Saturday, January 24, 2009


Sunday Express | Odd News :: Man pulls tap from eye as doctors dither: "A MAN was rushed to hospital after a bathroom fall left a tap and 16 inches of pipework impaled in his face.

But Yi Zhao from China eventually ripped the tap out himself because surgeons spent three hours trying to find a plumber to remove it.

The 57 year old said: “I was tired of waiting and all they wanted to do was talk.” A CT scan revealed several fractures but no brain or nerve damage."

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Anybody who can come up with a tougher nut than Yi Zhao, step forward.

And that line will go down in history: "I was tired of waiting, and all they wanted to do was talk."

Richmond Sunlight » 2009 » Property Owners' Association Act; reformation of declarations. (SB1489)

Richmond Sunlight » 2009 » Property Owners' Association Act; reformation of declarations. (SB1489)
Here is the place to go if you want to keep track of this piece of legislation.
SB 1489: meeting minutes
This makes interesting reading. There is lots of back and forth on the effect of this proposed law on the pending Lake Holiday litigation. Here is what CAI stalwart Bob Diamond had to say in support of the bill:

"Bob Diamond, an attorney with Reed Smith, whose client is Lake Holiday, LLC, an intervener
in the pending litigation of Lake Holiday.
• Mr. Diamond wished to explain two things:
o The issue of the Lake Holiday case is whether an association can use the POAA
to collect assessments or does it have to file an action in General District Court?
o There are three to make these legislative changes.
�� 1- As of July, 2008, HB 516 will take effect, which adds a definition of
“common interest community.” This will lead to further complications.
�� 2- In the Lake Arrowhead and Dogwood cases, the Supreme Court
interpreted the POAA. The legislature can make its own decision on
whether or not this interpretation was correct. The result of these cases
was not good for home owners associations.
�� 3- There is currently no method for reformation in the Commonwealth,
and there needs to be a solution for issues where one property owner
controls because he has enough votes."


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Question: what on earth does it mean when he says, "one property owner controls because he has enough votes?" That is not one property owner controlling. That is all those who voted controlling.
SB 1489: Property owners’ group law at issue in Assembly, court :: Weekly Edition :: Virginia Lawyers Weekly: "Vogel says that she thinks all sides to the Lake Holiday dispute would agree that her legislation is “the right thing to do.” She disavowed any intent to try to influence the pending litigation. “There are lots of issues being litigated at Lake Holiday – let them go ahead. Those plaintiffs absolutely have the right to be heard,” she said.

“I hope to have a positive impact on Lake Holiday and other POAs where their underlying integrity is being threatened,” Vogel said. “It’s not meant to be a sweeping change. It’s a real modest legislative tweak,” she said.

The lawyer for the plaintiffs in the Lake Holiday lawsuit is not reassured. “The sweep of the proposed changes [is] stunning,” said Wayne Travell. The changes, he insisted, “are intended to affect the outcome of private litigation in Frederick County.”

Travell said that he told Vogel that “last-minute tinkering with the Act at the behest of a party to the lawsuit could have dire and unintended consequences.”"

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You tell me: is Vogel's denial convincing?

Another article later said, "Sen. Jill Holtzman Vogel’s (R-27) emergency effort to amend Virginia’s Property Owners’ Association Act has been tabled for the special session still going on in Richmond. Her bill, SB6016 (our link is to a PDF redlined version of her bill provided to us by her office), Virginia Property Owners Association Act; reformation of declarations, was originally introduced in the Senate on Monday 6/23, where it was quickly referred to the Committee on General Laws and Technology. At a vote of that committee on Tuesday, the bill was reported out, or sent to the full senate. On Wednesday 6/25, the first vote on the measure in the full senate failed, but after a recess, a second attempt narrowly approved the measure by a single vote.
Following approval in the Senate, SB 6016 made its way to the House of Delegates, where it ended up in the Committee on General Laws. The next stop: the Housing Commission. And that’s where it stopped. Both we and others raised a number of concerns about the proposed legislation, perhaps the biggest of which was a serious question of constitutionality at the state and federal levels. The Housing Commission unanimously decided to table the bill for the remainder of this special session.

According to the Winchester Star, “Vogel repeatedly has stated that her bill is not related to an ongoing lawsuit against Lake Holiday Country Club Inc.” She continues to maintain this position. Bob Diamond, an attorney from Reed Smith representing Miller & Smith, and an attorney from Rees Broome, who happens to represent LHCC, were among the very few attendees commenting to the commission. Given their Tyson’s Corner offices are about 2 hours from Richmond, it’s an odd coincidence that attorneys for 2 defendants in a lawsuit happen to be about the only ones showing up to champion a bill that its chief senate patron said is “not related” to that lawsuit. Start to nothing in 4 days. The legislative process is pretty quick in a special session."

