Friday, February 4, 2011

The Packers, Property and Community: Updated

I agree whole-heartedly with Steve's great post, but when we're talking about football, property and community, we have to talk about the beloved Packers.  The Packers are the only NFL team actually -- not metaphorically -- owned by the community.  When you see the crowd at Lambeau, you're looking at the owners.  Here's a shot of the Packers' ownership group getting the stadium cleared of snow:


Green Bay, a city with a population that could actually easily fit within Cowboys Stadium, is by far the smallest community that has an NFL team, and they've still got it for only one reason -- 120,000 shareholders who live and work and grow old and drop dead in Green Bay. 

Just imagine if the NFL could go back to the Packers model -- no more Baltimore Colts disappearing in the middle of the night, no more Raiders abandoning Oakland for L.A. and then abandoning L.A. for Oakland.  It is appropriate, as Steve suggests, that a community's conception of itself rooted in a team be protected by a property right.  In one place, it is. 

Much respect to the Steelers, the Rooneys, Jack Ham, Jack Lambert, Andy Russell, Mean Joe, Rocky Bleier, the ghost of Mike Webster, hell even Roy Gerela.  I love the Steelers.  I love their brand of football and their tradition.  Other than the Packers, I doubt any community is as deeply invested in its football team as Pittsburgh is in the Steelers.  If the Packers lose on Sunday, the fact that the Steelers will have won will take a lot of the sting out of it.

But as I discovered during my 14 year sojourn in Wisconsin, once you get to know the Packers tradition, it's almost impossible not to love them. 

No offense, Steve! (but a great defense)

Mark A. Edwards


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A Packer's fan celebrating at Lambeau today makes the point:


Congrats to the Steelers on yet another great season, and thanks to Steve for being a great sport.  And what a beautiful family!



February 4, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

On Property, Community, and the Steelers

The great Liverpool coach Bill Shakly once remarked, "Some people believe football is a matter of life and death. I am very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that."

I have no problem admitting that I feel this way about The Pittsburgh Steelers.  I care about them deeply.  Maybe too much.  At times, I've let the team get too enmeshed with the contours of my emotional life.  The Santonio Holmes catch to win the Super Bowl in 2009 easily ranks as the best, most emotionally raw moment of my life.  I know, I know.  It sounds awfully pathetic - but what's better than a last minute victory in a Championship game? Childbirth, as Nick Hornby has written, is extraordinary and moving, but it lacks that critical element of surprise.  Promotions and awards are nice, but they lack the last-minute time factor and suddenness.  And, of course, they certainlly don't have the wonderful communal aspect of sports.  So please, don't look down on those of us who love the game too much.  

With all that in mind, and in honor of Super Bowl weekend, I wanted to link to a neat article that fleshes out some of these points.  Avital Margalit's Article, You’ll Never Walk Alone: On Property, Community, and Football Fans, argues that the law should recognize that fans have a property interest in the teams they follow.  I think this idea has some merit.  In Pittsburgh at least, the football team is deeply entangled with the community's conception of itself.  It's easy to romanticize this and let the whole thing get out of hand, but it doesn't seem all that inappropriate to protect such devotion with some property rule.  As Margalit writes, "fans belong to the club and to their community, and the club, al least in part, belongs to them."


Steve Clowney

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February 4, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Resources for Property Profs -- DIRT Listserv

If you are not currently subscribed to the DIRT listserv, I recommend that you check it out.  The listserv is moderated by Professor Pat Randolph of University of Missouri at Kansas City Law School.  It is one of the few places where law school professors and practitioners debate ideas, and share new cases and developments in the law.  It is a great resource to find "real world" examples to highlight property doctrine as well as to keep a finger on the pulse of the profession.

The listserv is moderated, and sometimes Professor Randolph adds commentary or answers a question.  The listserv generates approximately 20 messages a week.  As one would expect, the participants are very interested in new cases involving mortgages and foreclosures, so traffic picks up when a new decision is handed down.

