Saturday, September 04, 2010

White House to Deploy Broader Mortgage Aid -

White House to Deploy Broader Mortgage Aid - "Officials say between 500,000 and 1.5 million so-called underwater loans could be modified through the program, the first initiative to target homeowners who are current on their mortgage payments but are at risk of default because they have no equity in their homes. Some experts are warning, however, that the same knots that tied up prior initiatives could do so again.

Under the new 'short refinance' program, banks and other creditors that write down mortgages to less than the value of the property can essentially hand off the reduced loan to the government. The process involves refinancing borrowers into loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration."

I mentioned weeks ago that this was coming. When an underwater borrower hands off a chunk of their debt to "the government," that means "the taxpayers," so I'm pretty sure that means that people like me are paying somebody else's mortgage. I don't know about you, but I'm getting sick of this kind of "aid." Who, precisely, is going to pay a share of my mortgage?

Newspaper chastises Arizona HOA for calling for removal of flag as "debris"

The state Legislature has intervened before on behalf of flag-flying residents against their HOAs. The Avalon Village folks know full well that lawmakers will do it again if they press this matter. The group needs to quit its line-parsing interpretation of the rules and let the flag fly.

Don't tread on Andy McDonel. Or his flag. The fact is, McDonel's HOA lost this argument when it called a classic piece of Americana "debris."

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

God Bless America: HOA reaches accord with resident over patriotic garage door sign

Compromise reached on 'God Bless America' sign

The assistant Delray Beach police chief had used magnetic letters to spell out the words on his garage door, and his actions incurred the wrath of the Springs Hamlet homeowners association. They told him the sign violated a blanket ban, no matter how patriotic the sentiment.

He refused to take it down, saying his rights as an American were being hindered. His stance brought calls from newspapers across the country, and an appearance on Fox News.
I bet all that publicity gave Mr. Milenkovic a good deal of leverage with the HOA, making it more inclined to compromise rather than risking fines and litigation which would have only brought more bad press.

Life imitating art? Sacramento officials investigate real estate company official

Remember that creepy HOA cult classic video titled The Colony that featured an uber regimented HOA controlled by an iron fisted developer who silenced a barking dog by cutting out its vocal cords? And who also indulged his voyeuristic inclinations by installing cameras in the bedrooms and other private places of the homes of his inmates?

The Sacramento Bee reports Michael Lyon faces a local criminal investigation amid allegations he secretly recorded people in his private homes and has temporarily stepped down as CEO of Lyon Real Estate. The newspaper reports "allegations of cameras concealed in bedrooms and bathrooms in Lyon's homes have jolted many who work at Lyon Real Estate, where top officials have retained an outside public relations consultant to manage the escalating crisis."

The Sacramento County sheriff's and district attorney's offices told The Bee they are launching their own investigation to determine if Lyon broke any state laws after the U.S. attorney's office closed a 16-month FBI probe of Lyon for lack of evidence.

"After being cleared of any wrongdoing by the U.S. attorney and the FBI, Mike will spend time clearing his good name and dealing with current baseless allegations being investigated by the district attorney," according to a statement by the company published in the newspaper.

Will the Pink Flamingoes join with the Tea Party?

I posed this question to the good perfessor who owns this blog over the weekend. He thinks not and I tend to agree.

But the political climate is such that private HOA government is finding itself under fire just as are all levels of public government. So now when HOAs so much as appear to be trampling on someone's rights of expression and redress of grievances, they too get their turn in the media spotlight.

The stories get additional legs in the blogosphere such as this post at a Yahoo News blog by Liz Goodwin. Goodwin reports the American Civil Liberties Union is defending an Arizona man ordered by his HOA to furl his "Don't Tread On Me" Gadsen flag.

Welcome To Kiryas Joel: Please Dress Accordingly � CBS New York- News, Sports, Weather, Traffic and the Best of NY

Welcome To Kiryas Joel: Please Dress Accordingly � CBS New York- News, Sports, Weather, Traffic and the Best of NY: "The tradition in the village of Satmar Hasidic Jews is modesty. Even on the hottest of days, most residents cover up from head to toe. But visitors don’t necessarily follow that tradition, and now the main synagogue is asking them to comply.
Congregation Yetev Lev posted signs at the village’s entrance – in both English and Spanish – asking outsiders to cover their legs and arms, use appropriate language and maintain gender separation in public."

