Last Sunday’s edition of the Sarasota Herald Tribune featured two separate front page articles that highlight the decisions that helped lead us into our current economic mess and threaten to keep our economy from recovering in the near future.

  • The first article focuses on a condominium project in Charlotte that finds most of its units "occupied" by "phantom purchasers" from Brazil who have not paid their maintenance fees and have left the few purchasers that actually live in the development facing substantial monthly expenses for the upkeep of the common areas.  While this is a lengthy report, I highly recommend it to members of resident owned communities.
  • The other article detailed the failure and refusal of many of our major financial institutions to make loans to small businesses and homeowners in spite of the clear message sent to these institutions by our President and Congress.   In its own way, this article is as depressing and maddening as the first.

I’d also like to recommend L. Jon Wertheim’s story in the most recent issue of Sports Illustrated.  It’s entitled "The Games of Their Lives" and it describes the efforts of two athletes to fulfill a final dream–to compete in the Beijing Paralympics.   This bittersweet but uplifting depiction of the triumph of the human spirit and the tremendous support given to these two champions (in many cases, by total strangers) gave me a very helpful dose of perspective during this time of the year.

As many of you know, we’ve just completed our first set of seminars for the 2009-2010 season.   Thanks to the over 200 residents from almost 55 different communities throughout the state for attending and to our hosts at Molokai in Leesburg, Old Bridge Village in N. Fort Myers, Sandalwood Park in Venice, and Westwinds Village in Bradenton for their great hospitality.   We’ll be posting the dates and locations for our next set of seminars within the next few weeks.   We hope to see you at one of those events!