Category Archives: Infrastructure

Julio Robaina

Julio Robaina

Sometimes it takes a tragedy to make us realize we have been ignoring the elephant sitting right in front of us in the middle of a tiny room. For years many of my guests On The Commons have warned us that we are not saving enough in our association reserve accounts. Having served on the board of directors of my HOA and having served briefly on the finance committee, I knew we had a reserve account that was healthy. I did not want to deal with a special assessment. Weren’t we like all other other residential associations across the country? I have always advocated making sure residential associations fund their reserves. Imagine my shock and surprise when my listeners let me know, in no uncertain terms, just how wrong I was. Their concern was that there was no one guarding the cookie jar. Too much money has been embezzled from HOAs. A very valid problem. Some industry members were unaware that this was going on and seemed genuinely shocked when I brought it up. How could they possibly not know?

Julio Robaina, a former Florida Legislator, joins us On The Commons. Julio had promised that he would always protect the rights of home and condo owners and he has kept his promise. When the Surfside condo collapsed, Julio’s former colleagues asked him if this is about what he was warning them? You shouldn’t have to lose so many people to prove you knew what you were talking about. Following the tragic collapse, Julio is working with the legislature, coming up with legislation that would prevent a repeat performance and allay any fears home and condo owners typically have about leaving bags of money on the table, unattended. Julio joins us and explains his new legislation. I LOVE it. I think he has covered all the bases. When Julio’s bill is enacted as written and not stripped of important points, it should serve as a model to be adopted and enacted throughout the rest of the country. Since we will not be able to clone him for every state, we, the home and condo owners, will have to do the heavy lifting. Tune in to today’s show, you will be inspired to have the same bill in your state.

Listen to Julio Robaina

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Julio Robaina

Julio Robaina

I have always felt the HOA and condo models were flawed. Not that I thought there is something sinister built into them. I don’t. I met with Byron Hanke at his home about a year before he died and know, without a doubt, that his intentions were good when he introduced his model for what we know as condo and homeowner associations. But not all good ideas and plans work out as imagined. What is often overlooked and ignored in the planning stages is the human factor. Sadly, we got a wake-up call recently when the Surfside tower collapsed in the middle of the night in Florida, killing many people. We still don’t have a final count. As I write this, the recovery efforts continue. We still don’t know what caused the collapse; there is much speculation but nothing conclusive yet. We need to know the exact cause if we hope to prevent a repeat of this horror. Grasping at straws will not help.

Julio Robaina joins us On The Commons. Julio was a much-loved, tireless legislator in Florida before he was timed out. He spent tireless hours holding open meetings across the state, meeting with homeowners and talking to hundreds of them. Julio heard the stories straight from the Homeowners about the problems, the abuses, and concerns. He brought their thoughts and ideas to the legislature, where he crafted bills based on what was needed. Julio took what the homeowners told him very seriously and listened to how they wanted to be protected. After all, he reasoned, who would know better? Not all his bills passed. His colleagues argued with him, are they second-guessing their votes now?

The question is, could the tragedy at Surfside been averted had some of his warnings been heeded? So what happens now? Julio, who I nicknamed “The Energizer Bunny” many years ago, is still working tirelessly to get legislation enacted to protect condo owners and homeowners. Julio and I worked late in the night to record this show for you. Please tune in and listen to it. Let’s make sure this never happens again, anywhere in the world.

Listen to Julio Robaina

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Evan Mckenzie

Evan Mckenzie

The tragic news from Surfside Florida has the world stunned. How could such a thing happen? What caused a condo tower to collapse in the middle of the night? Mayors and local politicians are quick to go on camera and assure all that something similar could never happen in THEIR town. Why not? How can we be sure that a condominium like Champlain towers won’t just collapse in the middle of the night again? Why did the tower collapse killing so many people sleeping peacefully in their beds? What caused the building to pancake? There has been a lot of conjecture on what caused it, but so far, nothing definitive. Water intrusion, climate change, rusty rebar, and salt have been cited as possibilities. Maybe there is some truth to all of these causes, and perhaps a combination of them. But we need to know for sure, if possible. We need to know how to prevent something awful like this from happening again.

Evan McKenzie joins us On The Commons.

Evan is a law professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He studies urban politics, land use law and policy, and common interest housing developments, including condominiums, HOAs, and housing cooperatives. He is the author of several books and articles about common interest housing, he is the media’s go-to guy for comments on any housing issue that grabs the headlines. I am honored to have him On The Commons again. Who better to share his thoughts and ideas for the collapse of and how to prevent something like this from happening again? There are preventive steps that can and must be taken to ensure there are no repeat performances. Tune in and listen to what Evan has to say. As always, his ideas are full of common sense and easy to follow and understand. You won’t want to miss it.

Listen to Evan McKenzie

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

John Sellers

John Sellers

Regular listeners often hear me refer to American housing as being made of cardboard and scotch tape. It is not just housing that is no longer built to last, everything else tends to fall apart and need to be repaired or replaced much too soon and far too often. While people agree with me, the explanation I get is that it is cheaper to make junk than it is to build things that will be around, functional and in one piece for awhile.  But how cost effective is it?  Are we destined to continually play “catch up” juggling our budgets to patch and prop things up?  

John Sellers joins us On The Commons.  John has a degree in aeronautical engineering and a background in finance.  When he moved to Arizona he ran into the flawed concept of residential associations.  Taking a step back and looking at the really big picture he identified some of the problems and came up with a few ideas on how to avoid building the “junk” in the first place, especially when it comes to infrastructure.  John, along with his colleagues, founded the  Yavapai Regional Capital . We’ll talk to John, get some of the details, find out how we can build infrastructure that might have a chance of lasting, how to finance it and whether there is a place for modern technology in the future of the world we live in.  This was one of the most fascinating and eye opening interviews I have had.  You won’t want to miss it.

Listen to John Sellers

Share your stories on   From the HOA Trenches

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

John Sellers

 

Regular listeners often hear me refer to American housing as being made of cardboard and scotch tape. It is not just housing that is no longer built to last, everything else tends to fall apart and need to be repaired or replaced much too soon and far too often. While people agree with me, the explanation I get is that it is cheaper to make junk than it is to build things that will be around, functional and in one piece for awhile.  But how cost effective is it?  Are we destined to continually play “catch up” juggling our budgets to patch and prop things up?  

John Sellers joins us On The Commons.  John has a degree in aeronautical engineering and a background in finance.  When he moved to Arizona he ran into the flawed concept of residential associations.  Taking a step back and looking at the really big picture he identified some of the problems and came up with a few ideas on how to avoid building the “junk” in the first place, especially when it comes to infrastructure.  John, along with his colleagues, founded the  Yavapai Regional Capital . We’ll talk to John, get some of the details, find out how we can build infrastructure that might have a chance of lasting, how to finance it and whether there is a place for modern technology in the future of the world we live in.  This was one of the most fascinating and eye opening interviews I have had.  You won’t want to miss it.

Our Crumbling Infrastructure

 Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail