California 1 of 5 States With Worst Unemployment Rate

Flag of California

FoxBusiness.com published this deansguide article 1-11-09
The Courier News member of the Chicago Sun-Times News Group published this deansguide article 1-11-09
Post Tribune member of the Chicago Sun-Times News Group published this deansguide article 1-11-09

California has 1 of the 5 highest unemployment rates in the country according to a new report from the Associated Press Ray Henry and Christopher Rugaber. The most telling factor is that each state has something in common “a heightened exposure to the root causes of this downward spiral.”

Factors in Common:

  • Housing collapse
  • Auto Industry implosion
  • Financial Services meltdown
  • Manufacturing decline

5 Worst States by Unemployment Numbers and Symptoms:

1. Michigan: Auto industry’s near collapse and uncertainty.

2. Rhode Island: Manufacturing decline and construction stoppages

3. South Carolina: Manufacturing decline, construction losses

4. California: Housing market implosion, lender meltdown, builder losses, foreclosures

5. Oregon: Timber industry hurt by housing stall

Real Estate’s Role in California’s Economic Woes:

A very telling fact is  California’s unemployment rate of  8.4%, third highest in the nation, has been primarily due to the collapse of the real estate market. Nothing surprising in that statement but “in the year ending in November 2008, 71 percent of the nonfarm jobs lost in California were housing-related.”

Economist.com City Liveability Rankings: Vancouver, British Columbia #1

The well respected, if not sometimes controversial, economist.com came out with their Liveability rankings or what they describe as ” world’s most liveable city.” The findings provided by the “Economists Intelligence unit” rank 140 cities worldwide. The winner and #1 most liveable city in the world this year is Vancouver, British Columbia. Not one American city appeared in the top ten cities. It is interesting to note that three Canadian cities, Vancouver-Toronto-Calgary, were all ranked in the top 10 most liveable cities in the world.

Methodology

First the economist “quantifies the challenges” that might be presented to an individual’s lifestyle in 140 cities worldwide.They then score each city on 30 qualitative and quantitative factors over these 5 broad categories:

1. Stability

2. Health care

3. Culture and environment

4. Education

5. Infrastructure.

The Intelligence unit then assigned scores based on a 100 point system with a score of 100 being the most ideal, liveable city in the world and a 1 being the worst. The following are the rankings of the Best and Worst cities:

Courtesy of the economist.com Intelligence unit:

Ed Okun vs. LandAmerica Exchange Services: Different Situation Same Results?

Due Diligence Warning: I am neither an attorney, tax accountant, nor legal entity of any kind. The information provided is not a call to action nor is it advice on how to handle your financial situation with LandAmerica Exchange Services or any other financial institution. Before entering a 1031 Exchange or any other investment vehicle perform your due diligence investigation.

According to MarketWatch.com article dated November 26, 2008, LandAmerica Financial Group filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection and will sell 3 of it’s units to FNF.

According to NewsDaily.com “LandAmerica files for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection:

“I am deeply disappointed over the need to file for bankruptcy protection for the LandAmerica holding company and the 1031 company,” Chief Executive Theodore Chandler

Elizabeth Callagnan one of the Ed Okun 1031 Advance ponzi victims points out:

“. . . their (LES customers) 1031 is filing for bankruptcy which means all those exchangers are going to find themselves and their lifesavings mired in the same bankruptcy court hell that the 350 (Train wreck victims nickname for Ed Okun’s ponzi scheme victims) robbed by Okun are now drowning in.”

The following letter was forwarded to me by Elizabeth. It is the alleged letter sent to LES exchange clients regarding their monies. If any other readers, clients of LES, have received the same notice please comment below.

“Dear Valued Customer:

We regret to inform you that, effective November 24, 2008, Land America 1031 Exchange Services Company, Inc. (“LES) is accepting no new customers and is terminating it’s operations. Although the total par value of our 1031 exchange funds exceeds the value of all funds received from our customers, portions of the 1031 funds are invested in ILLIQUID auction rate securities. Our inability to sell or borrow against these securities has precipitated our decision to terminate operations.

