Whew! The racket coming from Clay County, Florida is pretty funny. The county is considering an ordinance that would allow homeowners to own up to four chickens apiece, just no roosters.
Backyard chickens are a growing fad all over the country. But three Homeowners Associations on Fleming Island are kicking up a fuss. They don’t mind chickens elsewhere, but just no chickens where gentrified people can see them. The excuses they give (in the story linked below) are pretty amusing. They’re afraid if a dog sees a chicken and jumps the fence it might injure a child. (Huh?) They’re also afraid a county ordinance would supersede their contractual covenant rights. (It won’t.)
Suppose you’re an older couple planning on the peaceful retirement life in a maintenance-free neighborhood. You take your entire nest egg and pay off the mortgage. Your new townhome, condo or single family residence is now yours….forever.
Oopsie! You learn that a developer wants to tear the whole thing down and build something new. You don’t want to move from your retirement home, but the developer gets a ‘majority’ of the residents to take his low ball offer to clear out. Not you. You want him to pay you fair market value. But because a ‘majority’ of your neighbors have moved out, what’s your fair market value now? It’s a heck-of-a-low lower than the others were paid. In fact, your quarter million dollar retirement home is worth ten cents on the dollar. Now the developer can get you tossed out by the courts and pay you nothing.
If you’ve followed this blog for any length of time you know that I despise political correctness. The PC movement is very similar to a viral infection. It has no predictable course, it can break out anywhere and cause untold damage to society and it can totally undermine the rule of law.
Obviously some kinds of speech and some words are offensive. But choosing not to use such language is a matter of class, decency and education. Declaring a word du jour as an illegal word is dangerous. As Saul Alinsky said, “Whoever controls the verbiage controls the debate.” And that can put power into the hands of some very bad people. Adolph Hitler controlled the verbiage. We all know how that one turned out. Fifty million people dead. Stalin controlled the verbiage. Twenty million more dead.
Yep, that’s the quotable quote emerging from an HOA scandal in Anne Arundel County, Maryland.
Residents of the Russett Community Association voted to throw out the top two board members who homeowners claimed were misusing HOA funds. True to form, the two board members voted that the recall elections weren’t valid because they weren’t approved by the board. Then they fought the recall election in court, and of course they spent neighborhood dues money to pay for their own defense. It happens in thousands of HOAs across the country!
It’s all about the news media, folks. It’s all about publicity. P.T. Barnum was once rumored to have said, “There’s no such thing as bad publicity, it’s all publicity.”
Five years ago I wouldn’t have believed it possible, but now anti-HOA stories have almost gone mainstream. Our misery as HOA homeowners really is getting out there and prospective home buyers are paying attention. Does a Homeowners Association really protect your property values? Well, your property is only worth what someone is willing to pay. So if a growing number of people are saying they’ll never buy an HOA property, doesn’t that mean your HOA is actually hurting your property values?