Thomas Reports was created in 2006. Fred Thomas, III is managing editor and brings over 30 years of mortgage experience to the team.. Leveraging his extensive career in the mortgage industry which includes successful stints at the corporate level as well as the independent side focusing on production, operations and compliance. Thomas is a licensed broker (DRE 01097630) with over two-thousand transactions successfully closed.
Post-election canvass activity is continuous through the weekend in #LACounty. Care is taken to ensure all valid ballots are processed and counted. Election results will be updated Tuesday afternoon and again on Friday. #Election2018pic.twitter.com/Nyhf3I1Y3L
The mid-term election was on November 6, 2018. Nearly five days later there are still many votes left that need to be counted or in the words of Democratic Nominee for Governor of Florida, Andrew Gilliam, “we must ensure every vote cast is properly recorded.”
Although interest in this year’s mid-terms was historic, turnout came in at approximately 50%, which is higher than normal but embarrassingly low for a nation that prides itself on democracy. Many countries, even some which the United States mocks has turnout at 75-90 percent, far greater than the U.S.
The large numbers of votes yet to be counted is another issue. No doubt millions were properly recorded but due to advances in the election process vote-by-mail and provisional ballots has increased year after year.
Too close to call
A greater concern regarding counting the outstanding balance is the large number of races which are considered, “too close to call.” That number increased drastically during this cycle. Some point to the interest as a response to Donald Trump’s antics. Whatever the reason, democracy works best when more people take the time to vote.
As of latest report California has a little over 4 MILLION VOTES TO COUNT.
Now that the much talked-about mid-term elections have come and gone, many who took time to engage can get back to their daily routine.
A part of Donald Trump’s political ascendance was his ability to target his opponents and mock them in a way to make them irrelevant or plucking away any political favorability they had.
It’s the House fool
As the mid-terms came many political pontificator’s were nervous in wiping Trump’s success off the table or declaring many of his missteps were self-inflicted. After all his rallies were huge hits, packed to the brim with supporters? Many assumed his magic would last forever and that he was untouchable? A good many more bought into the notion of his celebrity and the new-found Republican party he had developed. The economy was booming. Tax cuts were rolling in. The wall would be built, absent of any money from Mexico. Ending his second year as president, Trump was feeling a bit giddy. His tone was who in their right mind would vote against what was achieved?
The IQ Factor
From “low-energy Jeb” to “lyin’ Ted Cruz” to “dishonest Hillary” on and on, Trump had created a line that many supporters came to adore which was about the House of Representative from the 43rd district of California named Maxine Waters. He declaredly labeled her as “Low IQ” Maxine.” The name stuck with his supporters and he took glee and great pleasure in admonishing her. The fact he has created a history of marginalizing or mocking those who are non-white, intimating them as lazy, stupid, criminalistic or other negative attributes was not seen as racist behavior. To his supporters he was simply telling it like it is!!! And, after all he was making their lives better, not to mention giving them their country back?
The result of losing the house
For two years Trump and his administration has held the wild card of controlling all three branches of the government. Yesterday, they received a public rebuke as they lost the House of Representatives. While some will dismiss this fact, it is critical and may provide a glimpse of what Trump and his supporters must deal with. The win provides the Democratic party with the coveted power of being transformed into chairs of the many committees. It also provides them with power of the subpoena.
One chair swap that will take place in January 2019 is the Financial Services Committee. Despite Trump labeling her as a “low IQ” individual, Maxine Waters is in line to be selected as chair. Those who know her define her not by an IQ issue but brilliant in being an advocate against the powerful, specifically personalities such as Trump. They applaud her resilience and track record of getting the job done. Whatever motivated Trump from creating the moniker he assigned her, he may come to regret it as she becomes laser focused on all of his alleged corruption and mis-dealings, including releasing to the public his long-promised tax returns.
Some will dismiss her strategy as “what’s the big deal?” They may be blind of not understanding what transparency is all about? Or, perhaps like some have stated, they may fear the exposure of his financial entanglements which perhaps could be a reason of his behavior, not necessarily just the Mueller special investigation? In the meantime, yes, the economy is moving and consumer confidence is up but the core reality is many view the president as untrustworthy and the likes of Waters and others in the house now have the ability to put a spotlight of what they have been prevented from uncovering or at least obtaining an honest answer for the people they represent.
