Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Trump administration wants to sell National and Dulles airports, other assets across U.S. - The Washington Post

Trump administration wants to sell National and Dulles airports, other assets across U.S. - The Washington Post:



This kind of privatization amounts to selling off valuable public assets to rich investors. Trump and his cronies are strip-mining the public sector. Public lands and public infrastructure are set to be plundered by the 1%. Anything that can turn a profit will be lost to the public and converted to private ownership, put under a long-term lease, or subject to private extraction rights for mining, grazing, logging, etc.

Bundy-backing Vegas councilwoman threatens critics at meeting: ‘If I hear a boo I will have marshals remove you!’

Bundy-backing Vegas councilwoman threatens critics at meeting: ‘If I hear a boo I will have marshals remove you!’

This is right-wing, gun-toting, Cliven Bundy supporter Michele Fiore again. The article says that she became angry after a citizen asked her why she was checking her phone during the meeting. As this article notes, she received some attention a while back, when she was running an HOA meeting and did the same thing. It's interesting that she considers herself a great advocate for freedom from tyrannical government, but when she is the one wielding power, she threatens people with arrest for disagreeing with her too vigorously for her taste. At the HOA meeting, "Fiore quickly ordered city marshals to remove someone who asked her a question about the sale, and a disabled veteran who lives nearby decided to start recording video on his phone."

Monday, February 12, 2018

Trump unveils infrastructure plan: Here's what's in it - Feb. 11, 2018

Trump unveils infrastructure plan: Here's what's in it - Feb. 11, 2018:

You can read the whole thing if you want to, but it doesn't amount to much. Let me boil it down for you.

1. It claims to be a $1.5 trillion dollar federal infrastructure plan.

2. It isn't.

3. It proposes that the federal government would spend only $200 billion dollars, spread over ten years.

4. The rest of the money would magically appear from state, local and (of course) private sources, because...incentives!

5. The American Society of Civil Engineers says we need to spend $4.59 trillion in order to address our aging, inadequate, underperforming, and in some cases dangerous infrastructure.

6. So this proposal is ridiculous. Even if the federal government were actually putting $1.5 trillion to this purpose, it would be less than one-third of what is needed. To chip in $200 billion over a decade is a joke. And to expect cash-strapped state and local governments to pony up these sums is absurd.

7. As for the magic of the private market, all I can see here is the usual Republican smoke and mirrors. They want to sell off public assets (privatization), and create "incentives" for banks to lend and for vendors to do what government should be doing. 70% of the criyeria for obtaining federal funding is getting private money. "The evaluation criteria would be
o the dollar value of the project or program of projects (weighted at 10
percent);
o evidence supporting how the applicant will secure and commit new, non-
Federal revenue to create sustainable, long-term funding for infrastructure
investments (weighted at 50 percent);
o evidence supporting how the applicant will secure and commit new, non-
Federal revenue for operations, maintenance and rehabilitation (weighted
at 20 percent);
o updates to procurement policies and project delivery approaches to improve
efficiency in project delivery and operations (weighted at 10 percent);
o plans to incorporate new and evolving technologies (weighted at 5 percent);
and
o evidence supporting how the project will spur economic and social returns
on investment (weighted at 5 percent)."

8. There is a fundamentally flawed assumption under all this. They always claim that private businesses, that are all about making profits, are going to do things that government has been doing. But the reason government did most of these things is that they are necessary, but not profitable, tasks. So as a general rule, private businesses don't take on such tasks, unless they can make a quick profit and then bail, or unless they can do "cream-skimming" and service only the affluent customers.

8. So if you like expensive toll roads and bridges and tunnels and trains and airports, all of which go to and from places affluent people want to go, then you may get something out of this plan.

9. But for the most part, this "plan" is a bust.


Friday, February 09, 2018

Michigan governor admits his prison food privatization scheme has failed – ThinkProgress

Michigan governor admits his prison food privatization scheme has failed – ThinkProgress

Michigan voters elected this anti-government dunce. Ask people in Flint how that worked out for them. Now he has deprivatized the prison food service because privatization was such a disaster.

