An excellent guide for citizens seeking to effectively lobby their legislature to bring about desired change.
The author, Morgan Carroll, is an eight year Colorado legislator and is currently the Colorado Senate Majority Leader. Take Back Your Government sends a strong message to citizens to get involved in the legislative process if they sincerely seek change, otherwise the paid, special interest hired-hand lobbyists will strongly influence the legislators. And set the tone for new laws and changes to existing laws.
Carroll’s opening chapter contains advice, such as, “We elect people to represent our interests, but our elected representatives cannot adequately represent you unless they hear from you. . . . If you don’t participate in your government, then the only remaining participants in the system are legislators and lobbyists.” And she reminds her readers that, “Democracy only works when citizens participate, engage and become informed voters.” And that is why democracy is a farce in the authoritarian HOA private governments where apathy abounds for numerous reasons.
Part II, Advocacy for Beginners, is chock full of “dos and don’ts” in contacting and dealing with bill sponsors, and how to draft and understand the wording and format of bills. The author provides advice for citizens such as, to “suggest a solution,” make your request “shorter and simpler,” and “summarize prior attempts to fix the problem.” Her concern for the people include warnings that, “every right [permitted by law] should come with a remedy or an enforcement mechanism, or it’s an empty law.” And there’s the commonly found use of “shall” and “may,” clarifying that “may” means “is permitted to” or “is authorized to,” both of which mean making the act legal.
And there is much, much more on how to get heard, how to contact legislators, how to testify, creating fact sheets to support your position, etc. Definitely applicable, but not tailored just for HOA reforms. This book is must reading for advocates, especially HOA reform advocates who have faced a solid wall of indifference when seeking legislative change and who have been unsuccessful in the past.
Thank you Senator Carroll.
Take Back Your Government; A Citizen’s Guide to Grassroots Change, Morgan Carroll (Fulcrum Publishing 2011).
Review by George K. Staropoli, a nationally recognized advocate for HOA reform legislation.