Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Unsigned Postcards Ask Homeowners To Take Down Campaign Signs « CBS Pittsburgh

Unsigned Postcards Ask Homeowners To Take Down Campaign Signs « CBS Pittsburgh: "PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Some homeowners in the quiet Murdoch Farms section of Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood are angry after getting postcards in the mail asking them to take down campaign signs in their yards.

The cards say in part, “If you feel strongly about your candidates, then talk to your neighbors, use other channels, like the Internet, and consider taking down the signs that are distracting from our beautiful neighborhood.”"

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While I understand the importance of political expression, I do understand why people get frustrated when they are everywhere. I have a neighbor who is a political activist. His yard is festooned with signs for every candidate for his party from president to dogcatcher. He goes door-to-door and pesters people to put up signs, too. This happens in every election cycle. The neighborhood is normally beautiful in the fall, with all the leaves changing, but instead we have garish signs everywhere.

But polite requests are just about the only way to address this issue. The Supreme Court ruled in the Ledou v. Gilleo case that political yard signs are protected by the First Amendment and cannot be banned by local ordinance, although they can be regulated. Many HOAs and condo associations have strict rules that go beyond what a municipality could do, which I guess responds to concerns like those voiced in this article.

HOA Horrors: Few checks and balances puts residents at whim of boards, covenants | 11alive.com

HOA Horrors: Few checks and balances puts residents at whim of boards, covenants | 11alive.com: "For years, 11Alive received a steady stream of tips from viewers, frustrated by the action of their HOA board. When our 11Alive Investigator Rebecca Lindstrom started digging, she found cases of favoritism, bullying, embezzlement – and very few checks and balances to make sure decisions came coupled with common sense.

More than two million people live in a neighborhood with an HOA and the numbers, with every new construction project around metro Atlanta, are growing. "

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I must have read about 500 of these breathless "crack investigative reporter discovers problems with HOAs" stories. You'd think they just found Bigfoot.

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Videos show events before B.C. RCMP arrest of elderly couple | CTV News

Videos show events before B.C. RCMP arrest of elderly couple | CTV News: "The RCMP officers called to the scene of a raucous condo meeting in Coquitlam, B.C. are under investigation for their actions in the arrest of an elderly couple. The contents of a jarring cellphone video showing the elderly man dragged down a flight of stairs prompted not only an internal RCMP investigation, but also external investigations by an outside police force and a civilian review board. But new footage has emerged showing pieces of the scene leading up to the arrest.
The annual general meeting was held on Oct. 27, held at a Best Western in the Vancouver suburb, heated up over, what appears to be, the results an election."




HOA management company owner: Don’t confuse compliance with punishment - VEGAS INC

HOA management company owner: Don’t confuse compliance with punishment - VEGAS INC:



Ah, I see. Thanks for clarifying that distinction. But isn't a fine a punishment that is used to get compliance?

Grand Island Homeowners Association to file lawsuit against Lee Commission | Local News | albanyherald.com

Grand Island Homeowners Association to file lawsuit against Lee Commission | Local News | albanyherald.com: "LEESBURG — Plans to move forward with the proposed construction of a new 50-bed private hospital at the Grand Island Golf Course property in southern Lee County could take a hit this week once the Grand Island Subdivision Homeowners Association files a planned lawsuit against the Lee County Board of Commissioners.

Homeowners Association president and local obstetrician Dr. John G. Ricketson confirmed Monday that the property-owner group is planning to file a lawsuit some time this week alleging that the construction of the $50 million hospital would violate an easement set up by Grand Island developer John Gay in 1995.

According to Ricketson, a perpetual easement was granted by the developer to the property owners stating that “no natural or artificial barriers blocking the view or sight from the adjacent properties shall be constructed or created on the golf course property without the written permission of all the property owners.

“(The easement) says perpetuity, which means forever; it will provide for the preservation and enhancement of the adjacent properties,” said Ricketson. “We feel that’s any obstacle and that includes a three-story hospital.”"

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It would be quite a task, but I would love to know what percentage of HOA litigation is NIMBY lawsuits like this.


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

‘Failed experiment:’ Veterans’ homes bills raise privatization concerns | Fox17

‘Failed experiment:’ Veterans’ homes bills raise privatization concerns | Fox17: "GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A proposal meant to improve care for veterans in Michigan could prove to be a sweeping overhaul of how health care for veterans is managed statewide.

But critics worry this latest effort by lawmakers to fix the state's veterans health care system  will only continue to push state workers out in favor of more privatized care."




Privatization ‘Disproportionately Hurts Poor Individuals and Families’ | The Nation

Privatization ‘Disproportionately Hurts Poor Individuals and Families’ | The Nation: "In a compendium of privatization disasters, the watchdog group In the Public Interest (ITPI) concludes that “government privatization disproportionately hurts poor individuals and families.” By shifting social costs onto the public, the market logic of “personal responsibility” serves as a pretext for a self-perpetuating spiral of social disinvestment.

One way privatization fleeces the poor is by making basic public services cost more. "

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Privatization is not all good or all bad. Selling off government-owned enterprises, like car companies, airlines, and steel mills, may have worked pretty well in Europe, but privatization in Russia was a massive disaster that created the oligarchs and destroyed the Russian economy. It went from being a major industrial powerhouse to a third world exporter of petroleum products. The big question is how you measure success. Advocates of privatization always talk about economic efficiency, but this is often just rhetoric. In reality, many times all they do is fire government employees and replace them with lower-paid private employees who don't get decent benefits. Then they pocket the savings instead of passing them along to the taxpayers/consumers. And you have to consider accountability--how do you make sure the function is performed properly. So I realize that this report from ITPI is rhetorical as well--the organization is funded by public employee unions, but we do need to look hard at these fast-tracked, take-it-or-leave-it, privatization deals that so many people think are the solution to all problems.




