"The rule is no fins and kickboards are allowed,” Conti said in an interview last night, July 15. “The only way they will change the rules is if I become part of the events calendar, which I do know is booked up for the rest of the year. I won’t be able to get on the events calendar until 2014.”
Conti said she attended the July 15 meeting of the Community Development District (CDD) for Phase 1, which has jurisdiction over the Osprey and Hawk Park pools. She said she plans to attend another CDD meeting tonight, July 16, for Phase 2, which has jurisdiction over the Aquatic Club pool. That meeting is set to begin at the Palmetto Club at 6:30 p.m.
FishHawk residents have been asked to attend the meeting by Bob Abruzzese, a mermaid supporter, who posted the request on his FishHawk Area Neighborhood Page on Facebook.
“Let your elected officials know you want her to swim in the pools,” Abruzzese said. “Hopefully the CDD 2 board will keep up its reputation as the best CDD board in [FishHawk Ranch]. I heard that CDD 1 board maintained their low rating tonight.”
It was on Abruzzese's Facebook page that Conti's case became more widely know, after he posted a video of her swimming in a FishHawk pool to counter what she said were very negatives comments she had received on her own Facebook page.
It also was the day after she was asked to leave the Aquatic Club. As Abruzzese put it, in an interview with Bloomingdale-Riverview Patch: “They turned her away because she had fins. There was a rule, no fins at the pool."
Patch's coverage boosted her presence locally, but also nationally and internationally, with postings on the Aol homepage, Aol UK and at Aol On, where Patch video shot at the FishHawk Ridge pool on July 14 found a home.
"It's been addicting watching how many people have seen it," Conti said in the July 15 interview. "It's amazing to me that so many people would know and see this and come and like me and then friend me [at Eden Sirene - The FishHawk Mermaid on Facebook,] and hopefully make something possible for me."
At tonight's July 16 CDD meeting, Conti said she will restate the case she made at the July 15 CDD meeting, "that I'm a FishHawk resident and I would like to be able to entertain and be able to swim and practice inside the FishHawk pools."
Outside the water, her tail weighs 33 pounds," she said. "Inside the water it is weightless and it becomes a part of my body. It would not fly off like a kickboard, or swim fin or flipper, would. It would not hurt. It's very flexible, it flops around. It's made of dragon silicone, which is harmless to the body."
With one ruling in, and one yet to come, Conti, a FishHawk Ridge resident, said she has at least one place to swim in FishHawk.
"FishHawk Ridge is happy with me," she said. "Being a private neighborhood, it's not much of a problem."
Also, "I have had my offers," she said. "A lot of people have pools and they can have a few kids over, they can have me there and we'll work it out." She said she has been approached by one woman who wants Conti to swim with her son, who has Down syndrome.
At FishHawk, "I'm amazed at how people come together," she said. "FishHawk is a team. I've seen people play as a team here. They've had my back this whole time and they'll make it happen one way or another."
She noted the sea or support she has received in likes and positive comment on the FishHawk Area Neighborhood Page and on Eden Sirene - The FishHawk Mermaid, which she said was started for her by a supporter.
Will the CDD board at tonight's meeting lend their support as well?
"I feel very much I will have the same results I had today," Conti said, following the July 15 ruling by the CDD Phase 1 board. "I expect the same results, back-to-back."
Still, "I have high hopes," she added, "and I hope that's not true."