Restructuring HOAs: “CAI School and member benefits” pt. 2

Mentoring: “CAI School of HOA Governance”

Part 2 addresses the heavy influence of the CAI and its affiliated, shill, organizations functioning as supporters of HOAs and the questionable claim of also supporting homeowners.

CAI heavy influence

Several HOA attorneys have maintained that the expression of the common interest of all the members is found 1) in the Declaration that they all agreed to be bound by and 2) because the members still remain a resident and a member of the HOA. It is through the Declaration itself that provides their benefits and the BOD is not derelict in its duties and obligations to the members. And that’s all there is to it!

However, herein and in my intents and purposes paper[1] I argued that the BOD’s mission statement, vision and values are one-sided and heavily influenced by the mindset created by the CAI School of HOA Governance[2] that neglects constitutional protections for the members. The alleged benefits for the members as contained in the CC&Rs do very little to provide the benefits of a democratic government. In fact, they restrict or deny the application of constitutional rights and freedoms, and the privileges and immunities of citizens of this country and their state.[3]

The policy makers have failed to understand that the HOA CC&Rs have crossed over the line between purely property restrictions to establishing unregulated and authoritarian private governments.”

In order to correct these serious defects in the HOA legal model the HOA must be restructured to conform to and be subject to the Constitution and laws of the land. It must begin with a declaration of citizenship to be made a covenant in all declarations, charters, bylaws and other governing HOA documents. State laws and CC&Rs must be amended according as proposed in my HOA Member Declaration shown in part below:

Therefore, the members of the association, having not waived or surrendered their rights, freedoms, privileges and immunities as citizens of the United States under Section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment, and as citizens of the state within which they reside, the CC&Rs or Declaration for any planned community, condominium or homeowners association shall state that, or be amended to comply . . . .”[4]

In order for this revision to become a reality the BOD and HOA members must be reoriented away from the teachings of the CAI School and toward the forgotten and neglected principles and values of democratic America. The CAI School needs to be replaced with a qualified program of education and training on municipal government: its structure, objectives and mission, functions and operations.

CAI support of HOAs

Why does CAI oppose holding HOAs subject to the Constitution? How can CAI take this stance and still assert that it’s supportive of the homeowners? It seems by adopting the WW II Fascist philosophy of Italy’s Il Duce, Benito Mussolini, who proclaimed, “All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.”[5] And who described Fascism a being “for the State; and it is for the individual in so far as he coincides with the State[6] Just substitute “HOA” for “state” and it all makes sense. Essentially, this is CAI’s true position on HOA governments.

While there is much to support and justify the need to remove the heavy influence by CAI over HOA-Land, a few instances are provided.

In the context of community associations, the unwise extension of constitutional rights to the use of private property by members . . . raises the likelihood that judicial intervention will become the norm.”[7] (NJ).

In other words, CAI doesn’t want our constitutional judicial system to be applied to HOAs. They can rule themselves without judicial oversight. All other forms of local government, including the most liberal of self-government charters under the home rule doctrine are subject to the Constitution.

AGAINST

[CAI] Kathe Barnes, Self(02/10/2020); Jason Barraza, AZ ASSN OF COMMUNITY MANAGERS (AACM)(02/10/2020); Terry Carstens, Self(02/23/2020); Quinten Cupps, Self(02/06/2020); [CAI, AACM] Mary Jo Edel, Self(02/06/2020); Alexis Glascock, COMMUNITY ASSOCIATIONS INSTITUTE(02/09/2020); [CAI attorney] Lynn Krupnik, Self(02/06/2020); [AACM] Linda Lang, Self(02/10/2020); Mark Logan, Self(02/10/2020); Dave Norton, Self(02/06/2020); Jeff Sandquist, AZ ASSN OF COMMUNITY MANAGERS (AACM)(02/10/2020); Vicki Sears, Self(02/06/2020); [AACM] Mark Wade, Self(02/06/2020); Donna Wood, Self(02/06/2020); [AZ]

The above quote represents the persons and/or organizations against Arizona Senate bill SB 1412 (2020). The bill would bring homeowner protections for HOA political activity and free speech rights. Note the absence of any identification of several persons who are members of one or the other mentioned organizations, CAI and AACM (AACM is a spin-off from CAI in 2003). That’s 8 out of 14 persons in opposition. Please also note that none of these persons have identified themselves with any HOA. Where are the HOA directors or presidents?

