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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 Ileana Johnson

I find it ironic that we raise our children to value individuality, diversity, acceptance and freedom, yet sadly what we teach them by example is the exact opposite.  In fact we have created a world where individuality is tantamount to a sin, diversity and acceptance can best be described as mere suggestions not to be taken seriously and freedom is a totally foreign concept.  We have allowed special interests to create an artificial world where even the freedom of self expression can be, and is, detrimental to our health and wealth.  How else does one celebrate individuality except through self expression? And  how do we handle diversity?  If we hide all the things that make us different and unique, how do we learn to accept and embrace our differences? Like everything else, the best place to start is at home.  Let's do away with all the insanity that is part and parcel of mandatory HOA living.  Like Communism, it is never going to work.  It is time to take a lesson from a children's song "Come with me, take my hand and we'll go to a land where you and me are free to be you and me." 

Dr. Ileana Johnson joins us On The Commons.  Ileana is a published author, her book,  Echoes of Communism.  She is  a columnist, commentator and blogger.  Her blog is called  IleanaJohnson .  She grew up in Romania under the Communist regime where no one was permitted to have more than anyone else, and uniformity was the order of the day. As she described daily life in Rumania, where respect for people and property were non existent, I was struck by the similarities to modern day life in America's HOAs. The similarities were many but the differences were sometimes simply titles.  "Economic police"? "Chair of the Architectural Control Committee"? After all, a thug by any other names still smells as foul.  (With apologies to William Shakespeare) .  "Come with me, take my hand we'll go to a land where you and me are free to be you and me."   You will want to hear this interview.    Listen to Ileana Johnson     

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On the Commons with Neil Brooks

Years ago, I asked Linc Cummins why he and his colleagues pushed the idea of HOAs so hard.  What was their incentive and what were they thinking?  Linc is one of the three founders of CAI so he has been involved with building HOAs from the very beginning.  His answer surprised me.  He explained that we were becoming a more transient society and as we moved from one place to the next, we left behind friends and family and in the process lost our support systems.  He said he envisioned creating a "community" where people worked together, helped each other, became a family and formed that support network.  Sounds wonderful, doesn't it?  Unfortunately, the exact opposite seems to have happened.  Far from working together as a community, the HOA has created different classes of people, those with power and authority and those without.  Rather than community, we have "war zones" and instead of a network of support, we have a divided group of people living in a dysfunctional development.  

Neil Brooks joins us On the Commons.  Neil could be the poster child of what happens when this gang of neighborhood thugs band together against one of their neighbors.  Except Neil is one of many poster children across the country who have suffered unspeakable harm in a system with no checks and balances.  Instead of creating a sense of family who would support each other, Neil's neighbors ganged up against him.  We learn about Neil's disability and find out why he was not able to find the peace and quiet he needed to recuperate.  The problems with his neighbors exacerbated his medical problems.  He is currently facing a fairly grim future.  We talk about his experiences in particular and the problems in HOAs in general.  Can HOAs ever become the nurturing extended community Linc and friends envisioned all those years ago or are they destined to be dysfunctional enclaves to be avoided at all costs?      Listen to Neil Brooks     

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