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David C. Murray

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About David C. Murray

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    David C. Murray Gonter
  • Birthday 12/20/1945

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  1. The single most interesting thing about newman's recent postings, aside from the fact that he has re-ignited the issue of having some substantiation for them, is the fact (and this is an indisputable fact) that the "total all out nuclear attack" he advocates being launched against China would likewise result in a total all out nuclear attack on the United States and the rest of the world. Should the U.S. launch newman's total all out nuclear attack on China, they would undoubtedly retaliate in kind and with equal devastation. That's the premise behind "mutual assured destruction" (you can look it up). And that would draw in the Russians, North Korea, Israel, Iran, India and Pakistan, Ukraine and whomever else has The Bomb. True, Costa Rica might be spared the immediate effects of a worldwide nuclear conflagration, but the radioactive fallout alone would get the rest of us, even newman. The good news, should newman get his way, is that it would reduce the matter of the coronavirus to a mere footnote in history. That is, of course, if there were anyone left alive to write that history which there wouldn't be. Amusing side note: Last week, a rent-a-cop at PriceSmart told me that there is a secret worldwide society which unleashes all these disasters like the coronavirus on the world for some purpose he could not explain. I explained that there is an even more secretive cabal that makes up and spreads unfounded conspiracy theories like the ones newman wraps his arms around.
  2. What do you believe the USA is going to "hit" China with, newman? And why?
  3. I think Dennis makes some good points immediately above. Whether you're looking to rent, buy or build, it's important to realize that Costa Rica's land use restrictions are very lax. There's little to keep someone from building a hog farm or drop forge on the lot next to and upwind from your own. A useful caution would be to never buy or rent anything you haven't seen in person and that you haven't visited during the day and at night. Roosters may not crow much during the day, but we lived briefly in a place where they crowed all night -- ALL NIGHT LONG! Real estate listings may show the structure being offered, but what of the neighbors and their dogs and chickens? If all you're looking for in a place to live is somewhere to get in out of the rain, then renting may be your best option, but if you're a "nester", as we are and as Dennis appears to be, then owning your own piece of the rock is important. If I had any choice at all, I'd not only buy but I'd build. I've seen a lot of houses, here and up north, that were built in accordance with the builder's preferences but I've seen very few that would satisfy our interests. So build we would build and build we did -- four times, actually. Others may not be so picky and that's fine for them, but living with someone else's mistakes and misconceptions is not for us.
  4. Exactly right again, Steve. One account of someone paying squatters to occupy a property hardly qualifies as proof of widespread abuses. Note, too, that nowhere in the article does the author assert that squatting, paid or not, is common. He refers only to one or two instances. We have still to learn of the source of Derrick's assertion and so must take it for a figment of his colorful imagination (and maybe bias). Derrick, that's all you've got? " . . Get over yourself . . . "? Still nothing to back up your assertion of "fact"? We can only conclude that you were, in fact, fabricating this "fact" out of your colorful imagination and will regard it as such. Consider the implications for your future contributions here.
  5. You're one hundred percent right, Steve. The problem with asserting unsubstantiated "facts" is that someone else, someone who may not yet have joined this Forum but will later, may take that unsubstantiable assertion as a true fact. If they then act on that fact, which isn't really a fact at all, they may be led to a less than optimal outcome. Imagine that someone reading this Forum wished to have a jaguar kitten to raise as a housepet. Somebody else (somebody who is talking through his hat) might write that it's safe and legal. If no one takes that second person to task, then the inquiring party just might get his or her hands on a jaguar kitten and get into a world of trouble as well as jeopardizing the animal's welfare. That's why it's always a best practice to know what you're talking about and, when pressed, to be able to support your assertions of "fact".
  6. It isn't a matter of agreeing or disagreeing, Derrick. You asserted a "fact" (see above) that a large portion of squatters are the "paid type". I'm just asking how you know that fact. If it's true, how do you know? Or is this purely conjecture on your part?
  7. Yes, except that I'm not the one who made the otherwise unsubstantiated statement of "fact". That was you. I merely asked you how you know what you say you know and what the source of your information is. It's not likely that you've personally interviewed every squatter in Costa Rica, so there must be some other source of this certain knowledge of yours. I'm simply asking what that source is. And whether this is firsthand knowledge of yours or something definitive you've read, I asked you to break down the squatters by type -- "paid types" and other types. Do you actually know of a single instance of a "paid type" squatter? If yes, how about some details? Who's paying him or them? How much? Why and for how long? And in the end, it does matter. Clearly, squatters are using vacant land that does not belong to them for their own benefits, but that doesn't make them thieves. If it did, they'd be thieves instead of squatters, but they're not.
  8. Derrick, please elaborate on the quote above. How do you know that a large portion of the "squatters" here are the "paid type"? Are there records you've consulted? Which records? And who pays them? And how much are they paid? And for what purpose? Of all the squatters in Costa Rica, what are the percentages of "paid type" squatters and whatever the other type or types are? Please break down the numbers for us. You are asserting a known fact, right?