California’s SB 323 (2019) introduced fair elections procedures for HOAs that protect homeowner voting rights. It addressed one of my 6 substantive defects in the HOA legal scheme.[8]   It has become California law. Long time California lawyer Adrian Adams is heavily involved in CAI policy and management at the HQ and chapter levels. He writes:

Last year, the Center for California Homeowner Association Law (CCHAL), an organization hostile to community associations . . . The train wreck legislation . . . The bill also forces members . . . In another hostile move against associations . . . The California Legislative Action Committee (CLAC) is a volunteer organization consisting of homeowners and professionals serving homeowner associations by monitoring legislation, educating lawmakers, and protecting the interests of those living in community associations.[9]

CAI’s California LAC:[10]

The California Legislative Action Committee (CLAC) is a committee of Community Associations Institute (CAI), a national not-for-profit educational and resource organization dedicated to fostering vibrant, competent, harmonious community associations. CLAC consists of homeowners and professionals serving community associations.

We worked hard to defeat SB 323 and we came very close, especially on the Assembly Floor where the bill passed and was sent to the Governor. . . . Let’s work closely together to make sure legislators understand the negative consequences SB 323 potentially will have on community associations.

It should be obvious by now that CAI is not a friend of the homeowner in spite of its lofty, high sounding pronouncements, policies and Best Practices. The acts of its members both in CAI HQ and in the numerous state chapters speak an entirely contradictory message. CAI is there to support the HOA and the BOD that is the real person representative of the HOA association. It is obvious that granting and admitting individual rights and freedoms to the homeowners presents an obstacle to its personal agenda; CAI is a business trade tax-exempt nonprofit entity to make money for its members, the attorneys and managers for the most part, the

After consideration of the above and earlier posts under Restructuring HOAs, I ask and answer: Does the Declaration provide covenants that implement and accomplish the intents and purposes of the HOA that serve the interests of the members? My answer is NO. It raises the question of why BODs accept the HOA model of local government and resist revisions in order to bring the HOA within the Constitution for the protection of its members?

Notes

[1] See “Restructuring HOAs – intents and purposes,” George K. Staropoli, HOA Constitutional Government (Feb 2020).

[2] The basis for a definition can be found in “CAI claims Factbook 2018 at home with Democracy in America.”, in HOA Constitutional Government, footnote 9.

[3] See “Would the HOA legal scheme collapse under a democratic form of government?” in HOA Constitutional Government (2014); “HOA-Land and the decline in democratic institutions” in HOA Constitutional Government (2019).

[4] See “HOA member Declaration of US and State citizenship” in HOA Constitutional Government (2012).

[5] See Benito Mussolini: What is Fascism, 1932.

[6] Fundamental Ideas of Fascism,” Benito Mussolini, Souciant, Inc. (2016).

[7] CAI amicus curiae brief in CBTR v. Twin Rivers, 890 A.2d 947 (NJ Super. App. Div. 2006).

[8] See HOA Common Sense: rejecting private government, Democratic elections, No. 5. (2019).

[9] Adams Stirling Newsletter, Adrian Adams, Esq. (Feb. 24, 2019). Adams is a member of CAI’s Community Association Research Foundation, CAI chapter director and CLAC delegate.

[10] CAI-CLAC Feb. (2020).

 

 

 

Restructuring the HOA model

This Commentary is a position paper on the need to restructure the HOA model of government.  It is not light reading and requires serious consideration and understanding  of the underlying issues.

Background

I have stepped outside the box to offer the boards of directors (BOD) a fresh view of the nature and legalities of the HOA legal scheme. StarMan Group HOA Management Consulting believes that the HOA legal model of government must be restructured to

establish the climate and culture of the HOA enabling the restoration of the lost constitutional principles of democratic government — individual rights, justice and fair play — for its members within the confines of a private contractual government,

In my activist 20 years of HOA reforms, irrational fears have been inculcated in the general public and are the primary elements for the failure to resolve 54 years of endemic HOA issues: fear of loss of home, fear of financial and emotional stress, fear of legal actions and lawsuits, fear of social isolation, and fear of property devaluation. These have been advanced by pro-HOA forces.

