Auction Companies Agents Learn to Collaborate for Success

first_img Share 12th Annual Five Star Conference and Expo Auction Companies Real Estate Agents 2015-09-19 Staff Writer Auction Companies & Agents Learn to Collaborate for Success What was once an extremely acrimonious relationship is getting better all the time. According to a panel of experts at the REO lab at the 2015 Five Star Conference and Expo Friday, real estate agents and real estate auction companies are learning that a harmonious collaboration is the best solution for all parties involved.The lab co-directors were Brandon Kirkham, SVP of Business Expansion with VRM Mortgage Services, and Jinja Martin, Business Controls and Reporting & Analytics Executive with Bank of America. A panel moderated by SVP at Bank of America Renee Johnson and featuring Auction.com EVP Rick Sharga, Altisource Chief Revenue Officer John Vella, Genesis Capital President Rayman Mathoda, and EVP of Default Services with Williams & Williams Real Estate Auctions Elsa Lewis discussed such topics as the agents’ involvement in auctions and whether there is a need for an agent in the process.”Agents and auction companies have a common interest, which is to get the best results for their clients,” Sharga said. “What we have found in both the commercial and residential space is we get the best results for buyers and sellers when we can combine the global marketing power and the efficient online transaction capability of an auction company with the local market expertise of a real estate professional. It’s a win-win if everybody cooperates and they’re out to get the same objective.”That is a huge “if,” however, because the agents do not always have the same goal in mind as the auction companies and some agents are still not willing to collaborate. In many cases, Sharga said when the auction companies first entered the real estate space, they were “forced” on the agents in many cases, which caused resistance because sellers were reducing the amount of commission the agents were paid.”Our best results are almost invariably when an agent cooperates with us and we work together,” he said. “Our worst results are when the agent tries to deliberately sabotage the process to try to make the auction company look ineffective. Forward-thinking agents will embrace technology and partner with companies like ours to grow their business. Sadly, there are some agents who will cling to old, outmoded business models, and may go the way of the dinosaur—munching contentedly on their ferns when the meteor hits.””I think when you can start giving specific examples of how you’re already doing it and how it’s successful for the seller, the buyer, and the agent involved, it starts to prove the point.”In a market where all distressed volume, including REO, is currently at a fraction of what it was five years ago at the height of the crisis, the shift toward online auctions has taken place.”In real estate, everyone sees REO as a declining market. Defaults are down, delinquencies are down, foreclosure starts are down, foreclosure inventory is down, but there is still a real estate market that needs to be managed,” said panelist John Vella from Altisource. “We’re seeing now where more of the buyer and seller activity is taking place online. The auctions have been very successful. The ballroom auctions have given way to the online auctions and servicers and investors have gravitated toward that model because you’re getting maximum eyeballs on the product and getting multiple buyers negotiating and bidding on properties, which ultimately is best for the investor as far as driving the price up. We’re also finding ways to work with real estate agents through this process, because real estate agents are still part of the process. We want the real estate community to engage and work as part of the process.”According to panelist Elsa Lewis, who is both an agent and an executive with an auction company (Williams &Williams), the local expertise the agents provide is invaluable to the process.”The important part to remember is that the agents are the local experts and we are the auction experts,” she said. “By combining their knowledge of the property and our expertise in auction, we provide the seller the best opportunity to achieve the highest results possible. The agents bring the ‘rest of the story’, as Paul Harvey used to say. If you don’t get that, the result is only a flat number on a screen. We market to the individual property, not just a platform, and bring life to the property. The agent helps us do that. “Lewis talked about their standing partnerships with real estate broker networks such as Long & Foster and JLL, both of which are very successful for the individual agents in helping get properties sold through auction and bringing successful sales results to their sellers in 30 days. “We are looking for good partnerships with real estate brokers nationwide,” Lewis added.Sharga said he believes that the auction companies participating in the Five Star Conference presented the message that agents needed to hear, which was that the auction companies are actively looking to partner with them.”I think when you can start giving specific examples of how you’re already doing it and how it’s successful for the seller, the buyer, and the agent involved, it starts to prove the point,” Sharga said. “There is still a lot of skepticism. I think a lot of agents are looking for ways to keep their business viable as the market for distressed assets compresses, and for us to be going outreach and saying, ‘Hey, work with us and we’ll grow this together’ is probably the tonic that they’re looking for.”center_img in Daily Dose, News, REO, Secondary Market, Technology September 19, 2015 484 Views last_img read more

