It is said that power corrupts, but actually it's more true that power attracts the corruptible. The sane are usually attracted by other things than power.
Money can't buy happiness, but neither can poverty.
Despite the five dollar a gallon gas which has already hit Manhattan and the Hamptons, people still got their Porches, Volvos, Range Rovers and Lexus SUV’s on the road for Memorial Day weekend. In fact, even if gas goes to ten dollars a gallon, those who have a weekend home in the Hamptons will still party. There will be fewer parties and more car-pooling, but a hundred bucks for five people to get to the beach is not a deal killer.
What is a deal killer is $10 dollar gas and a cop hassling you about a rental permit. Or, visiting a gallery to look at a few pieces of art and have a glass of champagne – only to have the police barge in and bust the gallery owner.
The Hamptons IS Long Island. It’s where the money heads and where the money lands – it is the destination for Wall Streeters and their cash. Long Island is otherwise a large collection of communities, which, aside from the moronic ramblings of Dave Wilmot, the publisher of Suffolk Life who writes out of Riverhead and pontificates at the Hamptons (only because people can’t legally stop his pennysaver news from arriving in their mailbox), would sink without the tourist money. Wilmot’s suggestions, which are neither new nor his, are that Long Island becomes its own state. This emulates the ranting of an alcoholic in heat. Senator Craig was more eloquent when they picked him up after soliciting in a Men’s Room.
Even with the Republican Party, which Wilmot falls all over, trying to steal all of the Peconic Preservation Fund money, they still can’t make ends meet.
How would Chairman Stinchi, the Republicans in Southampton Town Hall and their flunkies in Code Enforcement and the Town Attorney’s Office function without their hands in the pockets of the tourists and the New Yorkers who pay their bills? Between fines, property taxes, fees and graft, a more serious downturn in real estate would be a disaster.
And, it’s on its way, guys.
But, the real travesty which is about to occur is the cost to the local men and women and their families who are suffering in the economy right now – and have a long way to go as this “non-recession” moves forward.
As the value of houses continue to fall in the middle-class and affordable range – from $500,000 to $900,000 (having arrived at that level by the double-digit gains of the last few years), the cost of food, fuel and medical costs are skyrocketing.
And, as another expert has stated simply:
“Falling home prices have made an increasing number of U.S. homeowners more vulnerable to default. Nearly a third of subprime borrowers owed more than their home was worth at the end of last year, and that figure will double to 63 percent in 2009, according to Credit Suisse.”
For those local residents who are retired or who are holding on in this dubious economy, no matter how irritating they find New Yorkers, things are about to get much worse while local government is moving forward with policies that assures more pain.
How does a local family with a breadwinner making $40,000 per year, or $800 per week, for example, with take-home pay of less than $600 per week pay for the escalating costs of health care and food – then pay $100 of that for gas just to get back and forth to work or run a business?
As the anti-Latino policy, which has risen to the level of institutional racism in the Town of Southampton, fewer immigrants will be available to do menial work. There will be fewer landscapers, cleaning people, laborers and dishwashers. But, there will also be fewer tenants, customers, workers and staff to keep people in business. The brown kid who did errands cheaply will be gone. Local residents did not have that kind of work in mind when they moved to the Hamptons or when they retired and are having trouble paying their heating bills and gasoline bills.
So, the Michael Sendlenskis and Joe Lombardos of the Town Attorney’s Office as well
as the Code Enforcement officers from Cheryl Kraft’s Office – who have been empowered to use the courts to break into people’s houses to check for smoke detectors in order to terrorize immigrants -- will also have less to do.
Lay-offs will follow. And, lawsuits will follow those who engaged in Town-sanctioned illegal activities.
The right wing residents will have fewer immigrants to rail at. And, they won’t be able to drive their cars or buy food either. Bush has already seen to that.
One would think that the immigrant problem, which will disappear due to the failed economics of the Bush era, is a success story about to happen due to racism driven by the doctrine of Home Rule. Instead, it is the result of the downward spiral in our economy that will also hit the Hamptons very hard. It will hit this fall as gas prices, heating bill prices, food prices and medical expenses reach a crescendo just as the market drops.
People who were here illegally or legally are already leaving a sinking ship. Not because of excessive enforcement – but because there is no work. Businesses are failing and money is tight. It has nothing to do with politics.
Yet the mindless bureaucrats in Southampton Town Hall will think that they have done a good job – just before they get a pink slip.
Two years ago the SoHo Journal wrote about the financial crisis that was about to hit.
Now, what is about to happen is all over the news. It’s no longer a secret.
While the government IS still hiring, it’s highly specific. They need bank examiners to handle the coming wave of bank failures.
Here’s what’s going on.
The price of real estate is continuing to drop. In fact, last month single-family houses dropped unexpectedly during the one and only remaining selling season – the Spring Selling Season – revered by real estate brokers. That’s not happening.
The inventory of unsold homes is now rising again, the sub prime and prime mortgage defaults are increasing, foreclosures are rapidly increasing, and the inventory of unsold homes is at a record level – and INCREASING.
Of course, what this does is further reduce the value of any unsold homes. The merry-go-round continues.
“Wachovia guru: Good-bye progress on housing front
Good-bye progress on housing front! "We had been making some progress over late 2007 and into 2008 on the inventory level," says Adam York at Wachovia, "and we basically erased all of that this month" following the latest existing home sales report. He says mortgage rates are low but tighter lending standards are stopping would-be homeowners from buying. A spike in foreclosures is also adding to the glut of unsold homes on the market, now at a 23-year high. York tells John Wordock he sees no housing bottom until later this year at the earliest.”
In the Hamptons, the upper level of properties is less affected. The middle range of homes is standing still. Sellers still have not budged, buyers are not moving.
And, even if there were some deals, there are no mortgages available. Only the government guaranteed mortgages up to the $400,000 range are available and even those are very difficult to close. Credit of all kinds is continuing to dry up.
In the midst of all of this, the Town of Southampton is engaged in a witch-hunt to punish landlords for having rented to immigrants when it is their job to police. Landlords cannot legally enter a tenant’s home without the fear of being arrested and the courts take months to evict anyone in a “holdover” action – which relates to tenant caused problems that is not related to payment of rent. Yet, the Town uses this to criminalize landlords for conditions beyond their control.
Rather than adopt a sane, logical method in dealing with a housing stock that is inadequate even for local residents, they have resorted to political targeting.
So, as the economic crisis moves forward, Southampton has adopted a Police State mentality. The only method that is known in these, here, parts.
Too lazy and too cheap to employ code inspectors who send out notices to correct violations, they have moved from Village and Town monitors to Enforcers who seek to criminalize every non-resident property owner. Added to this, they have sought to create a Rental Law that is merely a ruse for a new Immigration policy – a way to force landlords to reveal the names, addresses, and the immigration status of every tenant (only Latinos).
This policy will further add to the inventory of unsold homes, exacerbate the housing crisis by creating more foreclosures and vacant homes in what will become a blighted Hamptons.