According to Family Court Judge Dennis Bailey of Broward County, Florida,  ZOOM hearings have become way too casual. This, according to a recent ABA article (here) by Debra Cassens Weiss. It seems Judge Bailey, in a letter to the Weston Bar Association (here), had grown tired of seeing attorneys during Zoom hearings appearing in decidedly inappropriate dress: Continue reading “ZOOM Couture”

I do not use my I-Phone while walking, working out, or any activity that requires concentration. Never have and never will. Walking requires as much attention as driving a car, and texting or emailing while walking is an equal invitation to disaster, especially in city crosswalks.

But no matter. It appears an entire generation of distracted walkers and drivers have subordinated common sense to connectivity.

Now, Bloomberg reports here, that in Apple’s new bazillion dollar ring-shaped “spaceship” campus of interior and exterior glass walls, work spaces, pods and partitions, its employees are…you guessed it, smacking into them as they get distracted using the same product they bequeathed to the rest of the world. Yes, it’s a real pane!  Quod Severis Metes. ~Phil 


It is no secret I have a fair amount of animus toward the CFPB, which, since its creation in 2010, regarded itself as “the new sheriff in town” and proceeded to “push the envelope” in the exercise of its enforcement practices. One of its more offensive practices was its use of “regulation by enforcement”.  Simply stated, it would figure out some business model it didn’t like, but wasn’t illegal per se’, and bring an enforcement action against the company or companies for doing something that had heretofore, been regarded as legal.

Once it beat the companies into submission through fines and negative publicity, the rest of the industry would take the hint, and change, go out of business, or fail. In Russia that might be an acceptable M. O., but in the United States, I’d like to think that such  overreach would be frowned upon.  However, in the past, there was little widespread condemnation, even though the practice was little more than the ex post facto enforcement of what it decided, sua sponte, what the law should be.  And how could there be any real pushback? The Bureau was a law unto itself; it was run by a single administrator, and did not derive it’s funding through congressional appropriation. In short, it could figuratively stick its finger in the eye of any business with impunity.

Not so today. Now, in the words of a recent Wall Street Journal article, here, the CFPB has “pushed its last envelope”. For more on what we can look forward to in 2018, see links here, here, and here. ~PCQ



Dragon bridge, Ljubljana, Slovenia, Europe.

“THE VESTIBULE: This Is The First Part Of Hell That You Come Across In Dante’s Inferno. It Is Reserved For The Indecisive. The Souls Here In The Vestibule Were Called “Opportunists” Who In Life Were Only For Themselves, And Were Neither Good Nor Bad. It Was Also Where All Of The Angels [Were] Who Didn’t Take A Side During The War Against God. The Punishment For This Area Of Hell Is The Souls Have To Follow An Aimless Banner That Never Plants Itself. The Souls Are Also Chased And Stung By Hornets.” A Guide Through The Circles of Hell.

In the Divine Comedy, by Dante Alighieri, the author describes his journey into Hell and Purgatory, through which he must pass in order to reach Paradise.  He is at first guided by the Roman poet Virgil.  At the entrance to Hell is the famous warning: “Abandon all hope yea who enter here.” Dante describes Hell as composed of ten circles, each containing various sub-regions, all reserved for certain types of sinners, based upon the nature and severity of their sins. Continue reading “Dante’s Vestibule”

“Government exists to protect us from each other. Where government has gone beyond its limits is in deciding to protect us from ourselves.”  ~Ronald Reagan

Perhaps from the title of  this post you can tell I’m not a fan of Portland’s new intrusive energy audit program. The effort, i.e. saving energy may be laudable, but so is saving gas – that doesn’t mean the politicos should be telling us not only how to do it, but forcing us to publicly disclose a “score” for our efforts, which implies we are either unwilling to upgrade our appliances, or too dumb to care.

I submit that those behind this effort are motivated less by altruism and more by a desire to be regarded as “cutting edge” and progressive among the Berkeley crowd. Portland’s priorities have been turned upside down. Instead of alleviating the homeless issue, which is turning Portland into “Tent City, USA”, the brainiacs at City Hall have decided it’s more fun to regulate those with homes. To put a fine point on the city’s hypocrisy, read the recent Portland Business Journal article (here) on why private business efforts to address our deplorable homeless crisis are being undercut by a city apparently more interested in bragging rights to the P.C. posse, than actually fixing a grave problem. “Physician heal thyself.”

Now I’ll get off my soapbox….

