Thursday, November 30, 2006

The Peace Wreath
Look what just came in over the transom. Thanks, Jim, for a fine piece of Peacemas poetry.

Every Loma at Lindaville liked Peace a lot
But the Grinch and his Cronies certainly DID NOT!
This Grinch hated Peace!
The whole Peacetime season!
Now please don't ask why, no one quite knows the reason!
It could be perhaps he just liked to fight, or
Maybe his head was screwed on to the Right.
But we think the most likely reason of all
May have been that his heart was two sizes too small.

No matter the reason.
His heart or his head,
He felt really bad, and troubled instead.
The more the Grinch dwelled on the Peace Sign thing
the more he ached to stop the whole thing!
"I must stop this Peace Wreath from being,...but how!
"I know what I'll do, I won't stand this abuse"
He thunked to himself "All I need's an excuse"

He looked for an excuse to take the Wreath down.
But, since excuses are scarce there were none to be found.
Did that stop this ol' Grinch...?
NO! The Grinch simply said
"If I can't find an excuse I'll make one instead!"
He did better than that, he made a Big List,
and Right here they are, and some we have missed.

The Wreath may offend, or it might not be nice,
it might be for Pagans, who drink wine with ice!
Maybe it's code, all secret and sneaky,
Maybe these Loma's are just being cheeky!
Then he fired his cronies (who weren’t so uptight),
They said it’s not bad, but the Lights kept him up nights!
He puzzled and twisted and puzzled some more,
He listed excuses, till his Puzzler was sore.

Then finally his Puzzler hit on the Thing!
Maybe really this Wreath’s not such a bad Zing!
Maybe Peace to the World isn’t so bad,
Maybe Peace to the World, shouldn’t make him so Mad!
Imagine; a world where folks spoke up for Peace!
Like Lisa, the Loma, with her Peace Wreath!

And what happened then...?
In Lindaville they say
That the Grinch's small heart
Grew three sizes that day!
And the minute his heart didn't feel quite so tight
He could answer his phone and not hide all the night!
He stopped all his Trickzies, and called off his goons
...and he hung back the Wreath, by the light of the moon!

Jim Fuge
Southwest Colorado Peace and Justice Coalition - HOA surrenders on peace wreath
Thanks to Jim Bowers for pointing me to this. He also suggests a parallel to the big issue in the Twin Rivers case pending before the New Jersey Supreme Court: restriction of basic liberties by a private government. In the Colorado situation, the board members had the decency to resign. That's a good example for others, in my book.

A Pagosa Springs subdivision may have some peace again after a homeowners' association threatened to fine a resident for putting up a Christmas wreath shaped like a peace sign. But the Loma Linda subdivision is now scrambling to assemble a new association board after the three members resigned today. The directors of the Loma Linda Homeowners Association apologized Monday to Lisa Jensen and Bill Trimarco for threatening to fine the couple $25 a day if they didn't remove their lighted wreath. The wreath had been characterized as a divisive symbol that violated the subdivision rules against displaying signs or advertisements.

American Chronicle: Pretty Fascist Communism
Thanks to Nancy Levy for sending the link to this amazing piece of writing by Nancy Levant, who links HOA living to a transformation of American society, as we become a society "prettified" by elites:

It seems that America the nation has undergone a facelift. It’s out with the old - the tried and true – and in with all that is new, licensed, inspected, controlled, manipulated, and mandated by “renewal” projects, environmental “sustainability,” “associations,” and by the “appointments” of “regional” intellectuals. It is amazing how America has transformed – and all at the insistence of American elites who are, themselves, led by international/financial governors...Just look at all the new and pretty homeowner association communities. Nice walkways, landscaping, uniform paint, brick, and stone jobs, and all the rules to keep things “nice” from the propensity of the human being to individualize his living quarters. Please! The rich know far better how to decorate and maintain quality living. We need not concern ourselves with yards, exterior maintenance, or controlling our behaviors and choices. “They” know far better how to manage our lives, and they provide us with beautifully printed rule books (not booklets, mind you, but books) on how to be proper “community” dwellers. And they also maintain our “common” areas and even plant and maintain our flowers and bushes – the one’s they select to beautify our “community.” All very pretty and nice – and all across America we see that uniformity is best for “the people,” and this uniformity must be maintained.

