4 Comments on "Mortgage Problems?"

  1. Nice to see you show an interest in home owners.

  2. Lynda, was that a shot at me or Tony? Just checking.

  3. Just commenting on Tony actually doing somethng helpful in Frankford. Nice work. (never a shot at you).

  4. Political Assassin | July 23, 2011 at 7:34 pm |

    The Vacant Land Issue

    Addressing the problem that permeates every facet of Philly life.

    Philadelphia City Paper, July 21st, 2011

    “Rep. John Taylor has penned a bill that would give local governments the authority to create something called a “land bank. …”

    It’s Hard to Know Whom To Trust

    Pages 14 & 16

    Hundreds of land trusts exist throughout the country. Two recently written bills — one in the state, another in the city — could have an impact on the coalition’s dream of creating dozens of land trusts peppered throughout Philadelphia.

    Rep. John Taylor has penned a bill that would give local governments the authority to create something called a “land bank.”

    Different than a land trust, the land bank would empower a single governmental agency to acquire, manage and sell off vacant, city-owned property, a task 17 city agencies currently perform. According to Councilwoman Maria Quiñones-Sánchez — whose district contains substantial vacant land — this setup has led to so much confusion that “much of my office’s time and resources are diverted toward walking people through these various procedures.”

    She describes residents’ climbing an “insurmountable barrier” of bureaucracy.

    In June, in anticipation of Taylor’s bill passing — and, perhaps, to prod the Nutter administration, whose comprehensive plan for vacant land policy has yet to materialize — Quiñones-Sánchez and Councilman Bill Green introduced legislation that calls for community meetings for residents to weigh in on what a potential land bank in Philly might look like.

    That sets the stage for what promises to be a lively series of meetings this fall, as the Coalition to Take Back Vacant Land will do everything it can to pressure politicians, in the case that Philadelphia does establish a land bank, to make sure land trusts get as much control over it or property from it as possible: “It would be a huge loss if a land bank gave the majority of its property to the highest bidder,” says Lichtash.

    Of course, that’s assuming Taylor’s bill even passes against opposition from groups ranging from real estate agents to advocates for low-income residents to free-market enthusiasts. Kim Shindle, spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania Association of Realtors, worries that land banks could saddle cities with extra costs. Other critics, like members of Community Legal Services, worry Taylor’s bill doesn’t protect poor people facing foreclosure. Likewise, community land trusts are hardly foolproof.

    They give control to neighborhood groups like community development corporations, which might be great or not for a community, depending on what you think of that CDC.

    Council members, at least, are elected. Not so your local CDC. What’s more, CDCs have been known to hoard and sit on land themselves.

    Even more dire, a land trust could falter and go bust, as did Manos Unidas, an infamous Philadelphia land trust in the ’90s that went belly-up when homeowners defaulted on their loans and administrators failed to inform the board about its financial troubles. … more:

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