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.
8 thoughts on “Colorado senator’s guide to effective HOA legislation”
Who knows the specifics of the new law passed making HOAs accountable for for all monies taken in from home owner’s and money spent, and specifying what it was spent for? I was advised by an HOA attny who declined to say any more than just look it up.
I live in Illinois and CAI propaganda runs wild in our association. Road blocks in legislature is all over nationwide. The problem I have is they know the implications of their corporate laws and they know they have duped the American homeowner into waiving rights, with no waivers signed by homeowners.
Do we actually think that legislatures do not know what is going on…just follow the money. I commend anyone who has fought for the rights of homeowners but this should not be difficult in the eyes of legislators.
If bills were known by homeowners and when there input is needed….then speak to the homeowners not these lobbyists….ask the homeowners if they even know who this group is and that they speak for them…..most do not have a clue.
What ever happened to government for the people by the people when did it become government by the lobbyists?
Is it Rocket Science to know that this group misleads the American people/public? This institute changed their status but yet they still lobby. Half of the legislatures I spoke to have no clue about CAI and what HOA’s are all about, I had to provide this information.
My question is how can legislature vote for something they have not researched or have even asked the homeowners what they think?
What education does CAI truly promote, the HOA scheme itself? They truly believe that they are beneficial to homeowners….I think not …they would never admit to their wrong doings.
When is government legislators going to realize that all information is not disclosed which does not make this a two party contract and has never.
Where is justice for the American people/ homeowners that never signed over their rights to a corporation what person in their right mind would ever waive their rights as a citizen and have due process taken away, civil libeties, hiring lawyers to swindle the homeowners with wording in their documents to provide loop holes to get away with anything, this contract has no oversight or accountability for their actions, amongst other things?
I am disgusted with legislators, If they put half the effort into research as they do campaigning and protecting these lobbyists, then whey would know that my properties values are way below the surrounding areas, HOA’s claim to uphold values, is this not a breach of contract?
I’m stuck, if one more person tells me to move then let these associations that breach their contracts buy back my house for what I paid because I got a lemon. I will be more than happy to move into a non – HOA home. I lived in many communities without HOA’s and never had the problems that HOA’s create and they do not promote a sense of community in any sense of the word.
If everyone was aware of this so called contract and the implications that the HOA creates, loss of home, investment, loss of basic rights, can you honestly think that we the people are really that stupid to sign on the dotted line.
At this point, failure to “uphold property values” is not a breach of contract, becuase the “uphold property values” is PR, not a contractual obligation.
Making HOA corporations contractually obligated to “uhold property values” would be real reform, instead of the usual crap we get like Senator Carroll’s worse-than-useless illusions of reform.
If the homeowner wishes to sell his property, legislatures should require, if the homeowner so decides, HOA corporations to purchase the property at normal market value + the value added by the HOA corporation. This would force HOA corporations to actually quantify the value they add, which is something they do not (and cannot) do.
You just squandered your credibility with us homeowners in Colorado by praising Morgan Carroll.
Senator Carroll has been our worst enemy for years, working with the CAI lawyers to craft legislation.
She is worse than useless. She gives the illusion of reform while making things worse. She’s managed to fool a lot of people, including people who should know better, such as you. But I guess you choose to be fooled because you Want To Believe.
According to this book excerpt you posted, she knows that there is a constituency that she is ignoring in favor of organized lobbyists. Morgan Carroll deserves to rot in Hell for all Eternity.
As somebody commented on the Colorado Libertarian Party blog:
Whoever wrote that did so two years before I got involved in HOA issues, and I have come to the same conclusion.
Thank you for your vote of “no confidence.” Feedback is very important in any advocacy, but isn’t that what Carroll was preaching in her book? See my lengthy commentary in reply to your comments.