "rumors" at this BOD meeting, our "Queen" took an "off with your heads approach. It's OUR failure for tolerating this management style in silence
The BOD meeting is not a forum for us getting "played" because we lack the chutzpa or oxygen to use our 1st amendment right to redress grievances responsibly and respectfully.
False allegations must be purged; they pollute our CL ecology. Our BOD meeting agenda needs to include all this "old" business--in the name of justice for all, going forward.
Thank you both (a zillion) for transforming and upgrading our grip on what's being said and done (in our name) here at CL.
OMG- Kamala Harris worked on a book with you? Awesome…”
7. “Thought you'd be interested in knowing that your synopsis of and commentary upon the 12/16 Board meeting contained 13,863 words…The United States Constitution, including its Amendments, contains 7,591 words...”
Editor’s response: “And War and Peace is 587,287 words…”
December 8, 2020:
We received, as usual, lots of feedback about our latest synopsis and commentary, that of the December 2, 2020 Board meeting entitled "Don't Cry For Me, Argentina," but this one seems to sum it up the best:
"Dear Vicki and Arthur,
The synopsis is exquisitely crafted--it's a fantastic, gripping read.
No doubt, intense labor, creativity, subtle irony (humor) is sensitively applied to result in each morsel offered to us. It's a banquet.
The reversals may not be full-bodied apologies by specific residents or members of the BOD--but--the reset button is tapped--and change is evident. People who need face saving, will go to great lengths...
Meanwhile, the whole thing is priceless...Anonymous
December 7, 2020:
We received a Letter to the Editor from a resident, which we reprint in its entirety below. It concerns Board member Harvey Ginsberg:
“To the Editor:
Why is it that when a board member violates Florida HOA Law and tries to defraud the community by cheating them out of a vote on an expenditure in excess of $65,000, that instead of being forced to resign from the board, he instead is promoted to vice president?
That is exactly what happened over "Fence Gate." Board Director Harvey Ginsberg deliberately tried to pull the wool over the eyes of every resident of this community by proposing that security fences be installed piecemeal (one section at a time with separate contracts for each section of fencing) so that the cost of each section would be below the 1% community voting threshold.
Fortunately, a new board member (Sue Schmer) who was not on the previous board at the time this very poor and very illegal amendment was approved, called the board out and forced a vote to cancel the contract. On the second attempt the vote was successful and as a result the contract has been cancelled and we will not be spending a ridiculous amount of money to fix a non-existent problem.
Nonetheless, the architect of this scheme to defraud the community did so in a clear-cut breach of his fiduciary responsibility and certainly should not be re-elected in march of 2021. We deserve, and should demand, honesty, transparency and no personal agendas from every resident who runs for our board of Directors. We have an annual budget in excess of $3 million and every cent should be spent on purchases and programs for the benefit of every resident.” --Anonymous
November 29, 2020:
More feedback landed in our inbox in response to the November 25, 2020 Synopsis and Commentary to the Annual Board Budget Meeting. Here are two samples of the many emails we received:
--"1. Bravo on your introductory poem. 2. RE no chat function – Obviously there are those on the Board who are not interested in the opinion of their fellow residents. It’s much more important to them to retain control of their fiefdom….”
-- “Gripping. It was before 7 a.m.- coolish, damp on the lanai; sipping yesterday's Panera dark roast (FREETIL2021 promo code)--when my Amazon Fire Stick lit up the synopsis--to grip me 'til the end...with the incisive, surgical account of the CL budget meeting...
The opening rhyme was clever, Lego clever. BUT--The cartoons are uproarious, the more the merrier. I allege that the cartoons have so far blown CL mish-mash to smithereens--with the side-effect of belly laughing on some lanai's on some pods...
You're making CL good again. Massive applause…”
Editor’s response to the second resident:
I would love to use more cartoons -- it is very, very time-consuming to find just the right ones to incorporate, and sometimes we put some in preliminarily and then we decide it is too forced so we take them out. It has to flow smoothly, or it just wouldn't work. Other times, we find something riotous but for various reasons cannot publish. You would not believe the amount of material that ends up on the Editing Room floor all the time. It does make for some pretty hardy laughs over here in our dining room aka newsroom, so it's all worth it! So often we say to each other, “OMG, that's hilarious, but we can't use it.”
November 28, 2020:
Several residents wrote about the synopsis and commentary to the November 25, 2020 Board’s Annual Budget Meeting. Here are a few excerpts:
--"Your poem was very cleverly written. It's very unfortunate that a small group of cavorters are putting us all at risk...very irresponsible, immature, and should be illegal!!..."
--"Thank you for including me in your emails, please continue I am rather interested in both HOA board activities, First Residential and ALEX SANCHEZ. I wondered why Alex was banned from the property short of an egregious activity, it didn’t make sense to me..."
--"It appears that the meeting was orchestrated as part of a deranged story by Kafka. Lunacy, bureaucracy and autocracy. Not sure if I should laugh or cry. Thank you as ever. Lies, distortions.... how you exhibit patience is amazing. Bless you."
--"This stupidity on the part of Marion and Harvey is overwhelmingly alarming. God help us. The board won't!"
--"Thanks again for your detailed report from the Board meeting, and their lack of fiscal responsibility!"
Editor’s response in general:
We are making progress by exposing all of this as it occurs and as we learn about it. It's incredibly time consuming; you have no idea! But I am passionate about it and we want this community, which is our home, to be a place where fairness, honesty, transparency, and goodness prevail. Being creative in that process makes it fun.
November 22, 2020:
A resident has commented about the November 18, 2020 Board meeting as follows:
"Thank you for your diligent and coherent work.
Bless you for your conducting significantly important reporting.
It is difficult reading, and assessing the incompetence, lies, misrepresentations, and distortions is enervating. Petty corruption, over-reaching powers, sly and vindictive deviousness. Ugh. Sad." --Anonymous
November 4, 2020:
A resident has commented about the November 4, 2020 Board meeting as follows:
"I rarely listen to, or attend board meetings because of all the ignorance that rears its ugly head, but I did today because there were things I wanted to hear first hand.
Be that as it may, the one positive aspect, in my humble opinion, was that Sue, Eileen and Linda truly expressed their opinions on several issues and did not let Marion shut them up. Bravo, ladies.
On the issue of the fences at the front entry, I find the myopic viewpoint expressed by Marion, Richard and Harvey to be sophomoric, at best. Contracts are broken all the time and in many cases, amicably. And if not amicable, I know from personal business experience from working with real estate developers, contracts are broken all the time and the same vendors come back for more business every time. And if they don't, there are many more to choose from. The gates are an abomination, totally useless, and a ridiculous waste of our dollars. Unfortunately, most of the board members are never going to admit they made a mistake." --Anonymous
"...We all want to thrive and prosper here at CL. None of our problems are irreparable; none of our imperfect efforts have caused irreversible damage. Our CL environment is not too hostile or too divisive for people to live safely and enjoyably.
Those who need and want to move out of CL have an opportunity right now, to spread peace and harmony (right here)-- before they bring it ( peace and harmony) to another community.
The news site has provided enormous clarity. Not to mention math and logic. It's a battle ground only to the battle conscious.
---Yes, the news site is un-apologetically outspoken about CL's need to create a balanced reciprocal exchange of solutions;
---Yes, the news site occasionally cartoons authoritarian programming--because--that is NOT participatory.
Here's what's obvious: Inherent in all CL transactions, official and unofficial, there a "try me" easy switch that could restore respect and kindness--but who's going to ADMIT it onto the budget?
Here's to being firmly honest and a lot more funny --about letting light shine freely into all corners of our people to people transactions within our CL community. Thanks so much for all you do.” --Anonymous
I remember a long hallway, long like Highway 101 in CA--
"Jeremiah was a bull frog..." filling every inch, blasting
"Joy....to the world"...
Thank you for 3 dog night, the memory--and-- the CL saga you
so carefully allowed to unfold before our eyes. OY VEY!
We get a glimpse into the BOD's internal culture...we get glimpse
into our Property Management's internal culture--through ZOOM and
the follow-up bright shiny serious yet uproarious editorial.
Mostly we see "how we do things around here";
Often enough we get a peek at "what we do when no one is paying
Always we sense the unspoken " why we get along and prefer tolerant camaraderie to conflict";
Never is there a hint about "who we find uncooperative because our
status quo or our complacency is challenged".
You provide us the great big mirror--so we can look at ourselves and
ask whether our decisions and actions are reinforcing and celebrating--
"...all the boys and girls now..."
From all of us fishes in the deep blue sea
thanks a million."
Other residents' comments included:
2. "I'm getting phone calls to say your latest writing is hysterical..." [the resident then read the synopsis and commentary and wrote again:] "as expected, I laughed a lot..."
3. "You are a gem! I get your talent and agree with ruthless political scene at Cascade Lakes...The resolve to the animal issues is simple, two animals ONLY at any time. Need a dog sitter, get one. Want a gate buy one. When are you running for the board? Thanks for your humor..."
4. "Wow. You are amazing. I am shocked (haha) that power corrupts even in Cascade Lakes. Your lengthy summary is awesomely thorough. Good Halloween reading....scary, frightening and ending badly."
5. "Verbal diarrhea."
Your Editor replied back to the last resident:
Thanks for your feedback! Since everything we posted was written, and your reference is to verbal, we must assume that you are referring to something you read. Please clarify!
Vicki and Arthur"
We received no response.
October 6, 2020:
Beth Wice wrote:
Since day one of COVID, ways to improve our innate and
adaptive immunity systems has been ignored by honchos in
government, the CDC, Big Pharma and local urgent care centers.
As for slowing the transmission of the virus, NO ONE is in charge
(neither GOV. nor BOD)--beyond restricting the number of people
in public or community areas at the same time. Its a "free" country--
not Singapore (my humble opinion).
BUT--To learn what smart people who live at CL are doing about
prevention and treatment, the BOD could do a survey(???)
1. If you or family members identify as vulnerable, what have you
found effective in preventing or treating symptoms related to COVID 19?
2. If you or family members identify as having pre-existing or chronic
medical conditions, what have you found effective in preventing or treating
symptoms related to COVID 19?
3. If you practice "extra vigilance" what have you found most effective
in preventing or treating symptoms related to COVID 19?
4. What assistance is reasonable to expect from staff and residents here at CL?
5. Do you have recommendations for common area closures and re-openings at CL?
6. Do you have recommendations about who needs to be notified within the
CL community if you have tested positive?
Then an ad hoc BOD committee could study and summarize findings. A few gems could emerge...Touchdown! (they all cried),
September 21, 2020:
In response to our September 16, 2020 Synopsis and Commentary entitled "Lawyers and Losers:"
I want You and your roving reporter to run for the next board. My wife and I along with all my friends would feel Safe, Secure, and most of all ...KISS...Keep It Simple Stupid... You guys are always spot on and if anyone tries to stop you from keeping folks informed...They better watch out!!
September 20, 2020:
In response to our September 16, 2020 Synopsis and Commentary entitled "Lawyers and Losers:"
You and Arthur having a voice (you say) is more important than the
effects of taking hits for all of us. So the attempts at burning the
News Site to ashes--gives rise to the phoenix--(singed feathers
renewed by new growth)...
You take hits for all of us by remembrance:
(1.) All residents are allowed to see all vendor contracts by law.
(2.) We have the right to see what we're paying for. The lawyer’s
contract is subject to discovery; it’s a vendor contract.
(3) Residents' money--was spent on frivolous litigation by a
“Cadillac” law firm lawyer on at least three separate occasions.
( Question asked: What was spent to "...go after us?")
(5.) If there was a return on this money spent, it is as obvious as the
unseen flowers on Cascade Lakes Boulevard ....
Taking hits for us by reminders:
(1.) Deflection by BOD president: every year, a financial statement is
available for every resident. Reminder: This does not show "...
a breakdown of lawyer's fees in terms of particular issues..."
