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It would be worthwhile to compare the occupied square footage in the Halcyon pre-depression era with the occupied square footage in the fifties, sixties and on to the present decade. If I were to hazard a guess; I might wager that the occupied square footage is greater in each of the succeeding decades with a little dip in the mid-eighties to mid-nineties. In that sense, downtown did not decline. Rather, the qualitative demand for office and retail evolved, during those decades, away from myriad brick and mortar buildings to the larger, structures with the associated improvements in wiring, plumbing, ventilation, lighting, ceiling heights, flooring, telecom, and on and on and on. These structures, even the parking lots, are more functional for the current uses and tenants than were the structures they replaced, else they would not have replaced them. I suggest that what you are bemoaning the loss of, is an aesthetic. What you chronicle as a decline in downtown is really a decline in what you likely consider to be the more aesthetically appealing downtown. I agree with you on the aesthetics but the people who finance the development and ultimately those who occupy don't agree.
Toggle Commented Jan 19, 2018 on Chronicling downtown's decline at Austin Contrarian
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Many loans are secured by the right to draw on a borrowers bank account. I don't see how the right to draw on an account constitutes an assignment of wages, which I thought was the question. The rates don't reflect an assessment of certainty of payment. As a counter example, in the insurance business, where I work, I obtain premium finance loans for some of my clients. The policy is assigned to the loan company and if the borrower misses a payment the loan company cancels the policy and retains the unearned premium which is refunded. The loan company never loses, even when the borrower defaults. These are typically small loans, ranging from 500 to 10,000 dollars and the interest charged on these secured loans ranges from 12 to 30 percent, with the small loans garnering the higher rates. The premium terms are typically 3 to 9 months. If a payday loan was secured by an assignment of wage, then I feel that the rates would be closer to that range.
Functionally, a loan secured by an assignment would be low risk and would command a very low interest rate. The example provided by Alan charges 470 percent interest which is not suggestive of a secured loan, but an extremely high risk, unsecured loan.
Thanks Chris, but a real definition or some examples would help a layman like myself. The only example of a payday loan we have seen is the one provided by Alan White, above. Except for the word Payday at the top, there is nothing in it that suggests an assignment of wages. If the word payday was not at the top, would you think that any kind of assignment was made?
What is an "indirect assignment" of wages? Maybe we are hunting a creature that does not exist.
Another question is how the demand for a check, at closing, impacts the overall validity of the loan contract. What consideration does the lender offer for the check? If the check bounces and the lender sues to collect on the loan, can the borrower say, "you can't sue me, just re-deposit the check you demanded from me at closing"?
Alan, One other thought: the check which is left with the lender does not necessarily correspond with the account where the wages are deposited. There is nothing, in the sample you provided, which says that must be the case.
Alan, In the contract, which you link to, I don't see an assignment. Nothing in the contract says that the loan coincides with a payroll period. It specifies, on page one, only that the loan is to be paid off, in cash, at a specific date in the future. Then, at the end of page two it requests a check made out on the day of the contract, not in the future. There is no postdate, and no reference to a pay period, so I don't think there is an assignment either. If the check bounces, there is little the lender can do to collect on it, other than harass the check writer, because the loan specifies payment in cash. Most states stipulate that bounced checks must be written in direct exchange for goods or services in order for fraud or theft by check to occur. So there is no chance of prosecution there either. The top of page two describes the means the lender will pursue to collect on the loan, not the check.
I agree with Adam, but 3(i) does not stipulate that the revocation is permanent. Also, we know nothing of the particulars of the loan agreement. The agreement may stipulate how the assignment is revocable. Without reading the contract, we don't know. On 3(iii), that would depend on how much pay the borrower has accrued, how far in arrears the borrower is paid and the value of the loan at the time of the assignment. For instance if a borrower wants 500 dollars and has already earned 700 dollars at the time of assignment then 3(iii) would be satisfied.
I add that your description of loan maturity: "the loan’s maturity is usually designed to match with pay periods" would satisfy (3)(iii).
