If only advocates would stand up to CAI

This month, April 18th and 21st,  I posted comments[1] on the dereliction of duty by state legislatures and the need for the DOJ to investigate state legislatures as well as the undue influence by CAI teachings in its School of HOA Governance[2]  Yesterday, the 23rd, it seems that CAI is trying to soften its misleading statements and failure to disclose the whole truth about HOA-Land.  Previously I had commented upon Kelly G. Richardson’s[3]  2020 article  in The Public Record,[4]

“Richardson seems to be saying that indeed a director has a fiduciary duty to the member but that duty to the HOA comes first.   He further warns directors, who have relevant knowledge and expertise, to remain mum and not speak out least he be sued. If the director chooses to speak out as he should do in the best interests of the HOA, ‘the director is not acting as a director but is an unpaid consultant and could be held liable for their advice.’”[5]

In yesterday’s “ HOA Homefront: What surprises lurk in your CC&Rs?”[6]  Richardson added to his attempt to “tell it like it is” revealing some hidden aspects of CC&Rs. (Emphasis added).

“Here are 11 things about CC&Rs that might surprise you, before you read them. 

“CC&Rs bind all owners, regardless of whether they read it, understood it, or received a full copy of it. As a recorded document, CC&Rs are a “covenant running with the land,” meaning a legal commitment attaching to the land and therefore its owners.

“Normally enforced by courts, even if they seem unreasonable. The California Supreme Court ruled in 1994 that CC&Rs are presumed enforceable, with some narrow exceptions (such as if they contradict a law).

Original developer-supplied CC&Rs often are boilerplate with parts not applicable to the community. This is because the developer’s primary interest is to obtain quick approval from the Department of Real Estate to begin selling the homes.

As limits upon owner autonomy, CC&Rs can seem intrusive at times. These limits help to protect neighbors from unneighborly behavior and against properties detracting from the community.”

I must admit he comes clean to a certain degree admitting to some of those hidden aspects of CC&Rs, which the interested parties including legislators and the media should have been made aware prior to any decision-making, or before buying a home in an HOA. Too late after the fact!  Additionally,  Richardson fails to “call for action” — frequently used by CAI chapters — to correct these silent gotchas by adopting my proposed legislation,[7] which plainly says,

“The association hereby waivers and surrenders any rights or claims it may have under law and herewith unconditionally and irrevocably agrees 1) to be bound by the US and State Constitutions, and laws of the State within which it is located, as if it were a subdivision of the state and a local public government entity, and 2) that constitutional law shall prevail as the supreme law of the land including over conflicting laws and legal doctrines of equitable servitudes. Legislative dereliction of duty

“Furthermore, any governing documents of an association not in compliance with the above shall be deemed amended to be in compliance, and notwithstanding the provisions of any law to the contrary, a homeowners’ association shall be deemed to have amended its governing documents to be in compliance.

Lesson to be learned

For far too many years advocates and homeowners have failed to rally against the heavy influence of CAI on state legislators and the media, thereby allowing CAI to set the tone unchallenged.  This failure demonstrates a severe weakness to achieve HOA reforms of substance.  It is widely known, and proven countless times in other successful arenas, that legislation is accomplished by means of a widespread outcry by the “victims.”  Former Colorado Senator Morgan Carroll strongly advises her readers,

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.” 

It has been a long time failure by homeowner rights advocates to achieve meaningful, constitutional reforms. For whatever reason for this lack of involvement in a nationally united front, the practical reality has been the continued control and dominance by the CAI School of HOA Governance.[8] 

As an aside, CAI’s March “Call For Action”, “Grassroots Advocacy Initiatives Are More Essential Than Ever,” seems to be desperately seeking more active grassroots  involvement by its members, yet advocates remain silent.

“It is more important than ever for CAI advocates to engage in grassroots activism across the country. CAI believes it’s crucial for our members to tell legislators their stories and help them better understand the need for proper public policy decisions when approaching state legislation regulating community associations.”[9]  

Presently, Colorado’s HB 21-1229 is falling by the wayside as well as Arizona’s HB 2052, resurrected from last year’s SB 1412, both excellent reform bills.  California is facing problems with  SB 391 and in Florida  SB 623 (2020) went into defeat.

If only more had come forward and challenged, criticized, and exposed CAI we would have achieved much, much more.  Richardson’s article offers an excellent opportunity to step up to the plate!

References


[1] See Legislative dereliction of duty: supporting HOAs and   State legislatures must be held accountable for dereliction of duty.

[2] The foundation and principles of the School can be traced back to CAI’s Public Policies, The CAI Manifesto (its 2016 “white paper”), its numerous seminars and conferences, its Factbooks and surveys, its amicus briefs to the courts, and its advisories, letters, emails, newsletters, blogs etc. I have designated these foundations and principles collectively as the CAI School of HOA Governance.

