Friday, September 14, 2012 Sunken Condos: Donald Fagen: Music Sunken Condos: Donald Fagen: Music
Sunken CondosThat's quite a concept.

Dog owners asked to submit pet waste | – Richmond News & Weather from WTVR Television CBS 6

Dog owners asked to submit pet waste | – Richmond News & Weather from WTVR Television CBS 6: Residents recently were contacted by the Home Owners Association asking for a sample of their dogs DNA through their poop. The email says that dog droppings keep showing up in common areas. That’s why the board is pushing for DNA testing. The HOA is requesting every dog in the neighborhood have their DNA taken and put on file. That way when a mess is found they can have it analyzed and find the culprit.
Another one of those repeating stories out of Privatopia: Only the name of the HOA changes.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Fed bets big in new push to rescue U.S. economy - Yahoo! News

Fed bets big in new push to rescue U.S. economy - Yahoo! News: WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Federal Reserve launched another aggressive stimulus program on Thursday, saying it would pump $40 billion into the U.S. economy each month until it saw a sustained upturn in the weak jobs market.

The central bank's decision to tie its controversial bond buying directly to economic conditions was an unprecedented step that marked a big escalation in its efforts to drive U.S. unemployment lower. Stock prices jumped, while gold hit a six-month high as investors braced for faster inflation.

Unlike in its two previous bond-buying sprees, the Fed said it would only purchase mortgage-backed securities, hoping in part to unstick a housing sector that Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke called "a missing piston" in the U.S. recovery.
As the perfessor has noted on this blog, housing is an important sector of the economy.  According to the the National Association of Home Builders, housing and housing services account for 17 to 18 percent of GDP.  Arguably a very significant part of the economy. 

But I question whether goosing up this important sector can alone do the trick, especially when mortgage rates are already at 50 year lows.  Homebuyers need stable jobs and incomes to meaningfully participate in the housing market and lenders won't lend unless they have them.  That requires increased confidence in all parts of the economy, not just housing.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Associated Press story coming on HOA violence

Bruce Schreiner of AP is looking for people with specific information on this issue.   
Professor McKenzie:

Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with me. We’re just starting work on a story looking into the pressures of HOA boards and how that strain can turn violent. We want to write a balanced piece from the perspective of board members and aggrieved homeowners.

If you can let folks from both perspectives know we are looking for people to interview for this story, we would greatly appreciate it.

My phone number in the bureau is 502-583-7718. I am working on this project with fellow AP reporter Dylan Lovan in Louisville.


Bruce Schreiner, The Associated Press, Louisville, Ky.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Marjorie Murray's prophetic article from 1994

Marjorie Murray, who runs the Center for California Homeowner Association Law, read my post the other day about the bad deals cities have been making to get sports stadiums, and she sent me this note, which she has graciously allowed me to post here. Way back in 1994, Marjorie wrote an article for California Lawyer in which she pointed out how prison construction was at that time the "silver bullet" for local governments, and how it had the potential to turn bad on them...which it has. And CIDs fit right into this picture of searching for the silver bullet.  Read on:
Evan: I read with interest the posting on sports stadiums as a failed economic development tool for local governments.

Cities and counties across the country are always looking for the "silver bullet" that will get revenues flowing into local coffers.

Nearly twenty years ago I wrote an article for California Lawyer on state prisons as an economic development tool for California local governments. ("Build it and They Will Come," (1994.)  Cities and counties, however, chose to ignore the not-so-hidden costs of building a prison in their midst: wear and tear on infrastructure, increased demand for housing needed by prison staff, increased need for police, etc. 

Now the prisons are so over-crowded that the courts have ordered inmates back to local governments, which will have to assume the cost of housing them in county jails.

A more recent "silver bullet" has been the thousands of California CIDs, seen by local governments as the ATM machine that would generate sky-high tax revenues.  Instead, hundreds of CIDs throughout the state have become wastelands of foreclosed homes whose owners can't pay their mortgages, let alone property taxes.  Just ask the City of Stockton if CIDs were the answer to their economic prayers.  The city declared bankruptcy in June after going on a spending spree in anticipation of all those tax revenues that never materialized.

There truly is no "silver bullet" for local governments.  No one prison, one sports stadium, or single  6000- home CID can rescue an entire city or county.  California local governments need to wake up to this fact.

