Saturday, July 23, 2011
As we stated in the "Affordable Housing Myth," are we really doing families with moderate incomes any favors by encouraging them to buy housing that is poorly built, expensive to maintain, and very difficult to sell? What benefit is there to saddling low and moderate-income families with impossible maintenance burdens? When we sell housing with hidden defects and even normal maintenance costs that greatly exceed expectations, does the buyer really own anything? More likely, we have asked these families to assume a crushing liability. Given the realities of the economy and the shaky condominium economic model, is attached for-sale housing really the best solution for low-cost housing? Could rental apartment buildings be a better answer?
Tyler Berding takes on a big question: is renting an apartment a better deal than buying a condo?
Thanks to Fred Pilot for the link.
The Times reports that the Gardens of Southgate filed the suit this month against Timothy and Jodi Burr, who have lived in the subdivision since 2006. The Burrs placed a large multi-colored banner with a picture of their 20-year-old son, Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Corey Burr, and the phrase "Our son defends our freedom" in January after Corey Burr was deployed to Afghanistan.
Jodi Burr says her family will fight the suit and do not intend to remove the sign.
The HOA lawsuit that was threatened in May now becomes reality, providing more bad press for this HOA and HOAs in general. To deter these frivolous lawsuits, the attorneys that bring them should be deployed to Afghanistan for one year of judge advocate duty.
The Obama administration is examining ways to pull foreclosed properties off the market and rent them to help stabilize the housing market, according to people familiar with the matter.
While the plans may not advance beyond the concept phase, they are under serious consideration by senior administration officials because rents are rising even as home prices in many hard-hit markets continue to fall due to high foreclosure levels.
This should have been not just examined, but done, in 2009 about 10 minutes after the inauguration. But I'm sure the almighty banksters will find some reason not do to it. Just pass Congressman Grijalva's Right to Rent Act, I say.
Friday, July 22, 2011
And maybe we would be better off as renters...
Such legal maneuvers by banks, which in many cases either walk away from properties that aren't worth selling or let foreclosure proceedings languish in an overwhelmed court system, have left thousands of dilapidated vacant houses in ownership limbo citywide.
City officials, frustrated by the detective work needed to nail down ownership of abandoned buildings, are pushing legislation that would force mortgage holders to secure and maintain vacant properties until they're auctioned off. The effort is strongly opposed by the financial industry.
The banks (the ones who crashed the economy, as you may recall, and then got bailed out with taxpayer dollars) are now pulling the cute little trick of NOT foreclosing on dilapidated and often abandoned properties, leaving the problems for government and the neighbors to deal with the problems.
And they are using their massive lobbying power to stop legislation that would make them act responsibly.
This is when they are not busy handing fake documents to courts and evicting the wrong people.
How about another trillion dollars in bailouts for these solid corporate citizens? What say you, taxpayers?
U. of C. professor argues privatization of public assets just like borrowing money - chicagotribune.com
Professor Julie Roin studied the privatization of public assets, particularly deals in which governments received upfront payments in exchange for foregoing future revenue streams. Deals such as Chicago's leasing of parking meters and the Chicago Skyway toll road.
She concludes that such transactions are economically equivalent to borrowing money. The public does not understand the nature of such privatization transactions, Roin says, and that has made citizens more accepting of the political decisions to engage in such deals.
So--some forms of privatization turn out to be a bad deal for local government after all. What a surprise.
The right wingers who came up with all these ideas sold them to policy makers by touting the supposed short-term benefits. But they have always had ulterior motives, such as destruction of unions, cutting taxes on business and the wealthy, and eradicating the social welfare functions of government.
In addition to the bad deal governments have made, another problem is that many of these privatization policies are internally flawed and unsustainable, by which I mean that at some point the private provider of what used to be the public function will simply cease to function.
Thursday, July 21, 2011
Fred Pilot sent this link to a writeup on a new scheme to fund infrastructure in California without property taxation. Proposition 13: the gift that keeps on giving.
Seriously--the initiative process has all but destroyed state and local government in California.
