Thursday, February 21, 2013

Educate Yourself On Lisa Byers ...

An email (see the bottom of this post) has been sent around to many realtors regarding Lisa Byers and the video that was posted on the Trojan Heron on February 6th. Lisa Lawrence explains that the video was taken out of context, implying that Byers was simply delivering a lecture in the third person and not speaking about her own views.

In the Trojan Heron post from February 6th, we quoted Byers from another part of her talk where she is clearly expressing her own views. Here is that quote:
Most Community Land Trusts are 501(c)(3)s ... for those of us who believe that this is actually the right way to ... that this is part of a larger Land Reform Movement ... it would be great if we weren't constrained by 501(c)(3)s ... but in terms of replicating this model and actually getting it on the ground, the place where it has had the most traction has been in the affordable housing world and therefore having that 501(c)(3) status has provided a way to work within the existing economy to implement this alternative economy. There are a number of Conservation Land Trusts and Community Land Trusts that work collaboratively.  There are a few that I know of in the same organization ... my specific experience has been that, again, it takes relationships and specific projects to coalesce around. - Lisa Byers, June 2012 -- New Economics Institute Conference Q&A
And here is the video of that quote.

Yes, by all means, educate yourself on Lisa Byers and her beliefs ... by doing your own homework rather than simply listening to what Lisa Lawrence says about her. For the full context regarding Byers and the New Economics Institute, take the time to watch some of the other videos that have been posted too.  For example, get a load of the talk about Sharing Wealth in the 21st Century, which is posted on the same webpage as the full Byers video.

Watch them all. Make up your own mind.

From: Lisa Lawrence
Date: February 18, 2013, 1:37:55 PM PST
Subject: Re: Educate yourself on Lisa Byers by watching her speech in this video...

Hi all -

After watching the video that Greg forwarded to us I did a bit of research as it was obvious to me that it was taken out of context. Lisa Byers was simply giving a history of how the land trust model of land ownership was developed - nothing to do with private property rights. It makes me sad when this type of rhetoric or misinformation is sent around as if it had some validity.

Please educate yourselves if you haven't, on home trusts and the like and how they actually help small, rural communities keep people here like teachers, grocery store clerks, farmers, retirees, families, etc. As much we all appreciate and love the idea of owning our own land outright, it is often an unobtainable dream due to financial reasons. Land trusts make homeownership possible for many folks that would never be able to, by taking the price of the land out of the picture or minimal cost. Lisa Byers is well respected across the country for her work in this field, as well as in our county. 

I know Lisa Byers and I have the utmost respect for her. In my opinion we are lucky to have such an honest, intelligent, compassionate person willing to serve our community and I am voting her. I hope you all take a minute to read her response below to my questions for her regarding the video and feel free to contact her directly if you have specific questions. 

Thanks, Lisa

Begin forwarded message:
From: Lisa Byers <>
Date: February 17, 2013 9:23:11 PM PST
To: Lisa Lawrence 
Subject: video excerpt

Lisa –

I appreciate you asking me about the video excerpt from a talk I gave last year. I was one of three speakers who talked about how a community land trust and a land conservation easement with The Nature Conservancy helped to create the first Community Supported Agriculture farm in the country, Indian Line Farm in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. I spoke about the history of the community land trust model of land ownership.

As you may know, my work for the past 17 years has been to support our economy in San Juan County by providing affordable housing that will continue to serve the community for decades to come. The community land trust model is a pragmatic option for a county like ours where real estate prices are higher than the norm and wages are lower than the norm.

The way it works is that the non-profit community land trust secures grants and donations to buy land and develop infrastructure for housing. The community land trust leases the land to individuals who own their homes.  The grants and donations lower the price a household pays for the housing they purchase.  In exchange for being able to purchase a home at significantly below market value, the homeowner agrees, through the land lease, that when they choose to sell, they will sell at a price prescribed by a formula in the lease to keep that home affordable for subsequent generations.

