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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Melanie Mckeddie

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.
 
Homeowner associations provide the most hospitable environment for fraud, embezzlement, harassment and abuse of any organization in the United States.  Claiming the relationship between the HOA and the unit owner is a private, contractual one, law enforcement and legitimate government agencies refuse to investigate allegations of wrong doing, leaving the owners to fend for themselves.  We have all heard the horror stories of individual homeowners being victimized and terrorized by the bullies on the board,  their legal henchmen and management.  Quite often those who have been targeted for abuse are too afraid to speak up and fight back, thus allowing the injustices, abuses and horrors to continue.  But what happens when an entire development is “hijacked” and held hostage?  Is there a way out for the owners? 
 
On The Commons this week we are joined by Melanie McKeddie. Melanie is an attorney in Arizona who, along with other attorneys in her firm, specializes in HOA law but in a complete departure from the other experts in the field, Melanie and her colleagues represent primarily the owners.  One of the cases that she is currently working on involves probably the worst abuse of power yet.   According to documents filed with the court, the president of the association is a convicted felon and disbarred attorney.  And that’s just for starters.  Please join us On The Commons.  We’ll find out what this law suit is all about, get to meet some of the characters who have been named as defendants in this case and learn just how bad things can get in a mandatory membership association and just how low property values can drop in an HOA.  You won’t want to miss this one.

On the Commons is produced by OTC Multimedia Productions

 

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Tyler Berding

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 post war economic boom made it possible for Americans to move out of the urban centers and still work “downtown”.  Roads were built, cars were financially feasible for many families and the call of the less congested suburbs was hard to resist.  A car in the driveway and a single family home, surrounded by a white picket fence became the embodiment of the American Dream.  Over the next several decades the suburbs exploded.  The builders built more and more housing. schools, retail spaces, parks, roads – and the people came – in droves.  Along the way, the notion of helping local municipal governments financially by establishing, and requiring,  homeowner associations to assume many of their responsibilities also became a part of this brave new world.  Condominiums were part of this changing landscape as well.  We know how the last fifty years changed the way Americans lived, but what does the future hold? 
 
On The Commons this week we are joined by Tyler Berding. Tyler, an attorney and a founding partner of the California firm of Berding Weil, represents associations in California.  He maintains a blog at http://www.condoissues.blogspot.com/ where he writes fairly extensively about the issues that affect this particular type of housing.  In a recent blog post titled “Predicting the Future of Community Associations” he looks through his crystal ball and shares his vision of what the next half century will bring in condos.  Some of his observations about today’s projects are dead on and some of his visions would take American homeowners in yet another direction.   Please join us On The Commons.  We’ll talk about lessons learned and hear some of his thoughts on where we may be headed with this experiment in communal living.  Will it be a brave new world or a scary place to be?  Tune in and you decide.

On the Commons is produced by OTC Multimedia Productions.

 

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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.

The silver linings in the storm clouds gathering over condo and homeowner associations in America these days are very tarnished.  The many promises have lost their sparkle and there just doesn’t seem to be enough polish to fool the folks with empty promises any more.  Recent events, law suits and headlines prove that the glitter was really fool’s gold.  The last great hope of restoring some sense in our neighborhoods may be found in the hallowed halls of our state capitols.  But how do our legislators determine what will work and how we can return a sense of “community” to our neighborhoods. 
 
On The Commons this week we are joined by Jan Bergemann Jan, president of the Florida based Cyber Citizens for Justice, has been working tirelessly with his organization to find out from the residents how they would like to see things done in their neighborhoods.  In a sense of true democracy, CCFJ has created a survey and plan on holding town hall meetings to come up with proposed legislation based on the wishes of the citizens.   Please join us On The Commons.  We’ll talk about the survey, the hot topic in Florida right now, the sheer stupidity of what many boards and associations do, some of the law suits and the complete and utter waste of money that seems to be the norm in a flawed housing scheme. 

On the Commons is produced by OTC Multimedia Productions.

 

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Julio Robaina

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.

Mandatory membership residential associations have been plagued with major problems right from the very beginning.  Initially, the “solution” to the problems was to educate all concerned but after several decades of instructing everyone it became abundantly clear that “education” was not the answer.  Frustrated, homeowners turned to their legislators looking for relief from the horrors that had become part of their daily lives.  However, many of those lawmakers had no idea how to tame the monster they created so they turned to the very people they allegedly intended to regulate for help in writing the bills.

Today most, if not all, state legislative bodies go through the routine of tweaking and rewriting state statutes regulating HOAs and condos.  Despite this annual rite, the problems in residential America  persist and multiply.  And still, some of these legislators turn to the same people year after year, heeding their advice. 

But not all legislators remain in the fog that has enveloped them since the beginning of this saga.  And one legislator stands out. On The Commons this week we are joined by Representative Julio Robaina. In a complete departure from the “business as usual” way of dealing with the ongoing problems, Florida Representative Robaina traveled the length and breadth of his state to talk to the people who live in associations.  He did this not once, but twice.  Armed with first hand knowledge of the real problems, with a deep understanding of the frustrations and inequities that existed, he returned to Tallahassee to write legislation inspired by the owners and designed to protect private property from the horrors and abuses of a system gone amok.  The result is a massive rewrite of the Florida Condo Act.   Please join us On The Commons this Saturday, July 12, 2008.  We’ll talk about the hearings and the new Condo Act.  Some of the provisions, and the need for them, were even a surprise to me.  You’ll understand why I call him the Energizer Bunny and why I believe he is the model legislator. Read the changes here: 

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On the Commons is Produced by OTC Multimedia Productions.

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Frank Short

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.
 
