Abandon Text!

W. H. Auden once said: "Poems are not finished; they are abandoned." I have been abandoning writing projects for many years, since only the pressure of deadline and high expectations ever got me to finish, or even start, anything of merit. This blog is an attempt to create a more consistent, self-directed writing habit. Hopefully a direction and voice will emerge.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Really, really local politics

All politics are local politics, as Tip O'Neill said . . . and the most local of local politics is home-owners' associations. I have recently become involved in a local tussle over restrictive covenants in our neighborhood . . . so far everyone is being polite and reasonably politic, but boy, the Machievellian intrigue is involved.

One neighbor is trying to sell their home. They have a buyer, but the buyer wants to build a detacted garage, so they can turn the existing garage into an accessible living space for their disabled son. The covenants in the neighborhood don't allow detacted garages, so the neighbor is lobbying everyone else to get an exception made.

It seems to me that this ought to be simple. I have no objection to detached garages, and I doubt anyone else does either. But there is an architectural review committee, and evidently (I've heard second- and third-hand) some members are not keen on any new construction in general. So there has been a flurry of documents, emails, point-by-point pro-and-con arguments, proposed amendments, proposed meeting times, objections to meeting times, etc. etc. Everyone in the neighborhood (some of whom are lawyers) are scrutinizing the covenants document line-by-line, and it is fair to say that while the covenants are fairly straightforward, it ain't exactly the Constitution when it comes to outlining procedures for disputes.

We have lived here for nearly a year, and we have managed to largely ignore our neighbors for all that time. There are friendly chats on the roadside and beside the mailboxes, but otherwise, we have nothing to do with each other and everyone likes it that way. But now, suddenly, I am in a position where I have to take a position. One the one hand, it seems like a small thing . . . but the sale of homes are at stake, and property values in the balance, and neighbors I will probably have to live with for the next twenty years lining up on different sides. Oy . . .



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