Farmers Define Community

guest blog by Nila Ridings
There is a lot to be said for not living stacked on top of your neighbors. Or close enough to notice the color tint on their front door is two shades too dark and their garage door has been up longer than the fifteen minute limit.
Homeowners Associations chant their mantra of what great communities they create.  Real estate agents “accidentally” fail to mention the lawsuits, loans the board signed for, failed maintenance, and decade-old work orders collecting dust on a shelf.  No sir, those things are all out of sight and out of mind as they tour you past the lovely flower beds and pools, and through the clubhouse with it’s recently installed wood floors.
But peel all that away and you see the brutal truth:  HOAs are more like living in a war zone. 
Farmers don’t live in HOAs.  They can’t see the front door of the farmer 1/2 mile down the road.  Farmers not only feed us but they teach us a great deal about community.  This Carson, Iowa town of farmers came together to help harvest Phil Killinger’s crops when he was stricken with liver cancer.  And Terry Gleaves loves his farmer neighbor so much it’s difficult for him to cope with the illness of his friend.
This is what community is all about.  These good folks saw a need and without hesitation they pulled together, worked together, and made a difference together. They created a WIN WIN WIN situation.  
At the end of the day, this is what HOAs should be patterned after.  Instead, they’ve spent 40 years building up to the battle grounds they are today.  
And THAT has made all the difference!

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Ward Lucas is a longtime investigative journalist and television news anchor. He has won more than 70 national and regional awards for Excellence in Journalism, Creative Writing and community involvement. His new book, "Neighbors At War: the Creepy Case Against Your Homeowners Association," is now available for purchase. In it, he discusses the American homeowners association movement, from its racist origins, to its transformation into a lucrative money machine for the nation's legal industry. From scams to outright violence to foreclosures and neighborhood collapses across the country, the reader will find this book enormously compelling and a necessary read for every homeowner. Knowledge is self-defense. No homeowner contemplating life in an HOA should neglect reading this book. No HOA board officer should overlook this examination of the pitfalls in HOA management. And no lawyer representing either side in an HOA dispute should gloss over what homeowners are saying or believing about the lawsuit industry.

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