Thursday, May 21, 2009

Glendale Deals With A Major Cause Of Blight: Real Estate Speculators

One of the major causes of blight is real estate speculation. Banks and investors buy up foreclosed homes and then allow them to sit. Their hope being that when the market eventually improves the value of their holdings will increase as well and they can make some cash. But until that time comes, they allow these properties to fall into disrepair. Why bother fixing them up until the time comes to sell them? It's just cheaper that way.

The result of this practice in times like these is that neighborhoods and property values are threatened by derelict properties overrun with weeds and occupied by buildings in the process of deteriorating rapidly.

The best example of this dynamic at work here in Sierra Madre would be the Skilled Nursing Facility. Owned by an entity that is apparently holding out for better times (such as a City Council that would allow the fellow to build three story condominiums with street level shops), this property has been a blighted eyesore on our community for quite some time now.

Ironically, the high-density development advocates here in town have taken to blaming our current City Council for the condition of the Skilled Nursing Facility when the enabler of this blight is actually one of their own.

So Glendale, refusing to put up with such nonsense from that quarter, has taken advantage of a state law that empowers cities to take action should they choose to do so. An article in the Glendale News Press ("City Targets Untidy Homes") lays it out this way:

"Banks and housing speculators could face fines of up to $1,000 per day for failing to keep vacant properties up to code under a proposal scheduled to go to the City Council on Tuesday ... The proposed law would authorize the city to exercise its authority granted under state law to hold new owners of foreclosed properties accountable for maintaining their parcels. The new regulations would not affect original tenants who are undergoing foreclosure ... according to the proposal ... With potential fines of $1,000 a day, speculators and banks will likely be encouraged to price more in line with what the market can offer, or spend a little to ensure that the residence remains up to code."

The law was passed by the Glendale City Council last Tuesday evening.

Of course, there was one party that was not initially pleased by these developments. The Glendale Association of Realtors was unhappy about a particular aspect of this matter. The cause of their miff being this law would not allow them to enter homes that are still occupied. Which, if you think about it, is probably for both civil liberties concerns and their own personal safety. This delayed a City Council vote on the matter by two weeks. You'd think they'd have wanted to help the neighborhoods there by getting derelict properties fixed as quickly as possible.

So would a law like this work for Sierra Madre should it be enacted here? I think so. Why should financial institutions and speculators be allowed to let properties decay so that they can save a couple of bucks on maintenance? Why should our neighborhoods suffer while they wait for the housing market to improve? It certainly doesn't help home owners concerned about the quality of their neighborhood and the value of their property.

And wouldn't it be nice to stick it to the guy that allowed the Skilled Nursing Facility to go to seed? A thousand bucks a day for an entire year would be $365,000! That would both help pay some bills and encourage him to get the place fixed up.

(Note: Comments section for this post has been disabled. For some this appears to have been much too exciting a topic and they just couldn't contain themselves. That's what happens when you hit the target, I guess.)

137 comments:

  1. Hooray for Glendale!
    Hey, Sierra Madre City Council!
    How about following their lead here?

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  2. Seems like a good solution to me. We've been the
    victims of these guys for long enough. Let's even
    the score here, CC.

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  3. Ok does anybody know what happened to the gentleman that spoke at the city council meeting saying that they were buying the skilled nursing facility? Did the sale go through? Still in process? Abandoned?

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  4. Is Fish still the owner of the property, Sir Eric?
    There is a lot of speculation and has been since '06 that Joe Mosca has a connection to this man, E. Fish.

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  5. I heard it fell apart.

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  6. Dave B: That is my understanding as well. If something like this should come to a City Council vote here in Sierra Madre I doubt Joe would support it. The people he takes orders from would be most displeased if he did I suspect. The rights of the individual home owner not being all that high on their list or priorities.

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  7. Joe Mosca knew they were going to build 3 stories + underground parking there before Kurt and Don had ever known, how could he have been privy to this information?
    I strongly suspect his dirt counterparts, Buchanan and Joffe knew as well or maybe it was just Joe? Is Joe an agent for this big developer, Fish?
    Perhaps some of your investigators could shed some light on this?

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  8. Doesn't the City have the power to do this now? If you or I let our home fall into disreapir, yard full of weeds ect. Lisa would be knocking on the door....

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  9. Here is a film of the Skilled Nursing, I shot this morning. Just a quick shot of what it looks like today.
    Neuroblast Films

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  10. 9:08: But what kind of fines can be levied? And we are talking vacant properties here. Maybe Lisa can give somebody a ticket for not cuttung their lawn, but what is being discussed here are ugly monstrosities like the Skilled Nursing Facilility that just sit there in that state year after year. Doesn't seem like a Lisa visit has made much difference there.

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  11. Seems like a pretty exquisite solution to the problem of real estate speculation caused blight. Count me in.

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  12. Count me in as well!
    Sir Eric?
    Would you be able to contact the people who promoted this and got it into law in Glendale.
    I sure would like to read an interview with them.
    It would encourage folks here to get involved.
    We can do this!

