Cut roots on a wall

Politics This Week with John DePetro: Systemic Avoidance of Root Causes

By Justin Katz | June 14, 2021 |

This week, John and Justin discuss homelessness, gun crime, and the common theme that activists and politicians don’t want to touch the real problems behind them both.

WPRI coverage of encampment

When did America become the Land of Other People’s Money?

By Justin Katz | June 14, 2021 |

Many things are concerning about the homeless encampment in Providence that has been in the news lately and about the way the issue is being framed, but one thread that really sticks out is this, from Brian Amaral’s Boston Globe story: Councilwoman Mary Kay Harris, who represents the area, said Elorza should call a state of…

Homeless man "seeking human kindness"

Steve Ahlquist’s clear description of his progressive beliefs on homelessness is a valuable contribution to consider.

By Justin Katz | June 10, 2021 |

Too often our reaction to ideas with which we disagree is to mock them or to dismiss them from the conversation.  Although the impulse is understandable, and I’m certainly guilty of it, doing so is a mistake.  Listening is how we understand, not only as a check on our own biases, but also as a…

Why I’m Voting No on Question 7

By Carroll Andrew Morse | October 28, 2012 |

This started out as an open-thread post, on Rhode Island ballot question 7. The question itself will read… 7. AFFORDABLE HOUSING BONDS — $25,000,000 — (Chapter 241 – Public Laws 2012) Approval of this question will allow the State of Rhode Island to issue general obligation bonds, refunding bonds, and temporary notes in an amount…

Universal Sales Pitches to the Voters on Debt for Affordable Housing

By Justin Katz | October 27, 2012 |

Two multimedia pieces addressing Rhode Island ballot question number 7 — to borrow $25 million through bond sales for affordable housing — are starkly different.  Both are essentially given over to advocates for the new debt, but in one case, the journalist does a reasonable job of raising possible objections, if not quite going so far…

Town-by-Town Single-Family Home Sales, August

By Justin Katz | October 10, 2012 |

Checking in on single-family home sales across Rhode Island, as I did for July and 1Q12, reveals a mixed picture. Results for the state are mildly improving, but the “downward spiral index” worsened for 22 of the 38 listed cities and towns. The downward spiral index is the sum of the three percentages given in…

Sen. Moura Calls For Fannie/Freddie Forum

By Patrick Laverty | January 11, 2012 |

State Senator Beth Moura (R – Cumberland/Lincoln) put out a press release calling for a forum with top executives of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the federal governmentally backed financial entities that securitize mortgages for the servicing banks. Moura’s allegation is that Fannie and Freddie aren’t working with many distressed Rhode Island homeowners to refinance…

Maybe Foreclosure Isn’t the Worst Thing

By Justin Katz | May 24, 2010 |

We all get that mortgage foreclosure is a bad thing, in an absolute sense, but I can’t help but wonder whether this is actually a positive development for borrowers, lenders, or the entire system: Retsinas said that the increase in people three months behind on their mortgage coupled with the drop of mortgages entering the…

Narrow Foreclosure Improvement, Broad Decline

By Justin Katz | February 20, 2010 |

In order to interpret trends in mortgage payments, one must look at the overall movement, and I’m not sure the content of this article by Paul Edward Parker merits the the talk of recovery that the front-page headline initiates: In Rhode Island, the association reported that 11.09 percent of all mortgages were one or more…

Passing Laws Without Legislators

By Justin Katz | October 21, 2009 |

Anybody catch the following in a Sunday Projo article about yet another economy-restricting practice? The solution he refers to is the Home Valuation Code of Conduct, a set of standards for residential real estate appraisals that grew out of an investigation of the mortgage industry by New York Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo. The code…