CA’s Proposed CBA Legislation Does Not Divorce Itself of the Lobbying Concerns of the Homeowners Association Act

The Columbia Association’s proposal to create a new entity under state law- a community benefit association has a number of valid points. CA is unique as a homeowner’s association and provisions in the Homeowners Association Act (HOA) that apply to smaller organizations do not make sense for CA. CA points out that “while CA has received some amendments or exceptions in the past, there is no guarantee that we will continue to succeed.” Yet, rather than totally divorce itself from the HOA’ provisions, CA’s bill ironically continues to wed itself to regulation and amendments of the HOA by incorporating by reference many provisions of the HOA:

(B) ONLY THE PROVISIONS OF §§ 11B-101, 11B-102(G), 11B-104, 11B-105, 11B-106, 11B-106.2, 11B-107, 11B-108, 11B-109, 11B-110, 11B-112.1, 11B-112.2, 11B-113, 11B-113.1, 11B-113.2, 11B-113.3, 11B-113.4, 11B-113.5, 11B-114, AND 11B-117 OF THE REAL PROPERTY TITLE OF THE CODE APPLY TO A COMMUNITY BENEFIT ASSOCIATION. THE OTHER SECTIONS OF ARTICLE 11B OF THE REAL PROPERTY TITLE OF THE CODE DO NOT APPLY TO A COMMUNITY BENEFIT ASSOCIATION.

Thus, CA will continue to be subject to the amendments of the HOA. Just this legislative session, SB612 and HB709 propose to add a new section 11B-106.2 and renumber the existing section to 11B-106.4. CA will have to ensure that all amendments like this one in the future are also made in the CBA; otherwise, the reference in the CBA to 11B-106.2 will not be the intended provision. The lobbying issues that the CBA provisions were meant to remove will still remain.

The bill adds a new paragraph 11B-102(g) which states that ” (G) EXCEPT AS PROVIDED IN SUBSECTION 5-6D-02(B) OF THE CORPORATIONS AND ASSOCIATIONS ARTICLE OF THE CODE, THIS TITLE DOES NOT APPLY TO A COMMUNITY BENEFIT ASSOCIATION. ” This is the total opposite of the language in paragraph (e) which specifically excludes condominiums and cooperative housing corporations from the HOA. There are many parallel provisions between the HOA and the Condo Act, but each is a separate law. Some legislation addresses both of the parallel provisions. Thus, when making amendments to these laws, the General Assembly is forced to specifically amend each of them. Similarly, the CBA must be a separate and parallel statute to the HOA and not be tied to it by reference. If future amendments are made to the CBA, the General Assembly must specifically intend to do so.

Of most importance to many assessment payers is the provision that limits increases in the annual charge: section  11B-113.4. CA states in its Board packet regarding the CBA that ” SECTION 11B-113.4 will apply to a CBA.” Unlike its acknowledgment regarding section 11B-116 somehow CA naively forgets that this section only applies to Columbia:

(c)  Applicability of section. —  This section only applies to a development that: (1)  Contains at least 13,000 acres of land and has a population of at least 80,000

No other homeowners association in Maryland is of this size or population. The next clause of paragraph (c) continues “and (2) Is governed by a homeowners association that levies an annual charge on property within the development.”

An argument could be made that the provisions of the HOA and CBA are in conflict because when CA becomes a CBA rather than an HOA there will not a homeowners association to which section 11B-113.4 will apply. However, a “Homeowners association” is defined to be “a person having the authority to enforce the provisions of a declaration.” Section 11B-101 (i). Regardless, what point is served by CA creating a new section CBA provision but leave the provision that only applies to Columbia dangling in the HOA and serving no other entity in Maryland?

Therefore, any CBA legislation must copy each and every provision of the HOA that is to be made applicable to CA so that the General Assembly does not continue to make amendments to the HOA with unintended consequences to CA.


Election Alert! Mavourene Robinson Gets Just 92 Votes

The Howard County Board of Elections completed its canvass of the remaining absentee votes Friday afternoon.

According to Board of Elections Director Guy Mickley, Board of Education Write-in candidate Mavourene Robinson received just 92 votes in what proved to be a quixotic campaign. This is less than one vote per precinct. 

A total of 385,781 votes were cast in the Board of Education races. A total of 1,685 write-in votes were received, but other than the 92 votes for Robinson, the remaining votes were invalid with many being for fictitious characters. 

194,283 under votes were recorded where the voter chose less than four candidates, and 804 ballots contained over votes. 

Vicky Cutroneo and Chao Wu were the top two vote winners and will get 4-year terms with 58,426 and 54,254 votes respectively.  Jen Mallo and Sabina Taj will get 2-year terms with 53,766 for Mallo and 51,842  for Taj.

As a comparison of how far behind Robinson was, Danny Mackey came in eighth place with 36,923 votes. 



BREAKING NEWS – Katie Fry Hester Increases Lead Over Gail Bates to 531 Votes

Katie Fry Hester increased her lead Friday morning over Gail Bates for the District 9 Senate seat. Shortly after 1:30 am, the  Howard County Canvassing Board announced the results of the first canvass of absentee ballots.

