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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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Its Here! 

The new On The Commons  podcast site

Seven years of easy to find On the Commons Podcasts 

 

The Curent Show

On the Commons with Kenneth Ditkowski

I seem to zip through life at breakneck speeds, taking most things for granted and never really thinking about the reason we do things any particular way.  Oh, once in a while I ask myself, "What were they ever thinking?" when I run into something a little strange.  However, when things are working well the farthest thought is to wonder why it works.  It is so much easier to start looking at things that don't make sense and figure out how to improve it.  

And for a show whose sole focus is property rights, that was a little short sighted.  How can we protect ownership and rights without knowing how to properly define the property in question? That is one those things most of us have always taken for granted. 

Kenneth Ditkowsky joins us On The Commons.  Ken is an attorney in Chicago who, when he was fresh out of law school, full of self confidence and a can-do attitude found himself on the ground floor of redefining property boundaries and ultimately changing skylines in cities across the country. Maybe even the world?  We'll talk to Ken about the Prudential Building, the first high rise in Chicago and the hundreds of pages of legal speak explaining the ownership structure.  Ken and his partner accepted the challenge and simplified it, reducing the document down to a more manageable size.  n the process they paved the way for high-rise residential buildings to be built and ultimately changing the face of the Chicago.  We'll talk about all the things most of us take for granted and never give a second thought to.  We'll learn about different ways to determine the legal boundaries of a piece of property and find out what happens when mother nature decides to " shift" the things we take for granted.  I was spellbound as I listened to Ken.  Tune in for a fascinating show.     Listen to Kenneth Ditkowski     

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On The Commons with Mary Ann Fordyce

Not too long ago a friend sent me a link for a video and recommended I watch it.  I did.  I was shocked and horrified when I realized I was looking at a homeowners' association.  As far as I could see, there was no rhyme or reason to have an HOA in this bucolic part of the country.  I have since learned that the property owners in this otherwise peaceful setting each own hundreds of acres of land accessible by dirt roads.    

We've allowed ourselves to be fooled into believing municipal governments just don't have the money to provide the services real estate tax dollars are supposed to pay for, therefore HOAs are a necessity to provide those services. Not that I believe that for a moment but if I did, try as I might, I could not find any reason to justify the imposition of an HOA on this particular neighborhood.  Check out the video and please let me know if an HOA makes sense to you.  I am convinced we have lost all sense of reality and sanity in this country.  

Mary Ann Fordyce joins us On The Commons.  Mary Ann has a chicken business in a rural community in Texas, where many of her neighbors are also business people, several have livestock and there is at least one other chicken businesses owner as well.  Not surprisingly this chicken owner was a board member who sold Mary Ann her first chickens and got her started on her business.  And for awhile, all was well.  But then life in this peaceful corner of the country changed.  We'll talk to Mary Ann and get some of the details of why her dreams came crashing down and how she lost first one house and is now hanging on, trying to protect the second house she and her husband bought, from being foreclosed on.  I'll ask her what purpose her HOA serves and how it protects her when her closest neighbor is a mile away.  I'm sure no one will be surprised to hear what happened to the only common area these property owners had.  Maybe the fate of that park is the answer to why an HOA was even part of this neighborhood?  Check out Mary Ann's web site Blue Star Ranch . This lady is determined to help educate housing consumers about the perils of HOAs.     Listen to Mary Ann Fordyce      

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