Thursday, June 22, 2017

House and Senate Set to Battle Over ATC Privatization - AVweb flash Article

House and Senate Set to Battle Over ATC Privatization - AVweb flash Article: "The House bill to reauthorize the FAA for the 2018 fiscal year—starting October 1—includes ATC privatization as most general aviation groups had feared. AOPA, EAA, GAMA, NATA, Helicopter Association International, and NBAA released a joint statement opposing the bill: “After a thorough and detailed review of Chairman Bill Shuster’s (R-PA) proposal to remove our nation’s air traffic control operations from the Federal Aviation Administration, we have concluded that these reforms, while well intentioned, will produce uncertainty and unintended consequences without achieving the desired outcomes.” Privatized ATC service would be funded by user fees under the proposal, which is the primary appeal for some supporters. Much of the FAA’s budget is currently supported by fuel taxes, which are mostly paid by operators of large jets. Replacing a fuel tax with a cost per operation—such as a fixed fee per instrument approach—would represent a tremendous tax cut for the airlines and tax increase for operators of smaller aircraft.

The Senate meanwhile seems unlikely to include ATC privatization in its companion bill. "



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Police: Man opens fire on HOA president - KTNV.com Las Vegas

Police: Man opens fire on HOA president - KTNV.com Las Vegas:



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Back off Blackstone! Standing in Solidarity Against Privatization Wherever It Threatens | Food & Water Watch

Back off Blackstone! Standing in Solidarity Against Privatization Wherever It Threatens | Food & Water Watch: "The evidence is clear: Privately run water systems charge households 64 percent more than public systems charge. A typical household using 5,000 gallons a month pays an extra $153 a year if its water services are privatized. Additionally, once a publicly run infrastructure is privatized the decision is difficult to reverse. We have seen time and time again how privatization works to take advantage of the consumers. Food & Water Watch will support those who stand up to these corporate profiteers."



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Monday, June 12, 2017

Submitted for your consideration


Here's a Rod Serling Twilight Zone, "submitted for your consideration" interlude. I've been reading a book about Russian politics. The author says that understanding Russian politics isn't hard, as long as you drop the assumption that there are some things, just unthinkable things, that the government would never do. I don't know about Russia, but I do know about prosecutors and Trump and American politics. And I think that it is wrong to assume that Trump wouldn't dare to fire independent counsel Robert Mueller and pardon everybody who committed crimes on his behalf, because that would be unthinkable, authoritarian, tin-pot dictator, banana republic behavior. He would. And it is equally wrong to think that the Republicans in both houses of Congress wouldn't defend him for doing it. Because they would. And it is also wrong to think that the corporate media would drop their vapid, nonsensical, "both sides are equally extreme" coverage if/when this happens, because they would normalize it just like they normalized Trump's firing of the FBI director.
Now, maybe Trump won't set this whole chain in motion by firing Mueller. I hope he doesn't. But as the Magic 8 Ball says, "Signs point to yes." Because Mueller has quickly put together a Prosecution Death Star that is going to take about a year to get charged up, and when Mueller pushes the "fire" button, there will be more pieces of Trump floating in space than there were of Alderan, and none will be bigger than a grain of sand. By now, Mike Flynn and Paul Manafort, and maybe others, may have worked out deals with Mueller. Trump knows this, and it is obvious that he has absolutely no respect for the law, which for him is just another hostile power that he has to dominate. He may figure that he would rather terminate the prosecution and weather the firestorm than endure what will happen if he doesn't.
Because remember: just because we don't know all the facts about what he did, it doesn't mean that he doesn't know all the facts about what he did.

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Colorado Supreme Court ruling requires developer’s consent on HOA rule changes

Colorado Supreme Court ruling requires developer’s consent on HOA rule changes: "At issue is a Monday ruling by the state Supreme Court that upheld a developer’s right to require mandatory arbitration for any defects claims.

The 27-page ruling for Vallagio V. Metro. Homes stipulates that a developer may include provisions in a Common Interest Communities (CIC) declaration that gives it the right to refuse any amendments voted on by homeowners."

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I haven't read the opinion yet, but as explained here, apparently the original dec (drafted by the developer, of course) says all defect claims have to go to binding arbitration, and also provides that any changes in the dec have to be approved by the developer. The HOA took a vote to change the arbitration provision, so they could sue the developer instead of going to arbitration. Colorado law says that owners can amend their declarations, and that super-majority requirements can't exceed 67%.  That seems to give owners protection against anti-amendment provisions in their developer-drafted original declarations.



But no-- the Colorado Supreme Court ruled against the owners:  "Statute allows CICs to gather a majority vote to change declarations laid down by developers. The level of majority required varies between declarations but cannot exceed 67 percent. The CIC in Vallagio V. Metro. Homes argued that requiring consent from developers for changes exceeded the maximum limit and should be prohibited. But the 5-2 ruling found the inclusion of a consent requirement does not violate the statute concerning declaration changes."  
And here is some reaction to the ruling, also from the same linked story:
"Build Our Homes Right, a homeowners advocacy group, had a different opinion of the ruling and its implications. Jonathan Harris, CEO of Build Our Homes Right, said in a statement that the ruling diverges from what should be a priority for courts: protecting citizens’ legal rights, such as the right to trial. “The court just decided that deep pocketed developers have the right to steamroll over homeowners in order to shirk their responsibility for producing shoddy homes,” Harris said. He added that the implications of the ruling stretch beyond defects. “The court has decided that powerful developers can control homeowners associations until the end of time, not only in construction defect claims, but on everything from their right to a jury trial in any kind of dispute, to issues relating to assessments and how homeowners use their own homes,” he said."

