Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor

Trailer Estates like kindergarten

o Trailer Estates is an interesting study in human behavior. There is a "class system" in operation in the park with an "in group," the "nobodies" and the "dissidents." I went from a "nobody" to a "dissident" when I challenged the authority of the trustees to arbitrarily charge fees for use of some common areas of the park (marina and storage lot) in order to subsidize assessments for others, contrary to the intent of the charter. When the fees were tripled in one year, I asked where the board got the authority. Apparently, authority is not to be challenged in Trailer Estates. It makes the "in group" grouchy. I was unaware of the unwritten "rules" at the time. "Nobodies" are not privy to such information. The "in group" makes and enforces the "rules." One must become a "dissident" to experience the "rules" being applied, to discourage "dissident" behavior. Apparently, to qualify for the "in group," one must have blind allegiance to some members of the board of trustees. I have observed that the "in group" experiences many privileges in exchange for keeping members of the "in group" in office as trustees, who in turn, confer the special privileges. The "nobodies" are ignored, unless they make waves, in which case they move to the "dissident" group and become the targets of hateful and childish behavior on the part of the "in group." It is worse than kindergarten! Trailer Estates is a unique and wonderful place to live. It is unfortunate that all residents in the park are not valued as people, and we cannot all get along in the sandbox — like we should have learned in kindergarten.

Mary Lou Smith, Trailer Estates residentBradenton and East Lansing, Mich. Trailer Estates, Part II

o Sunshine doesn’t shine in Trailer Estates, but arrogance does. Your April 7 article on Trailer Estates fell short of defining the whole problem. Yes, the Sunshine Laws are violated every day, as admitted to you by John Vander Molen. He’s the same guy who said he would resign from the Architectural Review Committee if he were appointed to a vacant trustee’s spot, but he then refused. It’s all about trust and power. Some trustees share the same office every day.

A couple of years ago, a rogue group of trustees decided to stick it to the boat and utility trailer owners. They tripled the cost for those folks, while enjoying a hefty reserve in the budget and no increase was necessary. This triggered a resident’s nerve and the questions began. One of the residents was told if she didn’t like it to move. Now they (the questioning residents) are being targeted as troublemakers. I won’t dwell on this, but there is a whole lot more to be said. As an eight-year resident of Trailer Estates, it was once a great place to live. However, at the present I wouldn’t recommend this place to anyone without first telling them to get to know the politics of the park. I hope we can soon learn to respect each other and let the healing begin. You can see the meetings and judge for yourself at www.trailer estatesflorida.com

Chester ForceBradenton

Camp Flying Eagle soaring

o I would like to make a few comments concerning Camp Flying Eagle and the status of the camp based on the March 20 article tiled "Dream Oaks open for summer camp." As I mentioned, in the Jan. 29 Bradenton Herald article, “Flying Eagle is ‘not going anywhere,’ ” the camp is not for sale and it is not going anywhere even though it appears that some folks, as well as some news reporters, are still under the impression that Camp Flying Eagle is for sale in spite of the Settlement Agreement reached last September between Manatee County, The Boys Development Association and Southwest Florida Council, BSA. This settlement agreement, attached to the deed of Camp Flying Eagle, legally limits the status of Camp Flying Eagle and restricts the sale of Camp Flying Eagle. So, as the Southwest Florida Council, BSA Camping Committee chairman, a volunteer position in charge of overseeing the operation of the council's two camps, I will once again state the camps are safe, operational and "not going anywhere." With that said, Camp Flying Eagle is busier now than ever before with campers, over 13,000 on a yearly basis, from Scouts, Dream Oaks and other organizations using this wonderful resource we have in Manatee County. This also includes our annual summer camp for our Cub Scouts that is expected to have over 300 scouts attending this summer. In addition, we had over 1,000 Scouts from all over Florida attending an event at Camp Flying Eagle on a recent weekend. As one can see, the camp is in full operation. Over $200,000 of labor, materials, resources and thousands of volunteer hours have gone into Camp Flying Eagle over the past six months thanks to contributions from corporate and private citizens in Manatee County, Scouts, Scouters and other community volunteers to rejuvenate this camp and make it better for the youth it serves. We extend our thanks to all those who helped make Camp Flying Eagle soar again. In addition, the Southwest Florida Council, BSA Camping Committee is looking at long-term plans for Camp Flying Eagle as well as our other camp so we can fulfill our mission and the vision of Southwest Florida Council to provide the best program we can to the youth of Manatee County and the six other counties (Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Hendry, Lee, and Sarasota counties) that the council serves. These plans include expanding and improving the facilities and programs offered to bring the best program possible to the youth we serve and the youth of our communities. So, once again, the camp is "not going anywhere" and we truly can use everyone’s help to continue improving this valuable resource.

James A. Thielen, Southwest Florida Boy ScoutCouncil, BSA-Council Camping Chairman
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