An Opinion By Jan Bergemann 
President, Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc. 

June 1, 2006

Last, but not least we have to deal with certain umbrella organizations, founded by some board members for various purposes, mostly to influence local politicians in regards to ordinances and zoning decisions.  Actually, this concept originally may have been a pretty good idea to protect the neighborhood against abusive growth management.  But since most owners are not really interested in association politics, certain power-mongers with special agendas took over. 

Most of these "Alliances of Neighborhood Associations" are just loose-knit organizations with a few participants, whose boards are elected by just these few participants. They most often lack the real support of the owners in these communities they claim to represent. 

So far, all these umbrella organizations combined have failed to make reasonable proposals to create the necessary reforms -- much needed to give owners back their rights without getting involved in costly litigation.


So far, they are just repeating what the attorneys are telling them to say in order to stay in power!


Some of these organizations and their presidents have made recent headlines, just underlining my above statements!



This is an umbrella organization claiming to represent the interests of condo owners along the GALT MILE in Fort Lauderdale. Just a few board members from various condominiums along the beaches are running the show and are very supportive of CALL, most likely hoping that the Becker & Poliakoff attorneys will be able to subdue the owners who have gotten more alert recently after discovering many irregularities by board members. The election in Playa Del Mar and the filed complaint by Southpoint Condominium owners against Robert Rozema, the president of the Galt Mile Community Association, make it very obvious that this "umbrella" organization has plenty of problems of its own.  It is far from being able to claim that it represents the condo owners of the Galt Mile.


Barbara Katz, now president of COBWRA after the resignation of long-term board president Sandy Greenberg, listened to the many complaints as a member of the 2004 HOA Task Force and opposed quite a few proposals of the specialized attorneys. Nevertheless, it seems that COBRWA is supporting CALL and COCA.


Recent headlines have shown that COBRWA is being abused as political tool to promote the interests of Senator Ron Klein, who is the Democrat candidate for the 22nd Congressional District. This organization has long abandoned the fight for the rights of homeowners living in associations -- and joined COCA -- most likely for some more political gain, ignoring the cries for help from owners and board members in many associations being part of their area. Just recently quite a few boards in that area were recalled by owners unhappy about the way the so-called leadership made decisions. 

Then you have lots of small so-called umbrella groups, where a few "board members" are trying hard to get more than just local recognition.  Look at the Broward Coalition -- under the leadership of Charlotte Greenbarg -- or the Alliance of Delray Residential Associations with Robert Schulbaum and Mort Mazor. They have never had their own ideas; they are just making noises about issues they are being told to make noise about!


In the Tampa/St. Petersburg area there is the Carrollwood Area Association of Neighborhoods and the Hillsborough Alliance of Neighborhood Associations -- both with the same president: Tom Jones! Jones is making his money as community manager and is trying in vain to get his foothold in local politics! Just check out the problems in his own community: WESTCHASE!


None of these umbrella organizations has ever really tried to work on owner-friendly reforms and joining an organization founded and run by CAI executives will definitely not change this!