CYBER CITIZENS FOR JUSTICE, INC.

Jan W. Bergemann  

President CCFJ, Inc.

1156 Tall Oaks Rd.

Deland, FL 32720

Phone:  (386) 740-1503

E-Mail:  jan@ccfj.net

Website:  http://www.ccfj.net  

“From Justice As A Foundation All Rights Flow”

February 2, 2006

WHY HB 957 Is Another Really Bad Bill!

Open Letter To Representative Tom Anderson

Honorable Representative Anderson,

 

I hope you are aware that HB 957, a bill sponsored by you, is only serving special interests and is detrimental to the welfare of Florida's homeowners living in associations. It blatantly attempts to remove owner-friendly reforms that had been created by the legislature in 2004 -- proposed by Governor Jeb Bush’s HOA Task Force.

 

It was always my impression that elected officials should uphold the Constitution of this country.  Associations are non-government entities with no accountability.  Therefore, the Supreme Courts of Virginia and Rhode Island have already ruled “unconstitutional” the power of associations to levy fines.

 

The HOA proposal had been a kind of a compromise – “yes” to fines, but with court supervision; but “no” to liens and foreclosures. Your bill is trying to remove this safeguard created for the welfare of the homeowners, especially the elderly and owners on fixed income.

 

Considering that you are the Vice Chair of the House Committee on Elder & Long-Term Care, it is even harder for me to comprehend that you are willing to sponsor such a bill.

 

The provisions regarding covenant revitalization are another blatant attempt to force members of voluntary associations into mandatory associations. Senator Fasano has tried for the past four years to push this issue through the legislature, pushed by his special-interest friends. One attempt was stopped by the veto of Governor Bush, who quoted constitutional concerns when vetoing the bill. To me, it sometimes seems that Senator Fasano is not very familiar with the United States Constitution.

 

Another attempt was stopped by the Governor's HOA Task Force, where the proposal was utterly defeated after members listened to lengthy testimony!  Here we are again with your bill. The dispute “voluntary vs. mandatory association” already creates enough lawsuits. Courts have struck down attempts made by certain interest groups! This is a sneak-in attempt for issues already defeated before under different disguises.

 

Totally removing FS 720.311 -- Dispute Resolution? This is the only provision created by the HOA reforms that has so far attempted to stop frivolous litigation. Considering the attorneys who have Senator Fasano's ear, I'm sure that they are against mediation first – judging by some of the lawsuits they have filed before!

 

There is already plenty of trouble in associations in your area.  Please don't help to create even bigger problems for homeowners in your district by pushing this bill!

 

HB 957 is an attempt to remove consumer protection that had been created by reforms to FS 720 by the 2004 bills, SB 1184 and SB 2984. You voted on the House floor in favor of both bills! Now you sponsor a bill that takes away lots of the progress made by enacting these bills.

 

Do you have any explanation for your total change of mind?

 

Warm Regards,

Jan Bergemann, President
Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.


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