Ever wonder why CAI so vehemently fights the view that HOAs are indeed mini-governments, or quasi-governments? Its amicus curiae brief in Dublirer v. 200 Linwood Avenue is a meritless, desperate attempt to prevent the NJ Supreme Court from coming to the conclusion that as a government, the HOA election process must be constitutionally protected. It failed. The Court upheld constitutional rights to a member’s free speech especially in regard to HOA campaigning.
CAI argued that HOAs are businesses and that business owners don’t have constitutional protections. It practically begged the Court not to allow open public discussions of political issues, because the HOA would lose its privacy rights. Isolationist mentality! It argued that constitutional protections are not needed because other mechanisms, like the business judgment rule, would handle disputes. And, that election rights are not protected by the state constitution, but by the pro-HOA statutes and adhesion CC&R contracts. To paraphrase a line from the movie, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, “We don’t need no stinkin’ constitutional protections!”
Such statements made in court filings are astonishing! It is a complete refutation and about face to CAI’s propaganda material made for public consumption. It repudiates our democratic system of government and the US Constitution!
What would cause CAI to argue such statements without merit before a state supreme court? Maybe because CAI knows that if HOA constitutionality is accepted and HOAs are seen as state actors or made to become state entities, it would no longer control and dominate the industry. All would be lost!
HOAs would not be lost as CAI has argued from time to time. CAI would be lost! It would have to rethink its public policies, its Best Practices, it training seminars, etc. It would need to include such courses, which are not and never have been in the CAI vocabulary, understanding the Constitution and Bill of Rights, good local government, best city management practices, etc.
The path to substantive HOA reform legislation has always been on the basis fundamental principles, democratic principles of government, and the US Constitution. The courts are beginning to see the error of their way. And CAI cannot prevent the inevitable from happening — it’s just a matter of how soon!