Thursday, March 16, 2017

HOA: S. Meck students skipping class, damaging property |

HOA: S. Meck students skipping class, damaging property | "CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Residents who live near South Mecklenburg High School say they’re fed up with the recent uptick of students who have been skipping school and roaming their neighborhoods.

“It is a little shorter to come through here than to come on the sidewalk, and so they come through,” says Jill Detweiler, who lives in a neighborhood that backs up to the school.

But some say the students aren’t just roaming, they’re causing property damage. Hamlin Park’s HOA called police March 7 after they say two students bent their perimeter fence causing $150 in damage.

The president of the association later distributed notices to every resident.

“They’re just asking us to be aware of anybody coming through, if anybody’s damaging the fences. Anybody coming through that doesn’t belong here,” says Detweiler."


Wow. A regular crime wave.

Trump Budget: Air Traffic Control Privatization Proposed |

Trump Budget: Air Traffic Control Privatization Proposed |

What could possibly go wrong?

The super-rich in London: they live amongst us, but you won’t run into them (if they can help it) | British Politics and Policy at LSE

The super-rich in London: they live amongst us, but you won’t run into them (if they can help it) | British Politics and Policy at LSE

"Of course this is now a world of pronounced inequality and one in which the public realm and social investment are increasingly at stake in a political vision of the world in which trickle-down economics and naked personal ambition are feted by politicians and think-tanks. The result of these inequalities and social conditions is the production of urban anxieties that translate into bunker style homes as well as the opulent display of defensive measures like remotely accessed gated developments, as affluent residents of the street in Lanchester’s novel Capital learn ‘we want what you’ve got’."


The same is true in the US.

Monday, March 13, 2017

State lawmakers from Miami-Dade submit condo reform law | Miami Herald

State lawmakers from Miami-Dade submit condo reform law | Miami Herald: "After decades of struggling against a condo regulatory system that experts say perpetuates impunity and makes it easy to commit fraud, thousands of condominium owners in Florida may finally see substantial changes in state laws.

Earlier this month, state senators and representatives from Miami-Dade filed a bill that includes 21 reforms to Chapter 718 of the Florida statutes. The reforms seek to correct gaps in the laws and establish criminal penalties for some irregularities in the administration of condos.

The plan classifies falsification of documents, an offense that now carries no legal consequences, as a third degree felony and sets prison terms. It also criminalizes electoral fraud, such as the falsification of signatures on ballots for condo boards of directors, and refusing access to administrative records with the intent to cover up crimes.

The proposal came one year after el Nuevo Herald and Univision 23 published a series of investigative stories on condo abuses in South Florida
, like electoral fraud, falsification of signatures, conflicts of interest, embezzlement and cases of fraudulent bidding.

The series also exposed the lack of enforcement by authorities, from local police departments who refused to investigate allegations of fraud, to widespread negligence at the state agency in charge of enforcing condo laws and regulations and investigating complaints."


HOAs and condo association private governments are vulnerable to embezzlement and fraud, as well as election fraud and manipulation, because in many situations there is virtually no oversight of their actions. Often only a handful of owners are even paying attention to what the association is doing, there is no public disclosure of finances, and state and local governments rarely take an interest in financial oversight of associations. Obviously there should be criminal penalties for fraud and embezzlement, and local prosecutors should take these cases seriously instead of telling people to to away and file a civil suit. But the threat of criminal prosecution alone won't solve the problems. There need to be other incentives, such as some form of mandatory public disclosure of association finances--not just to people who have already signed a contract to buy, and more free or low-cost education programs for all owners.

Also, we need to keep in mind that the rule of law only works in any society if  99% of the time arrest and prosecution are unnecessary.  Informal norms have to govern people's behavior so that they behave legally without having any contact with enforcement authorities. Most of the time that is true of association directors and officers, but if we want to improve this situation then a lot more sunlight on association finances is necessary.

Where Segregation Has Worsened the Housing Divide - CityLab

Where Segregation Has Worsened the Housing Divide - CityLab:

Over the last two decades, America has become increasingly polarized by both class and geography. As the middle class and its neighborhoods have declined, our nation has increasingly divided into rich and poor, and neighborhoods of concentrated affluence have become surrounded by larger spans of concentrated disadvantage.

This pattern is both reflected and reinforced by housing prices. An analysis released today by the real estate company Trulia finds considerable overlap between racial segregation and polarization of housing values across America’s 100 largest metropolitan areas.


Gated communities in particular, and CIDs in general, seem to have contributed to income segregation. They are usually targeted narrowly to certain bands of the income distribution, and their enforced uniformity in design, etc., caters to common tastes and lifestyles.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Homeowner and HOA engage in bluebonnet battle |

Homeowner and HOA engage in bluebonnet battle |

At the Park At Two Creeks they have a homeowners association that says each yard has to be well manicured with no weeds and grass cut below six inches. But one property is causing a bit of a disturbance. "We are passionate about our bluebonnets," said Dee Ann Havely, who has lived in the subdivision for 5.5 years, when her bluebonnet bonanza began. "I planted the first ones. They were just small plants five years ago." But now there are hundreds of them covering much of her front yard..."I think common sense tells you: Sometimes rules are meant to be broken," she said. "And I think these flowers should stay."


Interesting philosophy of rule enforcement. Her "common sense" tells her that sometimes rules are meant to be broken, and by amazing coincidence the rule she has broken is the one that is meant to be broken.