On the Commons

Hosted and produced by Shu Bartholomew, On The Commons is a weekly radio show dedicated to discussing the many issues surrounding mandatory homeowner associations, the fastest growing form of residential housing in the nation.

On The Commons is broadcast every Saturday from 2-3 PM ET on Radio Fairfax.  In the Northern Virginia area, On The Commons can be heard on Cox Cable, Channel 37 and Verizon Channel 37.  On Comcast channel 27 in Reston in addition to several more cable channels all across Northern Virginia.  To listen LIVE globally on the internet, go to http://www.radiofairfax.com and click on “Stream Radio Fairfax” and if you are on the go, on your mobile devices,  http://tunein.com/radio/Radio-Fairfax-s24818  The show will be available on http://onthecommons.us/ shortly afterwards.  Please also visit our archives at http://onthecommons.net .

On the Commons with Shu and Jan Bergemann 04/22/17

Hosted and produced by Shu Bartholomew, On The Commons is a weekly radio show dedicated to discussing the many issues surrounding mandatory homeowner associations, the fastest growing form of residential housing in the nation.
This Week’s Show
Do you ever feel like you are being watched?  That your every move is being recorded, noted, tagged, documented and archived for future reference?  That’s because you are being watched from every corner and every angle imaginable.  No, it is not science fiction, it is the here and now of our every day lives.  In the land of the free and the brave, eyes and ears are everywhere, watching you.  Any false move is likely to result in hefty fines and even lead to the confiscation of your home.  Just what are these false moves that could have such dire consequences?  And what new tools and techniques are being used to rat you out?  And how is technology helping?
Jan Bergemann joins us On The Commons.  Jan is the founder and President of the Florida based Cyber Citizens for Justice  a grass roots organization dedicated to protecting the owners in condo and homeowner associations.  We talk to Jan about the state of association living in Florida.  We learn about a bill making its way through the legislative process that would not give board members a pass should they commit a crime.  And you’ll never guess who is opposing this bill. We learn about a new app called “The Parking Boss” which is being used to enforce rental restrictions in condos and gated communities.  The Parking Boss?  And for those who have had their fill of being inspected from every angle and snooped and spied on, there is a glimmer of hope.  We’ll find out whether there is life after an HOA dies.  And just for fun, along the way we learn about some of the most petty violations people have been cited and fined for.
On The Commons is broadcast every Saturday from 2-3 PM ET on Radio Fairfax. In the Northern Virginia area, On The Commons can be heard on Cox Cable, Channel 37 and Verizon Channel 37. On Comcast channel 27 in Reston in addition to several more cable channels all across Northern Virginia. To listen LIVE globally on the internet, go to Radio Fairfax and click on “Stream Radio Fairfax” and if you are on the go, on your mobile devices, Radio Fairfax MobileThe show will be available on On the Commons shortly afterwards. Please also visit our archives at On the Commons.Leaving the American Zone
Shu Bartholomew
Host and producer

