There Goes the Neighborhood
The weather is beautiful. You’ve bought your azaleas and your annuals. You’re getting ready to lay out your garden, put out the patio furniture, pave your driveway, or put new siding on your house. New Jersey is well-named the “Garden State.” New Jerseyans take pride in caring for their properties. That’s life in the suburbs and you love it. This is what freedom is all about.
But hold onto your garden hats: the state is about to hose our property values. On Feb. 21, the State Assembly, led by Assemblyman Jerry Green, introduced The New Jersey Residential Foreclosure Transformation Act, which provides an expedited process – 45 days – for foreclosing on abandoned residential properties.
Abandoned properties are springing up like weeds in New Jersey, thanks to the bad economy, the bank failures, and the Community Redevelopment Act, which forces banks to grant mortgages to people who can’t pay them. Now, the state wants to buy those foreclosed properties from the lending banks, using your tax dollars, and give them to the indigent. The government will then be the owner – and distributor – of private property.
This act will borrow nearly a billion dollars without voter approval to buy foreclosed homes in the state for individuals with “special needs.” The legislature, in its beneficence, lists a charity ward of sympathetic groups like ex-convicts, recovering alcohol and drug addicts, the physically and mentally disabled, and the largest component of Section 8 housing, welfare recipients. A state agency will determine who qualifies for this transformative transference of property.
Charity is a fine thing. A major company with offices in New Jersey wanted to benefit a run-down neighborhood in a major N.J. city. They offered to plant a community garden for the residents. Volunteer employees planted the garden, while the residents stood and watched. When asked why, they responded that the local drug gang threatened to retaliate against them if they cooperated with the evil corporation. The police escort, protecting the volunteers, predicted that the flowers and plants would be gone by morning.
Having no stake in the homes, the new tenants in our neighborhoods will take no better care of the properties than those inner city recipients of corporate charity. Our property values will plummet. Crime and violence will escalate, making once quiet neighborhoods dangerous and depressed. What’s more, the electoral map will be “transformed” in favor of government wonks who will continue to guarantee free housing in the ‘burbs.
The N.J. Residential Foreclosure Transformation Act is just one more step towards destroying freedom and ownership of private property (a noted communist goal). The Welfare Act of the 1960s was just the beginning. Welfare was followed by CORA, followed by the failure of the savings and loan institutions, and followed again by the bank failures of 2008. Prospective property buyers took the bait of Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARMs), purchasing expensive homes at unstable interest rates. From there, destroying the economy was simply a matter of a stock market manipulation and there went the neighborhood.
There went the businesses that employed us. There went our property values, taxes, savings, communities, and future. The bill is still under consideration. There’s still time to save our neighborhoods and the American way of life. Once again, we must prevail upon Gov. Christie to veto this bill (poor guy must have telephone ear by this time). Call and tell him we don’t want the N.J. Residential Foreclosure Transformation Act in our backyards.