Saturday, April 10, 2004

...not to put too fine a point on it, but...
Fred Pilot has a comment regarding this paragraph in the Wasserman piece linked below:
"Amid more than 260,000 private communities nationally and 36,000 in California, at least one third have steadily put off raising necessary assessments for fear of political conflict, and now need repairs and facelifts for which they significantly lack money, say those who monitor homeowner association finances."

But according to Fred:
"I don't think Wasserman has it exactly right here since many HOA boards of directors as we know aren't all that politically responsive to the concerns of their constituents. In addition, boards can put assessment increases to a vote of the owners -- and in fact are required by law to do so in California if the increase exceeds 20 percent. I think the reluctance to increase regular assessments or levy special assessments is frequently because the directors themselves don't want to pay them. (You can quote me on your blog if you want)"

But...but...but...I thought this was local democracy at its finest...the 21st century version of the New England town meeting...
Green Valley News & Sun "HOA 'reform' losing ground"
Are those scare quotes around the word "reform," and if so why? The article stresses opposition to HB2402 from an association of associations.
Private communities come apart
When homeowners associations run short of cash, maintenance falls by the wayside

By Jim Wasserman, Associated Press

...What started 35 years ago as a pleasant community run by a private homeowners association has become an object lesson in the worst that can happen when such a neighborhood starts to unravel. Its original owners moved out, new owners failed to maintain the property, neglect accelerated into falling property values, then crime and eventual collapse. Now, state and local taxpayers are paying $80 million to turn it into a nonprofit housing complex called Phoenix Park. While extreme, it could be the fate of thousands of privately run communities throughout the nation, which are flirting with declines by failing to spend adequately on upkeep, even as owning a home in private communities has become the nation's fastest-growing lifestyle. Amid more than 260,000 private communities nationally and 36,000 in California, at least one third have steadily put off raising necessary assessments for fear of political conflict, and now need repairs and facelifts for which they significantly lack money, say those who monitor homeowner association finances.

I'd suggest you read the whole article. Jim Wasserman has been doing HOA stories for some time and knows his stuff. This is an issue I've been harping on for about fifteen years and I have yet to see much legislative interest in it. I guess they are waiting for a full blown meltdown. Can you say "savings and loan industry," boys and girls?
Here's the .pdf version of 4th DCA opinion in Villa De Las Palmas HOA v. Terifaj
One interesting aspect of the Terifaj case is that the "no pets" rule was not recorded at the time Terifaj bought her unit, but Terifaj knew the rule existed. In other words, she had actual notice of the covenant but not record notice. How important is that? If you look at most cases on HOA covenant enforcement they nearly always emphasize that the restrictions were recorded and that means the owner took the property subject to the restrictions. Here, if they weren't recorded at the time of her purchase, to put this in animal metaphor terms, is this a case of "sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander"?
Here's the 4th DCA opinion in Villa De Las Palmas HOA v. Terifaj - the Terifaj arguments
Here's a link to a summary of the Cal Supreme Court oral arguments in Villa De Las Palmas Homeowners Association v. Terifaj, held last Tuesday. Scroll down past the sex offender case to the bottom and you'll see it under the heading, "But Goldfish Don't Bark."
Paula Terifaj hugs her dog Rose
Why the Terifaj case?
The California Supreme Court is reviewing a lower court ruling in the Terifaj case, and I will link that opinion when I find it. But it is curious because Terifaj, which involves a "no pets" restriction, would seem to be governed by the Nahrsedt case that the Cal SC decided a few years back. That case said pet restrictions were reasonable and also established a pro-BOD standard for determining reasonableness (reasonable in the abstract rather than reasonable as applied in the instant case).

Anyway, why are they taking up such a similar issue? Does it mean they are going to reconsider Nahrstedt?