Fake homeowners association files real liens on Northland neighborhood after fake bills go unpaid | FOX 4 Kansas City WDAF-TV | News, Weather, Sports

Fake homeowners association files real liens on Northland neighborhood after fake bills go unpaid | FOX 4 Kansas City WDAF-TV | News, Weather, Sports

"KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- For years, people living in a quiet neighborhood in the Northland ignored the invoices that arrived in their mail demanding payment to a homeowners association. “Just want to let you know it's a scam,” Tony Navarro said he was told when he moved to the Summerfield subdivision. “This is not an HOA neighborhood at all. There are no monthly fees.” But then, just before Christmas, a $445 lien was filed against Navarro’s home and more than 30 others. The reason? For not paying dues to the Summerfield Homeowners Association. An HOA that has no board and provides no services...We tried to talk to Lovell, but she wouldn’t even open the door of her home. Speaking behind a window, she told us she had no comment. Later Lovell’s attorney wrote to FOX4 that Lovell thought the neighborhood should have an HOA to pay for the upkeep of the lot containing the neighborhood’s drainage basin. FOX4 Problem Solvers found it surprising that Lovell cared since she lives in Independence -- far from the Summerfield neighborhood. We also wanted to speak to the other person behind the fake Summerfiled HOA, but he was even harder to reach. Al Roberts is in federal prison, convicted of $3 million in mortgage fraud. "

-----------

With local and state governments taking no responsibility for the conduct of CID private governments, there is all kinds of room for people to move into that vacuum. Fraud, embezzlement, association takeover, financial mismanagement--these things could be made less frequent with proper oversight.


Neighbors owe HOA thousands after missed payment - ABC15 Arizona

Neighbors owe HOA thousands after missed payment - ABC15 Arizona

"Scottsdale - Neighbors Ted Koch and Chad Lakridis don't know each other, but both have the same story.  They live in the Desert Ridge Community Association which they both say is unfairly billing them thousands of dollars because of a $15 late fee."

-----------


The Michigan town where only Christians are allowed to buy houses | US news | The Guardian

The Michigan town where only Christians are allowed to buy houses | US news | The Guardian

"The Christian exclusionary component was introduced in the 1940s. This was a time of heightened racial anxiety and antisemitism in the US, with swaths of Jewish refugees denied asylum from Europe – an act supported by a majority of the American public. The Christian-only clause was introduced together with a white-only clause, which the association eliminated the following decade. Catholics were given a 10% quota, which was eventually dropped. Over the years, however, the Christian-only requirement was, if anything, reinforced. The lawsuit charges that Bay View Association, although private (some private entities including gentlemen’s clubs or the Boy Scouts, for example, historically have been able to discriminate), acts in effect as a governmental entity, endowed with the powers to police and enforce laws. As such, the lawsuit claims, it is engaging in religious discrimination in violation of the US and Michigan constitutions, Michigan’s civil rights act and the Fair Housing Act. Mike Steinberg, the legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan, believes the lawsuit is an “open-and-shut case”.

---------------

Interesting case that raises the question of whether and under what circumstances a private organization should be treated as if it were a government. I will be following this.

Thursday, February 08, 2018

The biggest privatisation you’ve never heard of: land | Brett Christophers | Opinion | The Guardian

The biggest privatisation you’ve never heard of: land | Brett Christophers | Opinion | The Guardian:



"All told, around 2 million hectares of public land have been privatised during the past four decades. This amounts to an eye-watering 10% of the entire British land mass, and about half of all the land that was owned by public bodies when Thatcher assumed power. How much is the land that has been privatised in Britain worth? It is impossible to say for sure. But my conservative estimate, explained in my forthcoming book on this historic privatisation, called The New Enclosure, is somewhere in the region of £400bn in today’s prices. This dwarfs the value of all of Britain’s other, better known, and often bitterly contested, privatisations."

----------------

And what did we do here in the US? We quietly privatized a vast array of local government services, and effectively privatized the land, where CIDs are located. 

Monday, February 05, 2018

When a Co-op Board Misbehaves - The New York Times

When a Co-op Board Misbehaves - The New York Times: "Ms. Liang and other shareholders have learned through their efforts that because there is no agency responsible for regulating co-op and condo board behavior, there is little recourse for shareholders if they believe a board is misbehaving, other than to take on the significant expense and time required to file a lawsuit."

----------------

People keep discovering this for the first time.

Friday, February 02, 2018

Insurance Law Report: January 2018 - Phelps Dunbar LLP

Insurance Law Report: January 2018 - Phelps Dunbar LLP:

Thanks to Fred Pilot for this link. He notes that it seems like the condo construction defect suit will always be with us. Why are there so many of these suits? I would say it flows from the dynamics and incentives of the real estate development industry.