The Trump and Waters soliloquy will be an interesting dance. One might assume Trump felt he would never lose the house to allow Waters to be unleashed? The voters decided that reality.
BEFORE WE GO…..ICYMI
Many of you recall the tragic murder of Trayvon Martin? The again, some of you are aware of the Women’s Movement which mushroomed the day after Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th president? But how many remember the killing of Jordan Davis who was gunned down by Michael Dunn in Jacksonville, FL? Unlike George Zimmerman the killer of Martin who was found not guilty, Michael Dunn was found guilty of Davis’ death and is now in prison. Like the parents of so many who have been found their plight by the end of a gun, Davis’ mother found the energy to raise her voice and become a political voice.
Yesterday, Lucy McBath was one of those women who threw their hat in the political ring and won their election (although the results are within the range of an automatic recount). If she is ultimately successful, her victory is a sign of how democracy works – at the local level.
Lucy McBath declares victory in Georgia’s 6th District race
cover photo. courtesy of CAAM and Harry Adams collection
The United States civil rights movement escalated with the 1955 murder of young Emmett Till. It was during that time the Rev., Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. became the leader. Fast forward to 1963 as the iconic March on Washington earned its place in the annals of world history. Through that event Dr. King’s reputation became cemented as he displayed his oratorical gift.
May 26, 1963
As great as the March on Washington was you must go back to May 26, 1963 to understand a cornerstone of how a rally in Los Angeles generated the success it did. Through the California African-American Museum (CAAM), historians and curators Tyree Boyd-Pates and Taylor Bythewood-Porter have created a “must-see” exhibit that underscores the little-known fact of how it was a critical complement to the March on Washington and why that date has historical significance.
Wrigley Field, Los Angeles
Titled, “Los Angeles Freedom Rally, 1963 “the exhibit highlights how Dr. King came to Wrigley Field in Los Angeles and stirred the crowd of 35,000 who came to hear him share why the movement needed their support. 1963 was a critical year. In Birmingham, AL Safety Commissioner Eugene “Bull” Connor had unleashed a direct assault against the movement. Peaceful protestor’s were being locked up and given unreasonable bail amounts. Contrary to history, some have accepted the notion about Dr. King not being willing to go the jail? However, the facts are much different as it was agreed Dr. King could do more out of jail, than in jail. Thus, his time was spent traveling to various cities to raise funds needed to combat the malicious bail amounts rendered by the likes of Connor. It was that reason Los Angeles was a target for him to visit and make an appeal. The residents of Los Angeles responded and the rest is history as their support helped fuel the issue of providing money to get folk out of jail, and also helped undergird the funding needed for the eventual March on Washington.
Boyd-Pates and Bythewood-Porter have assembled a must-see exhibit. It runs through runs until March 3, 2019. Click BELOW to obtain the handout
Today the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its jobs report which surpassed expectations. 250,000 new jobs were reported for October. In the political world that is good news. You would think with employment, the economy and other measures Donald Trump and the GOP (Republican party) brag about, they would be hard pressed for both houses of the chamber (Congress) to be in jeopardy?
The mid-term vote is just days away. Surely you would think the positive jobs report might be the fuel needed to keep the chamber. Unfortunately, Trump has communicated very little to voters about the economy. Perhaps in doing so and if they are honest, he and his supporters feel they would have to credit the Obama administration with establishing a positive foundation for them being able to reap the benefits they are achieving? In the world of Trump, that is a no…no.
The snakebite effect
Instead of the economy, Trump feels he must feed his base one dish; Immigration. He feels that subject will be enough for his base to out vote the Democrats and opposition voters to keep the chamber. Some in the GOP aisle are frustrated that he has blown the opportunity gained in 2016 and feel he has been snakebit. They point to his antics and bombastic behavior that will lead many voters to insist a change is the best option to end the polarization he has created.