You can check out the website here which gives instructions for signing up.  I highly recommend it.

What other resources should Property Profs be aware of?  Please add ideas in the comments.

Tanya Marsh

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February 3, 2011 in Miscellaneous | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

COP Hearing on Commercial Real Estate and Banks

The Congressional Oversight Panel will be holding a hearing tomorrow, February 4th at 10:00 a.m. in room 538 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building to "examine the current state of the commercial real estate market and its implications for bank stability and returns to the Troubled Asset Relief Program."  Since, as I mentioned yesterday, I am writing a paper on this very topic, I am abnormally interested in this hearing.  The witnesses will be:

            Sandra Thompson, Director, Division of Supervision and Consumer Protection, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation

Patrick Parkinson, Director, Division of Banking Supervision and Regulation, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve

David Wilson, Deputy Comptroller for Credit and Market Risk, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency

            Matthew Anderson, Managing Director, Foresight Analytics

Richard Parkus, Executive Director, Morgan Stanley Research

Jamie Woodwell, Vice President of Commercial Real Estate Research, Mortgage Bankers Association

The COP held a similar hearing in May 2009 and issued a very thorough report last February which I have found very useful in my research and as a teaching tool.

The COP hearing will be webcast live on the website or you can wait a few months and read the report.

Tanya Marsh

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February 3, 2011 in Mortgage Crisis | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Brigham-Kanner Property Rights Conference

The good folks at William & Mary have announced the program for the Eighth Annual Brigham-Kanner Property Rights Conference.  The conference will be making its international debut in Beijing, China on October 14-15, 2011. The organizers will recognize Sandra Day O'Connor for her "commitment to upholding the constitutional protections afforded to property rights."  Property profs will be most familiar with her dissent in Kelo, but it should also be noted that during her time in the Arizona legislature she worked tirelessly to bolster property rights for women who owned property jointly with their husbands.

The theme of the conference is "Comparative Property Rights" and panel discussions will focus on "Property as an Economic Institution," "Culture and Property", and the Environment.

Steve Clowney

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February 3, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Davidson from Colorado to Fordham

As a Fordham alum, I'm delighted that my good friend Nestor Davidson is joining the faculty at Fordham from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Ben Barros

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February 2, 2011 in Law Schools | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

The Commercial Real Estate Debt Crisis and Online Law Reviews

The Harvard Business Law Review Online just published a short essay that I wrote about the commercial real estate debt crisis.  As readers of the blog may recall, I am working on a much larger piece that will analyze the current problems suffered by the commercial real estate sector and evaluate potential policy responses.  I'm trying to get that finished within the next month or so.  (One problem with writing an article so focused on numbers -- you have to update it every quarter.  I just need to finish it before first quarter is over!)

Anyway, the piece published at focuses on one sliver of that larger paper -- understanding what the commercial real estate debt crisis is and why it happened in the context of considering an the appropriate governmental response.  I think that some policymakers have adopted the narrative of the residential crisis (irresponsible borrowers, greedy banks) and applied it to commercial real estate, without supporting empirical evidence.  Because that narrative assigns moral blame to the borrowers and banks for their respective roles in the crisis, it impacts policy choices and political support.

This is the first of two pieces that I wrote specifically to be published in online law reviews (the second will be published by Columbia Law Review Sidebar in a few weeks).  Both are off-shoots of larger pieces that I'm working on.  It wasn't too time-consuming to write them, and I think that the vehicle is well-suited for smaller, more concise arguments that may be more widely read because they are shorter. 

I'd love to hear your thoughts, either about the HBLR piece, or the idea of publishing in online law reviews at all.