(2) The president of the board is a simple Board member just
like every other Board member.
Reminder: PS--(3.) Deborah is not a board member.
(4.) The board member president controls the BOD meeting and signs documents, and that’s it. Those documents can be signed after appropriate approval from a quorum of Board members at a duly noticed meeting.
Reminder PPS--(5.) Deborah is not a member of the board.
(6.) Deflection by BOD president re: Hotwire “we’re putting them off”
--could this be a deflection of HOA’s rights to recoup upwards of $150,000
And so this night we heard the shofar blowing to awaken hearers
from slumber and to make them aware of past deeds and their
repercussions and to provide opportunity for reflection on how
to make a sincere and meaningful apology...
I'm in awe, Yours, Anonymous
Later, September 19, 2020:
In response to our September 16, 2020 Synopsis and Commentary entitled "Lawyers and Losers:"
Another resident wrote:
Please keep up your fine work. You are our Thomas Paine with a bit of Joan of Arc."
September 19, 2020:
In response to our September 16, 2020 Synopsis and Commentary entitled "Lawyers and Losers:"
Helene Poropat wrote:
For the most part, I choose to stay out of the politics of our community. I am in political overload with the national upcoming election, but, the fact that you received a “cease and desist” letter from out HOA’s attorney, is just beyond the realm of sanity not to mention an assault on our hard earned and paid HOA fees. I opt to try not to choose sides in the place that I live and to peacefully co-exist with my neighbors as much as possible, but, this waste of our funds because some egos were bruised, is just a tad too much. I may not always agree with your “ bolded in blue” commentary, but I certainly will stand up for your right to voice them. What exactly are they asking you to “cease and desist” doing? I am curious as to where they drew the line between free speech and their need to stop you? As I said, I may not always agree with you, but, applaud your efforts at trying to get to the truth.
Thank you. They want to shut down the News Site’s commentary in full. They want to shut us up. That is not happening.
Thank you for appreciating the difference between agreeing/disagreeing with us and our right to voice our opinion. We want people to make their own decisions and have their own opinions but they can’t do so unless they have all the facts.
Repeatedly using HOA money to try and silence voices who have a right to speak is an extreme abuse of power and is extremely fiscally irresponsible.
How many other residents received similar type cease and desist letters and were terrified and therefore silenced?
Thank you again for writing.
September 5, 2020:
Editor’s note: We received very positive feedback from our latest synopses. Here are some excerpts from some of those emails. The first one is about the September 2, 2020 Synopsis and Commentary and the second one references both the September 2, 2020 Synopsis and Commentary as well as the August 28, 2020 Synopsis and Commentary:
1. “I love the supporting delightful visuals. Very charming and sprightly cute. More smiles from me than usual....at my age smiling at insanity and inanity are preferable to scowls. Thank you as ever for your precious work.”
2. “Two synopses. I felt the beat of a lion's heart—
In response to the Board of Directors meeting which took place on September 2, 2020:
Patricia Florenco wrote:
First off thank you and Arthur for keeping the BOD on the straight and narrow. I watched the Zoom meeting yesterday and I was truly dismayed at the Property Managers attitude.
To me it seemed like she was totally annoyed when a resident talked about a tree touching his roof. I was waiting for her to say “whatever” like a spoiled brat. Her facial expressions were another “you are annoying me” telltale sign that she would care less how she treats or talks to residents. She works for us and not the other way around. To me that the BOD is letting or giving her permission to act that way.
Just had to voice my opinion on the PM demeanor during the Board meeting and yes you have permission to you my name.
Sincerely , Pat Florenco
August 30, 2020:
Awakening the Quiet Majority: A number of residents weighed in on the August 28, 2020 synopsis and commentary, but one in particular stood out:
Peter Steiner wrote:
I wish to apologize for the old time residents like myself for the nasty attitudes they have towards someone trying to show how much better a community can be with someone like you.
You probably know everyone on a board wants to leave a footprint and therefore hired mainly on how popular they are. You also know living in a community most people wants to be accepted therefore swallow hard and swim with the bottom feeders.
I hope you continue and maybe this fall I can buy you a drink or two,
You are free to use my name anytime for anything.
Thank you so much for the quintessential post of the year. It represents the awakening of the quiet majority.
Also note that there is a group of younger folk whose desperation for power also causes them to push back hard on what is actually in the best interests of this community. You will see more of that in the September 2, 2020 synopsis and commentary in the Editor's Opening Monologue.
Thank you so much for stating what a lot of people are feeling, believing, and privately expressing.
All the best,
Vicki Roberts, Editor and Neighbor
August 21, 2020:
In response to the publication of the August 19, 2020 synopsis and commentary, we received very positive feedback. Here is a sampling of emails from five different residents:
1. “Hooray for you. Thank you. We need you. Gratefully…”
2. “I love your commentary... keep up the great work."
3. “Bravo. Keep up the good work. About time someone took the Board Members to task.”
4. “Please be sure to keep me on your mailing list! I am thrilled that you are there to report the truth. Your clarity and willingness to bring to light some of the ridiculous issues is sorely needed. I look forward to meeting you.”
5. “So funny. Reminded me of Jon Stewart's Daily Show. Even with a tinge of irreverence (Saturday Night Live-ish)--this was a great read. (The ego thing can be serious but it was served up so playfully...) …”
We thank these and all the other residents for their continued support and encouragement, without which there would be neither a need nor a desire to press on.
August 12, 2020:
In response to our August 5, 2020 synopsis and commentary:
The Editor and Roving Reporter thank everyone for the love and support of our August 5, 2020 "Go Ask Alex" synopsis and commentary, which broke all viewership statistical records. Here is but one sampling, which initially references the email blast from the Board concerning the former maintenance man's termination:
Beth Wice wrote:
It was a cold and shockingly barren email that announced Alex's termination. No explanation was provided. If Marion and Deborah together took charge of this --then we turn to them to clear the muddy waters. Alex's services were widely used because of his competence.
CL's version of liberty and tyranny are the muddy waters. Muddy waters indicate an agitated state. If CL is not the very safe place we need it to be--then that needs to be on the agenda.
The cartoons are better and better each time--hooray for comic relief! Please keep bringing it all. Yours, Beth
July 21, 2020:
In response to our July 15, 2020 synopsis and commentary:
Jerry Hirsch wrote:
As always, thanks again for your informative input concerning last weeks' board meeting. I don't know where you find the time for your evaluations, as they take almost as much time to read, as the board meetings. Anyway, I find most of your comments to be "right on the money".
[...reference to Editor's family health issue edited out...]
Stay isolated, wear a mask, and stay home until this pandemic is over... Pray for a successful vaccine. That's our only hope.
[...reference to Editor's family health issue edited out...]
Thank you so much for your wonderful feedback about the latest synopsis and commentary. Each one of these documents takes an enormous amount of time. I listen to every word during the meeting (2 and 1/2 hours) and transcribe it as best I can all by hand in real time (that speed writing class during high school really paid off!) and then the creation of the written transcript and comments is all done by hand from scratch, including any and all research for referenced material. That part takes between 8 and 10 hours depending on the length of the transcript.
We then go over it together and it goes through a number of edits over the course of a few days until such time as it is ready for publication. It is a very lengthy, detailed, and labor-intensive process. We consider this our service to the community and many people have appreciated the "checks and balances" that we provide.
July 8, 2020:
Your Editor and Roving Reporter write:
THE ULTERIOR MOTIVES BEHIND ELAINE CRAMER'S POSTS:
Elaine Cramer posted on July 8, 2020 on both the HOA message board and the unofficial Cascade Lakes Facebook page a post stating that the “real” resident award goes to Diane Green for doing something that any neighbor or decent human being would do - catch a falling resident who was fainting. That post read:
“The Real Resident Award for Heroism
Kudos to Pickleball President, Diane Green, who came to the rescue of tennis player, [name identified by Elaine], who was fainting and falling onto the concrete walkway due to dehydration this morning. Great job Diane!!!
Last edited on Jul 08, 2020 10:51 am by Elaine Cramer”
It was fortuitous and it was serendipity that someone was there to assist the individual in need. It happened to have been Diane Green, and everyone is grateful for her presence at that moment, but anyone would have done so. Neighbors regularly do these types of things for neighbors without having it broadcast as some kind of hero worship (e.g., when a neighbor was assisted with CPR and another neighbor helped resuscitate him until the ambulance arrived, and neither that rescuing neighbor nor his spouse ever said a word to a soul), and other neighbors who come to the aid and assistance of other neighbors with nary an acknowledgement and frankly, none needed, because that’s what decent people do.
And what exactly does her position as pickleball president have to do with being a neighbor coming to the aid of another neighbor?
Furthermore, did Elaine clear this announcement with the neighbor that she specifically identified by name before blasting it on the HOA message board and the internet via Facebook? Some people might not want it known that they had a medical issue and yet Elaine just couldn’t wait to praise “Pickleball President, Diane Green” at the first opportunity she believed presented itself, and this News Sites knows why, and this News Site shall explain it in detail below.
Elaine Cramer’s post was also a direct insult to the July Resident of the Month because Elaine’s post clearly stated that the “Real Resident Award” belonged to someone else, and that necessarily means that the current Resident of the Month Award winner was not real, i.e., fake. This is insulting to your fellow neighbor who actually won the award and all the residents who look to see who is the actual Resident of the Month each and every month, and per our statistical diagnostics, there are many, many, many hundreds and hundreds of those. So, you have insulted a majority of the community. To use your words, “Great job!”
Often during pickleball or tennis individuals become light-headed, either because of fatigue, dehydration, a sugar drop, or other reason. They are assisted to a seat, and they are offered water or other aid that they might require. It happens occasionally. But when it is Diane Green to the rescue, all of a sudden, some residents go overboard and want to call her a hero. The word heroism used by Elaine in her posts is one that ought to be reserved for true heroes. Per the Oxford English Dictionary, the word “heroism” is defined thusly with an included example by the OED:
1. great bravery.
“they fought with exemplary heroism””
To use the word heroism in the context of assisting a neighbor by an act that is not uncommon is insulting to true heroes. Further, usually when this situation occurs, the person who needed assistance says, “thank you very much,” and everyone moves forward. There is no broadcast of it; this is pure drama. If it were anyone else, this News Site surmises that no one would be posting anything anywhere.
Now let’s look behind the post and see it for what it really was. This post by Elaine Cramer was specifically intended to act as a counterbalance to the shameful conduct this News Site pointed out chronologically and with documented proof on the part of Diane Green in our June 24, 2020 synopsis and commentary. The attempted resurrection campaign has officially begun. In that context, this News Site asks: Elaine Cramer, is pickleball so important to you that you would compromise almost anything for it, because it sure seems like it. Let us now explain the background to Elaine Cramer’s over-the-top display of sycophantic behavior. For the record, the Oxford English Dictionary defines sycophant as follows:
noun: sycophant; plural noun: sycophants
1. a person who acts obsequiously toward someone important in order to gain advantage.
At the time when you, Elaine Cramer, were the official secretary of the pickleball club, how is it that Diane Green mysteriously ended up on the ballot sent to all club members when she was neither present at the nominating meeting, never nominated, and never seconded?
Last year you had the Editor of this News Site, Vicki, on the telephone for a full two hours from your home in Massachusetts complaining that you were “hated” here in your words and you were hoping that she, Vicki, would be your new pickleball savior. We also enjoyed wonderful times with you and your husband, Chuck, at the wetlands during the Hike and Bike Sundays when you were here in Cascade Lakes.