As it stands right now, despite the jobs report and other economic news, when Trump wakes up next Wednesday the Democrats, who need 23 seats to claim control of the House of Representatives, might wind up with approximately 35. The Senate is expected to remain in GOP control. The result will be voters have recognized that a check or balance on the Executive is needed versus having one party controlling all three branches? At the same time, it must be noted Trump and his supporters are hoping for the same “shocking” result they achieved in 2016, when they faced long odds of winning, yet came out ahead.
Democratic congressional candidate the Midterm elections, Ilhan Omar, speaks to a group of volunteers in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on October 13, 2018. – Somali-American state legislator Ilhan Omar claimed victory in her primary in Minnesota in August, putting her on track to become one of the first female Muslim members of the US House of Representatives. (Photo by Kerem YUCEL / AFP) (Photo credit should read KEREM YUCEL/AFP/Getty Images)
[Exposition Park] On October 25th, the California African-American Museum (CAAM) kicked off its symposium series about Central Avenue. In what appeared to surprise CAAM, nearly 500 came out to hear the presentation from historian Robert Johnson and staff from the Tom & Ethel Bradley Center. The room was filled with enthusiasm and anticipation, and eventually swelled to a standing-room only crowd.
Central Avenue evokes positive feelings for African-Americans. The community became the pride and joy for many, particularly those known as “Easterners.” The event kicked off with a short video provided by the Tom & Ethel Bradley Center titled, “Los Angeles: Displacement of Utopia” It served as an excellent precursor to set the stage of how African-Americans were relegated to the Central Avenue district of Los Angeles. It showcased how despite tremendous racial hostility, they were able to carve out a community which became a model for those migrating from the south, who were also seeking a fresh start. (the video is expected to be made available to the public in the first quarter of 2019)
Johnson, through his brilliance spoke about the development of Central Avenue and how it became a cornerstone to showcase positive attributes of African-American culture. Staff from the Bradley center served as an excellent complement by sharing their research. They also encouraged those in attendance to contact them and help build more oral histories and other memorabilia to insure the story is historically correct. There were many in attendance who had a first-hand experience about Central Avenue. Among them was the son of John Dolphin who created and built the iconic Dolphins of Hollywood Record Shop.
As good as the event was, a downside was CAAM not being prepared for the large crowd. So many in attendance brought specific anecdotal experiences about Central Avenue. Unfortunately, the question and answer period lost its stealth due to a shortage of microphones needed for those to communicate their question as well as some who wanted to speak but could not refrain from turning a question into a diatribe. One other point which hopefully the organizers will address at the next series is keeping the questions on point.
The passion about Central Avenue was obvious from the vibe in the room. The African-American experience in Los Angeles is vast and no doubt Central Avenue has tremendous pride. The event was set for two hours and due to the overwhelming interest the discussion could have gone on for two weeks! However, some inadvertently commented about their general experience and other communities versus sticking to the topic everyone came to hear about: Central Avenue
One other criticism was noted regarding attendance demographics. A lady commented about bringing her mother as well as her kids and pointed out that many more might be in attendance (particularly millennials) to gain this important knowledge if the time was better suited for those who work during the day.
Admission is free. The series continues November 15th and December 13th. To RSVP CLICK HERE.
Tom & Ethel Bradley Foundation housed at California State University Northridge. Click here bradley csun
above caption: Roberts pulling Hill. Digital First Media.
[Chavez Ravine] Many die-hard Los Angeles Dodgers fans, like myself are finally awakening from the nightmare of losing games four and five of the 2018 World Series, resulting in the Boston Red Sox achieving the championship. As tough as it is, most will salute the Red Sox for executing when they had too. At the same time, they applaud the effort of the Dodgers for making the tough journey through the regular season and going through the gauntlet of the playoffs to be in a position to play in the coveted World Series. But the facts are the facts, even in Little League if you only get three hits, more than likely you will be on the losing end, as was the case in game five. Unfortunately that was the case in games two and five.
“Today is the first day I am able to talk about it. I have been upset since Sunday” A. Tillman, Dodger fan
It seems longer, but Dodgers skipper Dave Roberts just finished his third year. In all of those years his team has made the playoffs. Remarkable, the last two years he took his team to the World Series. As impressive of what he has achieved, including the admiration of most fans, many will still hold his decision in game four of pulling Rich Hill as the death knell of the series, thus ending our season.
