Thursday, January 13, 2011

Another HOA Attacks The Flag...!


Whenever I hear a story like this, I get really mad!

I'm not very fond of HOAs to begin with, and actions like this is one of the main reasons why! To me, this is just another case of a patriot hating group of power hungry bozos trying to show how strong they are!

The excuses the HOA makes for trying to stop this flag flying make no sense to me, unless they are just out to prevent the flag from flying altogether! Here is the story from the Houston Chronicle!

A (too) high-flying flag?
Marine vet's 20-foot flagpole has homeowners association filing suit over a display of patriotism that stands taller than allowed

By MIKE MORRIS
HOUSTON CHRONICLE
Jan. 7, 2011, 4:49AM


Marine veteran Michael Merola says he "just didn't buy" his neighborhood association's reasons why he couldn't put up his big flagpole.

A Marine Corps veteran is being sued by his Cypress-area homeowners association because the flagpole on which he flies the United States and Marine Corps flags does not meet his subdivision's design guidelines.

Mike Merola and his lawyer, Lee Thweatt, say this is a classic case of overreach by a nitpicking homeowners association. Lakeland Village Community Association says it is seeking to enforce its rules evenly on all residents.

Standing in his backyard in a black T-shirt bearing an eagle and the American flag, the 60-year-old Merola called that argument "a lame excuse." After his application to erect a 20-foot flagpole in his backyard was denied, he protested in a series of letters and, ultimately, erected the pole anyway.

"They just don't understand, unless they've been in the military, to feel the pride that I feel in flying that flag high and proud," said Merola, who served in the Marines from 1969 to 1977. "The excuses and things that they came up with for me not being able to fly that flagpole, I just didn't buy. That's why I bucked the system and put it up."

The association's lawyer, Nina Tran, said her clients encourage residents who wish to fly the flag to do so — as long as that flag is attached to a 6-foot pole mounted on a resident's home, as the bylaws stipulate.

Such an approach is "in keeping with the residential nature of the community," the board wrote in a statement. The suit alleges the pole is "a detriment to Lakeland Village and … (causes) imminent harm and irreparable injury to (the association)." The suit seeks a $10 fine for every day the pole stays standing, a court order to remove it and payment of attorneys' fees.

"The problem with a flagpole of that height and that significance is that it flaps in the wind and causes noise to other homeowners," Tran said. "If we allow the mounting of a 20-foot freestanding flagpole in the backyard, who's to say that the next person isn't going to mount it to the top of their roof? We have to have standards."

But Merola, who moved into the neighborhood in March 2009, bringing the flagpole from his former residence, said he's received only compliments from neighbors about the pole, whether from kids skateboarding by on the walking path behind his back fence or from neighbors who've stopped to investigate the source of all the gossip. The neighbors don't mind !

"I don't understand why the homeowners association overreacted like this," said Thweatt, Merola's lawyer, and a Marine himself. "I understand they have to protect the property values of the people in that subdivision, but they've had no complaints. It's not like the guy painted his house neon orange."

Merola's next-door neighbors, Satish and Ann Kalra, said the pole does not bother them.

"The homeowners association should look at the rules again," Satish Kalra said. "If the rules need to be modified, they should be modified. … That would be the logical thing to do."

Tran said even if Merola has not received complaints, another neighbor with a similar flagpole might.

Thweatt, who took the case pro bono, said he believes the suit violates the Freedom to Display the American Flag Act of 2005, which says, in part, that a homeowners association "may not adopt or enforce any policy … that would restrict or prevent a member of the association from displaying the flag."

No court date has been scheduled in the case.

"I hope we can come to some kind of agreement that will let me continue to fly the flag loud and proud for as long as I live," Merola said.

mike.morris@chron.com

You know, time and time again we hear stories where HOAs are attacking folks about the way they display the flag! Why? Do they really feel that proudly showing the American Flag will hurt the property values in their neighborhood?

I'll tell you one thing! I'd be a lot quicker to locate in a neighborhood flying the flag than in one that didn't! To me, this is just one more case of a HOA throwing their weight around! You would think that any neighborhood would be proud to have a true flag waving patriot in their midst, instead of some of the alternatives!