Q: Why are 1031 client funds invested in anything without their knowledge? If clients were given the option to provide their 1031 monies for investment into “guaranteed student loans” how many would approve such an investment? Btw what does the term “illiquid” mean?

LES has long invested 1031 deposits only in investment Grade Securities Rated A or stronger, including auction rate securities backed by federally guaranteed student loans. Our goal for the exchange funds has been to maintain the full liquidity necessary to meet customer with-drawl demands. The auction rate securities in our exchange funds, which were sold to us by certain financial institutions, were highly liquid for many years. As has been widely publicized, the auction rate securities market froze earlier this year, and that extenuating circumstance prevents us from liquidating the auction rate securities held in the exchange funds.


Q: Are the 1031 exchange clients made aware of the practice of LES of investing 1031 exchanger monies in auction rate securities market?

We understand that this situation is detrimental to you, and we can only assure you that we have taken every reasonable step possible to avoid the problem, including pursuing numerous liquidity options to no avail. You will be provided soon with details regarding the establishment of a process for submitting claims relating to exchange funds.

This situation involves LES and not any other LandAmerica companies. Specifically, LandAmerica title insurers are highly regulated companies, with legal identities and assets completely separate from LES. These insurers have more than sufficient assets to meet their obligations to policyholder and escrow customers.

Q: Does the sentence ‘These insurers have more than sufficient assets to meet their obligations to policyholder and escrow customers’ guarantee that 1031 exchange clients of LES will have all of their invested monies returned to them in full?

Sincerely,

LANDAMERICA 1031 EXCHANGE SERVICES COMPANY, INC.”


Realtor’s Twitter Strategy: 4 Mistakes to Avoid By Communicating

FoxBusiness.com published this deansguide article 11-16-08

Reuters.com published this deansguide article 11-16-08

ComputerShopper.com published this deansguide article 11-16-08

Free Twitter Strategy Chart courtesy of Paul Gram’s Websitesuccessdoctor.com

Twitter.com is quickly becoming one of the most useful, fastest growing social media tools available today. Anyone from entrepreneurs to large corporations can utilize twitter to gain exposure, push out their message of value, research, learn, and network. Yet a large number of twitter advocates are making the most basic mistake in social media which is costing them valuable opportunities and slowing their desired results.

#1 Mistake to Avoid: Collecting Numbers

Stop collecting and start connecting! Too many people view twitter as a place to collect followers or create impressive numbers. This syndrome is not exclusive to twitter as many people make the same mistake on Linkedin. The collection of connections has no depth, no meaning, and no value unless you create communication leading to relationships.

#2 Mistake to Avoid: Staying within Your Own “Tribe”

Many Realtors, from my observations on twitter, are guilty of staying within the “tribe.” Simply put many Realtors fail to communicate or investigate outside the sphere of real estate. Instead they tend to limit the majority (if not all) their communications to other brokers or Realtors.

#3 Mistake to Avoid: Stop Hard Selling

Realtors have been trained, and ingrained, to push features and benefits with an ongoing hard sell sales strategy that has worked for decades–up to now. In today’s information rich, Web 2.0 savvy world, the hard sell is dead. Today’s most influential and successful Realtors understand that they must provide valuable information on an ongoing basis without a sales pitch attached. Instead of A-B-C tactics of “Always Be Closing” fame, today it is all about giving value.

What does this mean to Realtors on Twitter? A: If you only provide listing links and links about you, people will quickly begin to stop paying attention to your messages. Which brings us to the next challenge.

#4 Mistake to Avoid: Narrow Focus

This dovetails into #3 mistake to avoid because delivering the same narrow focussed message over and over is not compelling. If you are a Realtor and the only subject and strategy you employ is to leave links to your listings or to your website-blog people will begin to tune out.

Then What is the Strategy?

Like any social media community, twitter is most valuable when you engage other members in meaningful communication, provide valuable information to the community, and then collaborate when given the opportunity. Antidote to the 4 Mistakes:

1. Stop collecting numbers by communicating with people, show you care, and get involved.

2. Go outside your real estate community and make new connections with people from other career paths. Also consider people with similar hobbies and interests as viable networking partners.

3. Stop Hard Selling and become a provider of valuable information. By doing this people will perceive you as a valuable resource and somebody to be read and respected.

