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NEVER, EVER GIVE UP... Print E-mail
NOTE - This article is from a fellow unit Owner in the U.S.A. "HOA"  stands for "Home Owner Association"  which is the American equivalent of our "Condominium Corporation"

No Matter What Or How Long It Takes
December 25, 2006

By Jan Jackson
Florissant, Colorado

How does an HOA/CID homeowner fight, and win, against not only his HOA's board of directors, but his HOA's lawyer, his HOA's property management company, the developer who bought and platted the land his HOA sits on, and the builder(s) who built his/her HOA/CID to the developers specifications? Mahatma Gandhi believed in non-violent resolutions to problems -- local and national. That was the way he lived, that's what he deeply believed, and that's what he taught to all who listened.


But Mahatma Gandhi also advised that everyone need not keep to non-violence to solve human problems (especially if it was used as a cover for cowardice). In fact, he wrote that he believed "that where there is only a choice between cowardice and violence, I would advise violence." In fact, when his eldest son asked him what he should have done, had he been present when his father was almost fatally assaulted in 1908, whether he should have run away and seen his father killed, or whether he should have used physical force -- which he could have, and wanted to, use -- to defend his father. Mahatma Gandhi told his son that it was a son's duty to try to defend his father, even if that meant using using violence.

Gandhi wrote that "To run away from danger, instead of facing it, is to deny one's faith in man and God, even one's own self." That "It were better for one to drown oneself than live to declare such bankruptcy of faith." How many HOA/CID homeowners have the time, money, intelligence, rationality, and yes, just plain old guts and courage to fight the very real "dangers" of a tyrannical HOA board of directors -- non-violently or violently? In the early days, there weren't many. But our numbers are growing, these days, exponentially!

Gandhi also wrote, "I have been repeating over and over again that he who cannot protect himself or his nearest and dearest or their honour by non-violently facing death may and ought to do so by violently dealing with the oppressor." That "He who can do neither of the two is a burden. He has no business to be the head of a family. He must either hide himself, or must rest content to live forever in helplessness and be prepared to crawl like a worm at the bidding of a bully." I would agree with Gandhi about that. In my humble opinion, many -- if not most -- HOA homeowners who take the easy way out, i.e., "shut up and pay up," are -- for whatever reason -- crawling like worms at the bidding of their HOA/CID bully board members.

No matter how weak a person was in body, Gandhi believed, it was a shame to flee. Gandhi believed that a man should stand his ground ... non-violently if he could ... violently if he must. That a man should use whatever strength he had in inflicting injury on his opponent, or die in the attempt. That, Gandhi said, is bravery. But if, when his duty is to face danger, he flees, it is cowardice. HOA boards and their HOA lawyers often present very real dangers -- individually, socially and financially -- to HOA homeowners. Most folks who live in, or have lived in, HOAs understand that it takes great courage and fortitude to stand up to those board members and their attorneys whose only goals are to tyrannically enslave them in their own homes. But they also remember what Thomas Jefferson siad: "When the government fears the people there is liberty; when the people fear the government there is tyranny." Many, if not most, HOAs/CIDs appear to be nothing more than little tyrannical private governments, and their board member "leaders" nothing more than power-and-money-seeking wannabe dictators.

Mahatma Gandhi took part in the Boer War, the so called Zulu rebellion. From that experience, even though he lived and taught non-violence for those situations that could be resolved by non-violence, he also advocated training in arms for those who believed in the method of violence. He wrote, "I would rather have India resort to arms in order to defend her honor than that she should in a cowardly manner become or remain a helpless witness to her own dishonor."

Well said and lived. Should we live silently in our own HOA/CID homes crawling on our bellies as dishonored cowards? Or should we fight for what we all know is the right thing to do, legally and ethically -- each of us, in our own little HOA/CID gulags?

I, for one, will fight -- non-violently if I can, violently if I must. I have been attacked by a one of my HOA board members. I have experienced very serious physical and emotional intimidation from more than one of my HOA board members. I and other homeowners appear to have been lied to repeatedly by the Presidents of various of our HOA boards for, it appears, 30 years. I filed a lawsuit against my HOA/CID in February of 2006. I, and other HOA homeowmer advocates will be in towns and cities all over the state of Colorado in 2007 with petitions in hand gathering signatures from very angry Coloradans to repeal our HOA/CID laws (the destructive to all Colorado homeowners legislative Act called the Colorado Common Interest Ownership Act --- also known as "CCIOA").

Fight for what's right, HOA/CID homeowners! And during every step of that fight, remember these words: "First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you win!" They were spoken by a man who believed with all his heart and soul that non-violence was the way to solve most human problems. But he also believed, just as strongly, that if non-violence doesn't work, there remains another way. Let us hope and pray that "other way" never becomes necessary for HOA/CID homeowners.

Jan Jackson
The Colorado Homeowners Association News forum & AHRC News Services