Category Archives: Christmas

Do You Really Believe In The 1st Amendment?

Many of our founding fathers believed so strongly in Freedom of Speech that there was no question it would be first in the Bill of Rights. Curiously, protection of religion was listed first, however I have to believe there were loud arguments that protection of speech should be listed first. For without Free Speech, there would be no religion, no right to peaceably assemble, no right to petition for redress of grievances. Free Speech was so incredibly important it’s doubtful that any other form of government could have come about without it.

Obviously there are limits. Speech must not be used to cause physical injury to others or for sedition or incitement to riot. Even so, the Supreme Court has never been clear on exactly where the limits should be set. One example is pornography. What some see as clearly evil others see as art. One of the earliest attempts at creating a motion picture using an 1880 zoopraxiscope involved a naked lady video that could have tested the bounds of free speech.

My point is this: One of the things demanded by the homeowners’ rights movement is to stop Homeowners Associations from restricting free speech. It’s is a very real problem when HOA officials refuse to allow political signs, bumper stickers, any material that advocates for candidates who are not on the ‘approved’ HOA candidate list. It’s problematic when HOAs pass rules that a Christian may not hold Bible studies in his home. It’s more than annoying when an HOA president can have a birdbath featuring a nude woman, but that same board official outlaws religious statuary.

HOAs were created, among other things, to control bad taste. But if the U.S. Supreme Court is incapable of deciding what’s in bad taste, how is a typical HOA board member any wiser? The HOA gets away with governing taste by claiming it’s a private club or corporation where taste can be anything the board says it is.

Homeowners rights advocates are gradually winning a few 1st Amendment battles here and there. We might even see more such victories in the future. But as we keep increasing our volume alerting legislatures to the outrages of abusive HOAs, and as a tiny segment of our society takes advantage of the chance to be outrageous and obnoxious to neighbors, we’d better get ready to answer a question the U.S. Supreme Court could not: “What are the outer limits of bad taste?”

(the nation’s nastiest neighbor)

(zombie nativity scene barred)

(university outlaws Christmas decorations in the name of diversity)

($500 fine for too many Christmas lights)

(salvation army banned from public property)


The Saddest Story

OK Bunkie, I realize you haven’t always been tight with your old Gramps. I realize we’ve had some differences, and sometimes you just thought I wasn’t very smart in the ways of the world. Sometimes I’m wrong, I admit it. But sometimes you’re wrong and you should admit it.

So, Bunkie, pull your chair up real close and listen even if this is that last time I ever get to try to share some wisdom with you.

Remember when you said that buying your own place was the best investment you could ever make? Remember when I tried to talk you out of it? You said you’d take your grandma in as a  roommate to help you pay expenses?

But she died and now the HOA won’t let you have another roommate. They say it’s their decision and you can’t stop it. They’re telling you the only way you can stop it is to take them to court.

Bunkie, don’t fall for a sucker’s game! They know they’re going to win. They know that even if you win a decision in court, that court case will have cost you a quarter million dollars.

Sweetie, please listen. When you bought your condo you chose to live under a Communist form of government. I’m not trying to be overly dramatic. Those are just the facts. For the first time in our nation’s history you can make a conscious decision to join a totalitarian political party. It’s sneaky. But it’s all built around the illusion of home ownership. You gave up your rights to be an American and you can’t get them back.

Please don’t cry, Sweetie. It’s just a strange time in our history where the decisions you make really do mean something.

(How much is that condo worth now?)


Trustworthy and Tamper-Proof HOA/Condo Board Elections?

guest blog by Bob Frank (Air Force Col. Retired)


It is a fact that CID board elections are the ONLY way that members can actually influence the management of their common properties and finances.  And, since candidates for boards and members of community management companies are not routinely cleared as trustworthy according to government standards, the election processes themselves MUST be provable as being “trustworthy/tamper-proof” by the association members.

Therefore, I submit it should be mandatory that secret ballot board elections implement (1) audit-trails, (2) use “tamper-proof” devices, (3) be certified as end-to-end trustworthy, and (4) be capable of independent auditing by licensed, trained professionals.

And, I claim that any board election that can not be auditable as trustworthy should be invalid.  Why would government officials and trade association professionals be allowed to tolerate potentially corrupt board elections?

Should the trade association adopt the following or similar terms and require that all HOA/Condo board elections follow such definitions and implement “trustworthy board elections” capable of being audited by 3rd party professionals?

Or, should board elections be taken away from CID boards and management companies and that there be a new licensed and bonded, “Independent Trusted Elections Professional” be required on a part time basis by state statutes as auditors and attorney are?

Am I on the right track for this topic?  Do you agree it is likely possible to conduct such improvements in CID elections at reasonable costs?  If you wish, I can explain how I would design such a system using hard-copy and/or electronic processes.

Bob Frank

Huh? There’s Jews In The Neighborhood?

Anti-Semitism is vile wherever it pops up. If you’ve read my book, Neighbors at War, you’ll read how the modern HOA movement was started in 1964 just months after the Civil Rights Law was enacted. In other words, Homeowners Associations were started as ‘private clubs’ to keep Jews, Negroes, and Orientals out of white neighborhoods. The language of those whites-only sentiments can still be found in millions of real estate deeds across the country. 

Keeping minorities out of ‘private clubs’ worked pretty well for a few decades. One of the heroes of the anti-HOA movement will never know the huge impact he had on the history of civil rights and HOAs. It was Tiger Woods’ victory in the Jerry Pate golf tournament that got the PGA scrambling to make sure it didn’t inadvertently schedule national tournaments in whites-only country clubs.

Back to discrimination against Jews, the latest fascinating court decision comes to us from Dallas. The Highlands of McKamy Homeowners Association tried to stop an Orthodox Jewish congregation from gathering in their neighborhood. And of course, the apparent timing was aimed at getting them tossed out before Passover. That story is linked below.

Ah, Passover. I have an incredibly personal story aimed for the coming Easter weekend, but in the meantime this article from North Dallas really ought to be read by all those who respect and revere the Jewish people. 

(link to Dallas story)