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Nov 27th
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Protecting the Home Front

barbara palmer 1SANTA CRUZ > Real estate agent lobbies for struggling local families

Barbara Palmer, president of the Santa Cruz County Association of Realtors, met with 28 out of the 55 U.S. Representatives from California, as well as Treasury and Federal Housing Finance Agency executives on five separate trips to Washington D.C. last year. Lobbying on behalf of cash-strapped homeowners and the statewide realtors association, Palmer emphasized the devastating impacts of foreclosures on families and neighborhoods.  

“I’m looking for practical solutions, “ Palmer says. “There are some very practical rule changes that could be made, that do not necessarily require writing down principal, that could save many people from losing their homes, right now, and in the year ahead.”

Palmer is worried about many exorbitant, adjustable rate mortgages (ARM’s) out there, originated in the hey day of flexible, if not predatory, lending practices beginning around 2003 that are scheduled for significant interest rate hikes on their 10 year anniversaries later this year and next. Palmer says the interest rate hikes of ARMs, in some cases exceeding six percent, may push many families already struggling to stay current over the edge of foreclosure in the near future.   

A practical solution? Palmer advocates for banks to refinance these ARMs into 30-year fixed mortgages at today’s low interest rate of around 4 percent, making loan payments manageable for many households in potential trouble, even if the refinanced loan still renders the homeowner “underwater” in terms of current market value. “At least the family can make the payments and stay in the home,” Palmer insists.

One key obstacle is that, by current rules, the refinanced loan cannot exceed 125 percent of market value, cutting off that option for borrowers more than “25 percent underwater.” “Waive that appraisal requirement and the 125 percent of market value rule,” Palmer  proposes, ”and let families out of these exorbitant ARMs and take advantage today’s low interest rates with a 30-year fixed.” Are there any incentives for the banks to do this? “Yes,” replies Palmer enthusiastically, “the banks have a real PR problem. Here’s a way for them to solve it. ”

Recalling the famous axiom that “all politics are local,” Palmer is serious when she says, “all solutions are local too, we just need to work them out.”

“My vision is to get local bank officials, troubled homeowners trying to avoid default, realtors and public officials all in the same room and come up with workable alternatives to foreclosure,” she says.


Check back with Good Times later this week for an in-depth look at the continuing local foreclosure crisis.

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We are in the time and under the influence of Sagittarius, sign of the wanderer, good food, good music, and the joy (Jupiter as ruler) that occurs from giving to others while simultaneously giving thanks from our hearts. Having the Thanksgiving holiday during the month of Sag is not a mistake. No other sign understands joy (an aspect of the Soul) as Sag (except Pisces when not in despair). “Sag is a beam of directed and focused light. The beam reveals a greater light ahead, illuminating the Way to the center of the Light,” emitting the Ray of Joyfulness. Thanksgiving is a time for gratitude; in the form of prayers, thoughts, feelings, wishes, hopes and greetings. Gratitude is something we still need to learn. Gratitude creates goodwill. Together, gratitude and goodwill create the “thought-form of solution” for humanity and our world’s problems. Gratitude and goodwill are the prerequisites for the reappearance of the Christ, the Aquarian World Teacher. In Ancient Wisdom texts it is written, “being grateful is the hallmark of one who is enlightened.” Gratitude comes from the Soul—the characteristics of which are love and wisdom (Ray 2). Gratitude is scientifically and occultly (mental, not emotional) a releasing agent. Gratitude liberates us and everything around us. Also a service to others, gratitude is deeply scientific in nature, releasing us from the past and laying open our future path leading to the new culture and civilization, the new laws and principles, the rising light of Aquarian, the Age of Friendship and Equality. The Hierarchy lays much emphasis upon gratitude. Let us be grateful this year and this season together. And so now the days of light illuminating the darkness begin (December’s festivals and feast days). Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. I am grateful for all of you, my readers.

 

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