Friday, December 16, 2011

Occupy your HOA!

Yes! Eliminate the grief and injustices within your HOA! Eliminate your HOA BULLY BOARD! Help change Nevada's NRS116 Laws to make them more: "HOME-OWNER FRIENDLY"! By E-Mailing our State Legislatures by the Tens of Thousands of 'Nevada' Homeowners! Demand your HOA show complete Transparency! DO NOT let your 'Royal' Board Members dictate policy that is most times unfair and vindictive! DEMAND that ALL Governing Documents and Financial Reports be posted on your Community Website so that you......The HOMEOWNER....can study them, print YOUR LEISURE! Demand that you as a Homeowner.........gets to have a 'say' in your HOA 24/7 365 days a year, from the convenience of your Home Computer! You need never again attend a 'lame' HOA Meeting where you struggle to hear what is being said? And then are allowed only TWO MINUTES TO SPEAK! Demand that you, as a HOMEOWNER, gets to have 'Informational Voting Rights' in your HOA from the convenience of Your Home Computer 24/7 365 days a year! Yes!


The "occupy" movement is becoming synonymous with any kind of organized protest. Including this one in Nevada protesting HOA "bully boards." These occupiers also want to be able to avoid occupying the HOA club room for "lame" HOA meetings and are calling for more transparent government in Privatopia. Seems to me that's achievable with current technology and doesn't require an act of the legislature.

HOA uses DNA tests to target dog owners who don't scoop poop

Through a program called PooPrints, the doggie DNA goes into a world pet registry that the company says can be used as a "whodunnit tool."

When a pet owner leaves their pooch's package behind, for $60 per poop, the HOA collects and sends a sample to a lab in Knoxville, Tennessee.

"Dogs defecate and you should pick up after your dog, but, I mean, DNA testing to solve the 'crime' is going too far," Justin says.

Dog owners were given no choice in the matter.

"Basically, if you don't do it you're gonna get fined."

Another clash between condo life and canines.

Associations can benefit from short sales vs. foreclosures -

Associations can benefit from short sales vs. foreclosures -
Foreclosures are an unfortunate circumstance for borrowers and lenders, but community associations also take a hit. Struggling owners who owe more than their homes are worth often are behind in their assessments as well as their mortgages. Associations are lean operations, and when just a few owners don't pay, the rest must make up the difference or leave bills unpaid.

A short sale can be a satisfying resolution for all parties, say many real estate and association professionals.

True, but the association has no power to make a short sale happen. That is between the owner in default on the mortgage and the bank. And check out this statement: "Lenders prefer short sales over foreclosures because foreclosures are more expensive and time-consuming, said Eric Hamilton, a mortgage consultant with Wells Fargo Home Mortgage in Aurora." With no disrespect meant to Mr. Hamilton, this is not what is happening. It is very difficult to arrange a short sale because the "lender" won't agree to it. The reason is that this term "lender" is a misnomer. Mortgages are not owned by actual lenders. Mortgages are sold by originators, who then may or may not become the "servicer" of the loan. Mortgages are owned by investment trusts who buy residential mortgage backed securities. The servicer collects the payments and sends them to the trust, and handes the foreclosure. These servicers do not want to spend time and energy negotiating short sales. They want to prosecute foreclosures, because that's how they get paid. Many of the servicers are banks that hold second mortgages which would be wiped out in a short sale, a conflict of interest that is preventing short sales.

Now That the Factories Are Closed, It’s Tee Time in Benton Harbor, Mich. -

Now That the Factories Are Closed, It’s Tee Time in Benton Harbor, Mich. -
All over Michigan, counties are scrambling to find ways to reinvent their outdated economies. Two recurring themes in this effort have been attracting tourism and retaining corporations. Michigan’s Republican governor, Rick Snyder, a former venture capitalist, recently signed an overhaul of the state tax code that cuts business taxes by $1.7 billion, while committing $25 million to the “Pure Michigan” advertising campaign, which features local celebrities like Tim Allen urging people to visit the state. In this context, the goings-on in Benton Harbor make a certain kind of sense — not just Harbor Shores, which was intended to lure weekenders from Chicago, roughly two hours away by car, but the other major construction project under way in town: a new, heavily tax-incentivized, $68 million, 270,000-square-foot corporate campus for Whirlpool. The juxtaposition of Benton Harbor’s impoverished population and its two rising monuments to wealth — all wedged into a little more than four square miles — make it almost a caricature of economic disparity in America. But at the same time, it offers a window into one possible future for towns across the country, places that can no longer support their own economies or take care of their citizens and may ultimately have no choice but to turn their fate over to private industry and nonprofits. The way things are going, more and more states may start to look like Michigan, and more and more towns may start to look like Benton Harbor.
The general idea is that public local governments get so impoverished due to loss of their tax base that they give suicidal tax breaks to corporate overlords who build playgrounds for the rich, all in the hope of attracting tourists who will buy stuff in town.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

BBC News - The scandal of the Alabama poor cut off from water

BBC News - The scandal of the Alabama poor cut off from water
Banks stand to lose millions of dollars in debt repayments if the biggest municipal bankruptcy in American history is allowed to proceed.

