“We have met the enemy and he is us” – Pogo.
If they can get it right in a cartoon why can’t we see it? We have been tinkering with residential America to the point where it is worse than anything imaginable. First we privatized public functions, not to make them more economically sound but to give local municipal governments a free pass on the tax money they collected. Then we lied to housing consumers and constituents by telling them these new fancy schemes will protect property values. Then we took away all the choices consumers and potential owners had NOT to live behind bars, being micromanaged by bullies. What this fancy new scam did was allow governments to mandate associations that benefits them, that benefit the developers who get away with increasing density and cutting corners and by building an entire new career field on the backs of the homeowners. This new industry is costing home and condo owners 65 Billion dollars annually,
When all the tweaking, massaging and lies were said and done what we ended up with is a housing scheme that terrorizes residents, is run by a bunch of inept lunatics, is adding immeasurably to the stress level of Americans, costing them their health, their wealth and yes, even their homes. What is happening in residential America is, simply, a disgrace. But that’s OK, there is always the government, right? The only legitimate function of any government is to protect its citizens and in America we have lots of layers of government so lots of protections, right? Let’s see, we have the Federal government, with a President, Senators, Congressman, the FBI, the CIA, the Justices, the courts, to oversee things. In fact they have an entire city to rule from. Then we have State governments with Governors and Lt Governors, an Attorney General with deputies, there are state legislators and state agencies and small and large county governments and city mayors and more agencies than you can shake a stick at. They’ll help, right? After all they are there to protect you, the citizen, the tax payer, the constituent, the homeowner. That’s what you pay your taxes for, isn’t it?
Lisa Kapsokefalos joins us On The Commons this week. Lisa and her family bought a townhouse on Lake Champlain in New York state as a second home. They needed a place to slow down, recharge their batteries and provide their kids with a healthy environment to go to. But the peaceful and healthy home they thought they bought turned out to be anything but. Their saga covers well over a decade of harassment and abuse by their neighbors – for no apparent reason other than just because they could. But there is something very different about this particular “association”. It is NOT an association. Just because 3 of the neighbors decide to charge everyone monthly dues doesn’t mean they have the authority to do so. You’d think THAT little fact would put an end to the tyranny. There was no constructive notice, there was nothing to agree to. Unfortunately the courts didn’t see it that way. And it will probably not surprise you to learn that every single government office or agency Lisa contacted just shrugged their shoulders and said there was nothing they could do. You will have to hear her story.