Anyone interested in the 1994 California Lawyer article will find it here at this link:

Marjorie Murray, President
Center for California Homeowner Association Law
3758 Grand Ave., Suite 56
Oakland, California 94610

Wells Fargo Even Sorrier After Second Time It Foreclosed on Wrong House

Wells Fargo Even Sorrier After Second Time It Foreclosed on Wrong House
"Remember that nice couple we told you about last week — the Tjosaas family, whose home in Twenty-Nine Palms was “accidentally” foreclosed upon by Wells Fargo even though the couple didn’t even have a mortgage? Turns out: this was the SECOND TIME that Wells Fargo had “accidentally” foreclosed on that house by mistake, but it’s cool because Wells Fargo remains “deeply sorry” about both “unfortunate situations.” 
I said when I posted on this the first time that somebody should go to jail. Now it turns out that Wells Fargo went after this house "accidentally" twice.  Ask yourself if any non-corporate person could do something like this--break into the same house illegally, twice--and not go to jail.

Playhouse Eviction | KSEE 24 News - Central Valley's News Station: Fresno-Visalia - News, Sports, Weather | Local News

Playhouse Eviction | KSEE 24 News - Central Valley's News Station: Fresno-Visalia - News, Sports, Weather | Local News: "This is ridiculous," says Becky Rogers-Peck, Aubree's grandma. "There's too much crime and everything else. These lawyers need to be worrying about other things that are way more important than whether or not my granddaughter has a pink playhouse."

Monday, September 10, 2012

From CCHAL: Disabled vet gets elevator (update)

Marjorie Murray at the Center for California Homeowner Association Law sent this release (note: this is a corrected version that Marjorie sent along):

Disabled World War II veteran David Perrin is finally going to get his elevator.
The 84-year-old has been petitioning his homeowner association board for nearly two years to install a small elevator – at his own expense – so he can get in and out of his home, where he has been a virtual prisoner.
Mai Kai Association (Orange County) formed multiple committees to deal with his request, each committee throwing up more barriers. One of the last barriers was telling him that state law requires all the homeowners to vote on his application. (This is utter nonsense.) Each committee was a different configuration of board members.
One mantra of the Community Association Institute (CAI) – the national trade group for associations – is that boards make “mistakes” like this because they are “volunteers” who don’t know any better.
The Perrin case gives lie to CAI’s claim.
This is not a na├»ve board – or shouldn’t be, given the professionals advising it.
The board president himself is an attorney. Its property manager is certified by the California Association of Community Managers (CACM); the company she works for – Professional Community Management (PCM) is itself certified by CACM, the trade group for association managers. According to its website, PCM manages more than 125,000 association homes, so this surely can’t be the first fair housing case it has dealt with. In addition, the law firm advising the board – Harle Janics Kannen – is legal counsel to homeowner associations throughout Southern California.
But apparently neither the CACM professionals or the lawyers told the board that disabled Perrin is protected by both state and federal laws – or maybe they did, but everyone chose to ignore them.
The board blocked Perrin’s application with endless requirements and delays. Meanwhile, his health continued to deteriorate as his doctors’ letters certified.
Finally, he sued.
His lawyers retained Marjorie Murray for two months as an independent consultant to review his application, board procedures, minutes, other critical documents, and to testify at trial. She is president of the Center for California Homeowner Association Law.
The case settled ten days ago. Not all the details have been made public, but one thing is certain: after two years of grief, disabled veteran David Perrin is going to get his elevator. But we do have to ask WHY a board paying for so much “expertise” from lawyers, certified property managers, and industry professionals could obstruct his legitimate request for reasonable accommodation/reasonable modification? We still don’t have an answer to that question.
We can only bet that State Farm Insurance isn’t too happy about the settlement, given what it must have paid out in attorneys’ fees to Perrin’s lawyers.
The Orange County Register has done two stories on the Perrin case. Here’s the link to the first story: It contains the link to the first story with all the background on this disability rights fight.
We can only hope that the Perrin case will be a wake-up call to homeowner associations across the country – and to the industry professionals advising them….
CCHAL NewsBrief September 10, 2012

Sunday, September 09, 2012

2nd Victim In Homeowners Meeting Shooting Dies

2nd Victim In Homeowners Meeting Shooting Dies

If You Build It, They Might Not Come: The Risky Economics of Sports Stadiums - Pat Garofalo and Travis Waldron - The Atlantic

If You Build It, They Might Not Come: The Risky Economics of Sports Stadiums - Pat Garofalo and Travis Waldron - The Atlantic:
"This is an altogether too common problem in professional sports. Across the country, franchises are able to extract taxpayer funding to build and maintain private facilities, promising huge returns for the public in the form of economic development...Time after time, politicians wary of letting a local franchise relocate -- as the NBA's Seattle Supersonics did, to Oklahoma City before the 2008-2009 season -- approve public funds, selling the stadiums as public works projects that will boost the local economy and provide a windfall of growth."
There are numerous examples of cities doing this, and assuming other financial obligations and risks in order to attract businesses.