Category Archives: Big Brother

Bonner Cohen

Gone are the days when being a property owner meant having dominion over your property.  With the imposition of mandatory membership residential associations and the restrictive covenants that are attached to the deed, homeowners have lost some of the most basic and fundamental rights of the use and enjoyment of their homes. Those restrictions range from something as basic and mundane as a choice of plants, to the approved shade of white for the interior window blinds to something a little more serious like having a fence to keep children and pets safe and even to having children and pets at all.  

Are restrictive covenants and neighborhood Nazis the only threat to a property owner’s right to ownership?

Dr. Bonner Cohen joins us On The Commons this week.  Dr. Cohen is a Senior Fellow with the National Center for Public Policy Research, a position he has had since 2002.  He is also a Senior Policy Analyst with the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow;  and the author of The Green Wave.  Dr. Cohen takes us on a trip down memory lane and reminds us of the advantages and opportunities we enjoyed in the past and compares them to the way we live today. He explains how and why, slowly, very slowly, rights,  education, health, wealth and the way we live have been adversely affected.  He very clearly helps us follow the laws, regulations and policies that have stripped us of things we once enjoyed and took for granted.  The changes were gradual, the results were by design and we never noticed them until they were here.  Is it too late or can we wrest control of our world back from the special interests?  Listen to Bonner Cohen

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Frank Short

I have never much liked the idea of mandatory membership homeowner associations.  The concept of  binding private real property to a hodgepodge of real estate owned by a third party, maintained and controlled by a motley crew of individuals with no expertise in the art of management has always seemed counterintuitive to me.  That the model is not working is no real surprise.  What galls me the most however,  is the idea that a handful of owners and hired managers are allowed to fine the owners. This practice does get very personal.  People have been fined for some of the most ridiculous things.  A few examples include having a dusty roof and mailbox, a cracked flowerpot on the front porch, an “unapproved” garden hose in the yard, and “unapproved object” in a flowerpot (small US flag), talking to neighbors on front porch of ones own home, interior window blinds the wrong shade of white, a pet that exceeds the allowed weight limit, unapproved number of rose bushes, trash cans visible from the street.  The list goes on and on.  All as ridiculous as these examples.  Fining is a power that is often used as a bully tool and abused and should be STOPPED.  Fines can lead to the loss of a home through foreclosure and the loss of an owner’s financial security.  

Frank Short joins us On The Commons.  Frank, an attorney and a popular repeat guest of the show, discusses fines in HOAs and Condominiums.  He explains why we have fines and who benefits from the fines.  Over the years there have been a number of court cases about fines.  He discuses those cases, explains what the courts considered and tells  us how they ruled.  He also explains the constitutional connections.  This is an excellent show from the archives.  For those being fined by their HOAs for whatever reason, this show is a must for the owner and their attorneys.  

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Jan Bergmann

Do you ever feel like you are being watched?  That your every move is being recorded, noted, tagged, documented and archived for future reference?  That’s because you are being watched from every corner and every angle imaginable.  No, it is not science fiction, it is the here and now of our every day lives.  In the land of the free and the brave, eyes and ears are everywhere, watching you.  Any false move is likely to result in hefty fines and even lead to the confiscation of your home.  Just what are these false moves that could have such dire consequences?  And what new tools and techniques are being used to rat you out?  And how is technology helping?

Jan Bergemann joins us On The Commons.  Jan is the founder and President of the Florida based Cyber Citizens for Justice  a grass roots organization dedicated to protecting the owners in condo and homeowner associations.  We talk to Jan about the state of association living in Florida.  We learn about a bill making its way through the legislative process that would not give board members a pass should they commit a crime.  And you’ll never guess who is opposing this bill. We learn about a new app called “The Parking Boss” which is being used to enforce rental restrictions in condos and gated communities.  The Parking Boss?  And for those who have had their fill of being inspected from every angle and snooped and spied on, there is a glimmer of hope.  We’ll find out whether there is life after an HOA dies.  And just for fun, along the way we learn about some of the most petty violations people have been cited and fined for.  

 

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