Thursday, April 05, 2012

Florida homeowners: When did we secede from the U.S.A.?

by Baitball Blogger Thu Apr 05, 2012 Original

It seemed like a simple cause and effect scenario. The case before the Florida Supreme Court would have decided who was responsible for the repairs of defective construction work in a development. But before the Court ruled on the case the Florida legislature came up with House Bill 1013. What it does is interfere with a basic American principle: the right to due process of law. Due Process is a simple concept. It’s defined as “[f]air treatment through the normal judicial system, especially as a citizen's entitlement.” The key words are “citizen’s entitlement.” For most of us, that translates to, constitutional right. We just assume that the courts will be available to reinforce our rights, when nothing else will. It’s just the ordinary concept of checks and balances. But that’s what the Florida legislature interfered with when it passed House Bill 1013. Homeowners are blocked from relying on the court for remedies for shoddy workmanship. So now, instead of holding the developer responsible, homeowners will have to resort to special assessments among their own members to resolve faulty construction work. In some towns and cities, this will mean hardship for future homeowners because much of this work is performed before the first homeowner moves in. If anyone is expecting the local government to act like some fail safe system, performing building inspections to ensure that work meets appropriate standards, they can check into my website, for the rude awakening. There’s a lot about this state that many people don’t realize until it’s too late. When you sign that contract and become a homeowner a transformation begins which turns you into something less significant than what you were before you moved in. Like Pinocchio on Donkey Island, none of us realize what we’re in for until it’s too late. Except here in Florida, where the borders are surrounded on three sides by water I’m always reminded of a school of fish which is herded into one big bait ball for someone’s easy pickings. In this case, the special interest group which benefited from the bill at our expense was the Florida Home Builder’s Association. You can understand why they would lobby for this law, but what’s the legislature’s excuse for it? Or the excuse of the people who voted for them? I mean, who in their right mind elects a politician who turns around and treats them in this manner? If this isn’t bad enough, the bill applies retroactively, which will have the effect of hamstringing the one case which the Florida Supreme Court reviewed in December and might have given the homeowners some relief. Right now the bill is on its way to the governor’s office where Rick Scott’s signature will turn it into law. As long as people continue to vote based on party labels, we’re going to see this drift away from the rights that every American assumes is theirs from birth. It’s just hard to comprehend that this roll back in rights is coming from a Republican led state legislature. The disconnect is classic Florida. The Republicans voters, who claim they are against a government that encroaches on their freedoms, vote for representatives who pass laws which encroach on our freedoms. There is no other way to see it because nothing can be more American than the system of checks and balances, yet the bill will prevent us from setting the process in motion. Even the cry for “no-new-taxes” rings hollow when the kind of laws that continue to come out of a Republican led legislature whittles away at our consumer protection laws. House Bill 1013 is just another example of how we exist to feed the system, but we are never allowed to break even. That’s the reality. If you walk into this state for the sunshine and climate, be prepared to pay for it in ways you never dreamed of. I’ve lived here long enough to know that change will not come from within, so the hope is that someone on the outside will step in and remind our Florida leaders that we didn’t relinquish our citizenship at the border. Of course, the extreme would be to throw up our hands, admit defeat and acknowledge that we no longer are part of the union. It might be easier for everyone concerned to just begin the cumbersome process of updating the textbooks to describe the United States as a nation composed of 49 states instead of 50. Though the whole costly mess can be avoided if you allow Puerto Rico to take our place. This entry was inspired by an opinion piece in the Orlando Sentinel.