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.

Bill Broussard lives in Galveston.

Locations

(6) comments

Bill Cochrane

Mr. Broussard,

At first reading I thought the HOA meeting rule about dealing with agenda items only was a little absurd, but having been on several HOA boards I remember that just one homeowner that wants to discuss literally everything under the sun makes for a very long meeting. I would suggest that you review the HOA by-laws and check if they follow most rules that state that meeting agendas be posted several days before a meeting. Owners should have the legal right to request items to be put on the agenda. I also suggest that if your HOA is getting out of hand, that you and like-minded owners get involved and run for board positions.

Bill Broussard

All wise thoughts. We’re working on it though the last election of a few months ago was rigged. They talked the person who represented our neighborhood into running again even though he was moving. Both facts we didn’t know . Then one week after the election he resigned allowing the HOA board to appoint his successor.....someone we all don’t know and who has never even been to a HOA meeting and only comes on some weekends to Galveston. Who and what she is we will find out soon enough I guess

Ron Shelby

If its just one person, then a 3 minute limit should keep the problems at a minimum. No need to deny discussion of any topic but those that are on the agenda. No long meetings.

Leigh Cowart

Add POA's to that list of toxic entities. We have had property in East Texas for 20+ years and one of the reasons I am looking into selling now. When our dam breached 3+ years ago the POA decided, without a vote by the majority of it's members to create a WCID (taxing authority) and ANYONE that wasn't in agreement, in any form, was then labeled a "Deplorable" and villified publicly. They even solicited people to change their residence so they could vote in the local election. I can't even repeat all the injustices that happened during the course of bringing the water back. What a crock!

As of September 2019 HB2840 was created as a "right" for members of the public to address the government body of a political subdivision at an open meeting of the body. So I would be filing a complaint with the AG's office to request compliance by the PiratePOA President. What an inflated sense of importance the boards have. Do they FORGET they work for the membership? And one reason why people don't want to be involved anymore because of all the politics and the petty BS.....

Good luck Mr. Bill Broussard and thank you for standing up for the little guy!

League City council is making a terrible mistake by going forward with making these associations mandatory, IMO. Nightmare is an understatement and I won't be moving there!

Ron Shelby

The key to your argument is the definition of a "government body of a political subdivision". Unfortunately, I'm not sure that an HOA fits that description.

Charlotte O'rourke

Everyone should be suspicious of toxic relationships and interactions when an entity or an individual tries to control communication among parties. It’s a real “tell” or clue that something is very wrong. Always listen to all sides and opinions and collect facts before making decisions. I hope you get your non-agenda (3 minutes or less) topics on the HOA agenda.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.

Thank you for Reading!

Please log in, or sign up for a new account and purchase a subscription to read or post comments.