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Mesha Marens debut novel Sugar Run is heartfe

first_imgMesha Maren’s debut novel, ‘Sugar Run,’ is heartfelt AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email by Oline H. Cogdill, The Associated Press Posted Jan 8, 2019 5:48 am PDTcenter_img “Sugar Run: A Novel” (Algonquin), by Mesha MarenFlawed people and a forceful look at an area ravaged by an economic downturn and a rising opioid epidemic meld in the character-driven “Sugar Run,” Mesha Maren’s novel debut.At 35, Jodi McCarty is getting her first taste of freedom when she’s released from prison after being convicted at 17 for shooting her girlfriend, Paula Dulett. Before Paula, the only person who had been kind to Jodi was her grandmother, Effie. The aimless cross-country trek, including a dip into Mexico with Paula, was the closest to happiness Jodi had known, savoring the “delicious, unfamiliar risk” of each day. The couple supported themselves with petty crimes and Paula’s skills as a poker player. Paula’s intoxicating talks about how a good poker hand is a “sweet sugar run” has Jodi remembering her West Virginia home, and how she wants to return to the landscape of “flashing mountain creeks that appear out of nowhere after a good rain.”The relationship with Paula — and its violent end — preys on Jodi’s mind as she begins her new life, hoping she can fulfil her dream of settling on the land once owned by her grandmother. Then Jodi meets and falls for Miranda Matheson Golden, who is separated from her husband, a country music star “of receding fame.” Along with Miranda’s three sons, the new couple heads for West Virginia where Jodi remembers “even the air around her had felt right.” Along the way, Jodi hopes to find Paula’s younger brother, Ricky, who was abused as a child.“Sugar Run” gains its strength from Maren’s uncompromising storytelling and her insistence on showing even the most painful realities, especially when Jodi finds her grandmother’s land “ripe with disuse.”Maren seamlessly moves “Sugar Run” from 1988 as she describes the deteriorating romance between Jodi and Paula and the present as the newly released Jodi, who always considered herself a victim and is now desperately trying to make better choices with her life and her heart. Jodi is constantly weighed down by her past, and her future with the complicated and unstable Miranda.Jodi fears her grandmother was correct —”the future was only a parallel of the past.” Jodi’s salvation will be if she can rise against her past.Oline H. Cogdill, The Associated Presslast_img read more

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Police arrest drunk troublemaker

first_imgAn Estonian man was arrested at Larnaca airport on Friday evening for causing trouble while drunk.The 32-year-old arrived at the airport at 7.30pm to catch a flight for Moscow. But he started causing trouble resulting in his arrest.He was taken to the police holding cells to sober up.You May LikeHeart Failure Treatment | Search AdsThe Early Signs Of Heart Failure. Search Acute Heart Failure TreatmentHeart Failure Treatment | Search AdsUndoSenior Living | Search AdsThe Cost of Senior Living in Rowland Heights Might Surprise YouSenior Living | Search AdsUndoClassmates.comLook For Any High School Yearbook, It’s FreeClassmates.comUndo Concern over falling tourism numbersUndoTurkish Cypriot actions in Varosha ‘a clear violation’ of UN resolutions, Nicosia saysUndoThe Deniz boat incident showed clearly the intentions of the Turkish sideUndoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

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Kyprianou sees potential for talks to collapse

