California residents who live in a common interest community such as an HOA don't necessarily have full control over their property. Instead, they elect a group of people to make decisions on behalf of the entire community. When done properly, this may provide them with greater security and help them live a higher quality of life.
However, some board members choose to run the community like an autocracy instead of a democracy. In Florida, one HOA president threatened to shoot a man who was accused of trespassing and was taken into custody. A Las Vegas attorney received a lengthy prison sentence for conspiracy, election rigging and other charges related to an HOA fraud scheme. Fortunately, there are ways in which HOA leaders can look out for the rights of community members without letting the power go to their heads.
It is generally not a good idea to run for election simply to further a hidden agenda. Those who are elected to lead common communities are meant to exercise control over how property is used. They are generally not elected to have any meaningful control over the people who live there. When problems arise, it may be best to ask a committee to make a final ruling on the matter.
Those who are in an HOA dispute may be able to solve it on their own or through mediation. In many cases, this may work to preserve relationships between neighbors. However, if necessary, an attorney may be able to help an individual take legal action to help resolve a dispute in a favorable manner. Legal counsel may also be able to engage in informal negotiations or take other steps to settle a matter without going to court.