A Hopelessly Naive Journalist

I’m sure Bruce Ross, a journalist at the Record Searchlight in Northern California, is a nice enough person. I’m sure he’s a good writer. But like many other reporters he’s hopelessly naive about the power of Homeowners Associations.

Seems that California is in a drought. Not just any drought, but the drought of a lifetime. Yet California Homeowners Associations are still fining homeowners who have brown spots on their lawns.

Ross reports that Republican State Senator Jim Nielsen is proposing that California HOAs be prohibited from fining residents whose lawns aren’t in tip-top shape. But neither Ross nor Senator Nielson have discovered that Homeowners Associations are above the law. They are, for the most part, exempt from state regulation. They are private non-profit corporations and the Constitution guarantees us all the right to enter into such contracts, even contracts which are bad for the environment and bad for basic human rights.

When you signed your real estate documents, you essentially promised your new HOA that you will obey their covenants above any state or federal law.
Good for Senator Nielsen for trying to get HOAs to do the responsible thing during this drought. Good for reporter Ross for reporting on the Senator’s efforts.

But shame on them for not realizing that the government and the press are impotent in the face of this 55 billion dollar a year tort industry.

(link to column in Record Searchlight)


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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.

1 thought on “A Hopelessly Naive Journalist

  1. Dave Russell

    Just shows the stupidity of Homeowner Associations. Who cares if we don’t have enough water, just as long as those HOA lawns are green! I say, concrete those lawns, and spray-paint them “green.” Since the cement mixers are already there, just have them fill in the HOA office while you’re at it!


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