Contractor accused of swindling homeowners out of more than $1 million | Public Safety | swnewsmedia.com

Contractor accused of swindling homeowners out of more than $1 million | Public Safety | swnewsmedia.com:



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Friday, October 21, 2016

Whistle blower: Management firm misused HOA funds | Aspen Daily News Online

Whistle blower: Management firm misused HOA funds | Aspen Daily News Online

"A complaint filed with the state of Colorado’s real estate regulatory agency alleges that a local property management firm has, since 2012, misused funds intended for homeowners’ association payments in the upscale residential neighborhoods at the base of Aspen Highlands.


The funds in question could total $500,000 or more, said a witness to the complaint filed recently with the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies’ Division of Real Estate, alleging misrepresentations by Diamond Kip’s Inc., which does business as Aspen Valley Services."

Department Seeks to Expand Infrastructure Privatization > U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE > Article

Department Seeks to Expand Infrastructure Privatization > U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE > Article

Military family housing privatization has been under way since 1996. The defense acquisitions website reports that at the beginning of the program, the department had an inventory of approximately 257,000 family housing units. Current plans are to privatize about 75 percent of existing family housing units worldwide.
“Why did it take us so long to implement housing privatization?” Potochney asked. “I don’t think there’s anybody who doesn’t think it’s a great thing, and it’s worked well, and it’s saved us money, and it’s gotten soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines better housing than they had before.”

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Feds Looking at Easing Up Financing Rules for Condo Developers - CoStar Group

Feds Looking at Easing Up Financing Rules for Condo Developers - CoStar Group: "FHA currently requires that approved condominium developments have a minimum of 50% of the units occupied by owners. While having too few owner-occupants can detract from the viability of a project, requiring too many can harm its marketability, the agency said.

Through this proposed rule change, FHA is proposing to establish an allowable range between 25% and 75%. The range allows FHA to choose a specific percentage that is responsive to future market changes.

FHA is also looking at expanding the range for allowable nonresidential use.

FHA currently requires that the commercial/nonresidential space within an approved condominium development not exceed 50% of the project’s total floor area, and anticipates maintaining this as a requirement in the near term.

However, as the agency gains experience with this program, it may wish to modify this limitation and is therefore proposing to establish a range between 25% and 60%, it said.

FHA also has proposed reinstating spot approvals in unapproved condominium developments and to require condo projects to recertify their approval status every three years rather than the current two-year requirement.
"



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New FHA Condo Rules Expand Access to Reverse Mortgages

New FHA Condo Rules Expand Access to Reverse Mortgages: "In response to changing conditions in the condominium market, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) today proposed new rules that would allow individual condo units to become eligible for FHA financing, including Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECMs), an agency spokesman confirmed to RMD.

FHA is currently seeking public comments on the 43-page proposed rule that seeks to reinstate a process similar to “spot approvals” in unapproved condo developments, as well as create a range of thresholds required for FHA approval, including the minimum owner-occupants in approved condo projects and limits on commercial/non-residential space, the agency stated in a release.


The proposal, which “certainly includes HECMs,” according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) spokesman, will differ from the agency’s former “spot approvals” process, though no further details were able to be provided."



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Will you become a citizen of Asgardia, the first nation state in space? | Science | The Guardian

Will you become a citizen of Asgardia, the first nation state in space? | Science | The Guardian: "Proposals for the “first nation state in space” have been unveiled by a team of scientists and legal experts, who say the move will foster peace, open up access to space technologies and offer protection for citizens of planet Earth.

Dubbed “Asgardia” after one of the mythical worlds inhabited by the Norse gods, the team say the “new nation” will eventually become a member of the United Nations, with its own flag and anthem devised by members of the public through a series of competitions."



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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Trotwood HOA responds to liens, worn facilities | Dayton News | www.whio.com

Trotwood HOA responds to liens, worn facilities | Dayton News | www.whio.com



And here is the HOA's response to media coverage of owners withholding assessment payments because they don't think they are getting their money's worth, and then getting hit with liens:

"Not long after last week’s report, the HOA sent out an email in response. “The recent WHIO-TV broadcast orchestrated by a delinquent homeowner…will fail in its attempt to stop the collection of delinquent assessments. If you thought you could move here and change our neighborhood to be like the ghetto you came from…think again.”


Homeowners pay thousands to illegal HOA | Fox 59

Homeowners pay thousands to illegal HOA | Fox 59

"CUMBERLAND, Ind. – For more than a decade, homeowners in a Cumberland neighborhood have been paying dues to an illegal HOA. According to state records, the Harvest Glen HOA was dissolved in 2002 because required paperwork to reinstate the organization was never completed.  A few days ago, the neighborhood treasurer sent each homeowner a letter and a stack of approximately 100 pages of detailed expense reports showing how HOA dues were spent. Every year, every Harvest Glen homeowner pays $50 for HOA dues, which is mainly for lawn care upkeep in the common areas. For the past 14 years, state records show the neighborhood hasn’t had an operating HOA."

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OK, so maybe we didn't dot every "i" and cross every "t" for the last fourteen years, but basically we more or less kinda sorta did HOA-type stuff. What's your prob?