Archive for August 3rd, 2009

by jhwygirl

As in the Governor and his brother, Walter.

Probably State Auditor Monica Lindeen, too, when you think about it.

I won’t editorialize too much, except to say that Governor Schweitzer caught his bad Sunday with this story and its accompaniment which tell what I’ve known – that Hagener was fired unceremoniously, and rather than throw daggers (Hagener by all accounts is a class act) he intended to move on. Hagener didn’t want to talk about it, and for someone in that situation, it’s very understandable.

That is until daggers were thrown in his reputation’s direction.

Walter – and State Auditor Monica Lindeen – caught the bad Sunday with this piece in the Great Falls Tribune.

In that story – it’ll fall to paid archives in a week or so – state employee Laura McGee claims she was fired in retaliation for bringing forward allegations of harassment by Deputy State Auditor Walter Schweitzer who was allegedly soliciting campaign funds.

The comments are quite interesting on that one, too. Don’t miss ’em…and a star for the day to whomever figures out which one is Larry Krajl first, OK?

She resigned a $45,000 a year job (in this economy!) but she was fired…but she got a letter of recommendation…aww, who the hell knows.

Only the Billings Gazette picked up on that story. Unusual, no? A story that involves the State Auditor and her Deputy, and only one other state paper picks it up? It’s not like it wasn’t on Associated Press.

Anyways – thought I’d provide the links and short run-down. Our searches here for 4&20 show that people are looking for the pieces – I thought I’d provide ’em.

Addendum: More I think about it, there are some further questions to this story as it stands with its unproven allegations: Is she getting unemployment? Did she file?

If she was dismissed, as she says, then she should file for unemployment…it she quit, she knows better. She’ll be denied unemployment without extenuating circumstances. OR – if she gets unemployment, with no challenge by the employer, that tells a story in and of itself. If the employer challenges it, there’s hearings and everything to determine the validity of her claim

Puts the state in a position. They gave her a recommendation…but said she was fired. If they flat-out leave a claim for unemployment unchallenged (effectively granting her unemployment payments), then there’s more questions. I mean – they’re on the record saying she was fired.

If she gets unemployment, that’s costing the state (i.e., taxpayers,) directly. Under unemployment, the check comes, 50%, from unemployment insurance, the other 50% directly from the employers. Unless that’s changed….

So it seems to me, a relevant question is: Is Ms. McGee collecting unemployment? Taxpayers should want to know.

by jhwygirl

Bitterroot Realtor Craig Siphers isn’t hiding the truth – at least in his interview with Perry Backus of the Ravalli Republic.

The housing market sucks.

It’s all relative, really – but the bottom line is that it sucks.

Now – of course there is going to be stories that say that the housing market is doing fine, and that it is rebounding – but that’s about creating the perception that we’ve hit the bottom.

Time to buy that house now before prices start going up! That’s what the housing industry wants you to believe.

And the banking industry and the mortgage brokers and the banks.

Of course the market’s rebounding….by every measure except foreclosures.

Yeah – those pesky foreclosures….

Locally, here in Missoula, things are pretty bad. Realtors are taking on jobs. Mall jobs. Prices are actually being cut. Usually you rarely see price drops of the scale we’re seeing in new units – new units that have been on the market and new homes coming on the market because builders kept building last year even though all indicators were that things were going to get real slow. Used to be that you’d see free TV’s, free BBQ grills, free anything before you’d see drops in prices.

I know of one development here that is selling new units at lower prices than a whole bunch of units that they’ve sold over the last 3 years. I know of another condo project, usually pretty desirable, that’s have several units on the market now for more than 6 months…and that’s with prices that have been dropping

Need more “perception based” reality? How about last month’s story on foreclosures?

The story starts off with “Compared to other parts of the country, particularly Arizona and California, Montana doesn’t have a high rate of home foreclosures.

So of course, its all relative. Keep in mind that both Arizona and California have whole metropolitan areas with populations larger than that of the entire state…but, Montana ain’t that bad. Remember that and buy buy buy. Now.

Here in Missoula, 33 homes went to Sheriff’s sales in June. January through May, it was 8 to 10 per month.

Current info on, for Missoula, shows 4 Sheriff’s sales listed, 26 in foreclosure status, and 33 in pre-foreclosure. 51 in bankruptcy.

Statewide, that same website is showing 78 in Sheriff sale, 215 in foreclosure status, and 311 in pre-foreclosure. 398 in bankruptcy.

There’s an adage in the housing market that says if you aren’t under contract by the middle of the summer, either drop the price or be set for a long, long haul. Many are currently facing that dilemma. It’s August.

Thing is, this is painful for some. It’s especially painful for those wanting to “buy up.” It’s unfair to have watched everyone else buy and sell in 5 years or so and make such handsome equity. If you are wanting to sell, or hoping to do so sometime in the near future, you’re kinda screwed.

But..if you are a potential buyer? I figure you’re good until next spring, at least. Better off to save more towards downpayment while prices continue to drop and inventory continues to rise.

Besides that, who wants to move in this heat?

Where does the blame lie? Is it in the mortgage brokers that overextended credit, making easy money to both purchaser and sellers? Making prices large? Is it in the sellers and Realtors that increased prices on homes at a faster pace than what was realistic? Is it in the buyers fault for taking that crack cocaine when it was offered?

Do you blame it on the crack dealer or the crack addict?

We’ll be left to ponder that for years…in the meantime, keep in mind, the housing market is all in the eyes of the beholder. Buyer or seller, Realtor or mortgage broker.

by problembear

a few months ago i began to develop an inspector dreyfuss twitch in my left eye every time someone mentioned the very name of max baucus…..his bumbling and stumbling on health care reform has been infuriating….then about a month ago it began to look like obama was going to take control and some meaningful health care reform appeared to be on track….now baucus has managed to delay his committee’s assignment so long that meaningful health care reform appears to be in jeopardy again. DENY, DELAY, DISPUTE. these are the triple D’s of the health insurance industry.

health insurance companies are very adept at this kind of tactic. have you ever been denied payment by your health insurer while they conducted “a review of your policy” or just plain out and out denied payment for any number of corporate bureaucratic reasons complete with medical insurer’s code words and byzantine numbers that mean nothing to anyone except a handful of accountants buried deep beneath the ground in their bunker at ground zero of the “optimizing profitability department”?  the insurance adjusters try to make your claim go away by denying, delaying decisions and disputing claims. it works an astounding amount of the time and the success rate increases commensurate with the age of the client who is denied. they use these tactics surrounded by attorney’s and physicians who are paid off to give an opinion guaranteed to “optimize profit” for the corporation. they hope to wear you down until you just say to hell with it and pay  it out of your pocket because you are tired of dealing with it.

max baucus and the health insurance industry is using the same tactic in wearing down the will of the american public. they hope we will go away and forget all about health care reform because we are tired of dealing with it……

that is why my eye is twitching and i laugh hysterically these days…….hhmmmm…hmmmm….hmm….hmm…hmm…

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