The power of political posturing?

I’m having second thoughts about posturing legislation.

Tony Capizzi did it when he proposed gun control legislation.

Dean Lovelace did it when he pushed for anti-predatory lending laws.

Mary Wiseman did it when she asked for equal opportunity protection for gays.

All of these were pissing in the wind, since none were enforceable, or true local issues.

If Dayton was one of the top 10 cities in the country, the force of size would make a difference, but because we’re Dayton the issues get steam-rollered by larger entities.

My home town of Cleveland Heights had the balls in the seventies to declare itself a “nuclear free zone” and put it on the city limits signs. This was all for show, since no highways run through Cleveland Heights and we didn’t have any reactors either. Sometimes, it’s just about feeling right.

However, my thoughts about reconsidering the program come from two recent events:

  • The idiots in Warren County rejecting the “dirty money” from the Fed as part of the “bailout” which got national attention, even if it was grandstanding.

and,

  • My recent home appraisal.

Yes, I’m sure you’re scratching your head.

I bought this house in 1986 for $14,500. I’ve put about $75K into it, and many thousands of hours of uncounted, unpaid, sweat equity. Last appraisal, before the latest Rehabarama, which had a house in the next block sell for $240K, was $130K. That was a couple of years ago. The new appraisal came in: $60K. My standing-seam roof was $8k and will last 100 years. Don’t tell me my house is only worth $60K (yes, I need to paint it and do some repairs to the back porch).

Something is really wrong.

Of course, it could be I fell for a refinance offer from Countrywide (now owned by Bank of America) who took the loan over from Greenpoint who bought it from US Bank. The mortgage is at 7.25% and I was trying to get it to 5% which would cut my monthly bill by almost $300.

Of course, BofA has nothing to gain in this, except the $2K in fees it will get to reexamine their own paper.

Is this my bad judgment, trusting them? Or, that the appraiser is just like the Wall Street ratings houses- and totally without any checks and balances? Or is it that Bank of America is criminal in its behavior?

I’m going to go with number three. Bank of America is, and has, screwed this country into the ground. I had a credit card with them- we paid a payment a day late, the interest rate went to 29.99%. I paid $6k of the $8K off- and closed the card. BTW- My credit score was and is, 730 or so. They still wouldn’t reduce the last $1,800 to a lower rate, although they were willing to “settle the debt” by dinging my stellar credit and writing off $1,400- to which I said no. Today I got the bill- $48 in interest and a $65 minimum payment on the remainder. I called again, and they said they’d drop it to 12.5% and a 60 month payout plan at $40 a month for 60 months if I closed the account (it was already closed). Hallelujah! But, this doesn’t stop their behavior as wrong and criminal.

If elected, I’m supposed to be the voice of the people. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only Daytonian who is being screwed by Bank of America and others right now. Would it be right to posture and do a grandstanding piece of legislation making it illegal to charge interest in excess of 12% over the prime rate without first offering to negotiate terms?

Would it be right to pass a bill requiring mortgage lenders to automatically have to lower the interest rate if they deceptively send you marketing promises of a refinance if they already hold your paper? No baiting allowed? (they got $400 application fee from me to tell me my house is now worth considerably less than I owe on it).

Yes, I still believe my first objective should be better trash pickup, cleaner, safer streets and efforts to present an air of promise and prosperity to the region first, but, the idea of legislating “stick it to the man” laws to bring attention to these very real criminal acts is making me re-think the power of political posturing.

Your thoughts? Should politicians legislate for attention, when action is beyond their reach?

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10 Responses

  1. Gene May 9, 2009 / 7:00 pm
    $14k over 23 years and you still have a payment? Maybe you should look in the mirror and not continue to borrow against your house. 

    BTW, South Parks homes values are much lower than 2-4 years ago – along with most ever other neighborhood in the United States. Why? BC of 14k over 23 years and still having payments kinda things happen way too often.

  2. Dad May 9, 2009 / 7:11 pm

    What ever happened to the usury laws?

  3. Alice in Wonderland May 10, 2009 / 12:29 pm
    Dave:  As a Certified Residential appraiser let me tell you that the assessed value on your home has little if nothing to do with the Market Value of your home.  Furthermore, the State of Ohio doesn’t require that appraisers be licensed for purposes of assessing property for Counties.  Tom Culp who performed multiple appraisals for Montgomery County (http://www.daytondailynews.com/n/content/oh/story/news/local/2008/10/05/ddn100508appraisalsweb.html) has been in and out of court for his “questionable” practices.  Appraisers have turned him in to not only the State Commerce Division but have also filed lawsuits against him.  We have screamed and yelled for mandatory licensing at both the state and federal level.  No one understands the purpose of an appraisal nor do most people understand the damage of a bad appraisal.  No one listened during the S&L crisis and no one listened during the housing bubble POP recently, and no one will listen during the next crisis.  I think it was Wm Wadsworths who stated – “Ah yes, the torrents of greed?”
  4. David Lauri May 10, 2009 / 7:46 pm
    Banning discrimination based on sexual orientation (which covers both gays and non-gays, though obviously there’s a helluva lot more discrimination against queers) is indeed a local issue.  The city has a Human Relations Council, part of whose mission is to “ensure equality of treatment and opportunity for all,” and bans on discrimination, whether based on sexual orientation or gender or race or familial status, are indeed enforceable. 