The current embodiment of a utopian society (HOAs) was formulated in 1964 (The Home Association Handbook) and CAI was created in 1973 to address the growing dissatisfaction with HOAs. In 1993 it dropped being a tax-exempt educational nonprofit to become a business trade group in order to more effectively lobby state legislatures to protect the status quo of the HOA model of governance.

The HOA model of local government is a fourth type of local government in addition to the public domains of commission, council-manager and council-mayor forms. I ask: Is there a legitimate, bona fide reason and justification for the HOA to function outside public government?   No, there is none!

BOD Reorientation to review the HOA mission

The restructuring of HOAs starts with the education and reorientation of the BOD to better achieve its primary, broad purpose which is to provide quality services to its members. The only statements or covenants relating to the intent or purpose of the HOA focus on the interests of and benefits to the members, and neither to investments nor to social welfare services. The BOD must face the question as to how the best interests of the members can be accomplished by a rejection of the US and state constitutions.

“Maintaining property values” cannot be taken as an investment in your home. The CAI model focuses on punishment and enforcement of violators of the governing documents or those who fail to timely pay their assessments. The governing documents (CC&RS and bylaws) contain restrictions and limitations and any rights or privileges that the members possess under the CC&Rs are laughable when compared to the Bill of Rights or state Declaration of Rights.

I firmly believe that the BOD must undertake a serious, in-depth review of the original intent of HOAs and where it is today and where it’s going. For example, surely an HOA is not a social welfare organization but a private membership nonprofit regardless of any misguided ruling by the IRS. This review must be conducted in an open and unbiased manner free from the years of CAI indoctrination by the CAI School of HOA Governance (my appellation), to which far too many BODs have long been a willing and obedient adherent. Being under the spell of the CAI doctrine, the BOD has lost its freedom of mind, has neglected principles of local government, and functions outside constitutional application.

BODs, in general, resort to CAI not for legal advice on how to run the HOA government but as a crutch to allow them to dodge their obligations to govern the people — their residents — living in the territorial subdivision of the planned community or condo. Why would CAI speak of or admit to the Bill of Rights or to state Declaration of Rights and lose control of the industry? Why haven’t they?

In addressing the management of nonprofit organizations, eminent management consultant Peter F. Drucker wrote: “The first job of the leader is to think through and define the mission of the institution.”  He makes the point that the worthiness of a mission statement lies not in its beauty but in leading to “right action.” It has to be operational, otherwise it’s just good intentions. “One of the most common mistakes is to make the statement [a series] of good intentions.”

CC&Rs are a devise to circumvent the Constitution

The recourse to the real estate laws of equitable servitudes giving legitimacy to the declaration of covenants, conditions and restriction has gone afoul with respect to HOA governments. “The policy makers have failed to understand that the HOA CC&Rs have crossed over the line between purely property restrictions to establishing unregulated and authoritarian private governments.” The governing documents reflect the undue influence of the CAI School of HOA Governance, and the failure to accept the reality that the HOA is a de facto form of local government that functions outside the US Constitution.

The Homes Association Handbook model set the tone, the character, and the culture of the HOA “community” from which the boilerplate declarations flowed with the help of CAI lawyers. There are no public disclosures of the loss of individual property rights, or the legislative immunity granted to BODs, or the unjust elections procedures, or the absence of constitutional due process protections, or court rulings of implied waivers and surrenders of individual rights, just to mention a few.

It goes without saying that private HOA governments must be restructured to return to the Union and restore member rights, freedom, privileges and immunities. It can be done and must be done. Plessy v. Ferguson (163 US 537 (1896)) was overturned by the US Supreme Court fifty-eight years later in 1954 by Brown v. Bd of Educ. (347 U.S. 483 (1954)). So can years of unjust HOA Acts and statutes be overturned in the light of today’s knowledge and conditions.

