industryterm:real estate agents

  • #Google_Maps Says ‘the East Cut’ Is a Real Place. Locals Aren’t So Sure.

    For decades, the district south of downtown and alongside #San_Francisco Bay here was known as either #Rincon_Hill, #South_Beach or #South_of_Market. This spring, it was suddenly rebranded on Google Maps to a name few had heard: the #East_Cut.

    The peculiar moniker immediately spread digitally, from hotel sites to dating apps to Uber, which all use Google’s map data. The name soon spilled over into the physical world, too. Real-estate listings beckoned prospective tenants to the East Cut. And news organizations referred to the vicinity by that term.

    “It’s degrading to the reputation of our area,” said Tad Bogdan, who has lived in the neighborhood for 14 years. In a survey of 271 neighbors that he organized recently, he said, 90 percent disliked the name.

    The swift rebranding of the roughly 170-year-old district is just one example of how Google Maps has now become the primary arbiter of place names. With decisions made by a few Google cartographers, the identity of a city, town or neighborhood can be reshaped, illustrating the outsize influence that Silicon Valley increasingly has in the real world.

    The #Detroit neighborhood now regularly called #Fishkorn (pronounced FISH-korn), but previously known as #Fiskhorn (pronounced FISK-horn)? That was because of Google Maps. #Midtown_South_Central in #Manhattan? That was also given life by Google Maps.

    Yet how Google arrives at its names in maps is often mysterious. The company declined to detail how some place names came about, though some appear to have resulted from mistakes by researchers, rebrandings by real estate agents — or just outright fiction.

    In #Los_Angeles, Jeffrey Schneider, a longtime architect in the #Silver_Lake_area, said he recently began calling the hill he lived on #Silver_Lake_Heights in ads for his rental apartment downstairs, partly as a joke. Last year, Silver Lake Heights also appeared on Google Maps.

    “Now for every real-estate listing in this neighborhood, they refer to it,” he said. “You see a name like that on a map and you believe it.”

    Before the internet era, neighborhood names developed via word of mouth, newspaper articles and physical maps that were released periodically. But Google Maps, which debuted in 2005, is updated continuously and delivered to more than one billion people on their devices. Google also feeds map data to thousands of websites and apps, magnifying its influence.

    In May, more than 63 percent of people who accessed a map on a smartphone or tablet used Google Maps, versus 19.4 percent for the Chinese internet giant Alibaba’s maps and 5.5 percent for Apple Maps, according to comScore, which tracks web traffic.

    Google said it created its maps from third-party data, public sources, satellites and, often most important, users. People can submit changes, which are reviewed by Google employees. A Google spokeswoman declined further comment.

    Yet some submissions are ruled upon by people with little local knowledge of a place, such as contractors in India, said one former Google Maps employee, who declined to be named because he was not authorized to speak publicly. Other users with a history of accurate changes said their updates to maps take effect instantly.

    Many of Google’s decisions have far-reaching consequences, with the maps driving increased traffic to quiet neighborhoods and once almost provoking an international incident in 2010 after it misrepresented the boundary between Costa Rica and Nicaragua.

    The service has also disseminated place names that are just plain puzzling. In #New_York, #Vinegar_Hill_Heights, #Midtown_South_Central (now #NoMad), #BoCoCa (for the area between Boerum Hill, Cobble Hill and Carroll Gardens), and #Rambo (Right Around the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) have appeared on and off in Google Maps.

    Matthew Hyland, co-owner of New York’s Emily and Emmy Squared pizzerias, who polices Google Maps in his spare time, said he considered those all made-up names, some of which he deleted from the map. Other obscure neighborhood names gain traction because of Google’s endorsement, he said. Someone once told him they lived in Stuyvesant Heights, “and then I looked at Google Maps and it was there. And I was like, ‘What? No. Come on,’” he said.

    In Detroit, some residents have been baffled by Google’s map of their city, which is blanketed with neighborhood monikers like NW Goldberg, Fishkorn and the Eye. Those names have been on Google Maps since at least 2012.

    Timothy Boscarino, a Detroit city planner, traced Google’s use of those names to a map posted online around 2002 by a few locals. Google almost identically copied that map’s neighborhoods and boundaries, he said — down to its typos. One result was that Google transposed the k and h for the district known as Fiskhorn, making it Fishkorn.