Read the whole thing.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Freshly Baked Handouts Forbidden in Fairfax -
I have this feeling that local governments are starting to emulate HOAs. Here's an example. Fairfax County is wall to wall HOAs. And now this exercise in stupidity:

The casserole has been canned. Under a tough new Fairfax County policy, residents can no longer donate food prepared in their homes or a church kitchen -- be it a tuna casserole, sandwiches or even a batch of cookies -- unless the kitchen is approved by the county, health officials said yesterday. They said the crackdown on home-cooked meals is aimed at preventing food poisoning among homeless people...."We're very aware that a number of homeless people eat out of dumpsters, and mom's pot roast has got to be healthier than that," said Jim Brigl, chief executive of Fairfax Area Christian Emergency & Transitional Services. "But that doesn't meet the code."

Article - News - It's good to be a supervisor
Fred Pilot sent this amazing story from the Orange County Register about the lavish pay and perks bestowed on Orange County Board of Supervisors. And all the HOA residents get to chip in for this extravagance, along with paying through the nose to their HOA for private infrastructure and services that the County and municipalities don't provide for them. How long before the double taxation initiative movement gets going?

Imagine a job where you earn about $200,000 a year – a package that includes $59,000 in benefits, a $600 monthly car allowance and all the free gas you can guzzle.

You get a staff of at least six people, an annual operating budget of about $800,000, 12 paid holidays and a BlackBerry.

This same job offers you two free parking spots in a covered, secure garage. You also get a semi-private elevator – used by just you and four other people – to whisk you up and drop you at the back door of your large, fifth-floor office.

Oh, and you can take on a few other side jobs that will pay you stipends of several thousand more a year. And you don't have to pay Social Security taxes.

Inca justice system eyed by Morales may use whipping - World - The Washington Times, America's Newspaper
I wonder how long it will take for some HOAs to adopt this approach?

THE HAGUE -- Bolivian President Evo Morales, on a state visit to the Netherlands, said he is searching for a new model of democracy that could include reviving the ancient tradition of whipping petty criminals as an alternative to jail.
"When I was a kid I was punished several times, being whipped and lashed," the leftist president said Monday in a speech to an audience of businessmen and government officials from both Bolivia and the Netherlands.
On Architecture: The suburbs don't have to be boring
Nancy Levy forwarded this piece about how to make suburbs good places to live and raise families, and also "interesting," like big cities. Here's one of the suggestions:

"Encourage eccentricity. The single most positive thing suburban neighborhoods could do for themselves is to throw out every one of the CC&Rs (conditions, covenants and restrictions in legalese) that relate to architecture and landscaping. Residents have a legitimate interest in protecting property values by insisting on reasonable maintenance standards -- fences shouldn't rot, paint shouldn't decay and junk cars shouldn't be left to decompose in driveways. But the rules that restrict colors, alterations and additions keep suburban neighborhoods from reflecting the increasing diversity and individuality of the people who live in them."

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

BREITBART.COM - Existing Home Sales Rise, Prices Fall
Sales of existing homes posted a tiny increase in October, the first gain in eight months, but the median price of homes sold last month fell by a record amount. The National Association of Realtors said Tuesday that existing home sales edged up 0.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.24 million. It marked the first sales increase since February. However, the median, or midpoint, price for a home sold dropped to $221,000 in October, a decline of 3.5 percent from a year ago. That was the biggest year-over-year price decline on record. It marked the third straight month that home prices have fallen compared to the same period a year ago, the longest stretch of such declines on record.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Homeowner associations can be very good or very bad
That is the philosophical headline of the recent story about HOAs. I'm quoted if you read down far enough.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Now, here's a law to reckon with...
Here's some language from Texas' HB222, called to my attention by the ever alert Fred Pilot and circulating around the newsgroups. It's nice to see this acknowledgement of the fact that municipalities in many states are mandating the creation of HOAs as a condition of allowing construction.

"Sec. 212.002. RULES
...A municipality may not adopt a rule that requires the creation of a property owners' association as a condition of approving a plat."
Colo. subdivision bans wreath peace sign - Yahoo! News
Thanks to Fred Pilot for this sample of holiday spirit, HOA style. There is a photo of the offending wreath. Anti-Iraq protest, symbol of Satan, or just a Hippie Holiday? You be the judge.

DENVER - A homeowners association in southwestern Colorado has threatened to fine a resident $25 a day until she removes a Christmas wreath with a peace sign that some say is an anti-Iraq war protest or a symbol of Satan.