Saturday, January 13, 2007

Blair wants 'super-Asbos' for violent thugs - Sunday Times - Times Online
An ASBO is an "Anti-Social Behaviour Order," a legal device used in Great Britain to target "anti-social" people and order them not to do things that might be otherwise legal but in their case are likely threatening or otherwise disruptive to public peace and order. Now the idea is to expand this and target violent people with even more restrictive court orders. Would this approach be acceptable to the public in the US?

These new “super-Asbos” will be aimed not only at people who have a history of violent behaviour or who have just left prison but also those who may not yet have committed an offence. According to a Home Office document outlining the plan, to be published next month, the measures will ban potential trouble-makers from certain areas or mixing with certain people, alert police when they move house and possibly force them to live in a named hostel, give details of vehicles they own and impose a curfew on them.
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online - CONDO CONTROVERSY: Municipalities grapple with condo assessments
This story is from New York state. I didn't know about this strange law giving tax breaks to condos:

Under a state law with roots in New York City, homes under a condominium association are assessed as though they were apartments, leaving them with tax bills 1/3 less or more than other homeowners receive. Earlier this month, the Pendleton Town Board had a stalemate vote of 2-2 to change the zoning of the land near the Pettit Castles. The owner wanted to build condominiums there to make money to maintain the structures, but residents expressed their displeasure with having more residents in the town get a tax break.

Friday, January 12, 2007

BREITBART.COM - Gated communities in Iraq? Well, sort of...
I heard about this from two Freds. Fred Pilot, who sent me the link, and economist Fred Foldvary, who is very intrigued by the use of "gated" (in this case, "bermed" would be a better description) neighborhoods as a solution to a whole lot of long as they are private communities:

Adapting ideas tracing back from ancient history to modern Israel, US Marines have sealed off flashpoint towns with sand walls in a new counter-insurgency tactic to quell the wilds of western Iraq. Driving across the desert to Haditha, one of the war's deadliest and most infamous battlefields, the grey plain suddenly collapses into a ditch and rises into an intimidating 12-foot (around four-metre) bank of bulldozed sand...Colonel W. Blake Crowe, the overall US commander for western Al-Anbar, calls them gated communities and likens them to the walls around Biblical Jericho. Tracy compares them to Neolithic barricades built to keep out nomadic invaders.
Bad omen in Twin Rivers oral argument?
Fred Pilot sent this link. Looks like there was some rough questioning for Frank Askin by a couple of justices:
RENTON -- Some members of the state Supreme Court on Thursday grilled a Rutgers law professor who argued that condominium dwellers have a guaranteed right to display signs, no matter the rules of their homeowners associations.Justice Roberto A. Rivera-Soto paraphrased the plaintiffs' wishes: to post as many signs as they want, to use the community room subject to their own terms and to dictate the placement of their letters in the community newsletter.
Fred Fischer's thoughts on HOAs and the Virginia Charter

What follows was sent to me by Fred Fischer, and I present it without any editing. At the end, I have added some passages from the First Virginia Charter that seemed pertinent to his argument. You can go read the whole Charter by following the link at the end of the post. It is an interesting perspective, and entirely Fred's opinion, except for the first paragraph, that he cut and pasted from a page called From Revolution to Reconstruction. So, Fred's thoughts begin with "Sound familiar," and end with "Gilbert, AZ"

The First Charter of Virginia: April 10, 1606

...From the outset the Virginia Company was granted the authority to govern its own colony. A ruling council in England, composed of members of the joint-stock company (today's corporation) who were usually merchants of great distinction, was formed immediately after King James I granted the charter of 1606. The councilors (Board members) were appointed ostensibly by the king, but in reality were nominated by the membership, or more often, by the inner executive group of the company. The council in England issued instructions to the first settlers appointing a colonial council to make daily decisions. This group proved ineffective, and a governor, Lord Delaware, was eventually appointed. Acting under the council in England, the governor had absolute power. The authority to establish or alter a government in Virginia was based upon the charter granted by the king; in this sense, the king (today's municipalities) delegated some of his power to others (today's HOAs). From First Landing, CBN /Regent University.

Sound familiar, in the early 1960's municipalities started mandating HOAs to privatize many services to eliminate maintenance and infrastructure costs and to generate new revenue (State of CA). Then to accomplish this municipalities mandated the creation of and delegated governmental powers onto a corporate entity like the 1606 Charter of Virginia Company (a corporate colony) effectively eliminating members Constitutional inalienable private property rights in the process. Consequently HOAs have evolved since into a fourth level of private government essentially acting as governmental corporations created exclusively by developers in collaboration with HOA industry attorneys and service providers. Except HOAs "have no public concern towards the welfare of its members" since they are created without the participation or support of their ultimate shareholders or the community even though members will be bound in perpetuity to its authority.

