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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Gary Solomon

Early on, in what has become a national nightmare of epic proportions for American homeowners, the HOA horror stories really horrified the public.  People who had been victimized by their neighborhood association were too embarrassed to admit they were being abused.  All that has changed.  The abuses and the horror stories seem to have become so much a part of every day life that we simply shrug them off and continue on our way until we find ourselves in the center of this web.  Those fighting a seemingly unwindable battle are rightly consumed with saving their homes, their lives, their health and their sanity. In an effort to prevent more horrors and more abuses they have tried desperately, and failed miserably, to “fix” all that is wrong with the concept. 

Professor Gary Solomon joins us On The Commons.  Dr. Solomon has studied the HOA and condo blight on America and has written extensively on the effects residential associations have on the physical, mental, emotional health and welfare of Americans.   Professor Gary Solomon has a website where you can read his papers.  Dr. Solomon says it is time to stop focussing on the stories and to start working on the solutions.  He identifies one of the biggest issues that is at the heart of the abuses and shares some of his ideas on how to stop the bleeding.  

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Mike Pugh

There is a very delicate balance in the world that, when left alone, tends to function and work as it was meant to, in complete harmony.  Sadly we seem to be incapable of leaving things alone and have yet to learn that man cannot always improve what nature, time and custom have already perfected. And when that meddling is the result of personal aesthetics, well it can almost be seen as criminal.  Today’s show is about protecting individual and property rights, defending the monarch butterflies, standing up to the bullies and winning.  

Mike Pugh joins us On The Commons.  Mike and his wife bought a house with a two acre meadow that is part of their property. It backs up to a line of trees and the meadow is only visible from the Pugh’s property.  The meadow, with its abundance of milkweed plants, has been there for decades and is an important part of the monarch butterflies migratory path.  And yes, there is a homeowners association involved.  Isn’t there always when homeowners have to fight to protect their rights and their homes?  The HOA decided that the meadow had to go and that’s how this fight started.  After years of courtroom drama, the Pughs WON in a court of law.  We’ll talk to Mike, learn more about the fascinating monarchs and the Pughs battles with the HOA.  And as is typical, the HOA bullies  can’t accept defeat gracefully, they still want the meadow mowed.  So the battle continues.   You can see Mike’s meadow here.

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John Paskert

How do you define “civilization”?  I understand it to describe people who are educated, cultured, have manners and are socially and morally advanced. The dictionary defines it as “an advanced state of human society, in which a high level of culture,science, industry, and government has been reached.” Some words that are used to define the opposite of civilization are decline, destruction, ignorance, rudeness, barbarism, primitiveness.  What do you think best describes life in a residential association?  And how, in a country that presents itself as the most civilized, the richest, the best and the freest can we force people to live in controlled housing developments where, in many cases, those in power are rude, barbaric, abusive, dictatorial and completely wild?  And finally, how do homeowners deal with some of these atrocities?

John Paskert joins us On The Commons. John is a retired military psychological Operations officer.  The tactics he learned while an active duty officer helped him even out the playing field somewhat in his homeowners association.  Rather than allowing the ruder and more ignorant denizens in his neighborhood to frustrate and demoralize him, he remained civilized, did his homework, and fought back in very clever and subtle ways.  He shares some of the lessons he learned operating in this new arena and also tells us some of his stories. I think the big lesson here is that there is more than one way to fight back. However, trying to become a truly civilized society, where respect and cooperation are the norm, should be our ultimate goal.  

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