Our community does not have the great of participation in the HOA. Mostly, people only get involved when they are cited for a violation of the covenants, then they complain, we (the board) explain, and hopefully work it out, then they go about their lives again.
I hear of communities that have great participation, and I am jealous. I have been on the board for 4 years now. Mainly because we can't get a quorum (10% of the eligible voters) to attend an annual meeting, so the current board remains.
What I am telling you is that if you live in a community that has an HOA, please get involved. Go to meetings, see what your board is doing, ask questions. You are paying dues, know what your money is being used for.
The board's primary responsibility is to enforce the covenants. The covenants are there to protect the homes and property values. The board must act in a fiduciary manner with HOA's money.
Being on the board is a thankless job. I've been verbally accosted, yelled at, told to go to hell, had lawsuits threaten against me personally, and may be a hero to some in the neighborhood and the most hated in the neighborhood at the same time. But, it is important to me, because this is where I live, my home, and I want to be involved. If not as a board member, I will still be involved in the HOA. If I move to a different place, I will do the same.
Please, be involved in where you live, your home, your community.