non-HOA related

AUGUST 29, 2012:  Over the next week or so, I will be cleaning up and re-designing this web site.  
I have done such a lousy job of keeping it up-to-date that the web pages have become cluttered,
with signal lost in the noise, broken links, out-of-date information, etc.
Please bear with me, as I am a one-man operation, and really know nothing about web design.
JULY 16, 2013:  If you're coming here comments I posted at the Volokh Conspiracy today,
you've probably noticed that this site hasn't been updated in a year.  
Sorry about that, but I'm currently looking for employment, and working on other projects right now.
I've removed a lot of the clutter from the main page (old copy here), and I'm looking
to move this web site to another host before putting any more work into it.


They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.
Those who give up liberty for the false promise of protecting property values will fare no better.

THE RIGHT TO OWN YOUR HOME

Should mandatory membership in a labor union as a condition of employment be prohibited?  
Should mandatory membership in a homeowners association (H.O.A.) as a condition of home ownership be prohibited?


If you are a Republican, conservative, or small-"l" libertarian, the answer to the first question is probably "yes".

Because, as Ron Paul said, "Making workers pay dues to be represented by an organization they disagree with is hardly fair or just."

But the answer to the second question is probably "no".  Why?

Do Republicans believe that making homeowners pay dues to be represented by an organization they disagree with is fair and just?

Why is the G.O.P. more concerned about the 15 million Americans who are "forced" to join labor unions and pay $8 billion per year in dues than they are about the 60 million Americans who are "forced" to join an H.O.A. corporation and pay $50 billion per year in dues, and make their personal assets forever collateral to whatever debts and liabilities the H.O.A. corporation creates -- something that a labor union can not do?

* * * 

60 million Americans, about 1/5 of the U.S. population, lives in a home governed by some type of H.O.A. corporation.

The "Right To Own Your Home" is based on the idea that mandatory membership in an H.O.A. union as a condition of home ownership should be outlawed.  Homeowners should be allowed to opt-out of their association at any time, without fear of having to lose their home.

Contract Requiring or Prohibiting Homeowners Association (H.O.A.) Membership Void

A contract is void if it requires that, to own a home, homeowners or applicants for home ownership:

(1) must be or may not be members of an H.O.A. ; or

(2) must remain or may not remain members of an H.O.A.

This proposal is not a radical idea; it is based on existing laws and legislative proposals supported by Republicans, libertarians, and other opponents of government regulation.

Compare the proposed law prohibiting mandatory membership in an H.O.A. union as a condition of home ownership to an existing law prohibiting mandatory membership in a labor union as a condition of employment:

Contract Requiring or Prohibiting Labor Union Membership Void

A contract is void if it requires that, to work for an employer, employees or applicants for employment:

(1) must be or may not be members of a labor union; or

(2) must remain or may not remain members of a labor union. (Enacted 1993.)

source:  Texas Codes Title 3 § 101.053.

As of 2012, 23 states have some type of "Right To Work" law.

Proponents of "Right To Work" laws claim that such legislation is a cure for our economic ills.

Right-to-work states have generally lower unemployment, higher job growth, lower taxes and better business climates,
source: InstaPundit.com (July 01, 2011 at 07:04 AM)

Three of the nation’s ten best public high schools are in Texas — the no-income tax, right-to-work state . . . Florida, another no-income tax, right-to-work state . . . has two of the top ten schools.
source: InstaPundit.com (June 21, 2011 at 10:18 AM)

Right -To-Work States Saved the Economy's Bacon in 2011


If they are right, imagine what a "Right-To-Own-Your-Home" law can do for the housing market, individual property rights, and our communities!


* * * 

In 2011, Republicans in the United States Senate introduced a National Right To Work Law.

Can you spot the difference between these two news stories?

 

A group of conservative U.S. senators has introduced a bill to restrict unions from forcing workers to join and pay dues as a condition of employment

The move on Capitol Hill comes as several states consider what's known as "right-to-work" legislation -- proposals that have met stiff resistance.

But GOP senators in Washington said national legislation is needed to stop the "strong-arm political tactics" they claim labor bosses are using to compel new employees into joining their ranks. They introduced  the National Right to Work Act Tuesday. 

"No American should be forced to join a union and pay dues to get a job in this country," Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., said in a statement. "Many Americans are already struggling just to put food on the table, and they shouldn't have to fear losing their jobs or face discrimination if they don't want to join a union. Forced-unionism shields unions from member accountability and has a detrimental effect on the economy." 

Opponents of right-to-work legislation say the proposals would lower pay and hurt workers.

source of original: 
"GOP Senators Introduce National 'Right-to-Work' Bill to Restrict Unions" 
Fox News.  March 09, 2011.


  

A group of conservative U.S. senators has introduced a bill to restrict HOAs from forcing homeowners to join and pay dues as a condition of home ownership

The move on Capitol Hill comes as several states consider what's known as "right-to-own-your-home" legislation -- proposals that have met stiff resistance. 

