HOA-Land: the product of the decline in democratic institutions in America

Over the years I’ve attempted to inform and educate advocates, legislators, the media, home buyers and the public in general about the “emergence and acceptance of a quiet innovation in housing[1] generally known as HOAs.[2] This “rise of residential private government[3] could not have occurred without

elected autocrats [and parties who] subvert democracy – packing and ‘weaponizing’ the courts and other neutral agencies, buying off the media and the private sector (or bullying them into silence), and rewriting the rules of politics to tilt the playing field against opponents.  Democracy’s assassins use the very institutions of democracy — gradually, subtly, and even legally – to kill it.[4]

The authors of How Democracies Die[5] provide the “glue” that ties the American decay and decline in democratic norms and institutions to the quiet emergence and acceptance of private government HOA-Land.[6]  The above quote can be easily applied to HOA-Land and its Evil Empire and die-hard followers, both affiliated organizations and individual leaders.

They explain that

Democracies may die at the hands . . .  of elected leaders . . . who subvert the very process that brought them to power. . .. More often, though, democracies erode slowly, in barely visible steps.

as openly confirmed in Community Associations.

How did HOA legal scheme with its rejection of constitutional government come about? The authors explain that: “there is no single moment — no coup, declaration of martial law, or suspension of the constitution – in which the regime obviously ‘crosses the line’ into dictatorship.” The mechanism used by the Evil Empire is described in the above quoted paragraph – by using “the institutions of democracy . . . to kill it.”

 

As for homeowner advocates and others seeking HOA reform legislation, How Democracies Die makes it clear that reforming the HOA legal scheme and state laws is a social and political movement.  Local and fragmented efforts have failed and will continue to fail until the advocates come to accept this reality.

CAI will spread its propaganda that they are the only experts in HOA law and extol the virtues of HOAs as “better landscaping makes better local communities.” Who will present a unified case for HOA reforms in Washington to counter CAI’s flood of conferences and seminars targeted to Congressmen and agency directors?  This is planned for May 8, 2018.  Who?  No one, that’s who!

References

[1] Community Associations: The emergence and acceptance of a quiet innovation in housing, Donald R. Stabile, Greenwood Press, 2000. A self-congratulatory book paid for by ULI and CAI.

[2] Establishing the New America of independent HOA principalities, George K. Staropoli, StarMan Publishing, LLC, 2008.

[3] See, Privatopia: Homeowners Associations and the rise of Residential Private Government, Even McKenzie, Yale University Press, 1994.

[4] How Democracies Die, Steven Levitsky & Daniel Ziblatt, Crown Publishing, 2018. Based on their research into democracies, internationally and historically, the authors make the case that the long-term decline in democratic norms and institutions has given rise to demagogic leadership. I make the case that HOA-Land is also a product of this dedline.

[5] Id.

[6] I introduced this term and defined it as, “a collection of fragmented independent principalities within America, known in general as “HOAs,” that are separate local private governments not subject to the constitution, and that collectively constitute a nation within the United States.”

 

Published in: on January 22, 2018 at 4:08 pm  Comments (6)  

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  1. […] my  January 2018 post, HOA-Land: the product of the decline in democratic institutions in America, I argued that HOA-Land was the result of this slow death of democracy.  Deborah Goonan makes a […]

  2. People need to realize that CAI is a self serving, self promoting lobby organization for their vendors: CAI management companies, CAI managers, CAI attorneys, CAI vendors. Who pays them? The homeowners. If homeowners refuse to hire CAI members, they will cease to exist. One way to stop CAI from manipulating and profiting from homeowners is to stop hiring them. Every time CAI supports a law that is not protecting homeowners or homeowner rights, expose them, refuse the hire CAI member firms, management companies or vendors. Vote with your pocket. $$$$$$$$ is what counts. Homeowners control the money is they speak up. Block your HOA from hiring them. I would NEVER hire a CAI attorney or management company knowing what I know. Problem is that most homeowners including Board members are not aware of what they do. Example, I remember seeing a book once that had “recommended vendors” for the manager to tap into. Is this fair to the homeowner and in the best interest of the homeowner?

  3. It could also go the other way — HOAs are eroding democracy, because they operate outside the democratic realm.

  4. […] my earlier post, HOA-Land: the product of the decline in democratic institutions in America, I found support for my views, and I wrote the […]

  5. George, is it possible to send a letter–one page only–basically outlining the situation and asking them to boycott the conference? Or at least be on guard? So–something, however small?

    • Maybe doing a press release telling the public what CAI is actually about and get it to the press. The better informed a homeowner is, the stronger the chance to protect themselves and support legislation that will protect homeowner’s property right and legal ownership rights. As homeowner advocates we can not afford to be there but we can get CNN and other national media to expose the truth. Transparency is key.


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