Sunday, September 20, 2009

Partisanship


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.

8 comments:

Elizabeth said...

Go for it!!! Just don't count us older folks out. Now that we are retired, we have the time and not all of us are conservative. Sometimes we just need someone to give us a shove.

Grandmère Mimi said...

We are not to have outdoor drying in our neighborhood, either, however various neighbors have broken the covenants, so I'm thinking about putting in a circular clothesline that is installed in a pipe in the ground and is removable, just in case the clothesline police come around. I'd love to dry my sheets and other items outdoors. We may just do it and see what happens.

IT said...

Mimi, you know some how I would have hoped that HOAs were not the sort of thing that infiltrated into Thibodaux.

Grandmère Mimi said...

Oh, they have, IT. And our neighbors have done far worse things than put up a friggin' clothesline.

IT said...

With us, it's the giant bird of paradise in the front yard . Darn thing is a WEED and the HOA has conniptions if it leans over the neighbor's roof. (BP and I have become adept loggers of the thing, dropping large logs on a regular basis.) They haven't dared complain yet about our dying lawn (which should be a badge of PRIDE in drought-stricken SoCal). But it's just a matter of time....

As for the clothesline, I hate that. Better for the environment, and nothing smells better than air-dried clothes!

David said...

I'm on the board, and the architecture committee, of our HOA and try as hard as I can to keep the silliness down to a dull roar. We actually do a pretty good job and don't usually irritate the homeowners for no reason ;)

it's margaret said...

Oh dear.... I wish you all the creativity in the world!

We once lived in a neighborhood that required "grass" in the front yard. So, we planted three bunches of native grasses in amongst the other herbs and various drought-hardy plants... when the grass police came we pointed to our bunch grass and told them that was our grass.... they never bothered us again!

Grandmere --I'm going to send you that clothes line myself!!

Grandmère Mimi said...

Margaret, I know. I know. How long ago was it that you sent me the link to the site where I could order the clothesline? I still have it!