OPEN LETTER TO GOVERNOR JEB BUSH
+ SENATORS COWIN + GELLER

 
    CYBER CITIZENS FOR JUSTICE, INC.
Jan W. Bergemann 
President CCFJ, Inc.
3345 Kings Rd. S.
Saint Augustine, Fl. 32086
Phone: (904)794-0888 
E-Mail: janberg@aug.com

Saint Augustine, 9 - 29 - 2001


Honorable Governor,
Dear Senators Cowin and Geller,

First of all : thank you, Governor, for your statement regarding flying the American flag in homeowners' associations, issued 9 -16 -2001. It definitely has been applauded all over the nation and is still mentioned in the media. Thank you so much!

Senators, you have proposed bills regarding these issues - SB 148 and SB 150. 
Please add provisions which allow any homeowner to fly the flag, according to the federal rules and as long as the American flag is displayed in a respectful and honorable manner, on their private property.
Senator Cowin's bill includes the mention of providing a penalty. Please make sure that the General Attorney's office is funded for this purpose, unlike other similar provisions, like in Chapter 498/021.022  where III. Degree felonies are not prosecuted for lack of funds, much to the disadvantage of Florida homeowners.

But even all announcements and bill-proposals doesn't stop the industry from making new cases against homeowners. Please see newest case from Tampa below! The industry is openly displaying total disregard for homeowners' rights and as long as you, our elected officials, are unwilling to provide the necessary oversight and enforcement, the industry will be unwilling to obey by the rules.

In an official statement the CAI (Community Association Institute - the industries trade organization) suggested to the many associations they influence to limit these modifications to their rules for six month before getting back to the old system. Violation-notices, fines and law-suits! It shows clearly that their initial statement is just to appease public opinion. Will flying "Old Glory" be limited to 6 month?  Is there a time-limit to display patriotism?

You may have heard or read that Senators in AZ are pushing for a Reform Task Force for Mandated Properties, the same our organization is pushing for in Florida, in connection with the flag-issue. The reaction among CAI executives showed the clear disregard the industry has for the common homeowner, your constituents. Here are some of the comments of CAI executives about creating a task force from very recent e-mails : "letting a legislator loose on this subject, backed by the testimony of the disgruntled homeowners" was only topped by a Florida CAI official who stated :"We had exactly the same problem in Florida in 1996 and CAI/FLA did a lousy job of combating it. However, four years later the damage has been repaired."

With other words: the industry is considering the work of Florida legislators in 95/96 "DAMAGE"!

Senator Cowin has first hand experience with unhappy - the industry calls them "disgruntled" - homeowners. Her district has many examples for abuses of homeowners living in associations. The list of complaints is nearly endless and is very often not limited to civil law. Since recent town hall-meetings the problems have even increased. 

As long as homeowners living in mandated properties are treated as step-children of society here in Florida, the abuses by the industry will continue. These constituents need the support of the government and the protection necessary. Many of these are retirees and veterans who live on a limited budget and can't afford to fight the deep-pocket industry in lengthy court-battles. 

Please help many of your constituents in need and support the Proposed Act : 
Mandated Property Reform Task Force

Your help will be greatly appreciated. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact me at any time. 

With best regards

Jan Bergemann
President
Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.


Reprint of Article Tampa Tribune, Courtesy of Tampa Tribune
Copyrights Tampa Tribune

Patriotism Collides With Rules On Yards
By WILL RODGERS wjrodgers@tampatrib.com 
Published: Sep 28, 2001

WESLEY CHAPEL - As a decorated World War II veteran, Louis Hofmann knows the rules on properly displaying the American flag. What he and wife Joan didn't know, however, was the rule the Grand Oaks Master Homeowners Association has about erecting flagpoles. About a week after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the Hofmanns sunk a 15-foot, aluminum flagpole in a corner of their yard in this central Pasco County community. Tuesday, the association ordered the Hofmanns to take down the pole and ask in writing where it can be placed. 
``We called them, and they said they are going to take us to court,'' Joan Hofmann said. ``That's ridiculous. It's unpatriotic. The president wants everyone to fly a flag.'' 
The Hofmanns, as long as it's not raining, display their 15-star, 15-stripe U.S. flag in front of their home of six weeks at 5140 Balsam Drive N. And the couple - members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Military Order of the Cootie - plan to keep on flying the replica of the star-spangled banner that Francis Scott Key watched wave over Baltimore's Fort McHenry during the War of 1812. 
Louis Hofmann, who served with a Navy aircraft patrol in the South Pacific during World War II, said he and his wife lived in a deed-restricted community in New Jersey before moving to Pasco. He checked the restrictions for Grand Oaks but didn't see a mention of flagpoles, he said. 
``I've had a flagpole in front of my house since the 1950s. I've never had a problem,'' said Hofmann, a 76-year-old retired Navy Black Cat - a member of aircraft patrols that flew mainly night missions in black airplanes. 
The Hofmanns received a letter from Sentry Management Inc., which manages the homeowners association, after a neighbor complained the pole was too close to the sidewalk. The Hofmanns said they were told a bicyclist might strike the pole. 
``Please be advised that approval of the location of a flagpole must be obtained before placing it on the property,'' says the letter from Robin Davis, a licensed community association manager. ``The location of the flagpole that you have installed is not acceptable.'' 
Calls to Sentry Management were referred to Davis, who did not return telephone calls Wednesday and Thursday. 
The Hofmanns, who lived alone on Balsam Drive until a week ago, said they are willing to fight the association for as long as it takes. Joan Hofmann, 68, said she likely will seek election to the association's board to undo the restriction on flagpoles. 
``We're very community-oriented, and I want to get involved,'' she said. 
``With this letter, I might run for the community association. 
``The main thing is, it is unpatriotic for anybody to complain about my flag there.'' 
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Reporter Will Rodgers can be reached at (813) 948-4220.


For further interesting material regarding these issues, please look at :
What is wrong in our Country?
Finally Change of Politics? 
DID THE CAI FINALLY CAVE IN ? 
PUBLIC NEWS

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