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2010 October 10 — Why Now?
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The Newest Game In Town

Hurricanes and oil gushers aren’t enough, so now we have “Florida Foreclosure Fraud” to make the state somewhere that people want to avoid.

Mike Konczal is running a series with graphics to explain what is happening. He calls it: Foreclosure Fraud For Dummies. [You can read it even if you aren’t a Republican.]

The Miami Herald has a cheerful little backgrounder about the realization that this isn’t an isolated problem: Foreclosure freeze widens as fears grow.

Finally, courtesy of Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum’s investigation, here’s the full deposition of an employee of a law firm filing “creative” documents in foreclosure cases in Florida. [Depositions are taken under oath and false statements are punishable as perjury. This is not a conversation with a reporter.]

The bottom line for Florida is that you can’t get a clear title to property in the state until this is cleared up, because it isn’t obvious who owns what if the property was mortgaged. This brings real estate sales to a screeching halt in the state.

October 10, 2010   2 Comments

Look Over There, A Kitten…

McClatchy reports on the travails of our Republican candidate for governor under those “socialists” in Washington that he is always complaining about: Rick Scott’s tax returns show Florida GOP candidate thriving under Obama

TALLAHASSEE — Rick Scott blames President Barack Obama for the nation’s economic woes, but Florida’s Republican nominee for governor is doing far better now than he did under the last year of George W. Bush’s presidency.

That’s according to Scott’s last three years of tax returns, which portray a man who, like more and more out-of-work Floridians, earns no wages.

But unlike most of the state’s 1 million unemployed workers, Scott earns millions from a long list of investments.

Scott’s adjusted gross income in 2009 was $7.87 million, more than double what he made in 2008 during Bush’s last year in office. Not only did his income grow under Obama, he paid less in federal taxes — 13 percent — than he did the previous year when Uncle Sam took 16 percent.

But everyone knows that the facts have a liberal bias. Just because the stock market consistently does better when there is a Democrat in the White House is no reason to think that there might be a connection.

October 10, 2010   2 Comments

Business Friendly Republicans?

They don’t raise taxes, the just jack up fees and fines.

From the Miami Herald this typical occurrence: New fees law hurting small businesses

Small businesses across Florida have been dissolved under a new law that requires owners to pay thousands of dollars in fines they say they can’t afford.

Mary Annis is one of those business owners. For the past 15 years, her North Palm Beach-based firm Bluegrass Lawn Care Inc. has paid a $150 annual report filing fee to the state each year. In 2010, she missed the deadline.

Annis learned last week that she must fork over $750 to the Florida Department of State’s Division of Corporations if she wants to remain incorporated.

Blame it on e-mails that Annis said she never received from the state.

In May the legislature repealed a law that allowed the Division of Corporations to waive $400 late fees. Before, if the corporation claimed it did not receive notice of the filing deadline, it could be granted a waiver.

The Division of Corporations wanted to eliminate waivers and halve the fines. The legislature just eliminated the waivers, and is plugging holes in their budget with the increase in fines.

The Division of Corporations had already stopped mailing notices to businesses to “save” money, and starting sending e-mails, which means that all a business gets for its $150 is an entry in a data base, literally a “filing fee”. Spending less than a dollar of that fee to mail a post card was apparently extravagant.

October 10, 2010   Comments Off on Business Friendly Republicans?

More On Amendment 4

There is noting like giving the voters some power if you want to bring out the corporations to oppose. A lot of newspapers are coming out with editorials opposing the Amendment, all for the same two reasons: it will be too expensive, and it will cost jobs.

Using the Ballotpedia Amendment 4 page [they have links for the claims made]:

County and city commissioners evaluate comprehensive plan amendments after proposed changes are reviewed by the local planning commission, vetted by the public (via public hearings), receive recommendations from local government planning staff, receive input from seven state agencies and are approved by Florida’s Department of Community Affairs According to state records, in fiscal year 2006, there were 6,406 amendments to local comprehensive plans. If passed, Amendment 4 would require a taxpayer-funded referendum for all such changes.

They have a link to the text of the Amendment on the page so you can read it yourself. It is short and to the point – same process as is currently used, but the last step is a vote by the people, not just the city or county commissioners.

We are told that this will lead to litigation, but the current process leads to litigation, so that doesn’t change. OTOH, judges are a good deal less likely to overrule a referendum than a commission vote, and, in any case, a NO vote simply means that the current plan won’t be altered to accommodate someone, i.e. the law stands as written.

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October 10, 2010   Comments Off on More On Amendment 4

Extratropical Storm Otto – Day 5

Extratropical Storm OttoPosition: 37.3N 41.1W [10 AM CDT 1500 UTC].
Movement: Northeast [055°] near 43 mph [69 kph].
Maximum sustained winds: 65 mph [105 kph].
Wind Gusts: 75 mph [120 kph].
Tropical Storm Wind Radius: 205 miles [335 km].
Minimum central pressure: 987 mb ↓.

Currently about 770 miles [1245 km] West of the Azores.

Otto has transitioned to an extratropical storm and no further advisories will be issued.

Here’s the link for NOAA’s latest satellite images.

[For the latest information click on the storm symbol, or go to the CATEGORIES drop-down box below the CALENDAR and select “Hurricanes” for all of the posts related to storms on this site.]

October 10, 2010   Comments Off on Extratropical Storm Otto – Day 5