Here's some speculation from a person with some solid insider perspective, Marjorie Murray, Chief Legislative Advocate/CID Housing of the Congress of California Seniors:

Evan --

One ingredient which may be at work in the Supreme Court's willingness to review Paula Terifaj's case is AB 512 signed into California law last year. The law is obviously not retroactive.

However, it established the principles that (1) rulemaking is a joint function of boards and homeowners (2) rules must be in writing and promulgated (3) homeowners can exercise a referendum right in order to repeal rules. In other words, it establishes the principle -- without saying so -- that rulemaking is a political process and not the "rational" process that Nahrstedt presumes.

The sponsor of AB 512 was the California Law Revision Commission. You can come to your own conclusions about whether the court took this fact into consideration as well.

The Congress of California Seniors succeeded in getting AB 512 amended so that the original timetable for homeowners to respond to new rules proposed by the board was extended from 15 to 60 days. We also got it amended to make clear that boards could not deny homeowners access to membership records in order to organize a referendum, i.e. that access to records was a legitimate "member's interest" as defined in current California law.

Marjorie Murray
Chief Legislative Advocate/CID Housing
Congress of California Seniors

Friday, April 09, 2004

State: Bills threaten condo boards' sway: legislation in the works would change the way associations alter the existing rights of condo owners
"Florida lawmakers are considering changing state law to give Florida's 1.1-million condo owners a way to challenge rules about pets, rental rights or parking spaces. Two bills working their way through the Legislature would require condo boards to hold a public hearing on altering rights owners had when they moved in, such as renting their condo seasonally. Owners also could demand a poll of everyone; a right could not be changed unless a majority agreed. Sellers would be required to provide potential buyers a simplified disclosure form detailing the financial health of the condominium association, including liabilities, such as lawsuits or future assessments.To avoid lawsuits, the legislation would create a state ombudsman's office that could mitigate complaints between condo owners and their association boards, an idea that has drawn criticism from one of the state's leading condominium lawyers. A $4 annual state fee that condo owners already pay for regulatory oversight would fund the office. Much of that money now funds general state government. House sponsor Julio Robaina, R-Miami, also wants to create a state advisory council to propose future changes to state law or the ombudsman office."

The industry is not happy with this proposed legislation. To wit: "Meanwhile Gary Poliakoff of Fort Lauderdale, whose law firm, Becker & Poliakoff, represents more than 4,000 condo associations in the state, led the opposition. "Those bills deserved to be drowned," Poliakoff said last week. In early March, Poliakoff wrote his clients: "During the 31-plus years I have been an advocate for the rights of condominium owners ... I have never seen proposed legislation which is more destructive."
NBC 4 - House and Home - Houses Slip Further Out Of Californian's Reach
LOS ANGELES -- Slightly less than a quarter of Californians can afford to buy a median priced home, down from about 30 percent last year, a report released Thursday by the California Association of Realtors showed.

The minimum annual household income needed to buy a median-priced home at $394,300 in February was $91,690, based on a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage at 5.74 percent and a 20 percent downpayment, according to CAR. In February 2003, when the median price was $326,640 and the prevailing interest rate was 5.93 percent, CAR calculated the minimum annual income needed to buy a home was $77,220. Southern California's high desert area was most affordable area, with 55 percent of families earning enough to buy a median priced home.

And that is why people are spending four hours per day in their cars. Thanks to Fred Pilot for sending this link.
Southland's Census Story, in a Word: Boom!
Southern California picked up an estimated 1 million new residents over the last three years as the Bay Area — a population magnet during the dot-com boom — stagnated, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates. The figures show Southern California's pace of growth accelerating from the late 1990s — a finding that has significant consequences for a region already confronting congestion in everything from freeways to classrooms. In a reversal of past trends, most of Southern California's recent growth came from births — particularly in older, immigrant-heavy cities in Los Angeles and Orange counties — rather than from resettlement of adults seeking work, demographers said.Still, Southern California continues to attract new families — particularly to inland communities from Antelope Valley to Temecula, where homes cost less than in crowded coastal counties. "Cheap dirt … cheap houses," said John Husing, a Redlands economist. "No matter what anyone says, people continue to want a single-family detached home, and they will crawl over the hills from Orange and Los Angeles counties on their hands and knees to get it."

