Wednesday, December 13, 2006

From American Homeowners Resource Center: JUDGE PUBLICLY ADMONISHED FOR COMMENTS
This is quite a story and I'd recommend reading the whole thing, but here's a sample:

James M. Brooks is a superior court judge in Santa Ana, Orange County, California. He started as a municipal court judge in 1987, and was moved to the superior court in 1998.On November 29, 2006, the Commission on Judicial Performance issued a Public Admonishment - one of the Commission's highest sanctions. In deciding to make the Admonishment public, the Commission noted that he had been disciplined for similar conduct before. This was in response to a complaint filed by Arnold McMahon against Brooks...In the other case, Palacio del Mar Homeowners Association v McMahon, the Commission found that Brooks made statements to the McMahons that were "sarcastic, demeaning and intimidating." Arnold McMahon was explaining to Brooks that he had not been able to attend a deposition because at 3.30a.m. in the morning, he experienced intense pressure in his chest. After his doctor discovered an abnormality in his EKG, the doctor sent him to hospital, where he was admitted to the cardiac unit with a suspected heart attack. Brook's response was: "Gee. I wonder what's going to happen when we put you in jail, Mr. McMahon. Your little ticker might stop, you think?" To Elizabeth McMahon, Brooks stated that if she did not show up for her deposition, "it will be [$]10,000 payable to the court. I'd mention jail but it might give her heart attack."

Monday, December 11, 2006

Just got back from the National League of Cities conference
Tracy Gordon of PPIC and I did a presentation on CIDs and cities, mderated by Kevin Frazell. It was fascinating to hear the audience questions, because they confirmed a number of things that I had said in my presentation. First, many people confirmed that cities are mandating CIDs in new housing. We heard this from delegates from several states. Second, many confirmed that as the developments age and need major fixes that they can't afford, the HOAs come to the cities for help that may not be forthcoming. Third, a number of attendees also confirmed that there are plenty of defunct CIDs around, where the BOD is nonexistent, no dues are being collected, and problems are being created for local government.

Tracy's work is really excellent, and you can get it from the PPIC website. She has the best data on California CIDs available, and she is a very even-handed and responsible researcher. She envisions HOAs and cities gradually working out a functional relationship. I tend to be more pessimistic, because there are so many problems with HOA finances and leadership, but I think she has a point. It is important to keep in mind that in the long run most of the time people find a way to muddle through. But on the other hand, remember the Savings and Loan industry? | 12/10/2006 | Droves say goodbye to Golden State
Fred Pilot sent this along. I was in San Francisco a few weeks ago. I saw nothing but yuppies, homeless people, tourists, and dogs (the residents of San Francisco have an average of 6.3 dogs, if my sampling is accurate). There are no kids in the city, except the ones the tourists bring. It costs a bazillion dollars to rent or buy anything you can live in. And now, forget about San Francisco--it costs a fortune to live even in San Bernardino. So for the first time in memory, people are getting out of California.

Between 2004 and 2005, the migration flow into California from the other 49 states started flowing the other way. Data from the state Department of Finance shows that, for the first time this decade, more people left California in 2005 for another state than the number who moved in. Mary Heim, a finance department demographer, says this particular kind of outflow will continue for the foreseeable future. Unlike the tens of thousands who left Silicon Valley following the tech bust earlier this decade, the new migration is about the quest for something besides a job: a better quality of life at a lower cost of living.