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Articles by Stan Cox

Stan Cox is a full-time crop geneticist and part-time writer in Salina, Kansas. His op-ed columns and other articles have appeared in The Denver Post, The Kansas City Star, Cleveland's Plain Dealer, AlterNet.org, and Counterpunch.org. He is the author of Losing Our Cool and Sick Planet.

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This post comes to us via the Land Institute’s Prairie Writers Circle.

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Susana Tregobov dries clothes on a line behind her Maryland townhouse, saving energy and money. But now her homeowners association has ordered her to bring in the laundry. The crackdown came after a neighbor complained that the clothesline “makes our community look like Dundalk,” a low-income part of Baltimore.

Tregobov and her husband plan to fight for their right to a clothesline, but the odds are against them. Although their state recently passed a law protecting homeowners’ rights to erect solar panels for generating electricity, it is still legal in Maryland for communities to ban solar clothes-drying.

Twenty percent of Americans now live in homes subject to rules set by homeowner associations, or HOAs. These private imitation governments have sweeping powers to dictate almost any aspect of a member’s property, from the size of the residence down to changes in trim color and the placement of a basketball hoop.

In the view of HOAs, people hand over control of such things when they buy their home, so they have no... Read more

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