Letters to the Editor

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HOUSING: Help those facing foreclosure

Letter by Norma Berube-Adler, Lakewood on May 7, 2012 at 1:38 pm with 59 Comments »
May 7, 2012 1:38 pm

Re: “No report on peaceful May Day here” (letter, 5-3).

I would like to follow up by saying that there are many positive and worthy events to write about in Tacoma. I am a volunteer with”Stay In Your Homes, a Tacoma-based community group, newly formed by concerned citizens of Pierce County. Our purpose is to help families who are at risk of losing their
homes to foreclosures and short sales.

These are often terrifying and embarrassing situations for people experiencing these hardships through no fault of their own. As contributing members of this community, it should be our duty and
responsibility to help those who really have nowhere to turn for support.

More than half of the recent homes for sale in Pierce County are “distressed.” We are presently pushing for a two-year moratorium on foreclosures and universal principal reduction because we believe that housing should be a right and not a privilege.

Leave a comment Comments → 59
  1. jrdndd says:

    “More than half of the recent homes for sale in Pierce County are “distressed.””

    I just have a hard time feeling sorry for the people that took out second mortgages to buy boats, hot tubs etc. & now they are under. It would have been very easy for me to the same, but I was smart and realized house values don’t always go up.

  2. IQof88 says:

    Enough is enough. As a taxpayer, I have bailed out GM, most of the stimulus money that came to this State has gone to either the Teachers Unions or the Puyallup Tribe for their new Justice Center.

    Mortgage owners have numerous subsidized programs to give them reduced loans.

    Health care for those who refuse to work and illegal immigrants is being covered by the taxpayer. Now deadbeat students want their student loans forgiven.

    Lets face it, we are quickly turning into Greece, Spain, Italy, Portugal and soon France.

    Welcome to Socialism. With half the country living on a government payroll of some kind, the Dimocrats will never get booted. We’ve become a nation of freeloaders.

  3. How do you feel about those who did not take out second mortgages but have lost their jobs due to the economic downturn?

  4. IQ88 – imo you’ve over estimated your iq by about 30 points.

  5. concernedtacoma7 says:

    Scariest LTE I have seen. Who pays for all the free housing? Who pays for the principal reduction?

    What about the right’s of the bank’s shareholders (yes, people own those banks, anyone on a pension has a stake)? What about the contract that former homeowner (squatter in your description) made with a bank? Since most mortgages now end up with govt, the taxpayer should suck up these costs? Where is the line? What would the second and third order effects be on people’s movitation and desires to get off the teet? What about the fact that govt is broke at all levels?

    Other than those considerations, great movement.

  6. Dave98373 says:

    Your universal principal is that Housing (Homes) is “A RIGHT not a PRIVLEGE?” Your train of logic is why this country is in the state that it is. I am all for looking for solutions to help people in need. But, to assert that people in this country have a “right” to anything to what I pay with hard-earned money is one step away from socialism.

  7. No laws state you must own a home, time for the USA to start downsizing or rightsizing!

  8. CT7,
    Where was your compassionate conservatism when the republicans in congress wanted taxpayers to foot the cost of BP Gulf Oil Spill?

    OWS is direct descendant of the Sons of Liberty – so yes it is a great movement.

    Here’s the thing our Constitution says WE THE PEOPLE, not we the corporations.

  9. IQof88 says:

    OWS are the funded stormtroopers of the Soros Socialist propaganda machine.

    If any one of them was handed enough cash to become a one percenter, they’d turn on their own kind in a heartbeat.

  10. concernedtacoma7 says:

    Xring- without following you too far off topic, please show me where someone (a Republican rep) wanted the taxpayer to pay for the clean up. And I hope you meant fiscal, not compassionate conservatism.

    While #ows does lean toward socialist ideals like this letter, #ows has been discussed at length and is not part of the housing discussion.
    One link, then back on topic. Thanks!

  11. BigSwingingRichard says:

    Norma, I admire your activism and genuine concern for your fellow man. Please feel free to sell your assets, get a second job or panhandle and take all the money you generate and select whomever you wish and start paying their debts.

