Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Maywood Hit Hard By Foreclosures!!!

Chuck Feldman of the Proviso Herald reports on foreclosures in Proviso Township. According to Feldman, a few communities in Proviso Township had some of the highest rates of new foreclosure cases in the Chicago area in 2007, according to the National Training and Information Center.

NTIC, a Chicago non-profit group that has been working to reduce foreclosures since 1998, released a list in March of the foreclosure rates of 263 Chicagoland communities. The rankings are based on the number of new foreclosure cases per square mile in each community for 2007.

Although its increase in new foreclosure cases between 2006 and 2007 was 7.7 percent, compared to 251 percent in 2007 from 233 percent in 2006, Maywood ranked first for 2007 with 93 new foreclosure cases per square mile.

Maywood Mayor Henderson Yarbrough said he is unsure why the village heads the list.

"I don't know -- unless our community has been targeted because we're a majority minority community," he said. "Maywood is not really a really poor community; our median income is around $38,000. We've tried to educate our residents (about foreclosures) where we can with forums, but often that's after the horses have gotten out of the barn."

High rates of new foreclosures are common throughout the region, and Yarbrough said he believes that's often because those seeking a first-time mortgage or refinancing a home are misled by financial lenders.

"A lot of people get into these deals based on whatever the lender tells them," he said. "Once you get to the closing table, it's hard to get up and walk away. People can be very vulnerable in these situations, and they often are taken advantage of."

Few concerns
In Hillside, foreclosure cases have not been a big problem, Village Administrator Russ Wajda said. Hillside had 38 new foreclosure cases in 2006 and 52 new cases in 2007, according to NTIC.

One reason Hillside has not been hit as hard as other communities is its older population, Wajda said.

"Perhaps most of the homes are paid off," he said. "If there's no mortgage, there's no foreclosure."

In Melrose Park, Mayor Ron Serpico isn't overly concerned that foreclosures in the village increased from 75 in 2006 to 136 in 2007.

"It's a trying time, but we haven't found it to be a tremendous problem for us," Serpico said, adding that Melrose Park may be faring better than some communities because of a low number of home sales.

"There is little the village can do to address foreclosures, he said. "It's up to the state and federal government. That's not part of what we do. Can you imagine if we had any funds, how many people could we save? It's a virtual impossibility."

While the federal government has been concerned with foreclosures, its focus has not been on homeowners, Andrea Frye, NTIC spokeswoman, said.

"Up 'til now, it has to do with how we fix the financial markets and help Wall Street," she said. "We've been screaming for a long time that homeowners need relief."

Foreclosure causes
One of the reasons foreclosures have increased is structural. Mortgage brokers work on commission and get paid up front. The mortgages are then sold to investment companies, and the brokers have no more responsibility.

"Because the commitment to that loan was very short term, what we found was that people were placed into loans that were not going to be permanently affordable," Frye said.

An example is adjustable rate loans. A mortgage with a 30-year payback, for example, would start off with a lower or "teaser" interest rate for the first two years. The loan then increases to the full interest rate. For homeowners who are barely making their loan payments at the lower rate, an increase can be deadly.

Jim Shilling, a professor of finance at DePaul University's Center for Real Estate Research, said a number of economic factors have exacerbated the problem.

First, housing prices are down. If housing prices were rising, a homeowner at risk of foreclosure could merely sell their property. In a sinking market, selling would leave the homeowner still owing money.

Second, employment is down, especially higher-paid manufacturing jobs. At the same time, the cost of gasoline is at a record high, leaving homeowners with less money to pay their mortgage.

No one wins when a property is foreclosed upon, Shilling said. The homeowner loses their home and has their credit rating damaged. The neighborhood or community is disrupted.

Also, while foreclosures have been occurring more with lower end homes, the overall real estate market is negatively impacted. It's a bit like climbing a ladder, Shilling said.

"Purchasers of starter homes hope for significant property value gains," he said. "They then trade up to the next rung on the ladder. That increases housing prices. The middle (of the market) trades up, too. If the lower end experiences capital losses, it means less demand for the middle and the high."


Anonymous said...

Now, for those of you who are Democrat superdelegates; may I have your attention, please? As you know, I addressed your fear yesterday, and I know how you people are thinking. You're in the depths of fear over what to do now, because it's clear that you, the superdelegates, are going to decide who is your party's nominee; and in the process, you are going to be committing political murder against one of these candidates. You alone are going to decide, and it used to be six months ago you were proud to be able to do this because you were operating from the context of confidence and inevitability. It was like a slam dunk. Now you're operating from fear, and incorrect decisions are made during times of crisis and fear. And the greatest fear that you superdelegates have... I mean, you can see the trend lines here.

