Sunday, May 31, 2009

Please email Gov. Crist to Veto SB 360

The legislature has passed SB 360 which will help destroy the Florida I have grown to love since moving here 34 years ago. Enough has been lost to dredge and fill, filling in wetlands. "mitigation" and other destruction of the Florida that used to be.  Please email him TODAY...

Thursday, May 28, 2009

How to monitor the Stimulus money

Here are a couple of links at both the federal level and Florida level as to spending the stimulus money. I see that Governor Crist managed to put his face twice on the page, I wonder if that has anything to with him running for Senate and will now be a one term lame duck governor for the next two legislative sessions.....

I hope that the Chinese are willing to continue to lend us the money to pay for all of this.....

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

I told ya so...

Those "Green Shoots" will probably die in the chill of Round 3 of the Foreclosure debacle:

From November to February, the number of prime mortgages that were delinquent at least 90 days, were in foreclosure or had deteriorated to the point that the lender took possession of the home increased more than 473,000, exceeding 1.5 million, according to a New York Times analysis of data provided by First American CoreLogic, a real estate research group. Those loans totaled more than $224 billion.

During the same period, subprime mortgages in those three categories increased by fewer than 14,000, reaching 1.65 million. The number of similarly troubled Alt-A loans — those given to people with slightly tainted credit — rose 159,000, to 836,000.

Over all, more than four million loans worth $717 billion were in the three distressed categories in February, a jump of more than 60 percent in dollar terms compared with a year earlier.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

it's worse than we thought.....

Some time ago I posted a chart link that suggested a huge wave of ARM resets that Credit Suisse thought would be over some time in 2010, now they re-cast that opinion and it is worse! Click here and be ready to be ill...

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day and my letter to Casey's Big Report

Sorry to stray from my usual topic, bit I felt compelled to share this...

Dear Mr. Galland

I happened to read your most recent missive in "The Room" on May 25, Memorial Day in the United States. As I think about the tens of thousands of men and women who died in the so ...... "that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth." (President Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address) I was struck by the tone of you column. Maybe it's because I'm a relatively new subscriber, but it seems decidedly hostile to our form of government, any government.  If you like a place where the people have freed themselves of excess governmental intrusion onto their lives, look to Somalia, Afghanistan or any of several dozen countries where, with enough money and a big enough private army, (probably 2 dollars a soldier per day, maybe quite a bit less!) you can do just about anything....set up your own mining company, stock exchange, pharmaceutical company, bank or investment house. You could make your own laws, and set up the regulatory framework.

In the meantime rather than rail about how stupid people are here in the US daring to express that they are "Socialist in attitude."  Maybe they are!  Is it due to inadequate education, or could it be that they are aware that  the current system just blew a $13 Trillion hole in our economy and so far, only Bernie Madhof seems to be held accountable.  With losses of that magnitude, and the devastation it has showered on the US, is there any doubt that the current system is broken?

My grandfather was a Russian Jew who spoke no English and I am proud of my country, proud of what I have accomplished, paid back every cent of the loans the government granted me so I can earn enough to be in the top bracket of taxpayers, and create a lifestyle that 90%+ of the people on earth do not have in terms of "creature comforts."  Freedom of speech and religion are keenly important as if recognition of private property ownership and a stable regulatory environment.

I think your reporting is interesting, and I am worried about the debt; when George H.W. Bush and later, the Clinton-Gore years took steps to actually curb entitlements, the budget deficit shrank. It does not take rocket science to clean up the mess as raising the retirement age and shaving costs in Medicare will keep them solvent for another hundred years. We need relatively marginal changes to the system, that will affect current and future "welfare recipients" (after all that is what those people are) and that will put tens of trillions of dollars back into the system. 

One doesn't need to be a Socialist to realize that marching out Bjorn Lonborg to support a proposition that Carbon pollution is a waste, is as irresponsible in support of your position as anything anybody on the "Left" does. Climate change a Soviet plot?  Really now!  I'm almost ready to get out a tin foil hat for you. Perhaps it is wrong.  I believe that  the cost of being wrong, is less than the people you oppose being right.  We need to transform our "energy policy" from one based on the House of Saud, and "Drill baby Drill!" to one that frees up our energy here, encourages conservation (It is after all, a "virtue, as former V.P Dick Cheney said, which means, I guess, that people can strive for it, but not be bound by it) and stops sending hundreds of billions of dollars a year to less than savory people, and would allow us to save another hundred billion a year in "defense costs by having to be the policeman in the Middle East.