Ever since Diane Green became president of the pickleball club, you have shunned Vicki. Now you have no use for her and instead have cozied up to Diane, and that makes you happy because you are no longer the “hated” one, to use your word. You are all too happy that Vicki has taken your place in some people’s minds thanks to Diane Green’s baseless character assassination of Vicki that a few lemmings have bought into. Ever since Diane’s “election” under your watch as secretary, you have made efforts to avoid Vicki, actually to avoid both of us, in public, beyond saying a quick hello to Arthur and then urging your husband to move along.
There are no other human beings on the planet that share that honor with the current July Resident of the Month, and any claims to denigrate her honor as we see with Elaine’s post stating that someone else won the “Real Resident Award” should be rejected outright because it is both false and insulting to the true winner and to the majority of the residents who eagerly anticipate the announcement of the true deserving winners each month. Congratulations to all the winners of this honorable award. They all meet the only criteria necessary to earn this wonderful distinction: for kindness and warmth towards everyone they meet.
June 30, 2020:
In response to our June 24, 2020 synopsis and commentary:
Beth Wice wrote:
Vicki, Hi--I laughed out loud at
some of the irony embedded
in your editor's notes. OMG
On the whole, this was an
intense presentation. Gossip
is an energy vampire. Bringing
gossiping out in the open--weakens
that dynamic. Effective.
The puzzle pieces of the incident
at pickleball (Diane, Arthur) came
together in your report. So sorry
that this is still not healed and
reconciled. Is there a meeting
planned (out in the air) to address
differences and resolve them?
Appreciate your capacity to
focus on getting us to cultivate
justice for all at CL.
Thanks for your always insightful remarks. There is nothing to address or resolve. The facts speak for themselves. And it has always been about justice.
June 28, 2020:
In response to our June 24, 2020 synopsis and commentary:
Norm Hecht wrote:
Great service to our community
Thank you very much
June 28, 2020:
In response to our June 24, 2020 synopsis and commentary:
Bill Weingarden wrote:
Thank you for doing such a great job
June 6, 2020:
In response to our June 3, 2020 synopsis and commentary:
Beth Wice wrote:
I can't imagine that our HOA Pres. would
refrain from reading the synopsis
and commentary you provide. Its
for nourishment and robustness of
leadership, after detoxing old patterns.
We all need to detox old patterns, so
no shame in doing so. I think the
HOA Pres. down deep, knows that,
despite declining to be emailed.
Onward -- and thank you for bringing
acuity to our seeing and hearing.
June 5, 2020:
In response to our June 3, 2020 synopsis and commentary:
Beverlee Bearman-Reiter wrote:
Thank you so very much for the excellent Synopsis.
Unfortunately, it was very difficult for me to get to a Board meeting when they were held in the Clubhouse. Now because I am so “technically challenged” to would be impossible to get onto a Zoom session even if they are extended to 300 participants. So I certainly appreciate being advised of what happens at the Board meetings.
For what it is worth, my 2¢ worth regarding the mail boxes is: “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” or in other words, fix only those that need fixing. Notify the unit owners where repair is needed. Don't bother the others.
Again, my thanks for taking the time & effort to send out the Synopsis.
5130 Polly Park Lane
June 5, 2020:
In response to our June 3, 2020 synopsis and commentary:
Adam Singer wrote:
I do appreciate your covering the board meetings. However, your reporting on my commentary about the effects of the sun's UV spectrum on the coronavirus misses the point that I made. Specifically, as UVC is the virus killer, it is important to note that as 90% or more UVC is effectively blocked by the earth's upper atmosphere before reaching the earth's surface, enough UVC does not reach the earth to kill the virus. Therefore, the point being made is that folks shouldn't feel or believe that being out in the sun will kill the virus. Your reporting was vague in that although you did report about the blocking of UVC, you did not make it clear that being in the sun is not a virus killer...as I did. And, as for the government study, you left out my stating that because of the lack of peer review, we really have no idea about the validity and reliability of that study. This is important because the study is a ZERO (i.e., no action should be based on the study) until it is properly reviewed...[Editor's note: political reference removed]... Nonetheless, I applaud your efforts, but would appreciate better clarification and perhaps a published amendment to your report.
BTW, what got me started on this commentary during the meeting was that in the recent "community" letter to the HOA requesting the opening of various amenities, the close combination of citing Jeff Hyman as an epidemiologist and the anti-viral aspects of being in the sun, caught my attention for the need to clarify a misconception.
June 4, 2020:
In response to our announcement of the June 2020 Resident of the Month:
Phil Kennedy wrote:
Hi Vicki, Wonderful idea. A wonderful choice for resident of the month. I'm on your team. Lets get our .Cascade Lakes better
June 1, 2020:
In response to our announcement of the June 2020 Resident of the Month:
Shelley Hymowitz wrote:
Nina Kuropatwa is the Perfect Choice!
May 17, 2020:
In response to our email blast announcing the Resident of the Month Award for May 2020, we received an email from a resident attacking, without explanation, “our methods.” As a courtesy to that resident, we replace his/her name with the word “Anonymous.” This was more than any courtesy extended to us, as is obvious from the below email exchange, especially since prior to receiving the resident’s below email, we had a cordial relationship with that resident. That otherwise unedited email exchange is as follows:
On May 3, 2020, at 3:26 PM, Anonymous wrote in direct reply to the above email announcement of the May Resident of the Month Award:
Please delete my name from any future emails you may choose to send out. I do not support your methods.
Arthur Andelson, your Roving Reporter, wrote back to this resident:
Arthur Andelson here. I am equally involved with my wife in our news site, CascadeLakesResidents.com. You wrote the below email to my wife this afternoon and stated to her in that email, “I do not support your methods.” What methods? Honoring a resident of the month? Calling out bullies? Calling out rule breakers? Asking for transparency? Asking for the Board to be fiscally responsible?
When playing pickleball, we all are expected to follow the rules of the game. And once we leave the court, one would also expect the same to apply to the community. So I do not understand what you mean by “your methods,” which are my methods also, whatever you are referring to.
I am in the dark here. What exactly are you talking about? What gossip are you a party to? We are always open for discussion, but making a blanket statement about unidentified methods is unfair and hostile.
[Editor’s note: we received no response.]
May 16, 2020:
Marc Shapiro wrote:
Thanks for reaching out to me, and thanks for hosting and running the CascadeLakesResidents.com website. I've been perusing it and learning a lot about some of the activities and interactions here. It's very informative and valuable, and I am grateful that you are doing what you do.
Looking forward to meeting you (someday).
May 15, 2020:
Patricia Florenco wrote:
I am very happy to see your website is growing! Keep up the good work and yes you may use my email and name.
May 12, 2020:
Your Editor and Roving Reporter wrote:
All Homeowners Are Created Equal, Except for Most of You:
This morning the entire pickleball club (226 members) received an email from Sue Leonard, Communications Director, concerning the partial reopening of the courts. Therein, concerning Pro Lee Sinett’s reopening plan, she stated, “Lee has put forth an excellent plan and we are awaiting confirmation from our Board of Directors so that we can share with you.”
Apparently, the pickleball club leadership team has a copy of Lee’s report concerning the rules of engagement for the reopening up of the courts. These club members have no greater rights than any of the 1150+ HOA members, who otherwise may have valuable input to the report which they are deprived from seeing. The concept or belief that the pickleball club leadership team needs Board approval for the rest of the HOA members to see Lee’s report is pure rubbish. Lee’s report is not confidential; if it truly were, these individuals would not have copies of it. Apparently some HOA members believe that they are more privileged and entitled than the rest of you. Let that sink in for a moment.
And by the way, this is the same leadership team that five days ago called the Board liars in another email blast to the entire pickleball club sent out by pickleball president Diane Fiorillo Green wherein she, on behalf of the entire leadership team, urged everyone to vote the Board members up for re-election out of office at the next election: see here. Now apparently they’re back to sucking up to the Board and trying once again to garner “good will” similar to the “good will” they thought they bought when they used club monies to purchase HOA canopies: seehere.
Overall we observe that there are way too many back-alley games, way too much gossip, favoritism, bullying, back-stabbing, wresting of control, and similar behavior which creates more poison and more distrust in this community, and it needs to stop. These are some of the reasons this news site came into existence: to call out this behavior and to give the community the collective voice it so richly deserves.
This latest and elitist email is signed “Sue Leonard Communications Director.” This is neither true communication nor true leadership. It is a communication telling you that they won’t communicate to you the contents of the document they possess because they’re special and you’re not. Hence, all homeowners are created equal, except for most of you.
Sue Leonard's email of May 12, 2020 ar 7:18am:
This is the email that was sent this morning from the HOA website by Sue Leonard, pickleball club communications director, to the entire 226 members of the pickleball club, with the part we quote from in bold red:
As many of you know following Governor DeSantis proclamation and outlined CDC guidelines, many recreation facilities started to open. Here at Cascade Lakes we expect to start playing on May 18th. Lee has put forth an excellent plan and we are awaiting confirmation from our Board of Directors so that we can share with you.
Please keep in mind that there are some strict rules that must be adhered to but in the meantime here are a couple of great video’s outlining how to play singles.
HOA member Jeff Hyman, Ph.D., Epidemiologist, Harvard/Hopkins, has a very important post on our Residents’ Input Page, under the Message Board: General page concerning the coronavirus. This post reiterates what he stated at the Board meeting on May 6, 2020, and also repeats what he wrote on the HOA’s message board. We are reprinting all of it here so that a much wider number of people can read it and be advised accordingly. We thank Jeff for sharing his expertise with the community at large.
Jeff Hyman: I’m an epidemiologist. Covid is a respiratory virus….you don’t absorb it through your skin, food, sunscreen, not from sitting on infected surfaces unless you touch your face with your hands and touch your nose; then it gets into your respiratory system. The virus survives for a very short period of time in sunlight, only a few minutes. There is no specific risk of playing in the pool or tennis. Ninety percent of the virus travels less than six feet; a few percent travel further. Stay away from people, a ten-foot distance, and the chances of getting the virus are very low.
[Editor’s note: Jeff provided an expansion to what he stated at the Board meeting, which we post unedited below.]
“I would like to expand on the comments I made at the board meeting regarding Covid 19 and our response to it.
For those who didn’t attend, Covid-19 is a RNA respiratory virus in the Coronavirus family. This means that we are infected when we inhale liquid droplets (from coughs, sneezes, etc) which contain the virus. It colonizes our noses, causing a mild flu like disease 2-14 days after infection.. Depending on a number of factors such as age, comorbidities, immune status, ACE2 and other receptor status, and many currently unknown factors, it can also cause a more severe disease and also travel to our lungs where it causes a much more severe disease, which can lead to death in some cases.
The recommendation to maintain a 6” social distance is based on the fact that 90% of droplets travel 6 feet or less. The virus can survive on surfaces for varying lengths of time and we can also become infected if we touch the surface and then touch our face, transferring the virus to our nose. This is the reason for the recommendation to frequently wash our hands. Washing with soap and water for 20 seconds will kill the virus by disrupting it’s lipid shell, causing it to fall apart, i.e. soap is all we need for our hands).
While the virus can live indoors for days on different surfaces, sunlight and warmth rapidly kill it outdoors. In our warm, sunny, south Florida environment this means we are actually safer outside (on a tennis court, pickle ball court, pool deck, etc) than inside where there have been an equivalent number of people, since we have less chance of touching a surface with live virus on it. We just need to be careful to follow the recommendations to maintain a safe distance and wash our hands (although, as noted, the sun helps us a lot with this one).
In a situation like the current one, it’s natural to want to wait until the virus ‘goes away’ to reopen our facilities. Let’s look at how likely that is to happen. It’s been estimated that we need 70-75% of the population to be immune to the virus to achieve herd immunity. This percentage is based on the current Reproduction Number or R0. Herd immunity is achieved when R0 falls below 1. In simple English, this means that each infected person infects less than one other person, so the epidemic dies out. Since the percentage of people now immune from having had the virus is relatively small, this immunity will have to be achieved with a vaccine. A number of groups are working furiously to achieve this. But what does it mean to achieve 70% immunity in the population? For example we would need for the vaccine is 100% effective and at least 70% of people take it. Lets look at our experience with other vaccines- The shingles vaccine is 51-90% effective The flu varies by year but is 35-50% effective and about 50% of people take it. Mumps vaccine is 31-95% effective. Measles is up to 90% effective. Pneumonia is 50-85% effective.