first_imgThe potential collapse of the Cyprus talks is now plainly visible following the  erroneous decision House vote on Enosis and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci’s reaction to it, Akel general-secretary Andros Kyprianou said on Tuesday.At a news conference in Nicosia, Kyprianou, whose party was the only one to vote against the Elam-tabled proposal to mark a 1950 plebiscite for union with Greece, expressed his concern and that of ordinary Cypriots who were “frustrated and pessimistic”.“The potential collapse of the talks and deadlock It now apparent,” said Kyprianou, referring to the impasse created by the Enosis vote when Akinci walked away from the talks last month.“Surely this is not the last chance for solution in Cyprus? There will always be the next day, the next opportunity. But we have to reflect on what will the next day bring and with what conditions will come next opportunity,” he said.He spoke of possible colonisation as official Turkish policy, existing financial protocols and agreements for water and electricity, all of which were changing the identity and outlook of the Turkish Cypriot community by the day.“No one should consider that the strength of the progressive portion of the Turkish Cypriot community is limitless,” said Kyprianou.“Therefore, we should not have illusions. We should not think that we can put aside talks now so you can engage in an undistracted election campaigns and that in March 2018 the next president will find the situation in Cyprus as it is today.”The Akel leader said many criticise the party’s positions and accuse it of being willing to accept any solution.  Kyprianou said Akel would never accept a bad solution but it was naive to believe that without a solution Greek Cypriots would simply continue their lives as they were today. “We live on quicksand that we do not know when it might swallow us,” he said.Some parties, she said seek to change the strategic goal on Cyprus and leave behind a federal solution for a unitary state, and use the word traitors for those who support the former.“Who will force Turkey to accept an ideal solution for us?” Kyprianou said. “The easiest thing of all is to say slogans and empty words. But if they do not bring results, we will all pay for their consequences.”He said Akel has supported the negotiations “not because we owe something to Mr Anastasiades, but because we owe it to the country and our people to support the resolution of the Cyprus problem”.Unfortunately, he added, for some months it was obvious that the negotiations process was blocked and the reason was that Anastasiades was not ready to discuss the rotating presidency, and Akinci did not want to discuss territory.“No matter who started this tactic. What is significant is that the process did not proceed and while we were looking for a way to unblock the talks by submitting proposals, along came the decision of the majority of the House,” he added.On top of that, instead of the two leaders trying to defuse the situation, their daily statements played into the narrative of extreme elements in both communities, Kyprianou said.“While Cyprus was ‘lost’ between declarations and counter statements, Akinci withdrew from the talks while Mr Anastasiades presented himself as the deus ex machina that will solve the problems in the NHS, Limassol port, the Athalassa psychiatric hospital and elsewhere.”Even ruling Disy, which abstained from the Enosis vote, allowing it to pass the plenum, began to say Akel was to blame “instead of considering its own responsibility and how it could correct the mistake,” Kyprianou said.He referred to Disy’s reference to not being Akel nor Elam.  “Certainly Akel is not Disy but Disy has supporters among Elam,” said Kyprianou.Now, he said it was imperative for the two leaders to rise to the occasion and not do favours for the forces of nationalism.“We strongly believe that the crisis created can be overcome and negotiations can be restarted if this is pursued unwaveringly because what interests us is the next generation and not the next elections,” he said.He suggested the focus be put back on track with discussions on key issues under the chapter of governance and the executive.“If you address these key issues, we will get to the major issues of security and guarantees. We have no illusions about the difficulty of this chapter. But any solution of all other key issues will make it easier to deal with,” he said, adding however that the safety of a community cannot be guaranteed at the expense of the other.Kyprianou said it was being written by some that their working to solve the Cyprus issue was dangerous but he said: “It’s not we who strive to reunite our country that are dangerous. Dangerous are those whose policies, if applied will lead Cyprus to a standstill… a dangerous setback that will allow Turkey to promote its objectives.”You May LikeLuxury Crossover SUV I Search AdsThese SUVs Are The Cream Of The Crop. 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Rep McCready plans office hours July 12 in Birmingham

first_img Categories: McCready News 28Jun Rep. McCready plans office hours July 12 in Birmingham State Rep. Mike McCready will meet with residents Tuesday, July 12, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the board room at the Baldwin Library, 300 W. Merrill St. in Birmingham.“Office hours offer an optimal opportunity for me to meet with people in our community and address their questions and concerns,” said Rep. McCready, R-Bloomfield Hills. “I take ideas from residents back to Lansing with me and use them to improve state government.”No appointment is necessary to attend Rep. McCready’s office hours. Anyone unable to attend is encouraged to contact his office by calling toll free at (855) 373-8670, emailing MikeMcCready@house.mi.gov or visiting his website, www.RepMikeMcCready.com.#####last_img read more

