May 29, 2009
Dallas, Texas (The Weekly Vice) -- Frank Larison, a disabled vet who served for more than 14 years in the U.S. Marines has a new fight on his hands - an attack by his homeowner's association over military decals on his car.
"To me, it's being patriotic and it shows that I served," said Frank, who recently received a letter from the HOA threatening to tow his vehicle over the decals.
The isn't an issue of having stickers on your car. In fact, most residents within the association have them. The issue, according to the board, is that the decals are deemed to be "advertisements".
The HOA board stated in the letter that the decals violate HOA rules and that the decals must be covered or removed. If Larison doesn't comply, the board threatened to have his vehicle towed away at his own expense. The letter also threatened a $50 fine for future incidents.
Larimore insisted the decals, which celebrate his service as a Marine, aren't advertisements. "You can't buy freedom," he argued.
Some neighbors are angered by the HOA's action.
"That is his identity. He goes to a lot of the veteran meetings and it means a lot to him. Everyone else agrees with it - it doesn't bother anybody," said neighbor Mary Castagna.
"He's in the Marines and he's proud of it and I don't blame him," said neighbor Paul Hardy. "If I'd gone through what he's gone through, I'd be kind of proud of it myself."
Larison's neighbors have good reason to be alarmed. Many of them have decals as well. Some of the decals found on vehicles parked within the community included an Obama sticker, a business sticker and a cancer cause sticker to name a few.
To stress the point, think of how many vehicles have a sticker on the back advertising the name of the dealership who sold the vehicle. All seemingly less important to the HOA than a Marines sticker.
One board member tracked down by a reporter said he was unaware the letter was sent out. He also stated that he wasn't aware of any problem with Larimore's vehicle.
"I haven't seen this," he said while reading the letter. "I will be looking into it."
The Weekly Vice Opinion:
You all already know what my opinion will be. It's obvious that some begrudged anti-military weasel cried to a buddy on the board and the letter was sent out before half the board even heard the complaint.
This is precisely why I loath homeowner's associations. City ordinances usually clamp down on most neighborhood issues - so these associations justify their existence by becoming political tools or a means to harass a neighbor someone doesn't like.
I've reported on several HOA harassment issues, but this one really pushes my buttons. I think Larimore may even have a case to sue the association. But if Larimore is anything like the vets I know, that would likely be the furthest thing from his mind.
Stand tall Frank Larison. With or without those decals, we know what kind of man you are.
The Weekly Vice
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