seajane

Thoughts from a Yellow Dog Democrat living in Olympia, in the great BLUE state of Washington

I am a liberal because it is the political philosophy of freedom and equality. And I am a progressive because it is the political path to a better future. And I am a Democrat because it is the political party that believes in freedom, equality and progress. -- Digby

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

All Politics is Local -- Very Local


This isn't political on a big scale -- this is real local politics: homeowners association. I have a neighbor who has been harassing me for 9 years. I don't know what his problem is and I don't care. Maybe I belong to the wrong church. Maybe he doesn't like my friends. Maybe he's a republithug and he knows I'm a Democrat. Maybe my presence makes his stay at home wife jealous and he wants to take it out on me. I don't know and I have a feeling there's nothing I could do to correct it. Three years ago, his harassment got to a stage where I had to call the sheriff and file a complaint against him. He stopped coming on my property and damaging my house but he's changed tactics. He has found a powerful ally -- the homeowners association.

He complains, they harass me. It has cost me and the homeowners association thousands of dollars in legal fees. We spend hours negotiating. I won and was able to keep my roommate (he claimed all tenants had to be related by blood or marriage). But I lost on the fence. Despite many variations of fencing in the neighborhood, mine didn't exactly match the specs in the Architectural Standards. I've had to spend thousands to modify my fence. One of the Board members is quitting because the stress of dealing with these complaints is getting to be too much for him. I've changed from a basically happy person to someone who is suspicious and stays in the house to avoid him.

His latest complaint was that my 2 hens -- Lucy and Ethel, kept in a coop in my backyard, out of sight of everyone, was in violation of the covenants that says homeowners in the subdivision can only have "dogs, cats, and 2 caged birds in the dwelling". Well he's got me there. I don't keep the chickens in my home. The Association inspected and informed me that I was in violation and said I have to get rid of my pets. So last night I went to the annual homeowners association meeting to try to appeal or change the covenant to allow for caged birds to be in the yard. I was ridiculed and marginalized. He and the Board had enough proxies to block my attempt to change the covenant. I brought up that other homeowners had fish tanks (visible from the street), hamsters, a snake, and other unallowed pets. They informed me that since there were no complaints about the other homeowners, they had no intention of taking any action on them but since there was a complaint about me they "had" to take action. I have to get rid of my chickens immediately.

The harasser wins. He has succeeded in using the power of the homeowners association to exert control and mess with me.

I don't like what I'm changing into. I used to be a neighborly person -- for GAWD sakes I'm a PCO. But now I am afraid and uncomfortable. I don't door bell or do political meetings in my home.

The market sucks but I'm determined that I'm going to spend the next 12 months getting my house into pristine saleable condition and put it on the market next Spring. He has succeeded in chasing me out of the neighborhood. I found a wonderful home for my chickens but I really miss their chatter, antics, and especially their eggs.

Anyone out there interested in living in a Stepford neighborhood next to a harasser?

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