In today’s CotoBuzz Journal, Buzz Aquirre takes on CAI’s claim to Validation of all its happy, happy HOA members surveys in “And the HOA Weasel Award . . . [goes to] CAI aided by Zogby Analytics!” And CAI surveys are deserving of the Weasel Award. Buzz joins with me and other homeowner rights advocates in calling out the obvious flaws in the surveys to the attention of the public. Others, like Sara Benson and Jill Schweitzer, have conducted their own surveys with differing results.
Examples of Buzz’s common sense analysis:
It also states that “respondents that were not available but qualified to respond were allowed to set appointments to be recalled within the time frame of the field work” So, what qualifies a respondent?
How complex is the weighting technique? Does it mean that the information in the “CAI fact books” is more important than anything else? How does race, party, education and religion enter into the picture?
“The sampling frames use demographic variables, and if needed behavioral variables as part of the sampling and segmentation for each survey.” Which demographic variables are used? Which are the behavioral values?
Buzz concludes with, In 2016 the CAI is deserving of the HOA Weasel Award for forging public opinion . . . .”
The tide is turning against CAI
CAI is discovering that the internet doesn’t forget. What was said in the past never goes away and lives forever. CAI is now being forced to answer for past statements, and as it does, following its past approach, it will need to defend its current statements. No longer can CAI go unopposed speaking as it pleases without concern for rebuttals. CAI will need to be careful as to what is preaches to the policy makers.
What I see happening is that homeowner rights advocates have put a scare into CAI. It needed to defend itself with the Validation assertion. Yes, CAI validated its surveys since 2005 as more of the same answers to the same questions to questionable respondents. As Albert Einstein wrote, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
The fundamental flaw in the CAI surveys, all of them, is the presumption that 1) their professed demographics may be a valid representation of the US population, but is not representative of all HOA members; and 2) that the respondents are fully informed as to the true nature of their legal and financial status resulting from living in an HOA. In regard to (1) above, the distribution of “rank and file” members versus board members is not provided. How many were board members or officers? Not given!
Ignorance is bliss. In regard to (2) above, national CAI Board of Trustees member Richardson wrote,
Many owners do not recognize that the benefits of shared ownership involve relinquishing some of the independence of sole ownership. That’s the root of so many of the HOA horror stories we’ve all heard.
In fact, none of these CAI surveys address the constitutional and contract law issues and violations set forth in my Truth in HOA Disclosure Poll, like
That to enforce my rights under or compliance with the governing documents I must file suit in civil court, and that such a civil suit involves no state agency official, attorney general, or county attorney;
That under current law, there are no substantive penalties against violations of the governing documents or state laws by the officers or directors of the association sufficient to serve as a detriment to future violations;
That the governing documents in all legal practicality serve as the subdivision’s “constitution,” taking precedence over state laws and the state and US Constitutions
Now CAI may argue, as it does with the consent to be governed controversy, Well, they’re still living there aren’t they? That’s 100% consent to all and everything. Same here in regard to being fully informed. Well, they’re still living there aren’t they? The implication is that if they did indeed know, it would make no difference. Well, why don’t we ask them? CAI has refused to ask them!
Are they afraid of the answers? The polls and surveys performed by Benson and Schweitzer asked different and more meaningful questions relating to life in HOA-Land, and not the broad Are you happy or Does your HOA do a good job questions. For example, Schweitzer’s extensive online poll asks meaningful questions like management company licensing, should have constitutional rights (88%), member initiatives, foreclosure, problems with HOAs (73%) and lack of meeting attendance and board awareness (94%) that conflict with CAI’s results. And more, including comments addressed to state legislators.
In 2011, CBS affiliate KPHO in Phoenix conducted an online poll asking if the Dr. Gary Solomon’s HOA Syndrome  — of emotional distress caused by living in an HOA — was real. The poll results showed a 68% YES reply.
Keep up the challenges! Make CAI respond! As Gandhi said, “We must continue to provoke until they respond and change the laws.” That’s the key to homeowner rights success. Show the public what CAI really stands for. Stop the legislative excuse that they are relying on CAI as the Word. Hold them accountable, too, as they are part of the problem.
 Supra n. 4. Schweitzer to post full results shortly.