The information below summarizes the recently implemented rules for Portland’s Home Energy Score program (hereinafter, “the Program”).  It is provided for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be used or relied upon as legal advice. Buyers and Sellers with specific issues or questions about the Program should contact an attorney familiar with their particular factual situation. Your real estate agent may not provide legal advice or direction about compliance with the Program.

What is the Purpose of the new law? The stated purpose of the Program is “…to make energy performance in residential buildings transparent, to enable more knowledgeable decisions about the full costs of operating a home, to motivate energy efficiency investments in homes that lower utilities, to reduce carbon emissions, and increase comfort, safety and health for home owners.”  The Program goes into effect on January 1, 2018.

How is “energy performance” determined? It does not depend on personal usage or number of occupants. Rather, the calculations are based upon energy generated from the home’s “physical assets”, i.e. those providing heating, cooling, lighting, water heating, or energy used for powering or fueling other end-uses in the building and related facilities through electricity, natural gas, propane, steam, heating oil, wood or other products sold for use in a building, or renewable on-site electricity generation.

What type of homes does the Program apply to? It applies to “…any residential structure containing at least one dwelling unit or house, regardless of size, on its own lot.” It also includes horizontally attached single dwelling units, such as row house, attached homes, common-wall homes, duplexes, and townhomes. Excludes multi-story units or home vertically constructed.

Does the Program apply just to homes with a Portland mailing address? This can be confusing. You should not use a property’s address to determine whether it is subject to the Program. That is because an address, by itself, does not necessarily signify which governmental jurisdiction the property is located in. To confirm the jurisdiction, visit, and look to the “Jurisdiction” field, which is located directly below the “Neighborhood” field. If the jurisdiction identifies the City of Portland, the home is subject to the Program. If the property is not covered by the Program, there will be a banner at the site of the address, stating that “This property is not within the City of Portland or its service districts.”

How will the Program work? Each home subject to the Program must undergo a “Home Energy Assessment” (“Assessment”). This is essentially an on-site audit conducted by a licensed Home Energy Assessor (“Assessor”), which results in a Home Energy Performance Report (“Report”). The Assessor is required to be licensed by the Oregon Construction Contractors Board to determine home energy performance scores, and authorized as a qualified Home Energy Assessor under the Program.   (See,

Exactly what energy information is required to be in the Report? The Report must include the U.S. Department of Energy Home Energy Score (“Score”) and an explanation of the A sample Report can be obtained by going to:

What will the Assessment Cost and How long will it take? According to City of Portland Home Energy FAQs ( “As of July 2016, the market rate cost to obtain a home energy performance report is between $150-$250. This is the cost of having a trained, certified home energy assessor conduct a 45-minute, in-home assessment and generate the report based on the data gathered from the home visit.” PMAR suggests that seller-agents encourage their clients to obtain estimates from multiple Assessors before settling on one.

Will the Program apply to new construction? For newly constructed homes that have never been occupied, the Report and the Score may be produced based on design documents prior to the construction through a “Pre-construction Assessment”. High Performance Homes for sale may be granted a waiver upon application to the Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability Director.  A “High Performance Home” is one built to exceed the requirements of the Oregon Building Energy Codes Program. (See, link here.)

When should the Assessment be conducted? Prior to a home being “listed publicly for sale”. However, this phrase is defined to include the use of printed advertising, internet postings, or publicly displayed signs, including, but not limited to, Regional Multiple Listing Service (RMLS™), Redfin, Zillow, Trulia and other third-party listing services. All such public listings are required to disclose the Report and Score. The Program will apply to For-Sale-By-Owner (“FSBO”) properties, including those listed with a brokerage but not officially appearing on the local MLS.

What happens to the Report and Score after they are generated from the Assessment? After obtaining the Report and Score, if the property is listed, sellers are required to provide them to their real estate agent. It is to be attached to the listing, or linked to the City of Portland’s webpage, which is: Printed copies of the Report must be made available and visible to all prospective buyers who visit the home, including buyers of newly constructed homes, while they are publicly listed.

How long is the Report good for?  Printed and electronic copies of the Report expire after two (2) years from the date of Assessment. Following the expiration date, a seller listing a home publicly for sale is required to have the Report reissued. However, this does not require a new Assessment – just the utility costs, and emission factors must be updated. Reports will not be available after eight (8) years from the date of the Assessment, and would thereafter require a new Assessment if the property was to become publicly listed.

