Wednesday, April 15, 2015
Next one tonight:
Program 2, “Location, Location, Location,” airs on April 15. Featuring the homes of beavers, black bears and woodrats among others, it emphasizes the importance of finding a good base of operations—the correct stream or tree, the correct building materials, neighbors and sometimes tenants.
Episode 3, “Animal Cities,” airing on April 22, looks at puffins in the Hebrides, social spiders in Ecuador and leafcutter ants in Costa Rica to demonstrate the importance of colonies to these animals.
Sunday, April 12, 2015
I have a lot of sympathy for associations that have a hard time maintaining a functioning board of directors and keeping out owners and renters who feel no obligation to pay their dues or are generally disruptive in condo living. Condo owners often don't realize that the cooperative enterprise that runs the condo association isn't a separate professional organization they pay dues to every month. To paraphrase 'Lil Abner, "We have met the enemy and he is us!"—only we hope we don't really mean "enemy." The point is WE, the owners, must actively run our associations.
It is not always easy—indeed, it is sometimes nigh to impossible—to find willing, responsible and able condo board members, especially a president. It's that much harder for us in the West Palm Beach CV, because most of our associations are so small in number. You can find a half-dozen board members more easily when you have 50 units to draw from than when you have only 24.
Two severe problems, requiring almost opposite solutions, have arisen in the past several years. The first is the problem of unit owners who stop paying, some of whom simply walk away from their obligations with no sense of responsibility and little regard for their fellow owners, who must take up the slack by paying increased dues.
A partial remedy for this first problem is for owners to be able to rent their properties. In difficult economic times, a hard-pressed owner (perhaps a snowbird) who IS responsible and wants to unload his condo has a larger market. He can sell his unit to someone who wants to rent it, or maybe he himself can rent it.
But the overload of this soon leads into the other problem, already alluded to above: lack of board members, especially in the case of our smaller condo associations. Without an adequately functioning board, things can go to pieces as we have seen and heard about with the attempted takeover by an individual of one of our condo associations. For as more and more owners rent their units, the pool of available association board members shrinks proportionately. This does neither the owners who live here NOR those who rent their properties any good. You need "boots on the ground." Now, in order to save the association, bylaw amendments CUTTING BACK on rentals need to be passed.
It is a balancing act.