Ward Lucas

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Is it all about power or is money really at the root of all evil?  Or is it a combination of both?  I am of course taking about this notion of a fourth layer of government or, as they are more commonly referred to, mandatory membership homeowner associations.  Whatever the reason for their proliferation, consumer choice is not one of them and consumer acceptance is a myth.  Municipal mandates ensure a steady stream of tax free dollars flowing into the public coffers while power hungry board members are always on hand to enforce  alleged rules and regulations.  Let’s not forget the special interests behind the scenes orchestrating everything.  For them it is definitely power, money and greed.  So what is a homeowner to do once the honeymoon with their new house is over?  They usually hit the internet and start searching for a friendly voice out there and the they do, they are like to find my guest.

Ward Lucas joins us On The Commons.  Ward is an award winning TV anchor from Denver, Colorado who has the wonderful ability to see the humor in so many things including his own battles with his HOA.  Now retired as an anchor, the heart of a journalist still beats hard in him.  He first wrote a book called “Neighbors at War; The creepy case against your homeowners association.  That was followed by a blog by the same name where he talks about some of the daily disasters in associations to grab the headlines.  His second book is more of a personal story that allows the reader to glimpse the family life that has to be the reason for his wonderful sense of humor.  Even the title is fun, “Get this Mother Published.  The wacky world of a recovering army brat family”.  And for all his fans, stay tuned because book 3 is in the works. We’ll talk about the books, his web site, some of the stories from his Neighbors at War book but mostly about what is happening in HOA land across the country.  Tune in as we wander around the whacky world of controlled living, American Style. 

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Bill Davis

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Oh, it’s a brave new world when homeowner associations and condos are allowed, by law, to assess fines for alleged rules infractions and covenant violations. They are also permitted to add junk fees, file a lien and then foreclose to collect those charges which often include hefty attorney fees.  In many states associations have been granted priority over mortgages and other liens. What exactly does that mean?  And how do associations find all these minor problems?  The stories of covenant enforcement highlight the sheer pettiness and nastiness that seems to be quite rampant in association governed neighborhoods.   

Bill Davis joins us On The Commons.  Bill is an attorney in Texas who knows firsthand what it is like to be targeted by a homeowner association.  He regularly represents other homeowners, often in the battle of their lives against their HOAs.  We talk to Bill about super priority liens, find out what they are and what they do.  We also talk about something that is on the horizon that would allow associations to watch an owner’s every move and inspect every nook and cranny on private property.We are, of course, talking about drones.  As I mentioned, it is a brave new world.  Private property?  A home?  What will American homes and property rights look like in the future.

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Frank Short

Imagine the resulting destruction if a classroom full of kindergartners had been given boxes of matches and told to play with fire.  No safety instructions, no oversight, no plans to prevent the inevitable mayhem and chaos, just the blanket permission for children to play with fire.  Now I know what you are thinking, no sane and rational person would ever do anything that reckless and stupid.   OK, so maybe we don’t actually give a room full of 5 year old boxes of matches but can you see much of a difference between that scenario and what is happening in condo and homeowner associations across the country?  How about state legislatures?

Frank Short joins us On The Commons.  Frank, a long time friend, a government attorney and a popular guest on the show  follows proposed legislation and explains how these laws, if enacted, would  work in real life.  We focus on just one of those bad bills today and talk about a towing bill that was introduced in the Virginia House of Delegates earlier this year.  Unfortunately this bill survived and went on to become the law while its companion bill in the Virginia Senate failed. Keep that picture of 5 year olds with their boxes of matches in mind as you consider the ramifications of how this new law will affect consumers, voters, taxpayers and anyone else caught in the web that has been spun by legislators.  Maybe it is time to recognize that our elected officials can’t be trusted any more than any other predator when it comes to protecting their constituents.  Is it time to take away the matchboxes from the “little ones” and start providing some desperately needed adult supervision?

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