These numbers, for established vaccines with long development times, suggest that it will be very difficult to achieve herd immunity to Covid-19 anytime soon, especially since a sizable segment of the population refuses to take any vaccines, and an even larger number of people won’t want to take a very rushed, barely tested vaccine. In addition the vaccine under development will (wisely) be tested on healthy young adults, and we really have no idea how the effectiveness of the virus in this population might apply to older populations such as ours.
What does this all mean? We don’t know the future but there is a good chance that we won’t rapidly achieve herd immunity and this virus will be with us for a number of years. We could expect it’s impact to vary between the current baseline level and higher spikes when we try to return to normal economic life and realize that we can’t.
We are already seeing resistance in our community to keeping facilities closed and paying full HOA fees for greatly restricted amenities. This will certainly get much worse as the county approves re-opening facilities. I think our board and management company would be very wise to start to think about safe strategies for opening as many of our facilities as possible, and to not get their public health advice from pool management companies.. Otherwise the ducks will continue to be the only ones enjoying the pool and there will continue to be reminders on the message board that the facilities belong to the residents, not the board. Jeffrey Hyman Ph.D. Epidemiology (from Harvard and Hopkins)]”
[Editor’s note: Jeff Hyman posted a second response on the HOA message board which we repost below unedited.]
“There has been some discussion about the possible inadequacy of CDC’s 6 foot social distancing recommendation and I would like to comment on that. It has been known for many, many years that in some circumstances (such as totally uncovered sneezes) the droplets from sneezes can carry much further than 6 feet. Recent research has found that droplets can carry up to 27 feet.
The 6 foot recommendation is based on the fact that 90% of droplets travel less than 6 feet. Plus these are the bigger droplets that carry more virus particles. Since the larger, more virus laden particles travel less than 6 feet, the actual risk reduction when standing 6 feet apart is greater than 90%.
The droplets that carry much further are small, more spread out and carry a much lower virus load, which makes them less dangerous.
Masks can offer additional protection, but with the variety of masks being used, disposable masks being reused a number of times, and some people not knowing how to use masks properly, it is very unclear how much additional protection they might offer to the wearer. Their main purpose, of course, is to block virus transmission from someone who does not know they are infected and who is unknowingly spreading droplets.
At the present time, it is almost certain that well under 5% of Floridians are actively infected with Covid 19. In addition, in our age range virtually no one has an asymptomatic infection, which means a newly infected person will only shed the virus for a few (mean 5) days before they realize they are sick. These facts, combined with the 6 foot rule, (plus a mask if desired), minimizing time in stores, plus frequent hand washing offers an extremely high level of protection, probably greater than 98%. However this virus can cause serious disease and death in people in our age cohort. If someone desires an additional increment of protection, they are free to stay as far from other people as they wish, totally avoid going into stores, avoid all outdoor activities, or stay totally isolated in their home. They will still need to properly handle any packages that they receive and frequently wash their hands. This option could lead to psychological problems but this is entirely a personal choice for those who are very afraid of the virus.
When people decide to stay home or maintain a 30 foot distance, avoid stores, and not touch anything that another person could have touched they no longer need to worry about what other people do since they won’t be affected by anyone else’s actions. If someone plays pickle ball and runs into the net or two people walk close together or someone sits in the hot tub once it’s open there is no way it can affect someone who is sitting in their house. So people who are isolating themselves don’t need to worry about, or publicly comment on, the actions of others.
It is entirely possible that this virus will be with us for a very long time, as in years. We will need to learn to adapt to this situation and live with it with as little disruption and as much safety as possible. This is one of those times when we need to work to find ways to make our lives as normal as possible within the CDC precautions. This of course includes regaining the use of our beautiful pool complex, where the hot sun is helpfully killing any covid viruses that have come to rest on places like chairs, tables, or railings. Again we are much safer at the pool than we would be indoors where there is the same density of people in the area.
Just to help us count our blessings, while the case fatality rate from covid is still difficult to calculate for a number or reasons and certainly increases with age, it is almost certainly well under 1% overall. By contrast the related coronavirus SARS has a case fatality rate over 10%, and the coronavirus MERS has a case fatality rate of 34%. So we should be very grateful because this pandemic could be much, much worse than it is.
May 6, 2020:
Angelo Ganguzza wrote:
We are unhappy with the news at Cascade Lakes
Hearing the news today that the board was unable to provide any projected time frame or guidance on when or community will reopen was a huge disappointment. We have federal, state and county guidelines that can be followed. All have provided dates and procedures to follow. Yet the best our board can come up with is we will be closed indefinitely.
Members of this community are capable of making choices. The choices range from "staying at home and shelter in place" to wearing PPE and practicing social distancing. 600 homeowners should not be punished. Certainly, not when there is no empirical or medical reasoning provided. Each person is capable of making an informed decision on how they will conduct themselves, without "having to choose which two people they would be willing to let die" (as seen on a board members Facebook page).
I think that with this position, we must now carefully evaluate and choose a course of action, that reflects the importance the board decision has placed on our community. The board should not be talking about expenditures like replacing fence screening on the tennis courts, when we are faced with this pandemic.
We are a small community with limited amenities. With no pool, clubhouse, fitness center or sports center to use the board should be recommending reducing the HOA fees to only those that are considered "essential". I would further suggest that the management company staff be cut in at least half immediately to reflect the reduced need for that overhead/expense. In addition a reduction in their compensation would also be warranted.
As a community we should be demanding an immediate reduction to our HOA fees. The fact that we've been told in no uncertain terms you must pay your HOA fees because there's a budget is unconscionable. There are now over 30 million Americans out of work, that have all kinds of outgoing expenses, with no income. They are required to make sacrifices. How can our HOA not be?
Once the board decides its an appropriate time to reopen, then we can consider bringing the management staff back, return to a compensation level commensurate with the work being performed.
Tough times require making difficult choices. Those referenced above reflect the sacrifices that many in our community, county, state and country have been forced to make. Cascade Lakes is not and should not be immune from that harsh reality.
LATER THAT EVENING, May 6, 2020:
I received the following response from the board this evening concerning my post.
Hi Anthony! We certainly understand your frustration with the coronavirus and lack of activities. The Association still has its normal bills to pay, and cannot reduce the HOA fees. The common areas are being kept up so that they do not deteriorate or look dreadful. Bills must be paid to Hotwire, ADT, guard house services, electricity, water, maintenance contracts, etc. Yes, it's tough to have to do these things when all of us can't use the facilities, but, right now, that's the way it has to be. Management staff are still working to maintain and assist residents however they can. Some come to the clubhouse for work orders and other assistance. Some help is done online. Vendors (landscape, pool, etc.) come to the clubhouse for their work orders. ARB requests are ramping up as homeowners change or spruce up their homes. Operationally, nothing has changed.
The Board, too, wishes that the coronavirus was not here. Unfortunately, it is. Our responsibility is to protect the fiscal stability, safety, and health of our residents in a time such as we've all never seen before.
Marion Weil for the Board of Directors
Marion, first let me correct you. My name is Angelo, not Anthony.
Clearly, you have misunderstood my email. I am not frustrated by lack of activities. I work full time, and sit at my desk 10 to 12 hours a day. I have plenty to do. I rarely use the facilities, but do when I want to.
The HOA is in no more a unique position than any other American living through this pandemic. Like the HOA, our residents have "their normal bills to pay." The question is what if you can't? You are then required to make adjustments. I would expect no less from the HOA and the board.
As I said in my email, I understand the "essential and ongoing expenses" will continue. As our elected representatives you should be demanding, along with every resident in this community a refund or reduction in HOA fees for services paid for and not received. We should be demanding the management company staff be cut in half immediately to reflect the reduced need for that overhead/expense as the vast majority of our facilities are laid up. That is fiscal responsibility. The excess is not needed. The board should not be discussing and certainly not approving unimportant or nice to have expenditures of any kind during this time.That is a failure of your responsibility to protect the fiscal stability, safety, and health of our residents. There are already communities that are proactively returning HOA fees to its members. This is an example to follow.
You say "Yes, it's tough to have to do these things when all of us can't use the facilities, right now, that's the way it has to be." That is not the way it has to be. A reasonable person would expect leadership to gather meaningful information and data from a qualified source and not from the "pool guy". Whom are you and the board using to gather information to make these informed choices? Certainly our federal, state and county resources are who you should be turning to.
I now understand the board is going to the community's legal council for an opinion. What does that even mean, except another wasted use of the community money. If the question is, "Can Cascade Lakes be sued?" I ask for what? Using the community amenities and someone claims that they contacted Covid -19? I would expect you to ask the follow up question since we already have the attorney on the clock. What if a resident went to Publix, The Boys, Target, Walmart and came back and another resident contacted Covid -19? Could Cascade Lakes be responsible for that too? This makes no sense. Members of this community are capable of making choices. The choices range from "staying at home and sheltering in place" to wearing PPE and practicing social distancing. 600 homeowners should not be punished. If any resident wishes to avoid another in the community, that is a personal choice, and I trust the individual will do what they feel best.
I trust that you and the board will use the available scientific information and not the opinions of the "the pool guy" and the paid for by the board HOA representative to make decisions regarding the safety and health of ALL Cascade Lakes residents.
Please don't feel obligated to respond to this e-mail. I don't want you to waste valuable time that could be used figuring out how we can get our community back on board in line with state and local guidelines. Too much time has been lost already.
April 29, 2020:
Landscaping Issues Which Impact Security and Costs to the HOA and homeowners:
The following is a transcript of Arthur Andelson’s comments during the First Residents’ Input Session at the March 4, 2020 Board of Directors Meeting and Board President Marion Weil’s comment directly thereafter. Arthur's comments were regarding the failure of the Board to negotiate landcaping issues. The items on that Agenda included tree removal on Landon Circle and ficus replacements in various locations. This matter is now interwoven with security issues, and is also interwoven with the fact that homeowners are on the hook for additional costs to adequately secure their homes and the community with sufficient hedging to deter unlawful entry.
“Arthur Andelson, Landon Circle:
New Business Items 4, 5, and 6 totaling 61,702 dollars in additional payments to Palm Beach Broward Landscaping.
Before voting on these items I want to know is there a predetermined price breakdown in our contract with Palm Beach Broward Landscaping for these special assignments.
This price breakdown should be discounted because they are already here in our community with their workers and machinery.
They are supposed to maintain our landscaping by irrigating, grooming, and hopefully fertilizing our plants to keep them healthy.
For example, ficuses should be fertilized once a month during the growing season from spring to fall using either a fertilizer called 10-10-10 or an 8-8-8, diluted 50 percent.
Technically what is going on here is that the way the Board is doing business on behalf of our community is that you are rewarding them for not doing their job.
I don’t know if they are doing the required fertilizing because the items you have on the Agenda strongly suggest that they are not, otherwise why would they even be on the Agenda.
If there is no predetermined price breakdown in the contract, there should be an addendum to the contract by adding a Schedule A and negotiating these types of known issues in advance.
A sample Schedule A would list the following items with detailed descriptions and prices.
Tree removal categories should have listed amounts. There should be a Large tree definition and cost including a bundle rate if there is more than one tree involved at the same time. This template would be the same for Medium and Small trees. There would be a separate cost for the root ball.
There would be a Palm Tree category.
There would be a Bush category.
There would be a cost breakdown for plant replacement.
The cost of the plant should be no more than 10 percent above their cost.
There would be a spraying category.
There would be a tree trimming category.