But GOP senators in Washington said national legislation is needed to stop the "strong-arm political tactics" they claim HOAs are using to compel new homeowners into joining their ranks. They introduced the National Right to Own Your Home Act Tuesday. 

"No American should be forced to join an HOA and pay dues to own a house in this country," Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., said in a statement. "Many Americans are already struggling just to put food on the table, and they shouldn't have to fear losing their house or face discrimination if they don't want to join an HOA. Forced-HOA-membership shields HOAs from member accountability and has a detrimental effect on the economy." 

Opponents of right-to-own-your-home legislation say the proposals would lower property values and hurt homeowners.



A "Right To Own Your Own Home" Act will not be without its opponents.  

Many people believe that like the relationship between a worker and a labor union, the relationship between an HOA corporation and a homeowner is the result of a private contract that both parties freely agreed to.  Nobody "forces" an American to join a labor union, nor to join an HOA, although to a degree the "choice" is illusory, and fails basic tenants of Rational Choice Theory required for a free-market to work.

Can you spot the differences between the real-world stories and the hypothetical-stories below?


Al Franken made a late appearance and demonstrated, once again, why Saturday Night Live suits him better than the United States Senate. Franken got angry and said it is untrue that anyone is ever forced to join a union. He obviously never worked in the produce section at Shop ‘n Save in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In a closed-shop state like Pennsylvania, the laws require employees to be members of a union if the employer is unionized. Enzi quipped, in response to Franken’s error, that you wouldn’t have to join a union unless “you wanted a job.”

source of original:  InstaPundit.com  (May 15, 2011 at 2:31 PM)

  
Al Franken made a late appearance and demonstrated, once again, why Saturday Night Live suits him better than the United States Senate. Franken got angry and said it is untrue that anyone is ever forced to join an H.O.A. He obviously never tried to buy a house built within the past 30 years. In all states, the laws require homeowners to be members of an H.O.A. if the developer created an HOA, which municipalities mandate. U.S. Senator Mike Enzi (R-Wyoming) quipped, in response to Franken’s error, that you wouldn’t have to join an H.O.A. unless “you wanted a place to live.”





One Wisconsin Democrat says…if people don’t like paying union dues that are used to support Dem candidates, they can always get another job. And yet they’re shocked when people call them crooks and thugs.

  
One Wisconsin Democrat says...if people don't like paying H.O.A. dues that are used to support the CAI's lobbyists, they can always get another house.  And yet they're shocked when people call them crooks and thugs.


 
A Right To Work initiative would protect the right of workers to choose whether or not to join a union, outlawing union shop agreements.

source of original:  "Colorado Labor Law: The Perfect Storm"  June 16, 2008
   Independence Institute (Golden, Colorado)
  
A Right To Own Your Home initiative would protect the right of homeowners to choose whether or not to join an H.O.A., outlawing mandatory H.O.A. agreements.

 
Protecting workers' rights. No one should be forced to pay tribute to a union to get or keep a job. We need to pass "right to work" legislation, as more than 20 other states have done.

source of original:   "Jon's State Of The State Address"  November 10, 2002  
   Independence Institute (Golden, Colorado)

  
Protecting homeowners' rights. No one should be forced to pay tribute to an H.O.A. to get or keep a home. We need to pass "right to own your home" legislation.










Professor Evan McKenzie is a former H.O.A. lawyer, author of Privatopia and Beyond Privatopia, and maintains a blog at privatopia.blogspot.com .  On March 14, 2007, he described the ultimate goals of the H.O.A. lobby.


Make no mistake about this: for all this talk of local democracy and consumer choice, the real power in the HOA universe is in the hands of attorneys. They are the ones who exercise the powers of the BOD [ H.O.A. Board of Directors ], when owners don't go along with the program. And that is the power -- lawyer power -- that gets limited by state regulatory legislation that gives owners some rights... 

Here's how I think CAI [ Community Associations Institute ] wants things to end up: The BODs would have nearly absolute power over homeowners, whose only options, if they feel they have been mistreated, would be to elect a new board or sell their home and move somewhere else. The association attorney and property manager would (and do) control the BODs. CAI trains and organizes the attorneys and property managers. The states would require certification of property managers. CAI would provide that certification. The out-of-control owner-run insurgent groups would be shut out of the policy process and branded as loons and nutcases, and their websites would be shut down. The press would get off the "HOA abuses abound" angle, and instead go to CAI for comment on community association issues, and print the PR line. Particular complaints about abuses would be conclusively presumed to be either a) lies and distortions spread by neighborhood malcontents who couldn't get along with Mother Theresa, or b) unrepresentative anecdotes that fail to capture the true level of mass satisfaction with HOA life. And the state legislatures would pass UCIOA [ Uniform Common Interest Ownership Act ] and move on from HOA legislation to other matters, like selling the state tollway system to Spanish and Australian corporations to finance free health care and early childhood education for all. Happy ending. That's the desired endgame as I see it.

Five years later, the protections for homeowners that Professor McKenzie predicted have yet to materialize, and we are still travelling down The Privatized Toll Road To Serfdom.