Saturday, August 04, 2012

Immigrants prove big business for prison companies

breaking news - national news - world news -

MIAMI (AP) -- Locking up illegal immigrants has grown profoundly lucrative for the private prisons industry, a reliable pot of revenue that helped keep some of the biggest companies in business. And while nearly half of the 400,000 immigrants held annually are housed in private facilities, the federal government - which spends $2 billion a year on keeping those people in custody - says it isn't necessarily cheaper to outsource the work, a central argument used for privatization in the first place...A decade ago, just 10 percent of the beds in the nation's civil detention system were in private facilities with little federal oversight. Now, about half the beds are part of a sprawling, private system, largely controlled by just three companies: Corrections Corporation of America, The GEO Group, and Management and Training Corp...At the same time, the three businesses have spent at least $45 million combined on campaign donations and lobbyists at the state and federal level in the last decade, the AP found.
As I keep saying, it often turns out that privatization is not cheaper than public provision of services. And in the case of prison companies and defense contractors, and HOA/condo service providers, privatization leads to the creation of powerful interest groups that lobby for expansion and deregulation of the privatization programs from which they profit. And the whole privatization effort is supported ideologically by anti-government rhetoric, especially the bogus claim that public sector service provision is inherently inefficient, government employees are lazy and overprivileged, and the so-called private sector is vastly superior in every way, if only it could be completely deregulated.  That anybody can still belief this nonsense after deregulation killed the S&L industry in the 1980s and caused the financial sector meltdown of 2008 is a tribute to the power of propaganda.

Manassas Park burdened by debt from housing bust - The Washington Post

Manassas Park burdened by debt from housing bust - The Washington Post
"Over a little more than a decade, the tiny city of Manassas Park — population 15,000 — replaced, refurbished or added onto nearly every public building in its 2.5-square-mile confines. It built a fire station, police station and community center. It expanded all of its schools. And it paid for the nearly $130 million tab with borrowed money. But even before the last brick was laid, the housing market in Manassas Park crashed, sending one in four homeowners into foreclosure and leaving many others underwater on their mortgages. Median home prices tumbled as much as 60 percent. Property tax revenue fell off a cliff. By the time the $20 million community center was finished in 2010, the city was in a position familiar to millions of Americans: digging its way out of debt...Cities across the country are in similar straits, mired in the long tail of a historic housing meltdown and recession. Many will be coping with the financial fallout of the bust for years to come, even as the housing market recovers, said Michael Pagano, a municipal finance expert at the University of Illinois at Chicago."
And this little Virginia municipality is in big financial trouble. If I understand this correctly, it is sort of in but not part of Prince William County, because it is an "independent city," which is a strange entity of which only 42 exist in the US.  All but three are in Virginia. The other three are Baltimore (MD), St. Louis (MO), and Carson City (NV).

Friday, August 03, 2012

HOAs file hundreds of foreclosures for unpaid dues

Charleston Regional Business Journal | Charleston, SC

An historical review on HOA foreclosures Charleston County, South Carolina looking back nearly two decades. The bottom graph shows the collateral damage the residential real estate meltdown and subsequent recession had on HOA assessments. And this is just a single county in a single state.  Imagine what it would look like if all of Privatopia were included.


Homeowners associations in Charleston County have filed hundreds of foreclosures during the past two decades for unpaid dues, meanwhile no government regulates the foreclosure process used by associations.

 Click image for larger version of graphic. (Information graphic/ by Jean Piot)

Manatee homeowners say their condos are falling apart

Manatee homeowners say their condos are falling apart
MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. - The problems started with a leak inside his new condo. Now Armando Oyola-Delgado lives like he's in a hospital contamination zone.

"It actually is so the mold doesn't cross into here," he said, unzipping a plastic sheet that hangs at the sliding glass doors inside his condo.
But the worst part of it is beyond the curtain on his back deck.
"I went through the floor right there," said Oyola-Delgado pointing upwards where he says he stepped through the ceiling from the 2 nd floor. 
Why is it that water is to condos like Preparation H to hemorrhoids?  I suggest a Nobel prize for whomever designs the water and mold proof condominium.

In-Home Child Care Vs. Homeowner's Association

In-Home Child Care Vs. Homeowner's Association

This case is going all the way to the Nebraska Supreme Court.