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  13. Red Arrow:

    The City of Glendale is very supportive of helping other cities. They were very instrumental in helping us with our smoking restriction. They are truly a leader in many areas..I'm sure they would be willing to help anyway they can.

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  14. Thanks 10:33!
    I just hope our friends on the City Council will at least pursue this. I know lots is going on, but this seems important.
    Of course the idea of the city collecting fine fees should appeal to the council!
    I know we need money and I know most of the council doesn't fancy taking it in the form of more taxes for the folks. Fining the out of town and in town greedy money grubbers, works for me!

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  15. This would be very beneficial to the community.
    It would place the responsibility of upkeep to the absent owner.
    It will generate monies to the city.
    It would relieve the city from having to hit up the taxpayers for more money.

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  16. Have we now put the dirts into a position of having to defend blight?

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  17. LOL,
    well, Uh Oh, if the realtor wing of the DIRTS can defend their shameless C.A.R. pamphlet on how to infiltrate all our clubs and commissions, they'll find a way.
    Sir Eric, didn't Bart make a quote in a newspaper in regards to his BIA's El Monte project, that eminent domain was a good thing?
    Right now of course, the Dirts are using the blight issue, blaming it on Measure V.
    DIRTS love to turn TRUTH INTO FALSEHOOD.
    They'll come up with some sort of a spin on this one......
    Judy Webb Martin Realtors? Check in with us, give it your best shot! LOL

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  18. This sounds like a good solution to the problem, but maybe you all can help answer this for me.

    Walk me through the scenario here...
    The property goes into the foreclosure process.
    The delinquent owner moves out, stops paying all bills including water, lawn dies in a month, weeds sprout and are wild in 2 months, property looks really bad.
    Everyone in the community is upset at what has happened to the property and reports the property to the city.
    City comes along, sees the problem, and starts fining @ $1000 a day.
    Fines rack up, and city has to lien the property to collect the fines.
    90 - 180 days after the process begins the court accepts the foreclosure, and the bank officially takes over and finally has the legal right to go onto the property to do repairs and what not.
    The bank is owed for the unpaid mortgage.
    They are facing somewhere in the area of $10,000 + in fines on the property
    Property values are probably less than what the mortgage was.
    Someone wants to buy and move in, fix it up, live there / rent it out, whatever...
    But the owners can't move in until the liens are paid.

    So who pays the lien?

    The bank who has lost money because people walked away from their debt?
    The people who walked away from their debt on the property, and now have to pay these fines that if they couldn't pay the mortgage, I am guessing they can't pay these fines?
    The new owner who didn't cause the problem, and would rather spend that money on repairs and improvements to bring the property back?

    I guess it depends on the goal here.

    If its to go after the skilled nursing facility, there are probably solutions that don't come down on every property in town.

    If it is to keep up the look of properties in a neighborhood, we might be able to work with the water department and collectively keep up the external appearance.

    If it is to go after the banks, it kind of seems like they would just pass this all off on the new owners, which then takes the money those people would have spent on fixing the place up and gives it to the city, and now the new owner has to find more money to fix up the property.

    What do you guys think?

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  19. You've way overcomplicated this one. All that is being asked is that the absentee owner keep up the maintenance on the property. Cut the grass, touch up the paint, that sort of thing. And if they have to keep the water on to keep the place looking fresh and green, well then it's just a cost of doing business. It's all about keeping the property up to code. What Glendale has done here is put into place a law that makes not doing basic maintenance a rather painful thing.

    There is no excuse for allowing properties to become like the Skilled Nursing Facility. Owners need to take responsibility for their property. No matter what their reason for owning it.

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  20. Cut the crap, Bart. Answer the question.

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  21. Neglected homes will merit penalties
    City Council approves law that was initially opposed by many local Realtors.
    By Melanie Hicken
    Published: Last Updated Tuesday, May 19, 2009 11:01 PM PDT
    CITY HALL — In an effort to curb neglected property linked to the foreclosure epidemic, the City Council passed a law Tuesday that will allow the city to levy major fines on banks and housing speculators who don’t keep vacant properties up to code.

    “We get phenomenal amounts of complaints on these properties throughout the foreclosed process,” said Sam Engel, Neighborhood Services administrator for the city.

    The City Council voted unanimously to pass the law, which authorizes city officials to fine new owners of foreclosed properties $1,000 for each day that their property is deemed dilapidated or blighted. The measure formalizes a state law that allows cities to fine lenders who fail to correct violations after receiving a 30-day notice.

    City officials proposed the law as a way to compel financial institutions to maintain foreclosed properties, but it initially ignited dissent from the Glendale Assn. of Realtors. The proposal was originally scheduled for consideration May 5, but was postponed after the association expressed concern that the law did not provide exceptions for still-occupied residences, which Realtors can’t legally enter.

    Engel met with the association to discuss their concerns.

    “We ended up with a much more effective way to administer the policy locally,” he said.

