Saturday, September 24, 2011
During "It's Time For Wall Street Banks to Pay Week" (September 26-30 in the Bay Area & October 3-6 in Los Angeles) homeowners, community members, faith leaders and students will hold events in hard-hit neighborhoods across the state saying it’s time to make Wall Street banks pay for destroying jobs and neighborhoods with their greedy, irresponsible and predatory business practices.
Dialing a phone to report a pothole is so 2005.
These days, tech-savvy cities offer residents smartphone apps to document quality-of-life troubles.
If you live in San Jose, Glendale or certain parts of Los Angeles, you can point your camera phone at your neighborhood problem, snap a picture, type a description and hit send. The app forwards your GPS coordinates, along with the picture and description, to a city official who can arrange a fix.
I imagine someone's working on an app for HOAs as well.
Friday, September 23, 2011
Prop. 13 still highly popular, poll finds - Sacramento News - Local and Breaking Sacramento News | Sacramento Bee
Even though the state is insolvent. Question: if they shut the doors on the local library, stop mowing the grass at the park, fire half the teachers at the elementary school, and lay off a bunch of cops and firefighters--then will people get the connection between property taxation and local public services? However, I agree with Jerry Brown's comment: ""Government has a lot of explaining to do to the people, and unless we can demonstrate a higher level of effectiveness, it would be very hard to get the people to give us new taxes."
Thanks to Fred Pilot for the link.
Read more: http://www.sacbee.com/2011/09/23/3932118/prop-13-still-highly-popular-poll.html#ixzz1Ymd8Rz1r
Think of the National Fine Print Repository as a sort of CliffsNotes for contracts. Users will run a search for whatever company they're doing business with. If the contract is in the database, an easy-to-understand summary of key provisions will pop up.
Hirsch said about 20 people are reading and summarizing contracts for the database — a job that must be among the most thankless in the tech world. Their explanations will be written so they can be understood by anyone with a ninth-grade reading level.
The database already contains about 2,000 contracts for banks, credit card issuers, cellphone companies and retirement accounts, Hirsch said. In the future, the scope of industries will include mortgage lenders, insurance providers, travel companies and software makers.
What a great idea. We have become a fine print society. As Tom Waits says (at about 5:06 in this video) in his song "Step Right Up,"..."The large print giveth, and the small print taketh away."
Thanks to Fred Pilot for the link.
This is where the lash of socialism will fall when these folks have to pay taxes at the same rate as their servants.
The legal woes of Las Vegas-based copyright-trolling firm Righthaven continued Sunday when one of its creditors moved to seize its assets....Righthaven’s first client, Stephens Media of Las Vegas and operator of the Review-Journal, had invested $500,000 into the Righthaven operation last year. Righthaven’s only other client, MediaNews of Denver and the publisher of the Denver Post and 50 other newspapers, is dropping Righthaven. John Paton, the media concern’s chief executive, said it was “a dumb idea” for the nation’s second-largest newspaper chain to sign up with Righthaven, and would be terminating relations at the end of September.
And the Las Vegas Review-Journal's deep involvement in this shabby episode is the reason why I never link to their articles, even though some of their reporters have done good work on HOA issues.
The Fundamental Flaw with HOA's | Real Estate, HOA's | The Law Office of J. Patrick Sutton :: J. Patrick Sutton Cases & Issues Blog
"HOA's are far too complex for your neighbors to run. That's why they don't!"
A succinct statement of what is wrong with HOAs, from lawyer J. Patrick Sutton. Thanks to Fred Fischer for the link.
Thursday, September 22, 2011
Homeowners Chuck and Stephanie Fromm, of San Juan Capistrano, were fined $300 earlier this month for holding what city officials called “a regular gathering of more than three people”.
That type of meeting would require a conditional use permit as defined by the city, according to Pacific Justice Institute (PJI), the couple’s legal representation.
The Fromms also reportedly face subsequent fines of $500 per meeting for any further “religious gatherings” in their home, according to PJI.
This is San Juan Capistrano in Orange County, CA, where HOAs and condo associations are everywhere. It is ironic, though, because this city was founded as a mission by Father Junipero Serra.
