John Cowherd and Bill Davis

I can’t even begin to tell you just how appalled, angry, disgusted and frustrated I am at the state of housing, American style.  Most countries in the world have a healthier respect for private spaces, whether those spaces are owned by the residents or leased.  But with the proliferation of mandatory, forced membership in residential corporations, Americans are subject to the whims and caprices of neighborhood self appointed “enforcers” and their hired ” professionals” aka, HOA attorneys. After all, they really are not smart enough or capable enough to live in their own homes without a lot of oversight.

John Cowherd and Bill Davis join us On The Commons in the first of a two part show analyzing how and why we got to having such disrespect and disdain for private property. The largest tools in these tyrants’ toolbox is the statutory right to fine and then to foreclose to collect these fines. No oversight is provided by the governmental bodies authorizing these remedies, no thought to protecting the rights of the owners.  After all, they agreed, right?  

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Caroline Douglas

Albert Einstein is credited with saying, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.  Whether Einstein said it or not is debatable but what is certain is that the quote is common sense.  Yet for some reason we insist on doing the same thing over and over and over again, convincing ourselves that this time it will work.  THIS time the results will be different.  And yet again, we are disappointed and frustrated.  This is especially true when it comes to “fixing” all the problems with residential associations.  We believe that one more law requiring or prohibiting something will drastically alter the failing HOA system.  But all those statutes do little other than complicate and compound the problems.  Maybe it is time to start thinking outside the box and looking at different “solutions” – different ways of protecting homeowner assets and rights.

Caroline Douglas joins us On The Commons.  Caroline is passionate about the Law, a subject she loves and is always willing to talk about and share thoughts and ideas with us.  This week we brainstorm ideas that would allow homeowners to get what it is they want most, the right to be left alone and to enjoy the peace and sanctity of their own homes.  We explore the possibility of taking the fight to a different arena and using a different battle cry.  We learn about potential rights and remedies.  Tune in for an idea packed hour of ways to stop doing the same thing over and over and over again and expecting different results.

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Wes Rocki

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If I could draw I think I would write the HOA book as a series of cartoons because that’s how my mind tends to work.  Many of those cartoons would be funny, others not so funny.  But over the years never has there been a sumo wrestler in any of my imagined doodles or cartoons – until this interview.  That’s when I started putting sumo wrestlers in the picture .  But a gratuitous, enormous hulking, naked man in what appears to be a diaper, in the middle of a manicured, sterile, characterless, controlled residential association wasn’t quite connecting.  So, I decided to read up on sumo wrestling and sumo wrestlers. And all of a sudden it was a perfect fit, diaper and all.  I discovered, among other things, that although some of these massive men appear to be invincible, they have been toppled by smaller opponents.  A sumo historian is quoted as saying he believes the circular ring was chosen to assist smaller fighters slip away and that the sumo rules tends to root for the underdog.

If you find yourselves in the bullseye of an HOA battle, facing what may seem like a sumo wrestler, grin at the diaper and know that you can win.

Dr. Wes Rocki, MD, PhD joins us On The Commons.  Retired from practicing conventional medicine, Wes now focusses on alternative medicine, including techniques on self help and self healing.  He explains how we can empower ourselves to better handle any conflict.  We talk about how we can step away, mentally and emotionally to get a better grasp of the situation.  Wes gives us a lot of really good advice on how to not only survive being at the center of an HOA storm but how to survive emotionally, reframe the conflict, empower ourselves and win against that massive sumo wrestler in the ring with us.  So many light bulbs went off during the course of this interview.  Listen and be empowered.

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Silvia Wright

Silvia Wright

We have become a very transient society. I was quite surprised when I first came to the US that one of the first questions we ask someone we meet is, “where are you from?” Our roots have become spread across the globe, leaving behind our friends, families, neighbors, traditions, language, culture and all the other things that are part of who we are.  It hasn’t always been that way.  There was a time when families lived in the same community and were there for all the milestones.  Family lore and history were well known, pride of our ancestors and their accomplishments and legacies were all part of our every day lives.  We had a stronger sense of who we were and where we came from. 

Sylvia Hoehns Wright joins us On The Commons.  Sylvia is one of a handful of people who knows who she is and where she came from.  She is the 5th generation to live on a family owned tract of land.  There are 9 houses in her neighborhood all owned and inhabited by family who all share the same roots and values.  There is no mandatory membership homeowner association so no abuses, horror stories or attempted land grabs that we talk about here.  Right?  Well, not so fast.  A couple of parcels of land were sold and the new owners who don’t share Sylvia’s history, values or traditions would love to be able to get her off her land.  She has written a book called  Lawfare, American Property Rights versus Muslim Supremacy   Tune in to hear Sylvia’s story.  

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Gary Solomon

Our founding fathers felt strongly enough about protecting our right to express ourselves, share our thoughts and tell our stories that they included it in the 1st Amendment to the Constitution, also known as The Bill of Rights. The importance and the benefits of this right can’t be overstated.  

Dr. Gary Solomon joins us  On The Commons.  Dr Solomon, a professor of psychology has studied the effects of residential associations on the homeowners.  I asked him specifically about “gag orders” and how they affected families and especially the harm that is done to the children.  He had some interesting insights on how HOAs are “muting” their members.  We dig beneath the horror stories and try to understand what goes on underneath it all.  Dr Solomon has written extensively on this subject. To access all his work simply Google  HOA Syndrome. 

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Caroline Douglas

 

The benefit of making mistakes should be that we learn from them and – hopefully- avoid making the same mistakes over and over again.  So how come we never seem to learn from the mistake of imposing a 4th layer of government on housing consumers?  This extra layer of government has  no   oversight, no separation of powers, no constitutional restraints and total and complete disregard for individual and property rights.   Could the answer be that it really is not a mistake?

