Carolyn Douglas (New May 27, 2023)

The economy keeps plummeting, and prices continue on their upward trajectory, making it more difficult for Americans to feed their families.  Home gardens are gaining in popularity; however, The space in most urban backyards is not enough to successfully grow enough food to feed everyone,  Local municipal governments in many states are lifting the bans on using front yards to grow fruits and veggies

Caroline Douglas joins us On the Commons today to talk about using one’s private property to grow fruits and vegetables to feed one’s family and perhaps even friends and neighbors who need it.  This topic is a slight departure from HOAs, and ironically the laws do not affect them.  Tune into what Caroline has to say about this new development.  


Carolyn Douglass

If you do not pay your HOA dues, your homeowner’s association can and will foreclose on your home and sell your house on the courthouse steps.  That is well known. However what is not well known is just how widely this abusive power is being used.  Joining us On the Commons today is my good friend Caroline Douglass.  Caroline explains how local municipal governments are using this practice to collect delinquent property taxes.  

We’ve heard so many horror stories that I believe it must be stopped.  Well, now local governments are also foreclosing on homes for non-payment of personal property taxes.  Since when was that the norm?  HOAs have this phony baloney contract they keep waving under our noses,  “Oh, but you agreed! they say.    Really?  Since when does a contract of adhesion become an agreement?  

And how on earth do delinquent property taxes allow the local municipal governments to foreclose on your home?  It seems to me that the old adage of “give them an inch, they’ll take a mile applies here.  Since property taxes do not pay for the services they were designed to cover, Instead these services like trash and snow removal are being provided by HOAS TAT ARE MANDATED BY THESE LOCAL GOVERNMENTS, YOU KNOW, THE ONES COLLECTING THESE TAXES.  perhaps it is time to stop collecting them. Let’s put an end to the abuses!  DO tune in to the show,  I always enjoy having her on with me, I know you will love listening to her, so tune in and don’t miss this show.


Bill Davis

We have discussed so many problems facing American homeowners that it is time to start discussing how to fix them. My guest this week, Bill Davies, and I do focus on some of them. One of the main issues is ensuring that housing cosigners take possession of a structurally safe house. One that won’t fall apart in time should include having the home inspected by independent professional inspectors. The inspector should never work for the builder. Consumers deserve to get a well-built house. Using good quality parts is also a must. A homeowner shouldn’t have to replace the kitchen floor because the sink Leaks on the floor and destroys it. That is a recent story from someone locally.

The house was expensive. Whenever I have mentioned having professional inspectors working for the county, the immediate reaction is, “Oh, we can’t afford that.” BUNK, pure and straightforward BUNK. This year, Fairfax County officials have given themselves some pretty hefty raises. Where did all this money come from? Could it be all the property taxes they collected and NOT providing any services for the money they should have paid for? Even more recently, the county found a pot of gold sitting around doing nothing; that didn’t last long; the workers got something along a 2-cent per hour raise while the officials gave themselves something along the lines of an 87-cent per hour raise.

I suppose that is why they can’t afford to hire professional inspectors; how would they be able to give themselves these hefty raises? It is high time American housing consumers got well-designed, livable, and well-constructed housing. And it is time to STOP using private houses in developments to finance all the amenities like pools, Tennis courts, and other recreational amenities. These things are great but should be voluntary and not forced on everyone. Your houses should not be used as collateral to finance these amenities. And while we are at it, mandatory membership homeowner associations should be BANNED!, People still have no idea what they are getting into when they buy a home, also known as “the American Dream.

This sort of nonsense does not exist everywhere else in the world. Let’s go back to respecting private property. And to get to that point, where Americans enjoy the freedoms the rest of the world has stopped fines, at least two courts in this country have found them to be UNCONSTITUTIONAL! So why are our legislators not blocking them? STOP FORECLOSURES; kicking children, older people, and entire families out at the start because of some purely idiotic issue like being able to see someone’s trashcan is simply stupid and an abuse of power! Can we focus on happy families and neighborhoods instead of nonsense? Please? Happy homes for all; that’s my wish for all of you.

Listen to Bill Davis

Shu Bartholomew

Shu Bartholomew

We have been talking about “fixing” the problem with HOAs.  I have said you can’t fix HOAs, they are a flawed concept, and I still maintain that.  By fixing HOAs, we want to make them more acceptable to the consumer.  How do you make taking all the homeowners’ rights away from them acceptable?  I still maintain you can’t do that.  During this show, we talk about many of the problems homeowners have to deal with and ,in the process, discover more problems that really ought to be fixed.  Homeowners should not be saddled with all the wants and wishes of the local governments.  That is unfair and unreasonable.  

Interestingly enough, we did find a few items that could and should be fixed, and maybe, just maybe, we will come up with some improvements for the homeowners.  Not everyone will be happy with our suggestions, but it is about time the homeowners got a break.  Please tune in and please let me know what you think about this particular show.  Thanks, as always for listening, and we wish you a very Happy Easter from the On the Commons team.


