Friday, September 21, 2007

Capitol Hill Watch | U.S. Faces 'Fiscal Hurricane' Because of Entitlement Programs, Gregg Says -
Fred Pilot sent the link to this news of impending doom

Problems with the long-term financial stability of Medicare and other entitlement programs are "going to be a massive fiscal hurricane" as baby boomers begin to retire next year, Senate Budget Committee ranking member Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) said on Tuesday in an interview with Foster's Daily Democrat. According to Gregg, the U.S. has $162 trillion in unfunded liabilities for entitlement programs for baby boomers, and Medicare, which accounts for $45 trillion of that amount, is "by far the biggest issue.
Ways You Can Lose Your Property: Realty Times - Real Estate News and Advice
Care to guess what Way Number Five is?
Homeowner says 'no' to taking down American flag | Local News | News for Charlotte, North Carolina | | South Carolina News
Year after Congress and numerous state legislatures tried to stop HOA flag-banning, here we go again. Another anti-flagpole association. Why?

YORK, S.C. -- Driving through the Bethelfields neighborhood in York, you can see it's a very patriotic community as American flags are flying outside many homes. But there's one flag that the homeowners association has a problem with. The flag flies on a 20-foot pole in the Bob Tremper’s front yard.

Former condo president in Hollywood accused of stealing insurance premiums -- South Florida
But...but...but...this sort of thing doesn't happen!

HOLLYWOOD - Authorities have charged the former president of a beachside condominium with grand theft for using condo funds to pay health insurance premiums for herself and her husband. Doris Weinstein, 64, is accused of enrolling in the health plan for the Quadomain condominium's Recreation Association employees and receiving coverage worth more than $13,000 over 30 months, according to a Hollywood police detective's report.
Palmer Ranch homeowner and association clash over Web site
This is the future of freedom of expression in this country.

Zaki is at odds with the homeowners association in his 254-home community called The Hamptons, which wants to prevent him from sponsoring a Web site he calls HamptonsNBC. As suggested by what those initials stand for -- Neighbors for a Better Community -- Zaki, a former president of the homeowners association, has some issues with how The Hamptons is being run these days. "Grievances and propaganda" is how the association's attorney described the Web site's content, in a certified letter Aug. 9 demanding that Zaki cease any use therein of the trademarked name The Hamptons. But because it is hard to complain about something without identifying it, and because Zaki felt there was a First Amendment principle involved, he ignored the letter. Last week, the association's property manager gave him until the end of the month to rename the Web site, dissolve it or face a $100-a-day fine, eventually resulting in a lien on his home.
Climate change may help rainforests - Times Online
So now are the global warming activists and the "save the rainforests" activists going to start counter-protesting each other?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Victorville Daily Press : Local News: Association fees increasing everywhere
I've been saying for years that there is a looming private infrastructure crisis because nearly all associations are under-reserved and there is this thing called the law of entropy. Stuff wears out. And then you have to fix it.

Spring Valley Lake’s recent fee increase encapsulates a situation happening all over the region, said an attorney specializing in homeowner’s association law.

“What I am seeing is homeowner dues increase dramatically all over Southern California,” said Michael Chulak, based in Calabasas, who conducts seminars for both members and board members of HOAs. The main reason for SVL’s increase is also the same for most other associations, he added: No money for infrastructure, or in HOA-speak, reserves.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Salt Lake Tribune - Great-grandma Betty pleads innocent to resisting arrest over dead grass
Thanks to Jeff Hammond for sending this saga of a crime wave in Orem, Utah.

OREM - Betty Perry pleaded innocent Tuesday to charges she failed to water her lawn and resisted arrest when an officer attempted to cite her. Cook County sales tax increase 11%!
I'm beginning to find hyperbole impossible these days. What can I say? Something like, "The Democratic Party's ongoing campaign to destroy the capitalist economy in the state of Illinois took another step forward today with a proposal to raise the brutal 9% Cook County sales tax to a confiscatory 11%. The current 9% rate has driven businesses into the collar counties like scalded dogs. The proposed increase, if enacted, would make it so hard for the county's municipalities to attract retailers that they will be holding bake sales to pay the police department."

Is that hyperbole? You be the judge.

September 18, 2007 - One Cook County commissioner wants to increase the county's portion of the sales tax, and if approved, the sales tax in Cook County would go up to 11 percent. That tax increase would also apply to restaurant and hotel bills.
Cook County Commissioner Joan Patricia Murphy said the additional tax revenue would be used to avoid another crisis when it is time to come up with next year's budget.
Talk Like A Pirate Day - September 19
Avast, ye scurvy bilge rats. It be Talk Like a Pirate Day. So heave to and prepare to be boarded, by the powers! Arrr!

Monday, September 17, 2007

American Home tries to seize $27 million in retirement savings --
So let's say they put their employees' retirement savings together with the escrowed property taxes that they may not have exactly, literally, technically, mailed to the tax collector. I bet that would be a pretty tidy sum.

Wilmington, De. - Melville-based American Home Mortgage is attempting to seize as much as $27 million that employees set aside from their paychecks as retirement savings -- and if it is successful, the workers may never see the money again. » Clever Judge Sentences Annoying Noise Offenders to Mandatory Manilow Music
What ever happened to the 8th Amendment protection against cruel and unusual punishment?

Sunday, September 16, 2007

San Diego Metro News | -- Credit crunch attracts a wave of opportunism
Looks like some very sharp practices going on out there...

The first time Sandra Barranon heard that her home in Potrero had been foreclosed on and sold in a courthouse auction was when the new owner came to her door and told her she and her children had two weeks to vacate. Behind in her mortgage payments, Barranon had been working with First Gov, an El Segundo-based foreclosure consulting firm recently censured with an “F” rating by the Better Business Bureau of the Southland. She said she was contacted by First Gov in March with a promise to restructure the debt on her house.
It's Godzilla vs. Megalon in the AZ legislature again...
This year's "new laws" article for Arizona, with a battle or two over HOA law:

It wouldn't be a legislative session without a pitched battle or two over homeowner-association rules. As of Wednesday, score one for homeowners within HOAs who want to post for-sale signs on their property: The signs can't be prohibited by HOAs.
Full text of Common Ground article on HOA activists
I see that somebody has decided to upload the entire text of the "Critical Mass" article by Chris Durso.
West Lake Worth residents want subdivision gated after crime wave -- South Florida

West Lake Worth - In the last week the Sherbrooke Estates subdivision has been hit with six car break-ins, an armed home invasion and a burglary.

Now residents say they want to put up a gate that might help keep crime out.
Ailing lender's checks bounce --
Shu Bartholomew sent this along. Lenders insist on creating an escrow account and having mortgagors send their property tax payments to the lender along with their house payment. Then the mortgage company makes their property tax payment for them. That's supposed to be so much more reliable than having the flighty wastrel of a homeowner do it him/herself, because the owner will of course have no money when the payment comes due.

Right. Now it seems that American Home Mortgage sent out a bunch of rubber checks. Question: where is the money that is supposed to be in the so-called "escrow" account that each of these owners is supposed to have, safely maintained by the dependable mortgage company?

And of course now the owners are delinquent and may end up having to cough up the money...again. They are the ones who owe the taxes, not the mortgage company.

Checks sent out by the troubled American Home Mortgage Investment Corp. to pay the property taxes of more than 70 homeowners in the Baltimore metropolitan area have bounced, local officials said yesterday. Baltimore City received bad checks for 53 properties - a total of about $63,500. Baltimore County said American Home Mortgage checks bounced for 21 properties, totaling $41,000. Taxes are due at the end of the month.