Tag Archives: Blogs

New Blog Worth Your Subscription

Just found SedonaFacts, a new blogsite that accepts articles that can show verifiable facts about Sedona.

Ask questions…get answers!!  Really “true” answers.

Maybe this is the “Snopes” of Sedona…!??!

Kathy Howe

SedonaKathy

 

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Sedona and the Street Lighting of SR89A

Recently the Sedona City Council was presented with designs for the lights that will be installed along SR89A in West Sedona.  There is a meeting tonight (10-28-09) at 5:30 tonight.  You can access the ADOT information at:  http://www.sedonaaz.gov/egov/sidePage.aspx?dID=ADOT%20Packet%20-%2089A%20Lighting%20Alternatives

The lighting of SR89 is a result of accidents which have occurred over the years. 

Having said that, there is a group of “concerned citizens” who believe that there is no need to light up a commercial area because they say that most accidents happened during the day.  They also site that Sedona needs to be “dark sky”.  These same citizens have posted articles and petitions stating they represent the majority of the citizens of Sedona.

I want to see the lighting of SR89A for the safety of everyone who drives that stretch of state road. 

The lights will be compliant with lights used by other dark sky cities – notable Flagstaff (the first dark sky city).  Years ago I lived in Waikoloa Village on the Big Island, beneath Mauna Kea’s telescopes, and lived with the same kind of lights that the City of Sedona will get along the SR89A corridor. 

The lighting of SR89A will make Sedona a safer city now and for generations to come.

Hope I see some of you tonight at the meeting to select the design of lights that will be installed.

Kathy Howe

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My Friend and Tax Man, Marc Sterling…

There are people who make a difference in Sedona and then there are others.  We Sedonans are lucky to have Marc living in our community and bringing his sense of “pitching-in” to us when we need help.

Marc Sterling is an educator, a concerned citizen, and a wonderful person who leads by doing.

His most recent endeavor has left many of us wondering just how he will help us next.  Can he top this one?!

Sedona recently had rains that flooded the area via overflowing washes (we need a “real” storm drainage system).  Marc and a fellow Sedonan from Sedona Red Rock High School organized these young people to help with clean-up within the flooded Sedona community.  Education is not just about reading books, but by putting skills to the test.  Learning to be a good citizen can only be taught by following a genuine leader.

Enjoy reading about the project (Marc is the middle person in background in the white shirt with the big round blue logo):

http://socusd.wordpress.com/2009/09/18/srrhs-students-volunteer-for-the-community/

Kudos, Marc…from all of us.

Kathy Howe

Kathy Howe

Kathy Howe

PS.  Yes, Marc also served a partial term as a Sedona City Councilperson.

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Bambi in my yard!

Sedona is a nature lover’s dream… so long as your plants are inside the fence.

Bambi, Bucky, and the siblings, cousins, distant cousins, and other related antlered denizens love the end of summer.

They return to Sedona and our Sedona neighborhoods knowing that the delicacies of fall include mums, dogwood leaves, and an assortment of other yummies.  During the long hot summer I put out the squeezings/pulp from my Jack LaLane juicer for them.  Gotta keep the deer healthy.  They need their fruit!  Sometimes they get spinach and carrots.  Not interested in red peppers (must give them gas).

It would appear that I should not be shocked that my trip to Home Depot in Flagstaff complete with the purchase of 6 1gallon mums (fully blossomed) would end up as a meal for my little/big four legged friends.  Hoof prints up the hill from the driveway disclosed the culprits!  And thank you, Mother Nature, for giving us rain so that the ground was especially wet…making it very easy to get a grip!

Ok Bambi, Bucky, and your buds:  Let’s negotiate.  I keep your dish full at the other side of the house and you leave the mums alone.  Okay?

Kathy Howe

Next time I’ll consult my deer-resistant plant list before planting anything outside the fence.

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Sir Richard…What’s With Virgin Mobile?

When I think of Sir Richard Branson aka @SirDickBranson, I think of “The King of Customer Care”.

Love Virgin Atlantic Airlines and all your personal touches with the website.  VA makes you feel like you are entering the First Class cabin if only you are traveling in the last row of coach.  I pull up my page and in the upper right hand corner it says:  “hello, gorgeous”.  Now that’s customer service!

So why is Virgin Mobile such a departure from your mystique?

Several months ago I changed from AT&T to Virgin Mobile – it took 4 days, 2 without any phone service (I have only one phone), and the courage by me to call the Investor Relations department of Virgin Mobile in order to get it switched to VM.  AT&T had released it right away, but VM and Sprint allowed it to fall into that virtual abyss where the black hole seems like a warm fuzzy place.

