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Houston Conference – Part 3

Hosted and produced by Shu Bartholomew, On The Commons is a weekly radio show dedicated to discussing the many issues surrounding mandatory homeowner associations, the fastest growing form of residential housing in the nation.

From the very beginning, homeowners associations have had problems – and the unfettered power their boards and managers have been given have cause untold problems for the homeowners. The first “solution” was to “educate all involved” but over the past three decades that education has only exacerbated the problems. Then it was thought that “disclosure” would serve to warn consumers about what they were getting before they bought that controlled unit they had their eyes on, but that turned out to be nothing more than a lot of hot air and in fact put the owners in a more precarious position than they had been before they were warned. When the legislature got involved, they only mucked things up even more which gave the judicial system the perfect dodge – the “business judgment” rule, leaving the owners a lot poorer and in worse shape than they had been in before they went to the court house. So what is left? Where can homeowners turn for help in protecting their property rights and their greatest asset?

On The Commons this week we check back in with the folks in Houston In October the homeowners from all corners of Texas gathered for an intense session on identifying the problems in homeowners associations and prioritizing the ones they wanted to concentrate on first. In this broadcast you will hear Bill Davis talk about some of the issues he and his neighbors have been dealing with. We’ll also hear from Gwen Gates explaining 990’s and Shu talking about The 3 P’s. Please join us On The Commons We’ll listen in on three more “speeches” given at the conference in Houston.

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Houston Conference Part 2

Hosted and produced by Shu Bartholomew, On The Commons is a weekly radio show dedicated to discussing the many issues surrounding mandatory homeowner associations, the fastest growing form of residential housing in the nation. 
 
From the very beginning, homeowners associations have had problems – and the unfettered power their boards and managers have been given have cause untold problems for the homeowners.  The first “solution” was to “educate all involved” but over the past three decades that education has only exacerbated the problems.  Then it was thought that “disclosure” would serve to warn consumers about what they were getting before they bought that controlled unit they had their eyes on, but that turned out to be nothing more than a lot of hot air and in fact put the owners in a more precarious position than they had been before they were warned.  When the legislature got involved, they only mucked things up even more which gave the judicial system the perfect dodge – the “business judgment” rule, leaving the owners a lot poorer and in worse shape than they had been in before they went to the court house.  So what is left?  Where can homeowners turn for help in protecting their property rights and their greatest asset?
 
On The Commons this week we check back in with the folks in Houston  In October the homeowners from all corners of Texas gathered for an intense session on identifying the problems in homeowners associations and prioritizing the ones they wanted to concentrate on first.  In this broadcast you will hear David Kahne go through more of the list of over 20 problems, talk about them and explain the options they had.  You will also hear Bob Adolph, a member of the Adolph family who have spent countless hours tracking the foreclosure filings by homeowners associations in Harris County and posting the information on their web page, www.hoadata.org .  Please join us On The Commons.  We’ll listen in as the homeowners share  their problems and talk about possible solutions.  We’ll also get an update on the foreclosure activity for the last several years and find out just who has been filing all these foreclosures.

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Mari Parlade

Hosted and produced by Shu Bartholomew, On The Commons is a weekly radio show dedicated to discussing the many issues surrounding mandatory homeowner associations, the fastest growing form of residential housing in the nation. 
 
You can’t paint a pretty picture on a dirty canvas anymore than you can build a community on a foundation of corruption.  Yet beneath the thin veneer of outwardly pristine neighborhoods, where every blade of grass is of a uniform length and color, lies the structure that makes it possible to chip away at the very heart of what these developments are supposed to represent.  Stories of embezzlement, once quietly hidden, now grab the headlines, along with tales of election fraud, bully tactics, fines, foreclosures and all the other horrors that have become a part of daily life for so many American unit owners. 
 
But finally someone started asking the tough questions and now the FBI is investigating the way some HOAs and condos do business in Las Vegas, Nevada.  While it appears that the focus of the investigation at this time is limited to construction defect litigation and election rigging, is there more that is contributing to the demise of our neighborhoods?  Should the FBI expand the scope of their investigation to include other areas of possible fraud?
 
