Support CO 22-1137 for HOA due process justice

Another HOA enlightenment bill has been proposed in Colorado, 22-1137, joining California’s and Arizona’s legislation to restore homeowner fundamental rights and freedoms.  Reading the bill as introduced, it addresses a number of issues designed to provide meaningful due process, to good extent, allowing for small claims adjudication and restrictions, limitations on the HOA’s right to fine, interest charges, late payments, work-out plan before foreclosure, and limits on the amount of collection to just 3 times amount owed (avoids unusual and cruel punishment charges). 

What more can a homeowner ask for to obtain justice and fairness within the HOA government? Go for the bill! Support it!  Get what you can before the evil empire strikes back and whittles the bill down!  Yet, to my disappointment, a homeowner advocacy group has found problems with this bill, all relating to how it would cost the HOA more money. 

What is needed, as I’ve repeatedly argued, is strong support for the sponsor, Rep. Naquetta Ricks, and an outpouring of emails to the legislators, especially to the committee members who will hear the bill.  If there is a Request To Speak option at the legislature, sign up and use it!

Related issues

In a broader view of HOAs as private, separate local governments keep in mind what has been ignored and bypassed by state legislatures across the country, including Colorado. Why are there private HOA governments when there are public home rule, charter governments?   

All the states have a version of home rule that varies in the degree of independence granted to a local governments and under what terms.   Given this existing legal mechanism for strong, independent  local control, why was there a need for the creation and approval of, and the support for, private government HOAs?

 (See America’s homeland: HOA law vs. Home rule law; Colorado Constitution, Art. XX, §6, Home rule for cities and towns).

AZ HB 2371 allows unlicensed managers to represent HOAs in disputes

This video covers the Arizona Senate GE committee hearing on a bill that would allow unlicensed HOA managers to represent HOAs.  It shows the AZ legislature abdicating and supporting HOA-Land rule over democratic rule, and over the Constitution. It shows a banana republic, “I see no problems,” mentality.

See Arizona’s HB 2371 empowers unlicensed HOA property managers to avoid UPL.


Here are my comments at several points in the video.

My opening statement

Hi, I’m George Staropoli, also known on the internet as HOAGOV.   I am once again, reluctantly, before the camera with another HOA legislative documentary. My material comes from events at the Arizona Legislature, and from the legislators themselves.

Viewers will be alerted to the following comments at appropriate points in the video. They are provided to assist you in understanding of what’s really going on.  With this in mind, I strongly recommend that you take time to read my HB 2371 Commentary (on this date) on my website before continuing — the link is now being shown.

This video will also be posted to my HOA Constitutional Government website along with my detailed comments — the link is on the screen.

Let’s view the hearing . . .

Opening comments by Ugenti:

You just witnessed the sponsor’s “opening statement.”  Note her motive for the bill: Let me quote her, “Every year there is a plethora (many, many) of personal HOA legislation . . . as well as industry HOA legislation.”  She stated that she combined all those bills “working through a stakeholder process and allowing the stakeholder process to filter the proposed legislation   . . . representing a consensus from the AZ realtors, and AACM (AZ Association of Community Managers, the beneficiary of this bill).”  She further added “to spare the members from the agony of voting up or down on personal pieces of legislation.”

Now, what was she saying?  First the “personal” bills come from homeowners while the other legislation is “HOA industry legislation.”  She put the bills through a stakeholder process and used the process to filter the bills. She failed to say, however, that no homeowner advocates participated in this stakeholder filtering process, which was brought to light in her House GOV testimony, and not denied.

Ugenti said nothing  about fixing HOA problems and making HOAs better for everyone, especially the real stakeholders — the homeowners.  Not even entertaining an amendment to address issues of substance relating to constitutionality, fair and just laws, and of other homeowner concerns as emailed to her.

Now let me explain that in her earlier statement to the House GOV committee, she also said that she wanted to avoid any controversial bills.  But, think about it.  If there is serious opposition, based on authoritative sources, wouldn’t that that create a controversy?  So, her choice was to deny any opposing views, and only pick the special interest agenda – the stakeholder agenda.  Isn’t Ugenti failing to understand that these problems are not singular or personal to just one homeowner?  I mean, after hearing more of the same from others and the media, you would think she could take a hint!  Apparently not!

Homeowners appear to have been given short rift, and have been placed “at the bottom of the food chain,” defenseless and being gobbled up by everyone else.  And here I thought our representatives are supposed to represent the people, not the moneyed special interests.

Art. II, Sect. 2, of the AZ Constitution states, “Governments . . . are established to protect and maintain individual rights.”  Did I miss something?

Furthermore, in an outright act of favoritism toward the special interests, as shown in the video, Ugenti asked for questions that she or the stakeholders can answer.

Let’s return to the video . . . .

Homeowner email:

Please understand what has happened in this staged scenario with this constituent email, which the legislators viewed as having a “personal issue” with her association  —  homeowner owners only bring personal problems while the special interests deal with non-personal agendas.

With the several email dealing with issues and problems of substance, why was the single email chosen for airing before the committee?  Why? Because it serves to reinforce the sponsor’s false argument that homeowners only deal in personal issues, which justifies her leaving out the homeowners from serious, authoritative HOA industry specialists! There was no mention of the non-personal, substantive constitutional issues brought to the attention of the legislators in my emails and commentary, or in two other homeowner advocate emails that I have personal knowledge.  Nothing! Silence!  Not a word!

The legislators “hear no evil, see no evil, and speak no evil.”

Let’s return to the video . . .

 

Conclusion

You have now witnessed another episode of “the unspoken alliance of no negatives about HOAs.”  Did you hear any of the objections that were emailed to the committee? NO!   You did not hear that the bill would allow unlicensed HOA property managers to represent HOAs in small claims court, or before an administrative law judge at the Office of Administrative Hearings?   Did you know that even licensed paralegals are not allowed to represent others?  Did you know that the current law applies to all hearings from all agencies before OAH?

Don’t tell me that the legislators, AACM, CAI, or the sponsor of  HB 2371 don’t know about the 2012 AZ Supreme Court opinion on HOA managers  engaged in the unauthorized practice of law, and the decision against for numerous UPL violations against one CAI/AACM member?  C’mon!  The legislators were sent copies of these decisions.  The viewers of the hearing video would not think any such events against unlicensed mangers had occurred.  In court, hiding exculpatory evidence (evidence in favor of the defendant) is a crime!  But, apparently it’s OK in the legislature.

And rather than do what is just, fair and reasonable, and that is to require proper licensing for managers if they are being allowed to represent HOAs, HB2371 is silent on education!

What we have here is a special law for special private entities, without even a whisper of any legitimate justification.  The bill is an unconstitutional special law violating the AZ Constitution, ART II, section 13, which states, “No law shall be enacted granting to any citizen, class of citizens, or corporation other than municipal, privileges or immunities which, upon the same terms, shall not equally belong to all citizens or corporations.”  In other words, no special laws for special people are permitted.

Section 32 states, “The provisions of this Constitution are mandatory, unless by express words they are declared to be otherwise.”   Where are the “express words” in this bill to override the Constitution?

What you have witnessed is the homeowner, the real stakeholder, has been cut out from the legislative process. What we have here is legislative support, cooperation, entwinement, and a symbiotic relationship between the state and the HOA, thereby making good cause for HOAs to be declared arms of the state, or state actors, subject to the 14TH Amendment protections.

It must still pass the Rules committee and the final vote of the entire Senate before becoming law.  Passing this bill into law would be unconscionable!  

WELCOME TO THE NEW ARIZONA OF HOA-LAND