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Rep Lower praises SepticSmart Week on House floor

first_img Categories: Lower News State Rep. Jim Lower today offered House Resolution 146 to declare Sept. 18-22, 2017 as SepticSmart Week in the state of Michigan.Lower said proper septic system use and routine care are vital to protecting public health, preserving our highly valued ground water, lakes, streams and waterways, and avoiding costly repairs that can result from neglect.“SepticSmart Week is a great reminder for everyone to make sure septic systems are in proper working order,” Lower said. “Many homeowners don’t realize there is a problem until it is too late. Properly maintained systems can save everybody a lot of time and money in the long run.”SepticSmart Week is an annual event focused on educating homeowners and communities on the proper care and maintenance of their septic systems. Visit www.epa.gov/septic for homeowner resources and information about SepticSmart Week. 14Sep Rep. Lower praises SepticSmart Week on House floorlast_img read more

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Pet Cemeteries and Health Centers Does this Reorganization Pass the Smell Test

first_imgShareTweetShareEmail0 SharesFebruary 11, 2015; Baltimore SunAt a meeting of skeptical creditors in federal bankruptcy court, William Green, the new leader of Baltimore’s now-shuttered People’s Community Health Center, discussed his plans for working through its Chapter 11 bankruptcy.NPQ wrote about People’s last summer when it closed its five clinics precipitously, leaving $6.7 million dollars of debt to employees, the IRS, vendors, Baltimore city…and on and on. Basically, it stiffed everyone in sight. It also left patients without plans for ongoing care.Green acknowledges that the mountain of disbelievers might be high. “Who are the creditors? Give me the Yellow Pages,” he declared, in pursuit of convincing the court that he could come up with a viable plan. That plan, apparently, will entail relaunching clinics, albeit without the backstop of relying on federal grants as an FQHC; instead, they will rely on insurance payments from patients as their main revenue source.Some of the former staff suggest that the endeavor might be best scrapped. Barbara Einzig, previously a grants specialist for People’s, said, “I think it would be a disservice to community health for People’s Community Health Center to reopen,” saying that she did not see how reopening without the federal grants would be viable.Noelle Lang is still waiting for around ten weeks’ pay. She notes that Green has petitioned to use People’s cash flow of approximately $55,000 a month to pay his company, Enterprise Development Corp., a management fee while she waits and waits some more to get paid. “It’s frustrating,” she said. “How do you sit in that office all day and not have a plan to pay employees back?”Green said that the organization’s problems stemmed from a lack of good management rather than fraud, that too many bank accounts existed with too many transfers between them, and that payroll was unsustainably high.According to this article in the Baltimore Sun, “Under Green’s management last year, People’s briefly changed its name to MedHealth of Maryland and became a unit of a newly created for-profit, MedHealth [Companies LLC],” but the name has since been changed back. And, according to an earlier report:“Green has a history of legal issues connected with his past business ventures. […] Green and a real estate investment trust he owned, SynVest, were ordered by the state in 2005 to pay restitution to dozens of investors, according to a consent order signed by the state’s securities commissioner and Green. Regulators found SynVest omitted key financial information and gave misleading information to investors. In the 1990s, Green owned Rosa Bonheur Memorial Park, a pet cemetery in Elkridge. He was fined for running an illegal crematorium on the property and was ordered to repay customers who said ashes were mixed up and grave markers weren’t delivered. After he filed for bankruptcy, the cemetery was sold at auction in 1997.”—Ruth McCambridgeShareTweetShareEmail0 Shareslast_img read more

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Frigid Temperatures and Poverty Meet Reduced Fuel Assistance Budgets

