Thursday, February 19, 2015

AT&T tries bait and switch

I'm fed up with the telephone industry, especially AT&T. Robocalls are bad enough - I get two or three per day Monday thru Saturday - and now it's an ongoing, inexcusable effort to force me to pay more for U-verse than I was quoted.

It all began the first few days of last December when I called AT&T to discuss cancelling both my Internet and phone (I have a land line) service. Charges had been runnin' 'bout $72 - $80 per month, and given the constant barrage of robocalls - which had prompted me to generally avoid answering my phone - it just didn't seem worth it.

The lady I spoke with was very nice, seemed sincerely interested in helping me, and wound up quoting me a rate of $34.95 per month for a year if I would sign up for U-verse, which I gladly accepted. When AT&T showed up to install the U-verse, I inquired again about the rate. He quickly confirmed what I'd been told, and e-mailed me a copy of the charges (installation and modem fees waived), which ended off with a "Grand Total" of $34.95 per month.

All well and good until charges showed up on my new U-verse account. Initially, I was billed for over $200, but after several online chat conversations with AT&T, that was gradually reduced to a little over $52 per month. AT&T dug their heels in for the $52 per month, and the online chats got somewhat less than cordial. 

ALWAYS - I repeat ALWAYS - get it in writing when AT&T specifies charges that you are in agreement with. Had I not obtained written confirmation, it's anybody's guess as to what I would have wound up being charged.

I refused to pay anything unless I was billed for the amount I had been quoted, and the next thing I knew, I got a nasty notice via snail mail advising me that my service would be "temporarily interrupted" the following day unless I forked over the $52 per month. So I immediately filed an online complaint with the South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs.

Good thing I got to Consumer Affairs' website when I did.

Next morning, my phone had been disconnected for all but emergency calls (of course, the robocalls continued), and my Internet usage was restricted to e-mail, Facebook, and, for a short while, Blogger. Attempts to navigate to other websites prompted a nasty, full-screen pop-up berating me to pay the fifty-two bucks. 

I persevered, and it took about a week before Consumer Affairs e-mailed me confirmation that AT&T had agreed to $34.95 per month, and I needed to pay for two months based on that rate. I paid the amount within hours after receiving notification from Consumer Affairs, full service was restored, and I hoped the matter had been resolved.

But alas.

My next bill (the current one) popped up for about $92, and I've again complained to AT&T (Consumer Affairs had given me contact info for someone in AT&T's president's office), with a copy of this latest complaint to the person I initially communicated with at Consumer Affairs. I e-mailed my complaint Monday, my bill is due on the 27th, and I haven't heard hide nor hair from Consumer Affairs or AT&T.

I can understand errors on the first bill for U-verse. But there's no excuse whatsoever for my service being interrupted for a week. Nor is there any excuse for the same thing starting all over again. This entire matter amounts to nothing more than a bait and switch tactic, with a dose of bullying thrown in for good measure. The 27th will be here soon, and I suppose AT&T plans to once again "temporarily interrupt my service" in an effort to make me accept a higher monthly rate than I was quoted. 

Clean up your act, AT&T. And while you're at it, block those robocalls.

Update 2/19/2015 - AT&T is developing quite a reputation for bait and switch. The FTC is suing AT&T over the company charging customers for "unlimited" data, then throttling the data. "'Unlimited' means 'unlimited," says the FTC. Someone also needs to tell AT&T that "'Grand Total' means 'Grand Total.'"

Update 2/20/2015 - 
> My tweets with a link to this blog post are being blocked from appearing in Twitter's real-time posts. Likewise re the tweets appearing on my Twitter profile page. Corporate CENSORSHIP in the age of the Internet. My pleasure to expose Twitter and AT&T on Facebook. 
> Who woulda thought? My Facebook posts with a link to this blog post are also being blocked from appearing in real-time. AT&T and their crooked, bullying cohorts don't like it when folks dare to expose AT&T's inexcusable behavior.

