Countrywide political culture cause of HOA reform failures

On this morning’s talk show, political discussion addressed the questions of the  Republican Party policy of applying strong power in order to stay in office, and what is the percent of Trump supporters who are hard core followers – cultists.  Will these dogmatic people remain loyal to Trump and to the Republican Party after the events at the Impeachment Trial?

Materials describing the growing trend toward authoritarianism[1] in America is well documented and reliable information can be found on the Internet.[2]

There are some people [authoritarian followers] for whom the system of checks and balances are bothersome and annoying, and dislike the noise and chaos of democracy. . . . [Authoritarians] understand their role, which is to defend the leaders, however dishonest their statement, however great their corruption, and however disastrous their impact on ordinary people and institutions.”[[3]

Talmon hits the nail on the head when he writes that “Citizens of a totalitarian democratic state, even when aware of their true powerlessness, may support their government.”[4] 

 In “Part 1, The Cultural Dynamics of HOA-Land” of my HOA-Land Nation,[5] I present my analysis of  the forces at work dominating the politics within the HOA private government. 

Basically, the HOA legal structure and scheme is authoritarian in nature: strong central power, limited political freedoms, no accountability, and under the rule of man, not law. The authoritarian nature of HOA-Land is masked by a thorough indoctrination that presents a false picture of the real estate subdivision as democratic, inappropriately named a community, simply because the members are allowed to vote, as meaningless as it is.

Getting back to HOA-Land, it becomes disturbing that the application of authoritarianism and totalitarian democracy philosophy seems to fit quite well. Too well at that! [6]

HOA Consultant

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The same dynamics at work in HOA-Land[7] are well evident in Impeachment Trial II of Donald J. Trump[8] and reveal the new political forces at work in all of America. The trial brief stated, among other things,

The only honorable path at that point was for President Trump to accept the results and concede his electoral defeat. Instead, he summoned a mob to Washington, exhorted them into a frenzy, and aimed them like a loaded cannon down Pennsylvania Avenue. (p. 75).

By the day of the rally, President Trump had spent months using his bully pulpit to insist that the Joint Session of Congress was the final act of a vast plot to destroy America. As a result— and as had been widely reported—the crowd was armed, angry, and dangerous.  (p.2).

President Trump has demonstrated beyond doubt that he will resort to any method to maintain or reassert his grip on power. A President who violently attacks the democratic process has no right to participate in it. Only after President Trump is held to account for his actions can the Nation move forward with unity of purpose and commitment to the Constitution. (p. 5).

* * * *

Today’s politicos are talking about a third party with Trump as its leader, mainly from Republicans.  A Gallup survey[9] shows that there is no majority party in the US, counting Independents as a party: Republicans and Democrats are about 25% each and Independents now 50%.  (In Nov.  2016 it was 27% Republicans, 30% Democrats and, 40% Independents). 

It will be an interesting new US political scenery; what will happen who knows.

How many Republicans, government officials,  and the general public supporters of Trump remain loyal after the events of the Day of Infamy, January 6, 2021?  With Trump out of office, but able to run again, how much power will this authoritarian leader retain?  It seems the Congress, the WH, and Americans in general need to examine their moral positions and ask themselves, Did I do right? Did I do the honorable thing for America?

Notes


[1] Authoritarianism: favoring complete obedience or subjection to authority as opposed to individual freedom..

[2] See in general: Anne Applebaum, Twilight of Democracy: The Seductive Lure of Authoritarianism, Doubleday (2020); Amanda Taub, “The rise of American authoritarianism,” Vox (March 1, 2016); Bob Altemeyer, The Authoritarians, 2007.

[3] Id., Applebaum.

[4] J. L. Talmon, The Origins of Totalitarian Democracy, Penguin Books (1986, first published 1952).

[5] George K. Staropoli,  The HOA-Land Nation Within America, StarMan Press, 2019.

[6] George K. Staropoli,  HOA political dynamics: totalitarian democracy (2019).

[7] HOA-Land is 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.  Latest estimate at this writing is that some 23% of Americans live in HOA-Land.

[8] Articles of Impeachment, H. RES. 24, (2021). See House_trial_brief;  Trump answer; House answer response.

[9] Party Affiliation, Gallup (Feb. 15, 2021.

HOA-Land Nation publication to aid constitutionality

The important question of HOA constitutionality has generally been avoided and given token lip serve by all interested parties: homeowners, homeowner rights advocates, state legislators, real estate departments, attorney generals, nonprofit private entities proclaiming a defense of the Constitution, and the media at large.

Even the renowned Wayne Hyatt’s[1] statement in 1976 went ignored.