I find this model to be a practical blend of progressivism and conservatism, and an example of a successful public-private partnership. Just as with conservation land trusts, public and private funds are invested in a manner that lasts for decades. The non-profit organization stewards that investment by overseeing re-sales at an affordable price. And the individuals who purchase homes under this model have the rights and responsibilities of ownership, which can vest them more fully in the community.

If I am elected to serve on the county council, I plan to spend time working on other ways to help sustain a healthy economy. I will help to foster the continued growth of our agricultural sector by re-aligning state and county statues to be more supportive of small farmers. I plan to help with incubating new businesses, assuring that our zoning provides places for island-friendly commerce, helping OPALCO’s broadband service get established, and reforming or eliminating outdated regulations. I am particularly interested in encouraging young people who grew up here to come back to raise their families.

Thanks again for asking. I hope this places the video in context.  Please let me know if you have any other questions.

Lisa Byers

Vote Lisa Byers for County Council
San Juan County District 2


  1. The information about Lisa just keeps getting worse and worse. It makes you wonder what else is out there about Lisa, or maybe Lovel too. I'm sensing that there is some secret out there that we just haven't discovered yet. What's behind the curtain that we're just not seeing?

  2. Byers: "Inner city poverty issues are linking with environmental issues..."

    Really! In the inner cities I know you want to avoid being shot by accident or on purpose. Not close to any "environmental" concerns I can think of.

    In a Byers mentality this is linked to poverty, when in the real World it is linked to turf wars over making big bucks off dope or whatever.

    Byers also alludes to fighting a battle. What battle? Low cost housing here has enjoyed carte blanche since its first birthday.

    As an experienced planner I have been opposed to this social engineering since day one. Low income people should be provided with sub par lending rates or down payments to buy THEIR OWN HOUSE OR PROPERTY in the market place, anywhere they choose to! They then get a foot on the ladder and their labor bears fruit to them alone, not some weird thing set up by a Ms. Byers or the utopian head cases she hangs out with in these videos.

  3. Gee, Heron, you posted the link with the original video--how much "research" did it take this person? We knew we'd see backpedaling, it was just a matter of when.

    I love video.

  4. I agree. How would Lisa Lawrence put it if the shoe were on the other foot?

    It makes me sad when this type of backpedaling rhetoric or misinformation is sent around as if it had some validity.

  5. No self-righteous I'm more compassionate than you leftist can spend that much time scrounging off of the public without skeletons in the closet...time for more in depth investigation, say, like a Mr. Paulson who gets ALL the contracts to build OPAL hovels recently sold his land guessed it OPAL! What a Surprise...I'm SURE it's all legit...

  6. If your head doesn't explode watching the video about sharing wealth, then heaven help us all. I'm not sure why this is called the "New" Economics Institute because they themselves say they are promoting economic ideas from the late 18th century. I'm not even sure that's true, since they seem like stone age marxists. As far as these "new" ideas go (quoting a commenter from a previous post), that train has sailed.

  7. Look, Lisa is hooked into the New Economics Institute. It was no mere accident she was at the 2012 conference. The NEI is just yet one more left funded
    anti-capitalism, anti-private property, pro-global-social-justice-redistributionist-coercive utopian think tank.

    She can't hide from this connection!

  8. Wait, she's on the board of the New Economics Institute and has been--she wasn't just an invited speaker. Does she really want the money and power bad enough to compromise her integrity? Suddenly she's a free market private property defender?

  9. Wow, Ms. Byers has really turned into a politician. I always thought she was pretty straight-forward and truthful, even if I didn't agree with her politics. The speech was just a history? Is has nothing to do with private property?

  10. Confused by at @6:52 PM ...

    Far as I can tell, there's an entire session video out there, on Vimeo, with three speakers including Lisa at the New Economy Institute from a national conference held June 2012, it is over a half hour in length.

    Looks like our TH pulled two excerpts from that session. Each excerpt focused on Lisa Byers' remarks because ... uh ... the other two speakers aren't running for office here? So, for Lisa Lawrence, apparently that's quoting out of context. Nope. Don't buy it.

