Friday, January 07, 2011

Homeowner tells HOA: You're messing with the wrong Marine

Marine battles homeowners association over flag pole

Merola said he went through the proper channels to ask for permission to put up a 20-foot flag pole, but permission was denied. The HOA told him he was welcome to attach a small flag pole to his house.

An attorney representing the Lakeland Village Community Association said homeowners are encouraged to display American flags, if they want to, but that freestanding flag poles are just not allowed.

Merola said the homeowners association is going too far and has hired his own lawyers.

"Being a marine, this is a battle I’m willing to fight," Merola said.
UPDATE 1/7/11:

Group plans to take on HOAs over flags

Merola's battle with his HOA could be the last of its kind. A group in Austin tired of hearing about these flag flaps is introducing a flag display bill in the upcoming Texas legislature, stipulating that HOAs cannot prohibit flags on free standing poles.

"From experience in dealing with homeowner associations, if it's not in black and white and it says you must permit or you may not prohibit, then they won't do it," said John Stratton, attorney for American Radio Relay League.


gnut said...

If the letter of the law is followed, Mr. Merola will lose his case, and possibly his home through non-judicial foreclosure.

However, I suspect that due to the publicity in this case, the rules will somehow be bent and he will be allowed to keep his flagpole, a la Col. Barfoot.

But don't underestimate the ability and willingness of the political Right to sell out their principles of freedom, individual property rights, home ownership, smaller government, litigation reform, and supporting the troops in favor of privatized corporate communism -- what the Professor called "repressive libertarianism".

After all, the "support the troops" coalition totally ignored Michael Clauer, leaving it to the left-wing Mother Jones and liberal NPR to report the theft of Captain Clauer's home for the benefit of parasitic tort lawyer while the captain was deployed to Iraq.

While musing about this over the Christmas season, another dichotomy occurred to me.

The Ayn Randians/conservatives/libertarians/Republicans/Tea Partiers all oppose government interference with the ability of an HOA corporation to repress homeowners, claiming that such disputes are simple contractual matters that should be resolved by the free market (for example, see here and here).

Yet they are silent about all of the legislation and regulation, which can be dozens of pages in some states, that give more power and perverse incentives to HOA unions and denies individual private property owners any rights, recourse, and due process.

Where was the small-government-coaliton opposition to the HOA legislation in Nebraska, Ohio, and Florida last year? Or is government interference acceptable, as long as it's pro-HOA corporation and anti-individual homeowner?

Failing to see that there are sometimes differences between capitalism, free markets, and economic liberty -- the three are not mutually inclusive -- the right-of-center philosophy has descended into a parody of corporatism.

All the Communisty Association Institute has to do is make some conservative/libertarian sounding pronouncements about the Holiness Of Private Contracts and the threat of Obamunism, and they will have millions of "useful idiots" at their disposal defending any abuse of individual homeowners. As long as the gulags are privatized, Stalin can do no wrong.

gnut said...

from the story: "They're suing me for $200 a day and lawyers' fees and everything," Michael Merola said., a conservative/libertarian web site devoted to "chronicling the high cost of our legal system", still has not reported this story of a Marine being sued for $200 a day.