Menlo Park, a city of 30,000 located south of San Francisco, is going to be a guinea pig in a plan to keep foreclosures from churning its housing market too badly.

The idea: The city takes a 30 percent stake in homes that are in danger, and the owner then gets a "silent second mortgage" at 70 percent of the home’s fair market value. The family gets to keep their home, the kids get to stay in the same ZIP code, and the neighbors foot the bill. Let the grumbling begin!

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