Indeed. So we have the Southern California population swelling by one million in three years, much of the growth being not in-migration of job seekers, as in the post-WWII years, but instead representing the high birthrate of immigrant families. That is very expensive growth because kids have to be educated, and that means pressure on the public schools and other public services. Note this from the article: "Andy McCue, director of the UC Riverside Center for Sustainable Suburban Development...predicted that swelling school-age populations in Riverside County alone over the next decade will require the construction of 36 elementary schools, 11 junior highs, and 10 high schools — costing an estimated $1.34 billion."

And the money to do that will come from...where, exactly? Homeowners? I don't think so.

As the article notes, traffic congestion is already beyond belief and getting worse. The cities, especially Los Angeles, are becoming unliveable for people who want the American Dream (as Husing notes above). So people are moving out to what was once the desert, where they end up in an HOA-run new development more often than not, that gives them at least the promise of suburban living--if you don't mind an ambient temperature that runs around 110 Fahrenheit in the summer and a four hour commute to work.

When I was a teenager I would ride my Yamaha 125 Enduro out in the desert around Palmdale and Lancaster. There was nothing anywhere to be seen but desert, and nobody complained about the howling of dozens of unmuffled two-stroke dirt bikes, because nobody could hear it. But now that whole area is full of houses, with the occupants driving two hours each way to LA and Orange County for work. The population explosion in Southern California is pushing people out to Pluto in search of a place to live a decent life. How long can this continue? What are the limits of this process? More to the point, is it the case that nobody in or out of government has the power to stop, slow, or even rationalize it?
Administrative agency to oversee Calif. HOAs?
Check out the latest from the California Law Revision Commission, where they are discussing the pros and cons of that very idea. It seems that it would be an agency with regulatory power, like the FCC or OSHA. This type of agency normally has rule-making authority, the ability to investigate alleged violations of those rules and bring charges, and some sort of administrative adjudication power. In other words, the HOA oversight agency would be...sort of like an HOA :-)

Thursday, April 08, 2004

Neighbors howl about dog-park plan

Thanks to Mika Sadai for passing along this story. Here's a bit of it:

The pampered pooches of Birmingham have had their own bakery, water bowls
strategically placed throughout the shopping district and the kind of
fashionable attire any discriminating doggie would not be caught dead

Now, they're getting their own park.

But the plan to designate a dog park on the border of Bloomfield Hills irks
some Bloomfield Estates subdivision residents, who are unleashing a lawsuit
on the City of Birmingham. Dog doo -- and the other issues associated with
cavorting canines -- doesn't belong in their neighborhood, they've argued to
Oakland County Circuit Judge Deborah Tyner. She has scheduled a motion for
summary disposition on April 21.

"Dogs bark and they make noise and they stink and they leave things behind
on property," said Raymond Morrow, the Troy-based Bloomfield Estates
Homeowners Association attorney. "The people that live across the street and
next to it, they're aghast at this."

Thanks to attorney Morrow for informing us that dogs bark AND make noise. I did not know this. Ours, a large rottweiler-descended mutt named Rocko, can only bark, so perhaps we should teach him to play the French horn so that he can keep up with the other dogs who are more versatile. He doesn't stink, although he does have a needle-sharp set of king-size choppers, one of which accidentally made an inch-long rip in my right palm a couple of months ago, requiring five stitches. It was entirely my fault. Poor Rocko didn't even know what happened and was very worried about me. I think.
Why 44% of New Hampshire voters should not be allowed to vote in November

44% of them think the US economy is still in recession

...a recession is defined as two or more quarters of negative growth in the Gross Domestic Product

and the economy has had positive economic growth for NINE consecutive quarters.

