Saturday, December 20, 2008

My Way News - Detroit mayor: Deficit nears $300M, cuts ordered

My Way News - Detroit mayor: Deficit nears $300M, cuts ordered: "The mayor of Detroit says the city's deficit is approaching $300 million and he has ordered all departments to reduce their budgets by 10 percent.

Mayor Ken Cockrel Jr. said in a statement Friday that new problems are being discovered daily regarding the finances and financial reporting practices of the administration of his predecessor, Kwame Kilpatrick."

$3 billion budget. $300 million deficit. New problems being discovered daily. Thank you, ex-Mayor Kilpatrick.

Rubidoux man mauled to death by own dogs | Inland News | | Southern California News | News for Inland Southern California

Rubidoux man mauled to death by own dogs | Inland News | | Southern California News | News for Inland Southern California: "Two dogs mauled their 60-year-old owner to death Friday afternoon when he stepped into the backyard of his Rubidoux home to smoke, officials said.

Gerald Adelmund was declared dead at the cream-colored house in the 5700 block of Kenwood Place after deputies pulled him inside, said Riverside County sheriff's Sgt. Dennis Gutierrez.

'This is an unfortunate, very tragic accident,' Gutierrez said.

He said he did not know why the dogs attacked Adelmund or who dragged him into the house.

The dogs were described as a 4-year-old, 107-pound male, part pit bull and part mastiff, and a 52-pound female pit bull, about 6."

Time for the pit bull lovers to blame the guy they ate. These dogs need to be sterilized--every last one of them.

Americans less likely to roam :study - Yahoo! News

Americans less likely to roam :study - Yahoo! News: "WASHINGTON (AFP) – Once celebrated for their ability to pack up and move around the country on a whim, Americans are increasingly opting to stay put, according to a report published by the Pew Research Center.

Using polling data and government statistics, Pew found only 13 percent of Americans moved house between 2006-2007, the lowest rate since records began in the 1940s.

According to Thursday's report, roaming has been on the wane since the 1960s -- an era when millions followed beatnik author Jack Kerouac 'On the Road.'

Analysts say the slipping trend is due to an aging population. 'The US population is getting older and most moves are made when people are young,' Pew researchers noted."

There is more to this than aging.

Schwarzenegger orders mass layoffs, unpaid furloughs - Los Angeles Times

Schwarzenegger orders mass layoffs, unpaid furloughs - Los Angeles Times: "Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Friday ordered mass layoffs and unpaid furloughs for state workers starting in February to address California's growing fiscal crisis.

Under his executive order, 238,000 employees will be forced to take off two unpaid days per month through June 30, 2010. Managers will receive either the furlough or an equivalent salary reduction during the same period."

Begun, the state and local budget wars have.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Separated at birth?

Ford says does it not need short-term loans from bailout
Now that's what I call a car company. I drive a Ford Freestyle that was manufactured in Chicago.

So Bush emerged from his self-imposed stupor long enough to shovel $14 billion down the gaping maws of GM and Chrysler. I wish he would pay a little more attention to his actual job, which is protecting the nation, instead of fumbling around with an economy that he and his advisers have proven they do not understand. Have the Navy sink some Somali pirate boats or bring us the head of Osama Bin Laden. Anything but this doomed corporatism.

County officials say no to paying for road upkeep | | Iowa City Press Citizen

County officials say no to paying for road upkeep | | Iowa City Press Citizen: "The matter surfaced in a Dec. 9 letter from the Oak Ridge Lake Estates Homeowner Association to the county about maintenance of 140th Street, which supervisors discussed at an informal meeting Thursday. Homeowner association members requested to transfer the maintenance costs to the county as the population on their road had doubled and neighbors refused to help pay the bill. The issue is that as subdivisions are built, many of the residents prefer a chip-seal road surface over gravel conditions, and make an agreement with the county to pay for it. However, as time passes many want to transfer upkeep costs to the county."
This is happening all over the place, and it seems that most local governments say, "No, thanks."

