Categories Uncategorized But He Still Has to Get Rid of Those Stupid Garden Gnomes Post author By John Scalzi Post date December 8, 2009 26 Comments on But He Still Has to Get Rid of Those Stupid Garden Gnomes Col. Van Barfoot, 90-year-old Medal of Honor winner, gets to keep his flagpole after all. It’s a Christmas miracle, it is! Share: By John Scalzi I enjoy pie. View Archive → ← Guys: → Here’s Your Five Minute Ration of Sunshine For A Stormy Day 26 replies on “But He Still Has to Get Rid of Those Stupid Garden Gnomes” Well, there’s one HOA that’s learned the hard way that the old adage “There’s no such thing as bad publicity” is a steaming pile of wro-n-n-ng! Those who serve on HOA boards should be forced to stand along busy streets wearing dunce caps and holding signs that read “I help run an HOA. Honk if you think I should be tried for crimes against humanity.” Yes, I’m a little testy about that. He should get a Garden Gnome Chomsky instead: There really wasn’t any doubt which way this would end up. That being said, the real question was how long it would take the HOA to realize exactly how to dislodge it’s foot from it’s mouth while said head was still lodged firmly in it’s backside. Those dead Scalzi heads would make good gnomes too. I’m not sure I understand how HOAs work? Surely you could choose not to belong? If all your neighbours join then bully for them but shouldn’t their authority ends at your property line? In Oz, as far as I am aware, it is local government that makes the rules on acceptable house colours and such. Very good to hear. Also, the Scalzi heads would make good pots for plants It’s be like a Scalzi Chia Pet! :D Shane@5 It seems that in the States, local government is not enough, you can also choose to have some well meaning but basically fascist group of people run your life for you. I understand keeping up appearances, but I refuse to allow some one to send me a nasty gram if I skip one Saturday and my lawn grows 1.25 inches too tall. I didn’t comment on the original post cause I was just too pissed off to type coherently. HOA’s just make me crazy, this one more than most, frakkin idiots. Shane@5 It’s a condition of buying a property that’s within an HOA already that you join (enforced from the angle that the sellers have agreed to only sell to someone that will join it). I think the idea of local gov’t controlling house colors freaks me out more than an HOA, as usually it’s possible to buy a home not within an HOA and then you can do what you want. Also, it sounds easier to fight an HOA than the local gov’t, and easier to get yourself on the governing board of such. What’s interesting is that this generated enough buzz that the White House chimed in. Dropping the issue effectively ends a request that White House press secretary Robert Gibbs on Monday called “silly.” Shane–The problem is that the HOAs are written into the contracts! In most modern developments, the HOAs come with the territory…you can’t buy a house in one without being in the HOA. The developers consider them a Good Thing, to Preserve Property Values! (and so do many of the house buyers–especially the ones who join the boards of the HOAs) Radio hams have been fighting them for a LONG time–the FCC won’t get involved because they’re considered “private contracts” (even though they are usually non-negotiable). That’s why I live in an old city neighborhood with no HOAs…. I have a running joke. I intend to die alone and without chidren, and when I meet the age of 70, if I do, I intend to have a porch, a shotgun, and a garden. I want my last words to be “GET OFF MY BEGONIA’S YOU PUKS!!!!!!” What surprised me most about the HOA’s particular brand of cluelessness is the area in which they operate. They aren’t unthinkably far from the Washington, D.C. area, which aside from being the seat of a government one may or may not agree with, is *saturated* with military-life influence. Also not far from Richmond: Ft. Eustis, Norfolk naval base, Camp Pendleton… there’s a bunch. Mr. Scalzi’s original comment about special brands of cluelessness is particularly apt in this region. What does everyone have against garden gnomes, anyways? After the cats eat the neighbors dogs, you want another line of buffer before they start chasing neighbors children… We kinda knew how this was going to come out. You don’t mess with a man who took on 3 German Tanks with a Bazooka. I mean, come on! YYEESSSSSSS!!!!!!!! BeVIBE: Ilove that image. Can you picture yourself inside the second tank? “What’s holding that idiot up! Why isn’t he… What? A single guy? No armor? He’s either crazy or God, and either way I AM OUTA HERE!” A great victory for common sense!!! Long may old glory wave!!!! NPR just had a short summary of this story this morning! Fortunately the