Power In Petitions, Numbers, and Voices

guest blog by Nila Ridings

Today, let’s talk about change.
When was the last time you decided it was time for a change?  
We easily change the small stuff; hair styles, clothing, or the store where we buy groceries.  The not so small stuff; a new car, taking a trip around the world, or going back to college for another degree.  And the biggest change of all; buying a new house, vacation home, condo, or a ranch where the neighbors can’t see you grilling steaks in your skivvies.  
We all know by now, buying any property with an HOA, COA, or any other association where neighbors are dictators over neighbors and your bank account is at risk for all debts of said “organization” comes as a life-changing experience.  A change you could never dream in your worst nightmare.
More and more of those who have suffered mercilessly in these hellholes are connecting and working hard to create changes that will benefit the homeowners.  One of those hard-working folks has created a petition that was found on the internet.  Whether you sign or not, reading the comments written by the hundreds of signers is confirmation that all across America HOA homeowners are living in misery. 
It’s time for our legislators to listen!

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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.

5 thoughts on “Power In Petitions, Numbers, and Voices

  1. robert

    We easily change the small stuff; hair styles, clothing, or the store where we buy groceries. The not so small stuff; a new car, taking a trip around the world, or going back to college for another degree. And the biggest change of all; buying a new house

    Then why do conservatives and libertarians ignore friction costs, assymetrical information, imbalances of power, and other market distortions whenever they say something like “If you don’t like your H.O.A corporation, move”?

    To the folks at the Cato Institute, Independence Institute, Institute for Justice, Reason magazine, etc., their pro-H.O.A. corporation ideology requires them to believe that moving to a new home is as trivial a consumer choice as changing breakfast cereal.

  2. Nila Ridings

    Again, the HOA issues are not affiliated with any political party, but since you brought it up, I will say the people on the board and in my HOA that yell, “MOVE” are die-hard Democrats. Some are Republicans, too. There are also people involved in the HOA reform efforts that are die-hard Democrats.

    HOAs are like cancer. Anybody can become a victim regardless of race, religion, wealth, education, location, or choice of political party. We never know who will be the next victim, but we do know every HOA/COA owner is at risk.

  3. robert

    the HOA issues are not affiliated with any political party

    There are Democrats who are against gun control, and Republicans who are for gay marriage. I’m not sure what your point is, because finding counter-examples to anything is easy.

    Whether you like it or not, the philosophy of H.O.A.s is affiliated with an ideology. Once again, I ask:

    What is there about

    – governance by a private corporation
    – under the guise of contract law
    – with no consumer protections

    for a Tea Partyin’ disciple of Ayn Rand and Ronald Reagan not to love?

    If the answer is “H.O.A. corporations”, then perhaps they need to re-examine their premises.

    I have written about this in a lot more detail (see “Jon Caldara“. It’s kind of a long blog post, but bear with it, as it does get to a point). I don’t remember anyone objecting about “partisanship” when Jon referred to H.O.A. corporations as “a microcosm of the liberal thought experiment”. As Evan McKenzie has stated (scroll down):

    And anybody who espouses the philosophy of “privatism,” claiming that the so-called private sector is superior to government, has to answer for the obvious and growing problems of homeowner and condo associations.

    “Privatism” is a large part of the conservative and libertarian ideology. And if you were to draw a Venn Diagram, those ideologies would largely (but not perfectly) overlap with the Republican Party and Libertarian Party. And John Carona has an “R” after his name. So it is perfectly fair to describe H.O.A. corporations as “the Libertarian Party and Republican Party vision for America” (for example, see here, PDF).

    On an e-mail list that we are both on, I was also criticised by H.O.A. reformists for referring to H.O.A.s as a form of ironic communism (see “Communisty Associations Institute“). I guess I’m not supposed to offend those Communists, either.

    1. Ward Lucas Post author

      Hi Robert. I’m pretty familiar with all Ayn Rand’s books. And HOA privatization would have outraged her. Rand came out of Communist Russia and she would have seen many similarities between that system and today’s HOA tyrannies. I doubt there was any tyranny in John Galt’s secret valley.


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