I wrote about homeowner associations in general — and mine specifically (“Homeowner associations are toxic to the very core,” The Daily News, Aug. 31), but didn’t like where I left the story. “Toxic” is broad brush. Absent specifics, it could leave the reader with impressions, but little else.
I do concern myself with the people who take the time to read what I write, so I offer an example hot from the pages of the Pirates Property Owners Association monthly meeting agenda. You can make your own determination about the word toxic.
The association board meets once a month. It’s supposed to be a time when homeowners can talk to the assembled board and ask questions about beach seaweed collections, road construction, homeowner fees, hurricane preparedness or anything that constitutes civilized living.
When you walk into the meeting room, you’re handed an agenda that lists the topics the board considers important and will cover during the meeting. Just below the list of board topics, set aside as though an independent paragraph and put in bold type, is the sentence:
“Open forum is privilege (sic) not a right, (sic) questions pertaining to the agenda only will be allowed. Each speaker is to address the board president and has a 3-minute time limit. One question per topic.”
The board president is Chris Robb, the husband of next years’ city council candidate for District 5, Marie Robb. Unless he’s signaling us on how Marie Robb expects to run city council should she win, his agenda’s injunctions to his neighbors are rude, discourteous and threatening before the meeting even begins. I think that meets the criterion for toxic.
He could be trying to be helpful by letting his neighbors know the proper way to conduct themselves when asking about beach access points for example, but then access points are not on the agenda, so they can’t be mentioned.
Since my first commentary, I’ve had several people approach me to say their owner associations were nothing like mine. Theirs encouraged open discussion, some met rarely (a good thing according to them) and almost all described theirs as cordial and friendly.
I cannot remember a time in the last decade where I would use those words in conjunction with the Pirates Property Owners, but then, our board membership is highly manipulated and hasn’t changed much in the past decade.
For those souls who stopped to tell me how welcoming their association or neighborhood organization is, I cannot be happier for you. Thanks for taking a moment to shine a bit of light on a morass. Returning the favor, should you ever have an occasion to meet Chris Robb (or any Pirates Property Owners Association board member), remember what a privilege it is to meet them, and please, address them appropriately deferential.
League City might create a nightmare by requiring subdivisions to set up associations to counter our governor’s overreach on municipalities (“City to take another shot around new state law,” The Daily News, Sept. 23). They might as well breed mosquitos and plant poison ivy in their public parks.