Tyler Berding

They don’t build things like they used to.  The Pyramids of Egypt have been around since approximately 2700 BC, that’s almost 5000 years.  I wonder how much maintenance has been done on them over the centuries?  Our cardboard and scotch tape buildings fail after a few years and will probably not be a source of amazement in a century.  In fact, at this rate, most of them will not be still standing and that’s with maintenance.  How times they are a changing!

Tyler Berding joins us On The Commons this week.  Tyler is a founding partner of Berding and Weil, a law firm in California specializing in construction defect litigation and condominiums.  He has long warned us of the perils we are facing by not being adequately funded for multi unit housing.  Tyler also maintains a blog called, not surprisingly, Condo Issues.  Tyler talks about a couple of recent tragic building failures in California that claimed the lives of several people.  He explains why he believes these buildings are failing and what can be done about it.  He also tells us about one bill he wrote that he thinks might help in the future.  But at no time does he promise us that we will be building and living in anything that is remotely as well built as the Pyramids built by the ancient Egyptians.  

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Ileana Johnson

Words have meanings and the word community generally imparts a sense of belonging.  People in a community tend to have something in common.  They come from similar backgrounds, are generally in the same socioeconomic group, perhaps share hobbies and  interests.  They have something that binds them together.  In the good old days, before “communities” were designed and force-fed on Americans, the sense of community evolved naturally.  Neighbors were friends who helped and looked out for each other.  They took in a child who might have inadvertently been locked out, picked up packages for neighbors or retrieved a trash can that was blown down the street by the wind.  In this brave new world of controlled living, the sense of community is no longer communal but rather a gathering of people who delight is spying on their neighbors.  Now a child who is locked out might get rescued by the police, mail is left out and the association is called to report a stray trash can.   

Ileana Johnson joins us On The Commons this week.  Ileana is an American by choice and a Romanian by birth.  She is a freelance journalist, an author, a speaker and a radio commentator.  She also maintains a blog at www.ileanajohnson.com.  Ileana and her husband currently live in a Homeowner Association in Virginia where inspections are conducted regularly to ensure that no blade of grass exceeds the allowable length and that all things visible on the property conform to some rather vague standard.  Creativity and individuality are highly frowned upon.  Ileana tells us about life in her 300 square foot apartment in Communist Romania and draws some parallels between Communist Romania and HOAs, American Style.  Sometimes it is hard to find much difference.  

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