    A former Detroit city planner, Arthur Mullen, said he created the 2002 map as a side project and was surprised his typos were now distributed widely. He said he used old books and his local knowledge to make the map, approximating boundaries at times and inserting names with tenuous connections to neighborhoods, hoping to draw feedback.

    “I shouldn’t be making a mistake and 20 years later people are having to live with it,” Mr. Mullen said.

    He admitted some of his names were questionable, such as the Eye, a 60-block patch next to a cemetery on Detroit’s outskirts. He said he thought he spotted the name in a document, but was unsure which one. “Do I have my research materials from doing this 18 years ago? No,” he said.

    Now, local real-estate listings, food-delivery sites and locksmith ads use Fishkorn and the Eye. Erik Belcarz, an optometrist from nearby Novi, Mich., named his new publishing start-up Fishkorn this year after seeing the name on Google Maps.

    “It rolls off the tongue,” he said.

    Detroit officials recently canvassed the community to make an official map of neighborhoods. That exercise fixed some errors, like Fiskhorn (though Fishkorn remains on Google Maps). But for many districts where residents were unsure of the history, authorities relied largely on Google. The Eye and others are now part of that official map.

    In San Francisco, the East Cut name originated from a neighborhood nonprofit group that residents voted to create in 2015 to clean and secure the area. The nonprofit paid $68,000 to a “brand experience design company” to rebrand the district.

    Andrew Robinson, executive director of the nonprofit, now called the East Cut Community Benefit District (and previously the Greater Rincon Hill Community Benefit District), said the group’s board rejected names like Grand Narrows and Central Hub. Instead they chose the East Cut, partly because it referenced an 1869 construction project to cut through nearby Rincon Hill. The nonprofit then paid for streetlight banners and outfitted street cleaners with East Cut apparel.

    But it wasn’t until Google Maps adopted the name this spring that it got attention — and mockery.

    “The East Cut sounds like a 17 dollar sandwich,” Menotti Minutillo, an Uber engineer who works on the neighborhood’s border, said on Twitter in May.

    Mr. Robinson said his team asked Google to add the East Cut to its maps. A Google spokeswoman said employees manually inserted the name after verifying it through public sources. The company’s San Francisco offices are in the neighborhood (as is The New York Times bureau), and one of the East Cut nonprofit’s board members is a Google employee.

    Google Maps has also validated other little-known San Francisco neighborhoods. Balboa Hollow, a roughly 50-block district north of Golden Gate Park, trumpets on its website that it is a distinct neighborhood. Its proof? Google Maps.

    “Don’t believe us?” its website asks. “Well, we’re on the internet; so we must be real.”

  • Why does Putin treat Britain with disdain? He thinks he’s bought it.

    In her parliamentary statement, the prime minister did leave open the possibility of harsher financial sanctions. But the real question, for Britain — as well as France, Germany and the United States — is whether we are willing to end the financial relationship altogether. We could outlaw tax havens, in the Virgin Islands as well as in Delaware and Nevada; we could make it impossible to buy property anonymously; we could ban Russian companies with dubious origins from our stock exchanges. But that would cost our own financiers and real estate agents, disrupt the discreet flow of cash into the coffers of political parties, deprive the art market of its biggest investors. Does May have the nerve to do that? Do any of us?

    #élites#hypocrisie #finances #système #argent #capitalisme

  • Yemenite babies who disappeared in 1950s Israel were sold to U.S. Jews, new film claims - Israel News -

    U.S. Jews believed children were orphans, that money would help new Jewish state, researcher says in ’Lost Children,’ which claims WIZO played role in sending infants to U.S.
    Judy Maltz May 05, 2017 10:50 PM

    In 1994, a few dozen armed Yemenite Jews barricaded themselves in a home in the central Israel city of Yehud. They would not leave, they warned, until an official investigation was launched into allegations that Yemenite children had been systematically abducted and handed over to Ashkenazi families – sometimes in exchange for money – in the early years of the state. Their leader was a radical rabbi named Uzi Meshulam, who threatened bloodshed. The standoff lasted seven weeks, and Meshulam ended up serving nearly six years in prison.

    But by drawing public attention to their cause, he and his followers were able to force the government’s hand. A year after the standoff, a commission of inquiry was established to determine the fate of hundreds of Yemenite babies and toddlers who had gone missing in the 1950s, not long after they and their families arrived in the recently established state. Did they die of illness, as two previous investigations had found, or had they been abducted and handed over to childless couples in Israel and the United States in exchange for money, as Meshulam and his followers insisted?

