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Baitball Blogger

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Current location: Seminole County, Florida
Member since: Sun Mar 18, 2012, 10:16 PM
Number of posts: 39,492

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There is definitely something going on.

I've tried many times to pass on information to my local paper and they keep burying the story. Years ago I discovered the reason. The networks that we continue to complain about that are taking over the integrity of the government process include the newspaper editors. It's not hard to figure out why. If there is a large economic development program planned for a community, the newspaper editors would be the first to be pulled in because positive reporting would be necessary. Also, their editorial endorsements for "friendly" political candidates would be critical to the overall success.

But they are also needed to tamp down on hound dog reporting that might reveal what goes on behind the city's nefarious outreach programs. These outreach programs are an integral part of inducing support from community leaders.

My favorite example is the use of super-HOAs to define the story that is needed to sell the programs to the residents. In the newspaper you almost never hear criticism launched at the board members of these organizations, though they so richly deserve scrutiny, given the political influence they weld - even when they may not have any legal authority over anyone. My community is a perfect example. The master HOA in this area has no legal authority to influence the self-determination of our smaller, mandatory HOA, but everything about our community has been co-opted by a past allegiance that was based on fraud and conspiracy.

There is a cautionary tale here for other HOAs in Florida. And it's one that the local paper won't tell you about. When a city decides to launch a major construction program, they will go after the HOA leaders. More effective to the city, (and more damaging to the residents), is when they work directly with the master HOA leaders, who pull in all the presidents of every HOA for special meetings. What happened in my situation, was that this quick access into government resulted in short-cuts and collusions which cut us out of the decision-making process and deprived us of our legal rights as homeowners. To this day, fraud and conspiracy, and now a cover-up, has been allowed to stand.

And, there is a strong indication that this same formula of pulling in the heads of all the HOAs to control public opinion in a city, will happen again.

Before the economic downturn, there were big plans to develop a large tract along a major highway that cuts through the borders of two cities. The first signs of the operation that overtook my city began to surface with a simple article in the paper. The article stated that a super HOA board was going to be established to advise all the mandatory HOAs in the city that adjoins mine.

In a legal world, these things don't happen this way. If the paper was any service to its readers, it should have smelled the makings of a con-job. There is a legal process that give HOA boards their authority. The documents that give these organizations their power are generally approved and legalized before the first homeowner purchases property in the development. If it doesn't happen this way, it requires negotiations and a legal vote to sanction this kind of power.

A super HOA, coming in after the fact, claiming to represent the interests of all the homeowners within the city limits is just a self-proclaimed lobby group. Sometimes lobby groups are good, but residential boards are usually manned by tough-talking board members who are more goal oriented, than mindful of the law. (And sometimes political lawyers like them that way). The potential for abuse and overreach are real.

But the paper never went into this kind of detail. Instead, it just reported that one of the desired features of this super HOA was that it will be more cost effective to the other HOAs because they would rely on one lawyer to provide consultation for everyone.

I cannot stress how bad of an idea this can be. This happened in my community. The super-HOA relied on a handful of lawyers, and when everything began to fall apart, these lawyers found their way to all the hot spots in our community and provided information that protected the super-HOA at the expense of the homeowners who lived in the smaller HOA communities. Those lawyers only looked into our HOA documents to select information that protected their real boss, the super-HOA. They will not empower you with the rights that you do have as a homeowner, because those rights can be used against the city and the super-HOA. In this way, they helped squelch challenges by keeping homeowners confused about their rights.

When you have this kind of interference, corrupt people within your community begin to exploit the fault lines in your HOA's foundation. Many of these same people were neighbors who were pulled in early, when the city was looking for supporters for its works projects. These people are politically connected. They will be quick to pick up on the community's vulnerabilities and the chaos that their selfish objectives create only makes it more difficult for the honest homeowners to join forces to fight against the intrusion created by the city and the super-HOA.

So, without good, affordable legal advice to rely on, you get to watch, helplessly, as the unique features that made your HOA stand out from all the others, begin to disappear.

In sum, backwater law takes over when a newspaper becomes complicit with government works projects. That's the unintended consequence that comes from their political endorsements, and lack of investigation when residents try to tell them that they need to investigate the wrong-doing that is occurring in their communities.

People around here think the hijinks and shenanigans that occur during these lawless periods are funny. After a while you eventually reach the conclusion that fraud and bribery is a way of life in Florida.

That's why editors don't like whistle-blowers. When these operations take over, it's the paper's job to tamp down on information which might interfere with government works projects that they deem to be for the good of the community.
Posted by Baitball Blogger | Thu Mar 26, 2015, 11:46 AM (0 replies)
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