Saturday, March 21, 2009

Local governments want bailout for their Lehman Brothers losses - Sacramento Politics - California Politics | Sacramento Bee

Local governments want bailout for their Lehman Brothers losses - Sacramento Politics - California Politics | Sacramento Bee: "San Mateo County is part of a far-flung assortment of more than 75 states, counties, cities and special districts that are asking the federal government to replace at least part of the more than $2.2 billion they lost when the Lehman Brothers investment bank went belly up last fall.

The entities range from the California Public Employees' Retirement System, which lost $393.5 million, to the city of Burleson, Texas, which is out $37.22.

Closer to home, Sacramento County ($8 million), the city of Auburn ($125,000), the city of Folsom ($700,000) and the town of Loomis ($500,000) all lost money in the Lehman Brothers debacle"

As Fred Pilot says, the bailout breadline grows.

Bad News for Newspapers - Interactive Graphic -

Bad News for Newspapers - Interactive Graphic -
This is an amazing graphic. The newspaper industry seems to be in free fall.

The Associated Press: New condo loan rules could hurt distressed areas

The Associated Press: New condo loan rules could hurt distressed areas: "Under the new regulations, Fannie Mae will reject any mortgage for a condo buyer if more than 15 percent of the other owners are delinquent on their association fees. What's more, Fannie Mae will only guarantee mortgages in new or newly converted condo developments if 70 percent of the units are sold or under contract.

Critics say the rules, which went into effect this month, could force some new developments into bankruptcy because the 70-percent requirement will be hard to reach if buyers can't get a loan."

The noose is tightening around the neck of many a condo development. It is one thing after another. Renters and assessment delinquencies are becoming serious problems as lenders and insurance companies get concerned about the future of condominiums.

Channel 4 Local News and Weather for Reno-Tahoe Region: Reid seeks to clarify stimulus rule on casinos

Channel 4 Local News and Weather for Reno-Tahoe Region: Reid seeks to clarify stimulus rule on casinos: "LAS VEGAS (AP) -- Nevada Sen. Harry Reid has sent a letter to President Barack Obama asking for clarification to a provision that restricts casinos from using federal stimulus funds.

The Democratic majority leader says in a letter sent Friday that the provision is 'overly broad' and is discouraging nonprofit groups from applying for stimulus money."

This is what happens when the nation has a Senate majority leader who happens to be a senator from the great state of Nevada, where the economy is tanking because the casinos are empty. He is trying to divert our tax dollars to the casinos, even though the stimulus bill says that isn't allowed. If people were upset about the AIG bonuses, I would think they would be apoplectic over this maneuvering.

Bowing Down to the HOA Police

Bowing Down to the HOA Police: "Seeing as my homeowner's association has it out for me this year--they have yet to go after all the other 'for sale' and 'for rent' violators in the neighborhood--I'm going to have to at least tackle the weed problem this week. I wouldn't put it past them to make an example out of me on the weed situation as well, even if there are houses with far worse yards in the subdivision."
A blog post lamenting the injustice and inconvenience of one person's HOA.

Neighbors in gated community say break-ins steal their "paradise" | WINK News - Southwest Florida | Local & Florida

Neighbors in gated community say break-ins steal their "paradise" | WINK News - Southwest Florida | Local & Florida: "Neighbors WINK News spoke with say the gate access into Herons Glen Country Club is really a false sense of security, because someone's getting in -- uninvited.

'It was broken in; there was glass all over the car inside.'

Harry Wright's car window was smashed in just two weeks ago. Now, he's fuming over another break-in inside his gated community.

'It is unbelievable,' Wright says. 'I mean we all walk around here and call it paradise, and it it is except when you get up and find out another house has been broken into.'"

The fact is that most gated communities are no safer than any other subdivision. They just offer an illusion of security. They probably keep out certain kinds of unwelcome visitors, but any real crook can get in. In order to get an elevated level of real security you need real entry controls, perimeter walls, and internal surveillance. That adds up to some real money and it has to be maintained, which means it is for the rich. The middle class can't afford real security, so many of them settle for the illusion and are disappointed to discover the truth.

But how about that 90 year old lady who hit the crook with her walker?

Friday, March 20, 2009

Talking Business - From Washington, an A.I.G. Flogging for the Masses -

Talking Business - From Washington, an A.I.G. Flogging for the Masses - "By week’s end, I was more depressed about the financial crisis than I’ve been since last September. Back then, the issue was the disintegration of the financial system, as the Lehman bankruptcy set off a terrible chain reaction. Now I’m worried that the political response is making the crisis worse. The Obama administration appears to have lost its grip on Congress, while the Treasury Department always seems caught off guard by bad news.