first_imgShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares February 22, 2015;PBS NewsHourIn the face of the last month’s record-setting low temperatures and high snowfall, community organizations all over the country are struggling to keep up with the pace of calls for emergency energy assistance.“We still have numerous applications that haven’t been processed yet, because they all come in at the same time,” says Mary Knittle, director of energy resources at the Worcester Community Action Council. Worcester, Massachusetts is now officially the snowiest city in the United States, with 107.7 inches so far this season against a yearly average for this date of 44.4. (But check for updates.)“A lot of those people heat with utilities,” Knittle says, “and utilities won’t shut you off in the winter. So, we’re working as hard as we can to get them processed.” But the agency is out of benefits to pay those who deliver fuel, and they “probably process 100 calls a day, at least, for people who are looking for more benefits.”According to Knittle, all the emergency energy assistance providers in the state of Massachusetts are together petitioning for additional funds. Not only have federal allocations to fuel assistance programs diminished from $5.1 billion in 2010 to $3.4 billion this fiscal year, as reflected in the following bar graph…Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Image Credit: Daniel Finley/NewsHour Weekend…but the peculiar hardships caused by extreme weather this winter have affected household budgets negatively in other ways. In Massachusetts, schools have been closed for several days, causing additional expenses or missed workdays for many low-income households, and in and around Boston, public transport ground to a halt for extended periods, which also had an impact on low-wage workers.A mild December mitigated some of the past month’s intensity of need, but as Ms. Knittle said, “The federal government gives money to the state every year to help households through the coldest times of winter, and most of the households have used up those fuel assistance benefits. In spite of the fact that the price of home heating oil is considerably lower than it was last year, the price of electricity and natural gas has increased considerably.”A report for PBS NewsHour out of Asheville, N.C., describes the quandaries of a few residents making use of fuel assistance funds:“Jorge Londono is 40 years old and has four kids. His single-family home is equipped with an oil heater. He told us he couldn’t afford the upfront cost of having the oil company deliver the minimum of 100 gallons, so his family opted to switch on electric space heaters instead. Now he’s facing two electric bills totaling more than $1,000.“Debra Wolf, 36, came to Eblen Charities with her mother, Jackie Henry (left). Wolf owes back payments of $417 on her utility bill. She and her four kids have struggled since her husband’s work schedule was cut from 80 hours to 40 hours each week. His hour-long commute each day means gas—along with food and utilities—are straining the family budget.”Fuel assistance programs limit the amounts that can be drawn down per family, but as Mr. Londono’s story exhibits, attempts by families to limit expenditures can backfire—not just in higher costs elsewhere, but in healthcare and other expenses as well as safety. Although energy companies may not cut off utilities in the dead of winter, many families worry about the kind of instability that February’s reduced incomes and increased fuel costs will mean for their families as the weather gets warmer and threats of shutoffs are more imminent.—Ruth McCambridge ShareTweetShareEmail0 Shareslast_img read more

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The State of Local AntiPanhandling Ordinances

first_imgShare28TweetShare1Email29 SharesNovember 12, 2015; StatelineAs cities increasingly adopt anti-panhandling ordinances, they find themselves facing legal challenges. Teresa Wiltz reports for Stateline that that the number of cities with outright bans has increased 25 percent between 2011 and 2014, while those with restrictions on panhandling in designated public places (such as near schools) rose 20 percent. Examples include Tennessee, which has banned “aggressive” panhandling; Utah, which has outlawed panhandling in traffic; and Atlanta, which has passed a law preventing panhandling throughout much of the downtown area.Opponents argue that these laws violate First Amendment free speech rights. Wiltz says that three federal judges have struck down or otherwise turned back anti-panhandling ordinances if those ordinances were “content-based” rather than “content-neutral” speech restrictions. One example is the overturning of the “aggressive panhandling” ordinance of Worcester, Massachusetts.Homeless advocates claim these ordinances criminalize homelessness and poverty. Supporters of the ordinances, however, claim they are simply trying to reduce the nuisance created by panhandlers, not to criminalize homelessness itself. Moreover, the panhandlers are not always homeless. As Susie Sinclair-Smith of the Montgomery County Coalition for the Homeless points out, about half of the panhandlers are simply very poor.There is some indication that the rise in anti-panhandling ordinances is related in some ways to the economic revivals of downtowns, with residents of luxury condominiums and patrons of upscale restaurants and bars unhappy with the presence of homeless panhandlers. Downtown business and real estate interests aren’t particularly happy with the market impact of visible poor people.“Cities are being pressured to ‘do something,’” says Maria Foscarinis of the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty. “The idea is that visible poverty is bad for tourism and bad for business. A lot of cities have chosen a quick fix response, passing a law making it a crime to be poor.”Notwithstanding the legal challenges to many anti-panhandling ordinances, communities are still passing new laws. Just recently, Nashua, New Hampshire, narrowly adopted a law that calls for “prohibit(ing) citizens from distributing, exchanging or receiving any object from an operator of a motor vehicle while the car is on the travel portion of a public roadway,” as summarized by Kimberly Houghton of the Union Leader. In the summer, the city of Charleston, South Carolina, adopted an ostensibly content-neutral ordinance “that would prohibit anyone—including panhandlers, people collecting money for charities, handing out religious fliers or selling newspapers—from passing items to or from the occupant of a vehicle on a roadway in a traffic lane.” Other cities whose ordinances have been deemed not constitutionally solid, like Worcester’s aim to stop panhandling near ATMs and bus stops, plan to fight to overturn the court rulings or adjust their ordinances to make them legally enforceable.—Rick CohenShare28TweetShare1Email29 Shareslast_img read more

