Sunday, March 12, 2006

Homeowners Associations

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." ~ Margaret Mead

Well, here's a good one. A woman in Florida is in trouble for putting a cardboard sign reading "Support our troops" up in her front yard.

From reading the article, one might get the sense that this woman is being persecuted because she is showing support for the troops. One might think that her neighbors were a bunch of unpatriotic anti war socialists or something.

Not at all.

According to the AP article:

It was an issue that caused a conflict for the association's president, who is also an Army reservist. Daryl Manning, an Iraq War veteran, said he hoped that some compromise could be worked out.

"I've been there. I know right where her husband is. I've been in [the] country. I was over there for 20 months," he said.

"There's a violation to have any sign in any homeowner's yard, regardless of what it says," Manning said.

Manning said the association's rules about signs, which only allow "For Sale" or "For Lease" signs, were in place to keep the community clean and keep the peace.

"The problem could arise where it could be a neighbor across the street or across the road that says, 'Bring the troops home. Get out of the theater. Cut and run.' What happens when that occurs? So we cannot make exceptions in this case," he said.

I never have liked homeowners associations. I have never lived in a neighborhood that had one, and I never will. I have had friends that lived in those kind of neighborhoods. They have all had their problems with associations. One friend of mine's wife was a board member on one, and she found herself at odds with the majority from time to time herself.

Homeowners associations are the modern secular Pharisees.

I suppose, though, if you find the house you like, and the price is right, and the location is ideal, and there is a homeowners association, you have to take the good with the bad.

There are various solutions to this problem. She can take the sign down, and pay her fine, and shut up. The homeowners association can change the rules accordingly. She can move. She can leave the sign up and keep paying the fine.

This is supposed to be a free country. She should be allowed to keep her sign up.

Still, on the other hand, rules are rules, aren't they?

Ms. Kelley signed an agreement when she moved in to follow the rules of the association. If she didn't want to follow the rules, she shouldn't have agreed to them.


Sheila said...

I agree with your arguement.

Rules are rules and if you sign on the doted line your legally bound.

Feelings whether patriotic or angry are not legal. Rules are not feelings.

I'm sure the American Flag can be dislayed. I remember THAT crazy restriction being taken from most HOA's after 9/11.

Here's the flip side of this weird sway of emotion and Patriotism verses what is legal.

A woman in San Diego California had been influencial in getting a Progressive talk radio station in San Diego.

She put a bumper sticker on her car after the station opened. All it said was "Progressive Talk" and the station number.

Her employer saw the bumper sticker on her car coming into the office one day and fired her on the spot. With the bumper sticker stated as the problem.

The woman is suing for wrongful termination of course, but Boy Howdy.

Expensive feelings both ways.

The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

During Election 2004, I would ride by this one street on occasion where a huge anti-Bush banner hung from inside the house, but clearly displayed from the window. They had a pretty long yard, but you could see it all the way from across the street.

I think there should sometimes be exceptions to the rule, if everyone is in agreement- of course they could then just update the rule. But I do agree with you that rules were made, rules need to be followed and respected.

It's not the end of the world.

Mark said...

Sheila, it would be hard not to agree with me on this one, since I made the argument for both sides.

I read that story about the woman who claims she was fired fot having an Air(head) America Bumper sticker. Her boss said she was only joking, and even called her up the next workday to ask why she wasn't at work. She was surprised to find out the woman thought she was fired.

Sheila said...

Mark My Dear,

As with anything else marked with emotion nowadays. Its how you hear it.

I listened to an interview with her on an ABC radio Program. The interviewer covered both sides of the political line. Very objective considering the poloerizing climte of politics today.

It appears that this Boss was screaming, very heated, and slandering about the woman's character and the Bumper Sticker when she was "Joking". As repeated by eye witnesses.

It also appears that she figured out her mistake and the next day tried to clean the mess up. Don't get me wrong, I would have tried to make amends too.

But, I guess I had to put myself in this woman's shoes.