Virginia’s HOA bill, SB1489: stands the constitution on its head « HOA Constitutional Government

Virginia’s HOA bill, SB1489: stands the constitution on its head « HOA Constitutional Government: "What SB1489 really appears to be is not a bona fide homeowner/member initiated homeowner rights reformation, but another example of the hypocrisy surrounding authoritarian HOA private regimes: a top-down state imposition of laws designed to further deny homeowner rights and freedoms in order to make the defective legal scheme of HOAs workable."
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George Starapoli weighs in with a detailed analysis of Virginia SB 1489.

Friday, January 23, 2009

WBBM 780 - Chicago's #1 source for local news, traffic and weather - Genson To Resign From Criminal Case

WBBM 780 - Chicago's #1 source for local news, traffic and weather - Genson To Resign From Criminal Case: "CHICAGO (AP) - Gov. Rod Blagojevich's lead attorney said Friday that he plans to resign from the impeached governor's criminal case.

``I have practiced law for 44 years. I never require a client to do what I say, but I do require clients to listen to what I say,'' Genson told reporters. ``I intend to withdraw as counsel in this case.''"

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Ed Genson has represented some of the worst mobsters the nation has ever seen, but he draws the line at the reckless, self-infatuated governor of Illinois. That ought to tell us something about how out-of-control he is. But imagine that millions of Illinois Democrats, and some Republicans, voted for this moron TWICE, the last time in 2006 after it was obvious he was a crook.

Then there are the Chicago media enablers of all this corruption. I was amazed that radio station WLS had Blago on this morning and Don Wade and Roma fed him marshmallow questions so he could rave and rant about how he is being railroaded. I guess they will do anything for ratings. The station even hired the shock jock Mancow Muller recently, and he is one of the worst vulgarians who ever sat in front of a microphone. This was once a respectable station, too.

Bill Tracking - 2009 session > Legislation

Bill Tracking - 2009 session > Legislation:SENATE BILL NO. 1489
Offered January 22, 2009
: "A. An association may petition a court of equity in the county or city wherein the development or the greater part thereof is located to reform a declaration where the association, acting through its board of directors, has attempted to amend the declaration using provisions outlined therein to resolve (i) inconsistencies in the declaration that are the source of legal and other disputes pertaining to the legal rights and responsibilities of the association or individual lot owners; (ii) scrivener's errors, including incorrectly identifying the association, incorrectly identifying an entity other than the association, or errors arising from oversight or from an inadvertent omission or mathematical mistake; or (iii) an ambiguity in the declaration with respect to an objectively verifiable fact."
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Shu Bartholomew sent me the link to a bill in the VA legislature that would allow the board of directors of an association to ask a judge to rewrite a declaration, if they can't get the members to make the changes after three attempts. I need to learn more about this bill, but it certainly undermines the industry rhetoric about local democracy in action.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Althouse: "Former French president Jacques Chirac was rushed to hospital after being mauled by his own 'clinically depressed' pet dog."

Althouse: "Former French president Jacques Chirac was rushed to hospital after being mauled by his own 'clinically depressed' pet dog."
But I thought you said your doog does not baht.
That is not my doog.

Gordon Brown brings Britain to the edge of bankruptcy - Telegraph

Gordon Brown brings Britain to the edge of bankruptcy - Telegraph: "The country stands on the precipice. We are at risk of utter humiliation, of London becoming a Reykjavik on Thames and Britain going under. Thanks to the arrogance, hubristic strutting and serial incompetence of the Government and a group of bankers, the possibility of national bankruptcy is not unrealistic."
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So says columnist Iain Martin, at least. I don't see how anybody can heap so much blame on the current Prime Minister for a problem that was years in the making. It's like blaming Bush for the housing market collapse that was building toward meltdown since the mid-1990s.

Narcissistic personality disorder - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
Rod Blagojevich and his attorney, Ed Gensen, let the deadline pass for responding to the impeachment allegations. That suggests either 1.) they know he is going to be convicted by the Senate no matter what, can't save his job, and are saving their ammo for the criminal trial, or 2.) they have paid off 1/3 + 1 of the Senate. Just kidding. Well, sort of not kidding. It is possible, this being Illinois.

