Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A badge of shame for the Commonwealth of Virginia

by Smitty

Col. Van T. Barfoot, a local Medal of Honor winner, is under the gun from his Henrico County community's homeowner association.

In a five-paragraph letter to Barfoot that he received yesterday, Barfoot is being ordered to remove a flagpole from his yard. The decorated veteran of three wars, now 90 years old, raises the American flag every morning on the pole, then lowers and folds the flag at dusk each day in a three-corner military fashion.
The flagpole isn't the problem. Clearly they need to remove the board members instead.

Virginia now has The Office of the Common Interest Community Ombudsman. I don't see among that office's duties the words "Deliver a thorough bollocking to overweening knobs serving on the board," but I would certainly update the page, had I access.

These losers aren't qualified to mow Col. Barfoot's lawn, much less comment on the contents thereof.

Update: So it Goes in Shreveport researched the citation.


  1. The shame of it all! The guy lives just a few miles from where I lived, before I moved to Occupied Northern Virginia.

    There are no tyrants like petty tyrants.

  2. It's a private association, they can make whatever rules they want and I would be careful before calling for the state to get involved

  3. It's time for Col Barfoot to kick some more Nazi ass.

  4. Wow. I can't think of a worse plublicity stunt they could have tried if they had ordered all icecream confiscated from any child caught outside with it. These have got to be the dumbest people in the world. They have just made sure that NOBODY wants to move into their totalitarian community. Nice job breaking it, heros.

    BTW, I sent an e-mail to the lawfirm cited in the news report for confimation that they actually sent it. Not that I'm doubting the good Col. I just want to make sure the report got it right before I start with the more "forceful" kind of e-mail campaign against them. If true, maybe some pressure on them with some bad plublicity could get them to drop thier client like a hot crap taco. I'll let you know what they say if they respond.

  5. Home owner associations = Communitarian scum

  6. When I hear douchebags on the left cry fascism, I think, you want real fascism today, go look at out of control Home Onwer Associations.

  7. If they don't have a problem with a flag attached to his house, can we get the pole, or one of the same height, that is attached to his house? I know I would help off set the cost to any MoH holder. I would also bet others would be willing to spring for a light to shine on the flag so that he does not have to raise/lower it every day.

  8. I'm going to reluctantly not join in the pile on. My homeowners association has rules about free standing flag poles. No rules about flags; I could fly the star and sickle off of my house connected pole if I wanted to, although the keying of my car would get boring pretty fast. However, if I, against rules that I was aware of when I moved in, decided to erect a free standing flagpole, the association could easily sanction me, up to and including putting liens on my property.

    I sympathize with the guy and more than respect his service to our country, but he doesn't get a free pass when it comes to abiding by the rules. And since I live in Virginia, and used to live in in Henrico County, I'm familiar with his case. He pretty much thumbed his nose and built the flagpole in defiance of rules with which he was familiar.

    Sure, some associations are hell bent on grabbing more and more power. So are some people. I have a 20+ year old beat up pickup parked in front of my house and the association gets a nastygram every year about my truck. To their credit, the association replies that (a) the truck is street legal and (b) the street is a legal parking area so (c) piss off. In any event, the vet in the story knew the rules in advance and chose to flaunt them. As much as I would like to support him, I simply cannot this time.

    Now if the association were to ask him to remove the American flag from his house because it goes against the covenants of "offending someone", I'd be the first to tell the jackasses to eff off. That is not the case here. Whatever your opinion of the association as compared to your opinion of our veterans in general, the group is actually in the right this time.

  9. More and more I'm thinking citizens should band together to ban HoA's... Even given that they were invented with a benign purpose (which I don't actually believe), there are far too many cases of HoA's having unbelievably totalitarian laws. I mean, really, how much business is it of yours if my grass is 2 inches tall instead of 1.5?

  10. There is no provision in the community's rules expressly forbidding flagpoles, Barfoot's daughter said. But she said the board ruled against her father's fixture and ordered it removed in July, deciding that free-standing flag poles are not aesthetically appropriate. Short flag stands attached to porches dot the community.

    physics geek, sounds like the members of the HOA board are a bunch of malodorousdouchenozzels.

  11. AllenG, I moved to a home free of HOAs to avoid the tyrany and opression they represent. What is next, off the grid in the mountains?

    If you have an HOA though, I encourage you to join the board only to curtail and outvote the little Napoleons who love their little power trips.

  12. The HOA rules do not expressly prohibit flagpoles. The current board just doesn't like them.

    They could have easily said 'not restricted means it's not our business' or even limited the height of the pole, if only to feel that thie petty vanity had been served.

    But no, they chose this fight, and they chose to fight it against this man. Someone who stood down honest-to-God real NAZI TANKS, and the Nazis within them.

    Shame on them. they can hide behind their CC&Rs all they want, but shame on them.


  13. Oh, and here's a little bit of trivia.

    The Mark VI is commonly know as the Tiger. The GI bazooka in use at the time had essentially zero chance of penetrating the frontal armor of a Tiger. It is likely Barfoot knew this, and probably explains why he targeted the track - it was his only chance of disabling the vehicle and a slim one at that.


  14. I told my realtor when I moved to Dallas that the letters HOA were an automatic no-sale.

  15. Update: Nope, nothing back from Coates & Davenport law firm in Richmond. I figured as much.

    Also: An update from the Times:

    Looks like his plight has been heard and has gotten attention all the way up to the Senate. Sen. Mark R. Warner, D-Va seems to be outraged, if you can belive it.

    @Physics Geek:
    Margaret Nicholls, Barfoot's daughter, said last night that the statement is using semantics to back up a board decision about the pole that was made on aesthetic, not regulatory grounds. There is no covenant that expressly forbids flag poles, she said.

  16. Doug and physics geek:

    Col. Barfoot, as one awarded the MOH, is entitled to a salute from even 4-star generals. It is representative of more than just "service", and deserving of extra slack. The HOA policy ("free-standing flagpoles are not prohibited, but we reserve the right to be dicks") is too subjective. They are going to regret their lack of temperance.

  17. Not only did he take out that Tiger and everything else in his MOH commendation:

    He also went on to fight in TWO MORE WARS!!

    This guy deserves to hove the whole damn town remaned after him and so so much more.

  18. No, dumbass, this is NOT a badge of shame for the Commonwealth of Virginia.

    It IS a badge of shame for the Sussex Square Homeowner's Association, and I hope they drown in opprobrium, then rot in hell.