And Congress, with its howls of rage, its chaotic, episodic reaction to the crisis, and its shameless playing to the crowds, is out of control. This week, the body politic ran off the rails."

I agree. I cannot recall ever seeing such blatantly dishonest and reckless behavior from Congress or the President, let alone both combined.

2 corporate credit unions taken over by government - Yahoo! Finance

2 corporate credit unions taken over by government - Yahoo! Finance: "WASHINGTON (AP) -- Federal regulators on Friday seized control of two large institutions that provide wholesale financing for U.S. credit unions, a move they say was needed to stabilize the credit union system.

The National Credit Union Administration said it has taken over and put into conservatorship the two corporate credit unions, U.S. Central Federal Credit Union, based in Lenexa, Kan., and Western Corporate Federal Credit Union, in San Dimas, Calif. U.S. Central has about $34 billion in assets while Western Corporate, known as WesCorp, has an estimated $23 billion in assets."

Well. It certainly is nice to see the economic recovery moving right along. I don't recall the president mentioning this on the Tonight Show last night, but I'm sure it was at the forefront of his mind, right next to the camera angles for his next magazine cover shoot.

Local allies in public health: Fish - Las Vegas Sun: "The newest sign of these economic times can be found hanging on back-yard gates throughout the valley:

“Fish at work.”

It’s public health authorities’ way of alerting neighbors that, yes, the algae-filled swimming pool in the back yard of that foreclosed or abandoned home is a potential breeding ground for mosquitoes — but not to worry, our fish are on the case."

The foreclosed homes have absolutely disgusting pools (the article has a photo of one in Henderson) that turn into mosquito breeding grounds. The public health officials dump in the mosquito fish and put up a cute sign.

However, the sign means that nobody can put pool cleaning chemicals in the water to get rid of the disgusting mess, because the chemicals will kill the fish. So this solution works fine, except that nobody can clean the pool. I wonder what happens if the HOA has a rule saying you can't have an Amazonian lagoon in your backyard.

Rent-a-cops could write tickets on South Side :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: City Hall

Rent-a-cops could write tickets on South Side :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: City Hall: "Private security guards patrolling three Far South Side commercial strips would be empowered to write tickets -- for everything from parking and moving violations to loitering, littering and graffiti -- under a groundbreaking plan that faces strong resistance from rank-and-file Chicago Police officers.
The controversial idea comes at a time when City Hall is slowing police hiring and violent crime is up. Aldermen Anthony Beale (9th) and John Pope (10th) said they're putting the finishing touches on an ordinance that would mark a precedent-setting expansion of the powers of private security officers hired by local property owners."

This is a huge expansion of something that has been going on for years in the Marquette Park neighborhood. My former doctoral student Jim Pastor wrote his dissertation about it. There is now one firm in mind--Total Security Management of Oakbrook Terrace. This being Chicago, questions begin to come to mind immediately, but I will hold off on that kind of speculation for now.

Thumbprint will be required for home sellers :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: Business

Thumbprint will be required for home sellers :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: Business: "You'll soon need more than your John Hancock to sell your house in Cook County. Homeowners will have to submit their right thumbprint to a notary public to sell their house under a state law that starts June 1.

The law is intended to deter housing fraud, which often involves forging a property owner's signature on a deed and selling the property illegally. Sellers also must provide valid photo identification. The thumbprints will not be public records."

So this is a done deal. When I posted on this it was criticized, but it seems positive proof of ID will be necessary to sell a house in Cook County. - Katten and Jenner & Block Lay Off Lawyers, Staff - Katten and Jenner & Block Lay Off Lawyers, Staff: "Katten Muchin Rosenman and Jenner & Block, two law firms with the bulk of their lawyers in Chicago, have collectively cut an additional 23 lawyers and 80 staff members, the firms said. Katten, which now has about 625 lawyers, dismissed 23 attorneys, including 12 associates and seven non-equity partners, six paralegals and 40 administrative staff members as part of a broader effort to reduce costs. The cost-cutting program will also cut base salaries by 20 percent for associates who last year failed to bill within 200 hours of their 2008 target. Jenner & Block, a firm with 461 attorneys, said it's eliminating 34 support staff positions in its Chicago and Washington offices to reduce costs after benefitting from technological improvements.

Both firms dismissed attorneys late last year in response to the slowdown in business caused by the economic recession. Katten cut 21 associates and counsel in October while Jenner edged 10 partners out the door that same month."