I'm sorry for the rant, but castigating the citizens of the US for reacting to 8 years of a regressive president, a Congress that abdicated it's obligation to us for a solid 6+ of those years is not the way to get my attention as an investor. We the people elected the current government, and we have a responsibility to hold it accountable, for good and bad policy decisions. Reasonable people can differ but we need a way to bridge the gap between the failed policies of the past, and the way to the future. Polemics and people like Rush Limbaugh (and Randi Rhodes, but nobody listens to her) need to be marginalized. 

Please stick to reporting the facts at hand, even those of us with our hearts on the left and wallets on the right would benefit.

God Bless America, Bob Tankel

Thursday, May 21, 2009

SB 2080 a/k/a "Florida Friendly" Landscaping...

This is looked to as something "good for community associations. Besides being unconstitutional as it will retroactively impair thousands of existing contracts, clearly prohibited by the Florida Constitution, Howard Troxler put it best in his column today; it's a bulldozer in sheep's clothing...

PS did you know the word "Xeriscape" is a trademark oof the Colorado Water Authority, so every time you use it you owe them a dime .............(maybe more>>>)

Please email the Governor and ask him to veto the  

On the other hand, I wouldn't just veto SB 2080 — first I'd jump up on the desk, stomp up and down on the bill, crumple it up and set it on fire. Then I'd veto it. This bill represents the Legislature at its worst — an innocent bill promoting "Florida friendly" landscaping, amended at the last minute for a different purpose. The amendment hands over the power to issue state permits — for water use and for wetlands destruction — to the executive directors of the state's five water districts. Hey, I don't even like the state's appointed water boards. But at least they meet in the sunshine and have public input.  Audubon of Florida calls it "the worst bill of the session." Veto material? Sure. The worst? Nah. As Yoda assured Obi-Wan Kenobi in The Empire Strikes Back: "There is another." But that's a topic for another day.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Thnking of renting space for cell antennas?

From Community Association Insider; here in Florida, a vote of the members is required, FYI.

Issue Date: April 2009, Posted On: 3/26/2009

Avoid Pitfalls When Leasing Condo Roof Space to Wireless Providers

In these challenging economic times, some condo associations are stretched to think of new ways to offset dwindling assessments. One potentially lucrative option is to lease rooftop space for antenna installation. The proliferation of cell phones, broadband, paging, wireless Web, and related technologies has driven the demand for wireless companies to increase their coverage areas and data transmission capacities.

Wireless providers require towers and other elevated spaces to install the equipment needed to serve their subscribers. Although independent structures have been built to house the necessary transmission equipment, many high-traffic areas simply do not have sufficient unoccupied land to build on. Therefore, installing mini-towers and inconspicuous transmission equipment on top of existing buildings has become an increasingly popular alternative.

Of course, the viability and value to wireless companies largely depends on the location of your buildings. Condominium buildings located near a high-traffic area will usually generate the most revenue. And usually, wireless companies will approach your association about leasing rooftop space after they have conducted surveys to determine where a need exists for additional transmission sites and the most advantageous locations for equipment placement are determined.

Many associations are at a disadvantage against the wireless companies because they may not be familiar with rooftop leases and the typical contractual sticking points involved. Although a cell phone service provider's offer to lease a portion of your building's rooftop may seem like easy money, if an association agrees to the provisions in a standard rooftop lease without carefully analyzing each clause in the agreement, an association will probably regret the decision, says real estate attorney Mark Morfopoulous.

We will review the main clauses in a standard rooftop lease agreement and make suggestions for negotiating lease language that is more association-friendly than the industry's boilerplate.

Location and Installation of Antennas and Equipment

Standard rooftop lease agreements begin by broadly describing the location of the cell phone service provider's equipment, often referred to as Equipment Space, Antenna Space, and Cabling Space. This general language does not go far enough to protect owners. Therefore, when negotiating the Location and Installation clause, you should:

Make all installations subject to your prior approval. First, you should make sure that the location, type, weight, and size of all antennas, equipment, and shelters comprising the wireless company's facilities installed at any time during the lease term must be approved by the association prior to their installation.

Guard against damage. The installation of antennas, no matter where they're located on the roof, could damage the roof or other structural elements of the building. To protect your building, at a minimum, make sure that the cell phone service provider has adequate insurance to cover the risk in the event damage occurs.