And this isn't even a private community.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Mortgage lenders hold loan work out jamboree in Florida

US Homeowners Flock to Florida Event in Desperate Bid to Save Properties

Welcome to America's biggest jamboree of delinquent borrowers. For five days, the Neighbourhood Assistance Corporation of America (Naca), a not-for-profit organisation, is working round the clock to help homeowners hang on to their houses. More than 12,000 people have signed up in advance and more than 20,000 are expected to turn up, travelling from as far afield as California, Georgia and Maryland.

Monday, August 30, 2010 Atlanta: Judge sides with homeowner, rules federal flag law trumps HOA rules Atlanta: Judge sides with homeowner, rules federal flag law trumps HOA rules

The homeowners association, which claimed the flagpole was an "obstruction," reportedly sued Tripodo for $25 each day the flag flew in his front yard -- a charge that totaled $32,000. A Cherokee County judge, however, dismissed the lawsuit this week, freeing Tripodo from having to pay any fines.

"I wish I didn't have to go through all this aggravation, but I was going to defend this flag all the way," Tripodo said. Tripodo said he believed the 2006 Freedom to Display the American Flag Act superseded any subdivision rules that prohibited the flagpole.

Americans spend a bit more as economy limps along

Americans spend a bit more as economy limps along

Paul Dales at Capital Economics said the economy is likely to remain in a slow-growth rut for several years. He said economic growth is likely to average around 2 percent for the rest of this year and through all of 2011 and 2012 as well. That's far below the rates needed to drive the 9.5 percent unemployment rate lower.
If this forecast is borne out, it means a slow motion train wreck for Privatopia and the economy in general. In recent decades, the U.S. economy has come through relatively brief periods of high unemployment. But if it remains high over a prolonged period such as this, it begins to do structural damage. Many Americans will find they cannot afford to pay for both public and private local government.

Hardball HOA assessment collection tactics questioned

Hardball HOA assessment collection tactics questioned

Arizona homeowners associations are not accepting a resident's foreclosure as an excuse when it comes to collecting unpaid dues, assessments and fines.

Already forced to raise member dues and cut services to cope with unprecedented delinquency rates, HOAs also are turning to skip traces, collection agencies, process servers and out-of-state attorneys to collect what is owed.

George Staropoli is quoted, taking issue with selective collection methods and excessive collection costs.

California students get tracking devices - San Jose Mercury News

California students get tracking devices - San Jose Mercury News
Preschoolers. Federal grant. Now the school staff will know where the child is, and...whether the child has eaten or not.

Your tax dollars at work. $50,000 of them, to be exact.

Daily Herald | Cook Co. red-light camera ultimatum seems to lack legal weight

Daily Herald | Cook Co. red-light camera ultimatum seems to lack legal weight
Cook County Commissioner Timothy Schneider believes he has seized the initiative to turn back a red-light-camera program with the legal finding that the county can't arbitrarily impose it on municipalities.
But other people disagree...

Top 7 insane homeowners association rules - The Week

Top 7 insane homeowners association rules - The Week
This article is from December 2009 but I don't remember seeing it at the time. The lead talks about "the astonishingly restrictive ways of homeowner associations."

Sunday, August 29, 2010

University professors among latest sued over R-J copyrights - Friday, Aug. 27, 2010 | 2:05 a.m. - Las Vegas Sun

University professors among latest sued over R-J copyrights - Friday, Aug. 27, 2010 | 2:05 a.m. - Las Vegas Sun
The Las Vegas Review-Journal is suing many bloggers who posted even one article from their online edition without a citation--but some of the people being sued seem to claim that they did put in the citation. I would like everybody who posts here not to quote or link to anything from that newspaper's web site. They don't want their material used, so I will respect their wishes.

HOA groups in Arizona cutting services, raising fees

HOA groups in Arizona cutting services, raising fees

With no contingency plans and little help available from cash-strapped cities and towns, homeowners associations are likely to face money problems for years to come, market analysts said.

"Associations are not designed to have 38 percent delinquencies, or even 20 percent," said Amanda Shaw, president of HOA management firm Associated Asset Management of Phoenix. "They're designed to have a 2 percent to 5 percent delinquency. They are designed to be successful."


The economy as a whole is designed to be successful, always growing. But that collides with the business cycle, which has its natural downturns. And when leverage and speculation run rampant, those downturns can get awfully long and nasty as we're now experiencing. There are no carve outs or exceptions for HOAs.