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Baitball Blogger

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Gender: Do not display
Current location: Seminole County, Florida
Member since: Sun Mar 18, 2012, 10:16 PM
Number of posts: 39,539

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I know about the fight you're talking about because a lot has been written

about cattle ranchers who have a manifest destiny idea about property. That is definitely a huge problem, and I think the laws should have already been on your side to make it easier to protect your property.

On a smaller scale, I experienced something similar that involved property rights. Something that should never have happened if the laws were meant to protect a homesteader. It was something that revealed the true nature of Central Florida. Except, no one wants to talk about it, so new people continue to walk in without understanding what they're being subjected to. I will make an effort to explain it, because it sounds like you have been through a harrowing experience and can understand it on a personal level.

The problem with my neighbors disrespecting property lines has a history that goes back to the nineties. At least, that's my opinion. It's not just the activity of one bad neighbor. It's a collective mindset of a group that has or had back channel access to the political powers during that decade. It was a crazy time and everything came off the rails, which is what you would expect in a Republican leaning community that had very little respect for government regulation. In their favor, it didn't seem like local government had much respect for government regulation either. By the time they found a purpose for it, it was too late. This story is about what happens when the private sector takes the reigns of our local government. Spoiler: the rest of us end up with the worst of both.

We purchased our home in 1994. The neighbor next door, who was the president of our Association during this footloose era, had already put up a rail fence twenty feet into the golfcourse property. "To keep the golfers off his property," he claimed. They were nice neighbors for the first two years, and then an insanity set into this community that began in 1996.

During that time, one of our neighbors was part of a resistance group that was playing an active role in the fight against the then owner of the golfcourse and Country Club. This resistance group was opposed to the owner's plans to build two properties on the golfcourse. The plans were for single family, upscale homes, which was a huge improvement over the high density vested rights that he had when he first purchased the property. The Country Club owner received approval to build single family homes based on compromises he obtained through prior lawsuits. In other words, Zoning by Litigation.

He also wanted to finish the last phase of the community I live in. This would have been a third property that he wanted to work on at the same time, though he didn't own the property.

You have to pay attention to all the moving parts, and back in the 1996-1998 time frame, there were two major moving pieces to pay attention to. The first: the development of the two properties near the country club had heavy opposition, mostly by its members. It became a hostile situation and strategies ranged from efforts to buy his property, to taking over City Hall through the election process. That's my interpretation of what I witnessed or read from researching public records of that time.

And, we will start by saying that it appears that they intended to use the power of the city to stall or interfere with the developer's right to develop his property. This is what I concluded based on my reading of ample briefs that were part of the developers' latest lawsuit against the City. The evidence of foulplay would have been confirmed if the developer exercised his right to modify the lawsuit and proceed with a jury trial. If he had followed that process, he would have deposed the City Attorney, and it would have been all she wrote.

We need to see the chronology of the lawsuits to see how that would have transpired: I think it was July 1998 when the Federal Court ruled on the developer's lawsuit against the City. The decision would weaken the city's hand because the judge ruled that the city had provided assurances to the developer, therefore it ruled in favor of the developer based on estoppel. Therefore, the developer had his vested right to develop the two properties along the golfcourse in what they called, developable property.

If the developer had followed the next legal option to him, and modified his lawsuit and obtain his jury trial, he would have had the opportunity to also prove another claim he made in his lawsuit. Business Interference. Maybe even conspiracy, but I haven't read the lawsuit in several years, so I am not sure about that last part. But Business Interference I do remember because I can see how that would have related to the development of the final phase of our development.

To prove business interference, and possibly conspiracy, all the developer would have to do was depose the City Attorney, because in October 1998, four months after the judge had made the estoppel ruling, the City Attorney had a strategic talk with the City's trial attorneys. This they did to determine the monetary offer they were going to make to the developer. And in that talk the City Attorney provided details that would have confirmed what we may know today, loosely, as conspiracy.

But, the developer never took that option, because, in December 1998, he settled out of court with the City for two million dollars.

The second moving piece in 1997, (at exactly the same time that the backwater boys and gals were launching their tactical assault to stop those two developments), involved the final phase of our development. The country club developer could prove he had a business relationship with the representative of the private owner of final phase of our development because both the developer and representative showed up in 1995 when the conceptual plans were approved by the Planning and Zoning board. But that property became in jeopardy when the resistance group managed to stall the development of the other two properties. The stall occurred when questions were raised in November 1997 that required a legal opinion. This requirement created a lull, a stall. And it was in this time period that a new, competing developer showed up to develop the final phase of our property.

