My Evan McKenzie Confession

As a lifetime broadcast journalist, I sometimes did some odd things as I negotiated my way through the low ranks of radio journalism into the top ranks of TV journalism. One odd thing that became a habit was ‘snooping’ on the reading habits of my supervisors. Really! Whenever I was called into the office of a supervisor I would carefully note which books I saw on his or her desk. When a book is recommended by upper management you can usually see copies on the desks of each of your managers. I used to carry a tiny notepad into the boss’s office and write down the names of books and authors that various managers were reading. It seemed a clever and calculated thing to do, just to track what management was thinking at any given time. It’s how I came across, “Winning through Intimidation” by Robert Ringer and “How To Stop Worrying and Start Living” by Carnegie. I ALWAYS bought and read copies of the books I saw on the boss’s desk.

About fifteen or twenty years ago while I was working on a story, the subject of which I don’t remember now, on the floor of my photographer’s van was a book with an intriguing cover. At first glance it looked like a contorted x-ray of a human spine. At second glance it was an aerial photo of a California Homeowners Association. The book was called, “Privatopia,” by Evan McKenzie.

Of course, I ordered a copy of the book. It completely blew me away. It perfectly described the kind of torment I was going through in my own Homeowners Association at the time. I read it twice, three times, possibly more.

I have never spoken to McKenzie on the phone or in an email. But I’ve ordered copies of his book and have sent them to various members of the Colorado Legislature. When I learned from an intern that state legislator Morgan Carroll hadn’t read the first copy of Privatopia I sent her, I had Amazon send her another Privatopia, then another. In fact, McKenzie should probably have paid me a commission for the number of books I sent to various Colorado Legislators.

McKenzie is one of the pioneers of The Awakening, the realization by homeowners across America that the national HOA Movement is one of the biggest financial scams in modern history. He’s too classy to describe it as such. But those of us in ‘the movement’ know about it all too well.

Thank you, Dr. McKenzie, for waking me up!


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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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