Rancorous Racism, HOA Style

guest blog by Dave Russell
I have lived in HOAs for nearly two decades. I have also managed one for five years. Trust me when I tell you, I’ve heard and seen it all. I have also postulated a number of theories as to why HOAs seem to attract some of the craziest folks I have ever met.

I’ve seen seemingly normal neighbors turn into backstabbers, liars and some of the most unreasonable people you’ve ever met. I have seen neighbors hook up, break up, and then turn into complete psychopaths.

I have also seen neighbors join the board and steal their neighbors trust and money. But the one thing that just makes my skin crawl, is when one homeowner, goes after another homeowner, simply because of their race. It happens more often than you could ever imagine, especially in homeowners associations.

Sure, I’ve come across my fair share of racist homeowners. I’ve also seen my fair share of racist board and committee member. But I have never seen anything like the racial shenanigans going on in the Courtyards HOA in San Diego, California.

Seems like a homeowner has made some pretty damning accusations against his neighbors. A resident of the Courtyards HOA is in shock after she said a letter accuses her family of making meth, selling children and huffing paint was sent to 200 people in her condominium complex. Accusations that the targeted resident and her family adamantly denies.

Now the president of the HOA is calling an ’emergency meeting’ to discuss the matter with his fellow board members. It appears that the president of the association doesn’t believe any of the accusations contained in the hate letter.

I’m a little more than suspicious as to why the HOA President called an ’emergency meeting.’ Usually HOAs don’t get involved in neighbor vs. neighbor, unless perhaps, the perpetrator of the poison pen letter is an HOA committee or board member. I guess we will soon find out who he is, hopefully upon his arrest. Something about HOAs just seems to put the ‘S’ back in stupid.

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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 “Rancorous Racism, HOA Style

  1. Deborah Goonan

    The premise and social structure of HOAs is the promotion of exclusivity. These are “private” housing developments with their own micro-cultures, little cocoons or prisons – depending on the circumstances – insulated and somewhat isolated from the rest of larger society.

    At first, the idea of strict rules to keep your neighbors in line, as well as private security systems, seems like a good idea. But put it into practice in the Real World, the volunteer Board guided by corporate principles is ill-equipped to handle a wide range of social discord that results. Some residents will behave in a bizarre, hurtful manner – in a way they would never even consider outside of HOA Land.

    Sadly, there are people who buy into the the concept that the purpose of the HOA is “keeping out the riff-raff,” the “unrefined,” and the “criminal element,” a concept that is shunned as bigoted and virtually non-existent in cities and towns not burdened by Deed Restrictions with Governing Documents. Talk about breeding a culture of suspicion and mistrust! Governance of HOA Land reinforces negative thinking that “anyone who is not like me must be bad,” and “we must keep out anyone who remotely threatens our safety.”

    Furthermore, we make it very easy for residents to complain – often to a manager – and demand that the “problem” be resolved immediately. The sad part is that resolving REAL problems might be delayed due to all the high drama surrounding petty or fabricated conflicts. Dave, I wouldn’t take your job if you paid me a million bucks!

    So the anonymous letter making baseless claims doesn’t surprise me.

    We reap what we sow.


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