I went to every "public" City meeting that involved our community and the way things were handled will point to a rush job. I could write chapters on what I saw that smelled, but in short, the development for the new developer was rushed through city hall. Probably the biggest smoking gun of malfeasance was a ground breaking photo taken with two high level City elected officials that took place two and a half months before the first public meeting was held in City Hall.

In addition, we were held back by the member in our community that was part of the resistance group. He asserted and reinforced the idea that our Association was not turned over to us yet, so we believed we had no rights, except for what was negotiated privately.

It was all a lie. Not only was the Association turned over ten years prior, but the legal papers was signed by the guy who was involved with the resistance group.

Like following a plume to a chemical spill, this guy's name kept coming up. One of the few people that befriended me told me that this fellow was the one that made the pitch to buy the Country Clup. I realize this is hearsay, but I can affirm that Resistance Guy told me that "we made an offer for the Country Club, but the offer was rejected." He just never confirmed that he was the one that did the sales pitch, so of that, I cannot be sure.

But I think about it a lot. Can you imagine how much money he would have pulled in as commission? It would probably require a need for a financial consultant. With his political connections, he would also have the power to draw up small sections of the golfcourse, and it makes me wonder when I see people stolid to this day about taking over common grounds or golfcourse property, if someone made promises to them, that were impossible to keep.

All I can say is, back in 1997-1998, some of my neighbors behaved in very strange ways with reference to that new developer. They bent over backwards to facilitate construction and were also very nasty about keeping the rest of us at bay. Even to the point of making rules to keep the rest of us from talking to him. It was an eerie time. Think about it. We had a group of neighbors that worked together to try to get our common grounds deeded over to them, which should sound strange, unprecedented and unheard of, but they acted like it was no big deal and they were hostile to the rest of us who wanted to slow down the process long enough to understand what was going on.

In sum, I believe when the federal court allowed the city and developer to settle the lawsuit that it also stopped the rest of us from discovering just how much our neighbors worked together to compromise our community. And, without a clear line drawn, a lot of what we see today when it comes to encroachments, started back in that time. That's what I sincerely believe.
Posted by Baitball Blogger | Fri Jan 4, 2019, 02:58 PM (1 replies)

I saw the church in a very different light a few years back.

Different from the way I understood it when I lived in a third world country where good deeds and obligations were simple to understand.

It was just one sermon in a new church that woke me up. A neighbor invited me to her church, where her husband was the pastor. We had some serious problems in our Association where neighbors had committed fraud and conspiracy. We were just beginning to see how it was tied to other misbehavior in the larger community. At the service, the pastor talked about an accident where a man killed a two year old child. DUI, I believe. I thought the sermon was going to be about the pain of losing a child, and how you come back from such a tragedy. But it was all about how that pastor reached out to that man and how the man "turned" his life around by speaking about his experience to others. The pastor stated that the speeches were redeeming to the man.

I'm thinking to myself, this pastor seems to be way too interested in reaching out to someone who was responsible for destroying a family's life, than I feel comfortable with. There is just no balance in this sermon. I didn't even remember hearing the pastor state that the speeches might prevent someone else from committing the same mistake. It was all about making the sinner whole again from his perspective.

That's when my radar was activated. I had all these thoughts in my head that morning, trying to make sense to why it was that it never seemed that we could dig out from all the intrigue and deceit that was habitual in our community. It was one moving piece of a puzzle that connected with another when I heard that sermon. Because I began to realize that churches in America may have a different outlook and purpose than the churches where I grew up.

If you think about it, a church must operate as a business. There are bills to be paid. What could be more profitable to a church than to pull in people with deep pockets, who are seeking redemption? Think about the role that church would play in a community. People who have made transgressions against other community members can seek out the pastors, show them that they are remorseful and want absolution. They probably provide a huge donation to the church.

The pastor in turn, who may know the wronged individual, turns into a calculated broker. It's not like he's going to reach out to the victim and share information which is "blessed" by confidentiality. Instead, he does what churches in right-wing communities have done for the better part of two centuries. He teaches the victim to accept and forgive. He tells the victim that we can't know everything, but we need to forgive in order to free ourselves.

Which is the biggest crock of shit ever told in a community where there are two societies running parallel of each other, and one society just habitually shits on the other.

Can you ever imagine a worse misuse of authority? If my guess is right, churches just add to the dysfunctional societies we have to deal with in red communities.
Posted by Baitball Blogger | Sun Dec 23, 2018, 12:24 PM (1 replies)

It's a pathetic strategy to use your child to dilute the consequences for your misdeeds.

I've seen it before at the HOA level. People who brutalized you in the past start appearing on the street, when it's obvious that something is going on in the community that will uncover their treachery. They know that I witnessed their misbehavior and now, in a ploy for sympathy, they suddenly appear when you're out gardening. I call it the gimp walk because they look dejected, limp, walk with a cane or hold their back in pain. And all I can think about is that this is just another ploy, like all the others.