    The measure was revised to include exceptions for properties illegally occupied by a previous renter or the foreclosed owner. The new owner is given 30 days to correct violations once in possession of the property.

    The provisions elicited some concern from the dais.

    “How is there equity in that?” Councilman Ara Najarian asked before eventually voting for the law. The law follows a recent spike in foreclosures across the country. April set a national record for foreclosure rates, according to RealtyTrac, a private firm that has been tracking the trend since 2005.

    One in 374 households entered foreclosure last month, and the number of filings in California jumped 42% from April 2008, according to the firm.

    Between March 6 and April 3, 51 properties were foreclosed in Glendale, according to a city report. There have been 251 foreclosed properties in Glendale since January, according to RealtyTrac.

    The $1,000 fines — the maximum allowed under state law — will be deposited into a special revenue account to be used for abating public nuisances. The penalties are scheduled to go into effect June 1.

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  22. Anonymous @ 12:12 -
    But the foreclosure process is set by the state, and the state doesn't allow the bank to get on the property for any purpose until after the courts finalize the foreclosure. So for the intervening period between the foreclosure being filed and the banks actually getting full title to the property... the property falls apart, and no body can get on the property to fix it up...

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  23. Sure that can be worked into the mix, Bart.

    So how's business? State funding holding up?

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  24. Bart Doyle's property is BLIGHT!
    Someone called it a "rat's nest", they got that right!

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  25. Bart the Blight Defender. How rich an irony is that?

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  26. I'm actually hurt Eric, don't call me Bart, I'm not one of the DIRTs! No, my cousin is going through this very problem trying to buy her first house in Victorville right now, and can't because of this very thing, and I'm concerned how it would work here...

    Glendale seems to have flexibility to let the new owner correct it after them move in, and as long as the fines dont hold up the new buyers ability to close, then it could work, we'd need to study it more though...

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  27. Bart's house reminds me of a recent movie on HBO.
    "GRAY GARDENS"!

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  28. Victorville, Chula Vista, you're all over the map, Bart!

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  29. Chula Vista? I didn't see anything on this thread about Chula Vista... what's with Chula Vista?

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  30. Maybe Bart should call Joe Mosca and get him in on the conversation. He could inform us that laying fines on blight landlords is mean, and that a lot of them love this town and bake cookies.

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  31. Why don't you just move to Victorville, Bart?
    Plenty of land out there to develop.
    How about Bartstow? Baker? Go for it.

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  32. Bartstow. I've heard of that. Two outhouses and a chicken coop.

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  33. Anonymous @ 12:36 -
    Its not about laying fines on absent landlords who don't keep up the properties... that's not a problem, do it & other than those violating landlords themselves, I bet no one would oppose us on that.

    Its about properties in foreclosure & the foreclosure laws set by the state & what can be done on these properties & who is REALLY going to pay these fines...

    I doubt any of us would want a situation where because of a bunch of exorbitant fines, new homeowners couldn't move in to these dilapidated properties and bring them back.

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  34. C'mon, Bart. It's just about maintaining properties, as simple as that.

    Cut the crap.

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  35. The simple answer to How's it gonna work? is that if the bank can't maintain it, they let the people keep owning it. That's already being done in some parts of California and as a practice by some banks. It's a huge burden to maintain an empty house, not only repairs but taxes. Of course the hilarious answer is that the bank stops paying taxes and the property is lost by tax default. So the County then owns the property. HA HA HA HA HA.

    What is really going on here with SNF is that the owners are playing chicken with the City Council. They think that they can force the city into letting them have their way on the development issues. They moan, we can't make a profit if we can't build 3 stories, underground garage, super-density, blah blah blah.

    So I personally think the city is way within its right to give them the slap of reality by saying, fix that place up, jerk, or we're going to fine you to the 6th level of hell--where you belong.

    How's that for a script Neuroblast? Can we make that one happen?

    What a load of baloney.

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  36. p.s. Are we to believe that the SNF is in foreclosure? That's great. A bank is interested in not losing its shorts rather than making an unreasonable profit. Thanks for the insight.

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  37. Think of all the money we the taxpayers have given to banks you keep them afloat. The least they can do is water a lawn!

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  38. Got to say one thing for Bart. He sure is persistant.

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  39. H I G W:
    You need to clean up your damn yard, put that rat's nest up for sale and move out to Barstow where you belong, or how about your transit village in El Monte. Take Bell with you.

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  40. Whatever happened to that thought that all the "acrimony" was on the "other side" of the group... and that Eric scours for inappropriate comments...

    That onesidedness appears to continue today.

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  41. It's called trolling, Bart. Untrue and absurd statements designed to derail a conversation. If you want to discuss something here, please do so in an accurate and honest manner.

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  42. Eric - Again, I am not Bart, and what is inaccurate about what I am saying? I am stating facts.
    stacatto - LA County can't afford to keep up the properties if they take over on unpaid taxes (plus that takes about 3 years)
    Anonymous - LADWP can't open an account w/ the bank to water the lawn during the foreclosure period.