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I Dont Understand This Stuff Is No Excuse Nationalist Nonprofit Loses Tax

first_imgShare177TweetShare6Email183 SharesBy Vas Panagiotopoulos – https://www.flickr.com/photos/vas/30910084580/, CC BY 2.0, LinkMarch 14, 2017; Los Angeles TimesRichard Spence’s “alt-right” National Policy Institute has lost its 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status as of May 15, 2016, for not filing its 990 forms with the IRS since 2012.Among the policies for which the group advocates is a separate nation for white people. It is, according to its website, “dedicated to the heritage, identity, and future of people of European descent in the United States, and around the world.”One of the nonprofit’s most high-profile events was a conference in D.C. last year where Spencer famously bellowed, “Hail Trump! Hail our people! Hail victory!” One would assume that the organization might wish to keep itself squeaky clean legally, but the group has not filed a 990 since 2012. Spencer has been running it since 2011.Spencer said yesterday that an IRS error led him to believe his group was not required to file the 990s. “I don’t know what to say. I don’t want to make a comment because I don’t understand this stuff,” Spencer said in a telephone interview with the Los Angeles Times. “It’s a bit embarrassing, but it’s not good. We’ll figure it out.”The error on the part of the IRS is as yet unconfirmed by the agency, but it had classified the group as not being required to file such forms until February, when it informed the group it was out of compliance.Still, “They should have known that they should have been filing,” said Philip T. Hackney, a law professor and former IRS employee. “It’s very clear under the law that if you don’t file for three years, you lose your status.”According to Elaine Lidholm, a spokeswoman for the Virginia Office of Charitable and Regulatory Programs, the National Policy Institute is also raising money in the state despite having no authorization to raise funds there. “They had sent in a registration form to us years ago, but it was incomplete and we requested additional information,” she wrote in an email to the L.A. Times. “We never heard back from them.”There are also questions about whether the group flouted IRS rules on election-year activities by 501(c)(3) nonprofits, which prohibit “partisan comments in official organization publications or at official functions of the organization.” In September of last year, for instance, Spencer wrote, “I invite you to join us in the fight against Hillary Clinton, and the liberal agenda that’s haunted our country for generations.” Later, he declared that the organization had “willed Donald Trump into office.” But, as Hackney points out, at that time, the group wasn’t a charity anyway.—Ruth McCambridgeShare177TweetShare6Email183 Shareslast_img read more

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New Pennsylvania Congressional District Map Gives Small Cities Greater Say

