Saturday, July 14, 2007

Enforced Harmony

Why is it that these association's are allowed to do this? An upside down flag is construed as being not ok? What if she flew a Tibet flag and her neighbor was a Chinese national and was offended? Vice verse? How well written is the association's "patriotic and political expression policy"? It would be one thing if this was written up as how things can look. That is, flags must be properly flown, the mailbox should be within 2 feet of the driveway and the same color as the house etc. But this is a policy that isn't about appearances but going into the much more subjective area of expression. Why is a homeowners association allowed to try to force what it calls "harmony in community"? Why is a homeowners association doing this?

The Cambridge Park Homeowners Association, which represents owners of 107 patio homes, doesn't agree with Hammer's perspective.

On Wednesday night, the association's board met to hear her response to its notice of noncompliance. The board took no action, and board members refused to comment.

The board was minus one member: Hammer's husband, Doug, a board member who did not participate in the meeting but supports her.

The association board notified Beth Hammer in an April 24 letter that the flag display is against federal flag code and is in violation of the association's "patriotic and political expression policy."

The letter gave her a week to right the flag or face fines that appear to range from $25 to $500.

"Living in a community association offers many advantages to the homeowner, but at the same time, imposes some restrictions," said the letter signed by association manager Melissa Keithly.

"These restrictions are not meant as an inconvenience or an invasion of your freedom, but rather as a means of maintaining harmony in your community," the letter continued.

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