    I’ll do the same, unless you would rather I take your money and give it to someone else. If not, I’d prefer you not take my money and give it away to whomever you chose.

  12. CT7 – here’s one out of many

    OWS – not part of the housing discussion – except is so far as they want to reform the housing market and end foreclosures etc.

    BSR – who said if you want to serve me first give up all you have

  13. concernedtacoma7 says:

    “End foreclosures”. Ok, so stop the easy money loans to people who cannot afford a palace. Fix the economy. Let the market bottom.

    Reform the housing market? Another big govt planning solution that never works.

    Your link was interesting, yet you ignored the update at the bottom. Actions speak, and BP paid for the mess. Try again on a thread about BP at some later date.

  14. RLangdon says:

    I just have a simple question to ask here, and I’m not pointing any fingers at anyone in particular. Just answer the question as it is, and don’t read anything into it, okay!

    When someone steals something from YOU, do YOU have the right to go get it back or should you just write it off as a life lesson and accept the loss?

  15. IQof88 says:

    Those that are foreclosed upon in this area should be given priority to live in Salishan. If the place is full, they should bump out any of the many non documented residents living there on the government’s nickel.

    Lets see how the social welfare trickle down priorities handle that.

    Somehow I doubt it would never be allowed.

  16. RLangdon says:

    The Wechsler Intelligence Scale classifies an IQ Score of 88 as dull normal intelligence which is also considered borderline mental retardation. Figures!

  17. concernedtacoma7 says:

    Ok RL, you should not write it off and law enforcement/the legal system should assist in re-acquiring said property. Where are you going with this?

  18. kluwer says:

    Only the right wing could blame the victims of their parties policies!
    Oh and the evil unions!
    (they rule the world don’t you know)

  19. kluwer says:

    “OWS are the funded stormtroopers of the Soros Socialist propaganda machine.”

    Good lord…..

  20. taxedenoughintacoma says:

    It is common misconception that any person in the United States has a right to drive. There is no such right in the US Constitution. Driving a motor vehicle is a privilege, and that privilege can be taken away or modified based on certain conduct, including several issues surrounding drunk driving cases. We all have a Constitutional right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, but not to drive.

    The same can be said about home owernship. Next you will say that owning a TV, cell phone or a computer is a right. Saying owning everything under the sun is a right is wrong.

    Housing markets will never bottom until we sell off foreclosures. Groups like Stay in Your House are just in the way of the recovery. It’s time we learn to accecpt the fact that some will lose in our system. We are not socialist like you.

  21. LornaDoone says:

    Everyone that has a neighbor in foreclosure is taking in right in the old kazoo for the value of their home. Nothing helps neighborhood values like an empty foreclosed home next door.

    Don’t help your neighbor – you might help yourself in the meantime.

    Being socialist just might protect your capital.

  22. RLangdon says:

    Okay ct7, as you are the only one with the courage to respond to my question. Next question:

    Do you agree or disagree that theft can be conducted by deception, and that theft by deception is just as evil as theft by burglary, or robbery?

  23. concernedtacoma7 says:

    RL, you got my one freebie. If you are going to imply that foreclosures are “theft by deception” then I do not care where you are taking this, I am done (almost).

    Yes, one can be scammed. Did anyone part of the current wave of foreclosures get scammed? No. Autopen does not count, they were still in default.

    And is theft by deception “evil”, or just Darwin? Caveat Emptor.

  24. RLangdon says:

    Too impatient CT7, so I will cut to the chase.

    The current mortgage foreclosure crisis is a direct effect of the Mortgage Backed Securities Scam that cheated people out of their investments in 401k’, 403b’s, and other retirement accounts. The busting of the fraudulent mortgage bundles caused the nationwide drop in property values. When that happened people became upside-down in their mortgages. The ripple effect of all that was massive layoff and reduction in force in the American job market, throwing millions of Americans out of their jobs. Taken all together as cause and effect this is why there is such a huge glut of mortgage foreclosures going on now, all because investment bankers lied, cheated and stole to make themselves rich at the expense of all others, because they did not give a damn about anyone but themselves.