Hester now leads Bates by 531 votes. The absentee canvass result was 1076 for Hester and 707 for Bates. After election night on Tuesday, Hester held a lead of 154 votes. Earlier in the day Thursday, the results of the absentee canvass in Carroll County was announced. Hester picked up 8 votes in the Carroll portion of the district with votes 116 while Bates had 108 votes. Hester now has 32,366 votes to 31,835 for Bates.

The all-day canvass began at 10 am Thursday in Columbia. A total of  4375 absentee ballots were processed. 4356 were accepted while 19 were rejected.  The major time-consuming step is that emailed ballots had to be recreated by hand onto machine-readable ballots.

Voters should be reminded to remember to sign the oath and to NOT print the oath of an emailed ballot on the back of the ballot itself. Also do NOT write your name on the top the ballots apparently to differentiate which ballot belongs to the various members in a household. Also do NOT send in the ballot for the primary election.  All of these ballot mistakes were rejected.

Representatives for Gail Bates challenged the decision to reject 6 ballots which had the oath printed on the back of the ballot arguing unsuccessfully that the double-sided printing was inadvertent and not done “purposefully” to place an identifying mark on the ballot.

The provisional and additional absentee canvasses will be conducted next week.


UPDATE: This post was updated to add the information on the number of ballots processed and the major reasons for rejections. 













District 9A Vote No on Trump

Voters in District 9A vote against Trump and his supporter Allan Trent Kittleman. We can do better for Howard County with Natalie Ziegler and Steven Bolen.

Quotes from the Kittleman interview:

  • “The election of Donald Trump may very well be the last, best hope of preserving this country as the constitutional republic our founders created”
  • “History calls for different talents at different times.  This year, in this country, at this time, Trump is the right answer.”

Throughout the article Kittleman defends many of Trump’s inflammatory and racist comments as… “careless speech” or “not politically correct”

Here is an example of how following Trump leads to poor environmental and education decisions by Kittleman.

Here is an example of how her fellow District 9A Delegate, Warren Miller votes on health, education and environmental issues.

We can do better with Natalie Ziegler and Steven Bolen

Trump’s radical agenda is not good for Marylanders

This posting was originally prepared and approved by IndivisibleHoCoMD.
No funding and/or authorization was received from the Natalie Ziegler or Steven Bolen campaigns.







Lisa Kim aka Liza Fenton – The Facts

District Four County Council candidate Lisa Kim often makes the misleading statement in her biographies or at forums that she was elected to three terms will serving on the New Carrollton City Council.  To those in Howard County used to four-year terms this would imply a total of 12 years. However the terms in New Carrollton are only for two years, and Kim served less than five.

As reported in the Baltimore Sun, Kim,  who was known as Liza Fenton in New Carrollton, quit before the end of the first year of her third term.  The video of her resignation speech can be seen here (13:45).

Kim also does not mention that elections for the New Carrollton City Council have very low participation–around 6 to 7 percent. Many people get more votes running for their homeowner’s association or in Columbia village elections or even losing an election in Howard County than candidates get in New Carrollton. In her first election in 2007, Kim received 258 votes.  She did not run in 2009 but received four write-in votes. In 2011, Kim received 243 votes. In her final election in 2013, she also received 243 votes.










Kittleman Misstates Citizen Election Fund Veto

At the NAACP County Executive debate at the YMCA on October 3, County Executive Allan Kittleman continued to misstate the facts surrounding his veto of the bill implementing the Citizen Election Fund. He said that he did not believe that tax monies should be used to support candidates. He said that it should be a voluntary checkoff. He spoke directly to the audience and asked whether it was right that tax money be used to support candidates that they did not favor.

Well, Mr. County Executive these are your opinions. You would like a voluntary system to support the funding. But when you ask “the public” what they wanted, you expect a different answer than the voters gave. The voters of Howard County approved the Charter Amendment in 2016 and your view lost. The voters spoke. They voted for a tax supported fund.

The Charter is clear. Section 907(b)(1) states “Except as provided in subsection (c) of this section, in each fiscal year the Executive shall include in the Annual Budget and Appropriation Ordinance required by Article VI of this Charter the amount necessary to fully fund the Citizens’ Election Fund System for the ensuing fiscal year, as calculated by the Commission.” There is no language for a voluntary funding mechanism. Should the Council have enacted a law for voluntary funding which falls short of the amounts determined by the Commission, the Charter mandates that it still be fully funded from tax revenues (subject to the exceptions in paragraph (c)).

The Council is specifically authorized to add funds if the County Executive fails to include the necessary amount in the budget: “Notwithstanding any provision of Article VI of this Charter to the contrary, if the Executive does not include the amount required by paragraph (1) of this subsection, the County Council may amend the Annual Budget and Appropriation Ordinance required by Article VI to include the required amount.” Section 907 (b)(2).

Mr. Kittleman, you are entitled to your opinion. You are not entitled to your own facts. You don’t like the Citizen Election Fund. The voters do. Please stop asking the public what they think. They already gave the answer.