    Today's excerpt seems to be in response to Lisa Lawrence's shotgun memo to out local real estate business community. This excerpt of the Q&A piece at the end of the session again focuses on Lisa because the other two folks, fascinating as they may be, don't live here.

    Lisa Byers gives a really good history of the CLT movement. She knows her subject matter rather well. She's a nationally known figure in the movement. She speaks passionately to the alternative economic model that her work yearns to establish. And it is this alternative economic model that must intrigue us now, for self-evident reasons.

    Lisa Lawrence seems to characterize Byers' talk as some kind of dispassionate third person academic-style lecture. Not so. Lisa Byers is clearly in her element. Lisa Byers owns her own words. Lisa Lawrence seems to be trying to create a distraction away from what those words say and mean. Lisa Lawrence, obfuscates. Why does Lisa Byers want to hide behind a curtain of obfuscation?

    So, the point is this. Lisa and Lisa: You are both well liked, well respected and intelligent people. What is wrong with you? Please do not insult the intelligence of islanders again, as you have just done here. You have lost sight of yourselves for reasons yet unclear. Take a close look at what you are saying. You are not fooling anybody.

    The voters deserve to know the underlying political and economic philosophy informing the decision-making style of our candidates. It answers the question: "What does Lisa Byers have in store for us?" A Big Plan for Broadband but slim on detail. We've heard this for years. And so much more ...

    Lisa Lawrence, with an amazing local heritage served for eight years as a Land Bank Commissioner all the while selling expensive real estate, and is on the board of the Ag Guild which nearly hauled in hundreds of grand out of the Land Bank for the Brickworks Project. She is not likely being neutral in her remarks by any means.

    Please have the courtesy to allow Lisa Byers to speak for herself, from now on, and have her own conversation with the adults in the room.

  11. Anyone remember the good old days when if you couldn't afford to own a house, you didn't??

    Some weird concept about renting from a landlord.

    I've done it, many times. I see nothing wrong with renting.

    The CLT resident leeches have been duped in to thinking they own something. They don't. They just have really bad leases.

  12. @9:22

    I think you make some good points here, and appreciate that you focus on the facts at hand - not the seemingly endless character bashing that is all too prevalent here.

    The fact is that Lisa Byers is educated, well spoken and passionate about her ideals. It is also true that her beliefs and those of others (most THers)are different. The question for the voters is - what part of her ideals will translate to or affect her legislative work? The question for us is will we continue to take personal attacks at the candidates we disagree with or can we start talking about the issues that are facing the county going forward.

    I'll have a much easier time figuring out who to vote for ( and really, as of today i have no clue) when I can understand their take on actual San Juan County issues. As of yet, I have never heard Brian, Lovell, Jamie or Bob even talk. I'm looking forward to hearing what they think the issues and solutions are for San Juan county.

  13. Gag me, shoot me now. The last post is what is wrong with or country. Never never land.

  14. Glad to see some thought through the fog.

    Yes, I am curious to learn more about Lisa, approach and method to island issues, what she has "in store."

    And I am really, really interested in just what Lovel Pratt has in store, after having watched four years of performance and pretty resounding defeat. Of course Richard Nixon bounced back, Lovel can too.

    And then I have to think that Lisa and Lovel have an awful lot in common, given their funding base, party support and so forth. They do really seem to be joined at the hip. Even their road side campaign signs come in pairs.

  15. This is one of the issues. Land being taken off the tax roles and put into land trusts.

  16. "will we continue to take personal attacks at the candidates we disagree with, or can we start talking about the issues that are facing the county going forward."

    Always puzzled by the characterization of discussions such as this about Lisa's views as a personal attack. NO. discussing issues and questioning a candidate's position is not a personal attack. Sorry.

  17. Pointing out that Lisa is associated with the New Economics Institute is not a personal attack. Having a dep concern that Lisa the County Councilor might try to implement policis in San Juan County based on many of the papers presented on the NEI website is not personal attack. It is being opposed to a candidate who gives no evidence that she won't bring theses beliefs to the job. Beliefs which in my opinion are no good for this or any county.

