Friday, July 15, 2005

CID Homeowners Coalition letter to California Law Revision Commission, March 9, 2005

Respectfully submitted:
Marjorie Murray, Chair
CID Homeowner Bill of Rights Coalition
Legislative Advocate/CID Housing
3758 Grand Avenue, Suite 35
Oakland, California 94610

cc: Members, Assembly Housing Committee
Members, Assembly Business and Professions Committee


On September 25th we will celebrate the 210th anniversary of the ratification of the federal Bill of Rights. To honor this occasion, we the undersigned have ratified ten resolutions comprising a Common Interest Development Homeowner Bill of Rights. Modeled on the Preamble and the Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, this document is meant to inspire public confidence in the concept of the CID, to ensure that this local government institution pursues benevolent goals, and to prevent abuses of power. Any changes to California law governing CIDS must conform to these inviolable principles.

We resolve THAT,

I. Since living in a common interest development (CID) requires an individual citizen to enter into a contract with a governing association, the prospective homeowner must give written informed consent to the terms of the association̢۪s rules and governing documents, but most especially to the Codes, Covenants, and Restrictions (CC&Rs) ten days before close of escrow. The governing documents comprise the contract between the CID and the buyer.

II. No CID board shall abridge a citizen̢۪s freedom of speech or of the press either through direct order or through intimidation or any kind of public abuse; that no board hall abridge the right of homeowner citizens to assemble peaceably or to petition the board for a speedy redress of grievances. No CID board shall abridge freedom of religion.

III. Boards give a full, true and accurate accounting in writing of all association
actions. No actions shall be taken in secret.

IV. Homeowner citizens shall be entitled to speedy access to all association records, particularly to financial records, contracts, and records of governance at any time without exception.

V. Homeowner citizens shall not be deprived of liberty or property, without speedy due process of law. Nor shall private property be taken without just compensation, specifically, there shall be no non-judicial foreclosure.

VI. Homeowner citizens shall have the absolute right to vote on any changes to the terms of the original contract, i.e. changes in rules and amendments to governing documents or fines they are expected to pay. No fine shall exceed the true costs of the remedy.

VII. If accused of violating rules, homeowner citizens are entitled to a speedy and public hearing by an impartial body not selected by the board; the impartial body shall determine the guilt or innocence of the accused and determine what fines, if any, be imposed; that the accused be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; be confronted with witnesses; and have a compulsory process for obtaining witnesses, records, and advocates. Use of this system does not cancel a citizen̢۪s rights of appeal in the courts.

VIII. Residents shall be treated equally, and not in an arbitrary fashion, without
reference to age, race, gender, cultural lifestyle, sexual orientation, national origin,
marital status, disability or familial status as established by both state and federal laws and regulations.

IX. Rules enacted by a CID association and amendments to its governing documents must conform to all state and federal fair housing and health, safety and welfare laws.

X. Elections shall be in the hands of the homeowner citizens, not the CID board:
ballots shall be secret; no homeowner citizen shall be denied the right to vote for failure to pay any fine or tax, including assessments; directors shall serve no more than two terms and be held accountable for their decisions; the makeup of the board shall reflect the makeup of the association membership.

September 21, 2001/ Congress of California Seniors, Older Women's League,
Sentinel Fair Housing, Consumers Union, Gray Panthers, Charles Egan Goff.
The peasants are revolting...
Thanks to Nancy Levy for this link:
Just two weeks after the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in favor of the city in Kelo v. New London, the protest against the taking of homes in Fort Trumbull came full circle. Chanting "Let Them Stay" and flying the Revolutionary War era "Don't Tread on Me" flag, close to 500 protesters rallied at New London' s municipal building on July 5, where five years ago, the City Council voted to authorize the use of eminent domain to seize the homes of Susette Kelo and the six other property owners.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