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  43. Utter nonsense, Bart, and you know it.

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  44. Again, I am not Bart.

    Next, what is untrue? Tax Foreclosures follow a very distinct set of guidelines. The county tries to collect, that takes about a year. Then the county puts the delinquent amount up for bid, the redemption period of which is 2 years. Thats 3 years of time that the County would have to keep the property up under Staccato's scenario. And the county of Los Angeles can't afford that.

    Second. The Water Department can ONLY open an accounty with someone who has the legal right to opperate on the property. State foreclosure laws prevent banks from doing that during the proceedings. Thats a California Public Utilities rule impacted by a State foreclosure law.

    Those are correct statements. If you have proof otherwise, present it.

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  45. You're hung up on the foreclosure thing, Bart. We're talking about properties owned by banks or investors. This foreclosure dodge isn't cutting it. Plus Sierra Madre has its own water. Accomodations will be made.

    Any other red herrings you have for us today?

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  46. Foreclosed properties ARE properties owned by banks. Investors are looking to turn a profit, they WANT to put people into these homes to make money... sitting on them is COSTING them money.

    SNF is a different issue, this solution affects everyone, not just SNF.

    Sierra Madre still has to follow MWD regulations & CPU regulations... because they are a water district and a public utility.

    Find a solution to the SNF problem that addresses SNF, and doesn't hurt EVERYONE.

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  47. Uh huh. So what does this have to do with anything we're discussing here? Absentee owners letting their investment properties go to seed?

    Man, you got a million reasons, and none of them connect.

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  48. "There are rules Smokey, this isn't Nam." - Walter in "The Big Lebowski"

    Now would Bart quote The Big Lebowski? Would he even know what it was, who Walter is, and be able to quote him? I think I've proven I'm not Bart.

    The point is this, I want a solution to the SNF problem, and the vacant properties problem, adn while we're at it, throw in absentee landlords. However we don't want to be in the situation that other communities are in where everyone is getting hosed as a result of onerous regulations.

    There is a solution, we can find it together, but we need to give it careful thought and not just enact a rule for the sake of enacting a rule. And unfortunately, we have to follow other laws as well... even if we'd like to be our own little Hamlet.

    Eric, I'm on the same side as you on this one.

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  49. Although Bart does kind of look like the Big Lebowski (not the Dude)... without the wheelchair

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  50. Um, when you say other communities are getting hosed due to onerous regulations, you make that sound like it means something. Why do you attempt to make such obvious throwaway language sound authoritative? It really is such a meaningless statement.

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  51. And I got to tell you, it's been awhile since I've run into somebody that tried to convince me that "The Big Lebowski" had some cool cachet to it. I thought it was a pretty stupid movie myself.

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  52. ok, since I need to restate it... communities where new buyers can't get into a home because of a restrictive fine system that is liened on the property. In those cases the properties look bad, the neighbors are upset, the bank can't do anything, the old owners can't be found, the property wont close because the liens are still on the property, so the new buyers end up extending mortgages and paying penalties to the bank as well, and the property sits... finally the buyer gives up and moves on, and the property hasn't been fixed, the neighbors are still mad, the bank is still hamstrung... THOSE communities, like I stated before.

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  53. Maybe "Bart" is actually Buchanan?
    It's one or the other, for sure.

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  54. Anon at 7:33am,

    Don't know the outcome but here is the name of the young man in question.

    Loren Rowyn
    Telephone 323-554-0019
    info@craftsmenunited.net

    Let us know any follow up information!

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  55. Eric, regardless of your opinion on the movie... the quote fits, and I think we can agree that someone like Bart wouldn't be referencing the movie...

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  56. Nonsense, spanky. Again, this is about encouraging absentee property owners to maintain their properties. Enough with the magic monkeys. Is it because you live in a world where complex BS is the standard issue that you're totally baffled by something that is this plain and honest?

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  57. Buchanan probably wouldn't know what the movie is either.

    I have NEVER been elected (or appointed) to ANYTHING in the city.

    What's with the conspiracy theory?

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  58. The Big Lebowski sucked. Makes perfect sense that Bart would quote it. Particularly if he was trying to get down. Kind of Richard Nixon in a way.

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  59. Buchanan? Now you're John Buchanan? Damn. Is it really you, Sybil?

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  60. Whoever this is, he certainly has quite a patronizing air about him.

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  61. Eric - ever heard "the devil is in the details"?

    It's a good idea, but when you look at actually applying the regulation, it needs to meet the intended goal. This idea has been tried elsewhere, and has failed to meet the intended goal. Why would we adopt something that isn't going to serve a purpose?

    Yes, go after absentee property owners to maintain their properties. Absolutely. That is why we have health and safety inspectors, let's use them for this purpose. The skilled nursing facility, yes, let's make them keep up their property.