I think anybody who still believes the national economy is in recession should stay home on November 2, 2004, and watch reruns of The Dukes of Hazzard. Leave the voting to grown-ups, OK?

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

AZ foreclosure bill clears committee, but in radically reduced form
HB 2402, that would have made HOAs wait 3 years to foreclose and also require that the foreclosure sale be for fair market value, passed out of the Senate Government Committee today, but in a form that leaves its proponent unhappy. I hear from several people that the committee was set to vote a clear "no" on the bill, so a deal was struck that removed the three-year waiting period and fair market value provision, along with other language. What is left? No foreclosure for fines generated from rules violations. A massive disappointment for the bill's proponents, but on the other hand banning foreclosure for fines is something they certainly wanted, so it's a net gain on the reform front. The industry people, such as the CAI folks who strongly opposed the bill, can live with what passed and I hear they are ecstatic over the outcome. --
The Service Employees International Union is endorsing the Florida bills numbered H1223 and S2498 that would create an ombudsman office, mandate disclosure of BOD conflicts of interest, require "buyer beware" notices, and other measures. It is unusual for these HOA consumer protection bills to get support from interest groups, so this is a noteworthy development.
Charlotte Observer: Trash gets unequal treatment at condos--Some townhomes get own rollout containers; others must share bins (warning: registration required)

A double taxation conflict rears its head: "It's unjust," Schultze said. "We pay our taxes and we should be provided with the services the rest of the city gets."

MSNBC - Private guards repel attack on headquarters--Blackwater Security sends helicopter to ferry out wounded Marine

An attack by hundreds of Iraqi militia members on the U.S. government's headquarters in Najaf on Sunday was repulsed not by the U.S. military, but by eight commandos from a private security firm, according to sources familiar with the incident.

I have noticed the tenor of news coverage about the thousands of private security people in Iraq--overwhelmingly negative, often referring to them as "mercenaries." These are mostly ex-military from what I have read. The ones who were murdered and their bodies desecrated by maniacs in Fallujah were providing security for a food convoy. The ones in this story about Najaf performed heroically and saved the life of a wounded Marine, among others.

What exactly is the problem with this that has Dan Rather et al in a flat spin? First, it seems to me that plenty of people need protection in Iraq right now, and the military isn't mainly in the security guard business, so what exactly is the mainstream media's problem? Second, it is my understanding that these news agencies are some of the main employers of these folks for their own protection, so their surprise at the existence of "mercenaries" is obviously feigned and supremely hypocritical.

Maybe a security guard is a mercenary if hired by anybody other than a news agency. Is that the rule?
Mercury News: A police presence for gated homes--Silver Creek complex to get traffic patrols

To outsiders, the gated community surrounding the Silver Creek Valley Country Club has everything a neighborhood could want: million-dollar homes, security guards, well-groomed yards and scenic views. But residents say there's one thing they don't have: a way to stop drivers from speeding on the 30 miles of roads inside the 1,500-acre community. That will change in May, when San Jose traffic officers will begin to enforce the laws that apply to private property as well as public. It's the first time an upscale community, which maintains the private roads with homeowner fees, has received the city service.

Well, that's a switch. Usually cities avoid responsibility for things like this. Some CIDs have private speed limits and private speeding tickets.
Voters in Inglewood Turn Away Wal-Mart
"A bid by the world's largest corporation to bypass uncooperative elected officials and take its aggressive expansion plans to voters failed Tuesday, as Inglewood residents overwhelmingly rejected Wal-Mart's proposal to build a colossal retail and grocery center without an environmental review or public hearings. "
So there won't be a Walmartville after all. But note this comment from a local lawmaker: "They want to be the big gorilla and not even offer one banana," Assemblyman Jerome Horton (D-Inglewood) said Tuesday. "Clearly, this is a test site for Wal-Mart to determine if they can go from city to city to city, preempting state law and local building and safety codes…. I think everyone should prepare for a full frontal attack from Wal-Mart." That is an interesting prospect. Wal-Mart could go voter shopping until they find 40 places where the population is willing to give them the extremely one-sided arrangement they want--one no public official would ever agree to, but maybe some voters somewhere will. They could probably stretch the opposition pretty thin if they hit four or five towns at once...

