Re: Chris Kemp's Response to Rules & Regs Violation
From: Liz (
Date: Sun, 16 Apr 2006 16:05:32 -0700 (PDT)
So, I'm not in cohousing yet. We are getting ready to build.

And I am hearing, mostly, from this list that if my community decides on a principle that is important to us, and comes to consensus on that issue, that we should not assume that there is any good reason to actually FOLLOW what we agreed to. After all, I'm paying good money for this home, why should I follow a rule that I helped create?

AND, if I were to go to a co-housing list and ask for advice on how to deal with an issue, in addition to some good ideas, I'd get 50% feedback that it was wrong for my community to want what it did and, by consensus agree to it.

This isn't quite the ideal I was imagining.
Mosaic Commons
Berlin, MA

On Apr 16, 2006, at 6:39 PM, Lion Kuntz wrote:

--- Sharon Villines <sharon [at]> wrote:

On Apr 15, 2006, at 5:05 AM, Lion Kuntz wrote:

A proper question is why was the orginal description so distorted?
weren't both sides put plainly before the group before asking how
obtain compulsion of a rule, which on further alanalysis was

Whoaaaaaaaa Nelly! We have two descriptions. Who decides which one is


The United States Government decided. They said that it is illegal to
prohibit or censor access to global information by mob or majority
rule. The individual decides and is a majority of one, who morally
outnumbers and outvotes the many.

All talk after that is not about enforcing or ignoring regs of an
association, but is about obeying or disobeying the law. Once that
element came into play the old discussion was deceased. Now the
question has morphed into "who is in favor of breaking the laws and who
is not?" Is breaking the law a lesser issue than breaking an
association regulation? The laws on harrassment also supercede
regulations -- no person or group has lawful authority to intrude into
the privacy of their neighbors and make fundamental lifestyle decisions
over them under duress of threats of punishment. This should be too
obvious to necessitate bringing up supreme court rulings on the matter.

This applies over every single square inch of the lands, not excluding
customized housing associations of any kind. Freedoms traced to the
Declaration of Independence and the original Constitution of the United
States are the property of the individual first and foremost.

All freedoms not voluntarily relinguished to the collective remain with
the individual; and transfer of rights is done openly, knowingly, not
under coersion or duress, and are required to be justified by some
greater social good, else the transfer is void. That is the meaning of
"inalienable rights": you can't give them up or renounce them even if
you wanted to, but you certainly cannot be made to give them up by
force of cliques, cults, juntas, mobs, majorities, gangs, despots,
tyrants or ad hoc associations.

Many laws are routinely striken down for failing to honor that social
contract. If laws made by the highest lawmaking bodies in the hierarchy
can fall for being unconstitutional, than regulations made by private
groups are as much in jeopardy of crumbling for the same reasons.

The collective, or body politic, must rationally justify its
usurptation of individual rights in a court of law if the injured party
so requires them to do so. The injury to the collective must be
demonstrated and be significantly more severe than the injury to the
individual's rights. On a toss-up, the principle is the individual has
maximum freedom, (as do the individual members of the association, but
not the association itself as an "artificial person").

Long centuries groaning under despotism and tyranny are the basis for
these decisions and organization of governmental structures we have
inherited from the foundation. The wisdom of the collective who decided
these long before our births should not be discarded lightly in our
age. They have withstood the test of time and the USA is the oldest
lasting democracy on Earth because of checks and balances, based on
freedoms which motivates individuals to participate and defend the
shield to their freedoms.

Some people live busy lives and are not attracted to bueaurocratic
process. They participate, if they even do, with one eye open,
daydreaming half the time. It would be folly to assume that everybody
is equally informed about matters decided in committee half a decade

Laws and regulations linger long after those who made them have moved
on, linger even after higher law has been invoked to invalidate the
regulation, and sunset provisions are rarely provided to retire old
restrictions after they are no longer valid. Perhaps the reason for the
regulation has vanished, or perhaps it has been voided by higher
authority, but it is infrequent that the regulations are modified in a
timely fashion.

The particular regulation described from the beginning of this
discussion not only affected 18" satellite dishes, but also applied to
solar panels and ham radio antennas and even broadcast TV antennas.

The collective failed prima facia to establish their injury sufficient
to justify intrusion into the domain of privacy every citizen may wrap
themselves up in. At that point there was no further need for "the
other side" to describe their view. The complainant failed to establish
an injury justifying a regulation.

The complainant, thus presented the evidence against themselves.
Photographs by any party establishing the position of the satellite
dish are not required at this point, nor are the notarized eyewitness
accounts of scores of dozens of reputable witnesses. Where there is no
injury there is no valid offense.

The fundamental question has never been "did or didn't a party put up a
satellite dish?" The main issue has been, and continues to be, how can
an association justify taking away freedoms where they have no injury
to present? Until an injury can be described, the issue of actual
satellite dishes is premature.

When a person has paid a substantial amount of the sweat off their
brow, represented as money in purchase price, it is not a trivial issue
that other persons begin to chip away at the value of what was bought.

Just because "YOU" (whomever, generic "YOU") paid your purchase price
does not entitle you to intrude on others devaluing their purchase

When you are talking typical prices between $200,000 and $400,000 per
unit advertised around, buyers have some expectation of getting value
in the privacy of their domain without feeling like they have to pull
up roots and move just because others had meetings and decided to
devalue the property.

--- Lion Kuntz
Sonoma County, California, USA


This is a perfect example of the two opposing viewpoints that govern
actions in cohousing every day.

1. We have agreements that were very carefully thought out and agreed

to by all members and should be followed until changed. If they are
outmoded, they need to be revised.

2. As long as I'm doing what I think is reasonable, the agreements
don't apply. Other people don't follow them. They no longer make any

What is important is that communities revisit their agreements
regularly and ensure (as much as is possible) that everyone agrees
which belief is to prevail. Obviously, in this instance, there is no

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