power of the press still holds some sway. I firmly believe that without the notoriety he would not have received authorization for the flagpole. Something I don’t often see anywhere in Europe in residential areas is a national flag. No flags really, except on government buildings. What is it with flag waving in America? “Look at me, I’m patriotic. Wow, I love my country enough to fly the flag…” I have great neigbors across the street and they have this horrible, fadded, tattered American flag on their big ol’pole, and it looks disrespectful. So now we can what, tell them their flag is a disgrace? No flags, or a “rule” that says the flag has to be in good condition would be nice. My other neighbor has a jolly roger flying over his garage. A big black and white symbol of toxicity. Yeah, more flags please. Oy! I’m a little bemused that it took them this long to back off. The Grey Area @ 19: There is a rule that says the flag has to be in good condition. But the United States Flag Code is unenforced, has no penalties associated with it, and is pretty much unknown to most people, including an unfortunate number of people who think that they “honor the flag” when they fly it. The analogy of this to other unfortunate examples of “being patriotic” in an ignorant uninformed way is left as an exercise for the reader. I have to say I’m a little disappointed with “how” this issue was resolved. Without a legal resolution HOAs are completely free to pull this crap on others, and as long as it doesn’t generate a similar level of national outrage, they’ll do it with impunity. This needed to be settled in a court of law, not via the media. This only fixed this problem for this one guy. It did absolutely nothing to resolve the bigger issue with HOAs in general, and did nothing to benefit any other homeowners in similar situations, whose issues may not be related to a national flag, and thus don’t generate a similar level of national attention. I lived in a neighbourhood with an HOA for about 14 years (recently moved out of it) and like others who have commented, these things drive me crazy. Local municipal law should always trump the bylaws of the HOAs. The one I had to live with actually increased our dues to pay for a lawyer to protect them against the home owners – nice, eh. What’s needed is legislation, or punitive litigation, that limits the authority of these groups to paying for the upkeep of the local pool and cutting the grass around the neighbourhood entrance(s). Giving these control freaks unrestricted power to sue a home owner for letting his/her grass grow too long, or for putting an air conditioner in the front window of his/her house, and to increase dues to pay for it, is insane. Thanks for posting this information — I’d probably have missed it otherwise. I’m glad this particular instance was resolved well, but (like commenter 22) wish it had been decided on more general grounds. Mind you, I greatly dislike the ostentatious display of the flag — it comes from being terrified by the Saturday afternoon movie newsreels, when I was a kid, featuring so much of it (though the flags bore swastikas, and the emotional political ranting was in German, the principle is the same), but I dislike even more the idea of limiting a person’s freedom of action unless it poses a clear and serious threat to others … and “it offends my sense of propriety and good taste” comes far from qualifying for this. If the issue had made it to court, I suspect the veteran would have lost. HOA rules are regarded as falling under contract law. In contract negotiations you can ask for anything you want as long as it’s not illegal. If the person you’re negotiating with won’t change something you don’t like you have the option to walk away with no obligations. But once you sign on the dotted line you’ve agreed to abide by the terms of the contract. No court is going to overturn an otherwise legal contract just because it includes some stupid terms. As much as we’d love for it to be otherwise, stupidity isn’t illegal. Bearpaw, you’re right of course. I know about how the flag should be treated; I think that was covered in the cub scouts. But lots of folks don’t seem to understand that the flag should be treated well, or not at all. That includes proper lighting at night and keeping it clean. After 911 it seemed every business on the local main road put up a huge American flag. I can’t tell you how many bad looking flags are flying in Oakland County Michigan right not, but it’s a disgrace. Part of me is a little surprised that it took this long for the HOA to capitulate, but then again, maybe they really ARE that clueless. Of course, anyone who wants to take on that HOA is probably going to try to get the good colonel on their side. Comments are closed.