Archive for the ‘local stuff’ Category

Homeowner Associations, or HOAs, are a sneaky way that fascism crept into our daily lives. HOAs are ubiquitus in most residential neighborhoods, and unless you buy an older home or build from scratch, its hard to escape them, since around 80% of new homes are built into an HOA.

The original idea behind an HOA seems to be a way for cities to dump the responsibility for maintaining small residential parks. Rather than have the city maintain it, an HOA would collect fees and do the dirty work. Even better, HOAs could enforce codes on everything from mulch color to weeds in your lawn, which would keep home values up as well as property taxes. From the government’s perspective, its a win-win.

For homeowners, its a total loss. HOAs have taken on a mind of their own, going so far as to foreclose on people’s homes and sell them at auction. We’re not talking just one or two homes. In Colorado, one HOA had filed 2,400 foreclosure cases against homeowners. Many of these followed a similar pattern: a homeowner gets fined for some stupud nonsense like weeds, and if they don’t pay up, the HOA tacks on legal fees and late fees. Once you reach into the thousands of dollars, it becomes almost impossible for a homeowner to pay it, so the HOA files a foreclosure case and attempts to kick the homeowner out and sell their house at auction.

Kicking someone out of their house for weeds in the front lawn and selling the house at auction. Read that sentence out loud and ask yourself how any person could stoop that low.

HOAs try to rip out perfectly good trees, beat people up for free speech, and even punish someone for having the gall to put out a dog treat dispenser. By far the worst problem is that the HOA tries to regulate your life while you’re in your own home. It’s bad enough dealing with morons at work, but at home? HOAs were one of the main reasons I built a custom home not in a community (which you can read about here).

HOAs don’t often get national media attention, but your HOA probably controls your well being a lot more than most national politics do (except for Biden-flation). These monstrosities need to be dismantled and destroyed. Some people are doing just that through legal means, like the Colorado legislature that is limiting fees and foreclosure cases. Many people are pushing back. When one HOA tried to stop a thin-blue-line flag, multiple neighbors began flying the same flag. As Stu Scheller likes to say “We can’t all be wrong.”

If you’re in an HOA now, I recommend getting onto the board and dismantling it on the inside. That’s what one of my neighbors has done. He has approved and expedited nearly every neighbor request for their property, making sure people can do whatever they want to their property. If you can’t do that, you should bring up HOA reform with your state representative, so that instead of debating what person to name the next highway after, they might actually make your life better. It’s a fight worth fighting, and unlike national politics, your voice can really make a difference.

This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency. If you enjoyed this article, please consider donating to Da Tech Guy and purchasing one of the author’s books.

If you came here After I gave you my card at the parade here is a slideshow of the Parade pictures

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

If you want to see them all at one, just click here to head over to my new current site. (Haven’t had new cards made yet).

Springtime in New England

Posted: March 30, 2011 by datechguy in local stuff, oddities
Tags: , ,

Unfortunately not an April Fools post

The name of this graphics file says it all.

…as a friend of mine needed a favor, but the Sentinel and Enterprise was there as was my state rep Steve DiNatale

“Unitil has consistently had the highest electric and gas rates in the state and nation over the years,” state Rep. Stephen DiNatale said during the nighttime public hearing at the Memorial Middle School auditorium. “They have a stranglehold on their customers. They are understaffed and they have lacked in making the necessary upgrades to their infrastructure over the years. Rates should be lowered, not raised. They have become an obstacle to this region’s economic growth.”

As a person who has gone door to door to business though Fitchburg over the last three months I can tell you that is true in spades.

Even more interesting was what Unitil actually said they were going to do to make the rate hike easier for users:

“The company proposes to offset the rate impact of its proposed electric distribution revenue increase by a reduction in its current transition charge. Under the company’s proposal the transition charge recovery would be deferred and collected from its customers at a later date with interest emphasis mine.

Run those sentences through your head for a second. The charges are deferred, meaning you will pay them later with interest. This sounds like one of those ambush mortgages, starts with a low rate than hits you with the full charge and interest.

Many business’ in Fitchburg are just hanging on and city counselor Joel Kaddy put it well:

“In this economy, at the end of the week, I worry about paying my employees, and not making a profit,” Kaddy said. “I don’t know if I can take any more increases, and if I can’t there will be 17 people out of work. … This system just seems extremely unfair. How did it get to the point where we don’t have a choice, but to pay what they say? Something doesn’t add up, and Unitil should be ashamed of themselves. They are really going to hurt this community.”

Considering all that is going on I wouldn’t be surprised if this is denied. The state government is not popular and this is an easy “gimme” for the company. On the other hand the towns impacted were not strong supporters of the administration.

One thing is sure, left or right, red or blue the city is united against these increases and the anger they will produce if passed will be totally bi-partisan.