And so, it starts with the review and restructuring of the purpose and intents of the HOA to establish a climate and culture of the HOA conforming to the principles of democratic government as required of all local government by the Constitution.

consulting SIG image1

Further reading:

 

Toward a democratic HOA subject to the Constitution

The news is good lately as several state legislatures have and are dealing with substantive HOA reform legislation that confronts the HOA legal structure as un-American. California’s SB 323 passed into law last year amid the hostility of CAI; Florida’s HB 623 is in the legislative process of becoming law; and Arizona’s SB 1412 is just starting out in the legislature.

The substantive amendments to state laws are:

SB 323 (CA) — seeks to introduce fair elections procedures for HOAs, addressing one of my 6 substantive defects in the HOA legal scheme.  Deborah Goonan’s excellent discussion of this bill[1] brought to my attention a second defect in the HOA legal scheme, the lack of enforcement of the law.

“A member of an association may bring a civil action for declaratory or equitable relief for a violation of this article by the association. . . . “A member who prevails in a civil action to enforce the member’s rights . . . the court may impose a civil penalty of up to five hundred dollars ($500) for each violation.”

HB 623 (FL) —

“This provision will amend 718 F.S. so any bylaws, or reasonable rules or regulations of the association which diminish or infringe upon any right protected under the Fourteenth Amendment[2] to the United States Constitution or Art. 384 II of the State Constitution and would be void and unenforceable without further action of the association. However, the provision states that the association may record a notice in the public records of the county in which the condominium is located evidencing its intention to not enforce such provision, it would foolhardy for them to do so. This has been overdue in our quest for achieving equal rights.”[3]

Much to my surprise Eric Glazer, of FL HOA & Condo Blog and host of HOA Condo Craze, warns of danger if HB 623 is made law.[4]

To simplify, the 14th Amendment made The Bill of Rights (The first ten amendments to the Constitution) applicable to the states.  So, this law basically says no provision of your governing documents can infringe upon the rights you have under the Bill of Rights.  All of you know several of these rights such as the right to free speech, freedom of assembly, and freedom of religion.

There is plenty of law out there that says when you move into an association, you may give up some of the rights you may ordinarily have in your private home. You do this by agreeing to be bound by the governing documents.

SB 1412 (AZ) — seeks to prohibit HOAs and condos from restricting political free speech. Members are permitted to associate, meet, discuss, show signs regarding political activity.

“NOTWITHSTANDING ANY PROVISION IN THE CONDOMINIUM DOCUMENTS, AN ASSOCIATION MAY NOT PROHIBIT OR UNREASONABLY RESTRICT A UNIT OWNER’S ABILITY TO PEACEFULLY ASSEMBLE AND USE PRIVATE OR COMMON ELEMENTS OF THE CONDOMINIUM IF DONE IN COMPLIANCE WITH REASONABLE RESTRICTIONS FOR THE USE OF THAT PROPERTY ADOPTED BY THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS. AN INDIVIDUAL MEMBER OR GROUP OF MEMBERS MAY ORGANIZE TO DISCUSS OR ADDRESS PLANNED COMMUNITY BUSINESS, INCLUDING BOARD ELECTIONS OR RECALLS, POTENTIAL OR ACTUAL BALLOT ISSUES . . . .”

I cannot emphasize that these bills have a very large umbrella covering many issues found at fault in HOAs. They provide the legal authority supporting many, many complaints, even those where the homeowner is just not happy with the way the HOA is run. In these cases, the HOA hasn’t really violated any law of the governing documents per se. The complaints should their focus on the lack of fair elections to remove wayward boards, or due process and equal protection of the law violations. The 14th Amendment applies!

What is needed is the strong support for the champions of these bills, Sen. Bob Wieckowski in CA, Senator D. Farnsworth in Arizona, and Representative Jason Shoaf in Florida. The California bill made law was achieved, in my opinion, with the help of the strong support of Marjorie Murray of CCHAL.[5] They fought and are fighting the system — state legislatures do not favor HOA reforms.

References

[1]California HOA elections bill update (March 2019)”, Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities.

