Saturday, April 07, 2012

Town That Served As ‘Hunger Games’ Backdrop On Sale For $1.4 Million « CBS Charlotte

Town That Served As ‘Hunger Games’ Backdrop On Sale For $1.4 Million « CBS Charlotte

"Shepherd, 83, told the Associated Press that fans have swarmed his 72 acres of land, despite the fact that it’s all private property. “Day and night, they’re driving through, taking pictures, getting out and walking,” he said. “I’m just bombarded with people.”  Shepard is no Hunger Games enthusiast, having never read any of the series. He is now even less enthralled by its passionate fan-base, which is why he has put the property on the market for $1.4 million."
Not a bad deal--it works out to less than $20,000 per acre, and with no homeowners' association.

The pros and cons of homeowners associations - Yahoo! Finance

The pros and cons of homeowners associations - Yahoo! Finance

"Most associations work reasonably well most of the time, but there are tons of examples of really troubling rules," says Evan McKenzie, associate professor of political science at the University of Illinois at Chicago and author of the book "Privatopia: Homeowner Associations and the Rise of Residential Private Government."
Among other actions that have aroused controversy, associations have banned owners from renting out residences and have forbidden inflatable lawn ornaments at Christmastime.
HOAs and condo associations are bound by state laws. Florida, Nevada and Virginia have ombudsmen to hear complaints. In the rest of the states, the state government plays a minimal role, McKenzie says.
This is basically an "on the one hand, on the other hand," article.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Rodney Gray's new documentary: The Hoax


Hi there, I'm Rodney Gray. I am a former U.S. Marine, an actor and a filmmaker, who is currently directing and producing a feature documentary on the homeowners' association (HOA) industry for submission to film festivals and future distribution, but also as my MFA production thesis at the University of North Texas.

My new film, The HOAX, follows an investigative reporter, homeowners, and HOA reform activists as they reveal shocking evidence of financial and psychological hardships experienced by people throughout Texas and Nevada. A few of these people, including the filmmaker, have been the subject of adverse actions from the very HOAs created to help them.

Please feel free to visit our websites to find out more information, get updates and watch the teaser trailer.

The HOAX Movie Website:

The HOAX Trailer Tease and Campaign Website:

Spread the word and please share these links. Help us bring injustices into the light.

Best to you all,

Austerity in Heaven’s Corridor

Austerity in Heaven’s Corridor
"The Left should be paying attention to Florida. If you’ve ever desired a nightmarish vision of the legislature-driven austerity measures sure to proliferate around the country in the coming years, look no further than the Sunshine State’s 2012 budget. With little protest, Florida lawmakers are eviscerating public welfare and rapidly turning the state into a haven for the exploitation of workers. Despite the laughable “moderation narratives” now propagating in local newspaper coverage–which depict it as part of a trend away from rightist absolutism–the 2012 budget is nothing less than an unqualified victory for free market zealots everywhere: its legislatively-imposed austerity measures and multi-billion dollar tax cuts will no doubt serve as a useful model for other “business friendly” Southern states and the country as a whole."
I don't follow Florida public affairs except where condos and HOAs are concerned. This article paints a picture of the state as a model for the nation.

Architects float answers to rising seas around the world –

Architects float answers to rising seas around the world –
BANGKOK (AP) – A floating mosque and golf course for the submerging Maldives islands. Amphibious homes in the Netherlands lifted to safety as waters surge beneath them. A hospital perched on 400 stilts to protect patients from Thailand's devastating floods and the encroaching sea..Around the world, architects and city planners are exploring ways mankind and water may be able to coexist as oceans rise and other phenomenon induced by climate change, including extreme, erratic floods, threaten land-rooted living. With the Dutch at the helm, projects in the cutting-edge field of aqua-architecture are already in place, including a maritime housing estate, floating prison and greenhouses in the Netherlands..
Makes sense that the Dutch would be doing this, after all those years living below sea level.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Americans brace for next foreclosure wave | Reuters

Americans brace for next foreclosure wave | Reuters

Many more U.S. homeowners face the prospect of losing their homes this year as banks pick up the pace of foreclosures.
"We are right back where we were two years ago. I would put money on 2012 being a bigger year for foreclosures than 2010," said Mark Seifert, executive director of Empowering & Strengthening Ohio's People (ESOP), a counseling group with 10 offices in Ohio.
The Housing Bubble keeps on giving trouble.

Monday, April 02, 2012

Irish Protest Against Household Tax As Austerity Pain Bites Further : The Two-Way : NPR

Irish Protest Against Household Tax As Austerity Pain Bites Further : The Two-Way : NPR

This weekend, Ireland's 1.65 million householders were supposed to register to pay a new tax; an annual household charge of 100 Euros. That's about $133. By the time the deadline expired at midnight Saturday, only about half had done so.
Hundreds of thousands now face the prospect of penalties and, potentially, prosecution. Is a tax revolt in the making, that could disupt the government's strategy for getting the economy back on its feet — and make it still harder to implement future austerity measures?

Trayvon Martin: homeowners could pay in Trayvon Martin case - Orlando Sentinel

Trayvon Martin: homeowners could pay in Trayvon Martin case - Orlando Sentinel
This story is taking off. Now it is being picked up by the powerhouse site Findlaw:

Homeowners May Have to Pay in a Trayvon Civil Action

Thanks to Fred Pilot for the Findlaw link.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Colorado HOA: Chickens must go

Then Vidia’s dad built a nice coop for them and fenced the yard so they could run around freely.

Pow! That newfound freedom led to the neighbor complaint and now an order from the HOA to evict the chickens.

“We didn’t realize we were breaking the covenants,” said Maya Hurdowar, mother of Vidia. “City regulations say you can have chickens. We didn’t know it was against HOA rules. We wrote them. But they said they are allowed to be stricter than the city law.

“We wrote them and asked them for a variance, for my daughter’s sake. These are her pets.”

The variance was not granted. On a 2-1 vote, the HOA board voted to enforce the covenants.
It's easier to get a variance from a municipality than an HOA as these HOA inmates discovered with their domestic poultry. That's because HOA boards see CC&Rs as set in stone giving them no flexibility. That lack of accommodation often leads to frivolous litigation that wastes money and judicial resources.