Friday, June 17, 2005 Angry resident paints giant lemons on her condo's windows in protest
Nancy Levy sends this lemony-fresh slice of home-grown, vitamin C-enriched, protest.
Attorney General Crist Joins Cruiser Conflict - Yahoo! News
From Fred Pilot: followup on the HOA that thinks a police car is bad for property values.

The state attorney general is joining in a conflict between a police officer who parks his cruiser in his driveway and the homeowner's association that doesn't want him to. The Carton Ranches Homeowner's Association is threatening legal action against Miami Beach police officer Kevin Millan. The association wants Millan to stop parking his police car in his driveway because they say it is a "commercial vehicle" and an eyesore.

Broad Beach Sand Battle Results in Denials, Outrage
Fred Pilot sends this long roundup on the sand grab in Malibu that suggests the rich HOA residents are trying to keep the public away from their sacrosanct property:

Following years of litigation between the California Coastal Commission and the Trancas Property Owners Association over public access issues at Broad Beach, a new dispute arose last week after the homeowners association contracted skip loaders to move tons of sand from the shoreline along Broad Beach and form berms near private beachfront homes. As first reported in last week's Los Angeles Times, the Coastal Commission quickly issued notice-of-intent orders that abruptly put an end to the sand relocation, but not before a large sand berm, approximately eight feet in height in some places and 1.1 miles long, had already been constructed. Immediately following the construction of the large berm, water began to get trapped in and around the beach's tidal zone-the section of beach where the public is allowed to congregate-making public access to the beach extremely difficult...
Philocrites: Domino's founder's dream: A Catholic utopia.
From Beth Young comes this link to Philocrites, with a story about a proposed Catholic HOA.

Ave Maria won’t be just a university, he continues. It will also be a new town, built from scratch, in which the wickedness of the world will be kept at bay. "We’ve already had about 3500 people inquire on our Web site about buying a home there — you know, they’re all Catholic," Monaghan says excitedly. "We’re going to control all the commercial real estate, so there’s not going to be any pornography sold in this town. We’re controlling the cable system. The pharmacies are not going to be able to sell condoms or dispense contraceptives." A private chapel will be located within walking distance of each home. At the stunning church in the center of town, Mass will be said hourly, seven days a week, from 6 a.m. on. "So," Monaghan concludes, with just a hint of understatement, "it’ll be a unique town." As he exits the stage, the applause is thunderous.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Giscard regrets proposed EU constitution sent to French people

Sounds like the same theory we use with CC&Rs--you're stuck with it, even though it's impossible to understand.
It was a crucial mistake to send out the entire constitution to every French voter, the architect of the EU's first constitution Valéry Giscard d'Estaing has said in an interview. In an interview with the New York Times, his first since the French rejection of the constitution two weeks ago, the former French president apportions most of the blame to president Jacques Chirac for failure in the referendum campaign. One crucial mistake was to send out the entire three-part, 448-article document to every French voter, said Mr Giscard...Over the phone he had warned Mr Chirac already in March: "I said, 'Don't do it, don't do it'". "It is not possible for anyone to understand the full text".

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Freedom to Display the American Flag Act of 2005
A condominium association, cooperative association, or residential real estate management association may not adopt or enforce any policy, or enter into any agreement, that would restrict or prevent a member of the association from displaying the flag of the United States on residential property within the association with respect to which such member has a separate ownership interest or a right to exclusive possession or use.

So says this bill introduced in the United States House of Represenatives by Rep. Roscoe B. Bartlett of Maryland. It is currently in the Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity. Thanks to Fred Pilot for notifying me about this. The same bill was introduced last Congress under the number H.R. 5301 but it didn't get anywhere.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Bronze calf dedicated in politician's honor -
From Montana comes evidence that some people need to take a look at the Old Testament. Coming soon: a plague of locusts hits Butte. Oh, and the honoree is a Republican.

CHEYENNE - A bronze calf was dedicated Thursday to former Gov. and U.S. Sen. Clifford Hansen for his contributions to Wyoming and the farm and ranch industry.

Mount Mt. Clemens, Michigan: Residents hit street to fight prostitution

Here's an example of some serious volunteer action:

North Gratiot Neighborhood Watch members spent two days this week posing as streetwalkers and vagrants in an area north of the Mount Clemens downtown section known for its street crime. When potential customers pulled over, the activists handed out a flier that said, "If you're soliciting sex and/or drugs in this neighborhood, you are being videotaped. Stay tuned for the 11 (o'clock) news. Zero tolerance."