Times must be getting tough if big firms like these are laying off lawyers.
Forecast for recession events from California Research Bureau
Fred Pilot sent the link to this report. It is full of data-based forecasts. The housing market in California won't start to head back up until the second half of 2010, they say.

Living on the Edge: 5 Clifftop Towns - (clifftop towns, scary towns)

Living on the Edge: 5 Clifftop Towns - (clifftop towns, scary towns)
These photos are spectacular. Some places where you don't want to have a sleepwalking problem.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

In Detroit, Artists Look For Renewal In Foreclosures : NPR

In Detroit, Artists Look For Renewal In Foreclosures : NPR: According to this NPR story, you can buy a house in Detroit for $100. That's one hundred dollars.

Barack Obama's Teleprompter's Blog: "Reflections from the hard drive of the machine that enables the voice of the Leader of the Free World"
This is funny.

Dodd: Administration pushed for language protecting bonuses -

Dodd: Administration pushed for language protecting bonuses - "(CNN) -- Senate Banking committee Chairman Christopher Dodd told CNN Wednesday that he was responsible for language added to the federal stimulus bill to make sure that already-existing contracts for bonuses at companies receiving federal bailout money were honored.

Dodd acknowledged his role in the change after a Treasury Department official told CNN the administration pushed for the language.

Both Dodd and the official, who asked not to be named, said it was because administration officials were afraid the government would face numerous lawsuits without the new language.

Dodd, a Democrat, told CNN's Dana Bash and Wolf Blitzer that Obama administration officials pushed for the language to an amendment designed to limit bonuses and 'golden parachutes' at those companies.

'The administration had expressed reservations,' Dodd said. 'They asked for modifications. The alternative was losing the amendment entirely.'

On Tuesday, Dodd denied to CNN that he had anything to do with adding the language, which has been used by officials at bailed-out insurance giant AIG to justify paying millions of dollars in bonuses to executives"

So now the truth is out. And what of the feigned indignation of all these Democrats in Congress, such as Barney Frank, who actually VOTED FOR THIS. And what of the feigned indignation of President Obama, whose Treasury Secretary ASKED FOR THIS to be put in the stimulus package?

U.N. panel says world should ditch dollar | U.S. | Reuters

U.N. panel says world should ditch dollar | U.S. | Reuters: "LUXEMBOURG (Reuters) - A U.N. panel will next week recommend that the world ditch the dollar as its reserve currency in favor of a shared basket of currencies, a member of the panel said on Wednesday, adding to pressure on the dollar."
So things are just going swimmingly on the international front.
'Defenders' help homeowners fight eviction - "Like millions of Americans, Thompson got caught up in the subprime fiasco, taking a loan that started in 2003 with a low interest rate before adjusting two years later to a rate far above what she could afford. Now, the bank owns the home, and eviction papers are on their way.

Yet rather than move, Thompson is gearing up for battle. She has enlisted the help of a team of people calling themselves 'home defenders.' More than 1,000 defenders have signed up online.

They are fellow homeowners, concerned citizens and activists who are trained in civil disobedience. They are ready to confront anyone who shows up to evict Thompson, even if it means being arrested."

This is ACORN, Obama's "community organizer" buddies, taking their squatters rights tactics from the projects and the apartments to the single family home market. ACORN is getting money from the stimulus package, and Obama intends to have them participate in the 2010 Census as well.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Volokh Conspiracy - -

The Volokh Conspiracy - -: "Is the Stimulus Bill Constitutional?

This week, Governor Mark Sanford announced that South Carolina will reject a large chunk of the stimulus funds targeted for his state. The state legislature may disagree. If so, this could set up a confrontation over the constitutionality of the stimulus, specifically the provision that purports to enable state legislatures to bypass Governors and accept funds on behalf of their state. Professor Ron Rotunda doubts this provision is constitutional."

Beth flags this Volokh Conspiracy thread that follows the Rotunda piece I linked below. I think this one will end up before the US Supreme Court.

Bob Dylan's toilet smell blows in the wind: "A family living near the 67-year-old folk and rock icon's house in the posh California beachside community of Malibu have complained to city officials about an outdoor portable toilet, which is apparently used by guards on Dylan's compound.

Cindy and David Emminger say the toilet wafts fumes from waste treatment chemicals, and that the smell carried by breezes from the Pacific Ocean makes their family feel ill.

'It's a scandal - 'Mr Civil Rights' is killing our civil rights,' David Emminger told the Los Angeles Times."