    A new documentary recently aired on Israel’s Channel 2 TV suggests Meshulam may not have been as crazy as many in Israel believed. Relying on fresh testimonies, rare footage of the commission hearings and recently declassified documents, “Lost Children” presents considerable evidence to support his claims.

    “I was also one of those people who thought these were wacko claims and that Uzi Meshulam and his followers were all wackos,” says Prof. Meira Weiss, an Israeli anthropologist interviewed in the hour-long documentary.

    Years later, intrigued by new evidence that had emerged to support the abduction theory, Weiss proceeded on her own quest to discover the truth. On a trip to New Jersey, where she had heard that several of the missing Yemenite children ended up, she says her suspicions were confirmed.

    “What I was told is that these families had heard through the Jewish community that they could adopt orphans in Israel in exchange for money that would be used to help the new Jewish state get on its feet and purchase weapons,” she says in the film. “So they came and took these children they believed were orphans. As they saw it, they were doing a mitzvah and were very proud of that. When they heard later on that there might be parents who were still alive and that the money they gave didn’t all go to buy weapons, they were genuinely shocked.”

    Weiss says her investigation led her to believe that the stories she had heard about children being handed over for adoption without their parents’ consent were not isolated cases. “It was a phenomenon,” she says.

    Last December, the Israel State Archives released more than 200,000 previously classified documents pertaining to this decades-long affair that has come to symbolize the grievances of Mizrahim (Jews of Middle Eastern or North African origin) against the establishment. They include testimonies of parents who searched in vain for their missing children and their graves for decades; of hospital nurses who witnessed children being given away without permission; and of children sent off for adoption who later tried to reconnect with their biological parents. However, the documents provided no outright proof of an organized and institutionalized abduction campaign.

    The newly declassified papers also include minutes from the hearings of the commission of inquiry established in 1995. Like the two previous commissions that investigated the affair (the most recent being by Justice Moshe Shalgi in 1988), this one also found that most of the Yemenite children who disappeared had died of illness. While the fate of several dozen children is still unknown, the most recent commission of inquiry determined that none of the children had been kidnapped.

    The new documentary challenges these findings. A key testimony is provided by Ami Hovav, who worked as an investigator on two of the three commissions of inquiry. In an interview with Rina Matzliach, the Channel 2 correspondent who made the film, Hovav addresses the role of machers, or middlemen, in the disappearance of several children. As part of his duties on the commissions, Hovav had been asked to investigate reports, published as early as 1967, that Yemenite children had been abducted and sold to wealthy Jews abroad for $5,000 a head.

    Interviewed in the film, Hovav relays that many of the Yemenite babies and toddlers were put in child-care centers run by the Women’s International Zionist Organization (WIZO), one of the largest Jewish women’s organizations in the world.

    “There was a rule at the time that if the parents didn’t show up within three months to reclaim their children, the kids would be sent off for adoption,” he states. “So there were these machers who would come and get $5,000 for each child that was adopted.”

    But it would be wrong, he says, to describe such transactions as sales: “This was a commission they took, just like real estate agents. This was their job.”

    The film provides never-before-seen footage, shot by Meshulam’s followers, of the 1995 commission of inquiry hearings. At one point, Sonia Milstein, the head nurse at the Kibbutz Ein Shemer absorption center, recounts how Yemenite children were systematically separated from their parents and put in childcare centers. When asked to explain why no records of their whereabouts were ever kept, she responds: “That was the reality then. It was what it was.”

    In more rare footage, a former doctor at a WIZO center in Safed tells her interrogators at the commission hearings she has no recollection of what happened to the Yemenite children housed at her facility. Commenting in the documentary, Drora Nachmani – the lawyer who interrogated the doctor and other witnesses – notes that this sudden loss of memory among WIZO staff members was not uncommon.

    “Some of the WIZO witnesses didn’t want to come to the hearings, and we would have to chase after them,” she tells Matzliach. “Often, they would insist we come to them rather than they come to us, as if they were afraid of something. And sometimes they said one thing to one investigator and something else to another.”

    According to Nachmani, the WIZO day-care centers “were often the last stop or the second-last stop in the whole chronology of events” surrounding the disappearance of the Yemenite children.

    “They were a central junction in this whole story,” she states.

    The documents recently declassified by the Israel State Archives were meant to stay under wraps for another 15 years. But in response to public pressure, the government decided to release them sooner.