But here is a great description of our governor, from the manual used by psychotherapists to diagnose mental disorder:


"Diagnostic and Statistical Manual criteria:

A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:[1]

1. has a grandiose sense of self-importance
2. is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
3. believes that he or she is 'special' and unique
4. requires excessive admiration
5. has a sense of entitlement
6. is interpersonally exploitative
7. lacks empathy
8. is often envious of others or believes others are envious of him or her
9. shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes"

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

WSJ.com: Trends in presidential job approval ratings
Presidents nearly always start with high approval ratings, but usually they begin to fall with divisive policy positions, wars, recessions, or scandals.
ps: I think President Obama understands the importance of these polls. High approval ratings from the public give presidents credibility with Congress. If he can keep his ratings high, he can make Congress follow his lead. But if his approval ratings fall below 50%, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Dick Durbin, and other members of Congress will make a move. If the President stays close to the center, he may be able to avoid the post-inauguration drop, and keep the political capital he needs to run the show.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Best wishes, Mr. President!

newsminer.com • Photo

newsminer.com • Behold the Great Ice Sculpture of Al Gore!
 

I took this photo on a trip to Beijing in 2007, on a frolic and detour from the conference I was attending on HOAs in China. The sign is in the Forbidden City. The wisdom of this sentence struck me, along with how inconceivable it is that any government in the US would make such a public statement.
Posted by Picasa
newsminer.com • Al Gore ice sculpture unveiled in Fairbanks as invitation to discuss global warming: "Fairbanks — Al Gore can thank the Nobel Committee for honoring him with the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.

He can also thank Fairbanks businessman Craig Compeau for what could be the farthest-north likeness of the former vice president: A 5-ton ice sculpture of a “shivering” Gore, created during a recent spell of bitterly cold weather in Alaska and aimed at confronting global-warming theories."

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At long last, Al Gore is cool.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Fugitives photographed in Chicago restaurant 
Posted by Picasa

Mayor Sheila Dixon present at Obama's address, but not mentioned -- baltimoresun.com

Mayor Sheila Dixon present at Obama's address, but not mentioned -- baltimoresun.com: "At the start of Barack Obama's whistle stop tour to Washington today, the president-elect hailed the 'outstanding' mayor of Philadelphia, Michael Nutter. In Wilmington, he acknowledged Mayor James M. Baker by name.

Not so in Baltimore.

Mayor Sheila Dixon was one of thousands of Obama supporters braving hours of sub-freezing temperatures to greet him at War Memorial Plaza. 'It's an extremely huge deal for me,' she said in an interview before Obama's address. 'Words can't describe how ecstatic we are.'

But even as he gazed at City Hall, the man who will be the nation's first black president did not acknowledge that Baltimore's first black female mayor was in attendance.

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That seems a bit harsh.

WUSA9.com | Washington, DC | "Prostitution Free Zone" During Inauguration
But if it's free it isn't prostitution anymore.

From earning six figures to hoping for $7 an hour - CNN.com

From earning six figures to hoping for $7 an hour - CNN.com: "AURORA, Colorado (CNN) -- In her best year as a mortgage broker, Laura Glick says she made 'six figures.' This week she was one of more than 1,200 people attending a job fair and applying for one of 150 jobs paying between $7 and $12 an hour at a new Kohl's department store in a Denver, Colorado, suburb."
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I feel for these people. I really do. But my sympathy is tempered by my memory of that they did. I can't help pointing out that these folks poured gasoline on the housing crisis. Many of these people put their fellow human beings in financial situations so risky that eventual ruin was a foregone conclusion. Why? So they could make a fat commission. And if their fallback position is a minimum wage job, what does that say about their skill set and level of education? I say that because it seems to me a whole lot of people were taking advice from professionals who had a very limited understanding of what was really going on, and who gave not a single thought to the consequences of their behavior. It was just groupthink.

Quake vulnerability of 'soft-story' apartments in state still widespread - Los Angeles Times

Quake vulnerability of 'soft-story' apartments in state still widespread - Los Angeles Times: "Fifteen years after the Northridge earthquake exposed the dangers of certain 'soft-story' apartments, only about 800 of the 20,000 such structures in Los Angeles have been retrofitted, according to city records.

The pancake collapse of the Northridge Meadows apartment complex, which killed 16 people, was one of the most dramatic images of the Northridge earthquake on Jan. 17, 1994. But despite concern at the time that these multi-unit buildings with weak ground floors posed a critical risk, progress inspecting and fixing these older buildings has been slow."

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During the recent housing boom, many older apartment buildings were converted to condominiums. So that means that we probably have a whole bunch of condo buildings with soft ground floors--meaning that they are prone to collapse in the next quake. And guess who is stuck with that problem? If you said, "The unit owners," you win the steak knives.

Thanks to Fred Pilot for the link--and for the observation that this is one more reason attorney Tyler Berding is probably right about the physical obsolescence of many CIDs.