Do all good intentions pave the road to hell?
The earliest covenant controlled neighborhoods were exclusionary in nature. Those covenants were struck down by the courts as being unconstitutional and eventually the Federal Government enacted legislation making them illegal. But unfortunately that is not the end of the story. Apparently the concept, too good to relegate to the past, was resurrected to ostensibly provide aesthetically pleasing meandering curvilinear streetscapes, complete with dead ends and cul-de-sacs. But the quid pro quo for redesigning the burgeoning suburbs was to establish homeowner associations to maintain the infrastructure and provide the services that were, and always had been, the responsibility of local municipal governments. And predictably, all those free tax dollars were too good to risk losing, so local governments across the country started mandating associations. In the ensuing decades, a simple home, built to shelter, protect and nurture a family, has become the business of everyone else. Far from being safe and secure, many of the owners live in fear, to the detriment of their health, their wealth and their happiness.
The resulting horror stories are everywhere but help in understanding and dealing with the problems are nowhere to be found. “It’s a civil matter, go to court”, “Oh, but you agreed”, “It’s a contract and you are in violation of your end of it”. It is a bit like finding oneself in the Twilight Zone. Is there any hope of turning residential America around and bringing it back to a more normal community of real people living together in harmony and friendship rather than a place of dread and fear?
Andy Ostrowski joins us On The Commons this week. Andy is a civil rights attorney with a history of fighting for those who can’t always fight for themselves. He is also someone who passionately believes in protecting constitutionally guaranteed rights. Fortunately for the residents in Pennsylvania’s 11th Congressional District, Andy is running for Congress. Homeowners in his district have found a sympathetic ear for their plight and know that he will carry their concerns to the hallowed halls of the US Capitol in Washington DC. What he has learned about residential America led him to write a paper titled; Homeowner Associations: The perfect Storm of Corporate Cronyism and Legislative and Judicial Abuse of Constitutional Rights” You can read his thoughts on the subject on https://www.facebook.com/ostrowskiforcongress and you can learn more about him on his website http://andyostrowski.com and be sure to tune in to On The Commons to hear him, in his own words, talk about where he has been and where he plans on going. And if you live in the 11th Congressional District in Pennsylvania, do us all a favor and go to the polls and vote for Andy. American homeowners need a voice in Congress but only you can get him there.