The same kind of bad judgment they used to get themselves into that mess, is the same bad judgment that they use when they bring their children in to try to control your resolve. For example, we had a couple who was trying to steal the common grounds of our Association and they came to a meeting that was going to hold a vote on the issue. It wasn't just them. There was a large group that had been colluding in the background to make a move at a time when the Association wasn't quite on its feet. They were taking advantage of the ignorance of new neighbors, that had not been apprised of the location of those common grounds, nor that they had easement rights to use them. Of course, it was the older homeowners that kept this information from them.

Anyway, I, and others, managed to prevail in pushing the vote back to inform these people and it looked like it was going to be a nastier meeting than most. So they bring their children to the meeting, as if that was going to soften hearts. But by then, people were beginning to understand the extent of what the collusion between these insiders were going to cost us in the long run and no one was happy. It ended badly with the husband, who was president of the Association, resigning his seat. His wife left taking her pound cake with her.

It's one of those experiences that builds callouses around your sympathetic heart strings.
Posted by Baitball Blogger | Wed Dec 12, 2018, 12:11 PM (0 replies)

Republicans: Addicted to their own misery.

Listening to MSNBC tonight and they're talking about how Republicans are still bitter, even after winning. I do have many Republican friends, but the ones that seem to be the biggest Trumpers have this personality trait: They are addicted to their own misery. No matter how much you compliment them, they find some ways to perceive things in bleak terms. i.e. "No body has ever said I was beautiful," even after you spent the day telling them they look prettier than Scarlett Johansson.

And, no matter how much you go out on a limb to help them, it's never enough. They're always crying poor mouth, which is why they desperately want that $300 tax return which is tangible, even though they'll pay more for everything else that gets worse because of deregulation. They simply can't conceptualize how the safety nets improve their own lives. They're too busy seeing that those programs will help people they can't relate to.

They run in tight tribal circles, which as far as I can tell, are shrinking.
Posted by Baitball Blogger | Sat Nov 3, 2018, 09:27 PM (16 replies)

Since I am faced with similar issues, I can tell you this:

The key to breaking these red counties is to make them more diverse. Reverse the white flight patterns that created them. They have an entire subculture that they want to protect because they game the system to stay on top and in control. And that should scare everyone if it's true that all politics are local. They need these footholds to launch much bigger campaigns.

They are going to try to do everything they can to push out all minorities that don't bend their way. So, we could use a little support.
Posted by Baitball Blogger | Mon Oct 29, 2018, 06:36 AM (0 replies)

She's a Marshmallow.

A white person who loses her shit and browns out when faced with an ordinary situation that involves minorities.

Don't underestimate how much damage they can do, especially when a community is invested in removing minorities from their neighborhoods.
Posted by Baitball Blogger | Mon Oct 29, 2018, 06:23 AM (1 replies)

The inbetween of a racist-enabling society.

One thing that Kavanaugh has brought to light is that there was a whole lot wrong in the frat culture of the seventies-eighties. It probably didn't stop during that time, but I can only attest to that era.

In relation to racial issues, in the private college I attended the racial mix in frat houses didn't even reflect the meager 2% minorities that attended the college at that time. I remember that race was a non-issue during the eighties, probably because everyone believed it was handled by federal law and because, well, there were no racial clashes on campus because, well there were so few minorities that there were no social issues to consider. Out of sight, out of mind. There was a frat house that was known to be patronized by Southern rednecks, but I never associated with them so I don't know to what degree they could be called racist.

What is important to know, is that the general appearance was that most people knew to be racially sensitive, from what I remember. A few times a frat bro might have slipped and said something in poor taste within ear shot of the one black member in the house, but everyone took it good naturally. At least that was the impression.

This, however, did not pass the test of time.

Jump forty years ahead and what I see is that all those thoughtless comments did have an impact in the long term. Each year, the few minorities found less and less reason to return to reunions. On the other hand, white frat brothers have found less reason to withhold what can only be termed as racist comments. Especially in this permissive climate, those who did not have personal restraints, just got worse. The problem is, they are in a nether region because they don't see themselves as racists because they haven't really suffered any social consequences for the things they say. And the people, their friends, who should stand up and say something to them, well, they're the real subject of this rant.

Let me just say that denial is not the same thing as being racially sensitive. I find that people, when faced with an individual who is too free with racist comments, would rather be non-confrontational and would rather smile nervously and look away, rather than stand up and tell someone that they're coming across racist. They tolerate their frat brothers because that's what the band of brothers that they joined decades ago, taught them to do. They are non-judgmental, non-confrontational and mostly useless in helping to turn the tide. In fact, they might even get surly at someone who would make their racist frat brother feel uncomfortable. They would rather ignore the behavior, and by ignoring it they send the message to their more racist frat brothers that there are no social consequences to their misbehavior. They are enablers.

