Saturday, November 06, 2004

MSNBC - Welcome to what used to be Centerville
How't this for a dateline?
THE TOWN FORMERLY KNOWN AS CENTERVILLE, Maine - Mention Maine and most people think of autumn leaves. But the fall foliage masks a troubled landscape. In Cooper, Maine, citizens say they want to dissolve their town to lower taxes. Going out of business appeals to small places like Cooper, where only 145 people live. With no jobs and an aging population, the tax base is shrinking even though the costs of government keep rising.

"It just got to be more than we could handle," says Sue Dorsey.

Dorsey says that's why the 26 residents of Centerville let the state take over their affairs — everything from education to snow removal.

"There was more to do and less people that wanted to do it," says Dorsey.

Centerville not only locked the door to city hall, it sold it for $3,500.

Since 1980, nine towns in Maine have ceased to be. And more are talking about it. A huge area — half the state — is now part of what's called "the unorganized territory," where there's no local government.


I was born in Maine and lived until I was about 9 in Brownville Junction, a tiny place in the Great North Woods. They could well be among the places considering this option.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Photos from the anti-Bush rally in San Francisco on November 3, 2004
If you want to see some truly disturbing photos of some very unhappy campers in the American Never-neverland, here they are. Not for the faint of heart. If any nation would like to take these folks, I think we could get along nicely without them.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

The Moby Option...
It's not a Robert Ludlum novel. It's singer Moby's proposal for those who supported Kerry...secession. Breaking up the US into three separate "stans."

He doesn't use capital letters. It's kind of an e.e. cummings sort of thing, I guess. I mean, he's so sensitive that he wouldn't want to privilege the first letters of sentences just because they happened to be arbitrarily placed at the beginning.

Thus spake Moby:
can someone remind me why secession is not an option at this point? i mean let's be realistic, we live in a divided country. can't we have the breakaway republics of 'north-east-istan' and 'pacific-stan'? wouldn't the red states be happier without us? we could still travel freely and trade freely with them, but can't we just leave? then you could have 3 countries: northeastistan pacificstan redstateistan
You can read the rest of Moby's collected wisdom on politics and other topics of which he is equally ignorant at this link:

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

US News Article | Unhappy Democrats Need to Wait to Get Into Canada

But can't they make an exception for Michael Moore?

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Disgruntled Democrats seeking a safe Canadian haven after President Bush won Tuesday's election should not pack their bags just yet.

Canadian officials made clear on Wednesday that any U.S. citizens so fed up with Bush that they want to make a fresh start up north would have to stand in line like any other would-be immigrants -- a wait that can take up to a year.
[more--not Moore]

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

ScrappleFace: Kerry Votes for Bush, Before Voting Against Him
Just continuing the election coverage, keeping you aware of current developments.
Legal Affairs publishes article on HOA conflict
Here's the link to this article--thanks to Fred Pilot, because I thought it wasn't online:

"Home Is Where the Heart Is," By Ross Guberman "...provided your dog's weight does not exceed 30 pounds, your shutters are painted a tasteful hue, and your lawn is in accordance with the standards mandated by the architectural-control committee."

Here's a snippet from this long and well-written piece, including a pungent comment from yours truly:

Most HOA board members, who are volunteers, fashion themselves as community representatives or homeowner advocates. But a few board members are hungry for power, their rule subject only to term limits, recall, or rejection at the next ballot box. Corruption can be as unbridled in HOAs as in big-city politics. HOA board members have been caught fixing their own elections, finagling kickbacks for themselves from contractors, and using their newfound authority to settle scores against neighbors. Some residents claim, for example, that after they've protested HOA policies at board meetings, they've been slapped with citations for obscure rule violations, such as putting their trash out on the wrong day or failing to remove weeds around a tree. "The problem with HOAs is that it's a kangaroo court that resolves these conflicts," said Evan McKenzie, a University of Illinois at Chicago political science professor and the author of Privatopia: Homeowner Associations and the Rise of Residential Private Government . "An unaccountable board plays judge and jury."
The News-Press: Bonita Springs - Judge hears Pelican suit against WCI
From southwest Florida comes this story of alleged developer misconduct:
The Pelican Sound Golf and River Club claims WCI failed to account for homeowner association money that should have been turned over when residents took ownership in January 2003.

WCI attorney Thomas Roehn argued in a hearing Monday that Judge Jay Rosman should throw out the majority of the 23 complaints.

The lawsuit's allegations include:

• The reserve fund collected by WCI and paid into by members for future repairs and maintenance was empty.

• WCI marketing and development expenses were subtracted from accounts funded by homeowners for the operation of the association.

• Payment due to the association from cable television service provider MediaOne was remitted to WCI but never turned over to the homeowners.

• WCI filed incorrect personal property tax returns, incurring taxes, penalties and filing fees the association was required to pay.
[and other allegations--or in Florida, maybe they call them "alligators"]

Monday, November 01, 2004

ScrappleFace: Supreme Court Orders Polling Halt, Names Bush Winner
You heard about this, didn't you?

I just discovered that all yesterday's posts didn't get posted here due to some sort of Blogger glitch. I have corrected the problem--but there was some good stuff that now is gone into the ether.

Sunday, October 31, 2004

HOA ombudsman in Florida?
A bill creating a state ombudsman for homeowner associations is expected to be introduced in the state Legislature in December.

It's the latest effort of the statewide Cyber Citizens for Justice Inc. to rein in homeowner association board authority and restore rights to residents.

The bill calls for a position similar to the condo ombudsman, implemented in the round of new condo and homeowner association laws that went into effect in June and October. The ombudsman is a neutral third party who solves disputes between condo owners and boards.

The homeowner association ombudsman would share an office with the condo ombudsman in Tallahassee. Homeowner association residents would pay $4 a year to fund the office, which is how the new condo ombudsman works.

Thanks to Fred Pilot for this link. Looks like CCFJ is back in the trenches again.