On The Commons is produced by OTC Multimedia Productions

On the Commons: with Shu and Dr. Karin Huffer -4/15/17

Hosted and produced by Shu Bartholomew, On The Commons is a weekly radio show dedicated to discussing the many issues surrounding mandatory homeowner associations, the fastest growing form of residential housing in the nation.
This Week’s Show
A timeless rebroadcast and a perpetual problem.
I am frequently contacted by homeowners who are being bullied and abused by board members and/or managers in the  association governing their neighborhood. More often than not, the source for the conflict is petty and ridiculous.   Notwithstanding the sort of personality that tends to gravitate to these positions, our legislators have seen fit to bestow extraordinary powers on them, tipping the balance very heavily in favor of the association. The experience of being caught in the crosshairs of the association causes stress induced health challenges for the homeowners.
But suppose the homeowner is disabled? The weaker and more vulnerable amongst us are more likely to be targeted because they are easier to bully, scare and abuse.  Is there any help for the?
Dr. Karin Huffer joins us On The Commons this week.  Dr. Huffer is a multi talented force to be reckoned with.  She is an author, a speaker, a trainer and now a professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York.  For years, Karin has known that people with disabilities are more likely to have their rights ignored, or trampled on by everyone, including the courts. She decided to do something about it.  She set up a web page and started a program called Equal Access Advocates.  She trains people to become advocates and to accompany people with disabilities in court to protect their rights. We’ll talk to Karin about her advocates, who they are and how they help their clients.  We learn a little more about the Americans With Disabilities Act and how her program ensures that people are treated fairly.  With an advocate by their side, people in court have someone very firmly in their corner.
On The Commons is broadcast every Saturday from 2-3 PM ET on Radio Fairfax. In the Northern Virginia area, On The Commons can be heard on Cox Cable, Channel 37 and Verizon Channel 37. On Comcast channel 27 in Reston in addition to several more cable channels all across Northern Virginia. To listen LIVE globally on the internet, go to Radio Fairfax and click on “Stream Radio Fairfax” and if you are on the go, on your mobile devices, Radio Fairfax MobileThe show will be available on On the Commons shortly afterwards. Please also visit our archives at On the Commons.Leaving the American Zone
Shu Bartholomew
Host and producer

On The Commons is produced by OTC Multimedia Productions

On the Commons: Shu and Robert Nordlund – 4/1/17

Hosted and produced by Shu Bartholomew, On The Commons is a weekly radio show dedicated to discussing the many issues surrounding mandatory homeowner associations, the fastest growing form of residential housing in the nation.
This Week’s Show
I often wonder what my life would be like if I had complete and total control over it.  Would I be able to deflect all the curve balls life throws at me?  Or would I still be floating on the sea of life like so much flotsam and jetsam, subject to all the vagaries lurking in the shadows, just waiting to trip me up?  Happily we can take control of many things in our lives but unfortunately for those of us living in America’s ever growing number of residential associations, we seem to be losing the war.   It is just a handful of people who make the major decisions that affect our lives and more importantly, our wallets.

Robert Nordlund joins us On The Commons.  Robert is the founder and CEO of Association Reserves in California. In his professional life he studies the common elements in an association, be it a condo, HOA, Co-op, dockominium or parkominium  to determine whether or not the corporate entity responsible for maintaining the common elements is adequately funded.
The news isn’t good.  According to Robert, 70% of all associations are underfunded, which means only 30% are not in immediate danger of incurring special assessments.  We’ll talk about the reasons for underfunded associations.  Are artificially low assessments the (only) reason for this dilemma or could other common practices be responsible for this predicament?  Could better business practices help?  And is there a “quick and dirty” way for housing consumers to figure out what the financial health of the association they are considering buying into?
I have to wonder whether throwing more money at something that is broken is the only fix or is it simply the easiest short term solution for a problem?  Are there other ways of dealing with it that we are overlooking.
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On The Commons is broadcast every Saturday from 2-3 PM ET on Radio Fairfax. In the Northern Virginia area, On The Commons can be heard on Cox Cable, Channel 37 and Verizon Channel 37. On Comcast channel 27 in Reston in addition to several more cable channels all across Northern Virginia. To listen LIVE globally on the internet, go to Radio Fairfax and click on “Stream Radio Fairfax” and if you are on the go, on your mobile devices, Radio Fairfax Mobile The show will be available on On the Commons shortly afterwards. Please also visit our archives atOn the Commons.Leaving the American Zone
Shu Bartholomew
Host and producer

