Sunday, September 20, 2009
We live in a "planned community" that has that bane of modern life, a Homeowner's Association. Most of the time, residents ignore it; we're all too busy to worry about the day-to-day. But occasionally an issue pops up that becomes contentious; for example, when and if the community should focus on xeriscaping because of the ongoing drought, rather than keeping green lawns growing; or how to replace aging garage doors.
Like the broader society, the discourse in our HOA has become politicized and contentious. It can basically be defined as the age-old battle between the old and the young, the traditional and the modern, or the agents of stasis vs. the agents of change. The older folks want things to stay the same, regardless of what's happening around them (e.g., droughts). The younger ones don't want to live in a development frozen in the 1980s.
Chalk one up to the old guard. They have successfully mounted a coup by mobilizing retired folks to walk the neighborhood and advocate a slate for the board. Since the average homeowner doesn't pay much attention to things, they are generally happy to have a recommendation about who to vote for on the annual proxy. And the cohort are consolidating their power in various ways intended to eliminate any opposition voice. This faction has an agenda about how they think things should look, CC&Rs be damned, so it may get a bit contentious around here.
I hate to see this escalation happen. It would be far better for all if the board represented the diverse opinions of our community. But perhaps, in the current climate, it's inevitable, as we all fall into walled domains of them vs. us, and one group seeks to hold all the power to enforce their agenda. I'm not sure how we get back to really listening to each other, when this happens. I've pretty much ignored it all up to now, but I'm just waiting for the first salvo about our plantings or other issues. BP is somewhat resigned to the inevitable that her Tiger will awaken. And generally, being gifted (or cursed) with strong opinions, a facile tongue, and a loud voice, I become a pretty fierce partisan myself.