Let their be no misunderstandings, when people loose their private property rights they automatically loose all other civil liberties as Americas founders well understood. Consequently HOAs have little to do with protecting property values or making better neighborhoods but instead are primarily about control over private property for profit. By those who economically benefit, exclusively create and support the HOAs in part or in whole and depend on them for their livelihood. Unfortunately when people buy into an HOA what is not disclosed by realtors, the local municipality or in the HOA declaration. Is the indisputable fact that buyers are only buying the right to live there. Because buyers have unknowingly forfeited through the HOA contract their Constitutional private property rights and other rights and protections. Effectively making HOA members once again second class citizens as the colonists once were and subject to the same injustices and tyranny.

Government by contract eliminates citizens Constitutional private property rights and is a Pandora's Box that is a breading ground for endless conflict as Americas founders clearly understood & tried to end !

Thanks, Fred Fischer

Gilbert, AZ.


From the First Virginia Charter:

And wee doe alsoe ordaine, establishe and agree for [us], our heires and successors, that eache of the saide Colonies shall have a Counsell which shall governe and order all matters and causes which shall arise, growe, or happen to or within the same severall Colonies, according to such lawes, ordinannces and instructions as shalbe in that behalfe, given and signed with our hande or signe manuell and passe under the Privie Seale of our realme of Englande; eache of which Counsells shall consist of thirteene parsons and to be ordained, made and removed from time to time according as shalbe directed and comprised in the same instructions… And that alsoe ther shalbe a Counsell established here in Englande which shall in like manner consist of thirteen parsons to be, for that purpose, appointed by us, our heires and successors, which shalbe called our Counsell of Virginia; and shall from time to time have the superior managing and direction onelie of and for all matters that shall or may concerne the govermente, as well of the said severall Colonies as of and for anie other parte or place within the aforesaide precinctes of fower and thirtie and five and fortie degrees abovementioned;

Link to First Virginia Charter, April 10, 1606

Condo association opposes bay (boat) speed zones | | Naples Daily News
More political activity by organized CID residents, this time over boat speed limits:

A neighborhood association board representing 5,000 condominium residents on Gulf Shore Boulevard North sent its president to Wednesday’s Naples City Council meeting to relay the group’s opposition to keeping up the legal defense of the speed zones. The board’s position is that “enough is enough and no further taxpayer funds should be spent on this matter,” Gulf Shore Association of Condominiums President Murray Hendel told the City Council.

Dissolving a Homeowners Association II > Politics > Stories > Golden >
Actually this article doesn't answer the question it asks, but promises to in future installments. In this piece the author just explains why a person might want to dissolve his or her HOA.
Buying a Condo? Asking Five Questions Makes All The Difference
This is a press release, but it has some good questions.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Mentally Retarded Sue, Charging Condo Discriminated - January 11, 2007 - The New York Sun
People keep asking me why I think there need to be limits on the powers of HOAs and deed restrictions. Offered for your consideration, as Rod Serling used to say:

The condominium board of a Washington Heights building is facing a discrimination lawsuit on behalf of five mentally retarded adults who want to move in. The lawsuit, filed recently in federal court in Manhattan, is the latest chapter in Margaret Puddington's effort to find a suitable home for her son and four of his friends.
Dead birds rain down on towns half a world apart | the Daily Mail
I understand why the birds are falling out of the sky in Texas, but what's wrong with the air in Australia?
The Mercury - Homeowner says association trying to deflate Eagles spirit
Here is an assault on the use of inflatables, which are sprouting all over America these days. In our neighborhood we have folks whose front yards look like blimp airfields. I wonder why kids with bb guns don't use them for target practice? Not that I'm suggesting they should...

LIMERICK -- After the heart-stopping win over the Giants on Sunday, Eagles fans are flying high. But one local homeowners association is trying to take the wind out from under their wings.Nick Vance, a resident of the Golf Ridge neighborhood, and a member of the 150-member plus homeowners association there, has been an Eagles fan his whole life. Vance was told recently by the homeowners association president, Keith Daywalt, that he has to take down an inflatable lawn decoration that Vance calls his good luck charm.
The Sun Online - News: 'Odour nuisance' probe stinks!
Shu Bartholomew agrees, asking where this sort of thing will end. Will people be jailed for not using deodorant while watching football games in their living room? OK, this is Great Britain, but is it coming soon to a city near you, as munis compete with HOAs to have rinky dink little quality-of-life ordinances they can brag about? Council chiefs have told the couple they face a health investigation after a neighbour claimed fumes from their ciggies were invading her living room.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

CALL Lobbies Tallahassee to Let Community Associations Form 'Self-Insurance Funds' to Spread Risk, Stem Rate Hikes: Financial News - Yahoo! Finance
Thanks to Fred Pilot for the link. "CALL" is the Community Association Leadership Lobby. If my memory is correct, it was set up by the industry, mainly the law firm of Becker and Poliakoff, to counter the lobbying influence of grass-roots homeowner organizations like Cyber Citizens for Justice.
U.S. home prices unaffordable for many workers: study - Yahoo! News
Fred Pilot sent this article about a new study from the Center for Housing Policy. That organization is focused largely on promoting "affordable housing."