NONSENSE IN OPPOSITION OF

HOA REFORM BILL H7119

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

Published April 30, 2013

 

Some people just donít seem to care what nonsense they write when they are ranting against a bill they donít like. During this yearís session I really had to laugh about e-mails in opposition sent by Patti Lynn and Mary Macfie, the two ďleading ladiesĒ of the Broward Coalition.

 

Nothing wrong with opposing a bill, thatís everybodyís good right Ė and we do it all the time.

 

But when writing in opposition to a bill one should give factual reasons why the bill should be opposed, not just making up nonsense that just makes other people laugh.

 

As much as I understand that dictatorial board members oppose a regulatory agency, they should find factual reasons in opposition of the bill, not just make up reason they think sound good.

 

One the worst examples for filling an opposition letter with absolute nonsense was a sample e-mail sent by Mary Macfie, the 1st Vice President of the Broward Coalition, to the members on her e-mail list requesting them to write e-mails to Governor Rick Scott, asking him to veto H1779/SB580 Ė the HOA Reform Bill.

Here is a copy of Mary Macfie's sample e-mail:

Sir:

 

As an owner in a Homeowner Association, I am respectfully requesting that you VETO this bill.  Most of the bill is fine, but there is a provision in the bill which goes against everything that you stand for.

 

The stipulation requiring reporting to the DBPR opens the door to bigger and more intrusive government:  It requires more governmental staff to evaluate and collate the information; it would open an associationís private records to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act; it opens the door for a future assessment against every property in an HOA; it subjects licensed community association managers to fines and censure for reporting that they are not in full control of; and finally, will require associations to even more expenses by having their required submissions reviewed by a licensed community association attorney or legal firm.

 

For these reasons, I am again requesting that you VETO this bill, unless, of course, the controversial DBPR provision is removed.

 

Thanking you in advance for your consideration, 

    

Letís take a closer look at her reasoning for opposing the bill:

                    It requires more governmental staff to evaluate and collate the information. Thatís about the only thing in her e-mail where she may have a point, but since most all reporting will be done via Internet, the computers will do most of the work, the cost will be minimal.

                    It would open an associationís private records to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act. Actually, all the information required is already public record, most all of it visible on the website of the Division of Corporation, county property appraiser or the official public records of the association.

                    It opens the door for a future assessment against every property in an HOA. Thatís actually a possibility, but the amount we are talking about is most likely $2 annually Ė and for that the Division will supply lots of services associations have to pay for lots of money in the moment.

                    It subjects licensed community association managers to fines and censure for reporting that they are not in full control of. Now where the hell does she get that from? Where did she find that provision in the bill that is going to the Governor? She obviously forgot to read the latest version of the bill, the one she is asking the Governor to veto.

                    It will require associations to even more expenses by having their required submissions reviewed by a licensed community association attorney or legal firm. When reading that sentence I really had to laugh! Any moron can answer the simple reporting questions. A halfway knowledgeable manager or board member will not take more than five minutes to fill out the report form. And you really donít need a BAR license to review these simple questions and fill out the report!

 

The questions in the required report are very simple:

1. Legal name.

2. Federal employer identification number.

3. Mailing and physical addresses.

4. Total number of parcels.

5. Total amount of revenues and expenses from the association's annual budget.

 

These are the only five things every HOA in Florida has to report to the Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes until November 22, 2013.

 

Gee, how difficult can it get? And consider all the privacy issues involved Ė thatís really scary Ė right? Not one of these issues is private at all. Or do you see the provision in the bill asking to report social security numbers, driverís license information or bank account numbers?

 

Make no mistake, the opposition against the possibility of HOAs coming under the jurisdiction of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation Ė condos are regulated since 1992 Ė really scares certain board members who are afraid that they might be held liable for their actions, for violations of the Florida statutes and/or other, even criminal, matters. In the moment FS 720 has no teeth. Board members can get away with nearly everything since homeowners donít have the necessary money to fight for their rights in courts.

 

This sad example of lobbying for homeownersí rights shows how dangerous it can be if people, who don't understand the legislative process and obviously have a hard time reading bills, are elected into positions which gives them the power to distribute nonsense.

 

And it is even sadder, when four local State Representatives (Slosberg, Berman, Rader and Stark) fall for such nonsense, obviously without even looking into the merits of the arguments of such coalition board members and vote against a bill that contains nothing but common sense solutions. I guess these legislators donít even care if they are taken serious?

 

By the way, according to their website the Broward Coalition is as well ďrepresentingĒ condo association. Considering that the general plan of bringing HOAs under the jurisdiction of the DBPR contains the general idea to charge all associations in the future only $2 annually, these Broward Coalition board members sure donít do any favors to the condominium associations they claim to represent when they rant against this bill. Their claim: $4 annually is too much money to pay for the services HOAs will receive. But how about the $2 annually condo owners will save?

 

But honestly, after reading some of the communications I saw in recent months, I donít think they can even think that far!


NEWS PAGE HOME LEGISLATIVE SESSION 2013