    The way to right these wrongs is to return the stolen value and wealth back to the people from whom it was stolen. That’s NOT redistribution of wealth. That is JUSTICE, returning to the victims what was stolen from them by the thieves on Wall Street and in the American financial industry.

  25. concernedtacoma7 says:

    Stolen value. Interesting. And what is your proposal to ‘return’ that value?

    “Mortgage Backed Securities Scam that cheated people out of their investments in 401k’, 403b’s, and other retirement accounts” Different then mortgages. And your solution for these? What about when any other stock or commodity goes down? Where is the line?

  26. concernedtacoma7 says:

    from or than, not then.

  27. normajean says:

    I would like to personally invite everyone to a public community meeting May 12, 2012 from 1 to 2:30 at the
    Unitarian Universalist Church at 1115 56th S, Tacoma. Perhaps you would come away better informed
    when you hear it directly from those individuals struggling to keep their homes. Some of those programs to help those soon to be foreclosed are 50% funded by banks. No incentive there to help anyone. No one has suggested using tax payer funds but rather getting the banks to reduce principal while fighting for a 2 yr moratorium. Please refer to http://www.stay-in-youe-home.org

  28. CT7 – as usual you are a day late and a dollar short. No one has been making sub prime mortgage loans since the housing market when bust back in 2007.

    The point you missed is that the republicons tried to get the government to bailout BP by having WE THE TAX PAYERS pay for the BP caused spill.

    RL – Yes the banks and lenders have the right the reclaim their property when the buyers are unable to meet the terms of the sell contract.

    However, in many of these forecloses, there are serious questions as to the legality of the sells in the first place – such as missing deeds and other critical paper work.

    (worked part of my way thru college recovering cars for a credit company)

    Forest Gump was an 80, but IQ is no Forest Gump.

    IQ – I have seen Big Brother and he are you.

    Kluwer – OWS is a direct descendent of the Sons of Liberty which is why the descendents of the tories hate them so much.


    Driving on American roads is a Constitutional Right, not a Privilege.


  29. IQof88 If you want to be mad at someone start with GW for starting the bailouts and starting a war just to revenge his daddies F up. Also you need to be mad at Chrysler who gave the middle finger to the taxpayers by refusing to return 1.3 billion dollars they this country.

    Now ,with the housing problem majority of those who are losing their home is because they personally didn’t take the time to do their own homework. Instead they believe the BS of a person who makes their money approving loans and they didn’t care if you could afford your loan it wasn’t them who was going to lose their homes..

  30. vickistired says:

    I used to agree with the folks who had no sympathy for underwater homeowners. I did my homework, I would say, and I bought within my means – got a fixed rate; fixed up a less than perfect house myself. All that is fine – until all of your neighbors go under. Who knows why; perhaps some of them didn’t do their homework. Or maybe they lost their jobs in the financial crisis – or their 401ks were “stolen” from them. All I know is that my lack of sympathy for their plight begins to look a little silly when my home value drops – because their houses are in foreclosure…or abandoned. Now, so long as I stay in my home, that’s fine. But it means despite how good my own credit might be; despite the fact that I’ve never missed or been late on a mortgage payment….that I have no equity in my home. That I can’t refinance (the bummer about all these programs is that when you ARE in good standing….they don’t help you). That I can’t sell. That if something were to happen to me…I’d be one of “them” despite all my planning and research and care to be sure I could afford my home.

    Folks, at the end of the day – we are all in this together, like it or not.

  31. frosty says:

    normanjean says “getting the banks to reduce principal”. In other words just have the banks suck-up the loss and/or pass it on to others. I don’t remember ever having a bank, store or any other business write off as much as a dime from any of my bills. But now it seems to be the in-fashion thing to do. Oh well if I can’t pay my bills, I’ll just have someone else do it. I wonder how many people are going out to eat on a regular basis instead of staying home and cooking up a pot of beans and cornbread but can’t pay their own living expenses?

