Category Archives: Arrests

Jerry Berg

Violence is alive and well in residential America. So is bullying.  And so are the feelings of helplessness, loneliness and frustration that countless American homeowners face on a daily basis.  Quite a few of these stories do make the headlines but many more of them never see the light of day.  We’ve heard from homeowners who were beaten up during meetings for asking questions, we’ve heard about  the elderly being shoved and pushed by the bullies in charge, we’ve heard about pets being poisoned and shot, we’ve heard about owners and guests being terrorized by cars on the streets of their developments.  We’ve heard about the stresses of association living get to the point where death is preferable.  There have been more suicides and attempted suicides in residential America than we can even begin to imagine.

What is it about this version of the American Dream that causes so much violence, stress and pain for the members?  And why is the real government so oblivious to these problems?

Jerry Berg joins us On The Commons.  Jerry is a Kansas condo owner who has experienced first hand some of the violence that seems to be prevalent in America’s over almost half a million mandatory membership condos and homeowner associations.  We’ll talk to Jerry and find out what led to the violent confrontation that put him in the hospital after being beaten up with a crowbar and put the manager in jail, at least briefly.   We’ll also find out why, after several years, nothing has been resolved and the cases are ongoing.  We’ll learn how the bullying in his particular association caused two of his neighbors to commit suicide.

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Billy Martin

Proponents of homeowner associations would have us believe that HOAs are “democracy up close and personal”.  They insist the owners have more control over the neighborhood than they otherwise would and being neighbors, the leadership would be of the kinder, gentler variety than the further removed, less personal municipal government could provide. They’ve got part of it right, anyway.  HOAs can be extremely  “up close and personal” and that is not a good thing.  As for democracy,  it is almost nonexistent in kontrolled kommunities around the country.  

Neighbors and community members can be a little too close for comfort when it comes to providing any kind of governance that is needed to run a development.  Personality clashes, personal feelings and long standing friendships/animosities are more than likely to interfere with any requirement for fair dealing.  This lack of neutrality and imbalance of power can make life inside the borders of associations a living hell.

Joining us On The Commons this week is Billy Martin.  Billy lives in a townhouse development in Houston, Texas where his first battle with the HOA was over a flag. The issue wasn’t whether or not he had the right to fly the flag but a dispute over the placement of the flag.  It went to court and Billy won.  The judge agreed that the flag was on private property and not HOA controlled property.  That, however, is not the end of the story.  What happened next is terrifying. (See News Story) We will talk to Billy and find out what he discovered when he came home from a trip and found his house had been vandalized.

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