If you read the whole rule, you will find that it contains three exceptions to the prohibition: (3) Constitutes or contains an assignment of wages or other earnings unless: (i) The assignment by its terms is revocable at the will of the debtor, or (ii) The assignment is a payroll deduction plan or preauthorized payment plan, commencing at the time of the transaction, in which the consumer authorizes a series of wage deductions as a method of making each payment, or (iii) The assignment applies only to wages or other earnings already earned at the time of the assignment. Postdated checks are revocable by means of a stop payment (3)(i), and (3)(ii) allows for the timely ACH withdrawals.
I find this all so absurd. Whether Argentina renegotiates some or all of its debt with or without the court's blessing; it does not change the fact that Argentina had to renegotiate its debt! That's the takeaway for future lenders. Argentina has a long history of these kinds of shenanigans. Why anyone would buy an Argentina bond is utterly beyond me.
This would work even better using a steam engine as the main power source. Steam engines are smaller, lighter, more efficient than I.C.E.'s and produce enormous amounts of torque at low power. A steam engine will compress air better than I.C.E. Compressed air vehicles create water condensate because the expansion of the air is endothermic. This water could be captured and cycled to the steam engine.
I think Sasha was making the not too subtle point that apartment developers receive all the benefits of such an overlay. Maybe apartment developers are the ones who pushed for the overlay?
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Yes, Chris, welcome back. Houston politics has always been rife with cronyism especially among developers and contractors. Until recently, developers and contractors merely received favored status but always paid their taxes. They have found a very willin and gullible group of lesser fools amongst Annise Parker and her cronies. Annise is a CPA and is easily swayed by these BS accounting arguments in favor of a handout. The same developer could have tweaked his rate of return by that same two percent by increasing the density or demanding a better deal from the landowner. The uptown galleria people want this because they are afraid that this area will go the way of the Gulfton Ghetto which lies just across the freeway.
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Austin would be better off starting off with fixed guideway, bus rapid transit. It's cheaper, faster to build and conveys all the same benefits of light rail. A successful BRT would help the agency regain face after the red line.
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You say; "when the driver pulls into the Omni on South I-35 in the rain at midnight and says "Oh, you mean downtown. That will be another $50 bucks," you don't really have much leverage. You can walk away, stand in the rain and call another cab. But with no regulations saying that a franchise has to maintain a 24 hour service or that a franchise cannot refuse service to a customer, you may have a hard time finding anyone to pick you up." I would respond that these are all things that can and do still happen with regulated cabbies. No amount of regulation or law will prevent dishonest people from operating dishonestly. Also, the arguments you present for cartelization(cherry picking, price gouging) can be said for any item available in our economy, food, gasoline, et al; yet somehow those items are all delivered without being cartelized and subject to a set of provisos for being in the cartel.
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Sean Brown, I reply to your "law" comment. The fact that both are controlled by law was never in doubt. I actually have this conversation, frequently, with people who move here from out of state. The distinction between landuse restrictions arrived at by covenant(deed restrictions) and zoning lay in how they are adjudicated. A deed restriction is akin to a private business contract between two parties. Enforcement of the contract is left to those two parties. Unless one party brings suit to enforce the contract, in the event of breach, the state does not become involved in any way. No third party, outside of those who are bound by the covenants can become involved, in any case. Deed restrictions are only as good as the parties subject to them. They can impede economic growth when economic conditions change and the best economic use of the land is contrary to the restrictions. You see this in many suburban Houston neighborhoods which are actually in decline because the restrictions prohibit any change of use. The most vibrant, interesting, dense parts of Houston; like Montrose and the Heights, are actually places whose restrictions expired and the land was then repurposed by market forces. Zoning is the result of a political and legislative process. Rules can be changed with every rulemaking session and any party can have input whether they are a stakeholder or not. This has the benefit of allowing land use designations to change rapidly but also allows anybody to be a spoiler. This system is also as good as the people who live under it. Enforcement is by the state who may bring all the force to bear on a violater it chooses. You can be issued a citation and ultimately go to jail if you are not in compliance.