HOA president shot in head during crime patrol
Fred Pilot sent this link to a tragic story from Glendale, Arizona:
The president of a Glendale homeowners association patrolling his townhouse complex early Wednesday was shot by a neighbor who reportedly mistook him for a burglar who moments earlier had broken into his vehicle, authorities said.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Greenville, SC - 'Christian Exodus' sees Upstate as promised land

Christian Exodus, according to their website,
is moving thousands of Christians to South Carolina to reestablish constitutionally limited government founded upon Christian principles. This includes the return to South Carolina of all "powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States." 1 It is evident that the U.S. Constitution has been abandoned under our current federal system, and the efforts of Christian activism to restore our Godly republic have proven futile over the past three decades. The time has come for Christian Constitutionalists to protect our American principles in a State like South Carolina by interposing the State's sovereign authority retained under the 10th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

The folks described in the article put it in an intriguing fashion:

South Carolina may not be flowing with milk and honey, but it looks like the promised land to the leaders of this group, which hopes to relocate thousands of conservative Christian families like the Janoskis from across America to the Palmetto State. Their aim: to tip the political scales, which they see as already weighted heavily to the right, further in that direction. Secession "is a valid option," said Janoski, a "state coordinator" for the organization -- but he hopes it doesn't come to that.

I think somebody should tell these folks that South Carolina already tried secession, and it is not in fact "a valid option." At least, not since 1865.
Chicago Officials Turn Off 'Jesus' Light - Yahoo! News
Fred Pilot sent along this story. A few weeks ago the Virgin Mary was spotted on a patch of efflorescence on a wall somewhere in Chicago. This week, it is Jesus Christ who has been seen in a streetlight in East Chicago, Indiana. That, of course, has now led to "a large fight." Which deity is next to be spotted in the midwestern urban infrastructure, I wonder? Vishnu? Odin? Zoroaster?

EAST CHICAGO, Ind. - City officials have turned off a streetlight that drew more than 250 people to see a shadow that some say resembles the image of Jesus Christ. East Chicago Police Chief Angelo Machuca called an emergency meeting Sunday to recommend the light be turned off in the interest of public safety after nearby residents complained about blocked cars and visitors congregating until 5 a.m. Several arrests were made Friday night after a large fight broke out in the area.

Monday, July 11, 2005 - Eminent Complaints
Mystery Reader has sent along a most interesting and original take on the nefarious Kelo case, written by Greg LeRoy, author of The Great American Jobs Scam.

Last week’s Supreme Court ruling on the use of eminent domain for economic development raises thorny issues of personal property rights and how best to define “public good.” However, the ruling begs a much broader and pervasive issue: Are localities and states getting a good return for their massive investments in "economic development”? Or are they overspending, and undermining real public goods—like education and infrastructure—that really do promote good economic development?
[more] - News - 79-Year-Old Shoots Two Intruders, Police Say
Today's episode of Home Defense Theater:
DRY RIDGE, Ky. -- A 79-year-old man armed with a .357 magnum revolver shot two men after they broke into his home overnight...The homeowner told police the two men kicked in his back door just before 5 a.m. Saturday. They tried to flee after being shot. Police said they found one wounded man in the driveway and followed a trail of blood to the other man nearby.
Couple feels right at home in eco-friendly house made of straw
But soon they will wish they were living in the house made of sticks, and when that doesn't hold up to the old huff-and-puff, can the house made of bricks be far behind?
Musings from Brian J. Noggle: Illinois Secedes
I got this link from Instapundit. Our governor has a...well..."unique" conception of his significance in the grand scheme of things. The notion that government officials have a limited role to perform seems not to be in his repertoire. This is the most recent in a series of publicity-grabbing, grandstanding, and supremely arrogant missteps. He thinks he's going to be President someday. Everybody else is thinking that he won't even be Governor after 2006.
Property ruling sparks action by states, Congress
The scale of the public reaction, and now the legislative response, to the abominable Kelo decision is remarkable. - Peirce: Privatized neighborhoods aren't the future we want
Nancy Levy sent this link to a piece by nationally-sydicated columnist Neil Peirce, who writes about Bob Nelson's new book, Private Neighborhoods and the Transformation of Local Government, about to be released by the Urban Institute Press. I have read it, and it is by far the best statement to date of the case for residential private government. Bob comes from basically a libertarian perspective, and he has been thinking and writing about HOAs for a long time. This is a major work. I disagree with him on a number of issues--particularly the view that people who move into an HOA should be seen as voluntarily joining an association--but there is no doubting the quality of his work. I think policy makers who are pro-HOA will be using this book as their reference work. However, it is quite radical in that he sees HOAs as replacing local governments. I think increasingly they are becoming an additional layer of government. I don't see the local state withering away anytime soon, certainly not while the "double taxation" principle reigns supreme.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Housing Markets Pricing Out Middle Class
Real estate experts warn that housing prices in many markets are too quickly outpacing the incomes of most workers. The widening gap affects families across the country, from Washington D.C. and Rhode Island to Florida in the South and Nevada and California in the west. In California, the situation has long been the worst: Only 17 percent of households could afford a home with a median price tag in April, according to the California Association of Realtors. By May, the median home price in California climbed to $522,590 — more than double the price in most other states. To buy the typical home with monthly payments of $3,067, a California family would need to earn about $122,700 to qualify for a conventional loan.