What if a home is remodeled or new energy systems are installed after a Report has been issued and before it expires? If changes have been made to the home since the last on-site Assessment, a new Assessment may be required in order to generate a new Report.  The original Report is considered void if alterations or remodeling of the home affect the heated square footage, the quality and type of windows, insulation, HVAC equipment, or remodeled spaces such as basements or attics, as they can be expected to impact the home’s estimated energy use. 

Who is responsible for assuring that the assessment is performed, the report is generated, and then posted to the website? Home sellers are personally responsible for obtaining and distributing the Reports, but they may designate an agent to act on their behalf to do so.  However, for liability and insurance reasons, some real estate companies may decline to accept such responsibility. The Program applies to individual sellers owning the property, or LLCs, corporations, and all other forms of entity ownership as they appear on title.

Are there any exemptions from the Program? They include: (a) Publicly noticed distressed housing sales, such as foreclosure or trustee sales, deeds in lieu and short sales; (b) Property tax foreclosure sales; (c) Sales of distressed properties by court-appointed receivers; (d) Sales where a senior mortgage is subject to a notice of default; (e) The property is deemed uninhabitable due to casualty; (f) The property has been condemned by a government entity; and (g) If compliance would pose a financial hardship for the seller.

What if a seller declined to participate in the Program? Are there any penalties? If a violation is deemed to have occurred, a “written warning notice” may be issued describing the violation and steps necessary to comply. If the violation is not remedied within 90 calendar days after issuance of the warning notice, the Director of the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability may assess a civil penalty of up to $500. For every subsequent 180-day period for which the violation continues, the Director may assess additional civil penalties of up to $500.

Where can I get more information?

Disambiguation refers to the removal of ambiguity by making something clear. Disambiguation narrows down the meaning of words and it’s a good thing. This word makes sense if you break it down. Dis means “not,” ambiguous means “unclear,” and the ending -tion makes it a noun. https://www.vocabulary. com/dictionary/disambiguation

I ran across this word while doing a Google search for “Age of Enlightenment”.  Wikipedia has a link to “Age of Reason (Disambiguation)” here. It appears that “Age of Reason” is a term uses to refer to the “Age of Enlightenment”, but Wikipedia has “disambiguated” it, because the term “Age of Reason” got there first. Continue reading “Word Play – A Q-Rant”

banks being banksA Slow News Day.
After a good week, it’s Friday, November 4, I’m closing up shop, looking forward to a relaxing weekend of doing absolutely nothing. As I start to turn off my computer, I make a last minute scan of emails. A Portland Business Journal feed caught my eye; it screamed:

White males have the easiest time getting doctor’s appointments Continue reading “Q-Rant! Portland Business Journal’s Sensationalized Headline: “White males have the easiest time getting doctor’s appointments””

FAQs PicI do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it. ~Voltaire

Voltaire (born February 20, 1694), spent much of his life writing and saying what many didn’t want to read or hear, including the Catholic Church.[1] He was imprisoned in France, his home country, and eventually exiled to Britain.  While in London he published Letters Concerning the English Nation in 1733), extolling the virtues of that country’s constitutional monarchy and respect for human rights over France’s absolute monarchy and religious intolerance. Continue reading “What Would Voltaire Say?”

BullyOcwen, the servicing industry’s version of a corporate piñata, is, once again, stealing the wrong kind of headlines.  In a November 8, 2014 article [“Firm Accused Of Illegal Practices That Push Families Into Foreclosure”] appearing on, here, the servicing behemoth is accused of – gasp! – gouging borrowers. No! Not Ocwen! How can that be?! Their motto is “Helping Homeowners Is What We Do.”  Continue reading “Ocwen: The Servicing Industry’s Corporate Piñata”

Take the Bonus and RunHas anyone wondered why it is that politicians are always diving for cover during a crisis, but the first to hold hearings and declare an emergency afterwards?  Virtually every major law, from Glass-Steagall after the banks collapsed and the  Great Depression, to Dodd-Frank after the financial crisis of 2008/9 and the Great Recession, it seems the pols are always rushing to the fire after it’s been put out. Only then do they enact laws to install fire prevention systems. Yet in reality, as we have all seen in the build-up to the recent collapse of the credit and housing markets, there were plenty of warning signs.  Why wasn’t anything done then?  The answer is pretty simple – sad, but simple.  Like flimsy reeds in a stagnant pond, politicians in D.C. only move with the political winds. Continue reading “Politics: The (Real) Oldest Profession”