“The American people will never knowingly adopt Socialism. But under the name of ‘liberalism’ they will adopt every fragment of the Socialist program, until one day America will be a Socialist nation, without knowing how it happened.”

Socialist Party presidential candidate Norman Thomas

Thursday, May 29, 2008

In Stepford, you will conform

It seems we read this headline about once a month....

CLERMONT, Fla. -- A Central Florida war veteran faces a lawsuit [from the home-owners association] for flying the American flag on a pole in his front yard.

These associations think they have the power to dictate to people how they can use their privately owned property. I understand that the association can lay out guidelines about upkeep and maintainence, holiday displays, etc. but federal law clearly allows the display of the flag, and federal law cannot be superceded by association law. Here's the law:

The Freedom to Display the American Flag Act of 2005 prohibits a
condominium, cooperative, or real estate management association from adopting or
enforcing any policy or agreement that would restrict or prevent a member of the
association from displaying the flag in accordance with the Federal Flag Code on
residential property to which the member has a separate ownership interest.

Far too many people let themselves be intimidated by busy-body neighborhood associations whose jobless members drive around looking for the smallest violations so they can assert their dominion over the homeowners. That's crap! With the possible exception of basic maintainence, they practically have no real legal right to tell you how you can pursue happiness on your property. You might argue that it's a private corporation and because you pay dues, it's a private club and as such, can enforce anything they want if you're a member. You would be wrong. The private property rights of individual US citizens cannot be superceded by an association. If the association doesn't like the federal laws guaranteeing private property rights, it should have organized in another country.


Kevin said...

If you pay the dues, and are apart of the society, they certainly can enforce their rules. But what would enforcing be? Penalties or termination of your membership from the society. Basically, if you don't follow their rules you are kicked out of their club. Homeowner's associations are pretty much useless wastes of money. If you own the property, you have the right to display whatever you want provided you break no federal or state laws in the process.

Robert Underwood said...

Kevin: In many areas of the country, unfortunately, purchase of a house within certain residential neighborhoods carries with it a requirement to comply to the associations tenets. If one opts to not comply, then they can be asked to sell and move out. This has even been challenged and upheld in court.

Now as a veteran, I find it absolutely appalling that any residential subdivison within the borders of the country that I fought to protect, has the gall and audacity to challenge a patriotic act of displaying our colors. It never ceases to amaze me as to the levels of stupidity certain individuals in our country go to to start a problem. I still love my country, it is just acts like this that make it a tough country to love.

Freeper with CFS said...

To my understanding, Robert is correct: if you purchase property subject to the oversight of a homeowner's association, Kevin's assertion that they can't stop you from violating their bylaws is wrong.

There is a detail that I've seen mentioned that I'm not sure was specifically referenced in the stories about this: this veteran is not being prevented from flying the flag. That would be unenforceable following a Federal law on the matter from a couple of years ago. The objection the HA in this case has is to the pole. Anyone can fly an American flag, on their property, anytime they like.

A lot of time gets wasted over stuff like this. The Rachael Ray/Dunkin' Donuts nonsense is another example.

Kevin said...

I actually didn't know that some properties required you to join and abide by the homeowners societies, but i wouldnt want to live in a place that did not allow the flying of the American flag in the first place.

Freeper with CFS said...

Since it is not legal to forbid the display of the American flag, I'm not sure what the problem is here. If a HA has chosen to bar poles, it would behoove one to question why.

It could be because they don't want people to put pro-Obama or Hillary flags on poles in their front yards...did that ever occur to you?

I guess not.

ed said...

I believe the issue is the size of the flag pole and that it's in his front yard. The assoc. allows flag poles of that size in back yards. My question, poorly stated though it was, is about private property rights vs. association rights. Did this guy purchase the home and sign the assoc. form after the flag-pole rule, or was it voted on by the assoc. because somebody objected to it after the fact?

Can the assoc. legally enforce it's rules, however silly, when they are in conflict with the "use" legal precedents of privately held land?

Robert Underwood said...

The Unites States has and always will have flag rules and laws. If one chooses to hoist a Stars and Stripes and do it without regard to the federal mandates that individual will face the consequences if caught. Any homeowners group that chooses to violate them will face the same results. If this rule was voted in after he erected his pole then it is too bad for them. He and it should be grandfathered in, by law. I have horses on my property. The city in live in incorporated my area, but cannot enforce their "horseless"ordinance on me, ever. Their attorney told me that as long as I don't exceed the 4 horses I own, then it is a moot point, however, if I sell my property, the next owner will be forced to comply to all existing city laws. As I see it, this is exactly the same. I saw for the veteran to fight, and if he needs a comreade in arms to call me and I will stand by his side. I too fly a flag. I fly it proudly and apprpriately - daily!