4. Widen your subject matter for a more well rounded approach to your messages. Personalize and humanize by providing information about things other than your business. Create value for your business connections as well as your networking partners who have no business ties to you.

Ed Okun Denied Freedom: Judge Payne Hammers Defense Attorney’s Explanation

Courtesy Gordon Gecko Wiki

Sensing his fleeting chances at freedom, 1031 Tax Group investment criminal Ed Okun made what looks to be his last feable attempt for release yesterday–he was denied! Okun’s attempt centered around a defense motion for release based on a 3rd party custodian (required terms for his release) a Mr. Alex Carrera. The defense attorney in the case, one of a long line who have come and gone no doubt at either taxpayer’s expense or that of Okun’s victims, originally proposed that Mr. Carrera would be present at the November 5 hearing: Carrera was a no show.

The following is the tip from ever present and well informed Okun victim Elizabeth Callanan. Elizabeth has been a huge source of information and guidance in my 1 1/2 years of coverage on the Ed Okun rip off and eventual prosecution. The following comment will give all involved a much clearer picture of what has just transpired. This comment came in the last 24 hours. Certain passages were highlighted for reader convenience:

“Judge Payne DENIED Okun’s motion for release. The 3rd party custodian (required for Okun’s release) originally proposed in the defense’s motion, an Alex Carrera, was a no-show at the hearing, despite the Defense’s new attorney (a private attorney with an office in Washington, DC, named Barry Pollack — so Okun now has THREE attorneys, including the two from the public defender’s office, at US taxpayer expense!)telling the Judge he’d spoken to Carrera the previous afternoon and had every reason to believe he would be there and couldn’t explain why he wasn’t. Interestingly, his absence could not have been a surprise to Simone Bolani (Okun’s Brazilian bride), since she’d recruited a substitute, Edwin Escobar, the night before the hearing (odd she wouldn’t have shared that information with her husband’s attorney, isn’t it?) who did appear in the courtroom. However, under questioning by the US Attorney, Escobar had to admit that he was apparently guilty of one of the same offenses with which Okun was originally indicted, namely asking Okun to pay him $10,000 he was owed for some reason in increments of less than that to avoid IRS reporting limits! Judge Payne must have thought that wasn’t the most stellar qualification for a third party custodian and denied the motion. He also expressed chagrin that Carrera, described in the defense motion as a “family friend,” had in fact only met Okun once, at Simone’s Feb 2008 birthday party, and had not seen Okun since. He cautioned the defense not to bring any further such motions unless they’d personally interviewed the proposed custodian and assured themselves of the facts being claimed and that they were in fact suitably qualified to serve in that capacity. Thanks to Judge Payne and the US Attorney (Michael Dry), it looks like Okun’s appearance at his criminal trial which begins Jan 19 has been assured.”

internshipIn.com: Realtor’s Human Capital Resource

Thanks to Emily Chang and her eHub for outlining the following company.

internshipin-logo

How do you as a Realtor and entrepreneur leverage your expertise, knowledge, and experience as “commerce” in your quest to meet your human capital needs during one of the most challenging markets in recent memory? How do you cut the costs of hiring human capital? The solution may be the newly minted Internshipin.com. The brainchild of UC Berkeley students Arielle Patrice Scott, Jessica Mah, and Andy Su, Internshipin.com, Internshipin.com bills itself

“We know startups, especially early and mid-stage startups, have a difficult time recruiting at different universities. We also know students have a hard time finding internship opportunities at companies doing something important to them. We fill this connection gap with company profiles, university partnerships and more! In short, internshipIN plays matchmaker for students and startups!”

internshipIn is a resource, community, search engine, and job board rolled into one. It matches students to desired internships.

FAQ for Students

1. Q: Are students required to submit a resume? A: No students can communicate directly with employers

2. Q: How much does this service cost? A: It is a free service to students

3. Q: Are internships available at internshipIn.com? A: Yes

FAQ for Employers

1. Q: What kinds of internships can we post on internshipIn? A: Whatever internships you have available paid or unpaid. The only requirement is that companies consult the US Department of Labor Fair Labor Act before developing their internships.