first_imgShare6Tweet7ShareEmail13 SharesFebruary 20, 2018; FiveThirtyEight.comThis week, as the Pennsylvania Supreme Court said it would do if the legislature failed to submit a map by February 15th, the Supreme Court mandated a new map for congressional elections. Last month, the Court ruled that the state’s previous congressional district map “clearly, plainly, and palpably” violated the state constitution and ruled in favor of the plaintiffs. That map, drawn by what was at the time a state government led by a Republican governor and a Republican state legislature, was widely seen to favor the Republican Party.Now, the state has a Democratic governor and a Republican state legislature. Since the governor and state legislature failed to agree on a map, the Court drew its own. The new map is, not surprisingly, more favorable than the old map for the state’s Democratic party. But the map has other effects that don’t neatly fit either party’s interest.In particular, Rachel Dovey in Next City points out that the map “stands to benefit Pennsylvania’s smaller urban areas.” Many cities, like the post-industrial Reading, notes Dovey, were previously packed into districts in which rural voters overwhelmed the city vote.As for the partisan impact, according to Aaron Bycoffe, writing for FiveThirtyEight.com, the new map, while more favorable to Democrats than the old map, stops short of committing the reverse offense of being a “Democratic gerrymander.” Even though Democratic and Republican voters are evenly split in the state, a hypothetical model of a “normal election” shows the Democrats’ expected win total being 7.5 seats out of 18, the result in part of Democratic voters being concentrated in the state’s two largest cities of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.Bycoffe adds,The new map has five seats that we would categorize as “usually Democratic” over the long term, compared with four under the current map. These are districts where Democrats have better than about a 5-in-6 chance…. Democrats would still be heavily favored to hold four of those new districts—the 2nd, 3rd, 5th and 18th—even in an extremely GOP-friendly national environment. The other one—the 4th—could be at risk in a Republican wave. Eight seats, meanwhile—the 9th through 16th districts—are, to varying degrees, “usually Republican.” The other five districts—the 1st, 6th, 7th and 8th districts and, and to a lesser extent, the 17th—all look highly competitive.The Court, in drawing its map, were advised by Nathaniel Persily, a Stanford constitutional law professor. Persily, Dovey notes, has in the past assisted judges with other redistricting cases in New York, Connecticut, North Carolina, Georgia, and Maryland.Last month, when the Pittsburgh Community Foundation filed its precedent-setting amicus brief with the state supreme court, its CEO, Maxwell King, noted that the foundation felt compelled to intervene because of its “concern about the strength of the civic fabric.”King added that, “More and more voters feel as if they don’t matter, they don’t have a role.” Now, because of the state supreme court ruling and the creation of more compact and competitive districts, a growing number of Pennsylvanians, particularly in the state’s smaller cities, will find that their votes could have much more impact on electoral outcomes than before.—Steve DubbShare6Tweet7ShareEmail13 Shareslast_img read more

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European broadcast services provider Media Broadca

first_imgEuropean broadcast services provider Media Broadcast has launched a DVB-S2 transmission platform on the Astra 3B satellite, located at 23.5° East.The company said it was targeting markets in central and easternEurope, with a focus on the Czech Republic and Slovakia, via the satellite’s Europe Wide Beam.The first programmes to be broadcast on the DVB-S2 platform will include the Czech TV HD channel as well as media services from the country’s Federal Parliament. The signal will enable the feed-in of Czech TV HD into regional cable networks as well as supplying DTH broadcasting to 1.5 million Czech households.“The launch of DVB-S2 services on Astra 23.5° East is an important step for Media Broadcast, providing emerging TV markets in Eastern Europe with efficient transmission services for SD-HD migration that best use the bandwidths available on the transponder” said Ute Haimerl, head of broadcast satellite services. “In doing this, we are creating an additional technical foundation for the sustainable promotion of our international activities in these important European markets.”last_img read more

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European broadcast group RTL has reported a growth

first_imgEuropean broadcast group RTL has reported a growth in revenues but falling earnings in its latest financial results.The company, which operates a number of channels across the region, has reported growth in Germany but challenging market conditions in other areas. 
Revenues rose 3.3% to US$3.5 billion (€2.8 billion) but earnings in the first half of the year before interest, taxes and amortisation was down to $631 million.However, the company expects a stronger performance for its production and distribution arm FremantleMedia in the second half of the year.“Looking to the remainder of 2012, we maintain our cautious and flexible approach for the business, in particular as there is no visibility yet on the development of the TV advertising markets during the important fourth quarter. With the phasing of productions, we anticipate stronger second half earnings for our content business FremantleMedia. We again expect 
the Group to deliver a solid level of EBITA, although not at the record level of 2011,” said RTL Group joint chief executives Anke Schäferkordt and Guillaume de Posch.last_img read more

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Online video service Netflix has launched on the n

first_imgOnline video service Netflix has launched on the new Windows Media 8 platform, which was officially launched yesterday.The company said that a large number of new Windows 8 devices would come with Netflix pre-installed from the start screen, meaning that subscribers would no longer need to go to the Netflix website to access the service.On touch-screen devices, Netflix has enabled a ‘semantic zoom’ feature, enabling users to pinch and zoom to seen an overview of recommendations. Windows 8 is also designed to enable users to open two applications together in so-called ‘snap view’ mode, allowing Netflix subscribers to interact on social networks while watching a movie, the company said.Netflix said yesterday that it now has over 30 million streaming members globally, including over 25 million in the US. Netflix is currently available in 51 countries, with Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland the most recent additions.last_img read more