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Are the lights out? OK, the meeting is called to order...
Fred Pilot passes along a message that somebody sent to a newsgroup about a unique approach to parliamentary procedure that goes on in their HOA:
Sez Fred: "Memo to HOA directors: If the HOA is going broke and you don't want the bad news to get out and wreck your property values, hold board meetings in unlit rooms.: [anonymous post to newsgroup follows:]
'They have not announced it publicly, as they don't announce anything
publicly (except assessments and monthly fee increases). All secret and
hush-hush!! In fact they frequently hold secret meetings, (with the lights out) in the Rec room so that Homeowners won't know that they have been meeting. (all illegal of course).'
How come my department heads over the years never thought of this? We've been holding meetings with the lights on! Wow. A Homer Simpson moment.

Monday, April 05, 2004

A modest proposal
I'm following Fred Pilot's observation (see post below) to its logical conclusion. Let's end all the squabbling about assessment collection and the abuse of foreclosure power by having the other utilities follow the lead of the US Postal Service. Give the HOA the final responsibility for delivery of water, electricity, and gas, just as they are now getting the tail end of mail delivery. They get the final job of turning on and off the utilities, just like the Postal Service is giving them the keys to the mailbox. Then instead of foreclosing on those who don't pay assessments on time, the HOA can turn off all their utilities as well as shutting down their mail. Send them into the Middle Ages until they cough up the bread. Don't pay on time? Fine. No problem. See how you like living in 1365.
Las Vegas SUN: Postal proposal prompts concerns
Monica Caruso passed this story along to me.
Responsibility for keys would be shifted to homeowner groups
"Homeowners and renters who need keys or lock changes for their mailboxes soon will have to get them from their home builder or homeowners association instead of a post office, if the U.S. Postal Service has its way.The Postal Service says it is making that change to save money. But critics say it will lead to less privacy and security in an age where mail theft is an easy route to identity theft...

Julene Hayworth, a former aide to Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., turned government affairs specialist for the Southern Nevada Home Builder Association, said that the ultimate impact of the postal policy will be to make postal officials out of homeowners association leaders or federal agents out of builders.

"They don't want to be responsible for the keys," she said. "But you are still under federal law. Mail tampering is a federal, criminal law. You are asking homeowners associations and builders to be liable under federal law."

Another concern among home builders is that homeowners associations often have come into conflict with their residents, creating a potentially troubling situation when an association could have access to the private correspondence of a resident."

So now we are privatizing the ultimate responsibility for mail delivery and handing it over to our new level of amateur government? Who comes up with these ideas? As Fred Pilot observes, "Not going along with the program or paying your assessments? You can pick up your mailbox key at the HOA manager's office-- provided you bring a cashier's check for the full amount of your fines, late assessments and of course any late charges and attorneys fees." Indeed. But here's an interesting wrinkle. Many HOA disputes involve issues of notice, such as whether the HOA gave the owner notice of violation or delinquent payments, and often that notice is delivered by....US Mail. Which under this proposal will be in the ultimate control of the HOA.

Don't associations have enough to do already without turning them into the Pony Express?

Stymied by Politicians, Wal-Mart Turns to Voters--to create regulation-free city-within-a-city...per New York Times
INGLEWOOD, Calif., April 2 — As Wal-Mart continues its march across the American landscape, this Los Angeles suburb of 112,000 people is the latest testing ground for the company's exercise of political and marketing muscle. Inglewood voters go to the polls on Tuesday to decide whether to turn over 60 acres of barren concrete adjacent to the Hollywood Park racetrack to Wal-Mart to create a megastore and a collection of chain shops and restaurants. The ballot initiative is sponsored by Wal-Mart, which collected more than 10,000 signatures to put the question to voters after the Inglewood City Council blocked the proposed development last year, citing environmental, traffic, labor, public safety and economic concerns.

