Julio Robaina

Here you can listen and/or download the latest talk show "On The Commons" taped on Saturday, May 30, 2009. Talk show host Shu Bartholomew talks with State Representative Julio Robaina, Distr. 117 (R), Miami/Dade about the 2009 Legislative Session and the untimely death of the owner-friendly community association bill H 1397, a bill that would have helped owners and associations to deal with the huge financial problems caused by foreclosures and unpaid dues.

It is a well known fact that well funded special interest groups are able to buy laws favoring them.  After all, most of the politicians serving on committees and sitting at the table when it comes to casting their votes for any new bill have been bought and sold many times over. 

 Many of these legislators are little more than puppets - many but certainly not all.  In the case of housing associations, be they HOAs, Condos or Coops, we have precious few legislators who are willing to do what is right, not what will benefit them financially. But how does one good egg manage to hold his or her own in a basket full of rotten ones?  Can good laws be passed in this situation or should we all crawl in  a hole, waiting for the rapidly approaching end?


Florida's own Rep. Julio Robaina has long made it a mission of his to do everything he can to protect his constituents.  And at no time ever have those constituents needed more protection than they do right now.  The many run of the mill problems in associations have been compounded by the economic downturn, the huge number of foreclosures especially in Florida and the large number of associations trying to make ends meet with half the revenue from fees.  His proposed bill to make the banks pay some of the delinquent assessments was soundly defeated by his fellow legislators.  Not surprisingly the banking industry lobbied strongly against it.  


But where was CAI in all this?  This bill would have helped ASSOCIATIONS and by default the homeowners.  As soon as the session started it became obvious that the lobbyist groups of the law firms (CALL and CAN) were not using their influence to push the bill -- a bill they had peddled among the association boards since last year. But there is always a huge difference between propaganda and actually doing something! People are so gullible!


You hear about what happened in Florida this year and you'll learn how, with just a little effort of the part of the owners, this MIGHT have had a happier ending.