|THE GOOD -- THE BAD -- AND THE UGLY!|
Opinion By Jan Bergemann
March 3, 2006 (Amended 4-15-2006)
I guess the main bills relating to community associations are published -- and the fight is on. As usual -- the interests are divided into consumer-friendly and service-provider friendly -- actually meaning the Consumer Alliance CCFJ, Inc. against CALL and CAI -- the service-provider lobbyist groups. Like usual, CALL is trying to hide this fact -- this year claiming to represent the association boards -- see (quote Sun Sentinel): "Representing boards again this year is the Community Association Leadership Lobby, or CALL, an arm of the Fort Lauderdale-based Becker & Poliakoff law firm."
my, when will they finally tell
the real truth?
The first exchange of opinions could be heard on AM 610 -- South Florida's FIRST NEWS with Brian Freeman.We Report, You Decide.
A state bill may make life a little easier for people living in communities with Home Owner Associations...and the Associations aren't happy... co-sponsor of the Bill, State Representative from Miami-Dade County, Juan C. Zapata spoke to Brian Freeman on SOUTH FLORIDA'S FIRST NEWS.
Click HERE to hear Representative Zapata.
Donna Berger, Executive Director of the Community Association Leadership Lobby, is trying to stop it from passing. Click HERE for the Association Leadership Lobby response.
If you compare what State Representative Juan Zapata had to say about the owner-friendly bills with the statements of Donna Berger, you immediately realize that she avoided the real issues and just used her usual platitudes. But either she forgot to read the bills or, as often before, she likes to "misinterpret" the bills and the contents. We have seen before the scare tactics used by attorneys and managers. Last year owners were told that their dues would have to be raised by about $500 per month, pricing people out of their homes, if HB 1229 and mandatory reserve funds would be enacted. Quite a few condo-owners believed that outrageous lie and then paid dearly after the hurricanes hit -- and no reserves were available. HUGE SPECIAL ASSESSMENTS were the results! This interpretation was absolute fiction. Now in 2006 they are mixing all the bills together, creating scares that lead to e-mails like this (quote): " Legislation is being passed that will take away the authority of the Board of Directors and the Association to have any say regarding what a unit owner does to his unit, imposing fees and collection procedures, etc. These changes were initiated by a group called Cyber Citizens for Justice. If these laws are passed what's the point of having documents or a board to enforce document items such as what an owner can do to his apartment, alterations or collection assessments due." (end quote)
Can you believe that? Some people are so gullible that they just take for granted what is being falsely claimed. They believe those deceptions without checking for the truth -- or reading the actual bill -- especially if so-called “professionals” spread these rumors!
This year comes the story of all the poor associations who don't find volunteers to serve on the board -- and here comes some legislator and wants term limits! But CALL supporters are proof that there is a reason for creating term limits: Board directors who abuse their long-term positions and create serious complaints like the one filed against Robert Rozema, which alleges serious wrongdoings. Rozema is the president of the Galt Mile Community Association in Fort Lauderdale, an organization strongly supporting CALL. If even half of the allegations are correct, these board members definitely need real smart legal representation.
This is just a little down the road from the Playa Del Mar Condominium, where we saw board and attorney initially prohibiting appointed election monitors to conduct the meeting.
The alleged shenanigans can only
happen if directors are in power too long! There could be some small
associations without enough volunteers willing to serve on the
board, but there are many other associations where numerous
candidates fight for a few open seats. We see an outrageous number
of recalls and election arbitration, a lot more than the DBPR can
It seems the ones out of touch with reality are Donna Berger and CALL. The numbers are speaking against them. Everybody with the right money can order a survey that will show the results you want, especially if you target the right people.
Admittedly, they have the money and the resources, but we owners have the votes in November.
legislators can be very sure about these things:
We will watch every
We will watch every
vote during the upcoming session.
We will publish ALL in
a summary before the November election.
We know some legislators are feeling very safe in their districts, but some might want to run one day for higher office. That is the moment where voters come into play. We will already have a field day in November when some legislators who permanently ignored the interests of their constituents will try to be elected for higher office!
Websites have a long memory -- and so do voters if reminded in time!
These are the main bills for the 2006 Legislative Session: