Democracy: What a Meshuga Way to Run a Country -- or HOA

Can't we all get along? Oh, hell no.

Microcosmic world: Buzz recently received an email from the president of the homeowners association of our condominium, ordering all residents to remove personal property — door wreaths, potted plants, holiday displays, everything — from the building common areas. (There's actually a point to this anecdote. Stay with us.) Some residents had been complaining privately to board members about their neighbors' decorations. Otherwise normal people can get really cranky about things like that, so the board, rather than refereeing countless small battles, decided to make our buildings a decorative desert and call it peace.

But what about our mezuzas? some homeowners asked, referring to the small scrolls of scripture some Jewish people place on their doorposts as a sign of faith. Nope, the prez said. One rule for all! They gotta go.

Hoo-boy. Look, Buzz isn't saying we became physically ... um ... engorged at this point, but it was close. The prospect of gentile board members sending the maintenance guy out with a claw hammer to pry the mezuzas off homes that are within walking distance of two synagogues hit our dark, agnostic news-guy heart like an early Christmas — Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, whatever — present. A really good one, too. Like a pony or something.

Sadly, before a tiny religious war broke out — one Buzz could cover in pajamas — one of the board members figured out that the Texas Legislature this year passed a law that says HOAs can't do anything nearly as dumb and entertaining as order the removal of unobtrusive religious icons from doorways.

Fucking legislators. What buzzkills. As usual, it's no pony for Buzz. This is why we don't believe in God.

Of course, some of the residents are still pissed off about their neighbor's tackiness. "I'm surprised people don't realize that tasteless objects in the common areas are a 'turn off' & devaluate our property," one of the residents wrote in an email. Yeah, those damn, dumb tasteless people and their demands for self-expression that screw it up for the right-thinking folk.

As things stand now, residents from 40 condos will be called together to settle an issue that five HOA board members were unable to settle on their own. That's going to work out great.

We promised you this story would have a point, but we're about out of space, so we'll be brief: deficit super committee, Congress, politics, human nature, uncompromising ideologues. Really, isn't it about time we just call it a day for democracy?

 
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11 comments
Stephen
Stephen

You are welcome to come by anytime and I will give you some good reading on political science, you seem very deficient in your education concerning that subject. You give your tacit consent to follow all legally established guidelines your HOA board contrives so long as you are a resident at the Imperial House. You are welcome to contest any of its rulings.

Representative government works great, so long as it is protecting every individual's freedom equally. I'll tell you what doesn't work though, is collective ownership of property, as inevitably one person does something that another person does not like, so the board, in order to be fair to all, must outlaw said behavior of all residents.

Private property is the only rational form of property, and so long as you choose to live somewhere that tries to uphold the contradiction "collective" or "group" property, you're always going to run into this problem, as whoever is on your HOA board are actually the ones who control the disposal of said property, not you, nor any of the other home owners. This is why all collectivist states fail, and why they all inevitably become tyrannical. The solution is private ownership. Buy a house, or stop bitching--this is what you signed up for, literally. If you don't like it, blame yourself, not those people acting in the manner in which they were elected to act.

Stephen
Stephen

Wow, what an intolerable person you must be, as a writer, a neighbor, and thinker. But what scares me most is not your attack on your HOA board (of which my mother is a member), but to the implicit argument you only partially develop, that because your HOA board did something you as an individual disagree with that therefore all democracies and or representative governments fail. This is utterly fallacious, contradicts the historical record, and does not follow from any of the evidence provided. If you do not like your HOA board, you can elect new officials, or you can move. The only tyranny apparent is your childish need to break the rules which you agreed to follow when you moved in to this condo.

Oh sure, your condo, and the world for that matter, should do away with any and all governments elected by the people and instead elect you its master, because that definitely wouldn't be tyrannical, and that type of government has definitely never been oppressive towards religious minorities, especially those among the Jewish faith...oh wait. Idiot!

1_honestly_2
1_honestly_2

I live in this same condo, Patrick. You were on the board here just a year ago and were a part of several unpopular decisions yourself. Remember, you voted to sell the cherished bronzes that were ownd by ALL the owners. By what authority did you do this? You made a decsion for this property without considering the other 35 owners. Shame on you for your double standard. The mezuzahs stay by the way, but the lousy decorations some people choose to subject the rest of us to is not appropriate. The place has become tired looking and messy, in part because of lax enforcement of rules and regulations. The board wants the nursing home/ college dormitory feel of the place to go away. If you don't like the decsions they make then run for a board seat--again. Oh, sorry, you did and didn't get elected. HMMM! The CC&R's of this condo project say there is to be no personal property in common areas. We should all read these documents carefully before purchasing in a condo project. If you can't live by the rules, then move or keep your poisoned pen going, so you can vent on the world how horrible your living condition is because you were asked to remove a wreath.

The Iron Maiden
The Iron Maiden

Maybe if people refused to buy property in HOA neighborhoods the developers would stop creating them.

In the meantime anyone buying into one gets what they deserve. Mea Culpa

Kevin H
Kevin H

Once a sub-division is over 80% completed, the actual property owners can band together and TAKE OVER your HOA. HOA's, just like so many "good" things that were started, have become a massive revenue stream for the original developers that have long since moved on and could care less about where you live or what you do. SBB has had numerous lawsuits against them and we intend to fire SBB within 5 years from our neighborhood.

TimCov
TimCov

This emphasizes why you could not pay me to live someplace with an HOA. I have friends who are not Christian (far from it), yet their HOA requires them to put up lights every year. HOAs are absolutely horrible. The most I would be willing to accept would be deed restrictions (which can not be changed after you buy the property).I can understand the need for some sort of organization to pay for upkeep/maintenance of common areas and facilities. But, the rules should never change after you move in.

halldecker
halldecker

Should have made that:

not discuss anything to do with management of the property with a Board member outside of the monthly meetings. This is provoked by the claim of a board member that an 84 year old raised his voice at her while discussing landscaping.

halldecker
halldecker

Our HOA gets nuttier every year.

Most recently, we've had the announcement that once the Board has spoken, homeowners have no right to challenge anything they decide to do, including cut down all the trees on the property. And, homeowners are not to discuss anything to do with management of the property outside of the monthly meetings. The average age in my condos is 60, the HOA has started hiring an off-duty DPD officer for meetings.

This once was a great place to live. Now-days, the Rules require a notebook.

Blinds must be silver, I didn't know that, my new ones are a shade of white. HOA said I'd have to take them down, and the white sliding glass door has to go. There's nothing in the Rules that say I can't put duct tape on the blinds and door to make them silver. That's the last I heard of that.

Under existing Texas case law, an owner suing a HOA is suing themselves and all the other owners individually. It's virtually impossible.

The Legislature took a step in the right direction, there's a lot more that needs to be done.

Mister_Mean
Mister_Mean

Again it seems that home owners associations have too much time on their hands. What an ignorant insensitive bunch of slobs (regarding the mezuzas) the home owner board must be. I mean where have they been (hiding under a rock)? I am a Goyem (non Jew) but even I knew the significance of the mezuma in the Jewish culture.

Scott Roberts
Scott Roberts

Yeah, we bought a townhome with no HOA. Bad move. Weeds, dead shrubs, parking headaches, what a mess. Everyone doing whatever the hell they want with no regard for their neighbors is NOT the answer.

 
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