Arbitrator reverses election results for Deep Creek board
Here's a news article referencing the opinion linked below:

CHARLOTTE COUNTY -- Three Deep Creek residents who lost in a community association election have insisted for months that it was stolen from them. More than two-thirds of the 950 votes cast for them were invalidated. This week, a state arbitrator agreed with them, ruling that the Section 20 Property Owners Association conducted its December election "improperly and in bad faith." Arbitrator Susan Wilkinson Harnden overturned the results and handed board seats immediately to Kim Jakubaitis, Mike Brown and Michael Della Camera. The victors hoped that the order, received Friday, would end another controversy at Section 20, a community with a reputation for wild election fights and raucous meetings monitored by off-duty sheriff's deputies. "It's time that homeowners get to take over and participate instead of the board being the dictators of the community," Jakubaitis said. "It should be the community that runs the community." But not so fast. Friday afternoon, the victors showed up at Section 20's office to get keys and give notice that they would hold their first meeting Monday. According to Jakubaitis, association manager Lee Dunn refused to acknowledge the arbitrator's order, and the situation got so tense that a sheriff's deputy was called to the scene. Dunn could not be reached Friday for comment. Karl Scheuerman, a staff attorney for the state's arbitration program, said the arbitrator's decision is final and can't be appealed...The victors are the first in the state to overturn a property owners association election since October 2004, when a state law took effect that requires election disputes in such associations to be resolved by an arbitrator, rather than going through civil court -- a more time-consuming and costly process.

Homeowners' Association -- Summary Final Ruling --Section 20 Property Owners' Association, Inc.
This was sent to me by Jan Bergemann of Cyber Citizens for Justice. The term "Division" refers to the Division of Land Sales, Condominiums, and Mobile Homes, which is part of the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation. This looks like a ruling that could not only correct this election result, but provide other HOA owners some recourse for election irregularities:

COMES NOW, the undersigned arbitrator, and issues this Summary Final Order as follows:

Pursuant to Chapter 720, Florida Statutes, the Division has jurisdiction over election disputes between homeowners' associations and its members. Section 720.311(1), Florida Statutes, requires the Division to conduct mandatory arbitration of election disputes between a member and an association pursuant to section 718.1255, Florida Statutes, and the rules promulgated by the Division.
It is hereby ORDERED:

1. Effective immediately upon issuance of this order, the winners of the 2004 annual election of the board of directors of Section 20 Property Owners' Association are declared to be Mike Brown, Kirn Jakubaitis, and Michael Delia Camera.

2. Edward Halle, David Mooney, Robert Evans, and or any individuals serving in lieu of these candidates, shall step down as directors of the board, immediately. Any official documents of the association in possession of these individuals shall be turned over to the board within 5 business days of this Order.

[and it goes on from there}