My article on Pa’s criminalization of fortune telling and magical practices is out this month, in The Pennsylvania Lawyer. So as soon as that happens, I’m a has-been. What shall I write about next?
Sitting in on the Zoom meeting of a local HOA where we own a buncha vacant lots gave me this idea:
Can planned communities save the suburbs from AFFH?
The Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing regulations were a Hussein-O’Biden attempt to make sure there could be no single family residential districts anywhere in America. High density low income housing must be “affirmatively furthered” in all such areas, which until now have been the exclusive province of people who worked to buy their homes in such greene and pleasant realms, and settled down to raise a family and earn enough to pay their mortgages.
Municipalities who can’t and don’t prove that they’ve accomplished this economic integration will be denied all kindsa federal grants.
But that’s gonna run smack into another trend about which I was previously a bit irritated (ah,the idle discontents of a dweller in Paradise!): viz to wit: it was getting pretty much impossible to buy a single family home without agreeing to be bound by a spidery network of “covenants, easements and restrictions” which would dictate the style of home you could build, what you could and could not have in your yard, what colors of exterior paint you could choose, whether or not you could display flags, sometimes even the kinda drapes you can put up inside! And agreeing to pay “dues”, as well as additional “assessments” so the Homeowners’ Assoc could harass and sue any owner who resisted! You voluntarily and knowingly shouldered that yoke when you accepted your deed.
This was getting to be a “contract of adhesion” type situation: yes, you did agree to comply, and yes, this is entirely a matter of private contract, but you really couldn’t buy a single family home that wasn’t subject to such restrictions. There was no real choice.
And people do it because even if they chafe under the restrictions, they at least know their neighbors are similarly restricted; there’ll be no breach of taste and no noisy commercial uses or crowded apartment buildings next door.
One of the only US Constitution’s provisions which directly applies to states is the “Contracts Clause”: Art 1 sec 10. States may not impair the obligations of contracts. But the federal government can! That’s why bankruptcy courts are federal, and impairing the obligations of contracts is what they do all day every day.
As you know Trump rescinded the AFFH regs. But U Can Bet Ol’ Joe’ll be resurrecting ‘em before he gets his coat off after the inauguration.
So what’ll happen? Who will win? Oh the AFFHSJWs have the wind at their back! But I assure you, America’s HOAs are a formidable foe, armed with great and sweeping powers under such statutes as the Uniform Planned Community Act.
To write about this would take a lot of research which obviously I haven’t yet begun. F’rinstance, why hasn’t AFFH already changed the face of the suburbs since it went into effect?
I like amusing ( I hope!) titles, some of which my editors approve. Whaddya think of Deed Men Walkin’! Private Covenants vs. Public Policy ?