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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.


 "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 Ron Lemons
Homeownership is a simple concept - or it used to be.  People bought homes to shelter themselves and their families, to own a little piece of the world that is all their own where they can surround themselves with the people and the things they love and exclude everything and anyone they don't want.  People were truly kings and queens of their castles.  And then along came HOAs, condominiums and co-ops and nothing is sane, simple or sensible any more.  Instead of the quiet, peaceful and safe enjoyment of a home, Americans are now being forced into kontrolled kommunities where life can be quite miserable.

This new and rather intrusive living style seems to have empowered the neighbors to be more insulting, insensitive, and extremely rude.  For a country that prides itself on being hospitable, tolerant and inclusive, HOAs appear to be setting the stage for intolerance, disrespect and contempt.  Far from living in communities, this brave new world thrives on living in war zones.  

Joining us On The Commons this week we have Ron Lemons.  Ron and his wife Peggy have experienced firsthand the problems that arise from a mismanaged condominium.  This one seems to have it all; moldy units from lack of maintenance, lack of responsiveness and lack of concern for the residents.  There is also lack of sunshine and lack of accountability, especially when it comes to finances.  The contemptuousness of the board members telling their disabled neighbors that they are not wanted and they need to move.  I guess no one asked Ron and Peggy how satisfied they were with kontrolled living, because you see, they are an "isolated incident".  Tune in to hear Ron explain the full story.    Listen to Ron Lemons    
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On the Commons with Deborah Goonan
Little boxes on the hillside, 
Little boxes all the same,
And they are all made out of ticky tacky,
And they all look just the same.

And the people in the houses
All went to the university,
Where they were put in boxes,
And they came out all the same.

Melvina Reynolds' lyrics, written before ticky tacky little boxes were mass produced, were prophetic.  They perfectly capture the sense of soulless little boxes, all the same, all made of ticky tacky.  Any attempt to add a little personality or any deviation from the uniformity of the little boxes made of ticky tacky is not tolerated. And so the little boxes just keep multiplying like rabbits.  

The latest statistics from the Community Association Institute (CAI) is that 64 million people live in these little boxes and pay 65 BILLION Dollars a year for the privilege.  How much of those Billions of dollars goes to pay experts in invention to conjure up reasons for why these little boxes are the preferred way to live?  There was a time when people believed it but more and more folks are calling these flights of fantasy, "myths".

On The Commons with us today is Deborah Goonan.  Deborah no longer lives in an involuntary membership association but looks at them from the outside in.  She researches them and blogs about them, often pointing out many of the discrepancies and contradictions in the "official" blurbs put out by CAI.  Join us as we discuss just 3 of the most often repeated fallacies about HOAs. Myth #1, CAI represents homeowners - Myth #2 HOAs are the purest form of democracy and Myth #3 - Survey says.... homeowners are overwhelmingly happy with their HOAs.  Gives one the warm and fuzzies, doesn't it?  Deborah's research paper is available Here.       Listen to Deborah Here     
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