What We Allow Will Continue


20130326-075902.jpgjoseph

Here we are again.

My friend, Joseph Pond, lost yet another battle with Cobb County on May 8th. The testimony of a neighbor from across the street (not adjacent to the property) determined the fate of Joseph Pond’s variance request:

The second case was my request. A show of hands from the public was eleven people supported and six people did not. I presented my case; three people presented opposition. One person was the President of a local civic organization that has opposed poultry in Cobb County from the beginning. She stated that several of the HOAs surrounding my neighborhood did not support my Variance. My neighborhood does not have an HOA. The second person to oppose is the President of a neighboring HOA. He stated that he and his association did not support my Variance. The third person was a member of the same HOA. During the discussion, an email was read from my neighbor that lives across the street- she opposed my Variance request. The neighbors on both sides of me supported my Variance and signed a petition stating such. The neighbor behind me, in a different neighborhood, did not support or oppose. The Board denied my request for a Variance.

I’m not sure how many times I have to say it, but this isn’t about chickens. It’s about property rights. It’s about neighbors staying on their side of the fence. It’s about local and county governments knowing their place. It’s about denying elected officials the ability to persecute individuals based on personal vendettas or political incest (look at the relationships between the Commissioners and the Board members). It’s time to put them back in their box.

If you recall the story of Andrew Wordes, few offered to help until it was too late. Few offered to acknowledge the political connections that continued the denial of rights. I’m not saying these stories are the same. They are not. But who’s to say that your neighbors won’t dictate what color you paint your house or what type of play ground you can build for your children or whether or not you can plant that garden you’d been planning? (This is not the time or place to retort about HOA’s because we are far beyond that at this point…the County and your neighbors are regulating and approving your back yard activities.)

I said it before and I’ll say it again. It could be you. It could be any issue.
I’m asking you to acknowledge that these kinds of things happen each and every day. I’m petitioning for you to consider the issue in a different light. I’m imploring that you do something to help.

If Mr. Pond is to continue his battle, he needs a legal counsel, but he needs help. You can donate here. (If the goal is not met, the money will be returned)

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3 thoughts on “What We Allow Will Continue

  1. margarita szechenyi

    I agree & thank you for this article! 🙂 I’d just add though, that the East Cobb Civic Association, an alliance of HOA’s, obviously has the power behind the scenes in East Cobb. Joseph’s house is not even in an HOA, he had the support of a majority of his adjacent neighbors, and yet testimony by two members of the ECCA caused the gavel to come down on his application for a variance without any chance at rebuttal to their speeches to the Board of Zoning Appeals. Every other applicant had multiple chances at rebuttal and question/answer time with the BZA, but the Joseph’s was denied immediately upon hearing the ECCA’s speeches. A few months ago, Commissioner Lee let it slip that the goal is to get every neighborhood under an HOA and the same standardized HOA regulations for each, so that East Cobb can be completely controlled by an unelected “elite” group of people who form the Board of the ECCA – to see just how much power the ECCA asserts over Cobb politics, visit their own webapge (East Cobb Civic Association) for a description of what they are all about. The ECCA Board actually states that it does not first take a vote of members before stating a public opinion on Variance Requests. A “case manager” is assigned by the ECCA to every variance request in East Cobb, and then a board member makes the type of public statement at the variance hearing as we saw at Joseph’s hearing, regardless of whether or not the applicant is even currently living in an HOA neighborhood! (Joseph does not) The move in govt today at all levels is a move away from representative govt, and we can see this for sure in East Cobb when it comes to private property rights.

    Reply
  2. Teresa

    Reblogged this on Porcupine Dreams and commented:
    Background information would be helpful if you’re not familiar with Mr. Pond’s case and you haven’t heard of the similar but even more deplorable actions that culminated with Andrew Wordes’ death. You can find these stories on the Internet.

    I’ll just give you the bottom line: This is about food rights, economic survival, a few pet hens – no crowing roosters, no meat processing operation – and the ability of a neighbor to tap into her good ol’ boy (or girl, in this case) network to deny Mr. Pond the aforementioned liberties. Throw a few bucks into the fund for legal representation and an appeal, if you are able.

    Reply
  3. Karen Lahmeyer

    I wonder, do the HOA’s attack property owners that have known to be vicious dogs like they do property owners that own chickens! I think if you keep your property clean the HOA’s should just shut the hell up.

    Reply

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