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HOAs are not private governments

George K. Staropoli in his recent commentary, “Just what is the Goldwater Institute trying to say,” exhibits a deep misunderstanding of both the Institute’s reform proposals and constitutional law when he proclaims limitations on the power of local government will somehow lead to “secessionist” homeowner’s associations, which could then “circumvent the Constitution.”
Staropoli’s mantra that an HOA is a private “government” does not make it so. There is a fundamental difference between local governments, such as municipalities, which enjoy geographical monopolies on the use of force through their police powers, and HOAs, which clearly do not have such powers.
That difference is what justifies tailoring the principles found in the Bill of Rights to more tightly constrain the vast regulatory powers of local governments, rather than HOAs. Indeed, Staropoli’s radical notion that the principles found in the Bill of Rights should instead be applied through legislation to regulate private, consensual relationships stands the Constitution on its head. The Goldwater Institute stands proudly behind its idea that the equivalent of “municipal constitutions” are needed to reform local government.
— Nick Dranias is the director of the Center for Constitutional Government, Goldwater Institute.

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