  18. @ 6:49 - I couldn't agree more.

    OPAL has been slowly expanding into what they refer to as "scattered site houses", which are simply homes on their own land across the island.

    I love the idea - I hate the way that it is being executed.

    For much less money than the cost of developing new, dense affordable housing clusters - an entity can step in and rehabilitate a distressed property, work with eligible low to moderate income buyers in securing financing - sign the papers and WALK AWAY.

    But the Land Trust model cannot create this. Instead they retain ownership of the land, create a 99 year lease agreement, and forbid free-market forces to benefit or harm the "owner" if they need to move.

    Many first time buyers on the islands are given no other choice than to buy a home that is dangerous, leaking, surrounded by garbage, or lacking adequate water or septic service. A program to help this situation AND create true property ownership would be good for the community and the environment.

  19. I appreciate the point Brian makes about what our family calls "fixer uppers". That is how we have managed to buy our own land after many years of "fixing up" and "turning over" modest homes. One at a time and living in the mess while we did it. And the reward is twofold. There is great satisfaction to be had from creating a home from a hovel.

    Very disappointing that Lisa Lawrence isn't thinking this all the way through.

  20. I appreciate the work of a land trust to meet the needs of the permanatly disabled, however and unfortunatly the likes of Opal and landtrusts such as, create a permanate disabling impact on non disabled residents not disabled by other than the obligatory provisions of the land trust and the continued drag on the balance of society. Bying in to Opal is a last ditch move and difficult to buy out of,

  21. And there is more to this than meets the eye. For myself, I'm not going to throw the baby out with the bathwater and just dismiss the New
    Economy Institute as a bunch ranting new age eco-communitarians.

    There is that element. However, there is also a lot excellent work being done on ways to form community capital - financial, social - that can create resource pools to lower the entry to first time home ownership, even in a market as distorted by unfair regulatory burdens as this one.

    Homes for Islanders is a good model to look at. It works. It also creates bed rock equity for a young working family to build stake upon. The CLT model does not. That's because it is an application of a communitarian economic philosophy that tends to disfavor the principle of private property ownership.

    But you can drill into some of the other outfits and research groups affiliated with the New Economic Institute and find different innovative approaches on how to reduce capital outflows from rural communities, increase multiplier effects and lower barriers to entry for firs time home ownership and small business development.

    I am however very uncertain if the CLT socio-economic model will lead us there.

    How open is Lisa to other innovative local economic strategies, now having worked one job for 17 years in the milieu of communitarian-driven land reform as she has?

    Let's have the debate and stop fooling ourselves.

  22. Fair enough.

    Here is a link with summaries of many of the NEI lectures.

    Read the summaries. Read the full lectures that catch your interest.
    Which ones inspire Lisa to act? Which policy recommendations might she try to implement? Which ideas will she request staff to research
    Which ones do you agree with? Which ones cause a shiver down your spine?

  23. Does Lisa like this one?

    Democracy, Earth Rights, and the Next Economy

    Alanna Hartzok, 2001
It is only in recent human history that land has been enclosed and the rights of use given to a few people, as opposed to a whole community. Hartzok points out that individual equality, even in a democracy, cannot exist without equal rights to the abundance of the earth. She presents solutions that have been successful in Pennsylvania and elsewhere, including restructuring taxes so that land value, a communal asset, is taxed instead of wages or buildings.

  24. Before taking a deep dive into the economy stuff or whatever flavor appeals, let's set the proper context.

    Looks like context is important to Lisa Byers, fair enough.

    First principles. Locke, Adam Smith, Thomas Jefferson, Bill of Rights, due process, rule of law.

    To what extent is the US and Washington State Constitutions (and the vision/preamble of the San Juan County Comprehensive Plan for that matter, either a 1) Barrier or 2) Enabler in the interests of justice and equity?

    There will be a quiz. But let's start with first principles otherwise we'll get another 10 years of the kind of regulatory enthusiasm visited upon us by Lisa's running mates. I don't expect them to change.

    Show me.