But...that's just me! Personally, I'd feel a whole lot better with having this vet as a neighbor than some of the neighbors I have now!

Fresh coffee and hot chocolate in the kitchen this morning! It's 29 on the patio and for me, that's just too cold to sit outside!

19 comments:

Catman said...

Having lived in a community with a HOA, I'll never do it again.

They always seem to be dominated by cliquish, self righteous, pompous bastards.

Bustednuckles said...

Fucking tight assed dickheads with control issues.
There, I fixed it for ya.

HermitJim said...

Hey Catman...
That about says it all, my friend!

Thanks for coming by this morning!


Hey Busted...
I appreciate you fixing it up for me, buddy!

Couldn't have said it better myself!

I do thank you for the visit today!

WomanWhoRunsWithHorses said...

Good for this guy standing up to them and kudos to his lawyer for defending him pro bono.

It's harder and harder to FIND a neighborhood with no HOA anymore. If the neighborhood is new construction, forget it. Thank goodness we live out in the boonies.

Anonymous said...

I want that guy for my neighbor. I would be proud to have him and his flagpole in my neighborhood instead of some of the snobs that live here. Let's hear it for the American Flag.

Anonymous said...

Down with HOAs! Down with nosy, interfering people who dictate what another does. If everyone tended to his own garden instead of becoming bankrupt of brain worrying about another's weeds or flagpole height, maybe turmoil would cease.
For this type, (and this type is growing, expanding fast) I have but few words...WTHIYPFALTCOYOS.
I'll sign anonymous...don't want no hassle from any hoas, out brandishing their yardrakes and lawyers.

Barney (The Old Fat Man) said...

Please make note that the HOA is not objecting to the flag in any manner but only the flag pole size and location.

Dizzy-Dick said...

I would never (and have never) lived in a HOA sub-division. I want to do what I want to do on my own property. That is why I live on a piece of land surrounded by trees and can't easily be seen by anyone passing by.

JoJo said...

Good Morning My Special One,
This is discusting there are just to many stupid people around running these HOA's and they have issues about HOW smart they really are or even worse how important they think they are. I hope he wins his cases. as OFM stated above maybe the pole is the issue but I love the sound of a flag in the wind so the higher the better.

Mr. Hermit I think the weather we had found you. Hot chocolate and coffee sound wonderful.

MAY OUR FLAGS FLY HIGH ALWAYS

Ted said...

If my American flag was on a 6' pole it would be touching the ground .An we could'nt have that!!!I say 20' is to low

Bob from Athens said...

I would be willing to bet that hoa's were originally started by lawyers that just wanted someone to harass durng their free time, except that we all know lawyers never have any free time. They charge at least $50 just for saying good morning or hello. Anybody that doubts that just try calling one at the office sometime.

Rae said...

How ridiculous. Same thing happened to my daughter. I will never live under the rule of a HOA.

Mechanic in Illinois said...

Its all about control. HOA'S are generally run by educated people that are bored with life so they satisfy their egos by forcing their beliefs on other people. Common sense is the enemy of these people. Thanks for the great info.

Anonymous said...

Let's all send a post card to the HOA, the Houston Mayor and the gentleman who is flying the Flag.

Postcard Patriots Unite!!
Send a post card
Annie Mouse

Ben in Texas said...

I hope he sues hell outta them and wins.. Jerks~!!! No respect for a military veteran who put his life on the line so they could be free? I'll help him dig a hole for a bigger flag pole personally!!

Diane-Sage Whiteowl said...

This is a very sad story...very sad!

Marjie said...

HOAs are one very big reason we left the south, and came back to the north where we could buy a house not in a subdivision. No one is going to tell me I can't put up a flagpole!

Off Grid Survival said...

Very disgusting! These HOA's need to find something better to do.

I know a guy who gets fines for having a bumper sticker, but his HOA does nothing and says nothing about the drug dealers who moved in next to him.

Anonymous said...

I guess if he wins his case, next month you could see a 20 foot mexican flag or an iraq flag or.............?