In an era where political madness governs the country, half the electorate is made to believe the president has to be impeached and the other half is convinced that this is based on a hoax, and nothing else attracts the profiteering news media, it is no wonder that also on a lower level, such as in homeowners’ associations, basic dignity and fair play often are on decline.
As in most municipalities, part of Royal Palm Beach is governed by HOAs, ruled by Florida Statutes 718 or 720 and by the respective associations’ bylaws. The problem is that neither of those documents has any teeth. There is practically no legal body for the oversight of the implementation of those rules. The governed are left by themselves without any practical help other than hiring expensive lawyers in matters of conflict, mismanagement or disregard of the official rules. Unless association members organize themselves and supervise their boards, their individual interests easily can be ignored.
We like to criticize countries like Ukraine that are well known for corruption, and we see domestic lobbying in Washington, D.C. not much different. Thus, no wonder when on the local level, like on HOA boards, a similar greedy approach can be found. The magic word here is kickbacks. One of the current appearances of such a problem in our area is particularly worrisome.
One of the nation’s monopolistic enterprises that offers bulk cable contracts for TV consumption uses its power to impose its service on whole memberships without exceptions. People who don’t want cable have to pay for the unwanted service anyway. Free TV that is offered on air for them is meaningless. Dishes or streaming alternatives would have to be purchased additionally. In at least one particular RPB community, the membership has not even been asked to join a bulk cable contract, but it has been included into their association dues. Individuals who protest against this procedure are being harassed with cease-and-desist letters from the association’s lawyer, which is basically an attempt to undermine their constitutional right of free speech. In my opinion, this is unacceptable.
The Florida Legislature should change the statutes in order to protect individuals from unfair majority rules.
Guenter Langer, Royal Palm Beach