Would I have come back to this now cancerous work environment and face a possible layoff in the future for whatever the "Employer" thought was lacking. Her contract with the company she worked for was "At Will" which we all know doesn't make one feel exactly safe or loyal at anytime, let alone after a scene like that.

NO, I have to say, I side with this woman. If she has the witnesses, she has a case.

Sheila said...

And YES....You are right. YOu showed both sides of the coin.

You were objective in your post today. I like that Mark. That type of postiing creates a more peaceful beginning and I'm all for that.

Better debates when everyone is respected.....Hey! You know me.

Mark said...

Sheila, I agree that to fire anyone because you don't agree with a bumper sticker would be wrong. Did the interviewer question both women? Who were the eyewitnesses? Friends of the woman who claimed she was fired, or bystanders, who, in the Liberal state of California, had no dog in this fight?

No matter how flat the pancake, there are always two sides to it.

Sheila said...

Of Course there is Mark. Two Sides.

The Employer didn't want to be interviewed. The witnesses have gone down on record accordingly.

I wouldn't make this an attack. I would say that based on the evidence so far, she has a case and she's making the case.

Now let's see what the Court says.

By the way you stated;

"who, in the Liberal state of California, had no dog in this fight?" You are letting your emotions show. :)

Mark said...

Not at all, Sheila, I am merely suggesting the possiblilty, that Californians, being in a Blue State, might not be completely impartial about this.

Listen, there are stupid people on the Conservative side also. I don't pretend that there aren't. Possibly the boss in that case is just stupid. Or maybe too emotional to be a boss.

Or maybe the Liberal lady has a history of making waves in her office and this was the last straw. Who knows?

As you say, this is a case for the courts to sort out. Hopefully not that partisan 9th court of appeals though. If it goes before them, the outcome is already assured.

LOL! I should have made this my topic, but I just wasn't feeling very inspired this morning, so I picked something. Can you tell?

Sheila said...

LOL Yes. The HOA topic is a sad one, but not much of an arguement and not have as fun as a bumper sticker!

Sheila said...

Well bewteen you, I and the Screen, I wouldn't be surprised if all the good people of this blog way in on the bumper sticker today and it will probably be pretty fun.

I'll check back this evening. I have a wall to paint and a number of "moving in" tasks to finish today. CIO!

Poison Pero said...

Put the sign in the front window........It won't be in the yard, but would be seen just as easily.

There are creative ways around these 'rules', and I've tried many.

She can also put up a For Sale sign.

"For Sale........Selling off American's Natural Rights."

But the best way (one I've done a couple times) is to go through the neighborhood, and find the HOA flaws in every house in the whole area.....there will be hundreds if not thousnads of problems.

Cars in the street, junky cars, weeds, too many plant, not enough plants, unkept paint, toys on the patio, flags flown too high, flags flown too low.........etc., etc., etc.

Direct these flaws to the HOA president, and tell him if he choses to enforce the rules againt the "Support Our Troops" sign, but not 100% against every other violation that you will sue him as president for discrimination, and the HOA as well.

I can tell you this is how I got an ok on an oversized play structure in my back yard......Which was against the rules, but passed very quickly after bringing it up.

Mark said...

LOL. Something tells me Pero lives in a homeowners association.

Lone Ranger said...

California isn't a blue state, it's a red state with some blue fungus growing on it.

Jim said...

Obviously, California being a blue state, all eye witnesses are liars.

Have I got that right?

Sheila said...


I think the fungus is out. :)

Lone Ranger said...

I'm willing to reconsider that liberalism might be a fungus. Looking at where it is concentrated in California on this map, it's more than likely an STD.

Little Miss Chatterbox said...

"Homeowners associations are the modern secular Pharisees." I think this says it well.

I have never lived in a neighborhood with one but I also have never heard anything good about them. It seems that unless you're a rich snob that wants to make sure your neighbors keep their yards immaculate it isn't a great thing.

Linked to you in today's post :-).