  32. hansgruber says:

    When is it going to be my turn?

    I have always paid my mortgage on time. I have always paid my bills on time. I pay my taxes. I have worked part time since I was 16 and full time since I got out college. A couple of time, I worked two jobs to make ends meet.

    I have never been on welfare, unemployment or any other government sponsored program. Yet when I get a pay raise, my taxes go up.

    Where is my FREE deal?

    Grow up. People don’t just end up in foreclosures; it takes hard work to get there, months and months of not paying. These folks not only hurt themselves, but how much equity have you lost in your home because these greedy folks bought too much and then want us to pay for it?

    Compassion I have those who really are trying but for those who haven’t paid a dime in months and some years, nope. I’m not throwing money down a bottomless pit.

    Housing is a right?

  33. harleyrider1 says:

    Thank-you “hansgruber”. Well stated. I, too, have compassion, but we each own our financial positions.

    We made our own choices in school about how hard we needed or wanted to study; what jobs after school each day we needed to work to save money; if we wanted to go to trade school or college and work our way through with part-time or full-time jobs. Or go in the service to get the G.I. Bill. These were decisions we made as teens. Freely made.

    We each made our decisions when it came to purchasing a home. Can we barely qualify for one and get it? Do we wait until we put 20-30% down? Do we go for the floating cheaper rate or do we choose the somewhat higher fixed rate? My point is there had to have been choices made by all of us.

    “through no fault of their own”. Whose fault is it?

  34. kluwer says:

    The housing crash and the bush depression was caused, 100%, by conservatives and their love of ‘deregulation’.
    Those are the facts and they are indisputable.

  35. LornaDoone says:

    “Oh well if I can’t pay my bills, I’ll just have someone else do it.”

    The precise process Bain Capital and Mitt Romeny used.

  36. sumyungboi says:

    letter writer: “These are often terrifying and embarrassing situations for people experiencing these hardships through no fault of their own.”

    I disagree, I’m of the opinion that in most cases, it’s entirely the fault of the person who borrowed money that they never had a hope of paying back. What do you say to all of the people who’ve lived a responsible life, not living above their means. I didn’t own my own home until I was in my forties, I would have liked to, yet people would guilt me into backing measures to keep people from going from homeowners to renters, people from the “participation trophy” generation who believe that simply because they want something, it should be a right, or because they made a dumb mistake, they shouldn’t have to face the consequences.

  37. concernedtacoma7 says:

    Ah, deregulation. Kind of like austerity and budget cuts. A favorite term of the left, yet we never see less regulation or budgets actually go down.

  38. kluwer says:

    “Ah, deregulation. Kind of like austerity and budget cuts. A favorite term of the left, yet we never see less regulation or budgets actually go down”

    Just how out of touch and clueless can you get?

  39. CT7 – never see less regulation or budgets to down’

    That is because deregulation is one of the major reasons behind our economic down fall.

    How can a budget go down when we are fighting two wars (now one), cutting tax on the rich, and shipping US jobs overseas (and giving additional tax breaks to the corporations?

  40. sumyungboi says:

    Deregulation has been a favorite boogy man of the left since the S & L scandals, and it had nothing to do with the housing bubble bursting. This happened because Fan/Fred, a proxy of the federal government, bought up bad loans as fast as the banks could dump them. Take that away, and the large banks wouldn’t be nearly so willing to back quarter million dollar mortgages to kids in their twenties, or poor people who’ve never shown any willingness to not be poor. This happens to this day, and why do you think that is? Why would the federal government want to go further into debt for the sake of literally owning thousands upon thousands of mortgages?

  41. commoncents says:

    sumyungboi – and the collateralization of loans by wall st had nothing to do with this? Wall St greed and the fraudulent ratings of those assets didn’t encourage such generous loan practices? The leveraging Certainly government (and government backed) practices had a tremendous negative impact on the housing system but failing to lay equal or greater blame on the private markets is rediculous at best. It’s simply a matter of who is the tail and who is doing the wagging.

    They are all in bed together. The government IS business.

