Thursday, November 15, 2012

Mechanics Lien Laws in New Mexico

The mechanic's lien in New Mexico is being used and abused to the detriment of homeowners and contractors alike. With current New Mexico laws regarding the placement of mechanic's liens no proof is required before placing a cloud over an owner's title.

To file a lien in any court in New Mexico the person filing the lien does not have to prove they are a licensed contractor, had a legitimate contract with the person named in the lien, or are actually owned any monies let alone the amount claimed. The lien, once placed rightly or wrongly, clouds the title of the homeowner for two years making it next to impossible for them to refinance or sell without paying the sum named in the lien.

Removal of the lien before the two years requires going to court to prove they are innocent; a concept which runs counter of the belief that all men are innocent until proven guilty. When I sought legal advice as to the removal of a lien on my property by a contractor no longer licensed I was told to just pay him as the amount owed was less than the legal fees it would cost to go to court. This, in opinion, amounts to legalized blackmail.

A contractor can at any time within that two years move for judgment. And the homeowner can actually have their home foreclosed on and sold out from under them to settle lien even if it is a fraction of the worth of the house. The only recourse for the homeowner is to participate in a lengthy and costly legal action for which there seems to be no alternative or affordable path even if the lien was illegally placed, the contractor has no proof of the contract, or the amount owed. And until the matter is settled in court the title of the property is still clouded and the homeowner hog tied. In my instance the legal action took four and a half years. And extends beyond the license of the contractor or the legal standing of his now defunct company.

Regardless of the legal rightness of either side of the argument changes need to be made in New Mexico's Mechanic's lien laws to avoid the tying up of court time, the abuse by contractors, and the victimization of homeowners.

Other states have amended their mechanic lien laws to be more fair. But as the law currently stands in New Mexico it is merely a legalized form of black mail which damages everyone involved. I have lots of friends that have been a victim of the Mechanic's Lien and who, like me, would never, ever hire a contractor again. So this law damages the construction industry as well as homeowners and the real estate market. And the Construction Industries division does little to monitor this process and its abuse.

After a two and a half year deliberation on the court trial the judge finally found in my favor and released the lien on my property. He found that the contractor did not have a case. I fortunately was assisted in my battle by New Mexico Legal Aid because they saw this as a problem many homeowners that could not afford to fight had and were subsequently losing their homes.

I would be more than happy to meet with any New Mexico legislator willing to take on this miscarriage of equal rights before the law and testify before any committee or answer any questions as to my personal experience with this abusive law.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


The First Family Still

I was so happy last night when President Obama won re-election in record time against all predictions that we might not know for weeks or months because of all the dirty tricks and fraud and suspected voting irregularities.

Elections have never been easy for me. Much of my youth I seemed to always be voting for the least onerous candidate. And when I was deeply devoted to a candidate they seemed to lose. The 2000 election when Gore had the election stolen from him I was a wreck for weeks. I was so embarrassed for my country. We export democracy and yet we failed at it on our home turf. And when GW turned out to be a drunken fool that leaned on podiums and could not speak proper English I just tuned out.

When Kerry lost to GW in 2004, again by suspected voting machine manipulation, I seriously contemplated moving to Canada. Evidently one hell of a lot of Americans did the same thing. When Barack Obama won the nod of the Democratic party for the 2008 election I didn't dare hope he might win. It was a huge and historic victory. The first black man in the white house! Made up for not having the first woman president in Hillary Clinton.

Had I been the president elect in 2008 as GW Bush and policies pushed the United States off the financial cliff I would have moved to Canada. What an impossible task? There we were as not merely a nation but the world heading for economic free fall. And everyone seemed to believe he was superman. He was suppose to keep us out of the deepest depression the world had ever known and deliver on all his campaign promises. And all against a GOP subset that was determined from day 8 to make him a one term president. And yet he got us the ACA and signed into law a bill to help ensure equal pay for equal work for women. And slowly inch by inch the economy has been improving.

I would not have run again (see previous mentions of moving to Canada) but he did. But there was so very much at stake. With the economy beginning to heal we could not turn it over to a party and the same polices that broke it. And it was clear from the outset that the GOP wanted to return women to the '50's. The 1850's. It was so scary because losing was not an option but also not in our control. There were several indications the GOP was willing to cheat. That was taken so seriously the United Nations sent Election Observers to several key battle grounds. The polls kept saying it was too close to call. This has not been good on my stress levels. But Nate Silver's reading of polling data gave me hope.

