Letters 10-24-2016

It’s Obama’s 1984 Several editions ago I concluded a short letter to the editor with an ominous rhetorical flourish: “Welcome to George Orwell’s 1984 and the grand opening of the Federal Department of Truth!” At the time I am sure most of the readers laughed off my comments as right-wing hyperbole. Shame on you for doubting me...

Gun Bans Don’t Work It is said that mass violence only happens in the USA. A lone gunman in a rubber boat, drifted ashore at a popular resort in Tunisia and randomly shot and killed 38 mostly British and Irish tourists. Tunisian gun laws, which are among the most restrictive in the world, didn’t stop this mass slaughter. And in January 2015, two armed men killed 11 and wounded 11 others in an attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. French gun laws didn’t stop these assassins...

Scripps’ Good Deed No good deed shall go unpunished! When Dan Scripps was the 101st District State Representative, he introduced legislation to prevent corporations from contaminating (e.g. fracking) or depleting (e.g. Nestle) Michigan’s water table for corporate profit. There are no property lines in the water table, and many of us depend on private wells for abundant, safe, clean water. In the subsequent election, Dan’s opponents ran a negative campaign almost solely on the misrepresentation that Dan’s good deed was a government takeover of your private water well...

Political Definitions As the time to vote draws near it’s a good time to check into what you stand for. According to Dictionary.com the meanings for liberal and conservative are as follows:

Liberal: Favorable to progress or reform as in political or religious affairs.

Conservative: Disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditions and limit change...

Voting Takes A Month? Hurricane Matthew hit the Florida coast Oct. 6, over three weeks before Election Day. Bob Ross (Oct. 17th issue) posits that perhaps evacuation orders from Governor Scott may have had political motivations to diminish turnout and seems to praise Hillary Clinton’s call for Gov. Scott to extend Florida’s voter registration deadline due to evacuations...

Clinton Foundation Facts Does the Clinton Foundation really spend a mere 10 percent (per Mike Pence) or 20 percent (per Reince Priebus) of its money on charity? Not true. Charity Watch gives it an A rating (the same as it gives the NRA Foundation) and says it spends 88 percent on charitable causes, and 12 percent on overhead. Here is the source of the misunderstanding: The Foundation does give only a small percentage of its money to charitable organizations, but it spends far more money directly running a number of programs...

America Needs Change Trump supports our constitution, will appoint judges that will keep our freedoms safe. He supports the partial-birth ban; Hillary voted against it. Regardless of how you feel about Trump, critical issues are at stake. Trump will increase national security, monitor refugee admissions, endorse our vital military forces while fighting ISIS. Vice-presidential candidate Mike Pence will be an intelligent asset for the country. Hillary wants open borders, increased government regulation, and more demilitarization at a time when we need strong military defenses...

My Process For No I will be voting “no” on Prop 3 because I am supportive of the process that is in place to review and approve developments. I was on the Traverse City Planning Commission in the 1990s and gained an appreciation for all of the work that goes into a review. The staff reviews the project and makes a recommendation. The developer then makes a presentation, and fellow commissioners and the public can ask questions and make comments. By the end of the process, I knew how to vote for a project, up or down. This process then repeats itself at the City Commission...

Regarding Your Postcard If you received a “Vote No” postcard from StandUp TC, don’t believe their lies. Prop 3 is not illegal. It won’t cost city taxpayers thousands of dollars in legal bills or special elections. Prop 3 is about protecting our downtown -- not Munson, NMC or the Commons -- from a future of ugly skyscrapers that will diminish the very character of our downtown...

Vote Yes It has been suggested that a recall or re-election of current city staff and Traverse City Commission would work better than Prop 3. I disagree. A recall campaign is the most divisive, costly type of election possible. Prop 3, when passed, will allow all city residents an opportunity to vote on any proposed development over 60 feet tall at no cost to the taxpayer...

Yes Vote Explained A “yes” vote on Prop 3 will give Traverse City the right to vote on developments over 60 feet high. It doesn’t require votes on every future building, as incorrectly stated by a previous letter writer. If referendums are held during general elections, taxpayers pay nothing...

Beware Trump When the country you love have have served for 33 years is threatened, you have an obligation and a duty to speak out. Now is the time for all Americans to speak out against a possible Donald Trump presidency. During the past year Trump has been exposed as a pathological liar, a demagogue and a person who is totally unfit to assume the presidency of our already great country...

Picture Worth 1,000 Words Nobody disagrees with the need for affordable housing or that a certain level of density is dollar smart for TC. The issue is the proposed solution. If you haven’t already seen the architect’s rendition for the site, please Google “Pine Street Development Traverse City”...