There would be a sod replacement category.
And the labor cost of replacement should be broken down by the size of the container holding the plant or plants with bundle rates.
Why hasn’t this been properly negotiated with this major vendor which has a million-dollar contract with us?
Also, ficus are known to be hardy and full. If they were properly maintained from the get-go, there would not be a need for these types of additional expenses because they have been allowed to grow unmanaged.
Marion: ok, thank you everybody. Approval of Minutes, Linda.”
March 26, 2020:
Patricia Florenco wrote:
Hi Vicki and Arthur, I read your post that that your CL message board post was taken down. It is true and I have posted that some residents are walking, at times, shoulder to shoulder. Some are still walking that way while others are keeping their 6 foot distance.
I have no idea why some residents think this is a joke of some sort. I now order my grocery products from Instacart.com. When I walk the dogs I make sure I keep more then 6 feet away from someone.
I applaud you and Arthur for at trying to wake up the residents of Cascade Lakes to the Covid-19 and other subjects that have been swept under the rug. Yes you can post my email and my name.
Sincerely, Pat Florenco
March 24, 2020:
Arthur Andelson sent the following email to all current board members and candidates this morning:
March 24, 2020
Re: VOTING FOR OFFICERS: PRESIDENT, VP, SECRETARY, TREASURER
All BOD Members and Candidates:
Immediately after the BOD election, the new board will be voting in private to elect their new slate of officers. Officers include the president, the vice-president, the secretary, and the treasurer. The latter two do not need to be board members per our governing documents, page 3- 9, Section VIII, OFFICERS AND THEIR DUTIES, Section A, Enumeration of Officers: “The officers of this Association shall be a President and Vice-President, who shall at all times be Directors of the Association, a Secretary, and a Treasurer who do or do not have to be Directors of the Association.”
What should each member of the new board focus on when voting for the new president?
An important question that each new and existing board member needs to ask is:
“Who do you believe would be the best person as President of the BOD for the benefit of this community and why?”
In order to answer that question, we believe that each board member ought to think about the following:
Our governing documents specifically define the duties of the President at pages 3-9 and 3-10, under Section VIII, OFFICERS AND THEIR DUTIES, Section G, Duties, 1. President: to preside over BOD meetings, to see that orders and resolutions are carried out, and to sign legal documents and promissory notes. That’s it.
When any board member cedes to a president more powers than are enumerated in our governing documents, that board member cedes his/her vote and the community’s vote as well, since the community vested in each board member the power to have one vote of seven, and if a board member cedes his/her vote by being submissive to the president and the president’s will, that board member has completely vitiated the community’s interests in and entitlement to having seven independent votes on the board.
Here are some examples just from the last year concerning the conduct of the president and the board which should impact your decision on whom to vote for as president of the new board:
1. The president does not set the Agenda for board meetings. Any board member may add an item to the Agenda. More properly, the Agenda ought to be prepared by the secretary as it is strictly a secretarial function. Any board member who wants an item on the Agenda should submit that item to the secretary, not the president. The president merely presides over the board meeting by following the Agenda and keeping order. Any board member who believes that the president has veto power over the Agenda, which was in fact a belief held by one or more board members giving the current president, Marion Weil, improper veto power, is wrong and is improperly ceding his/her will to that of the president. The fact that Marion willingly participated in exercising this non-existent veto power is an abuse of power.
2. The president ought not be doing double duty as president and webmistress of the HOA message board, such as Marion is currently doing. Apparently as far as we can tell, she is processing e-tickets of residents who send a request to the board through the HOA website eform system and then hours later sending out an acknowledgment to the resident with a cc to each board member. Each board member should get the resident request simultaneously because all board members have equal power and equally represent the residents.
The present method appears to improperly give full power and control to the current president with respect to the flow and timing of information being distributed to other board members and/or to do what she wants with the information provided. For example, if she alone receives the e-ticket, she can decide to resolve the matter on her own and nobody would know about it except the resident and Marion. This effectively makes a decision for the board without a quorum and is an abuse of power.
This also may affect agenda items because if she does not advise the rest of the board of theissue raised by the resident, the matter remains ignored and there is never an opportunity for it to be addressed by the board at an open board meeting. The resident is also left in the dark, and we know this because on more than one occasion, we have sent in e-tickets and have never received a substantive response. If this procedure were set up before Marion became president, then it needs to change immediately for the reasons stated above.
In addition, by acting as webmistress in determining when a resident’s post is removed, and then acting as part of the appellate jury when that determination is challenged, Marion improperly exercises dominion and control over not only the prosecutorial aspect of the process but also usurps the grievance procedure mandated by the Florida statute and our own governing documents. The fact that the HOA attorney gave wrong advice to the board concerning the grievance procedure does not change the fact that Marion’s conflicts of interest in this flawed process remain.
3. The president should not be convening secret board meetings which are illegal under the statute, with limited exceptions for attorney-client privileged communications and personnel matters. We have documentary proof that Marion and the current board engaged in numerous secret and illegal closed board meetings. When this was discovered and called out by Vicki Roberts on the HOA message board, Marion was part of the team that removed that post and it was part of the basis for Vicki’s 30-day suspension from the message board.
So, what Marion did was: she removed the truthful post, disciplined Vicki, and engaged in a cover-up of her and the board’s illegal activity of conducting multiple closed board meetings that had nothing to do with personnel or attorney-client communications. A more honest and in fact the only proper approach would have been to own the error and correct it from that point forward. Instead, the board, led by Marion, demonized Vicki, allowed other residents to demonize her at board meetings, such as telling us to move, and continues to allow residents to heckle Vicki whenever she gets up to speak at board meetings, all to promote this continued cover-up and Marion’s grip on power.
Any attempt by the president or any board member to engage in a secret board meeting ought to be immediately rebuffed by all other board members, and any attempt to silence and demonize a resident for calling it out also ought to be rebuffed. And yet every single board member remains silent to this day. Silence equals acquiescence to all of the above.
4. The president should not unilaterally decide, in violation of the Florida statute, that residents only have two minutes to speak at board meetings as part of the required Residents’ Input Session, as opposed to the minimum of three minutes required by Florida Statute 720.306(6), which states in pertinent part:
“Notwithstanding any provision to the contrary in the governing documents or any rules adopted by the board or by the membership, a member and a parcel owner have the right to speak for at least 3 minutes on any item. The association may adopt written reasonable rules governing the frequency, duration, and other manner of member and parcel owner statements, which rules must be consistent with this subsection.”
Our governing documents are contrary to the statutory requirements; they say, at page 3-7, VI. MEETING OF BOARD OF DIRECTORS, Section G., Order of Business, number 5, First Residents’ Input Session: “…each speaker is entitled to speak for a maximum of three (3) minutes on agenda items.”
The statute mandates the reverse: it is AT LEAST three minutes, not a MAXIMUM of three minutes. No HOA governing document may usurp or restrict the mandates of the statute, and it says that clearly in the statute as well, so our governing documents must either be amended or stricken as being contrary to the Florida statute on that point.
Any board member that permits this usurpation of resident time and remains silent is equally culpable. You may recall a past board meeting when Marion unilaterally decreed that residents would only have two minutes to speak owing to the length of the Agenda. That Agenda was noticed 48 hours before that board meeting and on its face said that residents would have up to three minutes to speak. When Marion made that announcement at the beginning of the board meeting, resident Vicki Roberts, now Editor of the CascadeLakesResidents.com news site, who was sitting in the front row, loudly objected, and stated to Marion, “you can’t do that,” and further stated, “I timed my speech to three minutes exactly.” Marion replied, “I just did.”
When it was Vicki’s turn at the podium to speak, and Vicki was addressing the entire board, at the two minute mark, Marion rushed up to the speaker’s podium, leaving her cane behind, and physically tried to pull the microphone away from Vicki, and when that failed, the mic was turned off when Vicki continued exercising her statutory right to speak. This effectively interfered with and vitiated Vicki’s prepared remarks and the speech was lost on the board because of the interruption and mayhem that ensued which was created by Marion’s behavior. Not one board member spoke up.
This type of flagrantly illegal, improper, disrespectful, and unprofessional behavior should not be tolerated, and every single other board member should have spoken up and challenged it instead of remaining silent, which they did. At the same time, the entire board permitted the audience to heckle Vicki during this outrageous abuse of power by the president of this HOA. At that moment, the rest of the board should have had an emergency vote to remove Marion as president immediately for having just violated the rights of a resident in full view of the entire board and those residents present.
What was on display was not leadership; that’s a bully who is out of control and not even properly doing her limited job of presiding over board meetings. If a board member is afraid to speak up and challenge the current president, it is time for a new and different president who will not so intimidate other board members that they abrogate their voice and their vote to the detriment of the community, and remain silent when their president violates the rights of a resident who is asserting her statutory rights. And if a board member is not willing to do that, then that board member is unfit for the job and should resign.
It has been a recurring pattern that the current board has not placed the community’s interests first, but rather has repeatedly covered for and acquiesced to the whims of the current president.
5. This outrageous bullying by the current president is not limited to residents. The current president also bullied another board member by suggesting to that board member to follow her demands or resign. This occurred last April 2019, which was before our arrival here in mid-May 2019, when Marion did this to Alan Silver, another equal board member. This is according to documentary evidence in our possession provided by a confidential informant to our news site, to wit, an email dated April 25, 2019, which reads in pertinent part:
“…Marion Weil is maneuvering to push Alan Silver off the Board of Directors. Specifically, she has requested his resignation by 5 PM today. This is nothing less than an outrage and abuse of the power entrusted upon a President whose purpose is to represent the Community…
…She needs to put our Community first and above any personal agenda…
The Community elected Alan to the Board so that representation and ideas of our Community would be heard and considered. It is not up to Marion to abuse her power by picking and choosing who she personally wants on the Board…”
That email was sent just a short time after Marion became the President of the Board for the very first time in late March 2019. It is a clear indication of Marion’s intent to consolidate power and usurp the community’s rights by applying undue pressure on other board members. Any board member that sits by silently during such a blatant abuse of power is equally culpable.
We are also in possession of an email from board member Alan Silver dated the next day, April 26, 2019, which was provided by a confidential informant to our news site, stating:
“Thank you all very much for your expression of support and encouragement concerning the possibility of my resignation from the board….The board will meet in private (in camera) very shortly to attempt to resolve our differences for the best possible outcome for the community.”
This is yet another blatant slap in the face of the statute that strictly prohibits such private, in camera meetings. And yet this appears to be business as usual with this board. It is not for the “best possible outcome for the community;” it is the opposite, and here is why:
We note that from that point forward, the bullied and threatened board member, Alan, has essentially been a lackey of the president and sometimes he acts more like a “Marion-ette” than a true independent board member. For example, he repeatedly seeks Marion’s permission to follow up on matters that he has every right to follow up on his own. The function of the president does not include giving permission to other board members to take actions such as researching matters relevant to the community. He is also the board member who told both Vicki and me that “Marion has veto power over the Agenda,” which by now should be clear is not correct.
So, Alan has not resigned, but he has been compromised for reasons unfathomable to us. Where is this weakness coming from? What is gained by it? Where is the internal fortitude and strength of character? Where is the pushback? If you don’t believe you are an equal board member, then maybe you should resign and allow someone to serve who understands that basic concept.
6. The president should not be “Weil-ing” and dealing behind the scenes and making promises to constituents and to chairpersons of committees for any reason, including but not limited to efforts to resurrect the reputation of another board member who breaks rules. Yet this is exactly what Marion did, and we have the written proof in our possession. That board member whose reputation was targeted for resurrection after Marion herself threw her under the bus was Eileen Olitsky.