“There ought to be a law!”  How often have we heard frustrated homeowners utter those very words?  As association representatives and members of the HOA industry assume more authority over the  homes and every day lives of individuals, there is an increased demand for legislation to preserve and protect what was  once, and still is, regarded by many as sacred territory.  It doesn’t necessarily follow, however, that because there is a law, regardless of its stated purpose, that it is good FOR the homeowner. 
 
A newly enacted law in Virginia is a perfect example.  Among the many things it does, it establishes a panel, appoints an ombudsman, gives broad powers and authorities to the panel of industry pros, allows for fines of management companies.  If it has all these provisions, it has to be good, right?  We all know that the architects of this bill, the real estate industry, the managers and CAI have our best interests at heart and are dedicated to protecting our rights and property, aren’t they? 
 
On The Commons this week we are joined by Frank Short  Frank, a friend and frequent guest, is an attorney, an owner of HOA controlled property and a staunch supporter of individual and property rights.   Please join us On The Commons this Saturday, July 5, 2008.  We’ll talk about this bill and how it will affect Virginia homeowners and housing consumers.  You won’t want to miss this show.  A similar bill may be on its way to a state legislator in your state. 

On the Commons is produced by OTC Multimedia Productions

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Clint Goodman

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. 
 
As long as homeowner associations have been in existence, there have been problems with them.  In the beginning the “solution” was largely believed to be educating homeowners about HOAs.  “If people understood what they were buying into they’d all fall in line and comply with the contract they signed”.  When that didn’t fix the problem, the association industry lobbied successfully for state laws increasing the role and powers of associations in our every day lives.  Predictably this exacerbated the problems to the point where homeowners began fighting back.  In some states, a few homeowners  have successfully managed to get some homeowner friendly bills introduced and passed.  However, if there are any loopholes they will be found, manipulated or misinterpreted to benefit the association.  Perhaps the time has come to put a stop to the games associations, their industry and advisors play.  It is time to plug up some of those loopholes.
 
On The Commons this week we are joined by Clint Goodman.  Clint is president and the founding attorney of an Arizona based organization called the Homeowner Institute.  The Homeowner Institute specializes in promoting the interests of the owners in a number of ways, including lobbying for legislation that closes loopholes and protects individual and property rights.   Please join us On The Commons this Saturday, June 28, 2008.  We’ll talk about the Homeowner Institute, what it does and why Clint founded it.  We’ll also learn a little about the Office of Administrative Hearing (OAH) and how SB 1162 will plug a whacking great big loophole that associations and their attorneys have been using to skirt the original intent of the OAH.  To learn more about the Homeowner Institute check out their web page http://www.hoainstitute.com.

On the Commons is produced by OTC Multimedia Productions

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Eminent Domain Abuse

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.

Three years ago the nation was shocked by the US Supreme Court decision in the Kelo v New London case.  In this decision the Supremes said it was OK for the government to take private property from one person and turn it over to another for their private gain.  Property owners, small business owners, citizens and the media were outraged.  A few politicians made the appropriate tsk tsks and some even proposed legislation that would strengthen individual property rights and protect them from the greedy grasp of government gone amok.  However, as time went by, our anger subsided and eventually the words “eminent domain” and “Kelo” faded into the recesses of the past. 
 
Well, it is time to put Kelo center stage again and to remind ourselves that we are ultimately responsible for protecting what is rightfully ours. 
 
On The Commons this week we will be going back to the past and remembering what it is like to be on the verge of losing our homes.  Please join us On The Commons this Saturday, June 21, 2008.  We’ll talk a little bit about the what is being done to commemorate the anniversary of that horrible decision and hear from both Susette Kelo and Michael Cristofaro.  The Institute for Justice, the organization that defended Susette, Mike and a whole host of other homeowners, says 10,000 American property owners were either threatened by, or actually lost their homes to eminent domain.  To mark the occasion, they would like to have 10,000 contributions.  They don’t have to be large, but every penny raised here will go towards fighting the abuses of eminent domain.  To make your pledge go to IJ.org and just sign up.

On the Commons is produced by OTC Multimedia Productions

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Florida 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.

Regardless of where we stand on the issue of condo and homeowners’ associations we can all agree that there is a lot of confusion about the very nature of associations.  There are lots of questions about the authority and the powers of boards, management companies and other folks holding minor, and sometimes not so minor positions in the association.  Another point that most of us will also be able to agree on is that the complaints and problems tend to repeat themselves over and over. 
 
On The Commons with Shu this week we have part three of the Florida conference that was held in February 2008.   Please join us On The Commons this Saturday, May 31, 2008.  We’ll hear Representative Robaina talk followed by comments and questions from the homeowners who had attended the session.  Many of their concerns and observations are identical to problems in other HOAs around the country.  Their experiences mirror some of the experiences we have heard about from other states. Maybe it is time to acknowledge that these aren’t all “isolated incidents” that only happen to “disgruntled homeowners”. 

On the Commons is produced by OTC Multimedia Productions

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Florida 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.

It is important for people with common goals and needs to come together, network and share ideas.  Having conferences for homeowners is a relatively new occurrence.  Earlier this year, Florida homeowners hosted a two day conference, bringing together advocates and activists as well as attorneys who represent the homeowners, legislators who understand the issues and folks from other states who all came together to share their experiences and stories.  Can the rest of the country learn from these folks as well?
 
On The Commons with Shu this week we have part two  of the Florida conference that was held in February 2008.   Please join us On The Commons.  We’ll listen in to some of the speeches and hear the stories and all the ideas that were discussed.

On the Commons is produced by OTC Multimedia Productions

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News and Views About Homeowner Associations