Cleveland Law Library Weblog: U.S. Bankruptcy Filings Exceed One Million

Cleveland Law Library Weblog: U.S. Bankruptcy Filings Exceed One Million
As the blog post explains, bankruptcy law was "reformed" in 2005 to make it harder for consumers to go belly up. Still, for 2008, business filings are up 49% and non-business filings are up 30%. - Current Article Page -Gates Four homeowners sue over planned annexation: "The association and homeowners have vehemently opposed what they consider a land grab by the city, which stands to reap an extra $2.6 million in tax revenue over five years.

Gates Four residents say they have all the services they need, including curbside garbage collection, street maintenance and a small security force.

The community is a mix of stately brick houses, more modestly sized homes and smaller condominiums and town homes. Five years ago, the average tax value per house was $225,135."

Finally a gated community that puts "gates" right in their name so you know that you need to stay the heck out. And they aren't messing around on this annexation either. They are just saying, "We don't need no stinking municipal services!"

Situations like this can be prevented by incorporating as a municipality. Unincorporated land is always subject to these city land grabs.

More California Towns Face Bankruptcy - "Isleton and Rio Vista, small towns roughly 50 miles northeast of San Francisco, say they have begun consulting with bankruptcy lawyers as they draw up plans to deal with their mounting budget crises. The towns' leaders say they hope to avoid bankruptcy, but concede the move may eventually be their only option.

'We're strapped for cash and by the end of March or early April we may not have enough money to pay for payroll,' says Hector De La Rosa, Rio Vista's city manager.

California's troubled towns can't expect much help from the state. A state board voted Wednesday to shut off $3.8 billion in financing to hundreds of infrastructure projects to preserve cash, as the nation's most populous state struggles under a budget deficit that officials say could balloon to more than $40 billion over the next two years.

'California's fiscal house is burning down,' State Treasurer Bill Lockyer said..."

The photo is from Rio Vista, showing a new residential development that stopped construction last month. I don't know if the libertarians are jumping with joy to see municipalities go under. Maybe the fact that CIDs are tanking as well has tempered their enthusiasm.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Estero HOA turns out lights on Christmas | | The News-Press

Estero HOA turns out lights on Christmas | | The News-Press: "In one Southwest Florida gated community the bright and cheery colors of Christmas are not welcome.

Residents living in Villagio at Estero were told recently that Christmas decorations were against the community’s bylaws and they faced $100 in fines if Christmas lights and other decorations weren’t removed immediately."

Ho ho ho.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Most dangerous parts of America revealed by 'Death Map' - International Business Times -

Most dangerous parts of America revealed by 'Death Map' -
Good site to check before you move...

Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion: Illinois Supreme Court Rejects AG Madigan's Motion To Remove Blagojevich
No surprise. It was a pathetic grab for attention.

Treasurer accused of stealing HOA funds | The Citizen Online

Treasurer accused of stealing HOA funds | The Citizen Online: "A Peachtree City man has been charged with 16 counts of fiduciary theft for writing $29,000 in checks from his homeowner’s association to himself and two of his companies."

Fred Pilot found a new blog. >> Opinion >> Opinion: Who will bail out Uncle Sam?: "The United States of America is bankrupt. Don’t believe it? Consider this: Federal obligations now exceed the collective net worth of all Americans, according to the New York-based Peter G. Peterson Foundation."
OK, but the analogy doesn't work. Nations seem to be able to go on indefinitely in an insolvent condition. With the whole world experiencing a recession, maybe the Illuminati will just hit the reboot button.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

IRS to help homeowners refinance or sell homes - Yahoo! News

IRS to help homeowners refinance or sell homes - Yahoo! News: "WASHINGTON – The Internal Revenue Service said Tuesday it will try to make it easier for homeowners in financial straits to refinance or sell their homes.

The plan announced by IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman would speed up a process where financially distressed homeowners may request that a federal tax lien be made secondary to liens by the lending institution that is refinancing or restructuring a loan.