Baseball – a game of failure!
Baseball is an interesting game. Those who are not diehards define the game as boring, too long to complete a game, on and on. It’s a very technical game which is why some make comments, having very little understanding of the nuances. It is a game of failure! Most hitters hit between .250 – .300, which translates if you have ten at-bats, you can rest assured you will make an out in seven or even eight times! Unlike other sports such as basketball where you can score quite frequently, games are long due to commercial breaks versus length of actual play. The 18 inning game the other night will be noted in years to come. As was the case in that game, runs or a score can be tough to come by, and the only way a team can be victorious is to outscore the opponent, yet in many innings, like the 18th inning doozy, no runs might be scored at all!
The Wild Horse strikes again
The decision to pull Hill will go down in history as a key point in the 2018 World Series. Just minutes earlier, Yasiel Puig sent Dodger fans into a frenzy by blasting a three-run home run making the score 4 – 0. Surely the Dodgers could secure nine outs and snag a win? In doing so it was a sure bet they would even the series at 2 wins a piece, giving the team the much-needed momentum, they were seeking?
The baseball god’s thought otherwise. While Roberts decision has been the focal point and much consternation of the fans, those who truly understand the game know better. Baseball is a game of statistics and super-charged analysis. In 2018 in the games Rich Hill pitched he normally lasted 5.2 innings. No doubt, in game four he was exceptional and at times appeared ready to break Don Newcombe’s record of pitching complete games of a double-header, on the same day!! He breezed through the sixth inning BUT his pitch count was near a record high of 91. In the bottom of the sixth he told Roberts to “keep an eye on him.” Again, just nine outs to secure a win. He started the seventh inning and walked Aruban sensation Xander Boegerts. Roberts still did not pull the plug. The next batter was the pesky Eduardo Nunez. Hill blew him away with three pitches to strike him out. Apparently, it was at that point that Roberts felt Hill had given his all and wanted him to go out on a high note. In comes Scott Alexander and to the surprise of the nearly 55,000 who were packed in the Ravine, as well as the millions who were watching on television, he walked the next batter on four straight pitches!!! Ouch!
World Series 2018: Dave Roberts on the Dodgers losing Game 4
The rest is history as even though the Red Sox put up nine runs in three innings, there was still hope. Team leader Justin Turner led off the ninth with a hit. The next batter, Kiki Hernandez blasted one of Craig Kimbrell’s pitches into the left field pavilion for a home run, and there were no outs! The enthusiasm quickly dampened as Cody Bellinger meekly flied out to end the game.
Yes, in his usual professional and political demeanor Dave Roberts accepted the blame for the loss, even while trying to explain why he pulled Hill. As mentioned in a game of statistics he had no idea Alexander would walk Benintendi on four straight pitches. Surely, he may have thought about it but he figured the odds were long that recently acquired Ryan Madsen would offer up one of his coveted home run pitches. Worse, perhaps trying to assuage Kenley Jansen’s ego, Roberts called on him in the eighth. Clinging on to a one run lead, many felt it was a likely possibility but Roberts went with his gut which was torn apart as Jensen’s cutter didn’t cut and professional hitters like Steve Pearce earn their millions by being able to handle mistakes, or a pitch which doesn’t cut, instead transforming it to a basic fastball – waist high. Many could hear the great Jim McKay of Wide World of States belting out his famous quote, “the thrill of victory….the agony of defeat.”
“Jansen hasn’t been the same since his heart ailment. These games are too much pressure for him!” JLT, Dodger fan
“What was Robert’s thinking? He knew Jansen hasn’t been doing nothing but giving up homeruns!!! I’m done! A millennial
So, for Dodger fans 2018 is history. Most will recover from their wounds. While some still want Roberts head on a platter, they also realize like the players, managers are not robots and after a couple of months of rehab they, like the other 29 teams who didn’t win the championship will give it another shot in 2019. Go Dodgers!
Cover Photo: Rapper Kanye West hugs U.S. President Donald Trump during a meeting in the Oval office of the White House on October 11, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Oliver Contreras - Pool/Getty Images)
[Washington, D.C.] This afternoon was a meeting luncheon that may go down in history as Donald Trump hosted Kanye West at the White House. Jim Brown tagged along and from a rare moment where White House staff allowed cameras to document the event, it also showcased a diatribe by West that even appeared to stun the usual fast-talking Trump.