  25. What is there to debate? The land trust model is a trap for for home "buyers", who are nothing but tenants of a land trust administered by persons who, like Ms. Byers, fundamentally despise true private land ownership.

    The suggestion by Ms. Lawrence that what Ms. Byers said on the video had "nothing to do with private property rights" is laughable.

    The letter response from Ms. Byers is, if anything, worse, because it carefully avoids ANY reference to private ownership of land. The question we need to have Ms. Byers answer is simply this: Do you or do you not agree with the assertion of Henry George, to whom you cite with approval, that private ownership of land is an evil that must be abolished . Yes or no? Just tell the voters, Ms. Byers, where you stand on that fundamental point.

  26. Private property, schmivet property, just ask any of the schmos over on Lopez who found themselves in the Eminent Domain of the Port/FAA/grant $chaching$... as far as "rule of law", try squatting on Opal land and see what happens. Owning a building IS property, just like owning car, which has been sited on TH as a possible starting point for "home ownership"...or at least a place to sleep... but where to park?! The comparison to a condo unit is much more accurate than say to the Panopticon...compulsion IS a factor. As Brian has said, it wasn't for him, but others don't mind neighbors. Lesson: No property cannot be seized... er, I mean "compulsory purchased". "Due process" ain't what it's cracked up to be. Quote the slave owning pot growing founding fathers all you want and see what the drones have to say... ohh the times they are a chang'n

  27. Panopticon. In a CLT, fall behind your mortage a bit and your neighbors are forced by contract to foot the balance.

    No one watching, no fear of no one watching your personal financial affairs?

    Think that one through. On the other hand we're neighbors helping neighbors. Community. Not that we had too many choices but we signed the contract.

    Now we all really really care how you all are doing. Let us know how we can help.

    Can anyone say double edge sword?

  28. operative word there is "contract"... devil in the details? read careful

  29. it is coercion pure and simple. But of course you have a choice, its up to you.

    So community social capital is enforced not voluntary, contractual not organic from the spirit.

    And of course, for the greater good, not driven by base motives like financial self interest.

    Or the possibility you're mortgage payment might go up next month, if Ralph and Alice fall on hard times.

    Think us community minded folk better keep a close eye on Ralph and Alice. For the greater good.

  30. if a contact for a mortgage (aka "death-grip" in latin) is signed to a bank, and the payment is defaulted, then do they not often foreclose? is this coercive? or contractual? do words have actual meaning? if not then I guess "coercion" would be a word you could use to denote what might otherwise be known as a contractual obligation...

  31. The economic model is this -- if a "land trust" owned cows and wanted to feed beef to low-income people "affordably," they would ask for public funds to buy the cows, ask for public funds to help tend the cows, they would kill the cows and get the low-income people to pay for the hamburger cuts they eat, thereby feeding them "affordably," and then the land/cow trust would keep the expensive prime cuts of the cow for themselves.

    This method of affordable housing (hamburger ownership) is "affordable" only because it places limitations on what you get -- it places limitations on property ownership. It is "affordable" only because you own only what the land trust is willing to let you own -- a tiny piece of the whole -- the hamburger. You own the hamburger that you eat, not the whole cow. Moreover, the cow/land trust managers don't want you to own the whole cow because that would create income disparities that are evil -- some people would get the good cuts of beef and some people would get the hamburger, and that's just not fair. So as a replacement for evil income disparities, the land trust just thinks everyone should eat hamburger and the land/cow trust itself will keep all the good stuff because if they own all the good stuff, we all own it in "common" -- it belongs to all of us even if we never get to taste the filet mignon or if it's only the managers that ever get to taste it.

    Land trusts don't make property more affordable any more than McDonalds makes filet mignon more affordable.

  32. Property restrictions (not property rights) are the basis for affordability in the land trust model. The whole concept fails without restrictions on property ownership. The expensive parts of a land trust scheme (the land) have to be retained by the 501(c)(3) and paid for up front without debt and with public funds. Then the cheap parts (the development) are sold off. That's the whole game.