Update 2/23/2015 - 
> This morning I heard from the South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs advising me that they will once again reach out to AT&T. Stay tuned as consumers get a firsthand look at how AT&T bullies its customers.
> AT&T prefers to argue instead of correcting my bill, realizing, of course, that the so-called South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs has no legal jurisdiction in the matter. Here's a copy of the e-mail I just now sent to Consumer Affairs with a copy to AT&T:


"I didn't speak with AT&T the last time you resolved my complaint, and I complained to Consumer Affairs only after repeated conversations with AT&T. I'm not interested in arguing with AT&T - that's why I contacted Consumer Affairs. 

If AT&T wanted to correct my bill, they would have done so by now - the bill continues to reflect over $90 instead of the $34.95 I was promised - so it appears the situation cannot be resolved through Consumer Affairs.

There's no reason whatsoever - other than a lack of good faith on AT&T's part - that AT&T can't respond to Consumer Affairs' inquiry the same way they did last time, taking action to correct my bill."

> I just love it when crooked corporations like AT&T feign ignorance in an attempt to bully customers into complying with unjust demands. Just now heard from Consumer Affairs with the "news" - who woulda thought? - that AT&T sees nothing wrong with my current bill for over $90. Consumer Affairs wants me to have yet another verbal exchange with AT&T, when the facts of my case have been clear to AT&T since the first part of last December. I refuse to be baited in such a manner. Toothless state "Consumer Affairs" departments - looking out for business interests instead of consumers - are part of the problem when it comes to crooked corporations. I never expected much when I contacted the South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs to begin with.

> I understand, AT&T: Crooked corporations and their stooges in state government would rather not converse in writing. Sure am glad I lucked out and got a copy of that quote for U-verse at $34.95 per month.

Updates 2/28/2015 - 
> Consumer Affairs seems sincerely interested in helping me, and has explained that their actions are limited to facilitating a resolution between customers and businesses. They do not render decisions and have no legal jurisdiction over entities such as AT&T.
> AT&T reduced my current bill to about $38 and sent me an e-mail (copy to Consumer Affairs) claiming they would never include taxes and surcharges in a "Grand Total" because they "cannot calculate" such charges. Perhaps AT&T expects folks to purchase U-verse without knowing what it costs. My bill was due yesterday, I'll pay it when the amount is corrected to what I was promised, and I have advised AT&T (copy to Consumer Affairs) to review the definition of "Grand Total." 
> AT&T's claim that they "cannot calculate" taxes and surcharges is at odds not only with common sense, but also contradicts what they state on their website. Obviously, they are able to calculate such amounts and should advise potential customers accordingly. Failure to mention such amounts while offering a "Grand Total" price for U-verse, and then billing customers for such amounts epitomizes the marketing ploy known as "bait and switch." 

Friday, February 13, 2015

HOAs empowered by special interests, crooked state legislators

Talk about grand larceny. By what rhym or reason are these mafia-style gangs known as Homeowners Associations (HOAs) given the right to foreclose on homes? Does anyone else except tax authorities or mortgage holders have such a right? Can your doctor take your home because of money he claims you owe him? Your dentist? Your mechanic?

Does anyone in their right mind think HOAs should be allowed to literally strong-arm property owners out of hard earned dollars? Allowed to levy costs as the gangs see fit - often "punishing" homeowners who dare to speak out against the racket - backed by the tyrannical power of being able to foreclose on homes if people don't cooperate?

As the well-orchestrated racket provokes organized opposition all across the country, take at look at the filthy rich, special interest groups who bribe - er I mean lobby - bloodsucking state legislators to throw homeowners under the bus. Here are a few of the main cuprits:

National Home Builders Association
National Association of Realtors
Community Association Institute (CAI)
Property Management Association
Associa HRW, Inc. (America's largest property management firm, ramrodded by Texas legislator John Corona who started this whole thing about giving HOAs legal rights to foreclose on homes.)