  42. commoncents says:

    meant to back out leveraging and reinsuring of these securities didn’t impact things at all….just didn’t get the whole sentence out. My apologies.

  43. concernedtacoma7 says:

    “The government IS business”- so get them out of the picture.

  44. sumyungboi says:

    It only involves using a little common sense. Of course bankers are greedy, that’s why they’re bankers. Greedy bankers like being rich. You don’t stay rich by making billions of dollars worth of loans to kids and poor people who’ll never pay, BUT, if you have a government proxy willing to scoop up the mortgage the second some idiot misses his first payment, darn right they’ll hand a house to any bum that walks in the door.

    It used to be, people worked hard, saved money, and at some point in their adult lives when they could afford the mortgage and the up front costs, they bought a house. That was before the banks knew that they couldn’t lose, due to the federal government, and before mtv encouraged every tattooed freak in the country to “flip that house”, because of the ease of lending. Take the government out of the equation, and you’re back to responsible adults buying things they can afford.

  45. normajean says:

    @sumyungboi. What responsibilities do the banks have towards their customers? How could they lend
    money to people without a proper assessment of their financial means. Secondly people have lost their jobs in this economy and stating that these individuals are to blame for their own demise is irresponsible and shows a lack of understanding the basic failures that have lend to this situation.

  46. concernedtacoma7 says:

    The banks have a contractual obligation, that is all.

    The people that lost their jobs are not the bank’s problem (directly; of course they desire continued payments over foreclosure). The banks made a business deal with homeowners, nothing social or emotional about it.

    Blame govt backed mortgages, the shifting of risk from the loan officer/bank to the govt. Blame the regulations that forced banks to give loans.

    Stop making excuses. Yes, life sucks sometimes. Hustle and get over it.

  47. m9078jk3 says:

    I suffered for nearly 17 years living a near Spartan lifestyle diligently paying off the mortgage of my house.It was very tough and not easy.I had to forego having Cable TV,having a computer and Internet access for half that time and driving an old beater car that I could barely maintain by myself during that time.There were even some few days that I didn’t eat food it was that bad.Unlike many of those whom got into trouble I never took out a second mortgage for remodeling,taking a vacation (only time that I went on vacation trips is with my father,mother and rest of my brothers and sister back in the 1960’s and 1970’s) or buying a new car,new furniture etc.
    How can I feel sorry for those whom lived way above their means when I didn’t.As of last year my car had so many mechanical problems that it would be uneconomical to fix it.So I am now riding a bicycle to get around.I deserve a new car (or several) for free as much as these people whom lived luxuriously for a while and squandered their equity to be bailed out from possible homelessness.

  48. “Whose fault is it?”

    Ahh, the usual wrong-wing obsession with trying to blame someone.

  49. “This happened because Fan/Fred, a proxy of the federal government, bought up bad loans as fast as the banks could dump them”

    ROFLMAO – Fannie and Freddie didn’t force one single lending institution to originate one single loan.

  50. “You don’t stay rich by making billions of dollars worth of loans to kids and poor people who’ll never pay”

    Sure you do, if you can generate billions in loan origination fees and then package the loans into CDA’s and sell them quickly. Which is exactly what happened.

  51. sumyungboi says:

    As usual, ehill, you’re wrong.

    you: “Ahh, the usual wrong-wing obsession with trying to blame someone.”

    Well, I do know this, it’s not my fault, I played by the rules.

    you: “ROFLMAO – Fannie and Freddie didn’t force one single lending institution to originate one single loan.”

    Do all the rolling you want, homes, but I also know this, those banks you hate wouldn’t have made all those “high risk” loans if they were indeed high risk. They weren’t. There was fan/fred.

    you: “Sure you do, if you can generate billions in loan origination fees and then package the loans into CDA’s and sell them quickly.”

    Right back to point #2. If no one’s buying those loans, the banks don’t take the risks.

    Sorry, cuz, three comments, three failures.

  52. sumyungboi says:

    normajean: “What responsibilities do the banks have towards their customers?”