On The Commons this week we are joined by Mari Parlade. Mari, an attorney with a huge heart in Las Vegas,  is one of a handful of attorneys who represents homeowners in cases against their associations.  Mari has been on the receiving end of threats by association attorneys, has had bar complaints filed against her and has otherwise seen, first hand, what it is like to be in the cross hairs of those who run residential America.  In the process of fighting to protect her clients’ homes and fighting for her career, she discovered yet another giant scam sucking the life out of communities and money out of owners’ pockets  Please join us On The Commons this Saturday, November 1, 2008.  We’ll hear her story and talk about another huge problem in HOAs that needs to be investigated.  You will want to hear this one.

 

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David Kahne

Hosted and produced by Shu Bartholomew, On The Commons is a weekly radio show dedicated to discussing the many issues surrounding mandatory homeowner associations, the fastest growing form of residential housing in the nation.
 
Residential America is anything but a peaceful, quiet, safe haven for American homeowners who live in one of over 300,000 mandatory membership homeowner associations nationwide.  Empowering boards and HOA professionals to run the homes and lives of all who live within the boundaries of the association has created problems.  How do individual homeowners protect their rights and their property from the abuses of those in power?  Is the answer always to go to court?  Are there other ways of returning some semblance of fairness to our neighborhoods?
 
On The Commons this week we are joined by David Kahne.  David, a Houston, Texas attorney is one of the few attorneys who will represent homeowners in a case against their homeowner associations.  David is experienced and knowledgeable about HOA law and understands perfectly well how lopsided and frustrating it can be to be in the crosshairs of the powers that be in HOAs.  Please join us On The Commons  We’ll talk a little about the Houston conference and also about two homeowners who fought the (HOA) law and won. 

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Houston Conference – Part One

Hosted and produced by Shu Bartholomew, On The Commons is a weekly radio show dedicated to discussing the many issues surrounding mandatory homeowner associations, the fastest growing form of residential housing in the nation. 
 
Over the past four decades property ownership has changed – and not necessarily for the better.  In the old days one’s home was considered one’s castle and came complete with all the inherent rights of ownership.  The owner was free to live in relative peace and quiet.  But those days are long gone.  In today’s brave new world folks live in “units” where all the decisions pertaining to their house and a portion of their private lives is made by other people.  The owners in many homeowner associations are not free to exercise their right to choose the plants in the yard,  the color on the house or the type of window treatments.  Even such things as garden hoses, mulch and plants must be “approved”.  Some people think it is OK to live like that.
 
But not everyone……
 
Homeowners across the country are fighting to regain control over their own lives and their own homes.  Many homeowners have become involved with in the legislative process and some grass roots organizations have hosted conferences – for the homeowners.  On October 11, 2008 Texas homeowners from all over the state met in Houston to talk about their homes, their rights and their lives.  Despite the fact that hurricane Ike had knocked out power lines, collapsed houses, punctured holes in roofs, uprooted trees and otherwise disrupted lives leaving many without electricity and internet connectivity for several weeks, the Texas folks still managed to get together and talk about their problems and how they wanted to have them solved. 
 
On the Commons today we will drop in for a little while and eavesdrop on some of the conversations that took place.  We’ll hear about a partial list of the issues homeowners all over the country face and listen to some of the ideas they have of how to fix things.  Please join us On The Commons this Saturday, October 18, 2008.

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Senator Mike Schneider

Hosted and produced by Shu Bartholomew, On The Commons is a weekly radio show dedicated to discussing the many issues surrounding mandatory homeowner associations, the fastest growing form of residential housing in the nation. 
 
When there are no consequences to bad behavior, there is no limit to how bad people can get.  That is the situation in the 300,000 residential associations nationwide.  While the residents have been controlled and penalized for violating the most idiotic of rules, those adopting and implementing the stupid rules in these gulags have enjoyed free rein to enjoy their reign of terror.  Attempts to impose limits on their powers and authority have been met by cries of horror, “but no one will run for the board if they are held accountable”.  And so communities have been transformed into developments where fear, terror and abuse are the norm. 
 