An HOA-like organization helps determine how Colorado Mills is rebuilt | 9news.com

An HOA-like organization helps determine how Colorado Mills is rebuilt | 9news.com:



What could possibly go wrong? :-)

Kansas abandons massive tax cuts that provided model for Trump's plan | US news | The Guardian

Kansas abandons massive tax cuts that provided model for Trump's plan | US news | The Guardian:

"Kansas has rejected the years-long tax-cutting experiment that brought its governor, Sam Brownback, to international attention and provided a model for the Trump administration’s troubled tax plans.

In a warning shot to the Trump administration, even Brownback’s fellow Republicans voted to override his veto of a bill to reverse many of the tax cuts he championed as a way to spur entrepreneurs and the economy, but which have left the state with a $1bn hole in its budget."


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Brownback got his advice from Arthur Laffer, who inflicted this nonsense on the nation when the people around Reagan bought "supply side economics" and the loony notion that if government cuts tax rates, they can collect more tax revenue. Reagan gave us gigantic budget deficts, then Bush did the same, Brownback cratered his state, and now of course Trump and his cronies invoking this voodoo to justify giving huge tax breaks to their super-rich buddies.



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Trump Wants to Gut the Agency Behind the Shale Boom - Bloomberg

Trump Wants to Gut the Agency Behind the Shale Boom - Bloomberg:



Even the business press is aghast at Trump's mindless flailing around.

The Opening Bell 6/7/17: Should FAA Focus on Privatization, or Modernization? | WGN Radio - 720 AM

The Opening Bell 6/7/17: Should FAA Focus on Privatization, or Modernization? | WGN Radio - 720 AM

This is an interview with me this morning about the proposal to privatize the Federal Aviation Administration's air traffic control functions. Trump had a silly signing ceremony with no legislation or executive order--not even a real proposal. He just "signed" some "principles" that basically amount to endorsing unspecified private-public partnerships as the way to build infrastructure. And he endorsed last year's HR 4441 that failed miserably. It was the four major airlines' plan to privatize air traffic control and give them control over it--30,000 employees, tens of billions of dollars of infrastructure, tens of billions more in money to update airports, and control over air traffic control. The bill went nowhere, except in the committee of Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA). By an amazing coincidence, Shuster was spotted having a good time in Miami with two airline lobbyists, one of whom was his girlfriend. The four major airlines spent $16 million lobbying.  Here's what the lobby for regional, smaller airlines thinks.

Monday, May 01, 2017

Condominium property act revamp could give owners needed support - Loop North News

Condominium property act revamp could give owners needed support - Loop North News: "Condominium owners and families residing in homeowner associations who are battling disputes and struggling for financial clarity received a major shot of support from the Illinois Legislature with the recent passage of two important bills."



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Friday, April 28, 2017

Rachel Weber receives Best Book Award from the Urban Affairs Association | Great Cities Institute

Rachel Weber receives Best Book Award from the Urban Affairs Association | Great Cities Institute: "At its 47th annual meeting in Minneapolis, Minnesota, April 19-22, 2017, the Urban Affairs Association awarded Rachel Weber, Great Cities Institute Fellow and Professor of Urban Planning and Policy at UIC, the “Best Book” in the field of urban affairs/urban studies.  According to the association, “The purpose of the award is to encourage high-quality research on urban issues and reward cogent writing on urban affairs.”  Dr. Weber received the award for her book, From Boom to Bubble:  How Finance Built the New Chicago (University of Chicago Press), which “investigates the causes and effects of the dizzying building booms that occur when real estate development financial markets, and city planning all operate in overdrove to rapidly erect new structure and demolish older ones.”  Congratulations, Rachel!"

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Congratulations to my colleague, Professor Rachel Weber!



Chalet Village HOA can collect even if wildfire consumed home; fees assessed on land

Chalet Village HOA can collect even if wildfire consumed home; fees assessed on land

"Rebuilding Chalet Village’s facilities will take every dime from property owners’ annual assessment, according to the homeowners association board members. The HOA bills drew complaints from a few people who lost cabins to the November wildfire, who asked why they should pay for unusable properties and destroyed facilities...The Chalet Village Owners Club was already on a tight budget after a $250,000 pool repair the previous year — for which it’s still fighting an insurer in court — and the wildfire did at least $200,000 more damage, which will exceed the limits of the HOA’s insurance, said board treasurer Stan Johnson. The fire also destroyed 533 cabins, including all but 43 houses in North Chalet Village. About 700 remain in South Chalet Village."

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Another example of how things work. The association had two big financial hits and nobody is going to pay for it except...the owners.