Marshall Will Kane (left) throws his badge to the ground with disdain after defending Hadleyville, where the good people of Hadleyville stood by and did nothing. (The 1952 movie, High Noon).
Some 60 years after the events in Hadleyville, thousands of HOAs follow in the footsteps of the Hadleyville townspeople and do nothing to rid their HOA of lawless rogue boards of directors.
How did this come to be? Could it be like the townspeople, they FEAR reprisals from a lawless, vindictive and punitive board? Could it be the indoctrination into obeying authority figures and the acceptance of imposed roles to conform to the group’s rules, right or wrong (See, “Why do people harm others in HOAs?”)?
Could it be a malaise, a general apathy as described in The HOA apathy affliction: a political dynamic and The role of the HOA apathy affliction in circumventing public policy on how the HOA lawyers work apathy in their favor? While these acts describe a particular aspect of HOA oppression, in total, it must be understood that the pro-HOA laws (no punishment for board violations) and the unconscionable adhesion CC&Rs contract favoring the HOA contribute to the failure to develop a bona fide community spirit and a community centered civic virtue.
The development of a healthy community spirit and civic virtue are essential to eradicating apathy. Virtue can be defined simple as “conformity to a standard of right,” civic virtue as “a commitment to democratic principles and values,” and community spirit as “an involvement in and concern for one’s local community.”
CAI defines community spirit as having “pride in a community” and offers steps to produce this emotional identification: getting involved in activities outside the HOA, holding entertainment party and events, and becoming active in the community (Best Practices, “Harmony and Spirit”). No mention at all about civic virtue as a necessary part of creating a healthy community, and that a concern for the community must address issues of civic virtue.
How can civic virtue and a healthy community spirit develop when the homeowner is placed in an environment and culture that opposes any such proactive activities? As investigative reporter Ward Lucas points out in his new book, Neighbors At War!
Welcome to the weird world of HOAs . . . where life, liberty and property are in the hands of your neighbors, neighbors who are unconstrained by law . . . . That’s right! These boards for the most part are not obligated to protect or respect any human or civil rights. . . . The very structure of Homeowners Associations gives them the ability to exert bully power on a completely arbitrary basis.
The apathy, the lack of HOA civic virtue, and the lack of a genuine, healthy community spirit that allow lawless rogue boards to violate the law and governing documents is the result of the above mentioned HOA legal structure and dynamic forces. The legal structure of the HOA is secessionist, rejecting the principles and values of the US Constitution and Declaration of Independence for a fascist contractual government focused on maintaining property values. Where, as in fascism, individual rights, freedoms, and privileges and immunities guaranteed to all citizens do not matter.
HOAs undermine our constitutional democracy!