Let me first say, this is not a “bashing”. This is simply exposing the facts. I felt compelled to write this because of the recent statements from the Gulf Harbors Civic Association that they represent the entire community, even those that are not members. I believe we should all have a say in that, and have the right to decide for ourselves who represents us.
So do Art Haedike and the Civic Association truly represent the sub-division?
I really don’t know when the takeover of our water system by FGUA was proposed, or who was pushing for it. When we bought our house in late 2010, I believe it was already a done deal, so I cannot comment on how well informed the community had been before the FGUA deal was voted on. However, given the dissatisfaction with the outcome, I have to wonder just how much research was done by those representing the community prior to that vote.
What I can report is that when we complained about the current situation with FGUA, Mr. Mellinger, Pasco County’s previous utilities director and the county’s member on the FGUA board, simply dismissed us with “but you voted for it”.
Art Haedike and Skip Geiger, officers of the GHCA, serve on the water committee along with Anne Marie Williams and Mitchell Kobernick to represent Gulf Harbors in the effort to get out of FGUA. One of the suggestions proposed by the county involved creating another MSBU on our community to pay off the excess debt on the water system. I am glad that this proposed MSBU was opposed and other avenues are now being considered. Since then, a deeper investigation of some of FGUA’s actions has been exposed to the County.
Has this been communicated to the community? The Civic Association has LOTG that can be used to inform our community.
The July 2016 LOTG showed a manicured golf course vs condos and we were told by the Civic Association that this was a good deal for our community. We were told that if we did not purchase the golf course now, a developer was ready to purchase it and build on it, maybe even multi-story. Regardless of the evidence calling into question the truthfulness of that statement, how long has this purchase been in the works without the community being told?
How many of you knew that discussions regarding the purchase had been going on since 2013? I was a member of the Civic Association for several years at that time, and I was not aware that this was going on! How many of you knew that as long ago as 2014, Art Haedike, as president of the Gulf Harbors Civic Association, was proposing that the GHCA purchase the property to be used as a “nature park”. (see June 24, 2014 email from Art Haedike to Katie MacMillen)
Then in an email on September 19, 2016 between Art Haedike and Clyde Hobby, it was discussed about building a new Civic Center on the golf Course. “The MSBU is the key, and the Commissioners must approve that if we are going to proceed. A guaranteed source of funds is needed.”
Was the community aware of these discussions?
I have said from the beginning that I have read the golf course MSBU in its entirety, and I realized the impact it could have on our community. I asked many questions and was not satisfied with the answers. Susan Levine and I had to take the extreme step of filing a lawsuit against the county to get the facts exposed, and to allow the community to be made aware of them. Rather than the GHCA taking the side of full disclosure, several members of the GHCA board joined in the lawsuit on the side of the county, creating a greater burden on us in the lawsuit.
Golf Course Clubhouse
How many of you asked the Civic Association to do something about the hazardous Clubhouse and the condition of the golf course?
How often have we been told that this is a private property and nothing can be done? It is interesting to read an email dated June 26, 2015 from Lucille Paterno, executive assistant to the BOCC, in which she writes ”As you know, the property described in the letter is the Gulf Harbors Clubhouse which is slated for board/secure action…”, and continues “If the board/secure action has not yet occurred, is it possible to place this matter in abeyance for a period of time until the parties work through the larger purchase issue?”
In another email that day she writes to Art to tell him “Clark Hobby recently contacted us because the owners of the clubhouse(Springer) received a letter from Community Development stating that they were going to board/secure the building. He asked if we would be able to hold this action in abeyance temporarily if it has not yet taken place.”
Something could have been done about this eyesore and dangerous condition years ago. It was chosen to do nothing. Had it not been for some members of Gulf Harbors United, the club house would still be an eyesore, and continue to be a safety hazard for all of us.
Environmental testing on the golf course property was not done until we started asking for the results. The contamination was not divulged to us until January 31, 2017. When I posted about the contamination, the Civic Association rather than asking for more information, chose to aggressively attack the results. This is a big issue. Contamination levels and locations affects what can be done on the property. The clean-up cost itself can be staggering. Having read the MSBU language, I realized this had the potential to have a huge financial impact on us all! Rather than researching the information, the response from the President of the Civic Association was to call my research “Your BS facts” and “Your alternative facts”.
It was questioned that if there really was contamination, why did birds not die on the golf course. Rather than just ridicule or dismiss that question, I actually went to meet with the DEP to get the facts, and an answer. I was told that birds and fish process arsenic differently than humans, and human risk is dependent on the length and type of contact, as well as an individual’s immune system.
I would expect from someone that says they represent us to do their research, ask questions, and read the documents in their entirety. Regarding the golf course purchase, in a letter of April 19, 2017, Mr. Art Haedike writes to Kathryn Starkey, “Our Board…have a lack of information to use for contradicting the vast flow of misinformation from the opponents of the project.”, and goes on “Since so many of the operating details for the MSBU and the Park are not in writing from the County, we are losing the battle in the court of public opinion…”.
It would seem to me that Art is more concerned about winning the battle than finding out the true facts. Again, did anyone in the community he claims to represent know about any of this?
This is another potential MSBU in the works for our community. How many of you know about this? Art Haedike and some members of the Civic Association attended a Restore meeting to discuss this. I attended as well, so that is how I know that Art spoke in favor of the dredging. What information did we receive about this from the Civic Association? What are the facts about this dredging process? Gulf Harbors United has been posting actual facts and communications with the County since March 2018.
As mentioned, I found out about the Restore meeting and did attend. At this meeting, property owners from Ballie’s Bluff told the staff that they were collecting $1000 from willing property owners to get their channel dredged as soon as possible. Apparently the new County park has affected their ability to maneuver their boats in and out of the channel.
(please read my 2 emails to Commissioner Mariano with my concerns in gulfharborsunited.org under the dredging tab)
I also attended a meeting at the Gulf Landings clubhouse where Commissioner Mariano spoke about the dredging. Mr. Mariano asked these property owners if they were willing to pay $1000 per home to get their channels dredged.
If Gulf Harbors United had a meeting place, I would love to invite Commissioner Mariano for us to ask all the questions we have. Unfortunately we have to rent the Church venue to do a mass meeting. These dredging costs should not be imposed on our community without our community having the chance to understand all the facts and implications.
Golf Cart Community
This is a new project that the Civic Association is attempting. I believe that all worries, concerns and opinions must be heard. I believe that we should truly research the pros and cons of this issue prior to holding any vote. I believe that since the full community will be affected, all property owners should be provided the opportunity to have a say. Holding a vote at a regular monthly general meeting that was only announced in Nextdoor does not inform the majority of the community about an issue they might want to participate in.
Gulf Harbors United has posted information on its website that those concerned about this issue have an opportunity to read, including the presentation by Skip Geiger at the general meeting, and the New Port Richey ordinance governing golf carts in the city. Gulf Harbors United will continue to post all relevant information as it becomes available.
I have always dealt in facts. I believe in research and asking questions, more so if it is going to affect people’s money. At the time I was posting information that I was uncovering, I truly believed that the Civic Association was not considering all the facts. It would have been in the community’s best interests for the Civic Association to study the issues and get the facts rather than attacking someone who had actually done the research and did not agree with them.