    The land trust model is fundamentally antithetical to property rights, and that's what you are seeing in the NEI talks, mixed in with undisguised hostility for property rights.

  33. CLT "homeowners" are allowed to sell their home for a reasonable profit but not the land because they don't own the land.

    The problem is that a house, like a boat, more often than not is not an appreciable asset, certainly not at the rate the underlying real estate is. The real value accrues to the trust.

    Now let's think about the "Problem of Scale" as considered by E.F. Schumacher as in Small is Beautiful. Which it surely is.

    So, a small land trust, or the San Juan County Land Bank at a certain scale can perhaps be a beautiful thing.

    Where's the tipping point, where the Trust simply because yet another Big Knuckle Dragging Predatory Monopoly Trust?

    Where is the tipping point where the Land Bank has become a self-serving self-perpetuating, monster defeating the very purpose it was instituted?

    The Problem of Scale when it comes to trusts and banks is very real.

    Teddy Roosevelt, a true Progressive, busted the trusts, because they were monopolies and crushing free enterprise.

    At one what point our our friendly neighborhood CLT's hit that tipping point? When they all band together, promote candidates within their ranks, seize a local party apparatus, raise huge sums nearly over night in a bald power grab so astonishing who wonder if it had been carefully planned for years?

  34. Just a quick correction to the post and subsequent posts related to @1:24

    There is no tie between the mortgages of the homes in the Land Trust. Each homeowner carries their own mortgage, and that mortgage can be foreclosed upon by the lender just as it is with any other home. The mortgage is not in any way part of the community property and failure to pay falls to the individual homeowner.

    Ralph and Alice are not going to burden their neighbors- at least not with regard to their mortgages.

    The model that you are referring to is the "housing co-op" model, which is a very different model, which provides for joint ownership of everything. In a Land Trust, there is no "joint ownership" between the residents, which is one of the primary reasons that the home sales can be backed by mortgages.

  35. For Anonymous at 1:24

    That may be true for the Lopez land trust, but not true of OPAL. Every person has their individual mortgages. If you fall behind, you are responsible. Many people have lived in their OPAL home until they have built enough equity to purchase a fee simple house. The key is that that house, which was built with a combination of grants, donations, fundraising, and sweat equity, is permanently affordable. It is a stepping stone for our teachers, service people, government workers, clerks and small business owners. Do some people choose to live in the homes their entire lives? Of course. But as their incomes rise, so do their mortgage payments.

    Don't vote for Byers or Lovell. Vote for whomever you want. You people need to get a grip and stop bashing people who are actually doing something positive for our county.

  36. @3:41

    And a correction to your statement-

    "as their income rises so do thei mortgages".

    This is not entirely true. It can be true if they funded their home with a USDA backed mortgage (which is done both in and outside of the land trust model), but many of the homes owned, at least within OPALs framework, are backed by standard mortgages- same as yours and mine, which are not adjusted based on income but instead subject to regular banking rules.

    As a lender, I like the OPAL land trust model because generally the buyer/resale process is very smooth and the transactions are well coordinated when they hit the desk.

  37. so much for the straw-cow argument

  38. for @3:41 PM

    Who are you referring to as "you people" I wonder? I leave to the rest to sort out this kind of divisive slur. Give me a break. Most of us learned not to talk that way in grade school.

    And you are also incorrect, according to the lender who follows you, so please join the rest of us here who are trying to "get a grip" on the economic and political philosophies of the folks seeking office.

    It is very hard for me to read through the rich outpouring of diverse commentary on this blog and reach a simple minded conclusion that readers are "bashing" local heroes simply because they have questions about candidates. There are plenty of folks doing wonderful things for the county who are not running for office and they are certainly not being bashed. This is about examining candidates, not bashing community service providers volunteer or otherwise.

    If you want to have an adult conversation, spiced with a bit of wit and irony you've come to the right place. Otherwise feel free to go donate to the candidate of your choice and sign up for phone tree duty.