But the real victims of the financial collapse in the US state of Alabama's most populous county are its poorest residents - forced to bathe in bottled water and use portable toilets after being cut off from the mains supply.

And there is widespread anger in Jefferson County that swingeing sewerage rate hikes could have been avoided but for the greed, corruption and incompetence of local politicians, government officials and Wall Street financiers.

The bankruptcy of Jefferson County was caused by a toxic stew of local government corruption and Wall Street greed. The county bought a gold-plated sewer system and then was encouraged by JP Morgan to get all creative with paying for it. The result? "The facility, which has been under construction since 1996, was meant to cost about $300m. But the bill soared to $3.1bn after construction problems and a series of bond and derivatives deals that went sour in the financial meltdown of 2008. Investment bank JP Morgan Securities and two of its former directors have been fined for offering bribes to Jefferson County workers and politicians to win business financing the sewer upgrade."

Meter company sends city $13.5 million bill for disabled parking - Chicago Sun-Times

Meter company sends city $13.5 million bill for disabled parking - Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Parking Meters LLC sent the city a $13.5 million bill to cover losses from people who used disability placards or license plates to park for free in metered spots between Feb. 28, 2010, and Feb. 28, 2011, records show. The parking-meter company didn’t gauge how many of those drivers were legitimately disabled — though its surveys have city officials convinced that fraud played a major role in the bill being that high.
Here is the latest insult on top of injury from the mysterious combine that owns Chicago's parking meters. Former Mayor Daley jammed through the Bozo the Clown city council what is probably the stupidest privatization arrangement in the history of any major city, and it just keeps on giving and giving--problems, that is. Nobody can really figure out who actually owns the meters during this long-term lease. This LLC is just a front for some weird combination of investor groups--apparently the main investors are sovereign wealth funds from the Middle East.

City Saves Snoopy House Christmas Display Amid Foreclosure - The Consumerist

City Saves Snoopy House Christmas Display Amid Foreclosure - The Consumerist
After a homeowner lost his family house to foreclosure, he was threatened with also taking away a neighborhood tradition, in the form of a sprawling Snoopy Christmas display. But the community isn't letting that happen.
Thanks to Mystery Reader for this semi-heart-warming story.

Mortgage rates fall to record lows - Dec. 15, 2011

Mortgage rates fall to record lows - Dec. 15, 2011
Hey--better rush right out and buy a condo. It's the perfect time to buy--didn't you hear?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Realtors: We Overcounted Home Sales for Five Years - US Business News - CNBC

Realtors: We Overcounted Home Sales for Five Years - US Business News - CNBC
Data on sales of previously owned U.S. homes from 2007 through October this year will be revised down next week because of double counting, indicating a much weaker housing market than previously thought...Early this year, the Realtors group was accused of overcounting existing homes sales, with California-based real estate analysis firm CoreLogic claiming sales could have been overstated by as much as 20 percent.
So the National Association of Realtors got caught by CoreLogic cooking the numbers, and now they admit double counting. Add this to the endless list of lies, mistakes, and fraud in the real estate market. Mortgage companies, banks, appraisers, realtors, the ratings agencies, investment banks, mortgage servicers, mortgage "rescue" companies, HOAs and condo associations, and on and there anybody in the whole system you can trust? Given the centrality of this industry to the economy, one would think somebody would clean house and try to restore some credibility, but all I see is a boundless concern for the health of the financial sector.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Report: Sacramento-area housing shift seen as suburban spreads lose appeal

The report released this week by the Urban Land Institute contends that Sacramento and other California metropolitan areas are about to discover they have an "oversupply" of classic subdivision housing, thanks to a sea change in what buyers want and can afford.

Younger people are postponing homebuying, the report says, and when they do buy, more of them will opt for denser, urban-style housing, including small-lot homes, town houses and condominiums near transit, jobs, nightlife and other amenities. A higher percentage are likely to rent indefinitely because they cannot afford a home. At the same time, more baby boomers will seek buyers for their suburban spreads.