Get detailed list of equipment. Today, the size and weight of the antenna(s) may be satisfactory. Tomorrow, however, the wireless company could install new antennas that are twice the size and weight of those originally installed. This may not be what you intended when you signed the lease. A larger antenna could be unsightly and block site line views. If new or additional antennas weigh more, they may cause damage to your building.

Maintaining and Repairing Company's Facilities

Although a wireless company should have the right to maintain and repair its facilities at a site, an association should have the right to approve the replacement or upgrading of any of the company's equipment in the event the equipment is not “substantially equivalent to” the equipment being replaced or upgraded.

Make company maintain roof, building integrity. With respect to the installation area, the company should agree to maintain the waterproof integrity of the building and the roof. In addition, a wireless company should not make any improvements or alterations to the site except as specifically authorized and approved by you.

Wireless Company's Entry onto Site

Standard rooftop leases give the company “24/7” access to their equipment. Although the cell phone service provider may have a legitimate interest in having round-the-clock access to its facilities, there are valid security reasons why an association would want to control such access.

Require notice. It is appropriate to require the company to give you 24 hours' advance notice of its need to access the roof, except in the case of emergencies in which instance, the company should call the association manager to give notice of its intent to enter the site.

Permits, Approvals, Authorizations

Standard rooftop leases state that before doing any work relating to the attachment of the antenna or the installation of any equipment, the company will obtain any and all governmental permits or approvals that may be required and provide you with copies of them.

Get expert's safety report, too. While obtaining governmental permits and approvals is a basic requirement for any radio antenna deal, a wireless company should also be able to deliver, at its sole expense, a report from a licensed engineering firm stating that the their plans do not pose any safety concerns to the building and the members. This report should attest that the site can safely accommodate the company's equipment.

A safety and engineering report can be used not only to satisfy you that the equipment is safe, but also to show the members in your building that you have performed the proper due diligence to ensure that the building is safe for all.

Make wireless company comply with report recommendations. In the event such reports call for modifications to the site to safely accommodate the company's equipment, the wireless company should be responsible for making such modifications at its sole expense before equipment is installed.

Get right to hire independent reviewer. In addition, an association should have the right to hire an independent engineering consulting firm specializing in the construction and maintenance of radio antenna equipment and/or radio frequency electromagnetic fields emissions to review: (1) the engineering report and safety report; and (2) the wireless company's work plan, as it may be revised from time to time, all at the wireless company's sole cost and expense.

Relocation of Facility

This provision is one of the most highly negotiated sections in a rooftop agreement. An association should at any time be able to require the company to remove or modify its equipment or relocate it to another area designated by you, if the equipment:

  • Causes physical damage to the structural integrity of the building;

  • Causes any interference; or

  • Creates or results in any noise, odor, or nuisance tending to disturb any member of the building or adjacent areas.

Spell out shut-off/restart terms. You should request that the company agree that it must immediately shut off the equipment upon notification of any damage or interference, and may restart modified or relocated equipment to test for any damage or interference only with your permission, which should not be unreasonably withheld.

Agree to compromise. On the other hand, the company will argue that it intends to invest a substantial amount of money to install its equipment. Relocation of its antennas not only can be a huge expense, but may also render the site far less effective or even useless for its intended purpose. Further, if the wireless company is forced to shut off its equipment or render it inoperative for any period of time, that would affect its ability to provide cell phone service to its customers.

Therefore, a compromise may be to:

  • Allow the wireless company to terminate the lease if it has reasonable grounds to do so;

  • Provide alternate space for the equipment in the building; or

  • Consider sharing the cost of removal and/or relocation of the equipment.

Assignment and Sublet

Standard rooftop agreements usually state that the wireless company “shall not assign this Lease or sublet, mortgage, or hypothecate this Lease or the Premises without the Association's written consent, which may not be unreasonably withheld, delayed, or conditioned.”

Be aware that many cell phone service providers will attempt to co-locate with other cell providers at one site and reap huge profits that the association will not participate in—unless the lease requires the wireless company to pay the association a portion of those profits.

Inserting a profit-sharing formula into this provision could be an answer to this problem, but there are other issues to think of as well: Will the new subleasor install equipment that will interfere with the facilities of others at the building? Are the additional frequencies safe? Will the new equipment damage the building, be an eyesore, or block site lines? These are some of the matters you should consider when negotiating a standard assignment and sublet clause.

Insider Source

Mark Morfopoulos, Esq.: Meislik & Meislik; 66 Park St., Montclair, NJ 07042;http://www.