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Government Affairs

April 23, 2008

In the past week, voters have had the opportunity to see the Democratic candidates for president pandering to the blue-collar vote. Hillary chased her shot of whiskey with a beer, and Obama threw a few frames.  Provided that you are satisfied with symbolism, then this establishes their bona fides.  But what if you want more?  What if you'd actually like to hear the voices of working class people, and not just the ones who still have $20 an hour jobs.

If one had gone further to seek out actual neighborhoods full of just such a group -- working class voters? A mobile home park, perhaps in a county stricken by the migration of jobs to textile mills in other countries, would have been an excellent place to visit.

April 21, 2008

We have to admit that over here at MHR, we were scratching our heads when we first heard about the appointment of Steve Preston to lead HUD. Here we are, in the midst of a mortgage crisis. We have a new leader at HUD who has experience with Merry Maids and Chem-Lawn, right?

After some research, though, it turns out that maybe he is not such a bad choice after all.

April 18, 2008

The upcoming Propositions on eminent domain, scheduled for the June ballot in California, would redirect property rights. Proposition 98 and 99 both put constraints on eminent domain, but 98 also throws out a number of other housing rules.

Most of the financial support for Proposition 98 comes from apartment owners and mobile home park operators. Support for Proposition 99 is led by California's municipalities and Counties.

The largest difference is a stipulation to throw out rent control. The proposal would grandfather the rent protections afforded to existing tenants under rent control. However, upon moving out, a unit would be freed from rent constraints. There are other rules. For

April 16, 2008

As the days approach for California's decisions on Proposition 98 and 99, it is worth looking at how eminent domain has been utilized in other parts of the country to redevelop trailer parks. Protecting property owners from the use of eminent domain and and eliminating rent control are the foci of Proposition 98. The two issues are tangentially related by nature. Certainly, owners of property in California would generally be elated to see both cast aside.

New Jersey is one state that has had extensive legal precedents for the use of eminent domain in mobile home parks. It all started last year, when owners of 2 mobile home parks in Lodi, New Jersey got notice that the town's planning board wanted to declare their property "blighted." The town had intentions, under the Local Redevelopment Housing Law, to revitalize the area with new retail and with a senior housing complex.

New Jersey, a state that has done a lot to contribute to affordable housing law (most notably

April 1, 2008

Yesterday, leaders in the Democratic party set about to vilify HUD Secretary Jackson on the day of his resignation.

March 31, 2008

Today we have news that Alfonso Jackson will resign from his position as Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

March 17, 2008

The Federal Reserve has given advance notice of a proposed rulemaking on Regulation Z. As you may or may not know, Regulation Z concerns how consumers should be protected from deceptive and/or harmful lending. It often plays a role in litigation surrounding claims of predatory lending.

March 13, 2008

Supporters of California's Proposition 98 come from two discrete and somewhat separate factions. That alliance is holding, but it could crack.

February 25, 2008

The City of Fayetteville, North Carolina has proposed new minimum housing standards for the mobile home parks in its community. The rules would make parks uniformly nicer, although park owners are quick to say that they would be expensive.

February 19, 2008

While Proposition 98 got attention earlier, it is not the only item before California's voters in June that will consider the future of eminent domain in the Golden State.