That scenario involved the tennis vs. pickleball issue wherein Eileen had reviewed and prepared notes in response to tennis pro Lee Sinett’s then-confidential memo on pickleball and tennis, and where Marion falsely claimed in an email dated August 8, 2019 at 10:22pm that she caught Eileen off guard by asking her to comment about Lee’s memo, suggesting falsely that Eileen was not prepared, when in fact Eileen was extensively prepared and had yellow highlighted the entire six page memo.
Marion then tried to cut Eileen off during Eileen’s presentation at the board meeting because Marion realized two things: (1) that Eileen’s comments were more favorable to the tennis club, of which Eileen’s husband, Steve Olitsky, was the then-president, and (2) that what Eileen was stating too closely mirrored what Steve had previously read at the Residents’ Input Session, and that it was really just a more detailed version of what Steve read from the podium, which led any reasonable person to conclude that he had prior access to the then-confidential memo. When Marion tried to cut her off, Eileen stated that she was not finished reading her highlighted notes.
Both Vicki and I, who were sitting in the front row, were able to clearly see the yellow highlights on the pages that Eileen was holding up at the time, and other residents confirmed that they also saw Eileen’s yellow highlighted comments on the memo. Marion’s claim that Eileen was not prepared to discuss Lee’s memo was false. Thus, when Marion asked Eileen to speak about the matter, and Eileen’s comments sounded too much like her husband’s, Marion tried to cut her off and then tried to do damage control to Eileen’s reputation when the pickleball community realized that the tennis club president had advance access to the then-confidential memo.
It was no coincidence that much of what Eileen read from mirrored what her husband, who was then the tennis club president, read from his notes at the Residents’ Input Session. The pickleball club, to the contrary, had no advance knowledge of Lee’s memo and were side-swiped. Later, tennis club members were overheard at the pool joking about how well prepared they were at the board meeting and how the pickleball club was left in the dark.
Upon information and belief, this was so embarrassing to Eileen that Eileen was seriously considering resigning. Eileen later used that scenario to play the victim at other board meetings, falsely claiming that she was the victim of defamation when I called her out about what she did, i.e., share the then-confidential memo with her husband, when in fact there was no defamation at all, because it was all true. After that, Eileen orchestrated my removal from the Entertainment Committee, of which she is the board liaison, discussed more fully below.
Marion was actually pretty brazen about it. This improper manipulation was contained in Marion’s August 8, 2019, at 10:22pm email, page 2, second to last paragraph, last 2 sentences, and last paragraph, as follows:
“I was hoping to get pickleball going here, and be able to have league play, as well. It will happen. This I promise you.
Further, in the interest of harmony, please ask your friends and others to stop sending emails or postings regarding this matter. Together, we need to get Eileen’s reputation back to full integrity. It is my hope, no-goal, to put this all behind us and end the divisiveness so that all residents can live harmoniously here in Cascade Lakes. Together, we can do this.”
First, it is outrageously inappropriate for any board member to make any promises to a group of residents. In return for this promise of a majority vote for pickleball, this board member is stating that the quid pro quo for said illegal promise is to be the following:
1. To get Eileen’s reputation back to full integrity, and 2. Directing these emailed members to ask their friends and others, that is to say, other community members, to be silent, i.e., to stop sending emails and to stop posting messages on the community message board (of which Marion is a webmistress).
In other words, if these members aid in Marion’s attempts to resurrect Eileen’s reputation, which Marion herself destroyed to begin with, and get everyone to shut up, then Marion will secure a favorable vote on the pickleball issue, which is in fact exactly what happened. These emailed residents included two Chairpersons of Committees who have a large influence over their groups in the community. Those two Chairpersons are now officers of the pickleball club, and one is the president of the pickleball club.
Indeed, Eileen’s reputation was thusly resurrected, and I became the villain for calling it out on the message board, for which my post was removed by Marion and I was issued a demerit. This also secured another “Marion-ette” for Marion in the personage of Eileen, who would thenceforth be grateful to Marion for resurrecting her tarnished reputation and could then go into full victimhood mode as against my post calling her out. How convenient for them. This also empowered Eileen to boot me off of the Entertainment Committee, of which she is the board liaison, and of which the pickleball president is one of the Chairpersons alluded to above. That Chairperson of the Entertainment Committee who is also the president of the pickleball club continues to talk smack about me and Vicki, the Editor, to anyone and everyone who will listen.
Eileen was also called out by me for being a rule breaker as liaison to the Entertainment Committee, chaired by the pickleball president. Eileen chastised and embarrassed entertainment committee member Lee Simon, who was responsible for the show series while the chairperson was out of town, for giving a show series ticket to a sub-committee member/spouse, which was contrary to the rules, and this rule against sub-committee spouses attending show series has never been changed to this date. However, a mere week later, Eileen approved the disbursement of a show series ticket to a sub-committee spouse, without board approval. So, she did the exact same thing as that which she called out Lee Simon for doing. I called her out about it, after which I was removed from the Committee by two illegal private board votes for doing so. We have documentary proof of that as well. All board members acquiesced in both of those secret illegal board votes.
7. This last year, the president, Marion, in addition to the above, is the one board member doing email blasts to the community when actually any board member can e-mail blast the community, and e-mail blasts should more properly be coming from the property manager by direction of the board. The board’s function is policy creation; the property manager implements the policy by handling the procedure for such implementation, and this was even acknowledged by the board at a previous board meeting.
8. Marion is the one board member with a dedicated page in News & Views where she has already used her bully pulpit to attack residents with whom she disagrees (January 2020 edition).
9. Marion has sent an email to other board members not to communicate with a resident. We have that email.
10. Marion sicced the HOA attorney on a resident, the Editor of the news site, with whom she disagreed without ever convening a board meeting for such purpose, which cost the community thousands of dollars in legal fees which were entirely the result of Marion’s inappropriate conduct toward Vicki, the now-Editor. Marion also gave the HOA attorney misinformation which he failed to vet for its veracity or lack thereof, and based on her unvetted statements, the attorney wrote Vicki a letter wherein he made demonstrably false and defamatory claims against Vicki. His claims were thoroughly debunked, and his letter was completely decimated by Vicki’s two response letters (one three page letter on September 18, 2019, and when no response came to that, two weeks later, on October 6, 2019, a 119-page response letter with supporting exhibits, both of which are available to the candidates upon request; the other board members received those letters and exhibits simultaneously with their transmission to the attorney via email).
Ever since he received those responses, the attorney disappeared and never wrote another letter to Vicki. Over three months later the senior partner showed up at the board meeting on January 8, 2020, where the kangaroo court (the entire board) convicted Vicki of being inappropriate on the message board dating back to her post of August 2019 calling out the board for having illegal secret board meetings, and the board sustained her 30-day suspension which had commenced on December 18, 2019. At that board meeting, the senior partner falsely claimed that the lawyer did not response to Vicki because he was “on vacation,” to which Vicki replied, “for six months? Where can I get that kind of gig?” It is important to note that the suspension occurred because back in August 2019 Vicki posted a truthful message board post about the fact that the board was engaging in secret, illegal board meetings, and Alan admitted to it in an email to the attorney, the rest of the board, and me. During the 30-day suspension, CascadeLakesResidents.com was born.
Marion has conducted several illegal closed board meetings, removed truthful message board posts that called out her behavior, repeatedly allowed message board posts of one resident attacking other residents with impunity, has improperly tried to seize a resident’s microphone at a board meeting when she unilaterally decided that the resident would only have two minutes to speak instead of the required three minutes and then had the resident’s mic cut off, has repeatedly permitted repetitive heckling of residents by other residents at board meetings (where one of her few functions is to preside over board meetings), has allowed a resident to bash other residents at the First Residents’ Input Session on matters that were not part of the Agenda, and has repeatedly focused her efforts on trying to silence residents who air the truth about her aforementioned malfeasance. Any board member that believes that this type of behavior is remotely acceptable is guilty of dereliction of his/her duty to represent the residents of this HOA.
Have any of you made any commitments with regard to your vote for specific officers such as that of President? What “Weil-ing” and dealing have you already engaged in? Board members should understand that each board member is equal and equally represents the residents, and should have a completely independent vote, free from influence and any quid pro quo. And if you were approached by anyone in that regard, that means that that person was not confident that he or she would be able to secure enough votes by his or her character and talent to ensure his or her election as an officer.
New and current board members, ask yourselves before voting for president:
Will this person be transparent, and will this person read, follow, and respect the Florida Statutes and the HOA’s governing documents?
Will this person be respectful of others when they voice their opinions and when others call the president or other board members out for not being transparent, and for not following Florida Statutes and the HOA’s governing documents?
It has been all too obvious that this past year there have been fundamental misunderstandings of what limited powers the president of the BOD actually possesses.
It has also been abundantly clear that other board members for whatever reasons have failed and refused to rein in the wayward president, thus permitting unbridled power to coagulate in one person, as opposed to the seven persons that are supposed to be running this HOA. The result of this runaway power grab is an essential dictatorship, not a board of directors.
For the above reasons, it is the opinion of the news site, CascadeLakesResidents.com, that other board members would be much more suited for the position of president of our board. We also weigh in on suggestions for the other officer positions:
President: if elected, Susan Schmer, who has an excellent command of the rules and regulations of this HOA, and who has not been tainted by the illegal conduct repeatedly engaged in by the existing board. If not elected, Mark Goodman because he is focused on the tasks at hand and what is fiscally responsible.
Vice-President: if Marion is not president, then Alan Silver would make a great vice-president because he welcomes input from everyone and seeks to make informed decisions on matters before him. If Marion is re-elected, however, he should not be vice-president because, for reasons unfathomable to us, he simply cannot refrain from ceding his authority as an equal board member to Marion. Mark Goodman would be an excellent choice for vice-president if he is not elected president.
Secretary: this position is not required to be on the board of directors. Based on past experience, Linda Arbeit is perfectly suited to continue in this post, regardless of whether or not she is reelected as a board member.
Treasurer: this position is not required to be on the board of directors. Richard Greene, a CPA and current Chairman of the Budget Committee, is perfectly suited for this position, regardless of whether or not he is elected as a board member.
Arthur Andelson for CascadeLakesResidents.com
March 8, 2020:
Patricia Florenco wrote:
Hi Vicki and Arthur, thank you both for tackling the mailbox issue and all that you are doing for the residents. Seems that the BOD just likes to spend money and ignore the documents.
Sorry about your heckler and I truly understand what it feels like. The BOD should have stopped this bully immediately but instead the president bullied you! Shame on all the board members for having allowed this.
Yes you can post my name.
March 5, 2020:
Alan Lampert wrote:
The mailboxes are being discussed again. I thought this was squelched.
What can we do to stop this?
Thanks for writing. My March 4, 2020 synopsis and commentary will be posted on our site either by tonight or tomorrow night and I address it very completely therein. It is completely illegal.
Mailboxes do not have to be uniform and are in fact subject to individual homeowner/ARB approval as our governing documents clearly spell out. Neither the Board nor the community has the right to interfere with that specific right specifically granted by our governing documents, page 1-18, at Section O and page 4-8, at Number 8.
Having said that, based on our analysis which I set forth in the March 4, 2020 synopsis, it seems pretty clear that if this went to a community vote it would fail miserably.
Do I have your permission to post your name and your letter to the editor and my response on our website?
[Editor's note: see the details immediately below in our February 6, 2020 post:]
February 6, 2020:
Your editor, Vicki Roberts, and her husband, Arthur Andelson, wrote:
Mailboxes are specifically referenced in our Declaration of Conditions, Covenants, Easements and Restrictions on file with the State of Florida; at page 1-18, it states: “Section O. Mailboxes. No mailboxes or similar improvement shall be installed on any Unit or Lot unless the location thereof has been approved by the ARB and the materials therefore [sic] and color thereof have been approved by the ARB and are in accordance with such standards for materials and colors as may be adopted by the ARB.” This necessarily means that an individual homeowner may apply to the ARB, the architectural review board of our HOA, for a specific and unique mailbox, and there is, in fact, no requirement that all mailboxes be uniform.
