new HOA book — Neighbors At War! by Ward Lucas

Amazon review By George K. Staropoli

This review is from: Neighbors At War! The Creepy Case Against Your Homeowners Association (Paperback)

Neighbors at War! is a refreshing description of what living in an HOA (homeowners association, property owners association, common-interest community or condo association) that the average person can understand. It is not another legal treatise, or academic journal or book, but the writing of an experienced and award winning investigative reporter.

It is a long needed book for prospective buyers of HOA controlled homes or those already living in an HOA. All those state mandated documents do not tell it all, as state legislators are pro-HOA and accept the denials of homeowner rights contained in HOA adhesion contracts.


Ward Lucas ranges far and wide, from questions of constitutionality and denials of bill of rights protections to more down-to-earth issues of HOA procedures and operations. Foreclosure, no fair elections, and kangaroo hearings on violations are examples of the cases and issues that are discussed in easy to understand terms.

I’ve been repeatedly told by legislators that complaining homeowners are trying to get out of a contract, should have read the CC&Rs, and should have gotten a lawyer. And not a word about misrepresentation and fraud.


Do not fall into the trap of Buyer Beware! Read this excellent book and discover what you are not being told by the special interest national lobbying organization formed to protect, not your rights, but the HOA status quo. Neighbors at War! is a must read for informed homeowners and state legislators

NEW HOA DOCUMENTARY FILM, THE HOAX

On behalf of Rodney,

Hi there, I’m Rodney Gray. I am a former U.S. Marine, an actor and a filmmaker, who is currently directing and producing a feature documentary on the homeowners’ association (HOA) industry for submission to film festivals and future distribution, but also as my MFA production thesis at the University of North Texas.

My new film, The HOAX, follows an investigative reporter, homeowners, and HOA reform activists as they reveal shocking evidence of financial and psychological hardships experienced by people throughout Texas and Nevada. A few of these people, including the filmmaker, have been the subject of adverse actions from the very HOAs created to help them.

Please feel free to visit our websites to find out more information, get updates and watch the teaser trailer.

  The HOAX Movie Website:  http://thehoaxfilm.com/

The HOAX Trailer Tease and Campaign Website: www.indiegogo.com/thehoaxfilm

 

Spread the word and please share these links. Help us bring injustices into the light.

 

Best to you all,

Rodney

 

 

Good night and very good luck – the unspoken media HOA alliance

I hope that the paraphrased quote of, “Good Night and Good Luck,” the signoff by the renowned Edward R. Murrow, who was the only journalist to openly oppose the commie scare by Sen. McCarthy in the 50s, is recognized by the news media. The media of today, especially the local news media, the young and laughing personalities of the 5:00 PM news seem to be totally oblivious to important HOA bills before state legislatures. Bills that would affect some 20% of the people in across the country.

Why? It seems that they prefer to see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil about HOAs. Or is it really corporate media making the call?

Murrow, upon leaving the CBS network in 1953 had this to say about the TV news media.

Our history will be what we make it. And if there are any historians about fifty or a hundred years from now . . . they will there find . . . evidence of decadence, escapism and insulation from the realities of the world in which we live. I invite your attention to the television schedules of all networks between the hours of 8 and 11 p.m., Eastern Time.

We are currently wealthy, fat, comfortable and complacent. We have currently a built-in allergy to unpleasant or disturbing information. Our mass media reflect this.

Are the big corporations who pay the freight for radio and television programs wise to use that time exclusively for the sale of goods and services? Is it in their own interest and that of the stockholders so to do?

Since this statement was made, the news has become highly editorialized and selective, geared to entertain. It appears that providing important matters of civic concern affecting their private property and community to their viewers is a secondary concern, and only such information as the media moguls deem to be appropriate. (For a brief history of Arizona’s HOA news coverage, see Arizona HOA News History).

There have been no in-depth analyses or debates of the HOA legal concept even at the national level, as the spread of HOA-Land is nationwide. The Sunday news talk shows, or by 20-20 and Dateline, are silent. There have been no discussions on whether HOAs, as de facto governments, should by made a government entity. Or whether state legislatures should continue to allow equitable servitude law to supersede contract and constitutional law. Or the lack of debate on the absence of “truth in HOAs” disclosures, similar to truth in lending and truth in advertising.

Or what is the legitimate government interest to allow private governments to deny the equal application of the laws. Or to allow constructive notice – just take your deed — to bind unsuspecting home buyers to the CC&Rs sight unseen. Apparently there is no need to inform buyers at closing of the great leap that they are taking into the unknown.

Doesn’t the news media understand, haven’t they been taught in journalism 101, that silence carries an acceptance of conditions and events. With no opposing views, what do they think their viewers will accept and believe. Obviously, “No news is good news.” And this silence has helped generate the national groupthink that “HOAs are the next best thing to Mom’s apple pie.” This silence helps generate an inbreeding, a closed group without outside reality testing for verification. (See the seminal work by Irving Janis, Victims of Groupthink, 1972).

Here’s what the activist group, Psychologists for Social Responsibility (PsySR), has to say about groupthink (my emphasis).

A group is especially vulnerable to groupthink when its members are similar in background, when the group is insulated from outside opinions, and when there are no clear rules for decision making. Groupthink occurs when groups are highly cohesive and when they are under considerable pressure . . . . When pressures for unanimity seem overwhelming, members are less motivated to realistically appraise the alternative courses of action available to them. These group pressures lead to carelessness and irrational thinking since groups experiencing groupthink fail to consider all alternatives and seek to maintain unanimity. Decisions shaped by groupthink have low probability of achieving successful outcomes.