Caroline Douglas is back  by popular demand,  On the Commons . Caroline has a Juris Doctor, she has written a law treatise called The Dark Side and is about to teach the material from her book in several college courses in Baltimore, Maryland.  Never having been personally caught in the abuses of an HOA gone off the rails, and never having litigated property association cases, she forces us to look outside the box we have put ourselves in. Tune in for a slightly different show.

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Ward Lucas

Storytelling has always been an important and effective way of getting a point across.  HOAs are a very rich source for stories.  How better to warn housing consumers of the abuses that could be lurking right around the corner from that perfect house that feels so very much like home if you can’t tell your story?  But stories, for the sake of a story is not enough, it has to be believable and the story teller has to be credible and that entails a little work. 

Ward Lucas joins us On The Commons.  Ward, now retired, is an Emmy winning TV anchor, investigative reporter and story teller “par excellence”.  He is also a published author.  His first book, “Neighbors at War”, is, as you might guess, all about the abuses and sheer insanity that is so common in HOA controlled neighborhoods. He has just published his third book, “Sometimes ya Gotta Ride the Elephant” where he takes us through his journey as an investigative reporter and TV anchor and lets us into the secrets of how he managed to get the full story for his reports, without leaving any loose ends.  It’s a fun read with several lessons for us budding story tellers.  All three of his books are available on his website, Ward Lucas.com

 

 

 

 

 

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David Kahn

Every year, for as long as I can remember, homeowners have gathered to talk about the problems and the issues they face in their HOA governed homes and developments.  Invariably they debate potential legislation they believe would Provide for a fair and balanced playing field.  And over the years more and more laws are added to the books in all the states.  Sometimes they succeed – for a little while – but usually they are back the following legislative session, still trying to fix the never ending problems and abuses.  I have long believed there has to be a better way and that Americans are entitled to live peacefully in their own homes.  Maybe it is time to think outside the box and try something different.

David Kahne joins us On The Commons.  David, an attorney in Houston, Texas, is one of a handful of attorneys nationwide who understands HOA laws and does represent owners against their HOAs. He has worked on a legislative agenda for Texas for as long as I have known him. This year is no exception.  We talk to David about some of the items on his legislative agenda,  some of the issues he believes need to be addressed to even out the balance of power and give the owner a fighting chance.  We talk about fines and foreclosures and legal fees.  We touch on many issues, including whether some of the legislative agenda could, or should, be tackled at the Federal level.  And we barely scratched the surface of what should be done to return full ownership and sovereignty of our homes to their rightful owners. 

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Jeff Dove

It is so easy to look around us with great sadness and wonder what happened to our traditional values?  Where did our rights go?  How come even our homes and communities have become unpleasant, scary and alien places?  Places we are afraid to go to?  Weren’t they once our safe havens where we had the final word? Why can we no longer choose the plants we have in our yards? The drapes we have in our windows? The outdoor play areas we want for our children? What happened?  Shouldn’t someone be doing something to take us back to the way things used to be?  

Mahatma Gandhi is quoted as saying, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world”.  

Jeff Dove joins us On The Commons.  Jeff’s mother taught him that “When you don’t like the way something is going, you should get off the sidelines and do something about it”.  Wise words from wise people.  Jeff took his mother’s words to heart, in fact her words have guided him throughout his life and he is now ready to take the next big step in doing something about it.  Jeff threw his hat in the ring and is running for Congress.  When he wins he will be MY congressman and I can’t wait for that to happen.  Tune in and join us as I get to know Jeff, his values and his beliefs.  We talk about the issues facing us all and we talk about our homes and our rights.  We also talk about “change”, change for the better and how we can get there. Isn’t it time to have someone in office who will listen to his constituents and find out what they want?  Let’s all get off the sidelines and be the change we want to see in our world.  There is a better world out there waiting for us and our children.  All we have to do is get there.

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Wes Rocki

Because of the sheer number of homeowners who reach out to me, desperate, scared and alone, I think it is appropriate to re-broadcast this show.  

If I could draw I think I would write the HOA book as a series of cartoons because that’s how my mind tends to work.  Many of those cartoons would be funny, others not so funny.  But over the years never has there been a sumo wrestler in any of my imagined doodles or cartoons – until this interview.  That’s when I started putting sumo wrestlers in the picture .  But a gratuitous, enormous hulking, naked man in what appears to be a diaper, in the middle of a manicured, sterile, characterless, controlled residential association wasn’t quite connecting.  So, I decided to read up on sumo wrestling and sumo wrestlers. And all of a sudden it was a perfect fit, diaper and all.  I discovered, among other things, that although some of these massive men appear to be invincible, they have been toppled by smaller opponents.  A sumo historian is quoted as saying he believes the circular ring was chosen to assist smaller fighters to slip away and that the sumo rules tends to root for the underdog.

If you find yourselves in the bullseye of an HOA battle, facing what may seem like a sumo wrestler, grin at the diaper and know that you can win.

Dr. Wes Rocki, MD, PhD joins us On The Commons.  Retired from practicing conventional medicine, Wes now focusses on alternative medicine, including techniques on self help and self healing.  He explains how we can empower ourselves to better handle any conflict.  We talk about how we can step away, mentally and emotionally to get a better grasp of the situation.  Wes gives us a lot of really good advice on how to not only survive being at the center of an HOA storm but how to survive emotionally, reframe the conflict, empower ourselves and win against that massive sumo wrestler in the ring with us.  So many light bulbs went off during the course of this interview.  Listen and be empowered.  Well worth a second listen. 

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