I always get a thigh-slappin' HOOT out of folks who think this profoundly corrupt system of "government" can be remedied at the ballot box. I caught on to the "Your Vote Counts" scam years ago when I associated a common sense analysis of this two-headed, one party SHAM of an electoral system with a book I was assigned to read while earning my degree in Government and Public Administration. If you get a chance, read "An Economic Theory of Democracy," by Anthony Downs. Mr. Downs exposes a system fueled by corruption, pure and simple. A devil-take-the-hindmost affair, wherein "rational" political behavior is defined as whatever it takes to maximize votes. Period. Only recently did I realize the sarcasm so cleverly conveyed by the book's title.

Amidst compelling evidence that America is now an oligarchy, former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury Dr. Paul Craig Roberts has addressed the Washington gang's "selling" of political access, and the topic was given further exposure by this late-breaking article and video from CNN.

Insofar as Homeowners Associations are concerned, factor in a slew of local business interests that stand to take YOUR money via these neighborhood gangs. Everything from attorneys to ditch-diggers, and it's anyone's guess regarding how certain businesses get "chosen" to implement cooked-up projects, not to mention the fertile ground for kickbacks. Check out Associa HRW, Inc.'s 2/11/2015 seminar in Raleigh, North Carolina advising HOAs how to dog it over property owners when it comes to collecting the moolah.

Options to purchase properties free from HOA dictatorships are rapidly disappearing as crooked legislators allow almost all new developments to be subject to the scam. Meanwhile, my neighborhood - Quail Hollow, in West Columbia, South Carolina - is declaring dues mandatory, even though such dues have been voluntary for almost half a century. I wonder how many HOA gangs in similar neighborhoods are doing likewise.

I understood all too well when someone recently e-mailed me expressing their shock and dismay upon discovering that their HOA was part of a racket deeply entrenched in their state legislature. The name of the game, of course, is for corporate-controlled legislators to empower HOAs very quietly, making sure the public isn't aware of what's going on.

Know your enemies, folks. Chances are, the names of your elected representatives will be at the top of the list.

Update 2/13/2015 - Here's a late-breaking story (with video) about yet another homeowner - this one in South Carolina - unduly harassed and fined by an HOA. The very idea of state legislators empowering these gangs to bully homeowners by threatening to foreclose on homes. 

Monday, February 2, 2015

WLTX censors criticism of the LGBTQQIAAP gang's demand for unisex public restrooms

Let's get a few things straight: I couldn't care less what consenting adults do to each other in private. I do care about free speech and a free press.

Columbia, South Carolina's WLTX News19 recently published a post on Facebook referencing the day's breaking news of a child sex-ring orchestrated by a former reserve deputy with the Richland County Sheriff's Department. Stories of a similar nature have been popping up with ever-increasing frequency as America rushes to discard traditional sexual norms.

I posted a comment critical of looking to the LGBTQQIAAP gang for leadership, especially the gang's ongoing demand for unisex public restrooms in schools. Quoting as close to verbatim as I can recall, here's what I wrote: "Yes, America obviously needs to look to the LGBTQQIAAP gang for leadership. QUICK: Give in to the gang's demand for unisex public restrooms, especially in schools." WLTX removed the comment and banned me from posting comments on their Facebook page.

I'm appalled by WLTX's attitude toward free speech. To the best of my knowledge, similar comments I've been posting on similar articles published by other local news organizations have never been removed, nor has any local media ever banned me from posting comments.

"Similar comments I've been posting" probably holds the key to understanding WLTX's high-handed response. Most Americans who question the wisdom of discarding traditional sexual norms have been bullied into silence by the onslaught of pro-homosexual propaganda, which adds insult to injury by frequently ridiculing anyone who dares to express a different point of view. Then there's those online attacks - often anonymous - hurling every insult imaginable in an effort to intimidate anyone who speaks out against the LGBTQQIAAP gang's agenda. Underscoring the utter contempt for free speech, a homosexual legislator in Alabama is now openly blackmailing legislators in an effort to prevent them from speaking out against homosexuality. Americans have been both brainwashed and bullied into a cowardly acceptance of sheer absurdity. Obvious even to the most casual observer is the fact that the LGBTQQIAAP gang is at odds with the fundamental human right of free speech.