1.The developers and general contractors all want to maximize profits, which means they all want to minimize costs. So there is always a temptation to cut corners on materials and workmanship. The same goes for the subcontractors in all the trades. Not everybody does this to the same degree, but that practice increases the risk of defects in original construction.

2. And then a great deal of the housing stock is, by definition, constructed during boom periods, when the supply of skilled labor is exhausted in the places where the most housing is going up. Relatively unskilled and inexperienced workers can find work easily.

3. Many of the people who build condos are thinking in terms of immediate profits from quick sales. Contrast this with somebody who builds an apartment complex and intends to draw income from it long-term.

4. There are condos at various ends of the price spectrum. The higher you go, the greater the expectation of quality. During the last housing boom, when the financing was so easy to get, there was a lot of condo housing constructed for people of low to moderate income. Some of that wasn't particularly well-built.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Is it all in the eye of the beholder? Benefits of living in mixed-income neighborhoods in New York and Los Angeles. – JUA Blog

Is it all in the eye of the beholder? Benefits of living in mixed-income neighborhoods in New York and Los Angeles. – JUA Blog

This is a blog post that summarizes an article in the Journal of Urban Affairs by my friend Renaud LeGoix, Elena Vesselinov, and Mary Clare Lennon. The article looks at mixed income neighborhoods and examines what they do and don't accomplish for their residents.



"In this article, we discuss the differences between “design-politics” and “organic” mixed-income neighborhoods. Design-politics neighborhoods are communities influenced by the federal housing policies in integrating former public housing residents with higher income groups. It is believed that such income integration will be beneficial to lower-income groups, where through better housing conditions and role-modeling they will create better lives. The question is do policy intentions correspond to reality, thus the title of the paper, “Is it all in the eye of the beholder?” Is this policy a wishful thinking or a reality?"



  The full article is available free at this link.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

"Privatization Is Bad," says British writer

Privatization Is Bad

"One of Britain’s largest government contractors, Carillion, announced bankruptcy on Tuesday, leaving its 20,000 UK employees unsure of their future and causing layoffs at its subcontractor. The company was £1.5 billion in debt. Whoops! The company is woven into basically every part of the public sector in Britain, from school meals and hospital cleaning to housing for the military."

-------------------

This article explains how the era of privatization brought about government dependency on private contractors, so that if and when a major contractor fails, government doesn't have the staff or the expertise to take over from the contractor. I see the same problem in the US. What happens when cities take a cash payment for a major public asset, such as a bridge or highway, and then the new owner or lessee goes bankrupt? That can also be a strategic bankruptcy, where the corporation doesn't want to put money into an asset to rehab it and decides instead to move their money elsewhere and liquidate the entity that owns or leases the asset. Or when the city happily lays off a lot of employees because they contracted out the public school food service, or he janitorial service, or the teaching, if the contractors don't get the job done? Or if they don't turn enough of a profit and just go out of business? The problem is that before privatization we could be sure that government would continue doing these things, and it doesn't matter whether those activities are profitable or not. After privatization, we don't know that. On the contrary, we know that private corporations do things only as long as they are making a profit. This is where all this nonsense about making government operate like a business comes back to bite us. Governments do things that, by definition, don't turn a profit. When we turn those things over to private corporations, we run the risk that the corporations will bail out on us, and then government has lost the ability to pick up the function without a lot of lost time and extra expense.

And, as this article notes, that profit-seeking creates other problems. Bizarrely, governments end up paying private vendors extra money because of guarantees that are written into their contracts. This has been a huge problem with the Chicago parking meter privatization fiasco. It happened in the UK, too: "This is what happens when you outsource what should be government services, and particularly when you outsource so much to one company: you introduce the likelihood of a whole new kind of total fucking disaster, where the terrible, risky, profit-driven practices that characterize the private sector get mixed in with services that absolutely should not be subjected to that kind of risk, like schools and hospitals. Introducing a profit element to public services can only end in corner-cutting, under-providing and over-charging, and spending more than you would if the government just did it themselves. You end up with a ridiculous situation, where, for instance, Britain’s public health service, which is already underfunded, pays an £82 million settlement to a private company who sued because they didn’t win a contract."

Friday, January 19, 2018

Money man: U.S. billionaire Robert Mercer helped Trump win the presidency — but what does he really want?

Money man: U.S. billionaire Robert Mercer helped Trump win the presidency — but what does he really want?: "“The ultra-wealthy of today differ from the ultra-wealthy in past eras in that they have, a lot of them, no stake in the infrastructure of society,” Magerman said. He’s seen that their wealth does not depend on the health and stability of the country. In fact, they get rich on volatility and instability."

