In its June 8, 2010 email, CAI-CLAC (California legislative action committee), cries in desperation to stop government intrusion on the right, as they see it, for the HOA to restrict artificial lawns. A mass rally is called for to stop this serious legal affront to HOA dominance of its members.
State Legislation Removes HOA Authority and Discretion
Urgent request for “GRASS ROOTS” letters by this Friday
Assembly Bill 1793 would prohibit associations from restricting or banning the installation of artificial lawns. . . . The bill totally removes an association’s right to maintain a natural grass streetscape in order to preserve the ambiance and property value. It will create friction in the association and opens the door to lawsuits.
Among the reasons for CAI’s opposition to the bill, provided predominantly before its list of “other reasons” is,
We need to stop the rush to judgment by some legislators who think they are simply saving water by voting for this bill, when in fact the bill creates serious problems and will cause unintended negative consequences.
(Please note CAI’s SOP (standard operating procedure) to resort to scare tactics, “the sky will fall”, some dreadful, unsubstantiated consequence will befall the HOA.)
It’s a water conservation issue to promote the general welfare, including for the benefit of HOA owners who, don’t forget, are still part of the general community. But, CAI doesn’t see it that way. CAI does not see HOAs as part of the general community, and therefore, sees no obligations to the to the town, the city or the state to be a good corporate citizen. The sentiment of the CAI cry in this email is nothing more than: How dare the Calif. Legislature tell HOAs what to do without our approval?
In this email, while CAI proclaims to fight for the noble cause of local, direct democracy, “the voice of the people”, CAI has actively promoted and encouraged state legislatures to adopt some version of a top-down, parallel set of laws just for private, de facto HOA governments, such as Davis-Stirling, or UCIOA. The April 2006 media release by CAI HQ said,
It is the policy of CAI to recommend that when state governments amend their basic community association development laws they consider the need for updated and comprehensive legislation to regulate the development of community association housing consistent with the above goals. Moreover, in undertaking such review, state governments are urged to consider and give favorable treatment to one or more of the Uniform Community Association Acts.
Furthermore, in this email, CAI advertises, “Serving 3,000,000 California Households in Condominiums and Homeowner Associations.” This is outrageous and misleading statement! It may serve them as vendors, but not as representatives of these households before public entities. Even the HOA board of directors does not represent the owners before public entities. The California Legislature represents all the people of California, including those living in HOAs. CAI cannot say that it represents HOAs/condos per se, either, since it is not permitted to have these categories as members.
The CAI dogmatic ideology is that HOAs are sacrosanct and untouchable, unless approved by CAI, as documented by the positions taken by CAI lobbyists before numerous state legislatures over the years. CAI seeks power over HOAs!
The California legislators should bear in mind that these canned letters will be coming from the CAI stalwarts and HOA true believers, which will not be a valid representation of the people in HOAs.
A digression — checking what the numbers mean
Now, pay attention carefully. Using this figure of 3,000,000 households (units in Census terms), and CAI and Census data of 2.6 persons per household, gives rise to a calculated 7.8 million people in HOAs/condos. Also, corroborating, my research[i] on the national ration of HOA population to total US population of 19.6% , yields about 7.2 million people in HOAs — close enough for our investigation. Consequently, based on the 3 million household figure, CAI is claiming that it serves almost all of the HOAs/condos in California.
Continuing, taking my research figure of the average number of residents in an HOA, nationally, of 211, then there should be 36,997 HOAs/condos (low end). Cross checking, using the research average of 82 units per HOA, there would be some 36,600 HOAs in California — not bad results.
Yet, nationally, CAI with its 30,000 proclaimed members, and assuming that each member lives in a separate HOA/condo, would have a membership that contains, at most, about 10% of their stated 305,000 HOAs/condos in this country. Applying the 10% membership ratio, then CAI has a member, at most, in some 3,650 HOAs. (Applying the 211 figure to 3,800 HOAs yields about 770,150 people in HOAs that have a CAI member).
[i] cf. Have HOAs hit a growth plateau?, May 22, 2010.