For  years frustrated homeowners have been called malcontents and been told their only remedies are to hire an attorney, toss the bums out or move.  Well, the FBI has decided to look into some of the allegations of fraud and wrong doing in Nevada.  Is the current scope of their investigation limited to construction defect litigation fraud?  How serious are they about investigating things like election rigging, improper foreclosures, embezzlement, and all the other abuses associations are capable of?  The list of complaints in condo and homeowner associations is endless.  Will this investigation find many of the problems homeowners have been complaining about?  Will there be serious reforms or will we still hear the same old song and dance about HOAs being a matter for civil litigation?  Will property owners FINALLY assert their rights to more choices in housing, better protections under the law and more real remedies than simple placebos? 
 
On The Commons this week we are joined by Senator Mike Schneider.  Senator Mikey, as he is known, was one of the first to introduce legislation creating the office of the ombudsman in Nevada.  Over the past decade or so, the oversight has gone through many changes to the point where Nevada now has an entire panel to oversee associations and provide a place for homeowners to go for help.  One of the biggest problems is that this panel is made up entirely of industry members, people with an interest in protecting the status quo.  Please join us On The Commons this Saturday, October 11, 2008.  We’ll find out how well this panel has worked and why, with so many people allegedly providing some desperately needed adult supervision, is the FBI investigating HOAs, management companies and attorneys.  We’ll also find out whether or not they are all members of CAI.  You wont want to miss this one.

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Jan Bergmann

Hosted and produced by Shu Bartholomew, On The Commons is a weekly radio show dedicated to discussing the many issues surrounding mandatory homeowner associations, the fastest growing form of residential housing in the nation. 
 
Every single day there is at least one HOA/condo story in some part of the country.  Whether the headline grabber happens to be someone who is denied the right to fly Old Glory, or exercise the right of free speech, or freedom of religion or a homeowner who neglected to get a hose approved, or shutting down children’s lemonade stands on common areas for fear of “lowering property values”.  Proponents of all the rules, regulations, restrictions, penalties, foreclosures and fines, to name just a few,  would have us believe that living in fear and misery is good for us and the only way to protect property values.  But what do the homeowners have to say about it?  Do people want to be harassed, abused, penalized?  Do they really want to live in fear of losing their homes and live in absolute terror of what their associations would do to them?
 
On The Commons this week we are joined by Jan Bergemann. Jan, the tireless president of the Florida based Cyber Citizens for Justice (www.ccfj.net ), has done some pretty amazing things for the members of his organization.  CCFJ has recently conducted a survey of people who have an interest in HOAs in Florida.  The participants include industry professionals as well as homeowners.  Please join us On The Commons this Saturday, October 4, 2008.  We’ll find out about the survey and what the results reveal.  We’ll also find out whether or not Americans want to live under such harsh and dictatorial conditions. 

 

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Kent Nauman and Jean Winters

Hosted and produced by Shu Bartholomew, On The Commons is a weekly radio show dedicated to discussing the many issues surrounding mandatory homeowner associations, the fastest growing form of residential housing in the nation. 
 
The opposite of order is, I am told, chaos and heavens, we really can’t have that.  Therefore, in an orderly society we follow the rules.  So rules are rules and we are to obey them.  At least that is what the rule books all say.  There are harsh penalties for violating some rules. I am not talking about laws here, but rules.  And in a civilized society I quite agree with the notion of adhering to certain norms and accepted standards but does that mean we have to obey every single rule that some bright spark entered into a rule book someplace?  And what about the rules that are so ludicrous?  If the rules harm us, are we required to endanger ourselves for the sake of a rule?  And how on earth do we end up with such stupid rules in the first place? 
 