    Broadly painting ALL properties to go after specific instances, and establishing a regulation and fine system that actually puts up an impediment to meeting the goal... is a bad path to go down.

    You want to go after SNF? Fine, the way you do it is strengthen the health and safety language as applied to commercially zoned properties. You establish a shorter fining window. You establish a "remediation" period, and penalties for not complying, and assess interest on unpaid fines. That meets your goal.

    You want to go after absentee landlords? Fine, you follow a similar program for the SNF, you make sure rental properties have business licenses, you attach fines to renewals, and file them with the state franchise tax board as well as the secretary of state to attach to corporate filings. While you're at it, make low-cost redevelopment loans available to fix up properties that qualify.

    You want to go after investors who are letting their properties go? Well chances are they either want to flip the property or get a renter in, find a way to speed them along so the property looks good again.

    There are better solutions that meet the goals without putting everyone's properties into these categories.

    Why does this have to be a fight when we are working to the same end?

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  62. Sorry for appearing patronizing, I was a little miffed at having to restate something that was stated earlier because I didnt provide every detail in the last post. It seemed dismissive to treat it that way.

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  63. Get down by quoting a movie from the mid 90s? That seems... well... ridiculous.

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  64. You certainly are a devil with the details. Love the jargon you use. Who ever thought getting absentee property owners to water their lawns would be so complicated!

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  65. Howzie @ 2:13 - That certainly that was my take.

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  66. A friend of a friend is a mortgage broker, thriving in a second career after 30 successful years as a realtor. Said mortgage broker has seen first hand a vigorous market for developer/realtor purchases of properties underpriced or in foreclosure. If I had "disposable income" I think I'd be buying too. As the realtor/developer crowd tends to be made up mostly (not entirely, but mostly) of people who are only interested in a profit, there is obviously a genuine need for some legislation. If all they're thinking about is holding on til the market is up, then slapping a coat of paint on to sell, cities will have to force the clever bargain shoppers into responsible maintenance.

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  67. You sure that was Bart, Sir Eric? I thought it might have been the Hindenburg...

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  68. It would be interesting to see if Joe resused himself if the city council put this on the agenda. If not, what would he say

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  69. Looks like this blog struck paydirt with this one. Congratulations!

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  70. Does anyone remember the man from the canyon who got up at the council not too long ago to complain that a house across the street from him was in and out of foreclosure? He was talking about how he had to work on brush clearance for his home, and there across the street was a neglected danger?

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  71. I think How's It Gonna Work is Buchanan.
    Remember everyone what we used to call Buchanan?
    Mayor WINDBAG!!!!
    HIGW is certainly a WINDBAG!
    The last thing Buchanan and Mosca want is for our city council to vote in the Glendale deal.
    All more more reason we should just do it.

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  72. Yep. As they say, he protesteth too much.

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  73. How about the maintenance issues at the Carter Crater and Sunk Stonehouse?

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  74. We really do need a time limit that applies to council members. Joe and John both are terrible at wasting time. It's reasonable that sometimes it could take a council member more than 3 minutes to make their case, but c'mon - has anybody ever actually timed Buchanan?

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  75. I'd just like to see a water truck spraying water on the site for once!

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  76. Buchanan always interupts people with issues he is in disalingment with, with the phrase " 20 seconds please" even when they have more time.
    Watch you'll see.

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  77. 2:45, your mouth to God's ear.

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  78. Hey AnonIII makes an interesting comment.
    I remember that complaint.
    I hope something was done about it.
    We sure don't need a fire in the canyon, although the dirts would probably be happy if that happened....then the pissant developers up there could build wall to wall McMansions, no matter if no one can drive up to them let alone park.
    But what do the pissant developers or realtors care about the details.

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  79. Where'd the windbag go?

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  80. Hey, Bart, Buchanan, whoever you are:
    Go back and read Dr. Stacatto's post. 12:51 and 12:57.
    I think the Good Doctor just told you that you were full of horse crap.
    LOL LOL LOL
    Good job, Doc S. ;)

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  81. I am not Buchanan, Doyle, Mosca, Joffe... anyone else you want to throw in there? As I said, I've never been elected, appointed, or even held a seat for anything in town.

    I am just a citizen, lives in town, and knows a little something about the foreclosure process because of my relatives. I don't have a business in town. I don't belong to any of the community organizations... unless Baldwin's is considered a community organization!

    I may be a windbag... I'll grant you that... that's because the depth of these issues can't be summed up in snarky little two sentence comments and at the same time address the full gravity of the issue.

    And I brought those questions here because I was told there was open and honest discussion on issues before the city here. I'm not sure I can say I fully agree with that statement after my experience, but I'll stick with it for now.

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  82. Old Kentucky - Ok, then read my comment @ 1:24... granted it took 20 minutes for it to be left up... for some reason it kept getting removed...

    Then it is further highlighted in my post @ 1:30.

    Like I said, it takes more than a short snarky comment to really address the issue.