2. Q: How much does it cost to get started on internshipIn? A: It is free to setup your company profile. Right now it is free to post internship listings.

Solution

If you have plenty of experience and knowledge in your niche. If you can trade on this knowledge and you are willing to mentor a student; then consider the win-win situation of saving human capital costs while helping to develop new skill sets and launch a career for a student.

Ed Okun Attempting Appeal For Freedom November 5: Victim Instructions Here

Newsflash: Ed Okun is attempting a final bid for his freedom with a renewed appeal for release. The news came from original Ed Okun “Train Wreck Victim” Elizabeth Callanet. This is an outrageous and disturbing turn of events that every victim should be aware is happening. Elizabeth’s request is in accordance with deansguide’s approval as one of the only sites certified to deliver important information to the victims of these heinous crimes. The following is Elizabeth’s message in it’s entirety:

——————————————————–

“Okun’s renewed appeal for release pending his criminal trial in Jan will be heard in Richmond this Wed, Nov 5, at 1:30pm (New courthouse address: 701E. Broad St. 7th Floor). If any victims plan to attend they should let Kim Ulmet, the Victims’ Assistance Specialist ( contact information provided below). She’s very helpful and informative about the players and the proceedings and will ensure victim’s get to the right courtroom and/or know if the hearing has been delayed, relocated, etc.

In addition, several of Okun’s victims are asking the Court to permit telephonic participation (i.e. a service that would permit Okun/Coleman’s victims around the country to listen to the criminal proceedings by phone) since, thanks to them(Okun-Coleman), none of the them (victims) can afford to actually travel there! Any victims having interest in listening to the trial by phone (there is a cost, but it applies only to the length of time during which one listens, and one could listen to some or all of just some sessions and not others), they should write to the court asking that they approve of using that service (a first for this court jurisdiction).

Write, FAX or email letters to Kim at the address below and she will make sure they get forwarded to the appropriate office:”

Kim Ulmet, Victim/Witness Specialist
United States Attorney’s Office
600 E. Main Street
Suite 1800
Richmond, VA 23219
Fax (804) 771-2316
email: kimberly.Ulmet@usdoj.gov

Very Important Notice to Okun Victims Regarding Your Address:

“On a final note, 1031 victims are receiving in the mail copies of a proposed settlement between the Trustee (McHale) and Cordell. Any victims who have not received it, should write to McHale, the Trustee at jerrym@trustee1031taxgroup.com , to let him know that he ( and perhaps the bankruptcy court) don’t have your address/or your correct address. To ensure the Bankruptcy court has your correct information, also write to:”

Kathleen Farrell-Willoughby
Clerk, U.S. Bankruptcy Court
One Bowling Green
New York, NY 10004-1408

“It is vitally important they have your contact information if and when there is any kind of of settlement (we shouldn’t all hold our breaths!) and to receive these updates in the interim. Many of the court documents are available on the Trustee’s website at:”

http://trustee1031taxgroup.com

A big thank you to Elizabeth for her announcement. Our hopes and prayers are with all the victims for some good news in these tough times!

Realtor’s Video Tool: Monkeysee.com How To Library For Exposure

Chicago Sun-Times paper the Post-Tribune published this deansguide article 10-31-08

FoxBusiness.com published this deansguide article 10-31-08

How many times have we said: “If I could only watch someone do it first, I could really get the hang of it much faster”? And when we think of the concept of learning through video tutorials we are usually looking through youtube, or another video site. We often find amateur video with a wide variety of opinions on how something should be done. Not with Monkeysee.com. Monkeysee bills itself as providing “The highest quality, most credible how-to videos on the web.”

