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Welcome to On the Commons!

Image On The Commons is a weekly radio show, dedicated to discussing the many issues surrounding homeowner associations (HOAs) and condominiums.  It is broadcast live from WEBR, Fairfax, Virginia and available on this web site.

Join us as we explore the world of homeowner associations and condominiums, which are the fastest growing form of residential development in America today.  This housing concept includes homeowner associations, condominiums, cooperatives, and both attached and detached single-family homes.  Unfortunately this type of housing is not as utopian as its advocates would have us believe.  Living in a homeowner association means giving up a part of the American dream.  It means giving up Constitutional rights and control over one’s most valuable asset - one’s home.

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 "Property in a thing consists not merely in its ownership and possession, but in the unrestricted right of use, enjoyment, and disposal. Anything which destroys any of the elements of property, to that extent, destroys the property itself. The substantial value of property lies in its use. If the right of use be denied, the value of the property is annihilated and ownership is rendered a barren right."  --- Washington State Supreme Court Justice Richard B Sanders

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The new On The Commons  podcast site

Seven years of easy to find On the Commons Podcasts 

 

The Curent Show

On the Commons with Judy Thomas

Symptoms are warning signs indicative of a problem.  These warning signs should be investigated.  Sweeping them under the rug and hoping they'll go away is irresponsible.  Far too often that is the treatment of choice in the Homeowner association arena.  All the horror stories are symptomatic of deeper problems, and conditions that allow or even encourage the abuses to continue, unabated.  They are the results of flawed reasoning. The very people who should be concerned that their brand is defective and harmful to the owners are the very same people who flippantly dismiss every signal that all is not well.  Rather than preventing the horrors, the HOA industry blames and belittles the owners.  Their arsenal is made up of the same stupid excuses and explanations.  They  glibly refer to the hundreds and hundreds of stories as "isolated incidents".  They have no credibility, they deserve no respect.

Judy Thomas joins us On The Commons.  Judy is an award winning journalist with the Kansas City Star who just wrote and published an amazing series of articles about many of the stories going on in associations across the country.  The main story, HOAs from hell: Homes associations torment residents they're supposed to support  just touches on some of the many problems homeowners face on a daily basis.  The page also has links to other stories and video clips of some of the stories Judy ran across.  In an HOA no one is spared.  The color of window dressings is more important than a child's safety and her life.  The color of a swing set takes on a life of its own and ends up costing the family a huge sum of money.  In one condo, an approved emotional pet was banned, causing the owner enough distress that he committed suicide.  Even a 91 year old great grandmother is not safe in one of these associations.  The elderly lady in this story is being charged $15 for every "letter" the HOA sends her notifying her that her garage door is no longer considered trim.  Aren't Americans allowed to enjoy the fruits of their labor without being hounded and harassed by the neighborhood thugs?  These stories are real, they are not isolated incidents.  The same stories are repeated time and again all over the place.  You just can't make these stories up.  

If you have a story to share with Judy please send it to    . . . . Listen to Judy Thomas     

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On the Commons with Greg Dorchak

Once upon a time, not so very long ago, we were limited on where and how we got our information. The papers, radio and TV news reports decided what we should and could know. But, times they are a changing!  Technology has opened up so many doors for all of us.  Blogging, self publishing books, social media, podcasting, the internet, movies and yes, the traditional outlets that are still with us.  All of it is terrific, it gives us access to so much more information.

Greg Dorchak joins us On The Commons.  Greg is a movie maker from Austin, Texas.  He has taken advantage of all the arts that allow him to get his point across.  He is a self published author, a cartoonist as well as a movie maker.  His passion is making people laugh so he uses comedy to deliver his message. We first met Greg a couple of years ago when he was working on "The Code Enforcer" which is all about, yup, you guessed it - HOAs.  "The Code Enforcer" is on the back burner until he can get the funding to finish his movie.  And yes, it is funny. There is nothing quite like taking the Mickey out of people who take themselves too seriously, is there?  There is a ton of material in associations.  However, in the meantime he is finishing the last bits and pieces on his current movie, a romantic comedy called Kopy Kings  that takes place in a copy store.   We'll talk to Greg, find out what it takes to make a movie and how to get the inspiration to satisfy our creative yearnings.     Listen to Greg Dorchak      

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