I have a pin given to me during a contentious struggle with numerous bullies. The intent was to encourage me to take the “high road” and sleep well at night.
The pin reads, “Never argue with a bully. They force you down to their level and beat you with experience”.
Unfortunately taking the high road would afford me nothing but nightmares and sleepless night with regard to my swamp strata council. More often than not I follow the advice to “pick my battles” and enjoy a victory here and there rather than set my blood pressure off the charts by trying to win the war. In my swamp it’s uninterrupted bully bombs and sometimes making a stand is the ultimate sleeping pill and I have taken a few sleeping pills over strata. I mention all this because of a recent incident between the swamp bully and some owners over real estate signs.
I’ll call it, The Case of Annexation by Strata Council
As readers know I have a resident green thumb who stirs the pot constantly. She is a strata council member but to my mind, she is actually a ventriloquist with four dummies who become personas she can use to bully owners to submit to her will. In order to appear on the up and up, she has two owners who may or may not speak for themselves and a property manager who everyone knows won’t speak if it will cost him the doors( I guess he’s more like a shadow puppet than a dummy). Remember as well she and her puppets were not voted onto Council, they were acclaimed because her stuttering stormtrooper predictably squashed democratic process and because again the masses are asses.
Because there is only one leader on this Council, her dummies and puppets echo her words and deeds so that they are “united” and “clear”. All the owners think they are represented by seven owners but they are really just manipulated and controlled by the delusions, idiosyncrasies and learning challenges of the green thumb bully.
Our strata plan fronts on city property. For this reason, our corporation is responsible for maintaining the public property, not in a Butchart Gardens way but more in a tidy, litter free way. We pay extra monies to the landscaping contract through our fees. Naturally, the strata bully believes maintaining the property to her personal satisfaction has afforded her special privileges and rights. Apparently, and unbeknown to the majority of owners and city officials, she is the self-proclaimed community consultant to the property use and bylaw departments of our city government.
For years the city property has been used by real estate agents to market listings. Realtors place their signs on posts and owners buy and sell. In our swamp, multiple owners recently put their units up for sale. One realtor hung a sign on a post and then another realtor attempted to hang another sign directly underneath. I say attempted because the realtor was hollered at by someone in the strata and told she could not hang her sign.
The strata council, through her dummies, began sending directives to realtors instructing them that the post on city property was bought and installed by the strata corporation and was therefore restricted in its use by the strata bylaws.Additionally and most notably, owners had complained to Council- not the city- about real estate signs so the bully felt it was her duty to deal with the complaint (I imagine the bully sitting with both hands in two different dummies and a prop phone between them -voila….insta- complaint). Listing owners were flummoxed because they were not aware the Council was authorized to purchase a real estate post for city property or dictate (my council really likes that word)how city property was to be used citing strata bylaws.
Now what you might be thinking is: what is the city’s role in all this? Well, the city bylaws disallow any signage on public property so one wonders how a small strata council would think for even one moment they had any rights at all. Even so, real estate signs are one of those things in a community that occur and the city did not feel compelled to remove the real estate signs for all these years. The city also did not advise our corporation that owners could not post real estate signs on public property. Our Council did not advise us our strata plan had made significant property gains and Land Titles did not have any documentation to back it up if we had.
The strata bully would not think of course that she would require permission to make changes….she’s reminding me of someone here: a little guy, narcissistic, short haircut, European, imperialistic.
Anyway, her puppets and her property management hack followed her orders and spammed everyone with her edicts. Her marching orders were so intimidating some owners gave in and “did the right thing”. Even realtors were willing to pull their signs and only hang “bully approved” ones. Imagine that….realtors willing to yield to a bully. Other owners, thankfully, did not.
Subsequently, the Council sent around a document to all the owners advising them of the fact that some owners weren’t taking the pummeling as expected and if compliance wasn’t immediate everybody would lose because the city would remove all the signs. Well, the bully was bested by the one owner who said, “No”. Kinda like Churchill during the Blitz, “We will never surrender.”
I’m assuming the city realized the problems inherent in enforcing a city bylaw contravention they had quietly ignored and advised the strata council - I’m not sure about the property management puppet -all the signs could stay. The time frame for compliance with the bully edict has come and gone so the whole incident becomes just another bully blunder.
Knowledgeable strata owners 1 – Strata bully 0
The owners that stood their ground when confronted with the bully attack simply stayed the course: no arguments, no reciprocity-just plain old smarts.I hope they enjoy many restful sleeps because the rest of us benefited for their battle with green thumb bully.
Strata bullies don’t rise to intelligence because they don’t know what it is. Intelligence is and always will be the best offensive weapon for owners but it requires knowledge,nerves of steel and firm resolve. It especially requires owners to understand that they are actually always at least one rung above a bully council because they are the ones who give authority to a council. They are only beaten when they buy the lie, stay ignorant and submit.