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  83. "The full gravity of the issue." Let's face it, you've uncorked this great gale of pompus jargon and platitudinous legalisms because you are frankly panicked that Sierra Madre could very well pass the same kind of law that geldale just passed. Who knows (or cares) who you are. Again, we're talking about a city standing up for the rights of its citizens and forcing absentee investors to maintain their properties. All the BS in the world will never take away that one crystal clear fact.

    And this "because of my relatives" nonsense is absurdly patronizing.

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  84. Eric, this ENTIRE time, I have agreed with what you suggested the goal was. This ENTIRE time I have agreed that something needs to be done. This ENTIRE time, I have talked about how this CAN be done. This ENTIRE time I have agreed with what you WANT to do.

    My ONLY disagreement has been with the method. And the REASONS for the disagreement on methods were because of what has happened elsewhere, and what the different laws require.

    I am not sure what "jargon" I've used. I don't even know what a platitudinous legalism is... I've just shown you what OTHER communities have experienced, and what my cousin is experiencing.

    I am for something along the lines of what Glendale passed, provided it doesn't have the same pitfalls that Victorville and others have.

    So rather than just screaming "NONONONONO" to the idea, I offered an alternative set of solutions, that meet the SAME goal, without hurting everyone.

    Are you so insecure in your position that you can't recognize that there is more than one way to achieve a goal? Are you so self centered that you can't hear what the experience has been on an issue elsewhere? Are you so consumed with antipathy towards these "investors" that you will stop at no end to hurt "them" REGARDLESS of what it means to EVERYONE ELSE?

    I can't believe that someone such as yourself, that is looking for a solution to a problem we all agree on, can't take one step back and admit that there might be an approach to the issue other than the one you put forward.

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  85. HIGW,
    what is your objection to our city council at least discussing this issue?
    Do you have a problem with that?
    If so, why?
    Surely, if the "infant" Mosca can waste half a meeting with his silly leaf blower issue, our council can discuss this.
    Truth is WINDBAG, you are in dread of that happening.
    The DREAD you have of MacGillivray, Zimmerman and Watts is showing, you can't hide it.
    You know damn well, if they can get this to work for Sierra Madre they will do so.
    MaryAnn, Kurt and Don work for the residents, not for the BIA and the CAR and the DICs.

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  86. No, talk about it, bring it up, I am ALL for discussion. But let's weigh all options, and move towards a goal together.

    What I am not for is ranting and raving for a solution that ends up hurting everyone else in our town in the process.

    Again I AM FOR THIS TYPE OF GOAL. I don't care WHO brings it up. WE should be working TOGETHER in this city. Not concerned about personalities, or tightly holding on to a policy that has failed elsewhere JUST because 1 person brought it up and it's THEIR idea.

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  87. Troll posts are always pulled. Especially obscene ones.

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  88. I know you are trying to get me to stop Eric... because you have NO WAY to counter what I've put up here. Do you REALLY want to make a change? Then work towards it collaboratively...

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  89. "Tightly holding on to a policy that has failed elsewhere."

    Again, big statement, no content. Just a lot of wind.

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  90. Supreme Court Obscenity Definition
    1) A thing must be prurient in nature
    2) A thing must be completely devoid of scientific, political, educational, or social value

    3) A thing must violate the local community standards

    If it meets all three of these things, it is obscenity.

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  91. Windy - haven't you made your point by now? How many times do you plan on saying the same things?

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  92. again, pulling posts? Can't handle objection?

    Look at the problems in victorville. We should strive to avoid problems that others experienced in the policies we promote, wouldn't you agree?

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  93. What problems in Victorville, Windy? The ones your relatives experienced? Which is why you're such an expert on these matters?

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  94. Booooooooooorrrrrrrrrrrrrrring.

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  95. Depends, how many times are you going to take them down when they are made? How many times are you going to lie about what I've posted? How many times are you going to distort the truth when I am TRYING to agree with you?

    This is why I've never gotten involved... PEOPLE LIKE YOU acting out against people in the community... it serves no purpose, and NO ONE is benefited

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  96. Victorville, Windy. Concentrate. Unknot your underpants and tell us about the problems in Victorville.

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  97. The problems in Victorville that when there is a violation (for things as minimal as a dead lawn) the city puts a lien on the property, and assesses daily amounts, with penalties and interest, and as a result the property can't close, and new owners cant step in and fix up the property.

    Apparently the reason I need to keep reposting is because YOU STILL DONT GET IT.

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  98. And you have cites for this? usually when people come up with dramatic evidence of this kind they at least have some sort of a link.

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  99. And hey, you brought up Chula Vista earlier, why don't you tell us what is going on there? Are they having these problems?

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  100. Because judging by your decription here there must be literally dozens of properties in Victorville held in this limbo you describe.

    And that is rather hard to believe.

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  101. The cite, Windy. Supply the cite. Concentrate.