    Mizrahi activists had been urging the government to open the state archives for several years, arguing that the various commissions of inquiry whitewashed the affair. A driving force behind the campaign has been an organization called Amram.

    Interviewed in the film, founding member Shlomi Hatuka notes that out of more than 5,800 Yemenite babies and toddlers known to have been alive during the first years of the state, 700 disappeared. “That is one out of eight children,” he tells Matzliach. “And if you take into account those parents who didn’t report their missing children, it’s probably closer to one out of seven, or one out of six.”

    The irony, he notes, is that families were told their children were being moved from absorption centers to child-care centers for reasons of health and sanitation, but many became ill there, ending up in hospitals from which they never returned.

    To illustrate the atmosphere of mayhem in those early days of the state, Hovav recounts a story he heard from Milstein, the head nurse, about what would happen when sick babies were taken to the hospital. “An ambulance driver would pick them up and the babies would be put in cardboard boxes that had been used to transport fruit, bananas or apples,” he relays. “And there would be five or six of these boxes in the back.”

    Each carton, according to his account, had a little note attached to it bearing the child’s name, address and destination. “When it would get very hot,” he recounts, “the ambulance driver would open the window and a huge blast of wind would come in. What would happen then is that all those little notes would start flying in the air. They would stop the ambulance on the side of the road, but they had no idea after that which note belonged where.”

    Asked to comment on the allegations raised against WIZO in the film, a spokeswoman issued the following statement: “The process by which children were admitted or left our facilities was handled exclusively by the certified state authorities, while WIZO’s role was restricted to caring for their health and welfare. The allegation that the organization played a central role in transferring the children to adoptive families is erroneous and is merely someone’s personal interpretation of events. The same is true about allegations raised by some of the interviewees in Rina Matzliach’s film.”

    WIZO’s spokeswoman said her organization knew of no pressure put to bear on former staffers to refrain from cooperating with the commission of inquiry. “The reverse is true. WIZO handed over all the information it had, and the commission of inquiry not only found nothing wrong with the way it behaved, but recently the government even decided to publish this information on the internet.

    “As a social organization,” she added, “WIZO supports all efforts to shed light on this affair, which has caused such great pain to many in Israeli society.”

  • Why a housing scheme founded in racism is making a resurgence today - The Washington Post

    “Pretty much everywhere I go, people say ’I’ve been hearing about this,’” Satter says. “Contract” selling is making a comeback.

    In this model, buyers shut out from conventional lending are offered an alternative: They can make monthly payments on a home directly to the seller, instead of a bank, with the promise of receiving the deed only once the property is entirely paid off, 20 or 30 years down the road. In the meantime, they have few of the legal protections of a typical home buyer but all of the responsibilities of one. They don’t build equity with time. They can be easily evicted. And if that happens, they lose all of their investment.

    According to the Detroit Free Press, more homes were bought in Detroit last year using such “land contracts” or “contracts for deeds” than conventional mortgages. In a series of recent stories, the New York Times has reported that Wall Street is now betting on this market, with investors buying foreclosed homes by the thousands and selling them on contract. Earlier this week, the Times reported that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is now investigating the practice’s resurgence, although it is not by definition illegal.

    What is particularly alarming about the trend, though, is that we’ve seen it before. In its earlier incarnation, it was an explicitly racist form of exploitation. And now it is victimizing the same groups again: mostly lower income and minority home buyers who can’t access traditional credit.

    “There’s nothing new here in the slightest,” Satter says. “This is just a continuation of the same old game. That’s what’s so disturbing.”

    In the earlier era when this was common, between the 1930s and 1960s, contract lending was in some cities the primary means middle-class blacks had to buy homes. Real estate agents and speculators jacked up the price of properties two- or threefold. Then when families fell behind on a month’s payment or on repairs, they were swiftly evicted. The sellers kept their deposits and found the next family.

  • Preflight Turbulence for Commercial #Drones - NYTimes

    in 2015, the year that Congress has required the F.A.A. to come up with rules to integrate drones safely into American skies. After that, for example, farmers will be able to buy or rent drones to monitor crop conditions. Real estate agents will be able to offer aerial tours of their listings, using drone cameras to capture shots from angles seldom seen. And engineers may use them to inspect bridges and highways.

    But before all these drones fly their way into the nation’s business world, some legislators and civil liberties organizations with privacy concerns are urging strict limits on their use.