Fred Pilot found this little nugget. Sounds like a regular desolation row out there. His neighbors think Dylan ought to serve somebody, but Dylan said, it ain't me, babe, so the mayor said don't think twice, it's alright.

Feel free to take it from here.

Some strings attached --

Why the stimulus bill is unconstitutional -- "Because some governors might not accept the money, Congress added a unique provision, in subsection 1607(b): 'If funds provided to any State in any division of this Act are not accepted for use by the Governor, then acceptance by the State legislature, by means of the adoption of a concurrent resolution, shall be sufficient to provide funding to such State.'

If state law does not give the state legislature the right to bypass the governor, how can Congress just change that law? Where does Congress get the power to change a state constitution?"

Ronald Rotunda is a law professor. I think his argument makes sense. This is what happens when Congress passes a huge bill without reading it, I guess.

Scenes from the recession - The Big Picture -

Scenes from the recession - The Big Picture -
These are some evocative photographs, believe me.

AIG execs demand Senators "resign or commit suicide"

AIG execs demand Senators "resign or commit suicide": "AIG Vice Chairman and Chief Marketing Officer Robert G. Krebs suggested that Senators Chris Dodd (D-CT), Charles Grassley (D-IA) and Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) take a 'Japanese approach' toward accepting responsibility for the collapse of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac by resigning or killing themselves."
No, it didn't really happen. It is a spoof. But really--who is the bigger failure: AIG or Congress?

ESCONDIDO: Gated apartments slated to replace crumbling city neighborhood : North County Times - Californian

ESCONDIDO: Gated apartments slated to replace crumbling city neighborhood : North County Times - Californian: "ESCONDIDO ---- A gated community featuring 55 shiny townhomes and apartments may soon be built on the former site of a crumbling Escondido neighborhood that has been notorious for gangs, drugs and violence.

After spending more than a year acquiring 13 of the 19 apartment buildings on the Elder Place cul-de-sac, city officials said Tuesday that they are ready to move forward with plans to build a new low-income rental community on the 5-acre site.

The transformation will rid central Escondido of a crime haven and may also catalyze other redevelopment projects nearby, city officials and neighborhood leaders said."

Escondido is in northern San Diego County. It's nice to see some redevelopment going on someplace.

COLUMN: Association members: Know your rights | association, know, members - Opinion -

COLUMN: Association members: Know your rights | association, know, members - Opinion - "One of the first signs that something may be wrong is when board members meet without informing the membership. You can't attend a meeting that you don't know about.

Another warning sign occurs when you are denied access to association records. The law requires that board meetings be open to all members and that members are given access to all records. There is a narrow and limited exception involving litigation or personnel matters.

But some boards and managers abuse this limited exception as an excuse to hold closed-door meetings or to deny members' requests, even when the exception clearly does not apply.

The point here is that members have rights. And with those rights come responsibilities.

There is no government agency monitoring your community association. It is strictly up to association members to self-police how the management and board of directors operate your association. That is exactly why you have the right to attend meetings and to access records."

Here is a short and sweet statement of what owners need to be careful about.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Right Side Politics Examiner: Obama Received a $101,332 Bonus from AIG

Right Side Politics Examiner: Obama Received a $101,332 Bonus from AIG: "Senator Barack Obama received a $101,332 bonus from American International Group in the form of political contributions according to The two biggest Congressional recipients of bonuses from the A.I.G. are - Senators Chris Dodd and Senator Barack Obama."
I haven't verified this by going to Open Secrets, but if it is goodness.

The 46: Convergence: Democrats, AIG, Banks, and the Muni-Bond Scandal

The 46: Convergence: Democrats, AIG, Banks, and the Muni-Bond Scandal: "Amidst all of the attacks on AIG bonuses, the release of the banks and states they paid money to shows an amazing connection to the muni-bond scandal."
This is an extremely detailed and complete analysis of what could turn into another big blow to the economy.

County administrator resigns following gun accusations : "CITRUS COUNTY (Bay News 9) -- Citrus County's administrator has resigned following accusations he brought a holstered gun to a homeowner's association meeting."
He has a carry permit, but they say he wasn't concealing it, but had it in plain view. I wonder if he was sending a message of some sort to those in attendance.

U.S. housing starts rebound

U.S. housing starts rebound: "WASHINGTON (Reuters) – New U.S. housing starts unexpectedly rebounded in February, surging 22.2 percent, according to data on Tuesday that provided a rare dose of good news for the recession-hit economy and fractured housing market.