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Currently, Library Systems and Services (LSSI) is the only private company that offers turnkey private library management in the United States and is often the only company in line to take over a local library system. LSSI has taken over libraries in Oregon, Florida, Tennessee, Texas, Kansas and California, and has diminished services and staff while relying on more volunteers to make a profit. Privatization threatens America’s public libraries and library services and community residents are upset that they do no not have a voice in the matter. Read the New York Times article about the struggle in Santa Clarita.
There are lots of corporations just licking their chops and getting ready to sink their incisors into any public function or asset. It started with trash collection and janitorial services, and now we have mercenaries in Iraq, republicans in the House voting to turn Medicare into a voucher program, public school teachers being fired and charter schools spreading, and now...the public library.
Elizabeth Warren On ‘Class Warfare’: There Is Nobody Who Got Rich On His Own (VIDEO) | Election 2012
This is just a wonderful response to all this neoclassical economics, "free market" nonsense. I hope she gets elected to the Senate.
This is about mortgage foreclosure, but if you are interested in hearing me on WBEZ in Chicago this morning, here is the link.
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
About one in five Americans combine a view of God as actively engaged in daily workings of the world with an economic conservative view that opposes government regulation and champions the free market as a matter of faith.
"They say the invisible hand of the free market is really God at work," says sociologist Paul Froese, co-author of the Baylor Religion Survey, released today by Baylor University in Waco, Texas.
This should be an interesting election we have coming up.
Residential Construction and Government Purchases Are Much Bigger Trailing Sectors than Business Equipment
Then in late 2008 the economy falls off a cliff: business investment in equipment and software collapses, housing investment collapses further to far below any equilibrium level, and exports collapse. Exports and business equipment and software investment start to recover in the third quarter of 2009. If only their good recovery performance had been matched by a recovery in residential investment and an increase in government purchases, we would due fine.
But there was no recovery in residential construction. There was no increase in government purchases. And starting in 2010 the shrinking government sector puts additional downward pressure on the economy.
Economist Brad DeLong nails it. Take a look at the charts. What is holding back economic recovery? The real estate development industry is still in a state of collapse, and governments at all levels are cutting back and laying off workers.
Sunday, September 18, 2011
A wealthy family man was arrested on suspicion of murder yesterday after allegedly stabbing a burglar to death with his own knife.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2038785/Bramhall-father-arrested-stabbing-death-burglar-broke-home.html#ixzz1YLo5Pcvq
The decline and fall of the British Empire seems to be complete. A man can't even defend his own home.
A May 2009 law required that appraisers work independently and without undue influence from mortgage brokers, lenders and real estate agents. Mortgage fraud prosecutors say the overhaul was necessary to curtail conflicts of interest and bloated estimates that contributed to the housing debacle.
More than two years later, real estate professionals say the change has inadvertently led to innaccurate appraisals, which is delaying a housing recovery.
"This requirement is costing everybody, including the consumer, because we're not getting quality appraisals," said Tim Singer of Coldwell Banker in Fort Lauderdale.
Here's how I translate this from RealEstateSpeak to English: "The boom in housing prices that you all loved so much was fueled in large part by bogus appraisals that allowed the whole nation to fantasize about endlessly-increasing property values, without limit. Now appraisers are being confined to boring old reality. If you want your house to increase in value, let us go back to making things up."
Tension in subdivision? Byron uses AK-47 to scare neighbor - The Freeman » The Freeman Sections » Cebu News
The confrontation started when Garcia’s group took over the leadership of the homeowners association of the subdivision yesterday.
Among the first things he did was to change the guards by removing those that were hired by the subdivision developer, Filinvest, with those from Password Security Agency.
Garcia said that when he called the attention of his neighbor about the speed bumps, the American cussed at him.
He alleged that the American told him, “I don’t care who you are. You are nobody.”
Garcia said that he did not like what he heard and showed his AK-47 to the American and said, “Yes, I am nobody but I have this.”
Yeah, so just in case you think your HOA president is difficult to deal with, try the Philippines. Thanks to Fred Pilot for the link.
Vancouver, BC—the city that has served as a North American icon for creating liveable inner cities—is having its own “laneway” renaissance (as alleys are known here). However, in Vancouver, the revival was spawned by sky-high real estate prices, a lack of affordable housing, and an ingenious plan to create ‘hidden density’ in the city’s most desirable single-family neighborhoods. Whereas some might see these underutilized swaths of pavement as merely needing a little beautification, the City saw it as an opportunity to provide badly-needed rental units.
Tiny, tiny homes in alleys.