Thursday, May 19, 2011

Taxes they keep climbing!!

I don't understand it but today I checked all my current listings to see if I needed to update the taxes for the new tax bill. Sure enough every listing I have had the taxes go up! Now how does that happen when we have had a drop of values in our area as much as 22% in the last 5 years!

How do our real estate taxes keep going up when our values are down? Simple question. My taxes went up $900.00 this year. I was told The Board of Revision had finally lowered my house value but still my taxes went up.

Bay Village passed a school levy. When I did the math I figured I would break even between the lower tax value and the new levy but somehow I have to write a check or pay a higher mortgage.

Add this to lower income and a crushing recession and you have just put people who may have been just holding on, over the edge. What really pushes my buttons is the people on Capital Hill keep getting more benefits, more income,and more opportunities while we cut out more and more things out of our lives. I'm not just talking about not being able to shop at Saks anymore either!

I haven't gone to a doctor in two years because the last time cost me $800.00 and I have health insurance! I went to get my eyes examined and get a new perscription for glasses and it cost me $300.00. I just joined Kaiser and to my relief I get to go and get check ups without extra cost!But the lingering question is how come my taxes keep going up and now my city services are about to go down!

Where is all the money going? Does anyone in the government know how to really keep books and watch the bottom line.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Making progress with one city plot at a time

I made a new internet friend recently. I have been reading the work of Manfield Frazer. He is a writer who I see on Cool His articles about Human rights inspired me to contact him through email and tell him that I am a fan of his work.

We have been holding a long conversation for a few months now. He sent me his book that he wrote and I was very surprised to find out that he is a past convicted criminal.

I am reading his book and I have to admit that I can't read it for a long period of time because it sparks such passion in me. I get angry and want to do something to change the way things are.

This man Mansfield is articulate, smart and compassionate. He is a bear of a man and you can't help feeling comfortable around him as he has a warm welcoming charm or charmisa that he has sharpened over his 68 years.

Yesterday I went down to East 66th and Hough to see Mansfields vineyard. Yes, I said that right, vineyard in the middle of Hough!! I haven't ever been to the Hough neighborhood. All I remember about Hough was when I was six years old there were terrible riots and people got hurt and killed all protesting for equal rights. As a little girl the message that I had in my head was don't ever go there.

I was surprised to see so many new homes with beautiful landscapes. Here, Mansfield used to be a part of building homes in this area. He himself lives right across the street from the vineyard in a very nice newer home. I was not surprised to see all the vacant property and vacant buildings.

Mansfield is looking at the opportunity here. He worked with Cleveland Land bank to start his vineyard. He got the land from them and some seed money to get started. He also has the community involved. He is teaching kids in the area how to farm. He wants this movement to continue with his goal being a winery right across the street from the Cleveland Clinic and next to their new projected 10 million dollar hotel.

He wants this all to be a community centered enterprise. Giving the people in the area a chance to learn and work with in the development. He is looking for organic inner city farmers and has a few bio domes planned with the help of some philantrophic donations. All this will be a community based learning and work opportunity center. This is giving the people in his community hope and a postive direction with a fantasic goal.

This started with one little city plot. He calls it The Vineyards of Chateau Hough. Come on you have got to love this! He is looking for sponsors to donate $1000.00 to sponsor one of the 18 rows of grapevines. This money will go toward the funds to help pay the neighborhood kids that are farming it. He is also putting together teaching center on how to grow a vineyard. Yes it is a write off this is a bonafide charity! The sponsors will get a spot to advertise their company and will get all the publicity Mansfield can throw their way.

When I met Mansfield yesterday we stood on the corner of Hough and East 66th under his big umbrella in the rain and talked about what his goals are. I was so enthused I asked to be a part of it.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Good Bye Middle Class in America!

I have just had a really grounding experience. Recently I received a $25 gift card from a business that I do business with as a thank you. This business card was for (can I say the name) Saks Fifth Avenue.

It took me several weeks to get around to driving out to the East side of town to shop at the Premium shopping mall in Cleveland. It has been a really long time since I went to Beachwood. I have always loved to at least make it out there a few times a year in the past.

Since I have had a declining income since 2006 shopping at the higher end stores has been at the bottom of my list of choices. I was so surprised to see how busy this mall was. In the middle of a recession!

Well I went into Saks thinking well maybe I can find a nice sweater on sale and use my $25 dollars off and have something new and nice that maybe will give me a little lift.

Have you been shopping there lately!!! Everything was $300 to $500! When did this happen? I have a credit card there I used to shop there. I can't even afford a wallet! I will admit that there weren't a lot of people with bags of purchases!

Nothing has spoken to me in more valid terms than this. There are tons of people out there shopping here at these prices and I am not one of them! I know I have always been middle class. I know that once in a while I get to score a first class seat in a plane or be invited to a loge to view a game.
I am fine with this being not an everyday thing. I appreciate them more. But Hey! The divide has grown to such a big difference that I can't even imagine even flirting with the luxury lifestyle. You know pretending I'm one of them by shopping in one of those stores or staying a night in a fabulous hotel.

I don't know if this is all smoke and mirrors. But there are poeple making fortunes on the backs of the working class and no one is doing a damn thing about it.

I have read a lot about World War Two and the thing that absolutely blows my mind is while people were being taken from their homes and put in concentration camps other people were living just fine and in fact capitalizing on it. Turning a blind eye to their neighbors and friends because of one stupid reason (religion, status) or another.

What is different today? People are losing their homes left and right. If you don't have a good credit score and a job you can't get a job or a good one! You can't get help with your loan at least not the majority maybe 3% do.

Are we really thinking of electing Donald Trump to be President? OMG!!!I know my age group were teens in the seventies but come on have we all lost our minds? What happened to the America I knew that cared about its citzens no matter what their background. You know the melting pot!

What happened to the land of milk and honey and opportunity for eveyone!

Sorry about the rant! I guess I'll just shredd my Saks credit card and carry on!