If the ULI's view holds true, some middle class neighborhoods already hit by recession and foreclosures could deteriorate further. One local planner says he fears an end result could be community blight.

Jack Lessinger's 1990 prediction of downscaled suburban hoods along with the perfessor's prognostication that Privatopia will go condo. Especially in California, where condos have historically comprised the bulk of common interest developments versus planned unit developments. One homebuilder group however questions the report as ULI propaganda to promote urban infill development.

China's housing bubble deflating -

China's housing bubble deflating -
Home prices and sales plunge after China's government intentionally slams on the brakes. Some recent buyers stage demonstrations, destroy real estate offices and demand refunds of up to 40%.

And remember: nearly all the new housing in China is in CIDs--condos and HOAs. And their management companies make ours look like pussy cats. They hire security firms that actually beat people up for complaining.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Nevada Foreclosure Filings Drop After Anti-Fraud Law Takes Effect

Nevada Foreclosure Filings Drop After Anti-Fraud Law Takes Effect
This is from a month ago but I think I missed it somehow, and it is important:

Foreclosure filings have fallen off sharply in Nevada, just one month after a state law designed to cut down on foreclosure fraud took effect.

Nevada has long been an epicenter of the national foreclosure crisis, with thousands or tens of thousands of distressed properties entering the foreclosure process every month for years. The sudden drop in foreclosure filings with the advent of the new law suggests that shoddy bookkeeping and conflicts of interest may have been widespread, raising concerns on the national level.

According to HousingWire, the new law imposes a $5,000 fine on fraudulent practices like robo-signing, the term for when banks cut corners while processing mortgage paperwork, often by signing it without reading it first.

NPR Reports that Debtors Prisons Are Alive and Well - Credit Slips

NPR Reports that Debtors Prisons Are Alive and Well - Credit Slips
NPR tells the story of Illinois debtor Robin Sanders in Illinois, who was stopped by police for a loud muffler but taken directly to jail on an arrest warrant for failure to appear at a hearing on an unpaid medical bill, all in a lawsuit she was unaware of. Similar stories have been reported in Indiana, Tennessee and Washington, and all involve selling debt to a collection agency, that then files a lawsuit against the debtor requiring a court appearance. A notice to appear in court is supposed to be given to the debtor. If they fail to show up, a warrant is issued for their arrest. According to the story, despite that debtor’s prisons were outlawed early in our country’s history, one-third of all states still allow people who have not paid bills to be jailed.
The Republicans must love this. We are rocketing forward into the 18th century.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Privatization and Oligarchy | Firedoglake

Privatization and Oligarchy | Firedoglake
Another great way to make money risk-free is to tap into taxpayers through privatization. The idea is that government provides necessary services, paid for by taxes. If you can get the government to bow out, you can put that tax money into your own wallet. For-profit proprietary schools, which let you tap into the flood of student loan money Uncle Sam offers to those trying to better themselves, are a great example, as we learn in the New York Times.
A pithy statement of the situation we face. Financiers and profiteers have their eyes on, and in some cases their hooks already in, everything government does or owns. They want to turn everything into a commodity that they can force us to pay them for. Water, clean air, the mail, parks, streets, schools, pensions, health care--you name it, they want it to be provided by private corporations on a for-profit basis. Government, for them, is just a competitor to be crushed.

Require homeowners associations (HOAs) to be subject to the Constitution

Are we united or are there two forms of political government within this great country? If America is to remain a united people, it is time that the US prohibits the writing of private contracts, Declarations of CC&Rs, subject to common law servitudes in order to subvert the application of the US Constitution. It is time that these private local governments be made subject to the US Constitution and stop being treated as independent principalities.

By virtue of an unconscionable adhesion private contract favoring the subdivision developer and HOA board of directors, homeowners associations are allowed to deny constitutional protections and the application of the laws of the land. Over 20% of Americans, who are homeowners living in these private governments, live at the “suffrage of the board,” with state laws that do not punish board violations of the laws or of the governing HOA documents.
George Staropoli of Arizona-based Citizens for Constitutional Local Government has for more than a decade argued that Privatopia is an extra-constitutional form of local government that's prone to abuse of power and thus a danger to civil and property rights. Now he's drafted a petition to the White House urging that Privatopia be deprivatized and subject to constitutional restraints.

It's not clear from the petition how this is to be accomplished. For example, by preempting state enabling statutes that allow the formation of mandatory membership HOAs? The aim of this petition could also be achieved at the state level by repealing HOA authorizing statutes and subjecting existing and future HOAs to state government codes as special districts or taxing authorities.