    Don’t believe me?  Well consider this scenario.  A black man thinks he’s been discriminated against when he’s told an apartment advertised in the morning paper is no longer available when he stops to see it.  You send two more men with the same backgrounds (education, employment, credit history), a black one first and a white one second.  The second black man is also told the apartment is no longer available, but the white man, who arrives to see the apartment last, is told, yes, absolutely, the apartment is available and asked if he’d like to see it.  Discrimination based on race?  One would sure have probable cause to think so, wouldn’t one?

    Now there is indeed the question of whether Dayton’s Human Relations Council is fulfilling its mission of “ensur[ing] equality of treatment and opportunity for all,” but that’s another issue for the city commissioners to be following up with the city manager, not a reason not to bother passing local non-discrimination ordinances.

  5. David Esrati May 10, 2009 / 9:19 pm

    I can always count on David Lauri to make everything about being a gay thing. That really wasn’t the purpose of this piece. Frankly, I’m not sure what the HRC does, or why we pay the people on it so much. It’s something that I need to be educated on- but, is it the City’s responsibility to enforce the fair housing laws- or the Feds?
    @gene- the house was re-financed, remember- I put a lot into it.
    And- you have no clue about housing values in South Park Gene- when I moved here you could have bought any house on the block for $15K, yet, we’ve had several sell over $120K and a bunch more over $85K. And that’s just this block.
    @alice, I’m aware there are some questionable appraisers out there. Yes, I think they need to be licensed and regulated.

  6. Gene May 10, 2009 / 9:32 pm
    You want money from a bank, you get it, then you cry about the terms? I know a lot about SP houses, I used to own there, and YES, most houses are being “under appraised” throughout the country, including SP. Look at any newspaper, including your favorite DDN.

    You wanted to improve your house, your life, buy other properties on the banks loan, and when your appraisal does not work to your benefit you cry. Maybe you should have bought in Oakwood or Centerville. This is the life you wanted, deal with the evaluations on your life, your property. BTW, your home is worth what someone else will pay for it – so find someone who will pay 120k. But, down there, you won’t.

    You still paid 14k ish and refinanced? 14k ish? Write a GD check and be done with it. 14k? A car loan you pay off in 5 years……………. oh , that is right, you wanted to leverage your assets for more cash for a better/more profitable life, and then you bitch about it. UNREAL!

    You could have paid it off, improved it slowly, never bought another property, and you would not have had a payment for 20 ish years…….. you did it your way then cry. You are the problem with our current status – nothing was ever/is ever good enough – borrow, borrow, borrow. Typical liberal wants his cake and…….. well, you know by now.

  7. David Esrati May 10, 2009 / 11:06 pm

    @gene I did improve it slowly- because I did it out of cash and credit cards, since no bank would loan me the money to do either.
    I’ve replaced or refinished everything in my home. I had a table saw in my living room for 7 years.
    Please go back to where ever you have been. You weren’t missed.

  8. Gene May 11, 2009 / 12:05 am
    Pound that fist……… you may lose at the game you wanted to play.

    Cash? C Cards? Then why do you still owe on a 14k -ish loan over 23 years, if my math is correct? Why? Answer that. You should be out from all home loans, well unless you leveraged your assets to access more cash to buy other things, other properties. Which, if you did, then you wanted to profit, gain income from such transactions. Then you complain? WTF?

    “Go back”…….. fine, then you grow up and take responsibility for your property “investments.” I voted for you, and you have little to stand on, except that soap box that table saw created.

    Most homes have been devalued. It does not help to keep borrowing money. Rob Peter to Pay Paul. Or in this case Borrow from Peter (banks, ccards) to pay Paul (your bank account and lifestyle.)

    You want the world to change for you, how about you changing for the world. It seems to me I never complain about the circumstances in my life. Why? BC it is my life, my choices, my decisions. I don’t complain about my investments because, well, they are my decisions. For better or worse.

    SP homes are not worth as much as you want, and then you cry. Why? Answer that. Why do you cry? Your home is worth what someone will pay for it. Just like the rest of us. Deal with it. Or pound that fist until that world changes for you.

    You bring up a lot of important and valid issues, but this issue is a joke. We all have been had by the “value” of our homes. But you seem to think they have it out for you.

    Your investment. Your life. Your win. . . .or maybe your not. Such is life. No?

  9. David Lauri May 11, 2009 / 10:34 am
    Sure, just say in passing that the city’s HRC should not be doing its job when it comes to queers, and see if anyone notices.

    I don’t mind if you abolish the HRC and repeal the city’s non-discrimination ordinances so long as you abolish all of them.  But if we’re gonna have local laws banning discrimination on any bases then including sexual orientation is only fair.  And don’t tell me that there’s no discrimination against the gayz.

    Of course if you abolish the HRC and repeal the city’s non-discrimination ordinances, Dayton will no longer have a federally substantially equivalent agency and thus will have to forgo any funds it receives from the federal government for the enforcement of non-discrimination laws.

  10. Jeff May 11, 2009 / 4:32 pm
    I can always count on David Lauri to make everything about being a gay thing. That really wasn’t the purpose of this piece.

    A few years ago you could have counted on me to do the same, but I’ve burned on arguing with homophobes online.

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