Taxpayers will also be able to ask the IRS to discharge, or remove, its claim to a property in certain circumstances where the property is being sold for less than the amount of the mortgage lien."

Sounds like a good idea.

Judge: Parking restrictions "unreasonable" | | Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater

Judge: Parking restrictions "unreasonable" | | Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater: "Odessa, Florida-- A Hillsborough County homeowners' association now faces thousands of dollars in legal fees after losing a lawsuit against one of their residents.

The board of directors representing The Eagles, a deed restricted community in Odessa, was trying to keep A.J. Vizzi from parking his Ford pickup truck in his home's driveway."

Thanks to Beth Young for sending the link to this interesting situation. It gets a bit complicated becasue there seems to have been a discrepancy between the rules the board was enforcing and the rules Vizzi received when he moved in.


State loses over $20 million in bond sale: Governor’s arrest shows cost of corruption: "The legal problems surrounding Gov. Rod Blagojevich have already cost the state more than $20 million, Illinois State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias said today.

The state was forced to delay its plan to borrow $1.4 billion last Thursday as a result of the governor’s arrest and missed the chance to sell short-term bonds at reduced interest rates.

News of the governor’s legal situation, a rating downgrade and market volatility drove up the interest rate by several percentage points on the bonds sold today."

As the financial situation of a state or local government worsens, their bond rating goes down, and that increases the interest rates they have to pay on the bonds they issues. So there is a slippery slope, and Illinois is on it.

Man sprays 'toilet-papering' teens with fox urine - Yahoo! News: "WILLMAR, Minn. – A 50-year-old man told authorities he was fed up with teens toilet-papering his house during homecoming week. This year, he decided to defend his property — with a squirt gun filled with fox urine.

Now, Scott Wagar is in trouble with the law. He pleaded not guilty on Wednesday in Kandiyohi County District Court to misdemeanor assault and other charges. He was released on personal recognizance."

How did he get the urine from the fox to the squirt gun? Maybe he cheated and went to the bottled variety.
Condo Activist In Madison Defends Himself Against Charge Of Attempted Bribery -- "Not long after arriving, Perrelli started battling with the condominium association, and he eventually filed four lawsuits against the group and its board members. The association countersued, and the clashes dragged on for years with Perrelli acting as his own attorney to save money on legal expenses.

That intense passion fueled by the tension between individuals and condominium associations has led the 74-year-old Perrelli to where he is today: facing the possibility of serving as much as 10 years in prison after being charged with trying to bribe a state representative who was helping him to reform the state's condo laws."

This is a strange case that bears watching. I won't venture any opinions on it yet. He is very heavily involved with these issues in Wisconsin and is called the "Ralph Nader" of the issue.

Daily Herald | Lindenhurst Village Green project still alive but delayed

Daily Herald | Lindenhurst Village Green project still alive but delayed: "The vacant, 52-acre Village Green retail center in Lindenhurst is symbolic of the country's recession - loaded with potential but sitting idle for now.

Citing the current economy, developer Oliver McMillan and village officials have pushed back their estimated completion time for the site's 450,000-square-foot retail development until sometime in 2011. Earlier projections hoped the doors would open in spring 2010."

Hard to build when credit is tight because banks are in trouble, developers are hurting because the market is dead, and cities are (see below) cutting everywhere.

Three Decades After Cleveland Defaulted on Its Debts, Cities Face Recession Budget Woes - US News and World Report

Three Decades After Cleveland Defaulted on Its Debts, Cities Face Recession Budget Woes - US News and World Report: "Historically, cities rarely default on loans. Rarer still are city bankruptcies, despite Vallejo, Calif.'s much-publicized May filing under Chapter 9, the section of the bankruptcy code that applies to municipalities. And such moves usually stem not only from a financial downturn but from each city's particular situation—from whether the budget has balanced in the past to how willing leaders are to make the politically unpalatable move of raising taxes.