And PsySR finds fault with the media for failing to inform its viewers about the alternative views of others.

Knowledge is power and we as citizens and as a nation are becoming less powerful. The American press, especially the television news media, has let down the American people and the American people have allowed this to happen. US television news is geared more toward providing entertainment than information.

We can now answer why this silence, why this unspoken alliance of no negatives about HOAs. The history of the media’s role with respect to substantive issues on HOA constitutionality, and other legalities, has gone through four stages: 1) repeat what the special interests have to say, 2) allow advocates to speak out in opposition, 3) report only favorable stories, and 4) withdrawal from the controversy. (See Arizona HOA News History).

The reason for this withdrawal by the media can be found in their realization that the HOA legal concept cannot be defended without renouncing the US Constitution and our system of democratic government. In short, any such attempt would be Defending the Indefensible. So, silence is the only option if one truly believes, in spite of the overwhelming evidence, that HOAs are better than Mom’s apple pie.

With that I say, “Good night and good luck.”   Those of you living in HOAs surely need lots of it.

NC media “tells it like it is” and reports HOA information

It is quite a pleasing surprise to see the North Carolina media cover the important HOA hearing that took place for 3 hours yesterday by the House Select HOA Committee, led by the Charlotte Observer. The NC media has lived up to its obligations to provide a free press that covers all sides of the issue, like it or not, which is necessary for the proper functioning of a democracy. That’s why “free speech” protections were made the First Amendment.

I congratulate the proactive NC HOA homeowner rights advocates for their successful campaign to get the message out. The policy makers and the buying public need the whole truth in order to make sound decisions. Among the leaders are Jim Lane, Jane Jordan and Ole Madsen. Keep it up! Keep the ball rolling, and remember Gandhi, “We must continue to provoke until they respond and change the laws.”

You know, having attended years of Arizona legislative committee hearings, every now and then I would get a whine from a legislator, “When are we going to hear the end of HOA complaints?” I answered, When the legislature gets things right and stands up for the Constitution, and that starts with an open mind to all the facts. Local community government must truly be “of the people, by the people and for the people,” and not by profit-seeking developers with their top-down cramming of covenants, and government officials selling out their obligations to the people for a few shillings.

The perceived benefits of the planned community real estate package of ‘district’ ordinances and taxes and ‘private’ amenities can remain under a government that retains our constitutional system of democracy.  There are no excuses for this not to happen.  It is only when the facts get out for an open discussion will this happen.  Thanks again to the NC media “telling it like it is.”

See, advocate’s 10-point statement to NC HOA committeeHOAs today do not exist for the benefit of HomeownersStatement to NC Select HOA Committee.

HOAs and the media: The media has failed as watchdogs of democracy

 

Tom Brokaw defines “the greatest generation” as “American citizens who came of age during the Great Depression and the Second World War and went on to build modern America.”  Among them were journalists Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite. “Fellow journalists considered Murrow one of journalism’s greatest figures, noting his honesty and integrity in delivering the news.” He stood up to defend American values during the 1950s McCarthy era quest to uncover Communists in America. Murrow “criticized McCarthyism and the ‘Red Scare’, contributing if not leading to the political downfall of Senator Joseph McCarthy.”

And there was Walter Cronkite, “the most trusted man in America,” and of whom the Dean of ASU’s Cronkite School of Journalism had said, “The values that Mr. Cronkite embodies – excellence, integrity, accuracy, fairness, objectivity – we try to instill in our students each and every day.” (Walter Cronkite and ASU).

Both would be appalled by what has happened to journalism and the news media today, with their quest for profits and entertainment over reporting the facts.   The media is failing their role in a democratic society and to America. Their silence on important issues is a constraint on free speech.

The crux of our democracy is the ability of citizens to obtain honest, truthful and balanced information, and the credibility and integrity of the individual journalist and communications professional are crucial in that effort.  (Arizona State University, Cronkite School Academic Integrity Policy).

 

And no where has the media’s complicity in withholding the truth from the American people been so obvious than with respect to the homeowner associations. Its has failed to “tell it like it is.” Some 20% of Americans, and growing each year, live under a homeowner association private government regime.  Whenever some event occurs reflecting a problem with HOA governance and living, the media has treated it as a local neighborhood issue. The media has selectively ignored the messages about the substantive issues pertaining to the lack of democratic institutions and the loss of constitutional protections. And it has repeatedly ignored the sources of authoritative advocate information available on the internet, such as The Truth in HOAs disclosure.

There are parallels between the acceptance of Hitler and Nazism by the common German with the quiet acceptance of the new world order of HOAs. In regard to the “good” German people and those who could understand what was happening, they went along

In the usual sincerity that required them only to abandon one principle after another, to throw away, little by little, all that was good [and]when men who understand what is happening — the motion of history not the single events or developments — when such men do not object or protest, men who do not understand cannot be expected to.  

(They Thought They Were Free, Milton Mayer, 1955).

The media is guilty of not trying to understand and report what is happening.  And there is no excuse for its policy of “No Negatives About HOAs.” One would think that the watchdogs of democracy fell under the same spell, the same con, as the advisers to the Emperor in Hans Christian Andersen’s The Emperor’s New Clothes. “‘Stupid I certainly am not,’ thought the official. ‘Then I must be unfit for my post. But nobody shall know that I could not see the material.'” That to speak out would make them unfit for their place in the new world order, The New America of HOA-Lands.

And after a little child had spoken out while on parade, “The Emperor himself had the uncomfortable feeling that what they were whispering was only too true. ‘But I will have to go through with the procession,’ he said to himself.” It appears that the journalists and the media as a whole have decided to go through with the procession.