Thursday, December 07, 2006

12 million suburbanites live in poverty - Yahoo! News
Fred Pilot sent this link to a story that is buried in the newspapers as well. I have a couple of reactions. First, can we finally have an end to the leftist academics and politicians insisting that cities are full of poor people and suburbs are places of affluence and whiteness? It turns out that now a majority of the nation's poor live in the suburbs, which happen to be place of enormous economic and racial diversity. Second, as Fred notes, what does this suggest about the future of CIDs? I have been arguing for years (and will be arguing at the National League of Cities conference in Reno, where I'm headed today) that we need to watch out for a fiscal crisis in CIDs, as buildings and infrastructure wear out and the reserves are not there, nor is the insurance coverage, nor the construction defect litigation, and therefore not even the bank loan, to pay for repairing and replacing it. Now, add this story to the mix. There are the poor, and also the house-poor. Most of the new housing in suburbs is in CIDs, including loads of former cheesy apartment buildings that are now slightly less cheesy condominiums. Many programs have pushed a lot of relatively low income people into these buildings as first time owners. They, especially, may not have the revenue to do the upkeep and major repairs on these older condo conversion buildings. Tick, tick, tick...

The suburban poor outnumbered their inner-city counterparts for the first time last year, with more than 12 million suburban residents living in poverty, according to a study of the nation's 100 largest metropolitan areas released Thursday. "Economies are regional now," said Alan Berube, who co-wrote the report for the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank. "Where you see increases in city poverty, in almost every metropolitan area, you also see increases in suburban poverty."

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Article - News - Leisure World must open its records
This is an interesting turn of events to which I was alerted by the ever-alert Fred Pilot. Leisure World, which is a giant common interest community, is run by Golden Rain Foundation, a non-profit corporation. Residents ask to see corporate records under the David-Stirling Act that regulates CIDs. The corporation says it is not a CID, is not governed by the Act, and doesn't have to release the records. Lawsuit happens. Judge says: oh, yes, you are a CID.

Nice try at avoiding accountability under the law, but no cigar.

...residents argued that Golden Rain was a homeowners association, a type of common interest development. Golden Rain argued that it was a nonprofit corporation and not a common interest development. Consequently, officials said they were not legally obligated to release records to residents. Although Golden Rain voluntarily made public many of its financial records, the residents who sued said they wanted a legal right to access the documents.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Flag-raising raises a fuss at Lino Lakes condo
Fred Pilot sent this along. The flagpole seems to be in the common area, which creates some fairly obvious problems.

World War II veteran Robert Goergen knows he's breaking the rules at his home in Lino Lakes, yet he vows to fight for his right to fly his beloved United States flag as it was meant to be flown -- high and free in the wind. At issue is the placement of a 15-foot flagpole that Goegen planted outside his condominium. Condo managers say the flag is flying on land that belongs to the association, not to him, and they're demanding that he remove the pole and fly the flag according to regulations.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Texas House of Representatives: Member Burt Solomons
Here's the legislator who introduced HR 222, referenced below. This is the ban on municipal mandating of CID construction.
TLO - 80(R) History for HB 222
This is the bill I referred to a few days ago that would do away with municipal mandates for HOAs, at least in Texas.
Judge rewards flagpole lawyer
Fred Pilot sent another account of the work of Attorney Barry Silver, who was awarded twice his usual fees for winning the appeal on behalf of Georg Andres. I think nothing could change the situation of CID owners faster than making the association pay the owner's attorney. As Silver puts it:

Silver got a temporary injunction that kept Andres' American flag flying and then won an appeal that reversed the rulings against Andres. As Silver made the case, he said, he saw a way to argue that the homeowners association should pick up the tab for his services. "In Florida, homeowners associations are used to running roughshod over the rights of their clients. And the reason they can do that is once they decide to go after one of their own homeowners, it's virtually impossible for a homeowner to find an attorney to represent them," Silver said, explaining the crux of his argument.Circuit Court Judge Edward Fine bought it, and as part of the decision awarded Silver twice his regular hourly fee, because of the risk involved in taking such a labor-intensive case without guarantee of payment.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

TCPalm: Judge awards legal fees to Jupiter man involved in flag flap

Latest events in the Georg Andres case, sent by Shu Bartholomew:

A Jupiter man fighting to fly the American flag on a pole on his property is claiming victory in a judge's decision to award his attorney legal fees. But the win for Boca Raton attorney Barry Silver's success in a foreclosure action appeal is part of a larger war between George Andres and his homeowner's association that isn't yet over.