The issue of unisex public restrooms strikes at the heart of the LGBTQQIAAP gang's absurd agenda. Without unisex public restrooms, the "civil rights" argument falls apart, a fact the gang is acutely aware of. Someone daring to speak out against unisex public restrooms poses a fundamental threat to the gang's overall agenda, not to mention someone exposing that agenda by referring to the gang in its repulsive entirety as opposed to the intentionally misleading abbreviation "LGBT".

I take special pleasure in exposing "news" organizations when they affront free speech. WLTX is a long-time local wannabe whose overall news ratings never made it to the front of the pack, even after hiring weatherman Jim Gandy from the Columbia area's undisputed leader, WIS News 10. Imitation is indeed the sincerest form of flattery, but WLTX missed the better point. News leaders don't remove comments and ban people from participating in discussions unless there's exceptionally good reason. News stations with integrity are sensitive to free speech issues, and their policies reflect the fact.

Get with it, WLTX. Attempting to bully people into silence is a bad idea.

Update 2/4/2015 - I e-mailed WLTX the link to this blog post, and I've been using Facebook and Twitter to spread the word about the station's unwarranted censorship. WLTX - which touts itself as being "On Your Side" - refuses to even acknowledge receipt of my e-mail.  

Update 2/22/2015 - As the LGBTQQIAAP gang demands unisex public restrooms, especially in schools, there's evidence galore that America's sex-obsessed society is rapidly spinning out of control. Another child sex-ring has been exposed - this time in Minnesota - and two recent cases involving teenagers sexually abusing young children underscore the sorry state of affairs. In South Carolina, a 14-yr-old girl filmed a toddler performing a sex act on her, and in Georgia, a 17-yr-old boy admitted to sexually abusing two children under ten, "forcefully and against their will." This month in Arkansas, a man filmed a woman and her toddler using a public restroom, and it's noteworthy that the citizens of Fayetteville, Arkansas recently voted down the LGBTQQIAAP gang's demand for unisex public restrooms. 

Update 2/23/2015 - 
> My Facebook posts exposing WLTX News19' unwarranted censorship are now being blocked from appearing in real-time, and Twitter is blocking my tweets to WLTX from appearing on my profile page. WLTX and its friends can't stand the truth.
> Easy to see why WLTX and their friends in the LGBTQQIAAP gang are so hypersensitive to criticism. In South Carolina, yet another case of pedofilia made headlines today re a 33-yr-old "basketball coach" and a 15-yr-old victim. Facebook comments include the usual blabber implying that such relationships are harmless. As foolish Americans look to the LGBTQQIAAP gang for "leadership" and give in to the gang's demand for unisex public restrooms, especially in schools, don't be surprised if pedofilia becomes the next "new normal." 
> Beyond demanding unisex public restrooms in schools, this article from today's headlines provides yet another example of how the LGBTQQIAAP gang forces its absurd "lifestyle" on children.

Update 2/25/2015 - 
> As foolish Americans rush to discard traditional sexual norms and look to the LGBTQQIAAP gang for leadership, South Carolina is again in the headlines. Today's news features a 36-yr-old married (father of three) assistant high school principal charged with having a sexual relationship with a 16-yr-old female student.
> Yet ANOTHER case of pedofilia in South Carolina - 34-yr-old woman, 15-yr-old boy - has made today's headlines.

Monday, December 22, 2014

South Carolina legislators beholden to HOAs

"What the Homeowners Association system does is allow your county to abdicate their responsibility for taking care of you, while they continue to collect taxes. Once in your HOA, you get to pay the county AND the HOA for services you enjoy." - HOA Warrior 

Corrupt government and the good ol' boy network is alive and well in South Carolina. And one of the issues making that clear is abusive shenanigans by Homeowner's Associations (HOAs) all across the state. Three years ago was when public uproar first forced elected stooges to pay lip service to the problem, and this year, as HOA abuse festered and grew, irate homeowners along Horry County's Grand Strand forced their do-nothing "representatives" into the spotlight again, when a whopping 1,000 folks showed up at a meeting in October to protest abuses that never should have come about in the first place. As these corrupt, mini-government extensions of corrupt state and county governments kick homeowners around from coast to coast, it's obvious that the need isn't to reform - the need is to abolish.

