Tag Archives: Missouri

Is Democracy Disappearing in the U.S.?

Deborah Goonan is one of the most learned and articulate people in the country on the subject of Homeowners Associations. She, along with Nila Ridings, have expressed major concern about a wacky situation in Pagedale, Missouri, where the city has taken on the role of HOA lawn Nazis. It’s so far over the line that it has even attracted a lawsuit by the Institute for Justice. Her column on her own blog (linked below) is a critical subject for all of us.

(is democracy disappearing in the US?)



Smiling Face In A Non-HOA Place!

guest blog by Nila Ridings
Happy, laughing, and smiling is the best way to describe Mary Kromrey. She and her husband, Mike, are raising their son, Eli, in the home they purchased in Rountree; they’re repeat buyers in that neighborhood. 
Springfield might be best known for a couple of its famous sons with roots there, Brad Pitt, the actor, and Johnny Morris, the owner of Bass Pro Shops. But I hope it becomes more famous for this Non-HOA neighborhood!
The Kromreys’ house doesn’t look at all like the neighbors’ houses.  Each house looks different with its own unique “personality.”  Mary has adorned her front porch with hanging baskets of flowers, a porch swing, an umbrella-covered table, and a bright red mailbox!  What?  A BRIGHT RED MAILBOX?  Not only that but she has a rain barrel so she can use the water for her flowers!  HOA-Free living means home owners can be creative and use their own common sense.  As long as they follow the city codes, they are not hassled.  Neighbors aren’t looking for ways to sue or foreclose on each others’ properties like we hear about every day across America’s HOAs.  Heck, even paying dues once a year is done voluntarily. 
Rountree’s focus is on socialization.  No, it’s not a joke.  They REALLY DO focus on looking out for each others’ kids and homes.  “Our neighbors have become a stand-in family” Mary says. 
This sounds so foreign to me.  I’ve been living in an HOA so long this seems like a completely different world and another lifetime.  I’m having flashbacks of my childhood neighborhood.  I’m so envious of Mary and how she bubbles over with joy talking about where she lives! 
Just before we said good-bye she said, “And we have chickens, too!”  No doubt, they are probably free-range and cage-free enjoying their freedom, too. 
Sure looks like Rountree dispels the myth that you must have an HOA to maintain property values, doesn’t it?  Who wants to bet the Kromreys’ property value is going up?

When the Aftermath is Worse than the Fire!!!

Guest Blog by Nila Ridings

Where is Uncle Billy Bob? Sounds like he was hired to restore the Heritage Landing Condos in Saint Charles, Missouri but has headed off to….fishing trip? Guadalajara? Elsewhere? Residents are living in hotel rooms but the contractor is MIA. Who hires these losers, anyway?

Ten months ago, the Jahnke family and Scott Collins were told they would be back in their condos by the end of 2012 after a fire in July. Collins is reduced to tears because the restoration left his place in worse condition than pre-fire. And poor Debra Jahnke is so stressed out she’s on blood pressure medication and anxiety drugs. She says a new home could be built from the dirt up faster. And ten months in a hotel is, well, miserable. 
Ahhh, but the big question is: Why the shoddy work? Who IS the contractor that is showing up on a sometime”ish” basis? And the biggest question of all is…”Where’s the insurance money?” “And the property manager?” Oh my! Imagine this, NOT AVAILABLE for comment on camera!
In emergencies, condo dwellers are left at the mercy of property managers who hire the cheapest labor and produce the shoddiest work. That means owners are zapped with future expensive repairs. And, of course there’s no “go to” source for answers.


original source:



“Kansas City, Here I Come!”

Actually, it’s “Kansas City, there I was.” Doesn’t do much for the old Chuck Berry/Beatles tune. “They got some crazy little women there, and I’m gonna get me one.”

In answer to the many emails, yes, my website was crashed/hacked a week and a half ago. Sadly, this time the intruder so corrupted each file that my poor webmaster has been sweating blood trying to rebuild the old site line by line. This time we’ll make sure it’s mirrored in several places to keep us up and to keep this vandal frustrated. It’s rather wild, but I’ve learned that several other anti-HOA websites were trashed the exact same hour as mine. Of course, that’s only a coincidence, isn’t it?

On that same weekend my computer motherboard was fried and I had to make some quick, new purchases.  The Geek Squad was here early on a Sunday morning to set it all up.  Windows 8/Windows 12 is an impossible program for an old guy to learn <Ward, quit whining, wouldja?!?>.

The trip to Kansas City was actually a total surprise to me. It all started with a request for me to overnight a thousand pounds of books for a show that opened the next day. That was impossibly expensive and wouldn’t have made any economic sense. So, in a moment of questionable judgment, I was in the car within an hour. Fourteen hours, two ice storms, and five Red Bulls later I was lost and driving in circles through Kansas City and Overland Park. By some miracle, I finally got to my hotel. And yes, the back of my Blazer was full of boxes of books.

I met some great people at the Kansas City book event, tasted the best barbequed ribs in the world, and heard some war stories you would not believe. In fact, I gathered enough information for a full year’s worth of HOA horror story blogs. More to come on that subject. I thought the worst states in the country for HOA lunacy were Arizona, Nevada, Texas, Florida, North Carolina and Pennsylvania. But nooooo. Homeowners Associations in Kansas and Missouri have a level of corruption, violence and fascism that could rival any of the other states. It all boils down to this: the absolute worst, most horrible HOA in the country happens to be…..wherever you are!

Another thing: I learned of a few really wild happenings/events/stories that have to be kept confidential for the time being, but they’ll ultimately appear on this blog. I’m an open book, of course, but I do respect a source’s request for confidentiality. It’s an old newsguy’s habit.

In any event, for new visitors to this blog, we are desperately trying to get everything working again. Thank you for buying my book. And please email me any links to HOA horror stories you think I might have missed. My email address is:  Ward@NeighborsAtWar.com and I do read every single email. Since I’m a lifelong insomniac I also respond to as many emailers as I possibly can.