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This week I attended my neighborhood homeowners’ association meeting. In theory, an HOA is the most local form of representative government. In practice, it’s more like privatized government. The board members are elected and are residents of our neighborhood, but on most issues the board merely approves recommendations of the private management company representatives.
I understand the reasons for neighborhood HOAs to use private management companies. The management companies are professionals and they have more expertise than a typical elected board of five residents. Even so, I worry that we have been adopting a similar model at other levels of government. Often our elected leaders simply enact laws that were written by private actors: lobbyists, consultants, and the like. That’s okay if we know where the law originated. But when it’s presented as “a bill sponsored by Rep. Frothwaggins” – without mentioning that it was written by ALEC or an industry lobbyist – that disturbs me.