Community Builder: The Life & Legacy Of J.C. Nichols - Watch the Documentary Film for Free | Watch Free Documentaries Online | SnagFilms
Jesse Clyde Nichols (1880-1950) was the principal founder of the Urban Land Institute and probably the single most influential real estate developer in US history. He was a pioneer in the use of mandatory membership homeowner associations to govern his subdivisions. Fred Fischer has discovered this 56 min. documentary about him that starts with a 4 min. commercial. Thanks, Fred!
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
The Western Arizona town of Quartzsite was in a state of upheaval Monday after the Town Council ousted the mayor from power and declared a state of emergency, all because of an online video that shows a woman being arrested.
Read more: http://azstarnet.com/news/state-and-regional/article_44751517-4820-500b-b3f6-42d928d5e1c3.html#ixzz1Seqjt8xD
Proving once again that HOAs don't have the market cornered on wacky behavior. And see below.
Be careful before starting a Boy Scout troop in Gould, Ark. Or a Harry Potter fan club. Or a baseball team.
The City Council adopted an ordinance last week making it illegal to form any kind of group without its permission
And that's not all they did. They have been a busy little group of authoritarian jerks.
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Two stories yesterday, one from the AP and the other from Reuters, detail the fact that the banks continue to employ robo-signers to accelerate foreclosure processes and commit document fraud.
So it continues. Huge corporations force consumers to sign boilerplate adhesion contracts and hold them to every jot and tittle, with the full support of the court system. But when it comes to the corporation itself...why, then it is far to burdensome to even have human beings sign documents. We peons must understand that our corporate overlords can't be bothered even complying with the law, much less those silly pieces of paper they call "contracts."
Monday, July 18, 2011
Mortgage industry employees are still signing documents they haven't read and using fake signatures more than eight months after big banks and mortgage companies promised to stop the illegal practices that led to a nationwide halt of home foreclosures.
County officials in at least three states say they have received thousands of mortgage documents with questionable signatures since last fall, suggesting that the practices, known collectively as "robo-signing," remain widespread in the industry.
Last Halloween's robosigning Frankenstein monster is rising from the dead as the heavily CDO'd and otherwise secondary market derived residential mortgage market fallout from the 2000's continues.
It's probable just one robosigner for a single large lender wreaked more devastation and destroyed property values in Privatopia than any amount of unapproved paint colors, solar panels, antennas, clotheslines, flags flapping from poles or pot bellied pigs could ever do.
Presiding Judge Katherine Feinstein said the actions were necessary to close a $13.75 million budget deficit caused by state budget cuts. She said the cuts mean it will take many more hours to pay a traffic ticket in person, up to 18 months to finalize a divorce and five years for a lawsuit to go to trial.
"The civil justice system in San Francisco is collapsing," Feinstein said.
And that will be a huge problem for everybody.I remember when Proposition 13 passed 1978, the right wingers claimed state and local government would get along just fine, and the lefties said it would be a disaster. About a year later all the righties were crowing that nothing happened. The lefties said you have to wait and see. Then there was this period of state and local governments doing all sorts of things to make up for revenues lost to tax revolts. Sin taxes on cigarettes and alcohol; the tobacco settlement; CID housing; special districts; privatization; gambling; deals with sports teams; TIFs and BIDs; and on, and on. And now that the effort to destroy state and local government looks like it has finally succeeded, the right wingers are trying to smash the federal government as well. At this rate, soon we will be living like Mad Max, the Road Warrior.
But in recent years, Selinsky and other residents say, the park's streets have been crumbling, water service has cut out for days at a time and they can't drink the water because it's contaminated. Now, the situation has worsened: Sunset Village is in foreclosure, and residents fear it could be sold and demolished, leaving them with homes they can't afford to move.
The state legislature is setting up a trust fund for mobile home parks because so many of them are in trouble.
Sunday, July 17, 2011
Not only that--it looks like HOA property to me. Flower Mound, TX, is one of those "smart growth" places. But for sixteen bucks, no matter how it turns out he can't lose.