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.
Committee member John Garza, R-San Antonio, suggested community service as another means of repayment.The comment elicited a smirk by chairman Joe Deshotel, D- Beaumont, "I'm such a cynic," he said. I'm thinking of this going into the indentured servitude business." Yeah, because that power won't be abused.Indentured servitude was a contract for a fixed period of time. By contrast, HOA dues -- like taxes -- are never ending. The ability of an HOA to impose arbitrary fines and fees on individual homeowners, and create "debt" out of thin air, is limitless.Under John Garza's (Republican - San Antonio) proposal, creative accounting practices currently in use (the "priority of payments" scam) could easily turn property owners into serfs, unable to leave the land without the grace of their feudal lords. What's next: giving the HOA board and their agents the right of prima nocta? That a politician could seriously propose slavery as a means to repay "debts" (translation: arbitrary fines and fees imposed on individual American home owners by the HOA corporation) displays just how far off their rockers -- and how dangerous -- these people have become.
Desperate times call for desperate measures and these are desperate times in Privatopia.
Like all HOA reform proposals, this places the interests of the HOA corporation -- and hence the HOA vendors -- over that of the individual American homeowners.It presumes that (1) it is necessary for the HOA corporation to exist (ie - "Too Big To Fail" tm), and (2) all "debt" created by the HOA corporation is legitimate.And this is why reforms short of abolition, or at least neutering HOA corporations beyond recognition, are worthless.Listen to OnTheCommons.net (June 26, 2010 at 34 minutes 45 seconds) about how reform legislation that gave the appearance of protecting homeowners actually made things worse for them.
We applaud John Garza's (Republican - San Antonio) proposal to offer American homeowmners the opportunity to perform communisty service as a means for the homeowner pay his debt to the collective association and atone for his sin of individualism.The U.S.S.R. and other Soviet Bloc countries -- which were a model for common interest ownership of property -- had a fine tradition of subotnik, which translates to "voluntary Saturday." Once a month, local trade unions, sports clubs, schools, and youth organizations would clean the streets, harvest potatoes, arrange the blocks, or perform whatever other tasks were necessary for The Greater Good. Life magazine described these voluntary work holidays as "more like a picnic than a serious labor project…Everybody seems to be having the time of his life" (Oct. 28, 1946).Taking Rep. Garza's suggestion further, mandatory voluntary service shouldn't just be applied to homeowners who are delinquent in their assessments, but to all the homeowners who agreed to join the HOA union as a condition of home ownership. Homeowners who choose not to participate in the voluntary work weekends would be fined, allowing the HOA to recoup the costs of an individual's failure to participate in the communisty's well being.This would do more to strengthen a sense of communisty and neighborliness than the usual proposals for government interference limiting the operation of homeowners associations. At the same time, mandatory voluntary service would help preserve property values for those who have a controlling interest in the equity of the association's homes.Because HOA "contracts" are unilaterally amendable, legislation is not necessary to impose privatized subotniks, although we would not be opposed to such a requirement being enacted into law.A spectre is haunting America -- the spectre of private HOA governments. "From each homeowner according to his ability, to each HOA vendor according to their greed" is a principle that one day, all Americans will be fortunate enough to live by.
Post a Comment