The Commerce Department said the jump in housing starts to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 583,000 units was the biggest percentage rise since January 1990."

That's good news indeed.

Bees move into foreclosed home in Port St. Lucie : St. Lucie County : TCPalm: "'Yesterday my daughter was coming home from school, walking down the sidewalk over there and next thing you know she was surrounded by bees,' said Mellons.

He says the bees chased his daughter and a friend as the girls ran into their homes. He's afraid the bees might be the aggressive, Africanized variety, the so-called 'killer bees.'

The house is one of more than 10,000 foreclosed homes in St. Lucie County. Local governments are already having trouble tracking down who owns these places, trying to force the owners to pay taxes and maintain their properties. Dealing with pests becomes one more problem."

This foreclosure crisis is getting Biblical on us.

Amid AIG Furor, Dodd Tries to Undo Bonus Protections He Put In -

Amid AIG Furor, Sen. Chris Dodd Tries to Undo Bonus Protections He Put In - "While the Senate was constructing the $787 billion stimulus last month, Dodd added an executive-compensation restriction to the bill. That amendment provides an “exception for contractually obligated bonuses agreed on before Feb. 11, 2009” -- which exempts the very AIG bonuses Dodd and others are now seeking to tax.

The amendment made it into the final version of the bill, and is law.

Separately, Sen. Dodd was AIG’s largest single recipient of campaign donations during the 2008 election cycle with $103,100, according to"

Not only did Democrat Dodd put this in the bill. President Obama signed it into law. And now they are outdoing each other denouncing AIG for paying the bonuses they were legislatively authorized to pay.

At least, that's the way it looks to me.

Monday, March 16, 2009

More Debtors Choose Personal Bankruptcy --

More Debtors Choose Personal Bankruptcy -- "Nationwide, personal bankruptcies rose 33 percent in 2008, to more than 1 million, according to the American Bankruptcy Institute. In Connecticut, they rose 51 percent, to 7,239, The Warren Group, a Boston research firm, reported in February."
I think this will go higher. As the article explains, sometimes there are ways to keep the house.

Homeowners Association: Homeowners Association Will Foreclose On Your House If You Don't Pay $267.58

Homeowners Association: Homeowners Association Will Foreclose On Your House If You Don't Pay $267.58: "Adam Chavarria says his unpaid dues were the result of poor communication from the association as to his payment due date.

Chavarria, who bought his home in July 2004, said the association had sent a bill and coupon book in previous years to help in payments, but not last year.

'I didn't have a problem paying,' he said.

Chavarria says his next personalized written communication from the association was a 'formal notice' of default telling him to pay $267.58, including $100 in legal fees, or have his home auctioned off between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. April 7.

'That was kind of a shock. For a couple hundred dollars, I thought that was a bit much,' Chavarria said."

Mystery Reader sent this link to another story on the Texas HOA that is foreclosing on 84 homes. It appears that Mr. Chavarria's case doesn't fit the HOAs story of people who just refused to pay.

China's Own Version of the Real Estate Bust - TIME

China's Own Version of the Real Estate Bust - TIME: "The long-running boom in the construction of new apartments and houses across urban China ended abruptly last year and is now unwinding. Deflation is evident in Beijing and Shanghai in particular, where real estate developers and brokers report prices will likely be down 15% to 20% this year. Prices in the once booming city of Shenzhen are down more than 18% from year-ago levels. Nationwide, according to a recent forecast by economists at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, housing prices in China may decline 10% to 15% this year, as the overall economy struggles amidst the global financial crisis."
Nearly all the new housing in China is what we would call condominium ownership with private management companies.

HOA moves to foreclose on 84 homes

HOA moves to foreclose on 84 homes: "In a rare move, a South Side homeowners association has filed to foreclose on 84 homes in the Mission Creek community because of unpaid association dues.

That’s 21 percent of the roughly 400 homes in the community, based on data from The 84 are set to go on the auction block April 7 at the Bexar County Courthouse — an event that would devastate the neighborhood’s property values, experts say.

Judith Gray, an attorney hired as the auction trustee, said the association is foreclosing because many homeowners have not paid dues for several years, and the multiyear loss of those dues is making it difficult for the association to function and to provide services required by the city."

See what is happening? This is the beginning.

Would-be condo renters feel boxed in |

Would-be condo renters feel boxed in | "After trying to sell her condo, Mozaffari leased it and was fined $25 a day by the condo association for exceeding the 25 percent rental cap. Then the tenant left after the building’s staff prevented his business associates from entering the unit. Without a renter, Mozaffari said, she might lose the condo to foreclosure. She already has lost a lake home to foreclosure.

