Santa Cruz Good Times

Saturday
Jan 31st
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

 

Throwing It All Away

Everybody’s for recycling, right? So why are we all doing it wrong? Our reporter gets down and dirty to uncover 10 secrets that will finally make the recycling process make sense

 

Aquarius Calling, Humanity Rising

Aquarius (11th sign after Aries) is the sign of service—serving one another, building community. Aquarius is fixed air, stabilizing new ideas in the world. When new ideas reach the masses the ideas become ideals within the hearts and minds of humanity. Air signs (Gemini, Libra and Aquarius) are mental. They think, ponder, study, research, gather and distribute information. For air signs, education and learning, communicating, writing, being social, tending to money, participating in groups and creating sustainable communities are most important. One of the present messages Aquarius is putting forth to the New Group of World Servers is the creation of the New Education (thus thinking) for humanity—one based not on commodities (banking/corporate values) but on virtues. Humanity and Aquarius Aquarius is the sign of humanity itself. We are now at the beginnings of the Age of Aquarius, the Age of Humanity (rising). The “rising” is the Aquarian vision of equality, unity, the distribution and sharing of all resources and of individual (Leo) creative gifts for the purpose of humanity’s (Aquarius) uplifting. This is the message in the Solar Festival of Aquarius (at the full moon) on Tuesday, Feb. 3. We join in these visions by reciting the World Prayer of Direction, the Great Invocation.Tuesday’s solar festival follows Monday’s Groundhog Day, or Imbolc (ancient Celtic fire festival) the halfway mark between winter solstice and spring Equinox). The New Group of World Servers (NGWS) during these two days are preparing for the upcoming Three Spring Solar Festivals: 1. Aries Resurrection/Easter Festival (April); 2. Taurus Buddha/Wesak Festival (May); and 3. Gemini’s Festival of Humanity (June). Aquarius and the new and full moons together are the primary astrological influences behind all of humanity’s endeavors. The NGWS are to teach these things, calling and uplifting humanity. Join us everyone. (301)

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Job Insecurity

Woman fights for her job in thoughtful, life-sized ‘Two Days One Night’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Jeffrey’s Restaurant

Why quick and friendly service matters at a local diner.

 

If you didn't live in Santa Cruz, where would you be living?

I would live in Kauai because the water is warmer, and I just love it there. Maureen Niehaus, Santa Cruz, Dental Assistant

 

Clos LaChance Wines

Pinot Noir 2012

 

Striking Gold

A taste of Soquel Vineyards’ five gold medal-winning Pinots