Margaret Barakiva

The sheer number of mandatory membership homeowner associations has exploded nationwide. The problems and the horror stories have also multiplied over the years. The explanations, excuses and suggested “cures”, however, have remained the same. For the past four decades one group has led the debate and the discussion and controlled the agenda of this new form of housing. The very people who need to be included in the debate have been intentionally left out, but times they are a changing.

On the Commons with us this week is Margaret Bar-akiva. Margaret, a plaintiff in the Twin Rivers case in New Jersey, and founding member of the New Jersey based Common-Interest Homeowners Coalition , in conjunction with the Rutgers Schools of Law in Camden and Newark and Seton Hall School of Law, organized a well attended conference in Trenton, NJ in May. Please join us On The Commons. We’ll find out all about the conference and talk about the importance of having the homeowners and housing consumers controlling the agenda. Fads come and go. When the fads in food, fashion or fun or fade out, the impact they leave is little more than a memory or a faded photo of mini skirts, disco balls or skinny ties stuck in an album somewhere. Food, fortunately has a shelf life and Pac Man has been replaced with other games. Unfortunately not all fads are that easy to replace.

What happens when we find out, after having spent time, effort and loads of money, that the “solution” to a particular problem is not a solution at all but instead has exacerbated the problem? Can we cover it all up with pretty words? Copyright OTC Multimedia Productions 2007


Julio Robaina

Legislative sessions are starting to wind down across the country. Some folks are celebrating small victories, others are gearing up to try again next time and still others are waiting to see whether governors sign or veto the bills that arrive on their desks. Once all the dust settles, will the homeowners be better off this year than they were last year? How many of the bills that passed will benefit individual owners? And how many of the bills that failed should have passed? And when all is said and done, what does it all really mean anyway?

On the Commons with us this week is Representative Julio Robaina. Julio is one of those rare politicians who considers himself a public servant. At a time when many of his colleagues are afflicted with a strong case of arrogance of power, Julio remains very much a man of the people. Please join us On The Commons this Saturday, May 19, 2007. We’ll ask this upbeat, energetic legislator how the homeowner friendly bills fared in this year’s legislative session and we’ll find out what is in the works for the future. Copyright OTC Multimedia Productions 2007


Jan Bergemann

Your rights and your wallets are at risk every time congress is in session. Whether conjuring new and improved ways to strip you of rights or coming up with new and creative ways to separate you from your possessions, more often than not you are worse off by the time the legislative session ends. But what happened to all the campaign promises that were made in order to get the votes? And why would anyone propose and support laws that would harm their constituents? Are there any winners in this game?

On the Commons with us this week is Jan Bergemann. Jan, president of the Florida based Cyber Citizens for Justice , has tirelessly fought for the rights of the individual. He is also very outspoken and not afraid of good, old fashioned plain talk when it comes to explaining the ins and outs of what is going on in Florida politics. Please join us. We’ll find out what happened to the bills that were designed to protect the citizens


Tom Skiba

Some episodes of On the Commons are just too good to leave in the archives. On The Commons with me this week (November 6, 2004)is Tom Skiba. Tom is the Chief Executive Officer of the Alexandria, Virginia based Community Associations Institute, (CAI). Please join us On The Commons. We’ll find out why CAI condones the abuses and has opposed any reforms on the power to foreclose. We’ll talk about why they feel associations would collapse without the ability to wield so much power over their members and whether they have any plans to protect the homeowners they claim to represent.


Steve Siegel

On The Commons with us this week is Steven Siegel. Steve is a lawyer and a doctoral student at Columbia Law School. He wrote an article titled: “The Public Role in Establishing Private Residential Communities: Towards a New Formulation of Local Government Land Use Policies that Eliminates the Legal Requirements to Privatize New Communities in the United States” that was published in the Fall 2006 edition of The Urban Lawyer. Please join us On The Commons. We’ll talk about the ramifications of these trends and find out what he means by Public Service Exaction.


Evan McKenzie

On The Commons with us this week is Professor Evan McKenzie. Professor McKenzie is a political science professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, a practicing attorney, author of Privatopia: Homeowner Associations and the Rise of Residential Private Government, and a national and international authority on homeowner associations. Professor McKenzie maintains an active blog where he posts links to some of the many articles about homeowners associations, spicing them up with his comments that always hit the mark. On March 14, 2007 he posted an analysis of the Community Association Institutes official response to the AARP Bill of Rights. Please join us On The Commons. We’ll talk about the notion of a Homeowner Bill of Rights, whether it is necessary, who should write it up and how to implement it. On the Commons is broadcast live from WEBR Fairfax, Virginia.


Pia Trigiani

On The Commons with us is Pia Trigiani. Pia is a partner in the Virginia offices of Troutman Sanders. She specializes in property association law, is a member of CAI, writes for Common Ground, is a regular on the lecture circuit and is the recipient of many awards. Please join us On The Commons. We’ll talk about “building community” in mandatory membership associations.


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