  9. I think it's pretty universal that every barrio has an "inspection" committee or some such. If you can contact that person or group in your barrio, you can lodge a complaint with them and they, in turn, can lodge a complaint with the Ministry of the Environment regarding the trees that were cut down. Costa Rica takes a very, very dim view of felling trees. One of the locals did so on some friends' property and the inspection committee found out. They and MINAE made our friends replace all the trees and buy the local MINAE office a computer as a good will gesture. This saved everyone a court date. So the local inspection committee does have some pull. A problem you face, doppelt, is that while the condition of this property that adjoins your own clearly does have an impact on your enjoyment, and maybe on the value, of your property, since you do not actually own the property that's being squatted upon, I'm not sure you have any standing to act on what's going on there. If this squatter were squatting on your own property, you'd be well within your legal rights to complain, but since they're not affecting your property in a direct, physical way (except for felling your trees), I'm skeptical that you can force any change. Costa Rica's land use restrictions are pretty lax. If the property in question were being used as a hog or chicken farm, or maybe as an auto body repair shop or a noisy bar, I don't think you'd have much choice but to put up with it. Those are legitimate uses. As Paul noted above, squatters do have some rights and legal protections, and since this guy isn't squatting on your property, I'm not sure you have much say about what's going on next door. It may even be the fact that the owner of the property actually welcomes or at least knowingly tolerates this squatter's presence and activities. Do you know otherwise? A neighbor of ours was considering selling a property adjacent to ours for a chicken farm. That would have been perfectly legal, but I told them that if they did, I would start raising free-range foxes. That may have tipped the scales in my favor. So far, no chickens.
  10. Paul's right about acting promptly. In addition, it should be noted that any "improvements"(very broadly defined) that squatters make to the property may become liabilities for the property owner. That is, s/he may have to pay the squatters for whatever they've built, cleaned up, installed, etc. This is a frustrating situation for all concerned. It appears that the spirit of the law says that unused property should be available to those who need it. Think about a poor, hungry family who finds a piece of vacant land where they could live and grow crops. If the owner isn't using the property, it lies idle while the family goes without. What's the fairness in that?
  11. You might try going directly to the local police chief to see if s/he can do anything.
  12. We looked for smoker-appropriate wood a number of years ago but came up empty-handed. At a combination appliance and grill store in Escazu, we were told that Costa Rica requires that any wood product that's imported into the country be legally certified not to have originated in a virgin forest anywhere in the world. At the time, he was having problems importing kitchen and laundry appliances because the pallets they were shipped on weren't so certified. We resolved the matter by doing the gringo thing -- brought it in in our luggage when we returned from a trip to the States. No problem there.
  13. My understanding is that the Collegio of Architects sets the rates (expressed in percentages) for the various services an architect can offer. That is, s/he can charge a specified percent for initial rough plans, a specified percent for finished blueprints, a specified percent for getting permits, a specified percent for recruiting a builder and soliciting bids, a specified percent for . . . <all the other steps in the process through to completion>. With that, the client can choose just which services s/he wants from the architect and can know what those services will cost. The Collegio of Architects uses a "reference cost" per square meter of the building project to compute the architect's fee(s) for each service to be provided. That reference cost has no basis in fact; it's just a number they dream up and it's much less than the actual cost of building. Its only relevance is for computing the architect's fee(s). For example . . . Let's say you're building a 100 square meter house (that's about 1,077 square feet). And let's say that the Collegio's reference cost is $500 per square meter. To the Collegio, the project should cost $50,000 (again, only a reference cost for the purpose of computing the architect's fees).The Collegio might specify one percent for initial rough plans - $500. Finished blueprints - 2% or $1,000. Getting permits - 0.5% or $250. Soliciting bids and selecting a builder - 1% or $500. Supervision of the actual construction with weekly inspection visits - 4% or $2,000. (Understand, please, that the numbers in this paragraph are strictly for illustration and are not meant to be actual, real world figures.) You could ask your architect what the basis is for the services s/he's proposing to provide and how those costs are computed. Perhaps s/he can give you a contact at the Collegio of Architects who could verify these costs.
  14. You're absolutely right, seaturtlewoman, about the accessibility of local bank branches, but there is another way to look at the matter. For example, Banco Nacional in Grecia is renowned for its long lines and thus long waits at both the teller windows and at the service desks. Their branch in Sarchi, about ten minutes or so away, is almost never busy. And and the Sarchi branch has a parking lot which the Grecia branch does not. So the question may really boil down to where one prefers to spend one's time. Standing in line in the nearest branch may have it's allure, but for us, we'd prefer to get our business done and move on to more enjoyable pastimes. Given the choice, I'd rather go have blood drawn than stand in line at the bank.
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