This is a tough time of year for many Coloradans. Our summer skies are filled with flashes of lightning; a gorgeous sight from a distance, but dry lightning can play havoc when the vegetation is dry. Over the past few days more than 500 homes and a number of businesses have been destroyed here. One of the most devastating fires was in the Black Forest, a hilly, tree-filled area just north of Colorado Springs. At the time of this writing, the fire is still burning, only half controlled.
Over the next few months, I’ll be monitoring the news from there very closely. Many of these homes are in subdivisions controlled by a Homeowners Association. In recent years, storm and fire devastated HOAs have been completely unreasonable with homeowners who are trying desperately to rebuild. There are cases in Florida where homeowners have been slammed with fines because the tarps used to cover damaged roofs were not of a uniform blue color. No kidding! And in New Mexico, a homeowner was sued because he was living in a small trailer while trying to rebuild his burned-out home.
From a Constitutional standpoint Homeowners Associations are fundamentally flawed. They have nothing to do with democracy, and everything to do with fascist minority control over the majority. And when Nature, herself, demands that neighbors cooperate to recover from disaster, Homeowners Associations often go to extremes to make sure cooperation is impossible.
In my heart I hope that Colorado residents work together to recover from this nightmare of flames and ash. In my mind, I know I’ll be doing stories on those who are doing their best to increase the emotional and financial damage to their fellow neighbors.