For example, the minutes of the April 24, 2010 meeting highlighted here a
few days ago (see http://tinyurl.com/327fk63 ) will be published to the CDD
website no later than June 3rd (ie. next Thursday).
Here are all the CDD minutes published so far:
Mr. Moyer promised to do this for all future meetings. This means that the
minutes from yesterday's meeting will be published no later than July 1, 7
days after the June 24th meeting. The CDD meeting schedule can be found
I must tell you that the tone of yesterday's meeting improved dramatically
over the previous one. For the first time in 5 years Bob Evans treated
everyone with respect, including me. Sadly, the only thing that marred this
meeting, the most productive CDD meeting in my experience, was the continued
disrespect shown by some Harmony Development employees, especially Todd
Haskett. While I believe that Todd has done a commendable job in Harmony for
many years now, I get the distinct impression that he may believe that he is
indispensable and his position here is permanent.
There seems to be a culture among the CDD board and the developer that
allows for the ridicule of citizens who may not see the value in the close
knit relationship between the CDD board and the developer. Laughter and
snide remarks seem to be perfectly OK in this little world. I could actually
see the disrespect transmitted like a disease in real-time from the these
people to Pete Lucadano, President of Luke Brothers, someone who I had never
met nor spoken to prior to this meeting. It was very strange to see.
Let me be clear that this culture has not affected every developer employee
or every CDD supervisor. There are a few who seem to understand the
importance of their position and they handle themselves accordingly.
I look forward to the day when developer employees and CDD supervisors
behave like professionals at all times and treat all citizens equally with
dignity and respect.
At the end of the meeting we all talked at length about the possibility of
CDD supervisors actively participating in an online newsgroup like this. It
was obvious that Bob Evans was leading the discussion to a foregone
conclusion (ie. that CDD supervisors will not be participating online in
this or any other open forum). But at least he gave the topic the lengthy
dialog that it deserves. Bob Evans brought up several valid points and I
responded in kind. For example, Bob Evans asked me how the group is
moderated. I explained that the group is open to everyone and that the only
messages that don't get through are those deemed to be spam (ie.
advertising, usually from China). I must honestly say that the exchange was
While the CDD attorney still can't get behind active online participation by
CDD supervisors, I am sure that he will support the idea as soon as more
obvious examples appear in the law. Clearly it is just a matter of time. It
would be nice if Harmony could be a leader rather than a follower in this
aspect of fostering public participation in our local government.
I must also say that if Bob Evans or any other representative of Starwood
were to hold a public meeting in Harmony with a similar decorum, not only
would residents be pleasantly surprised, but we might also get the feeling
that things are actually on the cusp of real improvement in Harmony. We'll
see. Again, only time will tell (see http://tinyurl.com/38kwnsu )
On another note, I spoke to Steve Berube again. I really think that Steve is
trying hard to straddle the middle ground between outspoken critics of the
developer like me and dyed-in-the-wool supporters of the developer like the
few who have posted here over the years. Steve wants to stay as far away
from the muck as possible while still remaining open to constituents. This
is understandable, if not fully helpful at this time.
That said, Steve has reaffirmed his commitment to read whatever CDD requests
are posted here (see http://tinyurl.com/36euu7u ). Steve even assured me
that for each request that he will take to the CDD board, he will reply
privately to the author of the request using the private email address that
is forwarded by Google with each request. This way Steve can still be
responsive without having to post a public message. He will then act on the
requests at CDD meetings to the best of his ability. Of course Steve offers
no guarantees, but at least he won't ignore you.
So please feel free to post your CDD ideas or requests here for all to read
and to comment on. You can feel confident that at least one CDD supervisor
is listening to you now.
In the future, hopefully there will be another CDD supervisor who will not
only listen to you but who will also interact with you openly in a modern
medium like this. This is the essence of transparency and accountability
that the Florida Sunshine Law was meant to foster and support. For as it
says in the CDD attorney's 5 page memorandum submitted to the CDD board
The Sunshine Law was enacted to prevent "closed door"
politics and to maintain the public's role in the
decision making process.
At the CDD meeting I said that I had forgotten the backyard meeting after
previously saying that I was under the impression that the grass cutting
around the Birchwood pond (mentioned at the previous CDD meeting) still
wasn't really pinned down yet. I didn't remember the backyard meeting until
I was rudely reminded, but that's not the point. Confirming the prior verbal
commitment at the CDD meeting (on the record) was the point, since neither
Todd nor Greg bothered to mention it until I did.
After Todd et al were done laughing about how they just couldn't believe
that I had forgotten the backyard meeting, I was sure that they would now at
least take the verbal commitment that they had made seriously. Sadly, this
appears not to be the case. This is especially troubling considering how
Pete Lucadano suggested that I had somehow "twisted" something that Jason
Schafer had told me. Although Mr. Lucadano said that he would later clarify
what he meant (after the meeting), he didn't have the courtesy to do so. He
left immediately after the CDD meeting with his comment unexplained.
I saw Greg drive around the pond today. He was followed immediately by a few
Luke Brothers grass cutters.
At first, the grass cutting was completed before 2:30pm today. It was
obvious that the cutters were finished. They were all stationary at the
other end of the pond apparently taking a break. So I got out my camera and
snapped a photo of the grass cutting just completed. It was equally obvious
that the cutters had been given no instructions about what was discussed at
the CDD meeting (or the backyard meeting for that matter). You can see the
results in the first attachment below.
As you can see from the 5 foot ladder in view, there was at least 8 feet of
grass and weeds on CDD property that remained uncut. This is the area that
Todd et al agreed to have cut around the entire pond. This is the area of
CDD property that had never been cut previously around the pond by any CDD
lawn maintenance crew, ever.
You would think that these guys could get it right after all that excitement
at the last CDD meeting, several phone calls, one backyard meeting and the
previous CDD meeting too, right? Wrong.
The Luke Brothers grass cutters left the pond today for more than 2 hours
after doing the initial cutting. I wrote "initial" because after the 2 hours
they returned. Why? Of course I can't know for sure, but when I was snapping
the first photo I noticed that the cutters on break were watching me. I
suspect that they had called Jason and said something like "Hey this guy is
taking pictures!" So Jason arrived 2 hours later and pointed out the area
that still needed cutting. And so it was. The results are shown in the
second photo below.
Do you think that residents will need to photograph all of Harmony before
things start getting done right around here?