Buffalo News - Packets will offer advice on how to be good neighbor
From Fred Pilot comes this news of this HOA program. I wonder if the "lessons" include a warning about what happens to you if you let your grass grow too long.

Lessons on how to be a good neighbor will be spreading to new areas of Cheektowaga this month. A package of information delivered last year by volunteers to 2,500 homes in the Pine Hill-Walden area will be distributed this year to the Harlem-Kensington-Cleveland and Cedar Grove Heights communities. "Everybody wants a clean, safe neighborhood," said Stanley Kaznowski III, president of the Town Park Homeowners Association. Homeowners will be reminded to keep the lawn mowed, repair the gutters and windows and put the garbage cans out the night before pickup. Renters will get a list of their responsibilities and where to call if the landlord doesn't live up to his. Kaznowski and the Town Park Homeowners Association initiated the distribution last year. "It just gives people hope that people care about the neighborhood," Kaznowski said.
Indiana: Gary Urban Enterprise Association still avoiding inspection: Critics question whether new board has fulfilled state mandates

Nancy Levy send this story, noting the way non-profits sometimes decide that "non" part is just a meaningless little prefix that shouldn't prevent them from making money when they get the chance...

The new Gary Urban Enterprise Association board and its lawyer have slipped through a crack in open-door laws and are refusing to provide state-requested reports on the embattled nonprofit agency...No one appears able -- or willing -- to provide basic factual information on the nonprofit, whose former directors allegedly stole hundreds of thousands of dollars for personal travel and shopping sprees. After The Times obtained parts of a preliminary fraud investigation report by Crowe Chizek, the board has not sent anything further to the state, which must provide public access to the documents.

Californians taking big risks to buy homes, report warns | The San Diego Union-Tribune
From Fred Pilot comes this cautionary tale. But Obi-Wan Greenspan says this is just "froth," and nothing to worry about. Personally, I wouldn't buy a $600,000 home in San Diego with an adjustable rate loan if you held a gun to my head.

Desperate to enter the housing market before prices soar even higher, Californians are taking on larger and riskier mortgage debts, Harvard University warned today in its annual report on the nation's housing...In high-cost markets such as San Diego County, most purchases are made with adjustable-interest-rate loans...

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Residents want say in subdivision group
Fred Pilot sends this story about a developer who seems reluctant to give up control of an HOA, far beyond the 3 years or 75% sold time limit imposed by state law. This is about ten miles from where we live, up here in Lake County, IL:

ROUND LAKE — Homeowners want control — control of their homeowners' associations, that is. More than a dozen residents from the Remington Trail subdivision showed up at Monday's Village Board meeting to ask for board help gaining control of their association from the developer. "We would appreciate any help you could provide," said John Gutknecht, alleging the association is being mismanaged by three employees from Remington Homes. "They've been totally inadequate to respond to us," Gutknecht said, adding association control was promised to the homeowners once 90 percent of the homes in the development were sold. "They have been at 89 percent for the last two years," Gutknecht said. Gutknecht presented a petition which he said had 33 signatures. With the 15 residents in the audience, he said, that represented 55 percent of Remington Trail owners. By state law, Gutknecht said, the turnover percentage should be at 75 percent sold or after three years, not 90 percent and five years.

Boca Dunes residents want to take control from Country Club
From Fred Pilot, this story about folks who want to form an HOA to clean up the area, because the golf club that has the job of enforcing CC&Rs isn't doing it up to par. Includes picturesque language from two residents:

"It'd help bring a better class of people in here and prevent people from owning 80 pit bulls and parking broken cars in their driveways," she says..."A homeowners association would really keep people in line more. You wouldn't have the cars and the mess. And if you live normal, then you don't have to worry about the HOA coming after you," she said.
The Advocate - Murder victim's father sues condo complex
Here, from Nancy Levy, is a example of the kind of potential liability a condo association can incur by having "gated community"-type security measures...if they aren't effective. It is common now to have a guardhouse that is never manned, because it looks like security, but doesn't require a paycheck...

STAMFORD -- The father of Anna-Lisa Raymundo is suing the waterfront condominium complex where she was brutally murdered in 2002, claiming it didn't have the proper security in place. Renato Raymundo of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., says there is a guardhouse at the Palmer Landing Community on Harbor Drive, yet no one was manning it on the day of the murder. "The guardhouse is never manned," his lawsuit states.