[2] The 14th Amendment. Section 1 state prohibitions against laws denying due process of law and the equal protection of the laws, and abridging the privileges and immunities of citizens.

[3] Comment number 6, CCFJ.net, Milena Macias, Esq. (Feb. 4, 2020).

[4] “A PROPOSED AMENDMENT TO THE LAW THAT HAS DANGER WRITTEN ALL OVER IT”, Florida HOA & Condo Blog, Eric Glazer, Esq. (Feb. 3, 2020)

[5] Center for California Homeowner Association Law.

 

 

 

 

subtle HOA restrictions on fair elections

In Arizona I discovered a large, active-adult HOA that I first thought was quite liberal and emancipated but in reality turned out to be just a benevolent dictatorship. That’s about as good as it can get! Basically, a benevolent dictatorship gives the appearance of serving the members’ best interests by playing on their wishes, desires and, most of all, fears. But the essential structure of the governing documents and state laws create and support a legal dictatorship. Harsh actions and statements are avoided.

As an example, in regard to fair elections, I came across its application for board membership that outlines the duties, responsibilities and attitudes of directors. In short, the BOD through an election committee controls candidate campaigning and what the candidate may or may not say. In the public domain this would be considered outrageous and undemocratic.

Here are a few conditions:

The Campaign and Election Policies have been carefully developed to provide a fair and clean process for candidates and all members. It is expected that candidates . . . will act with the utmost integrity and respect toward all candidates. It is also expected everyone will focus on issues and refrain from negative criticism of any other candidate or group. [This is political correctness and an unconstitutional restraint on political free speech.]

IN THE SPIRIT OF FAIRNESS: [Say what?]

 ALLOWED [my emphasis]

  • Submitting to and awaiting approval by the Election Team before distributing campaign flyers. . . Unapproved campaign flyers will be confiscated and destroyed by the Election Team. [It’s an unconstitutional restraint on political free speech].
  • Placing approved campaign flyers ONLY on designated tables next to the election poster boards in approved locations
  • Attending any . . . community group gatherings . . during the group’s informal assembly time only. [Should be a decision by the groups chair or president].
  • Distribution of personal correspondence through the US Postal Service at candidate’s own cost is allowed after approval by the Election Team. [It’s an unconstitutional restraint on political free speech].

NOT ALLOWED  [All would not pass public fair elections procedures].

  • Using email listings, electronic or websites [of any HOA organization] Addressing a formal . . . Community Group; Participating in formal Q&A sessions and programs other than those sponsored by the Election Team.
  • Using Association facilities for campaign events for individual candidates.
  • Using advertising of any type (other than approved campaign flyer and/or approved personal correspondence).
  • Distributing campaign flyers in common areas except as noted.

There are several court cases upholding HOA political free speech. See Protecting HOA political free speech on matters of general community interest (2000 -2010); Court Decisions May Make it Harder for Condominium Associations to Restrict Free Speech Rights of Owners (2012).

HOA-Land Nation “Did you know?” Part 2

HOA-Land Nation “Did you know?”

Release No. 2 —  July 4, 2019

As an HOA member, did you know that:

 ·         Your HOA board (BOD) is unaccountable under state laws with trivial, if any, penalties or punishments for violations of state laws or the governing documents?  Without meaningful enforcement to hold BODs accountable and to serve as a detriment to continued violations, you are forced to sue just to get compliance.

 ·         The much touted HOAs are democratic because members can vote is utterly without merit?  Fair elections protections, as compared with those in the public arena, do not exist under a corporation law.  Members do not have equal access to HOA newsletters, website, member lists, and use of common amenity meetings rooms, among other denials.  

 ·         To bring about equal protection of your rights, the HOA attorney sides with the BOD, his client and not you, the membership.  And as a CAI member, lobbies the legislature to maintain conditions as they are – authoritarian HOA government.

 ·         You still retain your rights, privileges and immunities as a citizen but are denied these rights under the private HOA legal scheme, functioning outside constitutional protections.

 Discover the truth about HOAs!  The truth shall set you free!  Read The HOA-Land Nation Within America exposé on sale at Amazon.com.