------------

This is one of the main arguments I made in my first book on the rise of private communities. The rich now have their own parallel state of private institutions, and that's where they live, and many of them are like Mercer--they believe that they don't need public government, and everybody who isn't rich is a parasite. They believe that government is just a way for the parasitic many to steal from the productive few. The notion that ordinary people are working their butts off to generate surplus value for the Mercers of the world is lost on them.

Gated communities stepping up security after violent trail of crime alleged on Spring murder suspects | abc13.com

Gated communities stepping up security after violent trail of crime alleged on Spring murder suspects | abc13.com

SPRING, Texas (KTRK) -- Gated communities are increasing security after two violent home invasions and one that ended in the murders of a beloved Spring couple. Jenny and Bao Lam, both 61, were ambushed in their garage in the Northgate Forest subdivision last week. The three suspects - Khari Kendrick, Aakiel Kendrick and Erick Peralta - then robbed, tortured and shot them to death, according to Harris County Sheriff's investigators. All three have been charged with capital murder. Two days earlier, authorities believe they were in the Champion Lakes Estates community near Tomball...One suspect got into the neighborhood, despite the front gate, on foot. He then looked for an open garage door and caught the male victim off guard. Once inside, he forced the victim to give him the gate code to get his alleged accomplices and their car inside."

------------

Horrible story. It shows how little security is provided in many gated communities. Gates along don't do much to protect residents from people who are determined to get in.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Amazon shortlists 20 cities for second headquarters | Technology | The Guardian

Amazon shortlists 20 cities for second headquarters | Technology | The Guardian:

Chicago is on the short list. But it is embarrassing to see how some of these cities prostrated themselves before the great God Amazon: "Amazon has claimed its new $5bn headquarters will create 50,000 new jobs and the prospect of securing its favour set off an aggressive charm offensive with cities offering huge tax breaks and even sending gifts, including a giant cactus, to attract the company’s attention. Calgary in Canada offered to change its name to Calmazon or Amagary if it won and a local business group offered to fight a bear to win Amazon’s approval. It did not make the list."

The Privatization Agenda Goes Bust

The Privatization Agenda Goes Bust: "The collapse of Carillion, the mammoth UK government contractor that went bankrupt Monday, was wholly made in Britain, although it has negative consequences internationally.

The reason for Carillion’s bankruptcy, which puts vital public services and thousands of jobs at risk, is that the firm and its component companies grew fat during the first phase of neoliberal economic policy and could not cope with the more recent phase, austerity."

------------------------

The record of privatization, after close to 40 years of evaluation, is mixed at best, but it has been profitable for contractors. However, most of those studies are from the pre-2008 era. This article suggests that in the post-2008 environment, austerity policies have put government on a starvation diet. If government doesn't have the money to pay for construction and repair of infrastructure and provision of services, then firms that want to perform those tasks on a privatized contractual basis are in trouble. 

San Rafael condo owners hit with $145,000 special assessment

San Rafael condo owners hit with $145,000 special assessment

"Members of the 36-unit Pinnacle Condominium Association in San Rafael have approved a special assessment that will result in each condo owner having to pay $145,000 to fund a $5.22 million exterior repair project. “That is a major special assessment for a building this size,” said Marjorie Murray, president of the Center for California Homeowner Association Law in Oakland, a clearinghouse for consumer education and referral services for the estimated 9 million California homeowners who now live in a common interest development."

-------------------

This is a long and detailed article about a terrible situation in an old development, built in 1980, that now needs new siding and roof decks. The assessment received 18 "yes" votes. The problem here is that no condo development, no HOA, should ever find itself in the situation of needing a massive special assessment to fund repairs for major building components that have just worn out over time. Boards are supposed to make sure that monthly assessments over decades include enough of a contribution to reserve funds that, when the time comes for a new roof or siding or decks, it is affordable without a six-figure special assessment. As Marjorie Murray, president of the Center for California Homeowner Association Law, put it, “Homeowner associations are required by law to do reserve studies every three years to determine how much they should be saving for capital items like roofs and building infrastructure,” Murray said. “The idea is that boards should plan ahead and save in reserves so that special assessments aren’t necessary.”

And there are reserves, to the tune of $800,000. That won't fund a $5 million repair, but Marjorie also questions why the association has decided to use only $300,000 of their reserves.