[3] Kelly G. Richardson: CAI Board of Trustees 2011-2017; Community Associations Institute (CAI), National, President, 2016; College of Community Association Lawyers (CCAL), 2006; CAI’s California Legislative Action Committee, Chair, 2009, 2010; National Association of Realtors; California State Bar Association, Real Estate & Litigation Sections.

[4] HOA Homefront: Fiduciary Duty – What It Is, And Is NOT,

[5] CAI School faculty advice – managing HOAs.

[6] The Press-Enterprise, News, Housing, Opinion (April 23, 2021).

[7] See for example, Legislative dereliction of duty: supporting HOAs.

[8] Supra n. 2.

[9] See Grassroots Advocacy Initiatives Are More Essential Than Ever .

State legislatures must be held accountable for dereliction of duty

While U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland announced a DOJ investigation into the Minneapolis police department, the AG must also start a sweeping investigation into the dereliction of duty by state legislatures in their unconstitutional support, promotion and encouragement of homeowner association legislation.  

(See Legislative dereliction of duty: supporting HOAs). 

Legislation, which affects some 23% of all Americans living in an HOA, that permits contractual, authoritarian private governments  (HOAs or community associations) not accountable to the US Constitution.

The DOJ must also investigate the role and extent of the influence on state legislatures by the national, self-proclaimed expert in HOA law, the Community Associations Institute (CAI) and its affiliate, The Foundation for Community Association Research.  The DOJ must examine the extent of the teachings of the CAI School of HOA Governance has had in creating longtime conditioning and indoctrination of legislators, the media, and the public.  

“CAI School” is a term that I use to describe the collection of all CAI statements, publications and including seminars, programs, classes, etc. that constitute the CAI Manifesto.

State legislatures must be held accountable for any undue influence by pro-HOA special interests.  CAI must be held accountable for the content of its pro-HOA advocacy.

CAI Manifesto – white paper

{Originally published in 2016].

This CAI ‘white paper’ cements the position that CAI is the sole competent voice for HOA matters. For those who took the time to read all four of these papers, [note 1] what should stand out is the absence of any discussion of HOAs as de facto private governments, as de facto political entities, or as quasi or mini governments both of which imply a political entity.  The reason why the authors of these papers, the elitist would be Philosopher Kings, cannot address the question of violations of the Constitution is that they would be “Defending the Indefensible.”

So, as expected of politically motivated actors, ignoring the controversy makes it go away, especially when there’s only one voice of any merit and strength.  Facts that are inconsistent with the views of CAI are dogmatically dismissed and ignored. And to this end CAI has been very successful with respect to state legislatures and the cooperating media.

“For more than 40 years, CAI has educated, advocated, published and informed people living and working in common-interest communities. Thanks to those ongoing efforts, we have a strong and valuable understanding of community associations today.[note 2]

CAI will use these papers to further indoctrinate the legislators, the media and the public that CAI is the only competent, informed, knowledgeable, educational and credentialed organization with 40 years’ experience to conduct HOA affairs and to deal with HOA issues.  “Homeowner rights advocates” are ignored and dismissed as an opposition movement.  Instead, following the lead of Arizona Rep. Ugenti who in 2013 made the following statement to the Arizona Government Committee:

Ugenti stated that each year there was “a plethora of personal HOA legislation” and tried “to spare the [committee] members the constant agony of many personal pieces of HOA legislation,” as contrasted to the industry legislation. (See video of Ugenti speech here https://youtu.be/REt_TJD-6UQ).

CAI speaks only of “individual constituents” and “isolate incidents” that do not measure up to a policy that the legislature could act on[note 3] (my emphasis):

“Lawmakers have been, and will continue to be, called upon to address concerns expressed by individual constituents who share an isolated incident that has made them unhappy with their community associations. In an effort to help constituents, lawmakers may introduce legislation addressing association governance that may increase and undermine the well-established and proven model of community association governance.

“This trend is expected to continue as long as a legislative response is considered necessary to respond to negative perceptions produced by media out of lone circumstances. Legislative responses to individual constituents contribute to community associations being perceived as over-restrictive micro-governments focused on covenant enforcement. This perception may accelerate legislative efforts aimed at greater oversight of community association governance and require greater transparency.”

They make an accurate assessment of conditions. This failure to present a unified national voice backed by credential authorities will continue to persist into the future.  If you stop CAI Central, you destroy all local CAI state chapters’ reason for being. They become just another self-serving special interest.

These papers also contain CAI attempts to influence other dominant organizations like AARP and NAR (National Assoc. of Realtors).[note 4]  Furthermore, CAI calls for not only influencing legislatures, but the judges, too.[note 5]

References


[1] Links to these papers can be found on the CAI web page, Community Next: 2020 and Beyond(May 5, 2016).

[2] Id

[3] Supra, public policy link, p. 6.