It wuzza real hoot watchin' elected stooges for HOAs put on a grand performance at the meeting in Horry County. Ya gotta do something to pacify people when they start coming together, outraged over the unconscionable antics dished out by mafia-style gangs under color of law. Things can get downright embarrassing, especially when such events get publicized. And in this age of the Internet, it's gotten kinda hard for corrupt governments to keep things quiet.

And corruption it is. As I addressed in a previous post, state and county governments have a vested interest in allowing HOA gangs to rip people off. Sure beats raising those taxes, which, make no mistake, is what HOAs are all about. Play the HOA game right, and governments get to continue their wasteful misuse of taxpayer money that would otherwise have to be spent on legitimate improvements for neighborhoods. Such waste was recently epitomized by the unnecessary and unworkable installation of two traffic circles (roundabouts) in my neighborhood, Quail Hollow, in W. Columbia, South Carolina, promoted by the Quail Hollow Community Association as the gang demonstrated its camaraderie with the bloodsucking power structure of Lexington County. Next thing ya knew, the gang suckered a sufficient number of residents into relieving Lexington County of the burden of maintaining stop signs and street markers. I was one of many residents who declined to participate in the voluntary effort. It's a howling thigh-slapper when folks start paying for things they've already paid for. Of course, the gang is looking forward to strong-arming residents out of dues sufficient to pay for stop sign and street sign maintenance, and no telling what else as the gang bullies residents to pay dues, based on a ridiculous "neighborhood voting" shenanigan offered up as justification for suddenly making dues mandatory after said dues had been voluntary for close to half a century. HOA dues are de facto taxes, so bear in mind that the more these gangs bully folks, the better corrupt governments like it. Will HOAs stoop to fraud in an effort to fleece folks outta moolah? You bet they will. Check out this lawsuit filed against an HOA in Nevada. Talk about obnoxious, money-wastin' gangs...  

No informed citizen in South Carolina should be surprised at the blabber coming from paid-off stooges - er I mean state legislators - as they "respond" - once again - to growing public outrage over out-of-control HOAs. The very idea, for example, of suggesting - with a straight face - that citizens be "given" the right to sue HOAs in magistrates court instead of being forced to engage in expensive, time-consuming, and emotionally draining "regular" lawsuits. Such an inane "response" to the HOA problem only exemplifies the need to abolish rather than reform. And be extra careful about laws requiring that home buyers be given copies of pertinent information about HOAs. Such laws can increase HOA dues to cover the expense of making copies, keeping information updated, etc. ad nauseum. Here again, the answer isn't to reform HOAs, the answer is to abolish 'em.

A thousand irate homeowners coming together is a good start. Looks like the next protest will need to take place in front of the capitol building in Columbia.

Update 1/2/2015 - Complaints against Homeowners Associations have been pouring in from all across South Carolina since 2005. As this article makes clear, state legislators are no more than paid-off stooges for these terrorist gangs known as HOAs. These gangs are unjustifiably foreclosing on peoples' homes while crooked legislators pander to special interest groups, ignoring the plight of homeowners. 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Quail Hollow Community Association shows favortism

As I mentioned in a previous post, the Quail Hollow Community Association is now requiring homeowners who have cyclone fences in their back yards (just for the record, I don't have one, and fences of any kind have never been allowed in front yards) to remove that portion of the fence that extends from the sides of their houses. This late-breaking requirement came about over the past year for a neighborhood that got started over 40 years ago.