    The lender's remark is interesting to be because, from a business perspective, its good to keep things simple, and the land trusts have been able to produce a standard package, with some case-by-case details of course for the particular applicant. In fact they sit down and help the applicant put the paper work together and in essence almost serve as an applicant.

    In the case of OPAL for example it certainly does not increase lender exposure to have a management organization that owns the underlying real estate with 10 million in assets, maintaining infrastructure, assisting applicants, etc.

    And apparently the the houses turn over pretty quickly although I'd like to data. All in all, the deal seems to manage lender risk pretty well.

    But once again, why are the land trusts now politicizing themselves? All three candidates are really close or current/former staff of CLTs. And more is being learned about "alternative economic models" that tend to tack away from private land ownership.

    There are legitimate questions. They will continue to be asked. If we were to view all three CLT organizations as a single enterprise with three branches, what would the consolidated pro formas look like?

    Rumors of the death of some straw cow may be greatly exaggerated but I can understand how one wish all this would just go away and the election be done with.

  39. As one voter, it is very clear to me. I will NOT be voting for Lisa Byers specifically because of her apparent long and close association with the New Economics Institute. I have gone to their web page, read many of the transcripts of lectures, and researched the writings of many of the authors listed.
    I reject their ideas, their methods, and their ideology. I do not want a County Council member who appears to agree with them, and who may very well attempt to put these ideas into policies here in the County. I will work for amd donate to Hughes, Jarman, and McKerren. I will talk to my neighbors and try to convince them to do otherwise.

    There, no personal attacks, no rant, no character denigration.

  40. This "personal attack" defense/offense dates back to the days of the Friends founder Mrs. Bahrych. When people pointed out that she had built one of the biggest shoreline houses with huge outbuildings and arguably the biggest private dock in the County, while working tirelessly against others seeking to build almost anything, she started immediately whining about "personal attacks." And so it goes. Whenever one questions a political position or makes the case that hypocrisy is present, we hear the group whining about "civility." Lisa's approach is more practiced and smooth: she purports not to be concerned about the "attack" (an odd characterization of an e-mail that asks the very interesting question about her POLITICAL position--not one calling her fat or or stupid or ugly) and then spends several paragraphs exhorting us to love one another--never directly answering the question that started the whole debate, and instead calling the question "innuendo" and "mud-slinging." Weird, huh?

  41. I am trying to figure out how this works. " their income rises, so do their mortgage payments."

    Do you mean their interest rate? So there they are in "permanently" affordable housing but their interest rate will change if they have a positive change in their income? Wouldn't that make you want to keep your income low?

    I'd love to know the details there.

  42. while I'm at it...there is the comment that it's cheaper because you're not "buying" the land. Yet the houses near us had one go back on the market at about $350,000. Nice little house, fenced yard, probably a quarter acre lot (oops, don't count the lot), etc... really?

    1. I believe you are refering to the Homes For Islanders home?

      There is nothing it the HFI model which regulates the resale value of the home- other than a pledge by the original owner to make it so. The Developer "HFI" gets to take advantage of the development code breaks for building low-moderate income housing, but in the end, the homeowner can turn and sell the house for whatever the market will demand.

      If the house you are refering to is the one I am thinking of, it is in Rosario, and was on the market about 1 month after completion at full market value. As I recall, it is still on the market.

  43. @8:08

    The mortgage program that is being referenced is a USDA mortgage program. It is not unique to land trusts and is used all over the country - especially in farm communities, but in the last decade or so has been used in many other situations.

    It is essentially a government backed mortgage - but granted through an institution other than FNMA. The terms allow the interest rate to float with the borrowers income to allow the borrower to increase their income but not continue to reap a mortgage discount if their income increases to a point where they are not otherwise "low income"

  44. Thanks for the info. Actually the home I was referring to was on San Juan on Lampard Road. And I'm guessing that it did sell tho' I have no idea what the selling price was.

  45. THe home you are refering to was indeed part of the Homes for Islanders program. From the detials on-line, the home was purchased by a new buyer who used the same USDA program under wich the base mortgage was secured.

    For the sake of clarity, this was not part of the SJ Land Trust.