[4] Supra. n. 1, external influences link, p. 4-5.

[5] Id, p. 13-14.

Arizona HB 2052 restores homeowner constitutional speech protections

The Arizona HB 2052 (2021)  bill (sponsored by Rep. John Kavanagh) is an update to Arizona’s SB 1412[i] which died in Rules last year as a result of postponements due to the COVID-19 virus.  Essentially, its

“Overview Stipulates that a unit owner’s association or a planned community association (association) may not prohibit a unit owner or member (member) from peacefully assembling and using private or common elements of the community.”[ii]

The list of AZ GE committee RTS names against HB 2052 shows only AACM and not CAI, who I believe is hiding from severe criticism of its support for unconstitutional HOA legal scheme.[iii]  However, the long time activist CAI member firm, Carpenter Hazlewood et al.,  with several lawyers also being CAI activists, opposes this bill that seeks to restore political free speech to members in HOAs that was taken away by ab initio  — from the beginning making the agreement null and void from the start — unconstitutional declarations of CC&Rs.

“We encourage our association clients to review HB2052. We encourage all board of directors to contact their representatives to discuss its association’s position on HB2052. If you have any questions for Carpenter Hazlewood about HB2052, please feel free to contact the firm’s Legislative Team.”[iv]

CAI dominates HOA board as a result of its CAI School of HOA Governance[v] indoctrination over the years.  What is your board going to do? Stand by CAI’s opposition or obey its legal duties to do right by the members.[vi]  It can only reject this bill on the grounds that it feels granting its members constitutional rights of free political speech — that all other Americans have —  will harm the HOA government.

WHAT DO YOU SAY?

Do not allow your board to speak for you before government committees without a vote of all the members granting such powers.  I have no doubt, based on my years of dealing with CAI on constitutional issues, that its email has been sent to your president your manager, and directors.

Stand by the Constitution!  Contact your state representative and urge him/her to support HB 2052, which will soon come to a vote in the House.

Looking at the role Washington must play, see America cannot be completely unified with HOAs.

References


[i] See in general, AZ SB 1412 reflects move to HOA constitutional reforms (Jan. 2020); Authorities for protected HOA political speech — SB 1412 poll (Jan. 2020); AZ fair elections reform bill SB 1412 moves on (May 2020).

[ii] HB 2052 summary.

[iii] In the Twin Rivers case, the CAI amicus brief to the NJ appellate court warned about “the unwise extension of constitutional rights to the use of private property by members [in HOAs].”CBTR v. Twin Rivers, 929 A.2d 1060 (2007); In reply to my amicus curiae brief, CAI responded with, “It is clear that the amicus curiae simply wants to impose constitutional protections on members in homeowners associations. The law has never supported that proposition.”(CAI/Smith amicus response.); CAI maintains HOAs are protected by and do not violate the Constitution — not so!

[iv] “CHDB Legislative Alert!!! AZ House Bill 2052,” Carpenter, Hazlewood email, January 21, 2021.

[v] CAI School of HOA Governance: The foundation and principles of the School can be traced back to CAI’s Public Policies, The CAI Manifesto (its 2016 “white paper”), its numerous seminars and conferences, its Factbooks and surveys, its amicus briefs to the courts, and its advisories, letters, emails, newsletters, blogs etc. I have designated these foundations and principles collectively as the CAI School of HOA Governance.

[vi] In my sampling of CC&Rs of both large and small HOAs I found boilerplate wording that focused on “maintaining property values” or “for the overall development, administration, maintenance and preservation of the Properties.” Almost all, but not everyone, contain a statement directed toward the member: “shall inure [take effect] to the benefit of the member” [or “each owner”], and “be mutually beneficial.” I came across this one-sided statement: “intended to benefit the Association.” The most liberal and progressive statement of purpose mimics the Preamble to the Constitution “to promote the health, safety and general welfare of the residents of the Properties” (the general welfare clause). The inclusion of “health and “safety” are redundant in that “general welfare” includes these concerns. See “HOA contractual Mission” in Restructuring HOAs – intents and purposes.

Cult behavior within HOA-Land

There is a mass psychology present in HOA-Land. Mass psychology is a study of how your behavior is influenced by large groups of people — “birds of the same feather flock together.” It is the result of the longtime conditioning and indoctrination into identifying with the principles and beliefs promoted by the CAI School of HOA Governance. Following the advice and guidelines of cult experts to focus on the need to reeducate cult followers, my Plan to restructure HOAs begins with the need to reorient the BOD and the members away from the CAI School doctrine. This is a critical first step toward substantive HOA reforms!

Everyone is vulnerable to cult recruitment. The followers cannot be held to blame because of their deceptive recruitment. There is a lack of awareness and information in regard to how the cult truly works and how it motives people.

Read the paper, Mass Psychology and Cult Behavior Within HOA-Land.