Why You Should Attend CDD Meetings

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Geo

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Mar 28, 2009, 2:22:16 AM3/28/09
to HarmonyFL
In the past I have been unable to attend many CDD meetings. I think
that this is true for most of us due to their usual bad timing (ie.
9am). The meeting I attended this past Thursday (March 26) was held at
6pm.

During the meeting, Bob Evans said words to the effect "dog crap
should be returned to its rightful owner when left lying about". The
meeting's stenographer laughed while saying that she would leave this
remark out of the meeting minutes. I certainly hope she didn't.
Everyone else thought it was pretty funny also. But I wonder, would
that kind of real-time censorship be a violation of Florida Sunshine
Laws?

According to Gary Moyer, the CDD manager, he is busier than the
President of the United States. That's why he hasn't implemented an
online forum on the Harmony CDD website for residents to use (
http://harmonycdd.org ). Apparently unlike Mr. Obama, he is way too
busy and important to be responsive to the citizens of Harmony.

Nancy Snyder once again went out of her way to maintain her
cooperative relationship with Bob Evans.

Near the beginning of the meeting Nancy said that after evaluating the
"top 5" proposals for lawn and landscape maintenance in Harmony (those
proposals that adhered to the letter of the RFP specification), the
remaining proposals should be considered if there was reason enough to
do so. But later in the meeting when Bob Evans made his desire known
to limit the discussion to just the 5, Nancy changed her tune. She
voted with Evans to exclude discussion of the remaining proposals - a
discussion urged by Mark LeMenager since another proposal being
suppressed by Bob Evans would have saved residents $350,000 over 4
years.

Nancy concluded the meeting once again agreeing with Bob Evans. Bob
and Nancy (and the professional board member appointed by Starwood, I
can't remember his name) decided that most residents should be
excluded from future CDD meetings by holding them at 9 o'clock in the
morning (during the work week). When I suggested that she had made a
bad choice, Nancy responded that it wasn't a bad choice for her (in
other words, residents be damned while the timing is good for Nancy
and Bob). All this transpired even after Chris, a first-time CDD
meeting attendee and one of our neighbors, pleaded with Bob Evans to
continue holding CDD meetings at night when he and other residents can
attend. But as usual, this request (one that has been made by many
over the years) fell on deaf and uncaring ears.

I think it is obvious that Bob Evans wants to limit meeting attendance
to avoid answering our questions.

I wish I had the time to research all past meeting minutes for Nancy's
votes. I would be willing to bet that Nancy Snyder has never, not even
once, voted against Bob Evans (ie. the developer) on any issue that
has come before the CDD board. Short of that, let there be no doubt
that she has voted with Bob Evans the vast majority of the time,
including her vote to raise our taxes last year (see "Taxation Without
Representation" http://tinyurl.com/dzlvo3 and http://tinyurl.com/czopxv
).

Near the end of the meeting I reminded Gary Moyer that the cost is
free and that he would not necessarily have to spend his precious time
responding to every inquiry. Only then did he agree that the
implementation of an online forum through the Harmony CDD website
would be feasible. Although the CDD attorney was concerned about the
Florida Sunshine Laws, he agreed that at a minimum, CDD supervisors
could receive shared communications from all residents via an online
newsgroup this way. It will be interesting to see if Mr. Moyer
actually follows through with this important improvement for Harmony
residents.

To her credit, Kerul Kassel showed clearly how the community gardens
could be implemented on CDD property. She demonstrated convincingly
that a community gardens could be handled similar to the community
pool (ie. no need for Bob Evans to take over the gardens like he did
with the horses). But sadly, when asked a direct question about her
ongoing horse boarding expenses in Harmony paid to Bob Evans (ie. the
developer), Kerul clammed right up.

I asked the CDD board how much residents currently pay to board their
horses in Harmony. Bob Evans said that this was not a CDD matter (in
other words, it is a private matter between the developer and the
horse folks). I asked Bob if he could answer this question in his
capacity as consultant to the developer. He refused to answer. Then I
asked Kerul this question directly. She refused to answer also. She
suggested that the CDD meeting was not the proper venue. When I asked
her what venue would be proper, Kerul responded that there is no venue
in which she would answer this question as long as I was the one doing
the asking.

We'll see how much of this made it into the meeting minutes. Speaking
of meeting minutes, I wonder why they are published in their least
usable form. What do I mean? Harmony CDD minutes are published as
pictures rather than text. This means that they are not searchable and
excerpts can't be easily extracted.

For example, try doing a text search for the word "Harmony" in any
Harmony CDD meeting minutes from the CDD website ( http://harmonycdd.org
). You won't find it! It seems that the minutes are intentionally
obfuscated from search engines this way. Since the data does not
originate from scanned images (ie. the stenographer types them in real-
time directly into some word processing document), why must the
minutes be published this way? The text must actually be purged during
the PDF conversion process to the website by Gary Moyer's staff. But
why? To make it as difficult as possible for the public to research
Harmony issues? Who knows?

If you don't want to miss all this excitement (and witness whatever
may be suppressed from the meeting minutes), you really should attend
these meetings or at least express your outrage that they will
continue to be held during regular working hours.
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