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Welcome to On the Commons!

Image On The Commons is a weekly radio show, dedicated to discussing the many issues surrounding homeowner associations (HOAs) and condominiums.  It is broadcast live from WEBR, Fairfax, Virginia and available on this web site.

Join us as we explore the world of homeowner associations and condominiums, which are the fastest growing form of residential development in America today.  This housing concept includes homeowner associations, condominiums, cooperatives, and both attached and detached single-family homes.  Unfortunately this type of housing is not as utopian as its advocates would have us believe.  Living in a homeowner association means giving up a part of the American dream.  It means giving up Constitutional rights and control over one’s most valuable asset - one’s home.

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 "Property in a thing consists not merely in its ownership and possession, but in the unrestricted right of use, enjoyment, and disposal. Anything which destroys any of the elements of property, to that extent, destroys the property itself. The substantial value of property lies in its use. If the right of use be denied, the value of the property is annihilated and ownership is rendered a barren right."  --- Washington State Supreme Court Justice Richard B Sanders

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Its Here! 

The new On The Commons  podcast site

Seven years of easy to find On the Commons Podcasts 

 

The Curent Show

On the Commons with Jan Bergmann

Do you ever feel like you are being watched?  That your every move is being recorded, noted, tagged, documented and archived for future reference?  That's because you are being watched from every corner and every angle imaginable.  No, it is not science fiction, it is the here and now of our every day lives.  In the land of the free and the brave, eyes and ears are everywhere, watching you.  Any false move is likely to result in hefty fines and even lead to the confiscation of your home.  Just what are these false moves that could have such dire consequences?  And what new tools and techniques are being used to rat you out?  And how is technology helping?

Jan Bergemann joins us On The Commons.  Jan is the founder and President of the Florida based Cyber Citizens for Justice  a grass roots organization dedicated to protecting the owners in condo and homeowner associations.  We talk to Jan about the state of association living in Florida.  We learn about a bill making its way through the legislative process that would not give board members a pass should they commit a crime.  And you'll never guess who is opposing this bill. We learn about a new app called "The Parking Boss" which is being used to enforce rental restrictions in condos and gated communities.  The Parking Boss?  And for those who have had their fill of being inspected from every angle and snooped and spied on, there is a glimmer of hope.  We'll find out whether there is life after an HOA dies.  And just for fun, along the way we learn about some of the most petty violations people have been cited and fined for.   . . .Listen to Jan Bergmann    

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On the Commons with Karin Huffer

A timeless rebroadcast and a perpetual problem.

I am frequently contacted by homeowners who are being bullied and abused by board members and/or managers in the  association governing their neighborhood. More often than not, the source for the conflict is petty and ridiculous.   Notwithstanding the sort of personality that tends to gravitate to these positions, our legislators have seen fit to bestow extraordinary powers on them, tipping the balance very heavily in favor of the association. The experience of being caught in the crosshairs of the association causes stress induced health challenges for the homeowners.

But suppose the homeowner is disabled? The weaker and more vulnerable amongst us are more likely to be targeted because they are easier to bully, scare and abuse.  Is there any help for the?

Dr. Karin Huffer joins us On The Commons this week.  Dr. Huffer is a multi talented force to be reckoned with.  She is an author, a speaker, a trainer and now a professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York.  For years, Karin has known that people with disabilities are more likely to have their rights ignored, or trampled on by everyone, including the courts. She decided to do something about it.  She set up a web page and started a program called Equal Access Advocates.  She trains people to become advocates and to accompany people with disabilities in court to protect their rights. We'll talk to Karin about her advocates, who they are and how they help their clients.  We learn a little more about the Americans With Disabilities Act and how her program ensures that people are treated fairly.  With an advocate by their side, people in court have someone very firmly in their corner.  . . .Listen to Karin Huffer     

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