I don't know what it would take to bring these people to action. But I am certain that they're the ones who hold the key to turning this whole thing around. Maybe the fraternal order could send out a policy statement regarding this issue, because I find it odd that men feel compelled to support behavior in a frat brother, that they would not accept in themselves.
Posted by Baitball Blogger | Wed Oct 3, 2018, 09:30 PM (2 replies)

Time for traveling Dem political doctors to work their way around the country.

How many insider Democrats were surprised by Alexandria Ocasio Cortez's win? The after game analysis seems to be that she was able to connect with the Democratic base that never votes. And we all know why. They feel disconnected from the process.

I'm just wondering, especially now that Obama is trying to rally the base, maybe it's time for a Democratic team to reach out and visit important purple localities to understand the ground game better. I know, when I worked for a large company, that home office would periodically visit us and pulled us in randomly to ask us questions about our supervisors. Granted, it was an informal interview that never seemed to work because our branch was tight. Blemishes and all, we got along. And we were a very diverse work group, employed by a very traditional company.

If it did happen, who has the resources to launch such a team and who has the courage to put the information to best use?

Forget about phone polling. Most people who feel disconnected won't answer the phone, so that would be a waste of time.
Posted by Baitball Blogger | Sat Aug 4, 2018, 09:22 PM (0 replies)

Let's talk about police procedure.

The main aggravation is police using excessive force. I understand that. But what about under-policing? Like underachieving, under-policing involves using tactics intended to underreport crime. It is the method of choice for areas that are meant to be propped up as desirable places to live. Good for real estate prices. Good to sustain the Potemkin Village Effect.

I thought about this late last night when the police lost interest in the information that I offered that might provide a clue to the whereabouts of a lost dog. The owners can't understand how it happened. The dog is very old and very sick. Hasn't made it pass the driveway in several months. Last night they went out to dinner to celebrate the wife's birthday and when they returned, the dog was gone. They thought maybe it had gone to find a place to die.

With that information, I scoured my security cams looking for signs of a fuzzy pixelated figure moving on the outskirts of the cams that faced the house. Nothing. It is not likely that it came into our development because I was working outside for most of the time that the owners were out to dinner. And my cams have a clear view of the road into the development. Nothing.

It is possible that the dog went into the development next door, but that's when I realized that at that time of the day the number of cars coming into the development spiked as people came home from work. Someone, surely, would have seen the dog. I guess it might still show up at the pound, but this is a small place and it wouldn't have been difficult to connect the dog to the house it belonged.

The one thing that I had was video of a figure moving above the shrub line. Too blurry to I.D. the man who was wearing a hat, but for someone who is very familiar with the landscape, it did appear that he walked out of his driveway and went into the next door house where the dog was staying, reappearing a minute later. You can tell a dog was not walking by his side when he returned, but at that diminutive video size, you can't confirm if he was carrying the dog. There are signs that he adjusted his walk as he returned, the way we do when we lose our grip of something bulky. The one thing I was sure of was that it needed to be looked into.

So, I told the police that the clip would need enhancement to confirm if this was a valid clue. They took the SD, took it to the car and ten-twenty minutes later, they returned with the SD claiming there was no evidence so they didn't need it. I repeated that the video would need to be enhanced - zoomed - but they left it to me to do the work. I have some DUers working on that now.

But here is the thing, they saw the video. They saw the man. They can connect the house he retreated to. And now, they have everything they need to handle the situation through backchannels. This is how it works in good ole boy towns. If they follow the pattern, they will call in the usual network in the community to see if it can be handled diplomatically. The town protects its Potemkin Village image, and the network can continue to inflict anguish and anxiety on the rest of us without worry of reprisals because of their relationship with the city. They need each other.

I'm saying that this style of under-policing should be looked into because it interferes with a fair process that will weed out abusive people from the ranks of community leadership.

Posted by Baitball Blogger | Sat Jul 28, 2018, 03:28 PM (10 replies)

The question of our times:

How can the Republicans claim the high ground when they're fighting from the gutter? They have church ladies saying that only a dirty slob like Trump can defend them from the coming race wars and others thanking Russia for Trump, because Putin kept them safe from Hillary.

WTF!! If nothing else, we can all agree that there is no moral high ground in their churches; no ethical standards from their businessmen and no honor from their Congressmen.

I mean seriously, does anyone believe now that they're capable of following stare decisis? Nothing they do from this point on warrants our trust or respect.

Posted by Baitball Blogger | Mon Jul 23, 2018, 05:29 PM (1 replies)
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