Santa Cruz Good Times

Thursday
Apr 24th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Beyond Foreclosure

 fosterSANTA CRUZ > How one local is moving past his foreclosure

Local Ken Foster exemplifies the harm that can be done by just one foreclosure. After his ecological landscaping business, TerraNova, began “flat lining” in 2008, Foster says he took some risks to save his business, ultimately at the cost of his home. In order to meet business expenses and make payroll, he fell behind on mortgage payments, beginning more than two years ago. Facing default and foreclosure, Foster began what would be more than two years of struggle with Chase Bank on his qualifications for a loan modification so he could keep his home with reduced income.  

Foster owed just over $500,000 on his mortgage for his Westside, single-story home. After more than two years of lost paperwork, re-applications, and new federal programs that may or may not work, Foster finally gave up. Just a few weeks ago, a “short sale” to a buyer was approved by Chase in the amount of $450,000. At the end of a long road, Chase was unwilling reduce the principal or work out terms Foster could afford, and took a loss of about $50,000 with the short sale, which rendered Foster free of the debt without destroying his credit, but without a home he can call his own.    

In retrospect, Foster realizes that he was “dual tracked” by Chase throughout this process—a practice now proposed to be made explicitly illegal by the California Homeowner’s Bill of Rights. Foster’s loan modification applications and endless requests for supporting paperwork were getting processed along one, frustrating track, while legal foreclosure proceedings were following a separate, more “date-certain” track by a different department at Chase. Foster managed to get two foreclosure dates suspended by continuing to jump through the “loan mod” hoops, but was eventually, after two years, informed by Chase that the actual “mortgage bond investor” did not allow loan modifications, and foreclosure or short sale were his only options.  

For Foster, the house was much more than a place to lay his head. Over the 13 years Foster owned the fairly typical, two-bedroom, single story home on the Westside, he rendered his home into a show-piece demonstration of sustainable, edible landscaping, including a carefully designed mix of fruit trees, raised-bed vegetable gardens, bee-keeping, chickens and composting. Foster led many educational tours over the years (he is especially proud of the kindergarten classes that came to visit), demonstrating the principals of permaculture that he had developed in his yard, and was working hard to make it into his business.

“I can’t put a value on all the improvements I made,” says Foster walking around the dense backyard garden, “and I’ll miss giving tours of the property to show what can be done with edible, ecological landscaping. I mourn that loss of my gardens, but I also celebrate the couple who bought the property—they are very committed to maintaining what I started and spreading the gospel of permaculture.”

Foster says his business is picking up again, and he has a lead on an apartment in Seascape that may work for him. He is as devoted as ever to ecological landscaping and the principals of permaculture, which he defines as “the science of maximizing beneficial relationships.”  Foster serves on the steering committee of Transition Santa Cruz, an organization that advocates for resilient, ecologically-based communities that are prepared to “transition” to a sustainable, post-oil future.   

Foster seems reconciled with the loss of his home and gardens, is optimistic about his business, and a bit philosophical in his outlook. “The key thing about permaculture and the principals of ’transition’ is that it’s all about building community connections, building resiliency within the community for the hard times, and preparing for a sustainable future,” Foster says. “I’ve had a lot of community support for my work, but it’s time to transition to another stage.”


 

 

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Best of Santa Cruz County 2014

The 2014 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll Come on in, and have a look around. There’s a lot to see—hundreds of winners selected by thousands of GT readers across Santa Cruz County. So if some of this looks familiar, it’s probably because you helped make it happen. But there are always new things to discover, too—you could go to a different winner or runner-up every day in the Food and Drink category alone, and you’d be booked just about until next year’s Best of Santa Cruz County issue comes out.

 

Something Essential Disappears

Lunar and solar eclipses follow one another. Lunar eclipses occur at full moons, and solar eclipses at new moons. Two weeks ago at the full moon we had the blood red moon—a total lunar eclipse (the next one is Oct. 8). On Monday night, April 28 (new moon), as the Sun, Moon and Earth align, a solar eclipse (Sun obscured) occurs. Eclipses signify something irrevocably is changed in our world. The Sun is our essential life force. Monday’s new moon, 9 degrees Taurus, is also an annular solar eclipse when the Moon moves centrally in front of the Sun, yet does not cover the Sun completely. The Sun's outer edges, still visible, form a “ring of fire” around the Moon.

 

Sugar: The New Tobacco?

Proposed bill would require warning labels on sugary drinks Will soda and other saccharine libations soon come with a health warning? They will if it’s up to our state senator, Bill Monning (D-Carmel). On Feb. 27, Monning proposed first-of-its-kind legislation that would require a consumer warning label be placed on sugar-sweetened beverages sold in California. SB 1000, also known as the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Safety Warning Act, was proposed to provide vital information to consumers about the harmful effects of consuming sugary drinks, such as sodas, sports drinks, energy drinks, and sweetened teas.

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of April 17

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Tomorrow's Good Times Today
Upcoming arts & events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Palate-Stretching 101

A wine education with Soif’s experts As a veteran of many weekend wine “seminars” at Soif, I have to confess that I’ve never known less (going in) and learned more (coming out) than I did last week at the Spanish Wine Tasting with ace rep Brian Greenwood. These are classy, casual events and it’s hard to imagine having this much flavor fun anywhere for $20.

 

Martin Ranch Winery

Sauvignon Blanc 2011 One of my favorite wines is Sauvignon Blanc, and this one made by Martin Ranch is particularly lovely. Bright, crisp and refreshing, it’s perfect to pair with fish and shellfish—and good for picnics as it has an easy screw-cap bottle. There’s nothing worse than setting down your blanket, pulling out your sandwiches—and then realizing you don’t have a corkscrew.

 

Foodie File: Red Apple Cafe

Breakfast takes center stage at Gracia Krakauer's Red Apple Cafe Before they moved to Aptos, Gracia and her husband Dan Krakauer would visit friends in Santa Cruz County and eat at the Red Apple Café all the time. Then they moved up here from Santa Monica five years ago, and bought the Aptos location (there’s a separate one in Watsonville) from the family who owned it for two decades.

 

How would you feel about a tech industry boom in Santa Cruz?

I feel like it would ruin the small old-town feeling of Santa Cruz. It wouldn’t be the same Surf City kind of vacation town that it is. Antoinette BennettSanta Cruz | Construction Management