Donna Cordero is an 82-year-old grandmother, and a great-grandmother six times over. She’s also a proud American. She had a small picture of an American flag next to her house number on the curb, but now the HOA (Home Owner Association) tells her she must remove the flag immediately. Cordero lives in Peoria, Arizona in a retirement community. The HOA told her previously that she was solely responsible for getting her number painted on the curb and when a company came through the community and offered to paint the number and add a small illustration for 20 dollars, she jumped at it. I’d like to know if anyone else in the community bought into the deal and if they have to remove their picture.
In June, Cordero was notified: “picture on your curb numbers must be removed.”
“I couldn’t believe it,” she told me recently. “I’m thinking, ‘Are you joking?’ Of all the things they pay attention to in this community, they’re looking at my little flag? It absolutely upset me. My neighbors that I’ve talked to can’t believe it either.”
Representatives of the homeowners association told me it’s not about the flag. It’s about putting “decorative artwork” on the curb which is a distinct no-no. Says so right there in the covenants, conditions and restrictions.
“This has nothing to do with being anti-American,” said Tom Canepa, the HOA’s vice president who also chairs the architectural control committee. “We have many residents who fly the flag properly and proudly and the HOA itself has been recognized for our appropriate displaying of the American flag. It has nothing to do with the flag. It has to do with fact that the standard is very clear in saying no decorative additions on the curb.”
The rationale for the rule, Canepa told me, is to avoid trouble.
“No decorative additions for everyone is probably the best way to be able to keep people from doing things that would not be appropriate,” he explained.
The HOA has told Cordero she must paint over the flag. Some of her neighbors already have complied, leaving an ugly blotch of mismatched white paint where a flag used to be. Some haven’t.