“One clearly sees the association as a quasi-government entity paralleling in almost every case the powers, duties, and responsibilities of a municipal government.   All of these functions are financed through assessments or taxes levied upon the members of the community, with powers vested in the board of directors, council of co-owners, board of managers, or other similar body clearly analogous to the governing body of a municipality.”[2]

Clearly challenging the constitutionality of the HOA model of local government and legal scheme is well beyond past due. To correct this horrific and inexcusable oversight I have published, The HOA-Land Nation Within America,[3] a white paper, an exposé of the HOA legal scheme violations of the Constitution. The eBook and paperback editions can be found on Amazon.

This task of constitutional HOA reforms may appear overwhelming and almost impossible to achieve, but constitutional HOA reforms can happen. It will take tremendous effort and perseverance, and a “never give up” mentality. David Cole passionately makes this point[4]

“If Americans now and in the coming years insist that . . . our most fundamental values, including equality, human dignity, fair process, privacy, and the rule of law, and if we organize and advocate in defense of those principles,” we will succeed in bringing about the necessary fundamental and constitutional reforms to the HOA legal scheme in existence since the HOA “bible” was released in 1964. In order to accomplish this important task, “it will take a persistent civil society, a vigilant media, brave insiders, and judges and other government officials who take seriously their responsibility to uphold the Constitution. But first and foremost, it will take an engaged citizenry.”

The defense of liberty depends . . . on citizens engaging collectively to fight for the values they believe in. . . . The preservation of liberty through a written constitution . . . has survived . . . because ‘we the people’ have consistently taken up the charge to define, defend, and develop liberty in our own image, so that it reflects our deepest commitment , not just those of a privileged elite who do not represent us.”

It falls upon the homeowners in HOAs, as has always, to advance constitutional arguments that are valid and credible.    And that takes knowledge and understanding of the issues.  The HOA-Land Nation, and other of my publications and Commentaries, as well as those of others, provide the “ammunition” that will pass the valid and credible challenges to be expected from CAI and other lawyers, provided the arguments do not get bogged down in irrelevant arguments from the opposition.

CAI cannot handle a broad Bill of Rights challenge. Period!  I have never been challenged  by CAI because they well know that they are defending the defenseless.

Read the book, paperback or eBook, and spread the word.  Use it in those many HOA violations where state statutes support the HOA.  Work to hold seminars and conferences to openly discuss the issues raised in The HOA-Land Nation.  Expose their defense of HOAs, now!

 Notes

[1] Wayne Hyatt was a prominent figure in the promotion of HOA-Land as well as an important person in creating CAI in 1973, serving as its second president.

[2] I have extensively quoted Wayne Hyatt’s 1976 statement on HOAs as mini-governments, as cited in the 1983 California case, Cohen v. Kite Hill.

[3] I have concluded that there exists an HOA-Land Nation within America that is comprised of fragmented and local HOA governments across the country and have designated them collectively as “HOA-Land.”  The commonality of their declarations of CC&Rs, flowing from the 1964 Homes Association Handbook (ULI publication), their shared beliefs, values, traditions, and institutions qualify HOA-Land as a nation.

[4] David Cole, National Legal Director of the ACLU, Engines of Liberty, Basic Books (2016).

Organize, organize, organize, but organize your local HOA

I’ve come to realize that we, including yours truly, have gone about this national association all wrong.  The vast majority of HOA members have grievances against their own HOA and some reach out to broader issues like rights and constitutional protections only in regard to their personal HOA problem.  That is the chief reason for failing to organize at a state or national level. So, let’s face reality and deal with it.

My initial thoughts take me to [My Association] Council of HOA Members that functions in opposition to the board as a true member organization, as a shadow government with certain legal rights.  It would be free of director/officer obligations under state laws and the CC&Rs that favor the HOA board.  HOA directors or officers are not accepted as members. Think in terms of the HOA being a business corporation, like we are being told that they are, and the Council would be equivalent to the member organization in contrast to  management.

They would have legally protected rights to organize, negotiate living conditions (affecting the governing documents, and to propose its own governing document amendments that must be put forth for a vote of all the members. These protections are necessary to get around the HOA attorneys’ “working with the new laws” advice that is designed to avoid the intent of the law – finding loopholes in other words.  It would serve as a check on the abuses of HOA boards.

The HOA could not legally interfere with campaigning for elections or on issues, or with the right to hold meetings on and within HOA facilities, or with the use of the HOA membership lists, etc.  And most importantly, in the event it gets corrupted, the Council can be dissolved by a 2/3 vote without the 20 or 30 year wait period found in the CC&Rs. But the members must stand up and act under the protection of the required new legislation, which must address retaliation against Council supporters.

Of course, legislation would be needed, as was needed to protect workers in the 1930s.  You can call it unionization or the establishment of an HOA “political party.” These Councils would fit the bill.  Of course, a broader state organization would be needed to provide guidance and assistance to the councils – can’t have them running amuck because they do not understand what must be done in order to accomplish their agendas.