    Private business is in the business of making money. The responsibility they have to their customers is not as strong as the responsibility they have to their shareholders, including those who keep investment / retirement funds. The federal government provided the atmosphere wherein these banks could safely make loans that fan/fred would gladly gobble up. Again, take the federal government out of the picture, and you wouldn’t have kids and poor people accepted.

    You want to turn this into a banking morality issue, it’s not. When fat people walk into McDonalds, does the kid behind the counter have the responsibility to refuse them chicken nuggets? How ’bout the wheezer buying a pack of smokes down at 7-11? The perpetual borrower at the payday loan place?

    Lots of stupid people in the world. It shouldn’t be the responsibility of people who’ve played by the rules their entire lives to make sure that stupidity is rewarded.

  53. LornaDoone says:

    One of these days the conservatives will comprehend the lending laws, but they will still miscontrue said laws because they are dead set on trying to blame anyone possible other than greed in banking.

    My credit union is my mortgager and I’ll guarantee that no one told them to loan me any more than I qualified for.

    Anyone that is honest and knowledgable about the lending laws knows that there is nothing that states a bank has to loan money to a non-qualifying borrower. Now when there are mandatory insurance policies that must be purchased to cover the default, the bank wins – times two!

    Funny how you don’t see banks complaining about lending defaults, just conservative commenters.

  54. LornaDoone says:

    How come Bain Capital makes billions off bankrupting companies and middle class Americans lose their homes?

  55. commoncents says:

    sumyungboi – Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bought the loans, packaged them up and sold them to Wall St. Initially it was actually Govt Regs that PREVENTED Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from buying the loans that you talk about; the ones that didn’t meet credit and down payment requirements. It was only after they began to lose market share (to whom? Wall St Investment Banks who took advantage of the fact that they were less regulated) that they changed their business model.

    Once the two companies realized they could actually make more money HOLDING the loans instead of selling them they began to do so. This put the risk on these two companies (and thus the Feds). In 2005, the Senate tried to pass a bill that would prevent the two entities from holding Mortgage Backed Securities to reduce the risk but it failed. That’s when the downward slide really began.

    It’s important to note that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were also private entities who had to maximize their profit for their shareholders. It’s also important to note that at the height of the crisis that only 17% of their holdings were considered sub-prime or AltA which was better than most banks. Can’t blame them…though they were contributers.

  56. As I was driving by a Wells Fargo bank yesterday, I saw some people dressed in suits and neckties dragging some poor guy into the door. I thought I would go check it out so I parked my car and went inside and asked a teller what was going on. She said that the loan officers routinely stand outside and catch unsuspecting passers-by and drag them into the office and force them to sign mortgage documents that they cannot afford under the threat of great bodily harm. So, now I know why there are so many foreclosures.

  57. commoncents says:

    frosty – no one forced the banks to approve them either. No one forced the rating companies to falsely rate the collateralized loans. No one forced anyone to buy the securities. It’s all about scale…and it magnifies the further up the chain it goes.

    keep in mind that foreclosures aren’t necessarily about affordability. I can certainly afford my mortgage but if I get transferred then I may have to walk away from and foreclose on my home because I simply can’t sell it for what I owe on it. Perhaps I can rent it out but it’s not likely that I can rent it out for near my loan payment as builders are now building low end homes near mine. For those who could afford to rent my home…why rent when you can buy.

  58. “it’s not my fault, I played by the rules.”

    Nice strawman. I didn’t mention you at all. Strike one

    “those banks you hate wouldn’t have made all those “high risk” loans if they were indeed high risk.”

    1. I don’t hate banks. Take your empty rhetoric elsewhere.
    2. The loans weren’t high-risk to the lending institutions because thanks to deregulation, the lending institutions could package them up into CDO’s and sell them to investors.

    Strike two

    “If no one’s buying those loans, the banks don’t take the risks.”

    Well, someone was buying them. And it wasn’t Fannie and Freddie.

    Year $ Billion
    2004 157.4
    2005 251.3
    2006 520.6
    2007 481.6
    2008 61.9

    Strike three

    Hit the showers, kiddo.

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