Furthermore, under our Rules and Regulations, page 4-8, under B. General Rules, Number 8, it states: “Mailboxes and numbers are the property of the individual homeowners. The homeowner is responsible for maintenance and/or replacement in accordance with the standards established by the property manager. New mailboxes must be in accordance with standards established by the Board of Directors.” Thus, again, there is no requirement that all mailboxes be uniform. And to the extent the Rules and Regulations are in conflict with the Declaration on file with the State of Florida, the Declaration controls and the Rules and Regs must bow to the Declaration. Therefore, it is actually improper for our BOD to vote or for there to be a community vote on changing mailboxes en masse because the HOA does not own the mailboxes and no resident has the right to vote on issues concerning another resident’s mailbox. So, if a mailbox looks like crap, the HOA has a right to proceed under our Rules and Regs, Section E., Violation Guidelines, at pages 4-16 to 4-17, but that’s it.
January 29, 2020:
Your editor, Vicki Roberts, and her husband, Arthur Andelson, wrote:
Why does our Board of Directors continue to condone mean and hateful behavior? Our Board continually allows a resident to post ugly and mean posts attacking your editor, her husband, and this website (see Calling Out Bulliespage for these posts).
Yet the Board suspended your editor for 30 days from the Cascade Lakes Message Board for posting a provably truthful criticism of the manner in which they conducted business. This is selective discrimination, and by continuing to allow these multiple hateful and mean posts by this one resident, the Board actually promotes this mean and hateful behavior.
The Board is empowering and endorsing this behavior and putting their mark of approval on it. Thus, the Board is equally responsible for this mean and hateful behavior. This resident, Chick Coletta, with his approved posts, can now be deemed to be speaking on behalf of the Board of Directors.
This is supported by Board President, Marion Weil, who commented in the January 2020 News & Views about this website in a manner which denigrates this website. This is why Marion is more than happy as a co-webmistress of the Cascade Lakes Message Board to allow Chick to continue posting his mean and hateful posts.
Your editor wrote to the Board on January 24, 2020 about this selective discrimination concerning Message Board discipline. That email was ignored. Here it is in its entirety:
"Selective Discriminatory Discipline on Message Board Posts
You pulled down an August 2019 post of mine, counted that as one demerit, and then pulled down a December 2019 post of mine, and counted that as a second demerit, and promptly suspended me from the message board for 30 days.
When we first moved here in May, we met Chick Coletta at the pool and he told us that he was suspended from the message board for 6 months.
In the last three and a half weeks, Chick Coletta has been permitted to post no less than five insulting and attacking messages against me, my husband, and Patricia Florenco, which were posted on December 30, January 4, January 5, January 6, and January 23. Please see the five posts from Chick Coletta on your message board here:
You suspended me for two posts over a four-month period (one from August and one from December). Yet here we have 5 posts from the same resident that has posted successively over the course of the last 30 days and yet somehow, he was not suspended at all.
In other words, after his offensive and attacking posts of December 30 th and January 4 th, he was allowed to continue posting offensive and attacking posts at least three more times this month, as late as yesterday. Why? Why have you selectively discriminated against me for posting 2 posts over a four-month period that you didn’t like, yet you allow this bully to continue to attack residents with impunity.
That email was ignored. Chick then posted another mean and hateful post on January 27, 2020, also posted on our Calling Out Bullies page. I then sent another email to the Board, forwarding this additional mean and hateful post by Chick, and my email again was ignored and his post remains up. Here is that email:
"Attention Mike Blackman and Entire Board:
Here we go again - Chick attacking me on your Message Board again. Why has this person been consistently allowed to post attacking and insulting messages against other residents with impunity over and over again?
Why hasn’t he been suspended for these multiple and repeated offenses? It’s shocking that you still allow this person access to the Message Board after having removed his other multiple posts. Is he your lackey?
By your continued allowance of this disgusting behavior you are endorsing it and you are selectively applying your so-called disciplinary rules, which makes your so-called Terms of Service a farce.
I just recently wrote to you (the Board) about your selective and discriminatory practices concerning this matter and here we have another post proving my point. He is your bully by proxy. That makes all of you the bullies because you enable him and endorse his behavior.
Category: General Author: AKA Chick Coletta Topic: CascadeLakesResidents.com - February Resident of the Month Award Winner Chosen! Message:
I'm not interested in playing such a childish game that you have one or 2 people voting. why don't you do some more constructive.? I dropped out of kindergarten because of Recess because I wouldn't play stupid games
Now we have this latest post of January 29, 2020, one of several posted over the course of the last 24 hours, all mean and hateful against his fellow residents, your editor and her husband, and this site. This latest post is also posted under today's date on our Calling Out Bullies page.
Aside from resident Chick Coletta's smear campaign and clear obsession with this website, the more disturbing truth is the Board's obvious glee in their henchman's posts, as led by Board President Marion Weil, the chief webmistress on the Cascade Lakes Message Board.
Let me be very clear here: this website will continue to be the go-to place for our wonderful community, we will continue reporting on news in our community, and we will continue to comment on matters relevant to the community. You will soon be seeing us around the neighborhood in our new hats; look for our white caps with the following purple lettering on the caps:
Because we are press, any resident in any capacity is free to contact us and request an "off the record" discussion which is protected by the journalist shield law, which means it cannot be compelled to be revealed. For the loud handful of haters who are reading this, know that your editor has been an official member of RTNA for over 15 years (Radio and Television News Association).
We appreciate the many kind words from many members of our great community as to what we have done with this website, what it offers, what we have contributed from our personal resources, and how much of our heart, time, and energy that we volunteer to maintain it and keep it current.
As of yesterday, our analytics state that we have 1,938unique visits to our website for January alone [not including late December when we started] (this is not the number of visits or website hits, which are in the many, many thousands, but rather a tally of unique devices accessing the website), and our website has only been active for approximately one month. This number grows daily. This website fills a dire need in this community for truth, transparency, and up to date news.
January 23, 2020:
Alan Lampert wrote:
Just spent quite a bit of time on your website.
Thank you both for everything you do!
January 23, 2020:
Patricia Florenco wrote:
Really tried watching the meeting last night but unfortunately Zoom wasn't cooperating. Hopefully the kinks will be worked out for the next Board Meeting. I never used Zoom before so they should have been some sort of instructions on the Message Board as to what to press or not press. I saw, including myself, videos of another resident who was trying out Zoom. Also, heard some resident that was also connected.
With all that said it is a great idea! Thank you Vicki, Arthur, those who decided on Zoom and the BOD's.
January 23, 2020:
At the January 22, 2020 BOD Meeting, a resident brought up the issue of sprinkler heads and there was an exchange with the board and others. Arthur Andelson has some critical information on this topic which is worthy of reading. First I will post the exchange from the Second Residents' Input Session and then I will follow it with Arthur's comments:
Bill Deitsch: I have several questions pertaining to the budget and replacing sprinklers. $19,000 last year and this year $23,000. I’d like to know what this includes. Does it include parts and labor? Harvey: Barry will address that. Barry Gordon: sprinkler heads we have four-inch sprinkler heads, we decided to go with six-inch sprinkler heads for better coverage. The six-inch heads are more expensive. Bill: how did we come to $23,000 budget? Marion: the cost of the six-inch sprinkler heads. Bill: it’s inserts. Marion: we replace them more than you think because of the mowing. Barry: $8.00 difference for the bigger head. Bill: insert: it’s $3-$5.00 per insert. I still want to know how you come up to $23,000 for sprinklers. Mark: a lot for labor. If we have to replace, it’s labor. Palm Beach Broward. Bill: the cost factor for labor is theirs, not ours. Harvey: any time you have a job done, it’s parts and labor, the labor is usually more expensive. Mark: $60/hour. Marion: we’ll have to research and get back to you with the numbers. Bill: how many heads were replaced last year? What was the cost of the parts? The labor? If Palm Beach Broward [writer’s note: the Landscaping Company] breaks a head, that’s their cost, not ours. [writer’s note: great point!] When you find out, how many heads in our whole property? If you replace 1,000 a year, it would cost $23,000; I don’t think you replace that many. Marion: 1,000/year, yes. Harvey: breaking, and things wear out. Bill: table it under Robert’s Rules and get back to it. [writer’s note: Robert’s Rules of Order.] Marion: thank you, Bill.
Arthur Andelson makes the following critically important observations:
It’s not just the change to a six-inch sprinkler head, and the longer sprinkler head has nothing to do with coverage per se. And you cannot put a six-inch sprinkler head (the insert) in a four-inch chamber. When you increase the length of the sprinkler head, you have to decrease the extension pipe from the head to the main water supply pipe underground, also known as a riser, otherwise the sprinkler head would be sticking out two inches above the ground in its closed state. If you don’t do this, it will get mowed and destroyed every time the mower goes by. So, it stands to reason that the labor cost must include also replacing the riser (the connection between the sprinkler head and the main water supply pipe) upon which the sprinkler head rests. If they are breaking a lot of sprinkler heads, it could be because the mower blades are set too low. In that case, they must adjust their mower blades or absorb the cost of what they destroy. However, if the mower blades are properly adjusted to accommodate this issue, this necessarily means they will not mow as low and will therefore likely have to re-mow more frequently, which is a great cost to the community. The reason why it is better to have a six inch sprinkler head, which has to be set four inches lower as further explained below so that it doesn’t stick up in its closed position (called a counter-sink so it is below the ground when closed), is that when you put in where it is counter-sinked, it can rest in its closed position slightly below ground level so as not to be damaged by mowing, but long enough so that in its extended position, it will cover the same as the four inch one. It allows for the same coverage without breakage and damage by mowers. You do not get greater coverage. You get the same coverage without repeatedly breaking and damaging sprinkler heads, but this is only true assuming they do it properly by also lowering the risers (extensions) which connect the sprinkler heads to the main water supply pipe below ground. So, you are no longer going down only two additional inches to the main water pipe; you are going down an additional four inches. Let me explain why: for example, if the main water pipe is 12 inches below ground, a four inch sprinkler head requires an eight inch underground riser to connect it to the main water pipe if you have the sprinkler head at ground level. A six-inch sprinkler head, if it had a six-inch riser, would not solve your problem, as the head would still be at the same ground level and still get damaged and broken. If you drop the riser an additional two inches, so that in this scenario, the riser is now 8 inches below ground, which makes it a four inch riser (four inches above the main water pipe), this means that the four inch riser plus the six inch sprinkler head equals 10 inches from the main water pipe, and that means that the six-inch sprinkler head in its closed position is two inches below ground level, and therefore will not be damaged by mowing. When it is opened, it will therefore open six inches, which includes the two inches underground plus an additional four inches above ground. You get the same exact coverage, but you don’t get damaged sprinkler heads. Are they doing this for the $23,000 contract? This does require a lot more labor. However, if they are not doing all of this, then it is a total waste of $23,000 because you have not solved the problem. If you do have the sprinkler head below ground in this scenario, there is additional care involved in making sure that the head does not get clogged by dirt and debris.
January 20, 2020:
On January 15, 2020, Arthur Andelson sent the following letter to the BOD:
Via email [2 pages] January 15, 2020
Re: Cascade Lakes Entertainment Contracts
Dear Board Members,
Vicki and I want the best for our community. One of the Board’s primary goals is Fiscal Responsibility. With that in mind, we formally requested and received the entertainment contracts for the years 2020 and 2021 and have now reviewed them.
Shortly prior to my improper and illegal suspension from the Entertainment Committee, at the time when I was still the Secretary of the Committee, I had mentioned that I was concerned about the contracts. My suggestions on how to save the community money without compromising the talent were presented at the meeting. When I endeavored to include those comments in the Minutes that I prepared, Diane Green, the Chairperson, deleted those comments from her final edit of those Minutes which she emailed to the Committee. Thereafter, I was suspended from the Committee by an illegal in camera vote at what Eileen referred to as a “personnel” meeting of the Board.