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French cable operator Numericable now has over one

first_imgFrench cable operator Numericable now has over one million multi-play customers and a total customer base of 1.7 million.In its first full-year results since becoming a public company, the operators said its base of multi-play customers now stands at 1.041 million, up 7% year-on-year, with overall customers rising 5% to 1.709 million.Numericable said it now had 300,000 LaBox Fibre customers, up two and a half times in a year.Numericable said that it had managed to grow its overall base despite a fall in the number of analogue TV only customers, and that it was on track to meet its objective of increasing its overall base by between 200,000 and 250,000 over the next two years.ARPU was up 2.7% to EUR41.90 for the year.Numericable’s high-speed fibre network now passes 5.196 million homes, up 8.5%, out of an overall triple-play footprint of 8.5 million homes. Numericable has set an objective of passing all 8.5 million triple-play homes – 85% of its total base – with fibre by 2016.Revenue was up 0.9% to EUR1.314 billion, which the company said was in line with objectives set at the time of its flotation, with residential services revenue up 4.7% to EUR865 million. EBITDA was down half a percentage point to EUR616 million, which the company said was due to a 23% increase in costs associated with the boost in acquisition of new customers.Separately, Numericable controlling shareholder Patrick Drahi, owner of Altice, has told Les Echos newspaper that he is sticking with his deadline of Friday for Vivendi to accept or reject his offer for SFR. Drahi told the paper that the future of telecoms was “the convergence of fixed and mobile and not the merger of declining mobile operators”.last_img read more

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Amazon has launched its Fire TV Stick streaming de

first_imgAmazon has launched its Fire TV Stick streaming device in the UK and Germany, seven months after it introduced the larger Fire TV set-top box in these markets.The HDMI TV streaming device is available to pre-order now for and is due to ship in both countries on April 15.The device is priced at £35 in the UK and €39 in Germany, but for two days Amazon Prime customers can order a Fire TV Stick for just £19 in the UK or €19 in Germany.Services available on the device in the UK include Prime Instant Video, Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Sky News, Curzon Home Cinema and STV Player, with Amazon claiming that the number of video services and games available on Amazon Fire TV in Europe has doubled in the past seven months.In Germany services available include ARD Mediatek, ZDF Mediathek, Netflix, Spotify and Prime Instant Video.“You can also rent or purchase over 50,000 popular films and TV episodes from Amazon Instant Video, which has a great selection of films to rent or buy, including new releases and blockbusters,” said Amazon.The e-retail giant started to ship the Fire TV Stick to customers in the US in November, claiming it to be the “fastest-selling Amazon device ever.”The device competes against rivals like Google’s Chromecast and Roku’s Streaming Stick.last_img read more

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French service provider NumericableSFR has added

first_imgFrench service provider Numericable-SFR has added the five channels from public broadcaster France Télévisions to its Restart TV service and is making Restart available across its LaBox TV and SFR TV applications.The addition of France Télévisions channels will enable Numericable-SFR customers with fibre connections to view programmes on France 2, the national version of France 3, France 4, France 5 and France ô from the beginning if they have missed the start of transmission.The Restart functionality will be available via its LaBox TV and SFR TV applications, which make over 150 supplementary channels available across multiple screens.According to the operator, citing Baromètre NC-CSA figures for 2014, over 50% of LaBox subscribers have already used the service, with over 20% using it at least one time per month.last_img read more

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Euronews is expanding its presence in the Caribbea

first_imgEuronews is expanding its presence in the Caribbean through a deal with Digicel Play in Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago.The Euronews English service will be available for the first time in Jamaica via Digicel Play, while the operator deal will extend the channel’s reach in Trinidad and Tobago.“This new deal is a clear opportunity to increase our visibility in the region and Euronews is proud to deliver independent world news with a unique perspective to the Caribbean region,” said Corine Babani, Euronews’ distribution manager, North America and Caribbean.Euronews claims to currently broadcast to 722,000 households in the Caribbean region.last_img

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