Candidate for the Board of Directors of Aquarius
I was born in Moscow and graduated from Moscow State University. (In my memoir, The Sixth Sense, I describe the incredible difficulty of getting admitted.) Before emigration, I spent 18 years working as a journalist at the magazine Bibliotekar’ (Librarian) and at Literaturnaya Gazeta” (Literary Gazette). As a freelance journalist, I contributed to Izvestiya (News), Krokodil (Crocodile, the humor magazine), and Vechenyaya Moskva (Evening Moscow). Also, I wrote scripts for the satirical short film series Fitil’ (Wick) and geographical series called Club of Film Travels, broadcast on central television.
I grouped all Soviet journalists into three categories:
• Those who write what they don’t believe
• Those who don’t write what they don’t believe.
• And those who, despite censorship, manage to tell the truth.
I was an investigative reporter and a satirical writer, and most of the time I was in the second category. Only on a couple of occasions I was able to rise to the level of the third category. One of those cases was an article in Literary Gazette where I defended the unjustly convicted crew of a Moscow ambulance. This group—which included a physician—was convicted for physically assaulted a patient. As a result of my investigation and subsequent coverage they were released from prison.
We were invited to the US by my cousins, who were born in the US. We first arrived in Richmond, Va., Within a month, I took the job of a cameraman at a local public television affiliate. A year later, I was invited to take a job at The Voice of America, an US government-run radio station, where I worked for 22 years prior to retirement. I anchored the programs “From the World of Film,” “Panorama,” and “The Night Owl.” I was a “team leader” and anchor of the program “Events and opinions,” the principal political newscast of the Russian Service. When I covered events in Russia and the US, I was guided by Walter Cronkite’s motto: “That’s the way it is.”
Now, I meet many people who had heard me in Russia, Ukraine and other former Soviet republics.
I am the author of six books: “The Sixth Sense,” “The Fateful Eight,” a Prague guidebook in verse, “The Casanova Formula,” “My Michelangelo,” and “Biblical Love and Betrayal.” Two of my documentaries “Prague with a Smile,” and “The Sistine Ceiling,” were shown to residents of Aquarius.
I decided to run for a seat on the Board, because I realized that—unless change occurs—I would not be able to live calmly and write here. Setting aside my poetry, I decided to study our Declaration of Condominium, the bylaws and Florida Statute 718.The more I read, the more convinced I became that people to whom we are delegating authority live only by the laws they happen to like. The laws they don’t happen to like they simply ignore.
During the 2014 election, I posed the following question to the candidates: “Do you plan to be guided by Paragraph XIX of our Declaration of Condominium, which states that “Improvements and alterations costing in excess of $10,000 shall not be made without the approval of 2/3 of the entire voting power of the membership of the Association?” Only one answered in the affirmative. All others said this matter is of no relevance to them.
As a consequence—without your approval or even your knowledge— alterations on the West Pool deck from relocation of the restroom to replacement the pavers with tiles cost us hundreds of thousands of dollars. According to the ACG engineer, architectural improvements and changes”—as opposed to structural changes—of the valet parking area cost $1.2 million. Now, we are facing a $16 million project. Replacement of windows will cost $9 million.
Florida Statute 718.113 (2) (a) requires that “75 percent of the total voting interests of the association must approve the alterations or additions.” Has anyone sought your approval for these changes? Of course, you are free to file a lawsuit. However, it is much easier to not elect to the Board those candidates who have already violated these laws.
Here is how I differ from such candidates:
I hereby promise in writing that as a potential member of the Board, I will abide by the laws of our association and Florida Statute 718, including the requirement for approval of material alterations. In the interpretation of the Forth district Court of Appeals, approval is required for any effort “to palpably or perceptively vary or change the form, shape, elements or specifications of a building from its original design or plan or existing condition in such a manner as to appreciatively affect or influence its function, use or appearance.”
Should I at any point—short of a genuine emergency—violate this promise, I give my consent to be automatically recalled from the Board of Directors.
Boris Goldberg, PH5S