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The thing to take away about deed restrictions is that: 1.Deed restrictions are a form of land use controls but they have nothing in common with any politically or governmentally created land use controls. 2.Typically, they are created by the original developer of a large parcel. 3.Deed restrictions run with the land for a finite number of years and are not subject to change by any political process or governmental process. 4.They serve a niche of property owners who want the use and appearance of their property and adjacent properties to not change for a very, very long time. That's really all you can fairly say about it.
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I have exactly three separate, unique experiences with deed restrictions in Texas. The first was in Montrose, part of Houston in a neighborhood whose deed restrictions had expired two decades prior. Several of us wanted to create deed restrictions again. We worked on it for six years to no avail. It is very difficult to place deed restrictions on an already built neighborhood. For the same reasons it is very difficult to change deed restrictions as well. Second experience was in a being built subdivision in Pasadena. The developer created the deed restrictions when he platted the land. Everyone who bought a house new about them when they moved in. We hated the neighborhood, the deed restrictions and the nannies who enforced them so we sold the house to someone who would like it. Third experience was in an already established neighborhood in Seabrook. Deed restrictions were set to expire in 2003 and there was much ado about whether to renew them. After much debate the subdivision property owner renewed them. Deed restrictions run with the land and are not subject to change by any political process or governmental process. Their enforcement is subject to a civil process not a police process like zoning and building regulations.
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My impression is that he does not advocate for or defend higher urban density for its own sake. In fact, he advocates the contrary. He is also opposed to state imposed urban planning. Sorry, that's just the way I see it. Opinions do vary.
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The problem with limiting supply and fixing rates is that prices will rise elsewhere as evidenced by the price of a taxi license and the unseen cost in unregulated, i.e. black markets that arise in response as evidenced with some of the complaining about the pedicabs and the gypsy cab system which Jim mentions above. The city would do more good and score more revenue by issuing an unlimited number of licenses, subject to insurance and safety requirements and then charging licensees for inspections. Pedi-cabs would have a set of requirements, taxi-cabs another, Jitney-buses another and so on. I don't know if Austin has Jitneys. They are just getting going in Houston. They fill a very important niche between Taxis and the big buses. I grew up on the border and traveled in Mexico a fair amount. Jitneys are far and away the best way to get around in towns that allow their widespread use. In the USA, transit agencies just hate them and they are typically banned in most municipalities. Yet, the agencies don't have any clue where to run a vehicle that seats ten or less and they don't like the idea of any private sector operator running them next to the big buses. It never occurs to them that a fleet of private jitneys would be a no-cost way to feed the big buses with riders.
Toggle Commented Sep 28, 2011 on Austin's taxi cartel at Austin Contrarian
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I read his blog on a daily basis and that is not true. He is opposed to state imposed urban planning and state imposed aesthetic standards. His defense of publicly funded roads could be construed as advocacy of suburbanism and less density not more. He links to various forums that demonstrate that greater urban density is more problematic than less urban density.
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On his own blog, I have pointed out the hypocrisy of O'Toole's stated preference for roads and highways. I have pointed out that when the state subsidizes the construction of roads they are subsidizing sprawl. I say, without the subsidy, urban areas would be much more dense and more persons would travel by foot, bike or in some variant of mass transit. I personally advocate the tolling of roads, not just highways, but all roads. Libertarian Economist, Walter Block makes a strong case for the privatization and tolling of roads. For a review of the book and a link to a downloadable version: On the holdout problem read here:
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You can disagree with O'Toole on his review of the book, that's a personal issue. You can even postulate that O'Toole didn't read it; the evidence might suggest it. Where I part company is with your ad hominem about libertarians. You fail to define what you mean by libertarian. Still, that doesn't stop you from engaging in a category error of composition as you ramble on and on about what all libertarians believe. Two fallacies don't make an argument. I consider myself a libertarian. I fail to agree with any of the alleged thinking you attribute to libertarians. This libertarian doesn't care what density a particular urban form contains. I do have a problem with state imposed density requirements and asthetic standards. I think O'Toole's thinking is similar.
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