Elaine Musser

When the concept of common ownership developments first went into mass production, the intent was to relieve cash strapped local municipal governments from some of their obligations without having to resort to raising taxes.  The idea was that by privatizing some of the traditionally municipal functions, local governments could use tax revenues to help them keep pace with the rapid growth.  But like many seemingly good ideas, there are unforeseen and unintended consequences lurking in the shadows.  And now, some forty years into this experiment, we are beginning to see the really ugly side of this particular housing scheme.

On The Commons with us this week is Elaine Roberts Musser.  Elaine is the Executive Director of Building Bridges (Elder Abuse Prevention), she is Chair of the Triad Task Force, Yolo County Commission on Aging and Adult Services and a volunteer attorney with the Yolo County Legal Clinic’s Senior Legal Hotline.   She is also representing a 78 year old widow in her fight to keep her HOA controlled home.  In the process she is seeing, for herself just how out of control HOA management and boards really are.  Please join us On The Commons this Saturday, August 18, 2007. We’ll talk about Building Bridges, the Yolo County Commission on aging and how they may come to the assistance of the elderly.  And of course, we’ll learn the details of her case and to what extent the board president will go to control the members of the association.  On the Commons is broadcast live from WEBR Fairfax, Virginia., Copyright OTC Multimedia Productions 2007.


Professor Frank Askin

Do homeowners in mandatory membership associations voluntarily give up all their constitutionally guaranteed rights and protections?  The debate has been raging for some time now.  Advocates of associations and controlled living have always maintained that homeowners have knowingly left their rights at the entrance of the association, choosing to subject themselves to the whims and control of their neighbors and members of the HOA industry.  Homeowners, on the other hand, have insisted they have done no such thing, that they simply bought a house that happened to be in a homeowners association. 
On The Commons with us this week is Professor Frank Askin.  Professor Askin is a law professor at Rutgers University in New Jersey, a long time member of the ACLU and founder and director of the Constitutional Litigation Clinic at Rutgers.  He maintains a blog at http://blog.nj.com/njv_frank_askin/ and is the author of Defending Rights: A Life in Law and Politics.    Professor Askin most recently represented The Committee for a Better Twin Rivers, a group of homeowners who sought to protect their Constitutional rights to free speech.  With the court opinion finally in, was it a total loss, as it would appear at first blush?  Please join us On The Commons. We’ll talk about the decision and find out what the New Jersey Supreme Court really said.