Separately, prior to my illegal suspension, I emailed the Board two times requesting guidance on how to prepare the Minutes in view of Board Member Eileen Olitsky’s rule-breaking concerning the distribution of tickets to the show series. This issue was part of the same Minutes that I was charged with preparing as Secretary of the Entertainment Committee. Despite my repeated attempts to work with you on these issues, you all summarily ignored my emails requesting your guidance on this specific issue and instead voted privately and illegally to suspend me from the Entertainment Committee.
With the above facts in mind, we will now address the contracts that you all approved without any input from the Entertainment Committee as far as the 2021 contracts are concerned. In fact, the Entertainment Committee was never consulted about the 2021 contracts which were provided to you surreptitiously by Committee Chair Diane Green and Committee Liaison/Board Member Eileen Olitsky, neither of whom have any expertise in legal contracts or talent negotiations. Every one of the larger contracts, with the exception of Sarge’s contract, requires our community to pay the talent many, many, many thousands of dollars upfront regardless of ticket sales. We then have to hope and pray that enough tickets will be sold so as not to incur a loss. We have the Committee Chairperson running around begging people to buy tickets to try and stem any potential losses owing to inadequate ticket sales. This is absurd and no way to run this type of business.
For the record, Vicki has been negotiating and drafting contracts for 36 years and both of us have been licensed talent agents since 2008. We have represented many high-profile talent and negotiated their many, many contracts. This talent includes Englebert Humperdinck and Jermaine Jackson, who are performers similar to the performers you hire for our community. We have also represented and negotiated contracts for the late David Carradine, Gary Busey, Michael Madsen, Armand Assante, Michael Nouri, Lou Ferrigno, the late Don Kirshner, and others. Some of Vicki’s contract language and clauses are now standard in many entertainment contracts.
Also, we were approached a number of years ago by Sarge, one of your headliners, to represent him in Los Angeles. We declined that invitation because he could not commit to engagements in California owing to his commitments in southern Florida. The payment clause in his contract with Cascade Lakes, however, is a great template and all contracts should mirror that clause in his contract. It would not only save our community many thousands of dollars for every single contract, but it would also inure to the benefit of the entertainers, assuming they believed in their own talent.
Sarge’s contract requires a $500 deposit and then he takes 80% of the ticket sales. Our community is guaranteed 20% of the ticket sales. A 20% return on ticket sales could be broken down as follows: 5% could go for clean-up and refreshments and the other 15% could go towards utilities, insurance, wear and tear, and remodeling. So, when the Board enters into a contract in the hopes of breaking even or making a little profit, in reality the community is losing money because there is no consideration taken for the cost of utilities, wear and tear, remodeling, renovations, etc.
When the Board voted on and approved the Entertainment contracts at the various Board meetings, did each Board member review the contracts? Was the Board aware there was never any vote or discussion in the Entertainment Committee about what talent the Committee was going to choose for the 2021 roster? Did anyone engage in any negotiations whatsoever with the talent or their representatives? Based on the contracts we have received and reviewed, the answer is a resounding no. This is not fiscal responsibility.
It seems to us that you were handed pre-written contracts presented by the talent or their agents and accepted them without any negotiation whatsoever. The Sarge contract’s payment clause should be the model upon which all Entertainment contracts are based from this point forward. If the talent refuses such terms, we find other talent. Rest assured, the market is overflowing with hungry talented people.
Vicki and I are available to assist in the proper negotiation of talent contacts so that this community can be fiscally responsible with respect to entertainment contracts. Since we are not going anywhere as we have stated to those of you who wish we would leave, we will be here to handle these matters and then report to the Board. Are you willing to be fiscally responsible in the future with regard to Entertainment and other contracts? Please advise via return email. We do intend to post this on our website, CascadeLakesResidents.com, because our community owns the HOA and this is their money that you are charged with handling.
January 18, 2020:
Vicki Roberts wrote:
Pickleball Club Officers Clarification:
The officers of the Pickleball Club are not a “board” as the president of the club has repeatedly written in her correspondence to club members. Another new club officer also used this word to describe the officers of this club.
A “board” is a board of directors, of which there is only one in this community. The officers of the club are just that: officers of the club.
This is more than just a misnomer; it is a fundamental misunderstanding of these officers’ roles in this club. Club members make decisions through club-wide votes. Officers do not vote on any club decisions except as part of a club-wide vote of the membership.
Hence, by definition they are not a “board.” It matters because if they erroneously believe that they are a “board,” it stands to reason that they may erroneously believe that they get to make decisions for this club. They do not. This also means that there can be no promises made behind the scenes on behalf of the club membership and it also means that they can make no decisions on their own or amongst themselves with respect to the Pickleball Club.
January 16, 2020:
Vicki Roberts, your webmistress, wrote:
Message Board Suspensionsare Discriminatory Against Single/Widowed Members:
Here is an excerpt from a letter I sent to the Board and “our” HOA attorney concerning my illegal suspension from the message board contrary to the mandatory procedure of the Florida law that governs suspensions. I sent this letter on December 21, 2019 as part of my demand for a grievance procedure which I never received. In that letter, I talk about the discriminatory effect this illegal policy has against single and widowed homeowners.
At the last board meeting on January 8, 2020 where the issue of my suspension was addressed, the attorney literally cut me off when I raised this issue and attempted to advise the community. He shut me down and stated over me: “We’re not talking about that.” Here is what he did not want you to hear:
“Now let me explain why this entire process is actually discriminatory. I am not here talking about myself; I am addressing all of the disenfranchised single Member/Owners who are deprived of community access to the entire message board if/when you suspend that Member’s access. A married Member still has access to the community asset, the community Message Board, through his or her spouse, by simply inputting the spouse’s username and password into the system. But the single Member is 100% locked out. You have not merely disallowed them to POST a message, you have locked them out of the entire community asset, and prevented them from viewing other posts, and this is discriminatory in the application of your illegal discipline, as it is based on marital status and numbers of Members in a household. You have prevented those single Members from knowing what is going on in and around the community, and that by itself is a safety issue. That is the discriminatory effect of this asinine policy.”
That is what “our” HOA lawyer did not want you to hear.
January 9, 2020:
Helene Poropat wrote:
I just have a couple of questions if you don’t mind. I think you know how I felt about the obvious disdain shown to you and Arthur at the board meeting I attended (my last, I might add mainly because of that disgusting behavior ) but I am concerned about how this site is being maintained. The fact that we have to submit postings to you first to be reviewed before you would, presumably, then post it on the site seems to contradict the term “ residents input page “. It would then , in effect be, residents possible input page . Just a thought, if you are allowing people to contribute to the site then I think you need to allow to do just that, contribute free of censorship, then rely on yours or others responses to speak for themselves .
I enjoy reading your synopses of the BOD meetings because I feel get an honest look at what went on, hence my reasons for visiting your page. The fact that you monitor who goes on it on a daily basis is just a little too much “ big Brother “ for me Are your “analytics” telling you who specifically goes on or how many people in general go on? That would be easier for me to accept the # of people as opposed to the who.
I have always found you and Arthur to be very friendly, pleasant people and I am not sure why ,when you speak up you are treated more like provocateurs than concerned residents, but I gave up on trying to understand other peoples issues long ago. Sometimes you just have to accept, calculate your responses and move on, makes my life easier. Anyway, keep on speaking the truth, eventually some people will understand, some will not, such is life.
Thanks , Helene Poropat
Thank you for your wonderful email and great questions. In response to your two questions:
1. The website is not set up for automatic posting at this time. I do not edit posts. Any resident who wants to make a post I will post. I just ask that they keep it clean, as the website states.
2. The analytics do not identify the person, only the number of visits, which pages are visited, hours of visitation for the numbers, and number statistics of that nature. Presumably the people looking are Cascade Lakes residents; the website is specific to the community and would not likely generate much interest beyond our community.
3. Would you like me to post your comments, without editing, as I do with everyone? I would do so only with your written permission, and I can do so with your name identified or as anonymous as some people want, and I would also post my response, unedited.
January 7, 2019:
Anonymous #4 wrote:
I have followed your emails for some time.Based on my reading of your emails there seem to be a number of illegalities on the part of the HOA Board. This is a matter of concern both for the individual illegalities and for the BOD’s attitude that such illegalities are not significant because no-one seems to care enough to report this to the State. A close friend in California explained to me that were this to happen there, and a complaint filed, the State could dismiss the board, making them unable to sit on a condo board in the future, the State would order a new election, and that board would work under daily supervision by the State until such time as the supervisor felt the BOD could handle this with less restrictive supervision. He said that any fines imposed by the State would be be the responsibility of the members of the BOD, and could not be covered by Directors’ insurance but the BOD themselves would be held liable for the fine.
Does anyone know what would happen here? Do you know if anyone here has spoken with the State? It seems to me the this can only be resolved by removing this board.
January 7, 2020:
Anonymous #3, Glenville Pod, wrote:
Re: HOA not following state statute
Thank you for creating that board, especially with everything going on with our current board.
While I will not be able to attend the meeting due to a bad cold and wanting to disrupt the meeting, my take is if the board does indeed go forward with procedures against state law, why not reach out to the state to have them investigate them?
I was in another HOA and president of an HOA for 9 years (nowhere as big as this) and I’ve never seen anything like this by a board. I hope that you quote the Florida statutes tomorrow and then at the end ask them how they feel if the state looked into this board and their actions.
You have nothing to lose since the BOD feel they can do what they want. I’m also surprised they weren’t told by the property mgt company as an ‘unofficial’ comment they were treading on thin ice, so to speak.
Also, while I’ve attending some HOA meetings, why doesn’t the board have a lawyer present at the meetings? When we lived at our condo, the law firm or lawyer for us was at every meeting? I don’t remember seeing one at the few meetings I’ve attended here….
January 6, 2020:
Patricia Florenco wrote:
I thank you for your website. I know you will post honest comments, posts etc.
about time we had a straight forward site for residents. Thank you for recognizing some are being bullied. Hang in there and feel free to use my name.
Patricia Florenco aka Mrs.F
January 05, 2020:
Jack Lippman wrote:
Universal Candidate for Resident of the month
Though reluctant to admit it, most residents share their homes with this fellow or his cousins on occasion, the appearance of which is a reminder to call a pest control guy or spray on your own.
January 5, 2020:
Steve Nobel wrote:
why are the comments on your message board coming from "anonymous"? where's the transparency? why do you screen all comments?
Thanks for your email. To answer your questions, Residents specifically requested that they not be identified and we respect their wishes. They feel terribly bullied by other Residents and want to contribute without being harassed the way we are regularly and incessantly harassed. The website is not set up for automatic posting at this time. Would you like your comment posted, and if so, would you prefer your name listed or would you prefer to be listed as Anonymous for your own protection?
If you want your comment posted, with or without anonymity, let me know but I will then, in full disclosure, also post this response to you.
Your friendly webmistress
Feel free to post.....and I can be identified.
January 4, 2020:
Anonymous #2 wrote: “I think the website is awesome and I really appreciate everything you and Arthur have done to make this place better. I had pretty much given up on believing that Cascade Lakes could someday be a nice place to live and you have restored my hope. Thank you!”
January 3, 2020:
Cheryl Keyes wrote:
The site looks good and fun interactive things to do. Clever, really clever.
January 3, 2020:
Anonymous #1 wrote: "Great choices for the Resident of the Month Award. Who decides on who wins each month?"
Webmistress's Answer: Great question! Your friendly webmistress makes the final decision. We welcome any and all nominations from residents. Send a private email to your webmistress with your nominee and the reasons you feel he/she deserves the award. We are very good at keeping secrets, so all nominees remain confidential.