Category Archives: Fighting Back

John McGuire

John McGuire

Bruised, abused, mocked, harassed, dejected and frustrated, homeowners in HOAs have tried to fight back. They have been sued, fined, ridiculed, outgunned and left standing alone in a sea of their neighbors, homeowners like themselves too terrified to even talk to them lest they find themselves in the crosshairs of the HOA.  Over the years I have talked to and witnessed some of these homeowners as they start an organization to fight the injustices of HOAs only to end up fighting amongst themselves.  Their vision of taming the HOA monster evaporating into thin air. Could part of the problem be the lack of teamwork?  Are they listening to each other or shouting over each other? Is the key to real reform as simple as listening?

John McGuire joins us On The Commons. John, a Virginia delegate has one of the most amazing and inspiring personal stories I have yet to come across.  When all the odds seemed to be against him, John fought and earned one of the coveted spots as a Navy Seal, despite being told he couldn’t do it. Later he defied the odds again and survived a life threatening accident, learned to walk and to write his name – again.  Incredibly none of what he went through in life convinced him he couldn’t do something.  Being told he couldn’t do something was the impetus he needed to prove them wrong. John strongly believes in teamwork and like every good leader, gives credit to his team.  I heard about John when he managed to help resolve a 20 year HOA horror story.  We’ll get to know John personally and learn about his philosophy, talk about the problems in HOAs and start looking at different ways of dealing with the problems millions of American homeowners face nationwide.  

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Tell us your stories in your own words 

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Bonner Cohen

Bonner Cohen

Claiming to be a 5th generation land owner, Philip Thompson said, “I will do whatever it takes to help preserve the countryside we call home”.  The countryside he calls home is in Fauquier County, Virginia about an hour outside Washington DC.  He inherited much of the land in the countryside he called home,  then proceeded to place a large tract into a conservation easement managed by the Piedmont Environmental Council, (PEC). Much like the Declarations in residential associations, the easements restrict the use of the property. Much like a residential association, power is given to the administrator.  And we all know that “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely”(Lord Acton) regardless of who has it.

Dr. Bonner Cohen joins us On The Commons.  Dr. Cohen is a senior fellow with the National Center for Public Policy Research.  He also serves as senior policy analyst with the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow.  He is an author, has spoken at conferences, appears on TV and radio.  Dr. Cohen, a friend of Martha Boneta, has been following the horrors and abuses taking place in Liberty Farms.  He wrote an article  about the latest round of lawsuits.  We find just what Mr. Thompson meant when he said he would do “whatever it takes…”  .

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Maria and Sam Farran

Maria and Sam Farran

On The Commons begins its 20th year of broadcasting.  

To celebrate we are rebroadcasting a show we often talk about.  Tune in, you’ll love it just as much this time around.

Have you noticed how all sense flies out the window when an involuntary membership homeowners association is involved?  All of a sudden we fear everything that is not part of that uniform look and feel of a controlled community.  A different shade of blah can topple an entire neighborhood, an unapproved garden hose, dusty mailboxes, flags, rose bushes and pudgy pooches are all a threat to property values. An addition that doesn’t quite conform to the existing architectural guidelines will no doubt incite a riot, oh get real.

Maria and Sam Farran join us On The Commons this week. The Farrans  weren’t about to believe all the nonsense they were told.  They did their homework, knew the rules and the laws and decided to fight back.  After years of court room drama, they won their cases and were awarded attorney fees and court costs. However, there was a snag. You see, in the process,  their HOA ran out of money and went bankrupt.  But there is a happy ending after all. As Maria says; “We used to be a corporation that ran a neighborhood, we are now a neighborhood that runs a corporation”. I won’t ruin it for you so tune in and find out how they got their money and what happened to the association.  You’ll love it.

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A Happy Neighborhood Once Again

Tell Us Your Own Story In your Own Words

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Bill Davis

The mere existence of a homeowners association does not mean that the HOA has limitless power and authority and can do everything and anything it wants.  Unfortunately that notion seems to be widely accepted.  I’ve heard board members say, “we are the board and can do anything we want” and their attorneys respond, You are not on solid legal foundation but homeowners don’t assert their rights so go ahead…..   So what is a homeowner who is caught in this insane web to do?

Bill Davis joins us On The Commons. Bill, a Texas attorney who represents homeowners against their homeowners associations tends to run into some of the strangest cases.  Today’s discussion is about one such case and underscores the importance of homeowners doing their own research. We’ll talk about one association that may, or may not have the power and authority to do anything it feels like doing.  In this case the homeowner chose to assert his legal rights and in the process uncovered some interesting facts about the association.  

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Ward Lucas

Ward Lucas

Why do some HOA horror stories grab the headlines, go viral, get written up in news outlets around the world, discussed on radio shows and highlighted on local and national TV shows while others, equally horrible, get ignored?  We never seem to learn as the stories repeat themselves, over and over and over again.  Flag flaps, children play equipment in private backyards that seem to irk some of the less tolerant in the ‘hood, non conforming trashcans, unapproved garden hoses, bird feeders, discrimination, discrimination and more discrimination against anyone who does not conform to some secret acceptable standard.  There are hundreds of these stories every single day yet we only ever hear about a tiny handful of them.  Why?  