You know what's happening. The bloom is off the rose. The messiah, it has turned out, cannot walk on water. Mrs. Clinton's been hanging in there. She has got the testicle lockbox, and it's opening and shutting on schedule. You can see the trend lines, but you're scared to death to take this away from Obama because he leads in delegates; and you're really frightened that you are going to lose the black vote, perhaps permanently, if you take away the nomination. It must be apparent to you that Senator Obama will not lead you to victory. You have to know this. But you fear that denying him support will create a permanent fissure between black voters and Democrats. No Democrat has the courage to examine this flawed premise. It is up to me to advise and address you superdelegates to consider some facts. President John Kennedy and his brother Robert Kennedy wiretapped Dr. King. Black voters stayed with Democrats. Democrats stood in the schoolhouse doors vowing, "Segregation forever!"

Democrats voted against landmark civil rights legislation; Republicans passed it. Blacks stayed with Democrats. Bull Connor was a Democrat. Blacks stayed with Democrats. Democrats created the welfare state, destroying millions of black families. Blacks stayed with Democrats. Democrats bent over forward for the teachers unions, ruining public education for generations of black kids; leaving them unequipped to participate as equals in American society. Yet! Black voters stayed with Democrats. Democrats urged the early release of criminals to further prey on law-abiding black citizens. Blacks stayed with Democrats. Democrats threw blacks under the bus during the immigration debate. After Rosa Parks finally moved to the front of the bus, Democrats threw blacks under it during the immigration debate because Hispanics are now the largest minority voting bloc. Blacks stayed with Democrats. Democrats have not supported blacks achieving power.

Carl McCall was running for governor of New York, and was denied funds from Terry McAuliffe at the Democrat National Committee. This audience contributed to McCall's campaign. Civil rights icon Maynard Jackson wanted to be head honcho of the Democrat National Convention. He was denied. Blacks stayed with Democrats. Earlier this year in Selma, Alabama, Mrs. Clinton shows up; mocks the way black people speak. Her husband, Bill Clinton, the reputed "first black president," shows up in South Carolina and plays not the race card, but a whole deck of race cards! (doing Clinton impression) "Obama? Ha! Of course he gonna win. I mean, it's like Jesse Jackson. I mean, he's the black guy." Blacks stayed with Democrats. You superdelegates in the Democrat Party, you're worried about denying Obama the nomination because you fear that your black voters will abandon you permanently? Come, come! Review your history with me once again. You Democrats have already done far worse to black voters than yanking the nomination away from Barack Obama. Have no fear, superdelegates. Be confident. Blacks will stay with you. So will Jesse Jackson, so will Al Sharpton, and you can have them.

Anonymous said...



While Hillary Clinton and her strategists may publicly insist that it ain't over until it's over, her campaign is over.

Clinton must concoct an "exit strategy" so as to minimize personal political damage, generate a modicum of goodwill and maximize future political opportunity. In short, she must hope that Barack Obama loses the presidency while avoiding blame for his loss.

So, too, must two prominent Illinois politicians who are poised on the brink of defeat and departure: Tony Peraica and Rod Blagojevich.

Peraica, a Cook County commissioner and a Republican candidate for state's attorney, will not beat Democrat Anita Alvarez. If he expects to be a viable candidate for Cook County Board president in 2010, he can't be obliterated in a landslide. In fact, he'll be fortunate to get 35 percent of the vote. But the belligerent Peraica got into the race to win, so an exit strategy -- and a pre-election withdrawal -- would make him appear a fool and a coward.

Governor Blagojevich is up for re-election in 2010, but he may be exiting a bit sooner. If he or his campaign committee are indicted by the U.S. Attorney's Office on charges of trading state jobs and contracts for contributions, the governor needs an exit strategy -- or, more appropriately, a don't-send-me-to-jail strategy. The feds need to extract some visible punishment, so a plea bargain to avoid prison would include resigning the governorship.

That was the intent of former New York governor Eliot Spitzer, who was charged with hiring prostitutes and arranging sexual trysts across state lines. He tried to barter his resignation for a plea bargain, but public outrage over his hypocrisy, not just his infidelity, was too intense, and he had to quit quickly. He's now looking at jail time.

As for Blagojevich, an indictment of his campaign committee would not evoke a drumbeat for resignation, but a personal indictment, alleging actual family gain or enrichment, such as accrued through his wife Patti's real estate earnings, certainly would. Knowing Blagojevich, he would hang on to the bitter end.

Here's an analysis:

President: In Republican circles, the word is that presidential nominee John McCain will seek to electrify the nation by pledging at the September Republican convention to be a one-term president. He will aver that, at age 72, he will spend 4 years fixing problems, devoid of political motivation, absent perpetual fund raising, and without a re-election agenda. That's a powerful argument for his election.

It also means that the 2012 presidential campaign would begin on Jan. 20, 2009, the day of McCain's inauguration.

As Clinton ponders her exit strategy, several factors are obvious: She wants to fold before it is evident that she has lost, she does not want to be senator for life from New York, and she lusts for a return to the White House, as does her husband Bill.

Her immediate priority after withdrawing is to be perceived as an enthusiastic booster of Barack Obama and to campaign vigorously for his election -- while hoping that he loses. If Obama wins the presidency, he'd be the Democratic nominee in 2012, so Clinton would have to wait until 2016 to run again, when she would be age 68 and a political has-been.