“Where is the empathy, the compassion?” she asked. “They prefer to go by laws and regulations of a document printed five years ago.”

Mozaffari sought an exemption to the limit but was not approved. Such requests pose a dilemma for condo associations. Allowing waivers will help homeowners weather the recession and might curb foreclosures. But lenders and mortgage buyers, such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, worry too many rentals will hurt a community’s stability."

This is why condo associations ban renting. And it isn't that Fannie and Freddie "worry." They just say "no."

Sunday, March 15, 2009

My Way News - Buyers sue Trump over failed Mexico condo project

My Way News - Buyers sue Trump over failed Mexico condo project: "SAN DIEGO (AP) - Donald Trump was sued Friday by buyers who lost millions of dollars in deposits on a failed hotel-condo in the Mexican border city of Tijuana.

The 69 buyers purchased 71 units in Trump Ocean Resort Baja and paid deposits totaling between $18 million and $20 million, said Bart Ring, their attorney.

Buyers were told last month that the luxury oceanfront project was being scrapped and that there was no money left to refund deposits. In December, they were told the project had only $556,000 left after collecting $32.2 million in buyer deposits...Trump Baja demanded about 30 percent down for units that sold from less than $300,000 to $3 million. The lawsuit lists plaintiffs who paid deposits between $53,835 and $470,725. Many put up more than $150,000.

Trump Baja went on sale when Southern California home prices were near their peak. All that remains of the project is a closed sales center and showroom, a paved parking lot and a big hole that cuts a wide swath across the property."

It sound as if somebody told all the buyers, "You're fired!"

And where did the $31,644,000 go?

Pelican Bay residents consider taking powers away from developer WCI : Local : Naples Daily News

Pelican Bay residents consider taking powers away from developer WCI : Local : Naples Daily News: "NAPLES — The Pelican Bay Foundation is taking over control of its community.

That’s the hope, at least, as Pelican Bay homeowners are being asked to amend a declaration and to give complete control to the foundation, stripping developer WCI of most of its power within the exclusive enclave just north of Naples.

This move essentially transfers overall control of the declaration, and what can and cannot be done within Pelican Bay, from WCI to the foundation."

Looks like somebody may be declaring their independence.

The Associated Press: Ohio court will take your case if you supply paper

The Associated Press: Ohio court will take your case if you supply paper: "MOUNT GILEAD, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio city court says it will only accept new case filings from people who bring their own paper.

Judge Lee McClelland of Morrow County Municipal Court in north-central Ohio says the court has just enough paper to handle hearing notices and other documents for pending cases.

McClelland says the court will stop accepting case filings Monday because it cannot afford to reorder more paper. He told The Columbus Dispatch that the county still hasn't paid the bill for basic supplies the court ordered in November."

Can't have law without paper. No paper, no law. So bring your own paper, says Judge McClelland.

Law firm hosted Naples seminar on condominium law : Business : Naples Daily News

Law firm hosted Naples seminar on condominium law : Business : Naples Daily News: "NAPLES — They came armed with bullhorns, whistles and dressed in fatigues.

Attorneys from Katzman Garfinkel Rosenbaum – and its lobbying arm, Community Advocacy Network (CANFL) – came to Naples this past week to address more than 100 condominium property managers and officers before the current state legislative session ends, and before hurricane season begins."

Sounds like a clever marketing strategy. The article says they talked about insurance claims, assessment collection, foreclosure, and...the next state legislative session. BET? Pennsylvania local governments risk it all on swaps they don't understand: "Since 2003, more than 500 municipalities, school boards and municipal authorities across the state have gotten involved in complex "interest-rate- swap" deals, according to information provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED). A swap is the equivalent of a bet: Public officials bet that interest rates are going to move in a favorable direction. Some Pennsylvania public officials have won that bet. Others have lost, big time...
'The real impact of the [economic] meltdown is going to be on school boards and municipalities, not just in Pennsylvania but across the country,' Cox said. Jefferson County, Alabama, has been teetering on the edge of bankruptcy for more than a year because its officials bet, and lost, on swaps.

'The worst,' said Cox, 'is yet to come.'"

Yes, it is. There will be another wave of foreclosures of Alt-A loans; a whole lot of local governments will be in serious trouble over complicated swaps that gave them cash up front and now are bad propositions; and the nation's community associations are facing the biggest challenges to their existence that they have ever known.