House Criminal & Civil Justice Policy Council 2010

April 6, 2010
Opinion by Jan Bergemann, President

Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.


Dear Members of the Criminal & Civil Justice Policy Council,


As a member of the House Criminal & Civil Justice Policy Council, you will hear today, Tuesday, April 6, 2010 House Bill H 561 – Condominiums.  


VOTE NO on the Strike All. It's a real bad bill which sells out your constituents to help Ellyn Bogdanoff get more campaign funds from special interest. The late posting of the Strike All is as much an ambush, hoping you will vote YEA without realizing how bad the bill really is, as her killing H329, the bill that would have really helped condo owners and homeowners. She asked all Republican members of the Civil Justice & Courts Policy Committee to vote NO on the bill the night before the committee meeting, because that bill was against the interest of the folks funding her campaign. By the way, she forgot to contact Representative Domino, the chair, asking him to vote No -- because he is her opponent in the Primary for Senate District 25. If you vote Yes on this Strike All you are as guilty in failing your constituents as she is.


House Bill 561 -- initially sponsored by Ellyn Bogdanoff as a condominium bill – was a bill with provisions that would help condo owners dealing with the financial crunch in many condo associations. Considering that the Florida legislature is refusing to help owners dealing with the financial disaster of unpaid dues and foreclosures caused by banks and mortgage companies, allowing provisions, which prevent associations from having to spend money that isn’t available, to be enacted is definitely the next best solution, if you are willing to ignore that this goes at the expense of health and welfare of especially elderly condo owners. Never forget, many of our elderly neighbors can’t run to escape fires that spread in a high-rise – and are caught in their units if the elevators don’t function because of power failure. Please remember the disaster after the 2004/2005 hurricanes when owners were stuck in their condos for weeks before power was restored. That actually opens up the question: Why not protect the profits of banks and mortgage companies in exchange for lives, health and safety of a few elderly folks, who may not have a long life expectancy anyway? But I guess we have to live with it, since we obviously live in a state where the profits of special interest are valued higher than life and safety of its citizens!


But the bill turns into a really bad apple if provisions for homeowners’ association (FS 720) from H 1317 are added. This bill, sponsored in the House by Representative Maria Sachs, adds lots of provisions that are detrimental for homeowners living in these community associations. These provisions, if enacted, would give boards more dictatorial power, remove transparency from association business and increase the profits of the service providers.


It’s even more pathetic, if you know that Maria Sachs has a private agenda to file this bill. Her husband, Peter Sachs from the law firm Sachs Sax Caplan P.L., has made lots of money from lawsuits trying to create mandatory golf club memberships for homeowners, when golf courses ran into financial problems and the golf-playing members were looking for other people to pay for their entertainment.


All legal attempts in courts failed – the lawsuits suffered miserable defeats and left communities all over Florida in financial chaos. Now Maria Sachs tries to achieve in the legislature what her husband failed to achieve in court. It’s always great to see legislators with private agendas who don’t care about their constituents!


The sponsors of H1317/S1196 know full well that their bill will be heavily opposed by homeowners living in HOAs. Some of the proposed provisions are outright disgusting. The sponsors hope that by merging the bill the condo owners will favor this merged bill – they have nothing to lose if the outrageous HOA provisions are enacted – and that the Governor will get mixed signals if this bill reaches his desk.


It will pit condo owners against homeowners, because whatever the decision of Governor Charlie Crist it will make one side happy and the other side mad. And that is exactly what the sponsors of H1317/S1196 hope for.


As a legislator, you should ask yourself: Is this a way to pass legislation?

Let’s face it: Condo owners need this bill – it’s the only one left standing that could minimum partially help condo owners to deal with the financial disaster in their associations.


For homeowners in HOAs it’s a matter of financial survival to make sure that this bill fails – if merged. Who needs more dictatorial powers for board members and more profits for service providers in a time when many associations consider declaring bankruptcy?


Leave the bills separate – don’t allow a merger which will pit some of your constituents against the others.


Vote NO on any additions to the existing wording of H 561 that create changes to FS 720 (homeowners’ associations).


I often wonder how some legislators can sleep at night

after selling out their constituents to special interest!

Snyder, William D. (R)  Chair
Holder, Doug (R)  Vice Chair
Fetterman, Adam M. (D)  Democratic Ranking Member
Adams, Sandra (R)   
Ambler, Kevin C. (R)   
Domino, Carl J. (R)   
Eisnaugle, Eric (R)   
Garcia, Luis R. (D)   
Gibson, Audrey (D)   
Gonzalez, Eduardo (R)   
Grady, Tom (R)   
Robaina, Julio (R)   
Schenck, Robert C. (R)   
Thurston, Perry E. (D)   
Waldman, James W. (D)   
Weinstein, Michael B. (R)   


Depending on your e-mail program, please click on OUTLOOK or AOL and the addresses of all committee members will show in your e-mail form.




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