Monkeysee.com Features

1. 17 Categories: Everything from Auto & Mechanical to Business to Sports & Leisure

2. Upload: Upload your own videos for possible inclusion, save your favorites for future use

3. Become an Expert: Submit your video to be considered for inclusion on Monkeysee.

Monkeysee.com Benefits

1. Huge Library: Great informational videos for your education

2. Opportunity: Featured Videos are on the home page for each category and become a huge opportunity for exposure: Newest, Most Viewed, Recommended, and Highest Rated

3. Expert Spotlight: Expert page is a fantastic spot to land if you can get accepted

4. Traffic: Monkeysee.com has huge traffic numbers and would provide you with networking and exposure opportunities

Realtors Branding Guide

1. Public Speaking: If you create a video that showcases your expertise, and it is chosen for inclusion, you will have the beginnings of your public speaking platform

2. Exposure: If your video is chosen you will have the opportunity to gain wide spread exposure to your message and your business. Monkeysee.com’s Alexa ranking is 24,545 worldwide and 6,736 U.S. which translates to huge traffic numbers

3. Content-Research: The site library has how to videos with rich content and resource potential for ideas and projects

U.S. Trustee McHale “Continuation of Bankruptcy-Criminal Proceedings Collectively Serving The Interests of Justice”

United States Trustee Gerald McHale recently brought suit against Wachovia Bank, and affiliates, for the recovery of “$43 million of conveyances allegedly made to Wachovia in the form of cash and mortgage liens, and the imposition of equitable liens and constructive trusts on several properties in which Wachovia continues to hold liens, or the proceeds therefrom.” Allegations abound that Wachovia not only helped Ed Okun in his scheme but perpetuated it’s continuation despite their (Wachovia’s) knowledge that Okun was violating many banking laws in his business practices.

Today Gerald McHale announced that he has filed a “Statement of Position and Response” to judge Payne’s order in the Ed Okun criminal case. The statement was filed in regards “to the effect of the pending bankruptcy cases of the 1031 Debtors on the likely availability of funds for the purpose of restitution in the criminal case.” The statement was filed October 15, 2008.

3 Key Points

1. McHale agrees “concurs” with the presentation set forth in the Government Statement filed September 12, 2008. See US vs Okun (Government Position) pdf bottom of article.

2. McHale submits that the continuation of the bankruptcy proceedings and the criminal proceedings “are collectively serving the interests of justice and judiciary effciency.”

3. McHale asserts that “Victims of the criminal case are better served by the bankruptcy process which is well underway and has already resulted in the liquidation of many tangible assets and other recoveries.”

Sad But True

The saddest but most likely true statement is the one McHale uttered at the end of his announcement:

“Victims could see some recovery through the bankruptcy process sooner than the time that would be required for the defendant’s convictions in the criminal case will be final.”

Blogging Realtor’s New Content Tip: Blog Article “Mashup” Provides Variety and Measurement

The mashup content post is a concept that combines 3 subjects, in tip or list format, in one blog article. Today’s first edition will provide 3 tips on 3 different subject categories: Anchor Text, Social Media Construct, and Focus and your plan.

Mashup Article Benefits:

1. Variety for the writer and reader

2. Measure your reader’s enthusiasm for each subject with traffic analytics

3. Valuable information in multiple areas

Tip #1 Anchor Text:

Anchor text is according to Wikipedia “is the visible, clickable text in a hyperlink.” According to Marilyn at Seoshootout.com you will “Improve your SEO and build relevant anchor text by using an important keyword as the hyperlink – preferably linking it to another, relevant page on your site or linked to an external site that is relevant.”

Ex: SEO Shootout is the premeire SEO blog in the blogosphere

Tip #2 Social Media Construct: Chris Brogan-Darren Rowse featured by James Helm’s todaysbesttools.com

Here is a great description of the construct for Soc Media sites

a.) Blog is Home where all sites should point and all readers funneled

b.) Outposts (Darren Rowse) “are third party sites where he creates “Relationships, ideas, traffic, resources, partnerships, community and much more emerge from the outposts” Darren’s idea is a powerful method to multiple points of exposure for the blogger

c.) Frontiers (Kyle Lacy) feels these are “a website or service you have a presence on but rarely go.”

Tip #3 Focus

According to James Helms the best method to stave off burnout and feelings of overwhelming angst over the massive crush of available social media sites and tools is to consider the following:

“When it comes to social media don’t focus on the tools before the goals within your strategy. Said another way, first focus on your campaign and then leverage available tools that help you meet your goals.”

Great advice and very important to remember–your efforts to leverage tools is useless if you don’t stay connected to your planned campaign

Courtesy of James Helm’s todaysbesttools.com and inspired by Chris Brogan, Darren Rowse, Kyle Lacy and James Helms