Tanya Marsh

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February 2, 2011 in Mortgage Crisis | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Recent SSRN Downloads

Ssrn In honor of the beginning of the month, here are the most downloaded property articles over the last 60 days.  There's been a noticeable shakeup since last month:

1.  [499 downloads] Mortgage Servicing by Adam J. Levitin (Georgetown) and Tara Twomey (National Consumer Law Center)

2.  [254 downloads] Lady Bird Deeds: A Primer for the Texas Practitioner by Gerry W. Beyer (Texas Tech) and Kerri M. Griffin

3.  [115 downloads] Foreclosures, House Prices, and the Real Economy by Atif R. Mian (Berkeley – Business), Amir Sufi (Chicago – Business), and Francesco Trebbi (British Columbia – Econ)

4.  [98 downloads] Degrees of Property by Peter G. Turner (Cambridge)

5.  [82 downloads] Zoning for Off-Campus Fraternity and Sorority Houses by Patricia Salkin (Albany) and Amy Lavine (Albany)

6.  [78 downloads] The Subprime Crisis: How Much Did Lender Regulation Matter? By Robert B. Avery (Federal Reserve) and Kenneth P. Brevoort (Federal Reserve)

7.  [70 downloads] Government Entrepreneurs: Incentivizing Sustainable Businesses as Part of Local Economic Development Strategies by Jonathan D. Rosenbloom (Drake)

8.  [53 downloads] Remedies, Rights, and Properties by Hanoch Dagan (Tel Aviv)

9.  [52 downloads] An Idea of American Indian Land Justice: Examining Native Land Liberation in the New Progressive Era by Richael Faithful (American)

10.  [50 downloads] Solar Energy's Cloudy Future by Robert Glennon (Arizona) and Andrew M. Reeves (Arizona)

Steve Clowney

February 1, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, January 31, 2011

A Terrible Wind and Ice Storm Is Coming. Go Stand on Your Snow-Covered Roof.

In keeping with Steve's post below, another reason home ownership may not be every it's cracked up to be:

Today, New York City's Department of Buildings issued an advisory urging property owners to remove snow from their roofs and out of their gutters in anticipation of an imminent icy storm.  It reminds property owners that they are obligated under the city ordinances to maintain their property in safe condition. 

A telling edit in the advisory suggests, to me at least, that the Department is cognizant that the prospect of high winds and ice is not likely to encourage people to climb up their snow-covered roofs.  Without previous mention of winds, the advisory suddenly states "These gusts may reach higher speed than forecast . . ."  

Before I got up on my roof, I'd want to hear more about "these gusts."

And for for your amusement, here's a video of roof clearing gone wrong.

Mark A. Edwards 


January 31, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Rent or Buy?

At the beginning of the the material on Landlord-Tenant, I do a song and dance about how this country has fetishized homeownership in very strange and unproductive ways.  I also try to convince the class that (in financial terms) renting is often the better long-term option.  Quite frankly, I find this exercise to be one of the most difficult teaching moments of the year, as many students have completely internalized the maxim that renting amounts to "flushing money down the toilet every month."  

A report from Trulia (a real-estate search engine) might force me to reassess my opinion.  Trulia claims that the foreclosure crises has made it more practical to buy rather than rent a two-bedroom home in 72% of America's 50 largest cities.  Pete Flint, CEO of Trulia, notes, "Since the start of the ‘Great Recession,’ many former homeowners have flooded the rental market. Following the principles of supply and demand, renting has become relatively more expensive than buying in most markets. Though necessary for achieving true economic recovery, stricter bank lending practices have also further aggravated the struggling housing market in the short term."


Top Cities to Rent v. Buy                   Top Cities to Buy v. Rent

1.  New York                                           1.  Miami

2.  Seattle                                                2.  Las Vegas

3.  Kansas City                                        3.  Arlington, TX

4.  San Francisco                                    4.  Mesa, AZ

5.  Memphis                                             5.  Phoenix

6.  Los Angeles                                        6.  Jacksonville

7.  Forth Worth                                         7.  Sacramento

8.  Oakland                                               8.  San Antonio 

9.  Portland                                               9.  Fresno

10.  Albuquerque                                    10.  El Paso


Steve Clowney

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January 31, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)