Saturday, June 26, 2010

Some California fire departments billing after accidents - Sacramento Living - Sacramento Food and Wine, Home, Health | Sacramento Bee

Some California fire departments billing after accidents - Sacramento Living - Sacramento Food and Wine, Home, Health | Sacramento Bee
More than two dozen fire agencies, struggling for ways to boost sagging budgets, have begun tallying service charges at crash sites and sending bills to drivers or their insurance companies.

Is a pumper truck called to the scene? That'll be $400. Traffic cones and flares needed? Another $20. An incident commander to oversee? That's $75 an hour.

As I was saying on "On the Commons" today, local governments are clever about finding ways to make up for lost revenues. Whenever state legislatures and voters try to make them cut back, they find new way to raise money. CIDs, which are now the lowest level of local government, are one of those fiscal tools used by cities and counties. People who think that CIDs will replace local governments are missing the big picture--CIDs are the lowest and most vulnerable level of local government. Their supposedly "private" nature is just a legal fiction that allows them to get away with things public governments can't do.


Anonymous said...


There's a joke among conservatives that "A conservative is a liberal who's been mugged."

Another version states that "A libertarian is a conservative who's been arrested."

I'm not sure what you call a libertarian who's been abused by his HOA.

Anyway, I'm listening to the interview right now -- and shame on you for not posting a link! -- Show Index is here, specific program info is here, and direct link to 13 MB .mp3 file is at

As I was saying, I'm listening to the interview right now, and all I can say is "Get out of my head! Stop reading my mind!"

Ever since I read "Free-Market Alternatives to Zoning," I've been working on a deconstruction of the conservative and libertarian defense of HOAs, only to find out that you've already written a book on the subject, and have articulated many of the conclusions I've come to.

Of course, given how much this blog has informed me and influenced my thinking -- both yourself and the other posters -- it's not surprising that I've come to the same conclusions. And, as Kosh told Delenn in Babylon 5, "The truth points to itself."

(00:22:48) It's like something you would see in Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia. People think these things don't go on. But we know they go on every day in condo and homeowners associations. These people who have no idea how to use power at all. They won't even accept limits on their power. They don't even know what the law requires of them, these directors. They go by what some lawyer tells them to do, which the lawyer tells them to do only because he or she knows they can get away with it. Because the only recourse you have is some civil suit. Here in Illinois, we don't have an Ombudsman. Most states don't. There's nowhere for owners to turn. If the lawyer tells them "Oh, just jack 'em around. Who cares what the rules are? Who cares what the law says? It' doesn't make any difference. The transaction costs of enforcing an owner's rights are so great that they are hardly ever able to do it. (00:23:40)

Ha! I was just explaining this to a friend of mine last night.

OK, now I'm listening to you talk about the lack of information and data. At least I know that my failure to find hard data over the past several months is not my fault.

And your point about concentrated versus diffuse interests -- how organized lobbies like the Communisty Associations Institute controls the flow of information to lawmakers -- at least I know now that I'm not the only person to suspect that. (Ha! you just mentioned Olson by name as I was writing this).

As long as the Road to Serfdom is a privatized toll road, and the boot stomping on a human face forever is worn on the foot of a privately owned corporation, conservatives and libertarians will support tyranny.

Anonymous said...

As a homeowner who has incurred several hundred thousand dollars in attorney fees regarding the propriety of an HOA approval, I concur. The lawsuit was provoked and maintained by an HOA board for their own personal profit and personal vendettas. There will always be someone a board member (encouraged by an HOA attorney) will seek to exert his whims on. We're still tied up waiting for an appellate court while the perpetrators are free to move on since they simply remove the hood of the association when it is convenient for them.

The community association bar appears to be worst than the seediest of divorce attorneys. They will not hesitate to manufacture or to conceal evidence when it suits them. They misrepresent the law, court order, case holdings, restrictive covenants, or even who they actually represent. Through terrible public policies, they have been given the ability to divest a homeowner from his home and pursuit of chaos for profit always entails this threat.

Board members already enamored with what amounts to their own personal attorney at homeowner expense and a D&O policy and indemnification are convinced of their own sovereignity and have no qualms about participating in the fraud. The courts do not punish any of them personally - even when they are caught with the most flagrant of frauds. The HOA attorneys know this and engage in the bad conduct in case after case.

The ubiquitous nature of abuses (the mere existence of an HOA ensures it) suggests that HOAs are having a deleterious effect on the economy as a whole. Consider the co-worker or MANY co-workers who endure abuses threatening their home, livelihood, familial relationships, etc. all because of the HOA corp.

To get some idea of the type of psyche behind the management companies and HOA attorneys that provoke disputes for profit and author legislation to keep homeowners "soft targets", why not read this story on a Houston HOA attorney recently busted by the feds:

HOA attorney arrested


Prosecutor Not Happy HOA Attorney Out on Bond

The industry seeks to make you a "soft target" just as helpless as the other victims of this HOA attorney.

Born again liberal said...

"I'm not sure what you call a libertarian who's been abused by his HOA."

A born again liberal on a mission to curb corporatocracy.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't call myself a liberal, but my experience with HOAs, and what I've learned about them from people like Professor McKenzie and his readers has definitely made me aware of the perils of corporatism, and how blind conservatives and libertarians are to them.

For example, the Colorado Republican Party approved a resolution stating

42. It is resolved by Colorado Republicans that no person be required, as a condition of employment, to be a member of a labor union or to pay any dues, fees, or assessments to a labor union.
Total Votes 3104
YES 3067 98.81%
NO 37 1.19%

Republicans oppose union membership as a condition of employment. Yet it is as much of a voluntary contractual agreement as mandatory membership in an HOA corporation when buying a house, which they support.

And, as I've stated before, "Colorado's Free Market Think Tank" did more to make me question libertarianism by publishing "Free-Market Alternatives to Zoning." And I see they didn't approve of my comment to that article, which was a link to the recent "On the Commons" interview with Professor McKenzie.