As today's economic crisis deepens, however, so will its impact on cities. In fact, experts say municipalities will feel the recession's full effect slightly after businesses and industries. Even if they do not declare bankruptcy outright, more cities might default on their loans in the coming months.

But before any of that, experts say, expect budget cuts. Lots of them."

The consensus seems to be that we are about to see major service cuts by local governments across the country. How will this effect HOAs and condos?

Journalist who threw shoes at Bush, Muntazer al-Zaidi, 'has broken arm and ribs' - Times Online
Now, that's just a doggone shame. I imagine he must have injured himself while he was in the act of throwing those shoes. Probably forgot to warm up and stretch first. Best wishes for a speedy recovery, Mr. Shoe-Thrower Man.

If he had done this to Saddam Hussein, he would be feeling like Zed in Pulp Fiction. I would turn him over to Marcellus Wallace right now. Talk about getting medieval on somebody. Worldwide

Obama cabinet nominee under investigation: "A federal grand jury is investigating how a company that advised Jefferson County, Alabama, on bond deals that threaten to cause the biggest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history, did similar work in New Mexico after making contributions to Governor Bill Richardson’s political action committees."
That's two federal probes before inauguration.
illinoisreview: Illinois Attorney General Gets a Grade of "C-": "The Brief and supporting motion papers filed by the Illinois Attorney General with the Illinois Supreme Court in support of the request to remove Gov. Rod Blagojevich, now are available online. I have no idea what the Illinois Supreme Court will do on the motion, or if Gov. Blagojevich will resign prior to the Court ruling, but I can tell you that the papers are very, very weak. Embarrassingly weak. If submitted in my course by a 2nd or 3rd year law student, I would give the student a C-, with a chance to redo the papers to get a higher grade. Here's why."
Don't take my word for it. Here is a Cornell law professor saying the same thing.

The problems with this state's government do not stop with Blagojevich. We have a nepotism crisis. Every minimally-qualified relative of a powerful Democrat gets a major policy-making job. The current poster child is our Attorney General, who has very little legal experience, knows nothing about the criminal justice process, and has just demonstrated she hasn't learned much since getting elected, but who picked the right daddy.

Southern California may see sub-freezing temperatures - Los Angeles Times

Southern California may see sub-freezing temperatures - Los Angeles Times
Al Gore must be in LA for a major speech on global warming. That usually causes a major cold snap.
The temperature here in Chicago is...2 degrees F.

Electoral College to make Obama's win official | Politics | Reuters

Electoral College to make Obama's win official | Politics | Reuters: "WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Electoral College met on Monday to officially elect Barack Obama as the next president of the United States.

Meeting in state capitals across the country, members of the Electoral College were expected to give Democrat Obama 365 votes and his Republican rival John McCain 173 votes."

Ron Paul supporters all over America are now expecting Congress to declare the Electoral College vote invalid on January 8 and elect you-know-who instead.

It isn't too late, Ronulans! Emerge from Mommy's basement and fight on!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Jeffersonville, Indiana: condo president captured on video stealing ballots?
Take a look at this story. It contains the home surveillance video. I think the state legislators who are being told there is no need to regulate condo/hoa boards should watch it and hear what the residents have to say.

Thanks to Fred Pilot for the link.

illinoisreview: ILGOP's new ad: We Want a Special Election

illinoisreview: ILGOP's new ad: We Want a Special Election
The Illinois Republican Party wants a special election to fill Obama's Senate seat, instead of having it done by gubernatorial appointment as provided in the state Constitution. I have one question: why?

First, there is no legal basis for doing this. The procedure is clear, and a special election isn't part of it. This course of action will lead to a ridiculous legislative debacle that will make a Three Stooges episode look like the Large Hadron Supercollider in action.

