Saturday, September 17, 2005

ScrappleFace: HUD Unveils New Orleans Housing Concept
As part of a White House PR offensive to refute charges that President George Bush doesn't care about poor black people, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) today unveiled a plan for rebuilding public housing in New Orleans that will ensure near-total evacuation of low-income residents in advance of future emergencies. An artist's rendering of the proposed new public housing complex shows what appears to be a vast train yard, with thousands of Amtrak cars refitted as charming family residences. At the end of each column of railcar-homes, the sketch shows several engines. "When the evacuation order comes," an unnamed HUD spokesman said, "the conductor hollers 'All aboard'. People get into their homes, and off we go." The HUD source said the idea was proposed by Mr. Bush himself. "Since the president takes the blame when people ignore evacuation orders, we're making it tougher to ignore them," said the spokesman. "Now, if you want to stay, that's fine...but your home is going to Chicago." Amtrak is a quasi-governmental agency whose mission is to transport taxpayer dollars out of federal coffers to an undisclosed location.

Too Stupid To Stay Out of Prison

Clayton Cramer has this entertaining item.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Is 1 head better than 4? Highlands Ranch weighs board merger

Nancy Levy sends this link to a Denver Post story on a large subdivision that is taking steps to consolidate its governance, moving closer to becoming a city:

Highlands Ranch - Leaders of the state's largest subdivision will consider asking residents whether to consolidate four governing boards into one. If voters approved such a proposal, the number of elected positions would be reduced from five for each of the four metro districts to a single entity of seven that would oversee the entire development of 81,000. The four Highlands Ranch boards will meet Sept. 27 to decide whether to begin the process that would lead to a public vote, possibly in May or November of next year. Each metro district is a quasi- government entity that can borrow money and oversee an array of public services - from road maintenance to fire protection - for its designated area.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

No end to row over BF gates -
Here is a fascinating story Fred Pilot found about government efforts to open the gates of a gated community in the Phillipines. Seems as though a city ordinance requires opening the gates but a court issued an injunction preventing enforcement of the ordinance, so the city is asking the court to reconsider the injunction.

THE PARAƑAQUE CITY GOVERNMENT has asked the court to allow it to fully execute the ordinance that authorized the opening of the main gates of BF Homes to the public.

Another crumbling old CID...
I keep harping on the time bomb issue, meaning that aging HOAs are going to increasingly find themselves facing some major life cycle problems. Things wear out, it costs a lot to fix them, and there is nobody but the owners to pay for it. Result: problems, conflicts, and financial challenges facing owners. Fred Pilot sent this story along:

Crystal Falls Lake is covered with algae. The subdivision's stables and clubhouse are run down with dry rot, bad roofs and chipping paint. Most property owners agree that the more than 50-year-old subdivision's amenities are in dire need of repair. What repairs to do first and how to pay for them, however, are the subject of an intensifying fight.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

After their "let them eat cake" attitude made national news, Ocala HOA apologizes for scrooge-like prohibition on taking in hurricane evacuees
Thanks to Fred Pilot for this follow-up. I always say there is nothing like bad press to make some HOA boards of directors improve their behavior, at least until the coverage dies down.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Suburban police blocked evacuees, witnesses say
Must be Bush's fault. Or, we could consider the increasingly obvious possibility that southern Louisiana has some of the worst local government officials on the planet Earth.

Police agencies to the south of New Orleans were so fearful of the crowds attempting to leave the city after Hurricane Katrina that they sealed a crucial bridge over the Mississippi River and turned back hundreds of desperate evacuees, according to two paramedics who were in the crowd. The paramedics and two other witnesses said officers sometimes shot guns over the heads of fleeing people, who, instead of complying immediately with orders to leave the bridge, pleaded to be let through, according to the paramedics and two other witnesses. The witnesses said that they had been told by New Orleans police to cross this same bridge because buses were waiting for them there. Instead, a suburban police officer angrily ordered about 200 people to abandon an encampment between the highways near the bridge. The officer then confiscated their food and water, the four witnesses said. The incidents took place in the first days after the storm last week, they said