Shu Bartholomew

Shu Bartholomew

Do you own a home in an HOA because you wanted one or did you even know what you were getting?  So many housing consumers have requested non-HOA housing but have ended up with mandatory membership in a homeowners association.? If that is the case, how did that happen?  Why did it happen?  Well, here is the ugly truth behind this.  Local municipal governments require mandatory membership HOAS  so we are at the point in many parts of the country.  Why?  Because of the massive amounts of money involved in this form of housing.  First of all,  Local municipal governments continue to collect property taxes from all homeowners.  Those tax dollars were initially designed to provide services to the owners.  These services included things like trash removal and in some places sweeping the streets to get rid of any trash that may have fallen out on the street, it was designed to remove snow where necessary, to provide street lights and sidewalk repairs, and some common area maintenance.  Local municipalities continue to collect those taxes but require a mandatory membership association to provide these services.  What this means in plain English is that we, the homeowners are being double taxed.  The municipality collects the taxes but neglects to provide any of the services.  To get those services you have to pay an HOA as well as paying the municipal government.  In all fairness, this needs to STOP.  Let’s talk about that next.  Join me and let me know what your thoughts are.  

You have a slew of jobs that simply do not exist in a nonHOW housing complex.  There is a freer and more relaxed and pleasant lifestyle.  People tend to be. More concerned with taking care of their own problems and simply do not worry about the more insane and petty issues people in a mandatory membership association are wrapped up in.  Life is much less stressful and more pleasant.  In this episode of On The Commons, I try to share my philosophy of having FUN and share some hints and tips on how to deal with the never-ending hassles and abuses of modern-day American-controlled housing that are part and parcel of a homeowners association. Join Me On The Commmons.  I am NOT an attorney so do not give any legal advice, I have however spent about the last 30-plus years learning as much as I can about this rather bizarre form of housing.  I have talked to so many people over the years and heard some of the saddest stories along with some unbelievable stories about how homeowners have been treated by the association.  Based on all this, I am convinced this form of housing must be BANNED.  

I would love to hear from you Thank you for listening and I hope you will continue to tune in to: 

On The Commons.  

With all my thanks, Shu Bartholomew.  Host and producer of On The Commons.

Listen to Shu Bartholomew

Frank Short

For those of you who have asked about the On The Commons St Patrick’s day show, you will be happy to know we are back.  I have wanted to do this show for a long time so I am particularly excited to bring it to you.

Frank Short is my guest so I know you will love it.. The reason I want to do this show is that we have heard from so many of you who have had unbelievable problems with your HOAs.  I have spent hours listening to the abuses that people have suffered and just how it has affected them.  Elderly people living on their own afraid of answering the phone or the door in case it was the HOA calling.  

Some people are even afraid of checking the. Mail in case there was yet another nasty gram from the HOA.  People shouldn’t have to live like this but HOAs have become too powerful and the governments that keep empowering them will not take steps to protect the homeowners. 

 About 30 years ago, when Frank and I first met we intended to have fun and not allow ourselves to be intimidated, scared, or abused.  We said from day one that we were going to have FUN and we did.  In this show we tell you what we did, how we reacted, and what we did.  

We had fun then and we were still laughing as we sat here working on the show and remembering the stories we tell you.  I must admit this would probably not work as well if you tried to do this alone so we suggest you find a partner.  It helps if you both have the same sense of humor, plan on having fun, and don’t let yourselves be intimidated.  We had fun but we also wanted all our neighbors to have fun and enjoy themselves.  It gave us a big kick to watch our neighbors giggle when they read some of the things we tell you about.  Good luck and please let us know what you do.  

I have some heartbreaking stories about homeowners hounded and abused by the thugs in their HOAs.  Don’t let that happen to you or your friends and neighbors.  Have FUN! And share your stories with us please.  Let us put a stop to all the abuse and take control of our neighborhoods.  By the way, we have more  stories so stay tuned.  I’d love your feedback.

Listen to Frank Short

Martha Boneta

Martha Boneta

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


Wes Rocki


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.


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


Ileana Johnson

Web Master’s Comment: This episode of On the Commons is a repeat. Ileana’s message, however, is timeless.

My heart breaks as I watch the news. Whether you understand the true meaning of freedom or not, those who have lost it are willing to risk everything to get it back. Ileana was born in Romania and is a survivor of the communist utopia. She is an author, a freelance writer for multiple papers, including the Canada Free Press, a frequent radio commentator including a return guest On The Commons, a sought-after guest, and someone willing to fight to protect our freedom. Whether you believe freedom is just a word uttered by others and means little but people who have lost their freedom, even briefly, understand the loss of having a personal choice.

Ileana grew up in Communist Romania and experienced the gradual loss of freedom. She is working hard to defend the freedoms we enjoy in America. Listen to what she says and understand that you are about to lose more than what you thought. And it starts with your home.


News and Views About Homeowner Associations