Living Wage, Not Tall Buildings Our community deserves better than the StandUp TC “vote no” arguments. They are not truthful. Their yard signs say: “More Housing. Less Red Tape. Vote like you want your kids to live here.” The truth: More housing, but for whom? At what price..

Home · Articles · News · Other Opinions · The future of real estate...
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The future of real estate in Northern Michigan

Jack Lane - February 23rd, 2009
I know we’ve all been shaken dramatically by the double whammy of the stock market dive and the real estate market dive. Worse yet, none of this was our fault – we were just playing the Great American Dream the way we were taught. Yet, tens of thousands of dollars have disappeared from our vision of what we thought we were worth.
I have good news for you. This is not the end of times. Most of us will be worth that much, again – and more. There have been nine other pronounced real estate declines in the history of this great country – and, every time, real estate has bounced back in dramatic fashion. This one will have the same result.
If you’re a seller, you hate this market. If you’re a buyer, this is the market you dream of. Keep in mind that most sellers will turn around and become buyers – so, even their dilemma is not as painful as the headlines suggest. Does it suck to be in this position? Absolutely! But whining doesn’t accomplish much. Besides, there is a silver lining to this “crisis,” so let’s have a look at the situation and decide how to proceed:

2009 Important Points:
Supply and demand continues to be out of whack in our market. We have far more houses available than buyers. The bad news is it may get worse with further ARM adjustments hitting this year. The credit card crunch poses a huge iceberg, as well. Detroit’s problems mean more waterfront properties will be coming on the market.
Prices may continue to decline in 2009 -- simple supply and demand meeting employment and wages. A huge factor to watch will be how much benefit Northern Michigan’s economy gets from the public works programs President Obama is rolling out. Another huge factor will be what kind of national exposure Northern Michigan receives. There are all sorts of wonderful story lines, here.
Real estate investment will rise in the area. We’ve received a bit of benefit as a ‘safe haven’ for Michigan real estate investment. We’re on a lot of ‘cool places’ lists. When it turns around, we’ll likely be the first to benefit.
Obama Drama and taxes. Just when we don’t need further obstacles, tax problems loom: property taxes with that stupid, stupid homestead exemption notion continue to have an adverse effect on the second home market. Capital gains are likely to rise in some fashion. The good news? President Obama’s new plan certainly will help stem the foreclosure tide. And the $8,000 tax credit for people who haven’t bought a house in three years will work some magic as well.
This too shall pass. Some 80 years ago, you could have bought a 5,000-square-foot beautifully-done Victorian on Sixth Street in Traverse City for $25,000. The same house 40 years ago would have cost you $75,000. The same house 20 years ago cost $250,000. The same house today will cost you $850,000. Point is – even when it looks bleaker than bleak (1930s, 1970s, 1980s) – it eventually turns around, the economy recovers and prices go up. And those who were smart enough to buy real estate get to bore their grandkids with stories about “what we bought and for how little” in the same tones used by generation after generation after generation.

What do I do if I’m a seller?
Condition, marketing, pricing – the three keys in any market. In this market, you also have the added problem of too few buyers for too many houses. You have to be creative! Plus, your marketing has to be in the places where today’s buyers are looking. It’s not the newspaper, it’s not magazines – it IS the Internet. And, just as it’s always been, it’s in the networking. Some 94% of all home buyers shop on the Internet. Make certain you have the best Internet and networking presence

What do I do if I’m a buyer?
Work with someone who knows how to fight through obstacles – and get deals done. Obstacles and misinformation rise dramatically in a market like this. Everyone is proclaiming their house “a steal.” Some are, many aren’t. Title, loans, inspections, appraisals and offers are all filled with new problems that weren’t around prior to this mess. Work with someone who can guide you through it.

Last word
This is not the end of the world. We are four years into a decline. History suggests we are closer to the end than we are to the beginning. There are only four reasonable places wealthy people can put money – the stock market (or emerging businesses), precious metals, government treasuries, and real estate. Real estate will become the darling, again, at some point.
Of those four categories, real estate is the one that’s been beaten down the longest. And therefore is poised for the quickest rebound. It takes courage and intelligence to act when everyone else is wringing their hands – but loads of America’s wealth was built in just such moments. When the news is all about the dramatic turnaround, the real bargains will already be gone.
There you have it – that’s where we are at the beginning of 2009. The rules have changed dramatically. Throw a dart into the dark and you can’t help but hit a bargain. There are still all sorts of deals being done. There is a major advantage for the buyer, right now – but that will change. The trick, as always, is to figure out how to capitalize on what’s taking place. And to act.

Jack Lane is an agent with Real Estate One in Traverse City. He has a weekly radio show on WTCM-AM.
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