In 1985 the late legendary singer Aretha Franklin came out with one of her many hits, “Who’s Zoomin’ Who?” After today’s luncheon Franklin’s beat came to mind and instead of zoomin’, the words were flipped to hustlin’ or “Who’s hustlin’ who”?
Trump has shown little appetite to have serious meetings with African-American policy-makers or those who are known leaders in the community. However, he has been quick to marginalize that group and instead give audience to the likes of West, who shockingly didn’t even vote in 2016, let alone for then candidate Donald Trump. Although he did clarify his statements indicating had he voted, Trump would have been his choice,
I didn’t vote in 2016 but if I did, ‘I would have voted for Trump’, Kanye West
Trump professes to be a master of the media. Indeed, he gave audience to West but like most manipulators you never fully know his motivation? Some have intimated the luncheon demonstrated his connection to the African-American community. Unfortunately, his track record proves otherwise.
Justifying their allegiance
West made many remarks during his diatribe. Highlighting his ignorance of voting, the process and the final selection; he like many who try to justify their support for the republican party make the claim “blacks are locked into voting for the democratic party.”
Perhaps in their mind it sounds cute and maybe something they truly believe?
“As a bloc, African-Americans are very sophisticated.” Mara Gay, New York Times editorial board.
The basic premise in voting is supporting the candidate or the party who supports your ideals and desires. It may be too much for West to understand or ponder over the years if the democratic party has shown more support for African-American issues than the republican party? Of course, that is not to confuse the issue that just because your vote aligns with one party does not mean all is won and you will get everything you desired? That is why most understand voting is simply one piece of the process, and one that surely does not end after the candidate who won. The other is holding those you voted for accountable. And yes, despite best intentions sometimes there is failure and disappointment. But, like any good fight, you get up and keep fighting but the principal of voting for those who support your ideals is paramount.
“many people believe that, if you’re black, you have to be a Democrat and said he was pressured not to wear his red “Make America Great Again” hat. But he said “this hat, it gives me power.” Kanye West
Now that Trump has completed his luncheon with West this may be a first step? Trump has the opportunity to get serious about African-American issues. West has the opportunity for the African-American community to better understand his sentiments but first things first, let’s make sure he is registered to vote and in fact can participate in the mid-term elections which are just weeks away.
Otherwise, the luncheon may go down in history as “Who’s hustlin’ who?”
Much has been said and written about the meeting. Just to add some levity to the issue here is SNL’s take on it.
COVER PHOTO. Traders work on the floor at the closing bell of the Dow Industrial Average at the New York Stock Exchange on October 10, 2018 in New York. - Wall Street stocks plunged Wednesday, with major indices losing more than three percent in a selloff prompted by the sudden jump in US interest rates. At the closing bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average had lost 3.1 percent or 830 points to finish at 25,613.35, in the biggest fall since February. (Photo by Bryan R. Smith / AFP) (Photo credit should read BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP/Getty Images)
Mortgage rates jumped to 4.90% which is a number not seen in nearly seven years based on Freddie Mac’s weekly rate survey. Although an increase was expected the jump of nineteen basis points caught some by surprise. As strong as the economy is purchasing a home continues to be an illusive transaction for many. The rise in rates buffeted by the increase in home prices have left many reconsidering their plans as evidenced by the drop in mortgage applications.
Remember that tax break earlier in the year?
Last December president Trump and the GOP controlled congress touted the tax cut as a “cure-all” and justification of their leadership prowess. Indeed, a good chunk of working people did receive benefits from the tax cut and a few were lucky enough to get bonuses. The average cut was about $1,600.
For those who were positioning to buy a home or refinance their existing mortgage the recent mortgage rate hike has wiped out that savings.
**based on average mortgage of $239,000
Most understand rates and economic metrics are cyclical. In other words when you have an improved economy, you will also see a rise in consumer goods. Also, recently the Feds increased the discount rate. This was done as a preventative measure to thwart inflation. Normally political leaders stay out of the Fed’s business but Donald Trump has continued to intimate their move has contributed to rate increases claiming they will result in a negative impact.