Not only is the timing bad - especially for a matter that bothered nobody for almost half a century - but I know of only one resident that received formal notification - a letter from the Association gang - about a cyclone fence. I've confirmed that at least one other resident with a cyclone fence never got such a letter, so it's anyone's guess as to which residents have been singled out for harassment.

No wonder the issue of favortism (scroll down to "Common themes" in this article) was spotlighted this year when those 1,000 homeowners protested the way Homeowners Associations (HOAs) are being run in Horry County, South Carolina. In fact, the issue of selective enforcement of regulations is a problem with HOA gangs all across the country.

As I discussed previously, HOAs are state-sanctioned racketeering. Lately, I've been pondering the notion that if people are intrinsically good, we need not have government, and if people are intrinsically bad (which I believe to be the case), we dare not have government. Meanwhile, just how well-organized and powerful these HOA gangs are is unbeknownst to most folks.

It's time to abolish HOAs. They've proven to be far more trouble than they're worth, including physical altercations at meetings expensive, time-consuming small claims actions over the imposition of ridiculous fees. It's a real hoot when South Carolina's corporate-controlled puppets - er I mean elected officials - wring their hands and suggest that homeowner discontent with HOAs might be addressed by "allowing" homeowners to sue HOAs in small claims court. Thanks, but no thanks.

The fox is guarding the hen house.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Can homeowners associations suddenly make dues mandatory?

Over a thousand homeowners coming together to protest the way HOAs are being run in Horry County, South Carolina really got my attention. Lately, the HOA in my neighborhood, Quail Hollow, in W. Columbia, SC, Lexington County, has been demanding membership dues of $50 per year, adding late fees for anyone who doesn't pay, and threatening to "eventually" put liens on the properties of folks who steadfastly refuse to hand over the moolah.

This would be understandable - and believeable - except for the fact that for about 35 years, membership and dues were voluntary. Members were clearly earmarked in the Quail Hollow directory, revealing that almost half of the families - 'bout 150 outta 325 or so - declined to join. Then the economy took a dive, and efforts to increase membership started getting more aggressive. Then, within the past couple of years, a scheme was devised by which everyone in the neighborhood was to vote on whether or not dues would be mandatory. The "referendum" - many folks, myself included, refused to participate - was followed by a declaration that "the majority" had spoken, and dues would henceforth be required. Then came announcements of late fees and threats of liens - plus attorney's fees - for anyone who didn't cooperate.

The lawyer I spoke with placed a great deal of weight on what the understanding was when property was purchased. He thought the Association's "voting" scheme sounded like a bluff designed to intimidate residents into handing over their money. He offered to research the issue and provide a written opinion for $600. That would be one Jackson each for 30 interested families, and I've started a list.

Point is, if something's a good deal, ya don't have to force folks to support it. Fact is, the Quail Hollow Community Association is anything but a "good deal." I targeted the gang's ineptitude and wastefulness in a previous post. Moreover, while the $50 per year may sound paltry, only a fool would believe the amount isn't likely to increase. If the gang can suddenly force residents to hand over membership dues, increasing the amount of those dues would be an ever present possibility, along with no telling (literally) what else. The $50 per year smacks of a ploy designed to sucker people into being bullied, with more in store.

As things now stand, it's anyone's guess as to who's gonna sue whom, for what, and when, if at all. In the meantime, I'm finding out plenty of disturbing things about HOAs. State government is involved, either actively or passively, folks are being forced to pay for services ordinarily covered by taxes, and there seems to be fertile ground for some sort of takeover at the federal level. Is there a hidden agenda to put neighborhoods under the direct control of a federal agency such as the Department of Homeland Security? No, I'm not trying to be an alarmist. Amidst daily assaults on constitutional rights, I simply think it's a valid question. And the fact that "Neighborhood Watch" signs have popped up all over Quail Hollow hasn't done anything to ease my concern. Neither has this year's publication of "In the Common Interest: Embracing the New American Community," by the politically-well-connected-Texan, John Corona. Talk about propaganda. Talk about bald-faced lies...