While Wal-Mart has turned to the ballot in a number of cities and towns to win the right to build its giant emporiums, the Inglewood initiative is significantly different. The proposal would essentially exempt Wal-Mart from all of Inglewood's planning, zoning and environmental regulations, creating a city-within-a-city subject only to its own rules. Wal-Mart has hired an advertising and public relations firm to market the initiative and is spending more than $1 million to support the measure, known as initiative 04-A.

The electoral aspects of this are fascinating. Inglewood is an old suburb located on the border of Los Angeles, right next to Los Angeles International Airport and including Hollywood Park, the gigantic horse racing track. The city, the story notes, is about half black and half latino and the unions and community groups are heavily opposed to the initiative. Now, tomorrow we will see how many voters of a liberal demographic slant will vote to create a private corporate city-within-a-city, overriding their own elected representatives to do so. As the story notes, if this effort succeeds Wal-Mart can be expected to do the same thing elsewhere (they want to build 40 more of these super-stores in California within the next 5 years!) As the song "New York, New York" goes, "if I can make it here, I'll make it anywhere, come through for me...INGLEWOOD?"
Here's the link for downloading the PPIC studyl
Finally their site is back up. The report, Planned Developments in California: Private Communities and Public Life, is by
Tracy M. Gordon and the pdf version is downloadable.
Chicago Tribune: Ill wind blows in California over feng shui idea
Lawmaker ignores snickers, proposes new building codes to accommodate earth energies
By Michael Martinez
Tribune national correspondent
Published April 5, 2004

LOS ANGELES -- What troubled California needs is some good chi.

So says Democratic Assemblyman Leland Yee of San Francisco, the speaker pro tempore in the Legislature's lower chamber, who is sponsoring a resolution urging the state architect and local municipalities to revise their building rules and regulations to better allow for feng shui.

Yes, the usual California jokes already have begun, Yee acknowledged.
Feng shui, which means "wind" and "water," considers location, land, building shape, neighboring structures and history of use in establishing spaces that make people feel at ease with their surroundings. Room arrangement, color, furniture placement and landscaping also are design factors.

For example, entry into a home shouldn't have a straight view to the outside because the chi rushes right out of the space, experts said. In offices, desks should face toward a door, and workers can use rock gardens, little fountains and plants to evoke a natural environment, experts said.

Can you imagine some new feng shui CC&Rs? If you think banning solar panels is bad, imagine the association telling you which way you can point your desk.

Napless Daily News: Furor over solar panels
Solar storm
Homeowners wishing to install solar panels often find themselves in conflict with associations concerned with aesthetics
April 3, 2004
"...many homeowner associations in Florida try to keep residents from putting solar panels on their rooftops, despite a state law that prohibits such restrictions."

And according to the article, so do some municipalities. The issue seems to be that many people think solar panels are ugly.

Sunday, April 04, 2004 -- News -- County explores new ways to combat flow of red ink

Thanks to Fred Pilot for sending me the link to this story about how Sacramento County, California, is in major financial trouble:
"Desperate to shrink a horrific budget deficit, Sacramento County economic development officials are pressing to reverse a longtime county policy and start chasing "big-box" stores...While many California counties are hurting, Sacramento County's penchant for heavy residential development has left it with a collection of aging bedroom communities that offer little in the way of sales tax growth."