My origial plan of changing carriers was to save money from AT&T.  My contract was up and I thought I would go with Sprint and purchase the Palm Pre as soon as it came out.  I won’t bore you with the facts that one of Sprint’s resellers, Let’s Talk, gave me misinformation about transporting my phone number and cancelled my order because I wouldn’t accept another number.   So I called Sprint who checked with “porting” and said the information was incorrect in that I only had to accept another number till the phone arrived then call Sprint and Voila!  The transport of my old number would take place.

Thinking I would take this event as “someone was trying to tell me something”, I called a friend in Hawaii and we discussed all the geeky things about the phones and the networks.  My experience with Sprint and Sprint’s reseller made me think not to take another chance with Sprint.

On Saturday, 8-15-09, with my normal, unbridled enthusiasm, I went into the AT&T phone store and said, “I want the 3Gs iPhone in white”.  I even put my password (vKey) into the store’s computer, so I know it was correct.  Gorgeous in an orange and black case, I sparkled.

By Wednesday I was still using your VM phone and the iPhone.  So, lacking the same unbridled enthusiasm, I called AT&T who told me that according to VM there was no password.  We were given the run around by 3 different people.  Excuses that the system was going through an upgrade, to we are missing the password, to a request AT&T to change my street address abreviation from “Ln” to “Lane” and an equally inane request to remove the initials from my name .  Do these people know how to program “globally”?

Day 6:  This AM I got a call from AT&T, doing their follow-up.  We started the conference call with VM.  I’m not sure who we started with, but we asked for a supervisor and we got a “team leader” by the name of Mata.  She wouldn’t give us her last name and when we asked to speak with her supervisor, she flatly refused to give us her supervisor’s name.  I lost my normally cheerful demeanor and demanded to speak with her supervisor and explained that I had already filled out a complaint with the FTC (true – done night before), so I had nothing to lose at this point.  I just wanted my new iPhone to be the recipient of calls in and out.  Finally Mata told us the name of her supervisor, “Jennifer” but refused to connect us with Jennifer because Jennifer does not accept phone calls from the consumers.  We were then given an “IVR” number of 888-322-1122 which was the phone number we had called in the first place.

Now my cheery disposition took on “total resolve”, the “squeeky wheel”, you know…  And taking the ball and running with it was AT&T’s very able agent who asked that Mata at least ask Jennifer if she would call the porting department and find out what the status was with transporting my number.  We waited for over 20 minutes to find out that the “updating” of the system had started on the “14th”.  We had been previously told the “15th and 16th” by another agent.  Mata cheerfully said it was just as she had been telling us about the system updating and that my phone number would probably be transported within the “normal” 24 to 72 hours”.

Yikes!!!!  I lost it.  6 days plus another 24-72 hours!  Is this 1892?

I thanked my new friend with AT&T who I convinced to try Twitter while we were whiling away the many, many minutes waiting to hear the “script” again.  She was so cute when she said, “My mother would be saying and doing the same things you are…”  I told her that her mother and I had earned the right to go to the top and work down, which was what I intended to do next:  put in a call to Investor Relations.

Did it work?  You betcha, Kimosabe!  I made my day, Clint!  Probably didn’t make your staff’s day, Sir Richard, but by this time I was high on adrenalin and as most men know, that is just steps from hormonal infusing and PMS-ing.  Luckily I don’t own a gun…

Thanks to the lady who answered the phone at 908-607-4000, and Jose’ at “porting”, I had full iPhone transport within about 30 minutes.

Now I’m a happy camper.

Could you make me happier?  Well, a trip to your Island to spend the weekend with you and your wife, but since that’s not going to happen, maybe a refund of this last month’s charges… ??  I’d go for that to cover a discounted cost of my time today.

Necker Island purchased by Sir Richard Branson over 25 years ago.

Have a great day.

Kathy Howe

PS.  Get rid of that blight on your reputation.  They don’t deserve you.

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An Elected Sedona Mayor? Maybe Not.

Last night (8-11-09) I attended the Sedona City Council meeting where it was voted 6-1 to put the issue back to the voters:  Should Sedona “elect” the Mayor or should the Council determine who will be Mayor by appointing someone from their numbers.

What are the issues?

  • Miscommunication about the role of the elected Mayor
  • Not explaining the role of the City Manager in depth

Last night the discussion included the information that should have gone out to voters years ago, but somehow, missed the mark or was forgotten along the way.

Sedona has always operated with a “strong City Manager” (someone educated and proficient at running a city) model.  The role of the Mayor in either situation, appointed or elected, is to preside over meetings and to act as a representative of the Council at events that require Sedona’s “leader” to be present.

A “strong Mayor” model is where the City Manager is but an educated employee taking his/her direction from the Mayor.  AZ has no cities with such a model.  All 7 Council members agree we do not want this model.