A whiff of tyranny is in the air.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Homeowners associations amount to state-sanctioned racketeering

HOAs are a part of a state-supported racket intended to force homeowners to assume responsibilities and pay costs that should be borne by government. These bullying gangs - a problem all across Police State USA - are run by inept busybodies who delight in forcing homeowners to comply with inane interpretations of regulations, and equally inane - and never-ending - amendments to existing regulations. Membership dues - along with money obtained for cleverly promoted "donation projects" - are squandered on ill-advised "improvements," lining the coffers of those businesses "selected" to do the work. Government has a vested interest in expanding, not limiting, the control these neighborhood gangs have over the taxpaying public. No wonder tax breaks are granted to HOAs.

As residents along South Carolina's Grand Strand appeal to - yes, state legislators - for help, I've reflected on the unlikelihood of meaningful change. It's noteworthy that state legislators held statewide hearings on problems with HOAs three years ago, obviously to no avail, which should surprise nobody who's studied the matter. Reading about the government's relationship with HOAs, at least I realized what the underlying motivations were for a recent "voluntary donation project" cleverly promoted by the HOA gang in my neighborhood.

I thought it wuz kinda strange when the gang wanted homeowners to voluntarily make donations to pay for fancy new replacements for stop signs and street signs when these items, plus maintenance, had already been paid for via Lexington County taxes. Apparently, the HOA gang never thought of requesting the county to fulfill its obligation to replace delapidated signs. Instead, the HOA gang breezed right ahead with colorful flyers promoting ultra expensive, privately financed signs - touted as an "improvement" for the neighborhood - and pulled it off by suckering enough people to donate. Many residents - myself included - thought the idea was ridiculous and simply declined to participate. Seemed innocuous enough at the time. After all, donations were voluntary. What was the big deal?

Now that I've taken a closer look at HOAs and their relationship with government, I realize that it was a very big deal indeed. Lexington County was not only relieved of replacing signs, but Quail Hollow residents foolishly obligated themselves to maintain the new signs in the future. Real hoot when ya start payin' for stuff that's already been paid for. Worse yet, the new signs are an eyesore. The things are as hideous as they are humongous, combining stop signs and street signs in the gaudiest fashion imaginable. Oh, well. What's a measly $18,000 if it helps the tax-hungry, bloodsucking power structure of Lexington County? And just think how happy it made the business people who were selected to do the work. By what process such contracts are awarded, of course, is anyone's guess. To top the joke off, the Quail Hollow Community Association put the original street markers up for sale as "souveniers." Talk about a thigh-slapper.

The stop sign and street sign fiasco is a prime example of the cozy relationship twixt the power structure and so-called homeowners associations. Foxes will be guarding the hen house when state legislators tackle the HOAs problem, prodded by the MASSIVE crowd of irate homeowners who showed up at the 10/29/2014 meeting in Horry County. Expect a grand performance as legislators make a few cosmetic adjustments to the HOAs scam. Perhaps homeowners will be given permission to spend time, money and effort fighting HOAs in magistrates court, while the "people's representatives" feign unawareness of the nature of the racket. And depend on groups such as Realtor organizations - part of the problem from the outset - to take "leadership" roles as they consort with powerful political interests, tossing out a few more bones in an effort to placate an outraged public. Will Realtor groups finally get around to requiring sales people to present documents pertaining to HOAs prior to closing sales? Whoop Dee Doo. For decades, purchasers should have been advised of the details and risks of HOAs not only "prior to closing," but prior to signing sales contracts.

Hundreds of homeowners coming together - over a thousand according to several reports - to protest the dishonest, bullying tactics of homeowners associations is encouraging, and the massive turnout must have terrified the power structure. Hopefully, those folks will come to realize the dimensions of the HOAs scam, and will thereby make their displeasure known when elected officials (don't blame me - I quit voting long ago) refuse to make meaningful changes to one of the best government rackets money can buy. Otherwise...

If Americans are dumb enough - and cowardly enough - to tolerate tyranny, so be it.