Ward Lucas joins us On The Commons this week.  Ward is an award winning print, TV and radio journalist who, over his career have covered stories of war while fighting a war to protect his property in a homeowners association.  His experience and expertise were put to great use when he wrote Neighbors at War, the Creepy case Against your Homeowners Association.  The term ” Neighbors at War” has caught on and is used often in HOA stories.  Ward also maintains a blog by the same name.  All his posts give an estimated reading time.  We’ll find out why.  We’ll also ask him how to capture the attention of the mainstream media and what we, as homeowners with all sorts of different backgrounds, can do to become more effective communicators.  I always have fun talking to Ward so tune in and join in the fun.  Oh, and as an added bonus, we’ll hear all about his latest book, due out soon.

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Martha Boneta

Martha Boneta

Due to technical problems we are rebroadcasting this show.  

As I write this Louis Armstrong’s, “What a Wonderful World” is playing in the background.  I listen to the words and in my mind’s eye I see the green trees, the red roses and imagine them blooming for me and you.  I see the colors of the rainbow and the friends shaking hands, saying I love you and watching babies grow, oh, “what a wonderful world”.  Then  I have to wonder, why  we can’t keep it that way?  Why do we allow a few bad apples to ruin an otherwise wonderful world?  Is there anything we can do to prevent that? But what can one person do?

Martha Boneta joins us On The Commons.  Martha’s dream of becoming a farmer was realized when she and her family became the proud owners of Liberty Farm in her native Virginia.  However, it wasn’t long before her dream was threatened by the overreaches of the environmental commission and her time was devoted to fending off their abuses, dictates and demands. Not one to roll over, Martha fought back – and she won.  Along the way she got two bills named after her, she is also the subject of a documentary film, “Farming in Fear”, she has received numerous awards and has been named Most Amazing Woman by Country Woman’s Magazine.  We talk to Martha about fighting back and learn what we, as individuals and as a group of homeowner advocates and activists, can do to fight back, protect our rights and our homes.  With all the tools available to us we don’t have to roll over, we can fight back and then look at the skies of blue and the clouds of white and think to ourselves, “what a wonderful world”.

Listen to Martha Boneta

Tell us your stories  in your own words 

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John McGuire

John McGuire

Bruised, abused, mocked, harassed, dejected and frustrated, homeowners in HOAs have tried to fight back. They have been sued, fined, ridiculed, outgunned and left standing alone in a sea of their neighbors, homeowners like themselves too terrified to even talk to them lest they find themselves in the crosshairs of the HOA.  Over the years I have talked to and witnessed some of these homeowners as they start an organization to fight the injustices of HOAs only to end up fighting amongst themselves.  Their vision of taming the HOA monster evaporating into thin air. Could part of the problem be the lack of teamwork?  Are they listening to each other or shouting over each other? Is the key to real reform as simple as listening?

John McGuire joins us On The Commons. John, a Virginia delegate has one of the most amazing and inspiring personal stories I have yet to come across.  When all the odds seemed to be against him, John fought and earned one of the coveted spots as a Navy Seal, despite being told he couldn’t do it. Later he defied the odds again and survived a life threatening accident, learned to walk and to write his name – again.  Incredibly none of what he went through in life convinced him he couldn’t do something.  Being told he couldn’t do something was the impetus he needed to prove them wrong. John strongly believes in teamwork and like every good leader, gives credit to his team.  I heard about John when he managed to help resolve a 20 year HOA horror story.  We’ll get to know John personally and learn about his philosophy, talk about the problems in HOAs and start looking at different ways of dealing with the problems millions of American homeowners face nationwide.  

Listen to John McGuire
Team Work

Tell us your stories in your own words 

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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.

Tell us your stories  in your own words 

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Wes Rocki

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If I could draw I think I would write the HOA book as a series of cartoons because that’s how my mind tends to work.  Many of those cartoons would be funny, others not so funny.  But over the years never has there been a sumo wrestler in any of my imagined doodles or cartoons – until this interview.  That’s when I started putting sumo wrestlers in the picture .  But a gratuitous, enormous hulking, naked man in what appears to be a diaper, in the middle of a manicured, sterile, characterless, controlled residential association wasn’t quite connecting.  So, I decided to read up on sumo wrestling and sumo wrestlers. And all of a sudden it was a perfect fit, diaper and all.  I discovered, among other things, that although some of these massive men appear to be invincible, they have been toppled by smaller opponents.  A sumo historian is quoted as saying he believes the circular ring was chosen to assist smaller fighters slip away and that the sumo rules tends to root for the underdog.

If you find yourselves in the bullseye of an HOA battle, facing what may seem like a sumo wrestler, grin at the diaper and know that you can win.

Dr. Wes Rocki, MD, PhD joins us On The Commons.  Retired from practicing conventional medicine, Wes now focusses on alternative medicine, including techniques on self help and self healing.  He explains how we can empower ourselves to better handle any conflict.  We talk about how we can step away, mentally and emotionally to get a better grasp of the situation.  Wes gives us a lot of really good advice on how to not only survive being at the center of an HOA storm but how to survive emotionally, reframe the conflict, empower ourselves and win against that massive sumo wrestler in the ring with us.  So many light bulbs went off during the course of this interview.  Listen and be empowered.

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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.

Tell us your stories  in your own words 

 

 

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