Second, the Illinois Republican Party is so dysfunctional that they can't participate intelligently in a special election. Several of the state central committee members are really Democrats posing as Republicans. Other party leaders, in the organization, behind the scenes, and in the legislature, have been doing major business with the Blago corruption factory since he got elected. The party's last gubernatorial candidate was Judy Barr-Topinka, who this weekend was saying on her radio show that Obama may turn out to be one of the best presidents in US history. Some Republican. How about their Senate candidates? The party drafted free-lance lunatic and Maryland resident Alan Keyes to run against Obama for US Senate.

I think the Illinois Republican Party should politely bow out of this debate entirely and instead the leadership should go off to a remote area in secret and get their act together. Come back when you can act like a political party, folks. Worldwide: "Almost a third of hedge funds will shut or merge after the $1.5 trillion industry posted its worst ever performance this year, according to IGS Group, which advises hedge funds on raising money."
There are over 10,000 hedge funds, so if one-third of them disappear there will be a lot of gardeners looking for work. Oh, wait.

A Second Mortgage Disaster On The Horizon?, 60 Minutes: New Wave Of Mortgage Rate Adjustments Could Force More Homeowners To Default - CBS News

A Second Mortgage Disaster On The Horizon?, 60 Minutes: New Wave Of Mortgage Rate Adjustments Could Force More Homeowners To Default - CBS News: "The trouble now is that the insanity didn't end with sub-primes. There were two other kinds of exotic mortgages that became popular, called 'Alt-A' and 'option ARM.' The option ARMs, in particular, lured borrowers in with low initial interest rates - so-called teaser rates - sometimes as low as one percent. But after two, three or five years those rates 'reset.' They went up. And so did the monthly payment. A mortgage of $800 dollars a month could easily jump to $1,500.

Now the Alt-A and option ARM loans made back in the heyday are starting to reset, causing the mortgage payments to go up and homeowners to default."

But this doesn't need to happen because now the federal government is on the case and will prevent the "new wave" of defaults...right?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Madoff's arrest in billion-dollar fraud case shocks Palm Beach investors

Madoff's arrest in billion-dollar fraud case shocks Palm Beach investors
Seems to me the victims should have seen this coming, given that his name was in "made off" with your money.

Sorry. I have been grading papers for three days.

Althouse: Let's read AG Lisa Madigan's brief against Governor Blagojevich.

Althouse: Let's read AG Lisa Madigan's brief against Governor Blagojevich.: "The legal argument in the brief is embarrassingly inadequate, quoting the dictionary meaning of 'disabled' and saying over and over again that the meaning is 'plain' and the 'plain meaning' governs."
Now, to a knowledgeable observer Lisa Madigan looks like an idiot. But to an Illinois voter I suspect this will be her shining hour. She will brag about it every day when she runs for governor with her daddy's clout pushing her forward, the media hyping her, and the Republicans mired in their usual state of conflict and ineptitude.

If the Illinois electorate had any desire to clean up the political system, the last thing they would do is vote to put this lightweight product of the machine into the governor's mansion. Watch them do it, though.

Residents: HOA Wants Bailout, Too - House And Home News Story - KPHO Phoenix

Residents: HOA Wants Bailout, Too - House And Home News Story - KPHO Phoenix: "PHOENIX -- One Valley homeowners' association is more than $1 million in debt and has asked its residents to bail it out.

The HOA for the San Tan Heights neighborhood in Queen Creek said builders left 700 homes vacant and 1,000 homeowners have either been foreclosed on or have stopped paying their dues.

To ease the $1.5 million burden, the HOA has asked the remaining 2,000 homeowners to pay a $750 assessment fee."

The "bailout" is nothing of the sort. It is just a special assessment. A bailout is when a corporation looks outside to government for help, as a last resort. The owners who are calling this HOA assessment a bailout don't seem to understand that they are the association and their BOD has the right to make them pay the association's debts. Even if the association were to file for bankruptcy, the owners would still be on the hook.

People who buy into CIDs need to know that the association's debts are ultimately their debts, up to the value of their units.

Thanks to Fred Pilot for this link.