Evan McKenzie on the rise of private urban governance and the law of homeowner and condominium associations. Visit evanmckenzie.wikispaces.com for my published articles and services.
Like Barbara Hogan's "Texas HOA Issues," Nancy Hentschel's editorial is one of those things I wish I had written. It is that good.There is one passage that addresses something I've been thinking about lately:"Homeowners are unknowingly forced to donate to lobbying efforts to defeat legislation that they desperately need. Not surprisingly, CAI regularly lobbies against open meetings, open records, or open elections for HOA corporations."Conservative and libertarians are proponents of "paycheck protection" laws, which would prohibit labor unions from spending workers' dues payments on political lobbying without permission of the individual member.The claim is that it is necessary to protect a worker's rights under Communication Workers of America vs. Beck (1988). In 1992, President Bush issued an executive order enforcing Beck, which was rescinded by President Clinton in 1993, re-enacted by President Bush in 2001, and re-rescinded by President Obama in 2009.Conservative and libertarian proponents of "paycheck protection" laws expressed some very real concerns that labor union members who did not want to contribute to the union's political activities had navigate all sorts of unreasonable obstacles -- such as having to show up at the union headquarters between 2:15 - 2:20 on the fifth Thursday of the month -- to receive a refund of the portion of dues payments used for political activities.The treatment of workers by labor unions can be as ridiculous and outrageous as, regular readers of this blog have already guessed, treatment of homeowners by HOAs.Yet any attempt to regulate HOAs is viewed by conservatives/libertarians/Ayn Randians as unacceptable government interference in a private contract, while regulation of labor unions is viewed as being necessary to protect workers.
(continued)Page 27 of the 2008 Republican Party Platform, which reads:Protecting Union WorkersWe affirm both the right of individuals to voluntarily participate in labor organizations and bargain collectively and the right of states to enact Right-to-Work laws. But the nation's labor laws, to a large extent formed out of conflicts several generations ago, should be modernized to make it easier for employers and employees to plan, execute, and profit together. To protect workers from misuse of their funds, we will conscientiously enforce federal law requiring financial reporting and transparency by labor unions. We advocate paycheck protection laws to guard the integrity of the political process and the security of workers' earnings.could easily be changed toProtecting Home OwnersWe affirm both the right of individuals to voluntarily participate in HOA organizations and bargain collectively and the right of states to enact Right-to-Own-Home laws (prohibiting mandatory membership in an HOA union as a condition of home ownership). But the nation's HOA laws, to a large extent formed out of government policies several generations ago, should be modernized to make it easier for HOA collectives and individual homeowners to plan, execute, and profit together. To protect homeowners from misuse of their funds, we will conscientiously enforce laws requiring financial reporting and transparency by HOA unions. We advocate assessment protection laws to guard the integrity of the political process and the security of homeowners' earnings.Page 26's "The Failed Model of Employer-Employee Relations" -- about labor unions -- could easily be changed to:The Failed Model of HOA-Homeowner RelationsThe Communisty Association Institute's approach to homeowner policy is a retreat to failed models of the past: new regulatory burdens on homeowners that make it more difficult for individuals to enjoy and keep their homes. That failed model empowers HOA boards at the expense of the homeowners, HOA lawyers at the expense of the homeowners, and professional property management companies at the expense of homeowners. Its goal is not to create communities but to control the properties and the homeowners.(to be continued...)
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