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On the Commons with Brenda Johnson Print

Hosted and produced by Shu Bartholomew, On The Commons is a weekly radio show dedicated to discussing the many issues surrounding mandatory homeowner associations, the fastest growing form of residential housing in the nation.
HOAs, once billed as mini democracies where residents have greater control over their immediate environment, gradually morphed into representative democracies where homeowners had one day and one day only to "take control" and let their wishes be known.  The only life line thrown to unhappy homeowners is to "throw the bums out".  That, of course, would mean the owners would be allowed to vote, have their votes count, participate in the politics of the association.  But what happens when owners go to the work of getting signatures on a petition to recall a bad board?  Who stands to lose when the owners have a say in the direction the association take? 
The latest Zogby poll commissioned by CAI, not surprisingly, found that HOA owners are very happy with the association.  Zogby apparently missed talking to any of the over 260 owners who signed petition in the Ventura Homeowners Association in San Antonio Texas to recall the board. 
On The Commons this week we are joined by Brenda Johnson.  Brenda, a disabled vet, had the unmitigated gall to attend a meeting in the association and attempt to ask a question.  Far from the idyllic, almost Rockwellian neighborhood paintings of yesteryear, Brenda's HOA called law enforcement who cuffed her and kept her locked up in the back of the cruiser till the meeting was over.  Please join us On The Commons.  We'll get the details of what happened in this hamlet of horror and maybe we'll understand why Zogby never called anyone there.  
Listen to Brenda Johnson   

User Comments

Comment by GUEST on 2010-05-13 05:44:38
Having experienced almost the same problems at a personal cost to me  
of $500,000. fighting an Association Board and all the CROOKED Lawyers 
not too mention the CORRUPT Judges in the State of Florida We have just walked away. Back to the Land of REAL DEMOCRACY. ENGLAND 
WE now will spend our remaining years and money spreading the word in Europe and beyond of the dangers of purchasing A HOME IN THE SUN for 
winter years. 

Comment by GUEST on 2010-05-25 23:11:59
In a 1999 Gallup poll commissioned by the Community Associations Institute, 75 percent of respondents said they were ''very or extremely satisfied'' with their associations. ''People are moving to communities like that because they are looking to create a lifestyle for themselves,'' said Paul D. Grucza, president-elect of the institute. 
But only 40 percent of those surveyed said they would buy their next home in a community governed by an association. 
("Homeowner Boards Blur Line Of Just Who Rules The Roost" New York Times. July 27, 2003)

Comment by GUEST on 2010-06-26 05:35:55
Denver radio DJs "Slacker & Steve" take listener calls about HOAs: (15 minutes 32 seconds). 
The final story, which starts at 14:16, ends with a homeowner being arrested for parking jet skis on the driveway. The HOA board did not inform the collections attorney that a settlement had been reached. The attorney was continuing with legal action and had bench warrants issued because the homeowners did not appear in court. 
But all of these horror stories must be figments of our imaginations. Because the Independence Institute -- "Colorado's Free Market Think Tank" -- published an editorial about HOAs that said: 
"Since HOAs are very local and small, participants are often neighbors and hence have incentive to settle disagreements in a civil manner." 
(Brian Schwartz, "Free-market Alternatives to Zoning" Feb. 28, 2009). 
Which probably explains why meeting notices sent by my HOA include the following warning: 
"The purpose of the meeting will be to have an open discussion with the Board. The Board will address questions that are asked in a professional manner. If anyone is deemed to be disruptive during the meeting, they will be asked to leave. The Board will exercise their right to call the police if they are needed. Please be respectful of not only the volunteer Board but to all fellow neighbors." 
Such threats are very neighborly and civil, indeed! 
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