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.
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”.
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.
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
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.
We are still in Florida for this show. For those of you who have n ot had the privilege of meeting Senator Robaina. Years ago I dubbed him the Energizer Bunny, I am happy to say, nthing has changed, he is still the Energizer Bunny and so full energy I had to work hard to keep up with him. We talk about a lot of issues that affect life in HOAs and condos. Julio explains the effect they have on the owners, especially the retirees who are living on a limited income. It seems every time there is a major, headline grabbing problem happens, whether it is an entire highrise sondo that collapses or where millions of dollars are stollen from an association, it is always the homowners who are blamed. Why? Because they are not providing adequate oversight, but ask to inspect the books and records as per your right, and the world collapses around you or the homeowners are selfish and don’t care about what happens so they refuse to fund the reserves and that’s why we have these problems. . Julio explains it and fills in more details. You will not want to miss this show.
Over the years many people have tried to “fix the problems that riddle HOAs with all their inherent problems. One of these people is none other than Jan Bergemann. Jan is the founder and president of the FLorida based Cyber Citizens for Jystice. He is also the go to guy for homeowners with problems in their asociations, be they HOAs or condos. People who are wondering, “what do I do now?”. A good place to start is Cyber Citizens for Justice. and Jann. Jann will steer them in the right direction and demystify the demands that are being made of the owners.
Jan joins us and fills us in on what is going on in Florida. The bad news is that nothing was passed in the legilature this year. Not quite sure what was proposed but maybe there is a silver lining there somewhere. I do know that Floridians have been hard at work trying to come up with laws that will fix all the problems in associations of all sorts. I am , howeve, at the point where I no longer bellieve it is possible to fix HOAs and condos. Jann and I talk about that . Tune is and please let us know whether you agree. If not, do you have the magic cure for HOAs and condos? Again, we would love to hear from you.
The American Dream is often referred to as homeownership. Everyone wants a home of their own where they can be king of their castles, live peacefully, shut the world out, raise their family and be with their friends and loved ones. In the process, they build a haven for their old age. Unfortunately, our legislators have bowed to the special interests, enacted legislation allowing home and condo associations to fine homeowners for alleged infractions of the dumbest of rules and then empowered them to foreclose on their homes to collect those fines. That has to stop! No one should lose their home such idiotic rules as leaving a garage door open too long or having a pet that appears to weigh more than a certain weight for feeding baby ducks as is happening currently in Texas. Can you imagine a grieving mother losing her home because she fed baby ducks without a mother?
Bill Davis, a frequent guest, a Texas attorney who represents homeowners in controlled HOA and condo housing and I talk about this case but also about the need to ban fines in HOAs and Condos as well as banning foreclosing on homes especially evicting the elderly from the homes they have spent their entire lives building. I’d like to think it is UNAMERICAN to toss old people out in the cold. Getting these bans will require a concerted effort from all of us. We also need to enlist the support of organizations that purport to protect the interests of seniors. With the money they have, and the membership they have they need to ensure that their members are protected. I am not a member of any organization that sides with groups that are harmful to seniors and homeowners in controlled housing like condos and HOAs. I also will no longer donate to candidates who will not promise to introduce legislation to ban fines and foreclosures. Join me.
Have you noticed how all sense flies out the window when an involuntary membership homeowners association is involved? All of a sudden we fear anything that is not part of that uniform look and feel of a kontrolled kommunity. A different shade of blah can topple an entire neighborhood, an unapproved garden hose, dusty mailboxes, flags, rose bushes and pudgy pooches are all a threat to property values. An addition that doesn’t quite konform to the existing architectural guidelines will no doubt turn the neighborhood green with envy.
Oh, get real!
Joining us On The Commons this week are Maria and Sam Farran. The Farrans weren’t about to believe all the nonsense they were told. They did their homework, knew the rules and the laws and decided to fight back. After years of court room drama, they won their cases and were awarded attorney fees and court costs. However, there was a snag. You see, in the process, their HOA ran out of money and went bankrupt. But there is a happy ending after all. As Maria says; “We used to be a corporation that ran a neighborhood, we are now a neighborhood that runs a corporation”. I won’t ruin it for you so tune in and find out how they got their money and what happened to the association. You’ll love it.
How did they do it? Well, look for their new and improved governing documents On The Commons and yes, you may use them as a template if you too want to return common sense and a sense of community to your neighborhood.
As I said in my opening statement, Caroline is a lady who I wish lived closer. She has a way of connecting current events with history. Today’s show is no exception. I have been asking myself, whatever happened to Miss Manners? Would life in HOAs be more tolerable if people treated each other with respect? Where and when did we go off the rails? And who is responsible? Are children being taught manners at home by their parents? That’s who taught me how to behave and corrected me every time I strayed from the straight and narrow. I was fortunate; good manners were important to my parents, But what happens when the parents are rude and don’t know how to behave in polite company? I told a story about trying to reach a friend who was staying in a local hotel but was treated rudely by the person who interfaced with the public and potential guests and who hung up on me several times. No, I was NEVER rude to the staff. And Caroline and I also talk about current court decisions. Does everything tie together? How do we return to a kinder, gentler society? Do tune in to today’s show. I would love to hear what you think. Thanks.