There are other questions raised in the article, such as whether this repair plan is the only way to go, and whether the association should get more opinions and try to reduce the cost. But it still comes down to the fact that the reserves are too low to pay for repairs to an old building, and the unwillingness of today's owners to reserve enough money now to pay for future repairs that will benefit future owners. Attorney Tyler Berding has been talking about this problem forever. I have been saying for years that condominium housing demands more from the financial and social resources of owners than many, even most, of them are prepared to deliver. Here you have Exhibit A. In order for this form of housing to function in the long term, and to avoid catastrophic special assessments that drive people into debt or out of their homes, there needs to be government financial oversight of all condominium associations. Stricter reserve study requirements, agency oversight, and mandatory public disclosure of reserve funding levels need to be considered.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Rent or own? The affordability conundrum

Rent or own? The affordability conundrum: "ATTOM Data Solutions reports that 64 percent of Americans now live in places — mostly big metro areas on the East and West coasts — where it is more affordable to rent than own. That means the monthly cost of a mortgage, mortgage interest, insurance and property taxes on a median-priced home in the area will eat up a larger percentage of the average monthly wage there than paying rent on a typical three-bedroom apartment."

--------------------------

It isn't just the the cities on both coasts. The same is true of Chicago, as well as Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, Phoenix, Denver, and Austin. The reason is that in all these places, housing prices have inflated.


The Rise of the Backyard 'Granny Flat' - CityLab

The Rise of the Backyard 'Granny Flat' - CityLab

Yet another good idea that HOAs probably won't allow.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Can Government Officials Have You Arrested for Speaking to Them? - The Atlantic

Can Government Officials Have You Arrested for Speaking to Them? - The Atlantic

The US Supreme Court has this issue before them.  HOA and condo board members aren't government officials, but it will be interesting to watch this case.

It's Becoming Increasingly Hard For California Homeowners To Get Insurance : NPR

It's Becoming Increasingly Hard For California Homeowners To Get Insurance : NPR

"Insurance companies are increasingly dropping homeowners in California because of wildfire risk. There's concern the problem will grow worse after this year's destructive fire season."

----------

Insurance companies have freaked out about property insurance risks in California in years past. Fires, floods, 100-year storms, landslides earthquakes--these events are hard to build into their premium calculations. But homeowners need property insurance, so we shall see what the state legislature has to say about this.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Trump's Infrastructure Plan Is Actually Pence's—And It's All About Privatization

Trump's Infrastructure Plan Is Actually Pence's—And It's All About Privatization

"Pence and his allies like to boast about how Indiana sold control of major roads to private firms, claiming the move prompted corporations to invest money in infrastructure that would otherwise have been funded by taxpayers. But opponents say Indiana made some bad deals that offer a cautionary tale of get-rich-quick scheming, secrecy and cronyism that led the state to sell off valuable assets that were then wildly mismanaged."

------------

This "plan" probably will not lead to construction or maintenance of essential public infrastructure. It is more likely to foster a series of boondoggles in which state and local governments sell off valuable public assets--highways, bridges, etc.--to corporations that will strip them of their value for quick profits

Affordable housing bills signed by Gov. Jerry Brown | The Sacramento Bee

Affordable housing bills signed by Gov. Jerry Brown | The Sacramento Bee

"Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday signed a robust package of housing legislation aimed at addressing California’s unprecedented affordability crisis."
------
This article is from a few months ago, but I think these bills just went into effect. Across much if not most of California, housing is absurdly expensive. In major cities, San Francisco being the most dramatic example, middle class families can't afford to buy a home, and rents are absurdly high. The term "gentrification" doesn't even begin to describe it, because even people who would be considered gentrifiers in Chicago or Atlanta can't buy a home in San Francisco. Similar but somewhat less serious problems exist elsewhere. Median home prices in California are approaching $550,000. There are other problems that spin off from this, such as homelessness, traffic congestion and air pollution resulting from long commutes to work, and segregation by income and wealth. California is beginning to address their affordability crisis, but I think it will be a long and difficult process. Of course, condominium and HOA-run housing were intended to make housing more affordable by increasing density. But now CIDs are so ubiquitous that probably that solution has exhausted itself. Virtually all new housing in California is in CIDs already, and prices are still sky-high.  Here's an article from last June,  where they note that the average condo in San Francisco now sells for $1.2 million, and "For even more perspective, down in Los Angeles—hardly a cheap place to live in its own right—the California Association of Realtors estimates that the average home (house or condo) cost around $480,000 in April. In Orange County it was $775,000. In Santa Cruz, $815,000. But in San Francisco: $1.4 million for a house or condo, very close to Paragon’s own figure and nearly double some of the record highs everywhere else."