If McCain wins, then 2012 would be a Democratic opportunity, especially if he doesn't seek re-election and has been a disaster as president. If he's successful, however, his vice president would run and would be formidable.

But Obama has become a national celebrity and, at age 47, he will be a viable presidential contender for the foreseeable future. If he loses to McCain, Obama's base of blacks and liberal whites will attribute his defeat to endemic racism and demand a second chance for their champion. Hillary's hope: That Obama loses really big to McCain, in the realm of 55-45 percent. Then she could run in 2012 and blast Obama as damaged goods, and provably "unelectable," without sounding racist.

If a popular McCain were running for re-election, Obama might take a pass, but if the presidency is open in 2012, Obama would run. In the 2012 Democratic presidential primaries, Hillary would be castigated as a loser, spoiler and retread. If it's Obama-Clinton Part II in 2012, Hillary loses. And if Obama wins in 2012, Hillary's next shot would be in 2020 -- when she will be 72, the same age as McCain in 2008.

My prediction: Say goodbye to the Clintons. If Hillary can't win in 2008, she never will.

State's Attorney: A Republican has won the powerful prosecutorial post in five of 14 elections over the past 52 years, in 1956, 1972, 1976, 1980 and 1992. Incumbent Democrat Dick Devine, a close ally of Mayor Rich Daley who won in 1996, 2000 and 2004, is like the proverbial monkey: See nothing, do nothing, hear nothing. Corruption is flourishing in Cook County, and Devine's office is AWOL.

Peraica is a credible contender. He got 31.5 percent of the Chicago vote and 60.1 percent of the suburban vote for an overall 46.5 percent of the vote in his 2006 campaign for county board president against Democrat Todd Stroger. It is no secret that Peraica is running to maintain his visibility for 2010.

Alvarez is Devine's chief deputy, the number three job in the office hierarchy. As Alvarez trumpeted during her campaign, she has been a "career prosecutor" for 21 years.

Peraica's campaign is attempting to develop three issues:

First, that Alvarez is inept. She was once the chief of the office's public integrity unit, and she had no accomplishments. "She did nothing at the time when corruption was flourishing," Peraica said. "She will be another stooge of the mayor."

Second, that Alvarez will be Devine II, much like Democrats are proclaiming that McCain will be Bush II. For 12 years Devine's office has studiously ignored corruption in city and county government, deferring to the feds. "It will be 4 more years of the status quo," Peraica said of Alvarez' tenure.

And third, that Alvarez will not change the "culture" and focus of the office. Peraica wants to redirect office resources to the investigation and prosecution of public corruption. Alvarez is content to let the U.S. attorney do that job, having told this columnist that, with a $96 million office budget, it can't compete with the feds, who spent $25 million on the George Ryan trial.

But Alvarez will win -- and win big. She is not flawed like Todd Stroger. She is a competent prosecutor, a woman, a Hispanic and the Democratic candidate in what will be a huge Democratic year. After winning the primary, she has gone underground, uttering nary a word of criticism about her boss or Daley. She knows that the less she says or does, the better her prospects of victory are.

In the February Democratic state's attorney primary, Alvarez, Tom Allen, Larry Suffredin, Howard Brookins, Bob Milan and Tommy Brewer amassed 950,421 votes, to 137,767 for Peraica in the Republican primary, for a combined turnout of 1,088,188. Of the votes cast, Peraica had 12.6 percent. To beat Alvarez, Peraica needs the support of at least 43 percent of the Democratic primary voters and half of all additional voters.

That just won't happen. Having run against Stroger, Peraica is toxic in the black community. A white Republican male will not be preferred over a Hispanic female. Peraica will be lucky to get 10 percent of the black vote against Alvarez.

Hispanics will vote 85 percent for Alvarez. Among white liberals and women, support of Alvarez will be obligatory on ideological and gender grounds. White liberals will embrace Obama and Alvarez, while Hispanics will opt for McCain and Alvarez.

But, most critically, the pro-Daley white committeemen will work hard for Alvarez. She is Daley's backstop. If Peraica were state's attorney, he would generate daily headlines, investigating every nook and cranny of city and county government so as to advance his personal agenda, such as a 2010 bid for governor or county board president. Alvarez wouldn't.

In 2004, in a turnout of 1,690,000, the Republican candidate for state's attorney got 12.7 percent of the vote. In 2000, in turnout of 1,675,000, the Republican got 21.8 percent. In 1996, when Republican incumbent Jack O'Malley lost, he got 42 percent of the vote in a turnout of 1,631,000.

Unlike Stroger in 2006, Alvarez is not flawed or repugnant. Black and white liberal voters have plenty of reasons to vote against the obnoxious Peraica. Pro-Daley whites will back her because she is safe.

The bottom line: Obama will overwhelmingly win Cook County, by less than his 1,299,625-vote margin in the 2004 Senate race but by more than John Kerry's 842,319-vote margin in the 2004 presidential race. McCain will get a sizable white ethnic and Hispanic vote, but Peraica won't. Alvarez will win with 68 percent of the vote, making Peraica damaged goods in 2010. Message to Peraica: Get out now.