I had voted early so on election day I could divert my mind and tummy with something creative with a friend - Nuno felting. And I was so exhausted when I came home I figured I would just go to sleep. But an election junkie I tuned in and watched. At ten o'clock it was all over and Barack Obama was still president of the United States.

I am not sure this will solve all our problems. This campaign has shown that we are a deeply divided nation. Maybe even more divided than the days before the Civil War. But at least we did not turn over the country to the people that broke it in the first place and seemed determined to do anything to get in power including lying, cheating, and bigoted/sexist slurs.

To my list of words I no longer want to hear I add - polls, polling data, cliff hanger, birther, Donald Trump, Romney, Ryan, and Republican. Not another word about 2016 until at least 2015. See campaign reform.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

We need a third party

On October 19th I early voted. For one of the first times in my voting history I voted a straight Democratic ticket. Beyond President, Senators and Congressmen (both national and state) I had no clue who I was voting for. I was voting against a party. So I looked seriously for other options.

New Mexico has in the past been host of a relatively strong Green Party. And I have voted for them in local offices. This election they did not seem to be running any candidates. There were six people running for President. I have a friend that is an advocate of the Libertarian candidate Johnson.

Sadly our current campaign laws and financing make it impossible for a third party to compete. And given the huge division between the two parties we now have we need a third party. Badly. If for no other reason that to make our two party system pay attention to itself and realize how very much they have turned off a large proportion of the populace. While that bile is still lurking in our mouths we need to get serious about campaign reform. No longer than 100 days and no more money spent by a candidate than twice the annual salary of the office they are campaigning for. And definitely no out of state or out of district funds.

A third or fourth party candidate could compete viably in a campaign under such restrictions. And the American people would benefit from having more choices. How many of us are truly red or blue, Jesus or Darwin like the illustration. I think of myself as a centralist more than liberal or conservative. I admit to some believes that are far right (not beyond Attila the Hun but out there) and others that are as far left. But I am not Christian (and the more fanatic the fundamentalist become the more that is true). And while Darwin's work was ground braking current science is proving him wrong in some instances. Like it may be survival of the fanciest and not the fittest. Scientific theory is a moving target. Quite literally were earth sciences are concerned but that is another blog.

I believe in my right to carry a gun, and in the right for same sex marriage. I think the US is not a Christian nation and would fight to defend that. And contrary to my blog friends that did not vote for either of the major party candidates because they did not mention Global Warming, I seriously believe it needs to be a campaign issue. But because of our entrenched two party system the only topics that get heard are those that are important to five or six swing states that because of the Electoral college matter more than the one citizen one vote principle. We are a republic and not a democracy.

If there is good news in this election it is that it has made some people truly upset at the sad state of affairs. We could end up with a Mormon Theocracy if Romney wins or a totally broken Republican party if Obama wins. Frankly I am for the latter because it gives us a real chance to end the Red State/Blue State civil war.

Either way we are going to have a large group of people very upset about the sorry state of politics in the United States. Read up on Article V conventions. Let's change the path we are taking.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Words and Phrases I Would Ban

It has been a long, long, long campaign and a particularly divisive one. I do not even have access to television stations to be bombarded by campaign ads. But social media on the internet has been bad enough. And if I get another request for campaign funds via an e-mail I may just scream

I do not live in a critical swing state. I can image what it is like for poor Ohio. I frankly think the political process is seriously broken and I do not know if I ever want to participate on any level in another campaign ever again. And as I told a friend recently I want to ban several words and phrases.

Do not ever in my presence say we are a Christian nation! We are not. The word Jesus (which I also want to ban) is not mentioned anywhere in any of the federalist papers. Nor do I want to be told that Sandy was an act of God. I never want to see the word RAPE with a modifier. And the phrase legitimate rape should carry a prison term if used in a political speech or a police station.

We are not a democracy. I think the Tea Party has proven that beyond a shadow of a doubt. We are a broken Republic in my humble opinion. I got really tired of hanging chads in the 2000 election and I am really, really, really tired of voter ID requirements. Voting is a right and not privilege like driving or buying liquor. I need a photo ID for the last two but not the first one.

No doubt because of Sandy and the suspected faulty voting machines owned by the Romneys I will get really tired of the word recount. I am tired of dressing the stage at campaign events and photoshopping crowds to double their size GOP. And I am sick to death of the fact that only Ohio and Florida count.

I plan to work hard for an Article V convention to move for campaign and electoral reform. But I am not going to refriend anyone that was abusive to me because of my views not matching theirs. I am fed up.

BTW this is just a short list.