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  102. Windbag wants us to work on this issue like they had us work on the Downtown Specific Plan 101.
    Anyone attend that?
    You dirts want exactly what the majority of residents don't want.
    We want to keep our town small.
    You want to over develop it for the sake of the BIA, the CAR and the DICs.
    We care about our lifestyles and our property values. You care about making obscene profits.
    Go hit on Victorville, Barstow and Baker.
    That's where all you dirts belong.

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  103. Eric, do you know ANYTHING about the fining processes employed by these cities? Do you know ANYTHING about how they make these fines stick? Do you know ANYTHING about how a home closes when it is exchanged?

    The ONLY way the cities can make sure that someone pays these fines is to Lien the property. Which means recording it with the county. Then, when someone wants to buy the property it goes into what is called "escrow" where a "title search" pulls up any problems with the property, including any liens on the property.

    These liens come up, and as such the property can not "Close Escrow" until the "Liens" are dealt with.

    That means someone has to pay these liens, or the city has to take them off. That means buyer spends money, and city takes time to process changes. Then when it clears the city hurdle, the county then has to process these changes.

    These things take time. Anyone who has EVER had to deal with the city and county governments knows... this stuff doesn't happen instantaneously. This time is a DELAY in the escrow closing.

    When an escrow doesn't close on time, the lenders make the borrowers pay fines. They are spelled out in the loan agreements. The other option that a borrower has is to walk away from the loan agreement, and forfeit their deposit.

    If you had any experience at all with buying or selling your home, you would have gone through this entire process, unless you were one of the mindless drones who just sign every paper their lender puts in front of them.

    The lien process is governed by state law.
    The transaction process is governed by state law.
    The escrow process is governed by state law.
    The title search is mandated by state law.
    The recording process is governed by county law.

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  104. We're looking for a cite on your Victorville claim, Windy. The one that describes how houses are left abandoned because the city has made them unsaleable through the levying of terrible fines for lawn neglect.

    Certainly you can back up at least this claim.

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  105. The Greening of Sierra MadreMay 21, 2009 at 3:51 PM

    One of the major causes of blight is real estate speculation. Banks and investors buy up foreclosed homes and then allow them to sit. Their hope being that when the market eventually improves the value of their holdings will increase as well and they can make some cash. But until that time comes, they allow these properties to sit and fall into disrepair. Why bother fixing them up until the time comes to sell them? It's just cheaper that way.

    The result of this practice in times like these is that neighborhoods and property values are threatened by derelict properties overrun with weeds and occupied by buildings that rapidly fall into disrepair.

    Now since the foreclosed properties have been "bought up" they are no longer foreclosed, right? So why are we talking about Victorville, Barstow, and Baker?

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  106. Here's a company that makes money off of trying to avoid the liens for banks... and they reference it on their site - http://paintlawn.com/AboutCodeViolations.html
    The city's code enforcement department, that talks about what they go after - http://ci.victorville.ca.us/site/citydepartments2.aspx?id=102 You can access their violation process through their municipal code

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  107. Here's san bernardino county's process and what they go after, fines also found in the county code - http://www.sbcounty.gov/landuseservices/Code_Enforcement/

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  108. Sorry, Windy. Those are not relevant to what you have claimed here. You're dodging again. Supply cites that prove your claim that the city of Victorville has caused homes not to be sold due to the levying of fines.

    You made that claim. Now back it up with information that is relevant to the topic. After all, you broughtit up.

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  109. THere aren't posted statistics on foreclosures held up by liens, however if you look at their multiple listing service, or go to zillow.com you will see that they have the highest rates of foreclosures. I called the city and they said there are currently about 300 open cases of code violations, and that they have liened many of them with the county.

    Calling SB county, they said that this has been a problem in many communities around, and that the average processing time to clear a city placed lein is 7-10 business days. In a 30 day escrow, that's going to cause problems.

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  110. And just looking at the process, you can see that there are problems. Why dont you quit being so pedantic about the issue, and acknowledge it is something that NEEDS to be addressed, and that there SHOULD be a solution here.

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  111. Sierra Madre business ownerMay 21, 2009 at 4:07 PM

    Windy, don't you have to work?
    You might be suffering from tooooo much discretionary time.

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  112. Just as I thought, no proof. Just wild claims that have no basis in reality. You're just a troll.

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  113. Just called that lawn place, they said they get about 25 orders a week because of the code violation fines.

    Spoke to Jorge Duran, code inspector for the city of Victorville. he said they currently have experienced sales that have been held up because of the liens, he did not give me an exact number. His number is 760 955-5102, go ahead and call him. Just so you see I didn't make the number up, its right here on the city's website -
    http://ci.victorville.ca.us/site/citydepartments2.aspx?id=102

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  114. Have Jorge send me an email. sierramadretattler@gmail.com

    Be glad to get his take.

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  115. Eric, applying your logic. Prove that it wont happen here. Doing so, you need to show me proof of how many properties are in foreclosure in SM. You need to show me proof of how many might be liened. You need to show me proof that those fines could be handled within the escrow period. You need to show me proof that it can not be a problem in Sierra Madre.

