Tuesday, October 28, 2008

BUMP: My Moronic Homeowner's Association

Sends this email late last night:

"Deed restrictions prohibit yard signs in Old Braeswood. This is the time of year when, understandably, everyone gets excited about upcoming elections and wants to display their pride in their candidate of choice. It's wonderful how politically active our neighborhood is. Our deed restrictions, however, prohibit all signs except a single “for sale” sign not to exceed five (5) square feet. All political and contractor signs need to be removed asap. We encourage you instead to exercise your creativity and come up with a more interesting approach. How about a cocktail party where we all forget the rules of polite discourse and argue about the issues, or a costumed mock debate? We can also wear our candidates’ tee-shirts and display bumper stickers on our cars. There are many ways to show our political support, and we invite you to share your ideas/ways with us. The most interesting ones will be published in the newsletter. Please send photos and a brief description to info@oldbraeswood.com."

Can you say "violation of constitutonal law"? City of Ladue v. Gilleo, people.

UPDATE: I called our association president and told her - very diplomatically and politely - that her email had a little something wrong with it, and she just fell over. She says she was trying to stop people from stealing each other's signs, and figured if the children won't stop stealing each other's toys, you take the toys away and put everyone in time out. She is sending another email telling everyone they can leave their signs up. And yes, I really was nice on the phone. I can do that when I really want to.

2nd UPDATE: Apparently the association's president has received "several e-mail's (sic) with various points of view about the issue," so they won't be recinding their first email after all. As long as they don't expect my sign to come down until after the polls close on the 4th, that's fine with me - they can be as ignorant as they want to be.

3rd UPDATE: After a little legal research, I dug this up:

“In DuBose v. Meyerland Community Improvement Association, a Harris County District Court ruled that a covenant prohibiting the display of temporary political signs was unconstitutional. The judge wrote, 'The U.S. Constitution does not end where deed restrictions begin.' The DuBose case was reinforced by a new statute passed by the 79th Texas Legislature effective Sept. 1, 2005. The statute addresses how and under what circumstances an HOA may regulate the placement of political signs. The new law, found in Section 202.009 of the Property Code, divides the regulations into two categories: things that cannot be prohibited by HOAs and things that are discretionary. In the first category, HOAs cannot adopt or enforce restrictive covenants that prohibit owners from displaying signs on their property that advertise a political candidate or ballot item for an election. The signs may appear on the property anytime 90 days before the election and ten days thereafter.” [emphasis added]

Next step: I have the name and number of the attorney who won the Dubose case; I think I'll give him a call ...


Sara said...

Oh, I so wish I would have found your blog before my HOA sent out their email prohibiting yard signs. I never even thought about legal research; seems like not using my law degree has forced me to stop thinking. Thanks for the post and corresponding links.

Tari said...

Sara, Send them the imformation anyway - maybe they'll relent and at least people can have signs up for the 6 remaining days before the election.