The current Sedona city Council is responsible for the policies and the City Manager carries them out and runs the city in a fiscally responsible way.  We are a “strong City Manager” model with an elected Mayor.

We drove off the road this last election when campaign promises were made and executed by the elected Mayor without full Council approval, and last night, our Mayor, Rob Adams, admitted that he understood his campaign promises could not be executed without the full backing of the Council.

What went wrong?

Egos.  Yours, mine, and theirs.

The issue is about collaboration, not competition.  Our last election showed us how low we could go.  That’s not the Sedona we love.

Then there’s the price of running for office.  Spending over $20,000 for a $650/month job?

Last night the Council members, one by one, discussed the problem of finding competent people to run for the Council with the cost of running for office so very expensive.  Perhaps they should have said:  “The cost of winning the office of Mayor”…

In their wisdom (and I do mean wisdom), they have decided to ask us, the electorate, to once again decide about “electing” a Mayor or allowing the Council to select one from their numbers.

Too many bad feelings carried over from the last election and the finger pointing continued long into the Mayor’s term.  We, the voters, will be deciding if we want to go through this again.

Let’s think long and hard.

Have a great Sedona day!

Kathy Howe

Kathy Howe

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What Do Options and Mortgage Fraud Have in Common?

Maybe some time in the “Big House”, and a reduction in your 401K.

Brokers, do you hae a listing whereby you find out there’s someone who owns “an interest” in a property you have listed, but that person is not on title?  Ask your agents.  They don’t volunteer this willingly till the offer comes in and the Seller says, I’ll have to get with Joe, and let you know”.   You need to be involved here.

Brokers, find out if your buyer agents have an offer in on a Short Sale that has an Option-Holder (who is not on title).  Your agent may not understand what is going on.  You need to be involved here, too.

Is an Option illegal?  Not usually.

But, it is if the purpose of the Option is to circumvent state licensing laws or to defraud the lender from reaping the most possible from a Short Sale.

Question:  If a lender agrees to short a loan of $200,000 by writing off $50,000, and accepts the buyer-seller agreement, no problem.  What if the lender agrees to this agreement, only to find out that there was a simultaneous closing that was for $10,000 more than what the lender received?  Who pays the $10,000?

You and me.  Yes, the losses are what we the taxpayers shell out through the Feds to make up all the bank losses.  If there were only a $40,000, instead of a $50,000 write off, we would not have to shore up the banks any where near as much as we will if the short sales continue to have so many hands in the pot.

Would the RTC hae done a better job of clearing the market of toxic assets?

Real story:  one of my agents and I were doing an Open House at one of our listings.  Sheepishly my agent told me that the property was scheduled for a Trustee Sale.  Note:  In AZ we use Trust Deeds and a non-judicial foreclosure period of 90 days from filing of the papers to the Trust Sale.  Agent unsure of date.  So, will the Seller agree to go through the process of filling out and submitting to the bank, short sale papers, ask I?  I couldn’t get a straight answer and had to get out my pliers.

“Why hasn’t the Seller spoken with the lender and asked for a packet if she’s without a job and cannot afford to pay the loan on this 2nd home?”

“A what?”

“The Seller did what?”  Gave 1% interest in the house to a man she hardly knew to do property management?  Unlicensed?

Yes, the story goes down hill from here.  My agent then continued to tell me that that same “property manager” was going to remove the cabinets the following week.

Some of you don’t know me… but by now can guess…

I said, “you call the Seller and tell her that if one cabinet is removed from this property I will make it my life focus to make certain that the person removing the cabinets spend time behind bars!”  I should have been more inclusive.  The next week the cabinets were there but the light fixtures, appliances, etc. were gone.

That agent is no longer with me.

People, that is mortgage fraud!!!

Watch this video:  http://activerain.com/blogsview/1168080/what-is-the-difference-between-a-real-estate-wholesaler-and-a-real-estate-broker-be-careful-out-there

Dick Fryer is a member of the Floride Real Estate Commission and he believes, as do I, that real estate professionals are eventually going to find themselves in a world of hurt just by turning a blind eye to the hanky-pank that’s taking place.  By the way, the term “wholesaler” is a synonym for “dealer”.

Here’s what the AZ Attorney General Terry Goddard just filed:

http://www.azag.gov/press_releases/july/2009/Arizona%20Investments%20Release.pdf

Brokers, ask your license law officials about these issues, call your attorney and discuss transactions like this with him/her, and for heaven’s sake, get involved with your agent’s short sale and Rent-to-Own transactions.  Look at me, sounding like the lady in the drug ads telling parents to get involved.

Must get back to writing the AZ CE course…  look for a post about the “Shrink-Wrap House”… more on short sales, AZ’s amendment to the anti-deficiency judgment statute, and bankruptcies.

Ciao…

Kathy

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