On The Commons this week we are joined by Kent Nauman. Kent, a condo owner,  has experienced firsthand what happens when he violated a leash rule adopted by the board of his association.  The rule limits the length of pet leashes to 4 feet but a short leash on his two dogs would cause him to fall.  We’ll  hear more about this particular rule and we’ll find out how it affects Kent, why following it would cause him harm and the next step in this 6 year battle.  During the second half of the show we are joined by Jean Winters.  Jean is a Florida attorney who got her law degree after having had a long career as an electrical engineer and now is in a select group of attorneys who represent homeowners, as well as some homeowner associations.  Jean has a lot of insight in what is happening in Florida’s many condo and homeowner associations.  Please join us On The Commons this Saturday, September 27, 2008.  We’ll find out about stupid rules, abusive boards and attorneys who try to make some sense of it all.

 

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Don Corace

Hosted and produced by Shu Bartholomew, On The Commons is a weekly radio show dedicated to discussing the many issues surrounding mandatory homeowner associations, the fastest growing form of residential housing in the nation.
 
Owning property is a fundamental aspect of the American Dream.  Whether the property is just a small lot with a house or business on it, a ranch or a farm or several acres of raw, undeveloped land, it represents the fruits of the owner’s labors.  There is a tacit understanding that ownership conveys rights and control over one’s holdings.  Or it should.  However, over the years federal, state and local mandates, laws and policies have chipped away at the rights that are inherent with ownership. 
 
And what are the laws and who are the agencies that could potentially strip you of your use and enjoyment of your home? 
 
On The Commons this week we are joined by Don Corace. Don is a long time developer, businessman and author of the must read Government Pirates: The Assault on Private Property Rights and How We Can Fight it.  The book is well organized in an easy to read format, explaining the laws and the agencies charged with administering them.  However, the best part of the book are the dozens of stories woven throughout the pages that illustrate the horrors and abuses inflicted on the owners and the absurdities of enforcing some of these laws.  Don has testified before Congress on issues related to property rights and is a much sought after speaker and media guest.  Please join us On The Commons this Saturday, September 13, 2008.  We’ll talk about the laws, the abuses and some of the stories.  We’ll also find out what we, as citizens, can do to stop the tide of abuses from completely taking over.  You won’t want to miss this one.  You can visit Don’s web site at www.governmentpirates.com   

 

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Tom DeWeese

Hosted and produced by Shu Bartholomew, On The Commons is a weekly radio show dedicated to discussing the many issues surrounding mandatory homeowner associations, the fastest growing form of residential housing in the nation.
 
When mandatory membership associations first came on the scene, developers feared housing consumers would shy away from these new fangled developments where the owners would give up some of the rights and individual choices inherent with property ownership.  In the 60’s and 70’s Americans could never have foreseen a life where every little aspect of their homes and private lives would be micromanaged.  The notion that they would have to get permission for everything, from where to park to what to plant and whether or not they could have pets and kids, was unfathonamable.   That sort of thing happened in other countries, not here!  How very un-American!  But over the next decades, American property owners lost more and more rights, rights they took for granted and believed they will always have. And now those same forces that cajoled and cooed and convinced Americans that giving up their rights would protect them, would protect their property values, would protect their neighborhoods are at it again.  Only now “they” are bigger and the stakes are higher.
 
So how much more are we willing to lose?  How far is too far?  At what point do Americans decide they have lost enough and are not willing to lose more rights and assets? 
 
And when that point finally comes, will there be anything left to salvage?  
 
On The Commons this week we are joined by Tom DeWeese.  Tom is the founder and president of the Virginia based Amercian Policy Center.  , a grass roots action and education foundation.  He believes that well informed citizens are the best hope we have of preserving the promise that is America and in that vein that he publishes several newsletters and is very active on the speaking circuit, alerting Americans to the perils lurking in the shadows.  Tom has the ability to connect all the seeming unconnected issues and weave them into a pretty scary picture. Please join us On The Commons.  We’ll talk a little about eminent domain, the trans Texas corridor, Smart Growth, Going Green and a whole host of other hot topics.  This is a must listen show.

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