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

It’s so hot in Australia that bats’ brains are frying - The Washington Post

It’s so hot in Australia that bats’ brains are frying - The Washington Post: "In Sydney, temperatures hit 117 degrees Fahrenheit on Sunday, the hottest it has been since 1939."

-------------------

While Republicans in the US make the ridiculous claim that cold weather in the winter here means that there is no global warming, there is a heat wave in Australia that is killing bats by the hundreds. Koalas have to be sprayed with water to keep them cool. Asphalt roads are melting.

And of course, extremely cold weather is also evidence of global warming, because it means that the jet stream is losing its ability to hold Arctic air near the North Pole, where it belongs. So, when it gets so cold in Florida that iguanas are falling out of trees, that is consistent with the patterns of extreme weather that climate scientists have been predicting for years. There is also increasing evidence that the Gulf Stream may be slowing.  And of course the Arctic is melting.

Johannesburg's gated communities echo apartheid-era segregation in South Africa — Quartz

Johannesburg's gated communities echo apartheid-era segregation in South Africa — Quartz:

"In order to gain access to an unremarkable suburban road, South Africans have become accustomed to parting with their most personal details. At barriers erected across public roads, people who want to cross into this protected zone fill in their name, surname, cellphone, identity and car registration numbers, and then the exact time of their entry.

The law says they don’t have to when driving on a public road, but most people don’t give a second thought to handing over data in exchange for a sense of personal security in a city like Johannesburg with a reputation for high contact crimes, like murder and robbery.

This payoff, however, has created pockets of development—ranging from middle class suburbia to opulence—walled off from South Africa’s socio-economic reality. It has not only exacerbated inequality by making those beyond the wall invisible, gated communities show how short South Africans’ memory is about restricting the movement of the disenfranchised."

-------------------

Gated private communities are 15% of the real estate market in Gauteng, which is the area around Johannesburg and Pretoria. Half the gated communities in South Africa are in Gauteng. Obviously South Africa has a long and loathsome history of racial oppression by the white minority, and now that legal Apartheid is in the past, new forms of segregation have become prevalent.

Monday, January 08, 2018

We can draw school zones to make classrooms less segregated. This is how well your district does. - Vox

We can draw school zones to make classrooms less segregated. This is how well your district does. - Vox

Veteran says HOA won't allow him to fly American, Marine Corps...

Veteran says HOA won't allow him to fly American, Marine Corps...:



And the homeowner waxes poetic about his flags, except that this dispute isn't about flags--it is about flagpoles. I think that is pretty clear, but local media love this "HOAs hate the American flag" meme, so they make that the headline and the first paragraph. So here's what the association says:



"In this particular case the homeowner installed two 20-foot flagpoles on both sides of his driveway (one on each side) without first submitting the plans or seeking approval. The problem is that oneof the poles is in a utility easement, both poles are within the 25-foot building setback line and the restrictions (and Texas Property Code) only allow for the installation of one flagpole. We have already reached out to the veteran to let him know that the issue is not the flags and are awaiting a response. We are certainly willing to continue to work with this veteran in relocating one of his poles and would be remiss if we did not take this opportunity to thank him for his personal sacrifice and service to our country."

Auburn Community Upset after HOA Tells Them to Leave Garage Doors Open | FOX40

Auburn Community Upset after HOA Tells Them to Leave Garage Doors Open | FOX40:



"AUBURN, Calif. — Residents in a community in California are being forced to open their garage doors during the day. KXTL reports the neighborhood’s homeowner’s association said residents need to keep their garage doors up from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. The policy started after one homeowner was caught allowing people to live in his garage. Many residents say they’re afraid to leave their belongings out in the open, and they’re rather have their garages inspected. Residents who don’t follow the new law will have to pay a $200 fee."

-----------------------

OK, I thought I'd seen or heard it all, but this is a new one on me. Good grief.

Saturday, January 06, 2018

Longtime L.A. Times contributor Donie Vanitzian remembered as champion of homeowner rights – LA Times

Longtime L.A. Times contributor Donie Vanitzian remembered as champion of homeowner rights – LA Times

This is an awful tragedy and a terrible loss. Donie Vanitzian was a great champion of homeowner rights, co-author of two books on common interest housing, and a long-time columnist for the Los Angeles Times. Her column on HOA and condo issues has been running since 2001.

It appears from the stories that she was killed by her husband, who has been charged with her murder.