So what happened is the county allowed lots of residential development in unincorporated county land, and then several of these large subdivision areas became municipalities that attracted retail. So now the unincorporated areas of the county lack retail, which means the county budget can't draw on much of a sales tax base. The problem is that 47% of the county's population lives in unincorporated areas. That adds up to a major imbalance between the cost of services the county provides to those people, and the revenue base.
The PPIC website is down...
...but thanks to Fred Pilot I have a copy of their California CID study and it is quite an interesting piece of work. It deseves serious consideration, but I'm on a publication deadline so I can't spend a couple of hours with it. Still, after a quick scan, I don't see how Weintraub could arrive at the interpretation of the study he presented in his article. I wonder if he lives in a gated community and doesn't want to feel guilty about it. :-)

I'd say the study pretty much supports the general trends Reich, Barton and Silverman, myself, and others anticipated years ago. Maybe it isn't as dramatic as Reich's "secession of the successful," but that was said for dramatic effect anyway, in a magazine. And the trends are blurred if you consider all CIDs as part of the same sector, because of low-end condos being lumped in with high-end developments--there are now CIDs at all parts of the price range.

And in any event, if you are trying to see whether the rich are seceding into Privatopia, the issue is not "what percentage of CID-dwellers are rich?" The issue is, "What percentage of the rich live in CIDs?" And if the answer is, "most of them," or "many of them, and the percentage is increasing," then the fact that there are trickle-down CIDs for the less affluent is beside the point (except that it bodes ill for the future financial health of such CIDs). This study doesn't go at the question this way. It asks questions about CID housing as a single sector and compares it with traditional housing as a sector. This is great, and I'm all for doing it, but it doesn't resolve the question of whether the successful are seceding. For that, you need to study the successful.

Also, it is clear that using voting as the measure of civic participation, as the PPIC study does, is a major mistake that leads to an erroneous theoretical conclusion. People often vote out of the most selfish, anti-community, motivations imaginable (in fact, most models of voting assume self-interested voters). Voter turnout is correlated with wealth, education, and age, not a desire to participate in community life. So yes, the residents of CIDs are voting, but no, that doesn't mean they are active participants in the life of the community outside their gates and walls. You need to know things that are harder to measure. It is easy to get voter turnout. It is hard to see how people are really living.

This sort of thing is common in social science. Remember the joke about the cop who approaches the drunk standing under a streetlight and asks him what he's doing? Drunk says, "Looking for my keys." Cop says, "Where did you lose them?" Drunk says, "Across the street." Cop says, "So why are you looking for them over here?" Drunk say, "Because the light is better over here."

Q&A with Mark Baldassare, Public Policy Institute of California which he says the following:

"I think that if we don't close the achievement gap in this state, then we are creating a society in which we will have the rich and the poor, the well-off, the people who have advantages and the people who don't, the people who have good jobs and the people who don't, people who depend upon public institutions for their support, and people who can go to private institutions."

And of course that's why people who agree with Dr. Baldassare, head of research at the PPIC, voted against vouchers and for easier school bond funding. But CID owners disproportionately voted the other way, according to the PPIC study. -- Opinion -- Daniel Weintraub: Life behind gates isn't so isolating
This is an article about a new study from the Public Policy Institute of California that I haven't read yet. Check out this, from the Weintraub article:
"The study found that voters in planned communities were almost evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats, with each around 40 percent, compared to a big advantage for Democrats in traditional neighborhoods. But at least in 2000, their voting behavior was not terribly different from the rest of the state.

"While 28 percent of voters outside planned communities supported a proposition authorizing state-funded school vouchers, for example, 31 percent of voters in planned communities voted for the measure. And while 56 percent of voters outside planned neighborhoods supported a measure making it easier for voters to approve local school bonds, 52 percent of residents inside planned communities supported the proposition. Results like this suggest a slight conservative tilt, but given the partisan trends already noted, it's surprising that the political differences aren't greater."

So, CIDs are significantly more Republican and show more support for private schools and less support for public schools. And these are exactly the kinds of differences that I and other observers have suggested we would see. But according to Weintraub, the study is "casting doubt on old assumptions about gated communities, and the extent to which their residents wall themselves off not only from their neighbors but from the rest of society and its civic life as well."

Doesn't look that way from the evidence in the article. I'd say those differences may be statistically significant, but I'll suspend judgement until I see the study.