    A company exists SOLELY to help banks avoid the foreclosure liens placed on properties by the city of Victorville for dead lawns. That company mentions the delays caused when the city fines them ON THEIR WEBSITE. There is a reason they use it in their marketing... BECAUSE ITS REAL.

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  116. You haven't supplied any proof that these things have happened anywhere, Windy.

    Call Jorge again. Maybe he can supply the proof needed to make your frankly bizarre claims believeable.

    Really, you do need a phoner friend.

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  117. "THere aren't posted statistics on foreclosures held up by liens, however..."
    Game over.
    Sir Eric, hope you'll consider closing down this thread pretty soon.

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  118. You're the investigative reporter. You are the one claiming it isnt a problem... you send him an email... the link is right there.

    I am talking to him right now to see if he will email that to me. I will then forward it to you if he is able to send that.

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  119. Yeah, but it is sad to think that this blog, which has been very open for anyone who wanted to comment, now has to be closed because of this one troll.

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  120. No, Windy. You give Jorge my address and have him e-mail me directly. I need to see the City of Victorville e-mail address.

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  121. I spoke to the city. They are going to run a count for me next week. They said it would be to me by the end of next week. Their offices are closed tomorrow. They are also closed on monday for Memorial day. I certainly hope that is ok by you.

    I am sure you are going to lambast that because they wont just throw a number out there. But unlike you I will take them at their word that it takes time to get something like that together.

    Of course you aren't a reasonable individual clearly. So go ahead...

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  122. True Sir Maundry, but this troll is hot 'n heavy for thee - there isn't much real communication for the community coming from him or her. Seems more personally directed.

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  123. And no, I didnt stop anyone from posting, dont even try that weak excuse. And if you want the report emailed to you directly, you call them and ask for it to be sent to you.

    That's ridiculous to think I am going to call the city and ask them to send something to someone else's email address...

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  124. You got all of that from the fine folks in Victorville in just 3 minutes? Wow, you must be really connected up there.

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  125. Nope, just picked up the phone and dialed, something you clearly can't do

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  126. Gentlemen, take it outside will ya?

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  127. Called the assessors office, took less than a minute
    Called the landscape company, less than a minute
    Was on the phone w/ Jorge @ the city when you requested an email, so I asked him for it... not that hard to do, somethign anyone with any investigative reporting fortitude would do instinctively rather than just laying wild assertions like you...

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  128. The burden of proof is on you. Windy. You made the claim, and now you can't back it up. I don't have to do anything here. You're the one that has been shown to have made ridiculous statements that you can't back up.

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  129. No, I cited personal experience. I then referenced that other people have had similar experiences. I then cited what the county told me. Then I showed you a company that exists to address the issue, and even reference the problem on their site. I then spoke to the code enforcer responsible for filing these liens who said it was a problem, and asked him to send a count, which he agreed to do... You on the other hand are dodging the fact that this is a problem and exists because there isn't someone out there who has random obscure statistics recorded and readily available to anyone.

    If you were to call the data company that all the newspapers use to quote real estate statistics... they wouldn't be able to run a number like that instantly no matter what you paid them. If anyone is being ridiculous in this, it is you for not even remotely admitting that through all of this evidence, no matter how circumstantial you think it is, that there very well may be a problem.

    And if you want to bring up the burden of proof, then you have to also grant "beyond a reasonable doubt" which clearly... THERE IS... Even without the email from the city itself.

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  130. Nahh. You needed to supply some kind of evidence that Victorville had foreclosed properties that cannot be sold because of fines levied by the city. You couldn't do it.

    You're just a troll.

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  131. Oh, forgot, I also showed you the process, and what governing body has jurisdiction over each component of the process... which further substantiates the claim. Something completely glossed over.

    Funny, you can't even recognize that I am advocating for the same ends you are... And if we were to show up to planning commission tonight and go over these suggestions (assuming the city were looking at it), the city staff would have to take into account all of these items I've presented, and would have to research each of them, while all of your half-claims would be met with a "thank you for bringing that to our attention." Which is further proof that you've never actually done anything with the city... or ANY city for that matter.

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  132. Sorry Eric, as usual, you are wrong. And anything that I would have put forth, you would have wasted time trying to discredit rather than just accepting the MERE fact that what I have suggested. What has happened elsewhere. What the city, county, and other governments have experienced. MIGHT exist.

    Like I said, you said the burden of proof is on me. In doing so you have to grant that what I am claiming may exist within a reasonable doubt. What I have is a preponderance of evidence... and you are wrong.

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  133. Actually it would be approved through a vote by the City Council as we're talking a law here.

    Guess you forgot that one.

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  134. Windy, please go someplace else. Surely there are blogs who want endless, repititious, trollian discourse but you're taking up too much time & space on this healthy board.

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  135. Any suggestion regarding the city's planning would first have to go to the planning commission... guess you forgot that one.

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  136. Really. Fining negligent property owners is a planning issue? Do tell.

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