On The Commons is produced by OTC Multimedia Productions

On the Commons: with Shu and Jessica Suico 3/25/17

Hosted and produced by Shu Bartholomew, On The Commons is a weekly radio show dedicated to discussing the many issues surrounding mandatory homeowner associations, the fastest growing form of residential housing in the nation.
This Week’s Show
I have often wondered, and worried, about children growing up in HOAs who watch their parents suffer at the hands of the HOA bullies. What is the message we are giving them?  Will they be willing and able to fight to protect their homes and families when they are raising their children in these irrational and often abusive residential associations?  Or will they simply roll over and hope the horrors end, believing this is normal? “This is just the way it is” or “They are all like this”, never realizing they can fight back and they can make life better for all concerned?
Imagine my delight when I ran across an article penned by a college student and published in the college newspaper, The Advocate.  The article is titled;  Illegal evictions harm families, neighborhoods.
I had to find out more about it.
Jessica Suico joins us On The Commons. Jessica is a second year student at Contra Costa College in San Pablo, California.  She is majoring in journalism and works on The Advocate, the college newsletter.  The paper normally reports on all things college related, new classes, upcoming events on campus and other news items or topics of interest that would affect student life.  Jessica’s article is a little out of the norm for her paper but, I believe, so very important.  She witnessed the harassment and subsequent eviction of her mother and aunt from their home.  She also saw the frustration as her mother and aunt exhausted all venues seeking non existing help for people in similar situations. They may have been able to get some help had they known where to look.  That has to be part of the education.  However, in the end, a couple of elderly ladies who have had health problems were evicted, ended up in the hospital and rendered homeless.  Using the college newspaper was an excellent way of, not only getting the story out, but also of education other young college students who will be facing similar problems unless we stop the bleeding in private residential America SOON.
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On The Commons is broadcast every Saturday from 2-3 PM ET on Radio Fairfax. In the Northern Virginia area, On The Commons can be heard on Cox Cable, Channel 37 and Verizon Channel 37. On Comcast channel 27 in Reston in addition to several more cable channels all across Northern Virginia. To listen LIVE globally on the internet, go to Radio Fairfax and click on “Stream Radio Fairfax” and if you are on the go, on your mobile devices, Radio Fairfax Mobile The show will be available on On the Commons shortly afterwards. Please also visit our archives atOn the Commons.Leaving the American Zone
Shu Bartholomew
Host and producer

On The Commons is produced by OTC Multimedia Productions

On the Commons with Shu and Ryan Torrens – 3/18/17

Hosted and produced by Shu Bartholomew, On The Commons is a weekly radio show dedicated to discussing the many issues surrounding mandatory homeowner associations, the fastest growing form of residential housing in the nation.
This Week’s Show
Some people insist on referring to HOAs as communities. If describing people who live in the same geographical area, that might be accurate.  However, in a contrived situation like today’s mass produced residential associations, geography is about the only thing most of the owners have in common.  The hierarchical structure of a forced membership association does nothing whatsoever to foster a sense of community, rather it seems to cause isolationism and imposes fear in the residents.  In a very real sense the owners have been abandoned by their real governments and left to fend for themselves against all manner of abuses.  In some of the worst cases, homes are being stolen by those in the upper echelons of the HOA hierarchy and sold on the courthouse steps for pennies on the dollar.
Ryan Torrens joins us On The Commons.  Ryan is a young attorney in Tampa Florida who was introduced to the horrors of foreclosures right out of law school.  Shortly thereafter he started his own firm, The Torrens Law Group, where he specializes in protecting homeowners facing foreclosure from banks and homeowner associations.  We talk to Ryan about the situations that promote a climate that not only favors foreclosures but in some respects makes them commonplace.  We get tips on what to do when a homeowner finds themselves in that situation, and probably more importantly, what not to do.  We also talk about key legislation that might go a long way in preventing some of the worst abuses.
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Laws needed to protect property rights in America
On The Commons is broadcast every Saturday from 2-3 PM ET on Radio Fairfax. In the Northern Virginia area, On The Commons can be heard on Cox Cable, Channel 37 and Verizon Channel 37. On Comcast channel 27 in Reston in addition to several more cable channels all across Northern Virginia. To listen LIVE globally on the internet, go to Radio Fairfax and click on “Stream Radio Fairfax” and if you are on the go, on your mobile devices, Radio Fairfax Mobile The show will be available on On the Commons shortly afterwards. Please also visit our archives atOn the Commons.Leaving the American Zone
Shu Bartholomew
Host and producer

On The Commons is produced by OTC Multimedia Productions