Wednesday Writs: In Utero Edition


Em Carpenter

Em was one of those argumentative children who was sarcastically encouraged to become a lawyer, so she did. She is a proud life-long West Virginian, and, paradoxically, a liberal. In addition to writing about society, politics and culture, she enjoys cooking, podcasts, reading, and pretending to be a runner. She will correct your grammar. You can find her on Twitter.

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13 Responses

  1. Avatar DensityDuck says:

    [L3] no examples, no stories, no court cases, nothing except hearsay of a nasty letter admonishing homeowners to continue paying unless told otherwise.

    But, y’know, HOA, so people just act like it’s the worst thing ever. Which is weird; the most vote-blue-no-matter-who liberal, the hardest of hardcore commies, the people who tell you that we live in a society and there’s a social contract and pointless insistence on individuality is what’s killing this country, those people all agree that the very concept of an HOA is rotten and terrible, and they all have some story about how this guy painted his house the wrong shade of grey or waited a week too long to rake his leaves and the HOA sold his organs on the black market because of it.Report

    • Avatar Em Carpenter in reply to DensityDuck says:

      Yeah, my idea of the social contract is ensuring people have the means to be healthy and well fed, nothing to do with the aesthetics of one’s lawn.
      And clearly, nothing says “individuality” like a neighborhood full of perfectly landscaped, neutral toned cookie-cutter houses.
      No basketball hoop in your own damn driveway. Not allowed to park your work truck there, either. Shorten your flagpole, don’t paint your door red, etc etc etc…. All just super important to the fabric of society.Report

      • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Em Carpenter says:

        mmmhmm, keep telling me how a community setting its own standards is a bad thing that we shouldn’t allow.

        “nothing says “individuality” like a neighborhood full of perfectly landscaped, neutral toned cookie-cutter houses.”


        most HOA boards I’ve known are severely understaffed, they’d be happy to have someone join and be part of the process, and once you’re there you can lobby the rest of the board to change the bylaws and paint your house whatever color you like, have a basketball hoop, park your work truck, etc. etc.

        but then you have to go to meeting, and talk to people, and try to get them to agree, and wouldn’t it be easier if there just, like, weren’t rules and laws and stuff, and everyone could just, like, do whatever, man? I mean, having to interact with society like an actual human being is such a fuckin drag, yaanow?Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to DensityDuck says:

          Part of the problem is that if you have a good Tsar, you are living under a pretty good system and if you have a bad Tsar, you are living under a pretty bad one.

          Asking “Is Tsarism good or bad or what?” misunderstands the problem.

          HOAs are good… if you have good neighbors. If you have a neighbor who takes it upon herself to call the HOA head when you leave your garage door open while you mow the lawn, you have a problem.

          “But some HOAs are good!”

          Yes, some of them are. The ones that involve neighbors who call the HOA when someone leaves the garage door open while they mow the lawn (or fail to pick up their trash bins before 3PM on trash day or similar) are bad.

          But this does not establish whether HOAs are good or bad or merely a way to communicate to minorities that they probably shouldn’t buy a house in this neighborhood.

          Because, like a Tsarist system, it depends on the Tsar. Not on the system.Report

        • Many HoAs work just fine. The problem is the low participation you cite. It cedes power to the person who cares. This person might be benevolent, or might be a Napoleon in a teapot.

          I have an HoA. The dues are modest, and the few functions that affect me have generally gone well. Yay, me! A few years back it had this move to modernize its by-laws, or perhaps constitution. The board presented reasonable arguments why this would be a good thing, and promulgated a draft for approval. It got voted down. I don’t know why my neighbors voted against it, but I know why I did. Amongst the perfectly reasonable provisions was this oddball rule prohibiting owners of end units from having gardens along the side. I asked why it was there. So far as I can tell, one member of the committee that drafted this didn’t like one person’s garden. I don’t own an end unit, but the sheer pettiness put me off the whole thing. It puts in a nutshell the problem with the system. So we have been muddling through with the old by-laws, or perhaps constitution, without it making any noticeable difference.Report

      • Avatar PD Shaw in reply to Em Carpenter says:

        I mostly agree, which is why we didn’t buy a house with an HOA, but why did this woman buy into a HOA situation?

        The article seems overblown though. A woman in her 60s received the standard yearly notice of dues and obligations, that included language in bold that the HOA board would work with anyone who had a hardship. She has a hardship (she’s scared to go to Home Depot and she’s helping a relative out-of-work) and tells the reporter that she thinks the board needs to look at every situation individually. She got a letter from the HOA apologizing for the timing of the letter, but did they work with her to her satisfaction? Who knows?Report

  2. Avatar Chip Daniels says:

    HOAs are for me, an illustration of why the form of a governmental structure doesn’t predict the outcome.

    Some HOAs operate very well, and deal with things in a responsible and fair handed way. Others, not so much.

    The sort of “high ideology” arguments we see in political circles, where its assumed that with private ownership you get this result, and with public ownership you get that, are confounded by the wild variance of how HOAs operate.

    The predictor of the outcome seems to me to be the degree of trust and social cohesion within the community rather than its structure.Report

    • Avatar PD Shaw in reply to Chip Daniels says:

      The thing is though, people have a choice of whether they want to live in an HOA, as opposed to a government. The issues that arise seem to point to some sort of market inefficiency (I liked the neighborhood’s appearance and amenities, but its unreasonable to prevent me from having a satellite dish in my own back yard) or consumer ignorance (its not really your back yard, did you read the association rules before you purchased? and yeah, there is a “tax” for all those amenities too, did you read the association rules?)Report

      • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to PD Shaw says:

        People also have a choice of which government jurisdiction they want to live in. “Just move somewhere else” is equally true, and equally irrelevant.

        My point is that most of the horrors that arise in either HOAs or governments stem from discretionary behaviors.
        There isn’t really anything in an HOA or a government structure that demands unreasonable rules be written, or interpreted and enforced in arbitrary and malicious ways.

        And in both cases, the injustice almost always reinforces pre-existing social injustice. Like, cops don’t just walk up to a banker who forged a loan document, wrestle him to the ground and choke him to death. An HOA doesn’t usually attack the people who are well liked and popular, but usually just the people who are already on the lower end of the social hierarchy.Report

  3. Avatar Brandon Berg says:

    Also of note and relatable, Justice Sotomayor forgets to unmute

    Forgetting to mute stories are much more fun.Report

  4. Avatar InMD says:

    Also of note:

    Supreme embarrassment: The flush heard around the country

  5. Avatar J_A says:

    L1: I don’t know if there’s a perfect (or a more better 🙂 )solution to the issue, but I think Ginsburg’s way is fairly reasonable.

    Mrs. Capato decided, about 11 months after Mr. Capato’s death, to conceive for the second time. At what point does it become equivalent to her having conceived with a surrogate donor?

    Mr. Capato himself did not explicitly consent to this conception (he had envisioned a fertilization with him alive, but infertile) -absent a will or other document we do not know if he had wanted for her widow to conceive his child. To conceive almost a year later makes the conception, in my mind too removed from Mr. Capato to alter the provisions of his stateReport

    • The part that struck me as I was reading was the claim that the kids were the children of a married couple. The couple clearly was not married at the time of conception. The widow legally could have held a combination funeral and wedding with some new guy. It took the Supreme Court to notice this?Report