“I think the Fed is making a mistake. They are so tight. I think the Fed has gone crazy,” President Donald Trump
Another pressure-point for the economy is the recent drop in the DOW Jones and financial markets. Business leaders, especially those in the real estate sector attribute the decline to the uncertainty of the Trump imposed tariffs and other measures. They feel recent gains may be wiped out.
“These tariffs will translate into higher costs for consumers and U.S. businesses that use these products, including home builders,” Randy Noel, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders
Today mortgage information provider CoreLogic released its “Annual Fraud Report” documenting a rise in consumer mortgage fraud. The report highlights that recently convicted former Trump campaign manager isn’t the only one who submitted false applications to secure mortgage loans. As in the case of Manafort, mortgage fraud is a federal offense and the penalties can be stiff, including incarceration.
Even though the economy has improved, the rise in home prices and corresponding amount of income needed to qualify for a loan has increased. Although it is a risk management issue the numbers note approximately 1 in 109 applications have some type of fraud. The report reflects the fraud index has increased for the past seven quarters.
Two fraud issues that are top of mind for risk managers right now are false credit disputes and income misrepresentation.
Publishing numbers not seen since 1969, yesterday the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its October jobs report. The numbers reflect data compiled for the month of September as unemployment dipped to 3.7%, with new jobs pegged at 134,000. That is good news for the Trump administration as it validates their message of a strong economy. The news was expected and comes at a good time for them as even though they inherited the foundation of a good economy from the Obama administration, they have been mired in a string of self-inflicted blunders ever since taking over the reins.
They view those blunders as attacks from those who are upset they won the 2016 election. Others view them as leaders who are inexperienced at managing a government, fraught with suspicious characters linked to criminal behavior.
In addition to the Mueller investigation, they are dealing with a majority of the public not in support of their United States Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh. Earlier today Kavanaugh squeaked by with a 50-48 vote. While there is jubilation from those who support Trump and Kavanaugh, the untold cost may not be realized until the mid-term vote slated for November 6th. Some fear this and other moves by the administration might cost the GOP control of congress.
Trump understands the media dynamic
As September numbers are a positive sign, Trump no doubt will use the data to proclaim the numbers reflect the lowest, specifically among African-Americans and other minority groups. While the numbers are real and give great justification to those who support Trump, it must be noted he is a master manipulator of the spoken-word and you really have to ponder how serious he is about the claim? Or, is he appeasing to the conscious of those who have very little knowledge of the historic perspective of employment gaps between whites and minority groups? Oftentimes they view any news spouted from Trump as near-gospel, certainly not worthy of understanding the overall context of such statements.
Understanding media, Trump has woven unemployment data into his rallies and other talking-points. The issue for some regarding this sentiment is whether Trump is genuine, as his tone appears to mock the point which is a very serious issue for African-American’s who have been systemically unemployed at a rate at least twice that of whites. This has been lingering problem presidents have been dealing with ever since the notion of race entered the American nomenclature. It was created to divide people and groups. While the numbers in fact have declined, the real gap is a constant historical fact; a key metric providing evidence to the wealth gap that highlights the polarization of our nation.
In attempting to proclaim his support for the African-American community, who can forget this quote Trump made while on the campaign trail?
“Oh look at my African-American over here,” Mr. Trump said. “Are you the greatest? Do you know what I’m talking about?”
Indeed, unemployment numbers are down but a nagging question remains which is why is there a disparity with white workers versus other ethnic groups?
“Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for Whites
(3.3 percent) declined in September. Blacks (6.0 percent), Asians (3.5 percent), and Hispanics (4.5 percent)stagnation” Bureau of Labor Statistics (October 2018)
The jobs report will continue to boast consumer confidence. However, the issue for many is keeping pace with rising consumer cost. The Fed’s recent rate hike is the reality of a cyclical economy. Some things go up and others go down. As an example, housing prices continues to soar resulting in many who are employed to delay buying a home, simply because the percentage needed from their paycheck to handle the monthly payment has increased year over year.
Here is an example of 1969:2018 – Wages & percentage of income needed for monthly payment.