  • Rich businessmen pulling out of France as tax-hit looms - FRANCE 24

    Rich businessmen pulling out of France as tax-hit looms
    A placard reading “for sale” on a balcony of an appartment building is pictured in Paris’ eighth district in September 2012. A flood of top-end properties are hitting the market as businessmen seek to leave France before stiff tax hikes hit, real estate agents and financial advisors say.
    A placard reading “for sale” on a balcony of an appartment building is pictured in Paris’ eighth district in September 2012. A flood of top-end properties are hitting the market as businessmen seek to leave France before stiff tax hikes hit, real estate agents and financial advisors say.

    AFP - A flood of top-end properties are hitting the market as businessmen seek to leave France before stiff tax hikes hit, real estate agents and financial advisors say.

    “It’s nearly a general panic. Some 400 to 500 residences worth more than one million euros ($1.3 million) have come onto the Paris market,” said managers at Daniel Feau, a real-estate broker that specialises in high-end property.

    While it is not yet on the scale of the exodus of rich French after the election of Socialist president Francois Mitterrand in 1981, real estate agents said, the tax plans of France’s new Socialist President Francois Hollande are having a noticeable effect.

    While the Socialists’ plan to raise the tax rate to 75 percent on income above 1.0 million euros per year has generated the most headlines, a sharp increase in taxes on capital gains from the sales of stock and company stakes is pushing most people to leave, according Didier Bugeon, head of the wealth manager Equance.

    French entrepreneurs have complained vociferously against a proposal in the Socialist’s 2013 budget to increase the capital gains tax on sales of company stakes, which they argue will kill the market for innovative start-up companies in France.

    Entrepreneurs in the high-tech sector in particular often invest their own money and take low salaries in the hope they can later sell the company for a large sum.

    They say a stiff increase in capital gains tax would remove incentives to do this in France. They also argue that capital has already been taxed several times in the making.

    The government has since backtracked, and Budget Minister Jerome Cahuzac pledged Friday to return to the status quo when someone who has created a company seeks to sell it later.

    French officials are looking for ways to reduce the country’s excessive public deficit and debt, and Hollande won election on a platform of making the wealthy carry more of the load.

    Bugeon said he was seeing start-up entrepreneurs looking to move their headquarters out of France and taking their families with them.

    With the Internet “it is now possible to work in any corner of the world and come and spend one week a month in France,” said Thibault de Saint Vincent, president of Barnes France, the principal competitor to Daniel Feau.

    “Those who are going abroad fear a future tax on capital movements,” he added.

    Daniel Feau agreed that the profile of those who are leaving has changed, from the idle rich to “managers of major international corporations, entrepreneurs and investors much younger than previously who are scared of the marginal tax rate of 62.21 percent on sales of stock.”

    The head of the French employers federation Medef, Laurence Parisot, has complained recently of emerging “anti-enterprise racism” in France.

    No one is certain if the rush to the exit will continue, but Daniel Feau noted: “Nobody until now believed that the capital gains on shares would be taxed so high.”

    And it is not only the Paris region, more offers are coming onto the market in other areas of the country as well, the realtors added.


    The preferred destinations of those leaving are London, New York and Geneva, as well as Canada, Israel and Singapore, said Laurent Demeure, head of Coldwell Banker France.

    He also noted that Brussels remains a favourite of those older, who have already sold their business interests, and are looking to benefit from Belgium’s lighter taxation of trusts to pass on inheritances to their children.

    “Next year to have dinner with friends, instead of a taxi I’ll more likely need to take the Thalys for Brussels or the Eurostar to London,” joked Demeure, referring to high-speed trains that link the three capitals.

    He said he is currently receiving on average one request per day to appraise a luxury apartment or home.

    As a result, in the previous two to three months the price of large Paris apartments had slid by five percent.

    The real estate agents don’t expect a collapse, however, as the offers to sell still remain low and interest by foreign buyers firm.

    Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici said he has seen “no indication of a massive fiscal exodus”.

    He told the daily Le Parisien that debate on the 75-percent income tax bracket was “closed” but noted that it was only a temporary tax for two years.

    • Ces gens devraient tous vivre en Angleterre, un Etat décidément anti européen qui ne devrait pas appartenir à l’U.E.
      Accessoirement on pourrait demander à Parisot de se joindre à eux. A mes yeux, ces personnes méprisables ont leur place auprès d’un Cameron.