The Public Voice
Letters To The Editor 8.30.12
Thursday, August 30, 2012
Bank On It
Your article suggesting that cities use eminent domain to revalue mortgages for homeowners who have negative equity is legally possible but politically untenable (“The feds won’t do it, and neither will the banking industry. So why is a plan that could help local homeowners and reset the economy ticking off so many people?” Aug. 23-28).
Investors, including banks owning pools of mortgages, will fight the proposals. As long as a mortgage is paying interest, regardless of the owner’s equity, the loan is “performing” and the value is intact. Also, there are technical challenges to seizing mortgages and refinancing them, including second mortgages and other lienholders that might refuse to subordinate.
Bankers hold enough sway in Sacramento to quash any attempt to re-value mortgages. Republicans will all vote with them and there are enough Democrats that can be purchased.
A more achievable method is for the city to levy fees on bank-owned properties sufficient to cover additional public safety cost and lien the properties. Left untended, empty and abandoned homes pose a clear danger to all property values. The city or a nonprofit can then offer to buy the home at foreclosure for sale back to the homeowner. Banks that want to avoid this scenario might reduce principal and interest preemptively something in their own interests – but don’t count on it. - Herb Aarons | Carmel Valley
Quite apart from the eminent domain issues, given the fact that most municipalities are awash in unfunded liabilities, who on earth would lend them the money with which to acquire the properties?
The issue is how the current losses are to be distributed and, perhaps, recovered. In the example given, the amount of the loss is increased by the $4,500 fee to Mortgage Resolution Partners and the other costs of the transaction. With regard to potential recovery, if we assume for the sake of argument that housing prices will revert to their long-term trend, how should the gain on sale be distributed? Shouldn’t the mortgage holder who is, in effect, making an investment (the loss) have first claim on future gains?
The fundamental problem which the MRP plan overlooks is that the trusts which hold the mortgages are themselves owned by investment vehicles such as pension plans and hence, indirectly, by individuals, not the big bad banks, and it is they who will take the loss.
Wouldn’t it make more sense all around for the mortgage holders to re-write the loans to market value with an equity-sharing agreement and hope for a market recovery? Any other approach would amount to a windfall for the borrowers paid for by the innocent current beneficiaries of the mortgages. Given an opportunity to recover their losses, the original lender might even be persuaded to participate. - Andrew Allison | Carmel
I read the article concerning the pit bull attacks (“Alarming Salinas dog deaths distract from real danger,” Aug. 16-22). I am afraid I, like many others, don’t agree with you concerning your comments about poor Mr. Louie Arrey, the owner of the three dogs that escaped and terrorized the surrounding neighborhood and killed someone’s small dog. As you say, this wasn’t the first time this happened and should have been warning enough for Mr. Arrey to make sure that the fence was secure if he wanted to keep the dogs.
I speak from experience because on Feb. 25, my best friend was walking her toy poodle in her neighborhood when she and her dog were attacked by a pit bull that came running from across the street because the owner was not adhering to the Salinas ordinance. The small toy poodle was literally bitten all over its body and had to spend seven days in the hospital and then three weeks of constant care before she was out of the danger. This cost well over $700. My friend was bitten several times on both arms. The bites literally tore large chunks of flesh from both arms and broke bones in her right hand which is now going to require surgery by a specialist to correct. Not only was she bitten severely all over her arms, but a large part of her scalp was ripped wide open.
Today she is afraid to walk her dog in the neighborhood. Would you like that?
I am not saying that all pit bulls are like these, but when dogs are running loose and away from their masters they can become very aggressive. If another dog or person or livestock comes in contact with them serious problems can arise. This is even more so when several are running together. Dog owners need to be made aware that if their dogs are loose and out of control and they do damage that they are going to be held responsible, not sympathized with. - Ed McDonald | Salinas
Any penis that finds its way into a vagina without having been invited by the vagina’s owner constitutes rape, period, no debate! (“Todd Akin has secured the rapist vote, but who else’s?” Aug. 23-29.) Does the Republican party understand this most fundamental truth or has the entire Grand Old Party gone so far off the rails that it now represents the party of cruel lunatics?
I call upon all rational Republicans – and please don’t let that be an oxymoron – to stand up and speak out against the extremists who have hijacked their party. I abandoned the Democratic party and became a non-aligned independent because of the extremists in the Democratic party, so maybe it’s time for rational Republicans to do the same. America must be a country of rational moderates if we are to avoid the insanity of all those countries throughout history who spiraled to destruction because extremists from the left and/or the right usurped power.
As the father of four grown kids and now a first-time grandpa of an adorable baby girl, I am opposed to abortion as a casual and cavalier means of birth control, but my personal objection must never become public policy because the fundamental fact is that a woman’s body is hers, and it does not belong to a bunch of right-wing extremists. - Jeffrey Van Middlebrook | Pacific Grove
Ix-Nay on Obamacare-Ay
Please stop calling the Affordable Care Act “Obamacare” (“County lags in implementing bridge plan for low-income residents under Obamacare,” Aug. 23-29). This is simply the same BS title Republicans have given to every democratic health care reform attempt for at least 20 years. And most of the reforms and structure under the Affordable Care Act were Republican ideas to begin with. The act has passed, is now law, and the goal is to help people get and keep health insurance. When a newspaper calls it Obamacare, it cheapens the act and scores points for Romney and the GOP. -ItsGretchenM | via Web